Best Mainstream Receiver for 2 Channel Audio

I'm looking to pick up a receiver to serve double duty for home theater and 2 channel audio. I'm still unsure how much quality I'd lose from a dedicated stereo preamp/amp or integrated but I'm currently looking at the mainstream brands - Sony, Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, Pioneer, etc. Which make and model do folks here most highly recommend for 2 channel audio quality? Price range would be $1500-$2000.
For a HT receiver, take a look at the Onkyo 806. It was optimized for 2 channel audio.

Onkyo 806 specifications

Onkyo 806 review in the Sensible Sound .

For a 2 channel receiver, try the Outlaw Audio RR2150.


If you are going to go strictly with two channel your money would be much better spent buying an integrated amp used in the $1500- $1750 range and spending $250 on a used tuner. The $250 you would spend on a used tuner would give you every bit as good as the tuner section in a receiver. The quality of integrated amp you can buy in the $1500- $1750 range will out perform the amp section of the receivers you mentioned.
I will be building a 5.1 system, although I'll be listening to a lot of stereo on it. I'd like to keep things as simple and uncluttered as possible, so if I can find a pretty good receiver, that would be my first preference.
Best 2 channel receiver around right now is probably a magnum dynalab. Other nice pieces by Arcam and Music Hall.
Thanks but I'm actually looking for at least a 5.1 receiver.
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I'm one of the lucky ones who has a complete system dedicated to music on the lower level of our home, and a separate system for surround sound video on the main level. I've been very happy with my Integra 5.1 multi-zone receiver for many years now, and from what I've been reading, the quality of the Integra (and Onkyo, its parent company) receivers have gotten even better. My Integra works very nicely with my Paradigm apeakers in our TV room. You may want to investigate these two brands. Good Luck, and Happy Listening.
I have a new (less than one month old) Pioneer Elite SC-07. Very impressive specs, some good reviews. I am going in the opposite direction, will sell the Pioneer at a great price if you're interested after doing your research.
Take a look at Outlaw Audio
For stereo sound quality, the best 5.1 avr is the Arcam avr 350, without a doubt. You should be able to purchase a used one (maybe even a new one since they don't offer hdmi audio processing) for what you are willing to spend without much effort. Every evaluation I have read and performed my self has shown the Arcam avr 350 to have a leg up on all the competition. However, like I said, this is an older unit and does not offer hdmi audio. You can still get hd playback with analogue transmission. That's what I do and it works just fine.
Thanks for all the input so far. I looked at Outlaw Audio but have ruled them out due to lack of HDMI. The Arcam is definitely intriguing, if pricier. Of the more mainstream brands, is it then consensus that Onkyo/Integra is the brand to get? I had been leaning toward Denon or Sony actually, but they don't seem to be recommended as much.
You might also want check out Marantz (e.g., S8002), if you are considering mainstream (e.g., Onkyo). I've been pretty happy with its 2-channel performance.

(for what it's worth-a dealer's opinion)
I've noticed that Marantz has upgraded the lower end models to SRx003 models. Do you know if an SR8003 is imminent?
I would suggest buying an SR800x used. They are built like tanks and sound great for a mainstream receiver.