Okay...... exactly, what kind of sound do you want?? Are you looking for a richer, fuller sound??? Or are you looking for a crisper and leaner sound???
I like Rich's recommendation of the Onkyo 806 Receiver. I also like the various offerings from Yamaha. You should be able to land a late model RX-V3800 (this year, it's the RX-V3900) for around that price since it is a closeout model.
Also, I would look at and auditon a Marantz SR5003 ($800.00) to see if that's more your cup of tea.
The one I personally like is the Harman Kardon AVR-354. It has HDMI connectivity, the latest decoders, a Faroudja Video Scaler, an i-Pod Dock and 75 Watts Per Channel (high current too) for just $900.00 list. You can get one for around $800.00. And it delivers a clean and spacious sound too (with a deep and tight bass response).
Good Luck and Happy Shopping.....