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So, I've always dreamed of building a Home Theater (I think I came to the right place). I'm a complete tech junky and love to tinker with just about anything. I'm going to be getting married in 2 weeks and my groomsmen just gave me a $320 gift certificate to NewEgg. My Best Man told me that this was to get the ball rolling on my Home Theater. I figure I should start with a AVR. In the end I'd love to construct all of the speakers/sub(s) myself because DIY aspect of building an HT really sparks my interest. Currently I have some older speakers laying around that I could fix-up for use right away.

So, I'm looking for a versatile ARV to start off my system. The 2 models that caught my eye are:
(i was going to post links to newegg, but I don't have 5 posts yet)
ONKYO TX-SR608
Pioneer VSX-1020-K

Both of which are 400 bucks. I'm willing to spent the extra 80 bucks or so for what these AVR's have to offer.

The Pioneer has a network port, but i'm not sure what that will allow me to do. I'm a software developer so I'm kind of interested what abilities the network port offers. Could I interface with it via my computer? Can I control the AVR from my PC? Or does it only allow the ability to stream video/audio from a PC? This will me kind of important as I'd love to get something that has more potential for me to play with.

From what I've read the Onkyo will be able to power a second zone (ie: my garage) and a 7.1 system at the same time. Also, I think the Onkyo has the ability to bi-amp a 5.1 system. Again, this would offer more flexibility for me to build some neat fronts for my HT. But then again if I'm going to miss out on the network interface... I don't know what to do.

Is there another model (on newegg) that I should be looking at? Is there something that I'm not looking that I should be concerned about? Anybody else have any ideas on something in the 300-400 (maybe a little more) range. Again, this must be at newegg because of the gift card situation. I just want something that will allow me to build on to in both the PC side and the Audio/Video side. I like having projects to do and don't want to be limited because I made the wrong purchase. I'm looking to get quite a few years of projects out of this first purchase.
 

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If you can spring just a little more looking at the Onkyo 708 would give you THX certification (giving you some very useful surround modes) and also pre outs allowing you to hook up an external amp to the receiver if you find that your speakers need just a little more.
Onkyo has been for several years the leader in "Bang for buck" receivers. The Pioneer is good also but the Onkyo gives you just a little more.
 

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Hello,
First off, congratulations on your pending Nuptials. The Pioneer does offer Internet Radio via the Ethernet Port.
The Onkyo offers THX Post Processing and Certification. The Pioneer also offers Plug & Play iPod functionality whereas the Onkyo requires a Dock.

The Onkyo does have an RGB Output for connecting to your PC so while it lacks Internet Radio, there is PC connectivity. I also do prefer Audyssey Room EQ over Pioneer's MCACC. However, the Onkyo offers the least powerful 2EQ Processing as opposed to MultEQ or MultEQ XT.

Either would provide a good starting point. If 3D is not important, I would also look at last years HDMI 1.3 AVR's where you might be able to get a much more expensive AVR on Closeout. Then you would have more power, Preamp Outputs for adding Amplifiers and Audyssey MultEQ.

Given the TX-SR608 is not in stock at Newegg, I would give serious consideration to the TX-NR708 for 549 there. It offers THX Post Processing, Preamp Outputs, Audyssey MultEQ, Preamp Outputs, Internet Radio/Firmware Updates via Ethernet Port and more.
Cheers,
JJ
 

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If you're planning on going DIY, you might want to look into something that's 4 ohm stable or at least has pre-outs. A lot of the DIY drivers and even kits seem to end up having 4 ohm impedances from what i've seen.
 

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Given the TX-SR608 is not in stock at Newegg, I would give serious consideration to the TX-NR708 for 549 there. It offers THX Post Processing, Preamp Outputs, Audyssey MultEQ, Preamp Outputs, Internet Radio/Firmware Updates via Ethernet Port and more.
Cheers,
JJ
I know a man in your position with getting married in a couple weeks is probly strapped for cash but the extra couple hundred for all the features the 708 offers seems like a much better AVR for a tech savy guy as yourself.:T

Congrats by the way!:sn:
 

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I like the 608 -- the only thing it doesn't have that I'd want is the pre-outs. Other than that, I'd not as concerned about the other surround modes, etc the the 708 offers. But then, I'd stick to just DD, DTS or 5 channel stereo (for music while I'm tinkering around the house).

I'm not too crazy about Pioneer based purely on hearsay and anecdotal evidence (they're supposed to not be as well made).

And good luck on the wedding!
 

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To me the Pre-outs make it worth it, you never know when your gonna get that power hungy feeling in this hobby.:devil:
 

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^If that sr5005 refurb does indeed become an option(it's a great choice), I'd look to keep the newegg certificate for one of these babies:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824219084

(or maybe even look into 1080p :D)

Trust me, the WAF is probably going to hit you if you go straight into speakers, but ladies love lumens out of a projector
 
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