Budget AV Receiver with Magnepan

I'm looking to build a 5 channel home theater/music system using Magnepan MMG-W's and CC2 (or possibly MC1's for FR and FL) with a Monitor Audio sub. Now I'm looking at inexpensive used high end AV receivers to tie it all together:

Rotel - 1055 75x5

NAD - T744 (can be had refurbished with warranty) 5x50W, not sure if this is enough to drive the Magnepans?

NAD - T754, a bit more power, can be had with warranty

B&K AVR 202 - 105 x 5, I've heard one of these and liked it, it's a bit older than the rest

Cambridge Audio 540R - 80 x 6, nice looking unit but haven't heard much about them compared to NAD/Rotel/B&K

And advice/experience on any of these would be greatly appreciated. I'm happy with 5 channel DTS, don't need HDMI (although would be nice), want something that can drive the small Maggies without struggling (don't need ground shaking volume here), and I want something that sounds *good*. I'm coming from a small Denon 75w x 5 Dobly Digital surround receiver (driving Monitor Audio Silver 5i's). I know seperates are better, but I'm trying to keep the wife happy ($$$). Thanks!

I haven't found Maggies to be as difficult to drive as they are reputed to be, at least the smaller models anyway. My guess would be that any of the receivers you mentioned, except for the NAD T744, would be adequate.

As far as sound goes, MAYBE the Cambridge and Rotel could produce a somewhat bright presentation. The NAD would probably be the most laid back. I don't have any experience with B&K stuff.

Finally, why not keep the Denon you have now and see how that works before investing in a new receiver? Denon's stuff is generally very good, even the entry level models, especially when it comes to powering what amounts to satellites. And the slightly warm sound of the Denon might make for a nice balance with the Maggies.

Finally, if you feel you do turn out to need a new receiver, don't count out Onkyo and Yamaha. Some of their latest models in the $500-$700 range (brand new) are surprisingly good, even with 2-channel music.
That's not a bad idea actually - I guess I'm sort of getting all worked up in upgrade mode, but who knows - maybe the Denon is better than I am giving it credit for. It's old, model number AVR1700, and is actually 70x5 instead of what I thought was 75 x 5. My only concern is the Maggies are rated at 5ohm which I thought might be a bit much for a receiver I bought for $250 on clearance some 8 years ago! That is also my concern with the Onkya and Yamaha units. Less so for the models I listed, including the NAD, as I know they all have relatively high current power supplies. I know the MMG-W's are frequency limited which eases the load a bit, but I also know they are quite revealing and will benefit from better amplifiers... especially ones that aren't working so hard to keep up.
I highly recommend against driving any 81 to 83 db, difficult 4 ohm speaker load on ANY receiver ever built, personally! Not only will the sound be rather flat in spots, but you'll likely be cooking eggs on top of the receive unit.
I say, no go...
Here's one: Go on line and find a bunch of Maggie retail dealers, and give em a call! Say you are considering buying some Maggies, and want to know what you should drive them with. Any sane dealer should tell you pretty much the same
All the more reason to try the Denon first. Who cares if it blows up? Better to use it as a guinea pig. See how hard you need to run it, whether it heats up, blows up, whatever, and then use the results to help choose how much power (and transformer power) you need if you decide to upgrade.

I found some technical analysis of the AVR-1700, which was a mid-end model actually from what I found online:

"In the lab, the AVR1700 delivered technical measurements typical of a low-to-mid-priced receiver.

The maximum power output at the onset of clipping was measured at 86.19W RMS into 81/2 with a THD of 3.07 per cent. Denon quotes an output of 70W with no more than 0.5 per cent THD.

Yet 0.5 per cent THD might be considered a tad high in today's age of ultra-low distortion amplification. Employing HCC's unique Fidelity Firewall (a measurement showing maximum output and low distortion) we can reveal the AVR-1700 delivers just 60.8W at 0.118 per cent THD.

We were more worried by the overall frequency response. In stereo mode a 30-point sweep from 25Hz to 20kHz at the Firewall Output revealed a 0.5dB peak around 150Hz and a droop of 0.3dB from 200Hz to 500Hz, bottoming out at 800Hz.

Employing a multitone (22 frequencies applied simultaneously) at the industry 1W/8ohm level, confirmed this mid-band muzziness with a measured variation of 0.8dB peak-to-peak which (if you have keen hearing) may just about be audible, especially on music recordings."

And here's an excerpt from the HCC review:

"I was actually rather impressed with how this Denon performed both with music and movie material. Musically, the AVR-1700 has an open, inviting character particularly suited to solo vocalists. I listened to, amongst others, Paula Cole's This Fire (Warner) and Rebecca Pigeon's The Raven (Chesky) and apart from a slight restriction in terms of image depth and width was surprised with the results.

The Denon isn't shamed by a high-quality pair of loudspeakers and is equally at home with a modest home theatre package, but a little extra spent on speakers isn't going to be wasted. I couldn't find much to complain about when it came to bass-heavy material either; unlike some previous Denons, the AVR-1700 can pump out a forceful bass line such as that during Yello's The Rhythm Divine.

The six DSP modes are moderate, the best being 5CH stereo, and should be used judiciously. Turning the rear and effect levels down from the defaults helps a great deal. Experiment for the best results."
Aren't some of these high end receivers (Rotel and B&K particularly) supposed to be more of a merged pre-amp amp combo and less your typically compromised receiver?

I want to go with the mini-Magnepans, so that's that. I *am* unfortunately severely budget limited, $500 or maaybe stretch to $800. So I'll always be compromised in some way.

As far as seperates here's a challenge- can anyone conceive of a pre-pro/amp seperate combo that could be in that budget used? Old B&K maybe? Requirements are 5 channel, at least Dolby Digital or DTS, and I would like at least component video switching if possible. Oh and it has to sound divine :)