Best Home Theater 5.1 Receiver??

Hi All,

Never thought I would be going down this path (old 2-channel guy) but my eldest son is in film in college and I am going to build a modest home theater system based on a very good Sony XBR series TV and want to keep it simple. So,...what is the best home theater receiver? I have heard good things about the Marantz line and Rotel...and I DO want the 2-channel performance to be good. I will likley use Vandersteen 1C for the front L and R and am open to thoughts on the other 3 channels. The room is 13 x 15 but open to a nearly 32+ foot kitchen/2nd dining area.

Thanks much, Jim
Older Denon models, 3801,4801,5800/5801, all pretty inexpencive when bought used.

Denon makes fantastic recievers for the price.

Marantz is a little bit more musical. No experience with Rotel though
Older Denon models, 3801,4801,5800/5801, all pretty inexpencive when bought used. If you dont need 6.1 or 7.1, you can stike an excellent bargain on thier older higher-end models.

Denon makes fantastic recievers for the price.

Marantz is a little bit more musical. No experience with Rotel though i hear it is pretty good
woah.. i hear an echo...
I have found the Rotel an excellent performer especially for the cash. The new 1067 7.1 reciever with component switching capability would be my choice over the marantz line. You could save a few bucks and spring for the 1068 processor and 1075 five channel amp and be in for a treat. The Rotel is very good musically and is dynamic on theatre. IMO. Sup slapmeister ?
Personally, honestly (from years of experience with most all lines of receivers, from Big Denon's, B&K's, and Marantz's, down to clean musical Outlaw's, Arcam, Nakamichi's, even cheap HK's or Yamaha's), especially with those speakers(a bit veiled and warm), many will work just fine for you. If you want best performance, you'll have to go more expensive. At that point, you'll might as well consdier Outlaw sepates for $1700 new! Otherwise, many of the $1000 range recievers will give similar performance for your aplication. I see nothing that's going to simply give you WAY BETTER PERFORMANCE!
Any differences would be suttle.
I could recommend the traditionally stronger Denon's and HK's to consider. Otherwise older flagship models used from the "bigger receiver lines"(Yam, Den, Marz, Whatever).
Still, again, I doubt you're finding anything special till you get into separates.
Good luck
I agree with Exertfluffer. With this in mind, get the Denon AVR-3805 (approx. $1,000 street price) and be done with for awhile. It's gotten excellent reviews (for a receiver) from most HiFi mags (US or UK). Even the most difficult reviewer gave it a warm review. It has all the bells and whistles for HT (for now) and is more than decent in stereo (edged over the new Arcam 300 in a recent group test in British mag FWIW).
Good luck.
I've been using the Marantz SR-18EX for both 2-channel music (with Thiel speakers) and a progressive scan Sony DVD
player. Also have a Denon 3802 with M&K surround system
just for TV and movies. Could not be happier with both.
The Marantz is definitely better sound for music. But what
made the biggest difference with that system was upgrading the cables to Virtual Dynamic and Acoustic ZEN.
I'm going to also agree with Exertfluffer. I've owned many different HT receivers, hoping to combine my HT and 2-channel needs and none of them met my needs. The Cheapest I owned was a Pioneer VSX-D850S which I bought at BestBuy for under $200 and the most expensive was a B&K AVR-202 that listed for $2800. Of course the B&K was better, but the difference was not that great when watching TV/Movies.

Between those two extremes, I owned a couple of Sony "DB" bridge line receivers (STR-DB930,STR-DB940), a Denon AVR-3300 and a Panasonic SA-XR45 full digital receiver. I now own a Sony STR-DA4ES and have been happier with it that any of the other receivers. The current (and last years) Sony ES line is a great combination of performance and functionality. I really disliked the ergonomic functions of the Denon, B&K, Pioneer and Panasonic. I thought ALL of the Sonys that I owned were very easy to set up and use.

I know there are a lot of Sony bashers out there, but I don't care! My experience with the Sonys, especially the ES line, was superior to my experience with the other brands.

That said, if I were looking, I would not jump into an expensive receiver right away. You might find a good, inexpensive used HT receiver that totally meets your need, or you might find out that many of these receivers are a PITA to use and end up looking for a more simple alternative, like I did.

If I were looking today, I would look at a Sony ES model, the older Arcam for $500, a good used Marantz 7000 or 8000 or the $500 Outlaw.

Lastly, there are a couple of features of the better and newer receivers that I think are important. I would absolutlely want pre-outs for all channels in case I decided to add an amp, and I require Dolby PLII for its superior performance over the older Dolby pro-logic when watching non-Dolby Digital TV/videos.

That's my $02 worth!!!!


I agree with TIC that PLII is a worthwhile feature to look for. It really does sound superior to Pro Logic on 2-channel soundtracks, so if you're still using a VCR for movies to any extent, I find PLII to be worthwhile. Of course, for music, I prefer 2 channel.