In a former life I worked for Bose and have recently decided to get back in the game and purchase a new system. My question is this (I apologize for the ignorance)-In a perfect world, I would like to buy an preamp/amp combo that can serve both as a surround system and serve as a decent audio base. I'm planning on buying either Maggie 1.7's or MG-12's and am buying an Exemplar BDP-83 Universal player that I found on this site.My budget is approx $2000 and my preference is tube, but I'm guessing that's not possible. I also have no aversion to buying used, probably prefer in order to get more bang for my buck. Any help/advice at all is greatly appreciated, thanks in advance...
For 2k you are pretty much out of luck on a new surround pre/pro/amp that is also OK for music. The only set I can think of is from Marantz, but runs $2.5k plus new. For you budget, you might look into 2 channel - lots of great choices if you go the integrated amp route.
There is the budget Emotiva stuff, and, while I have not heard it, I'd be inclined to think it's budget (you get what you pay for).
Alternatively, the NAD T765HD2 is priced right for you, (I have one for HT only) and is a very musical HT receiver.
There is an editorial in one of the later editions of TAS that recommends using the two channel preamp of your choice which has a HT pass thru, and then buying the latest greatest throw-away surround sound receiver that will play your movies. That way you don't compromise the two channel experience and you're not married to cut rate electronics when you really want to listen. Personally, Surround sound doesn't do a thing for me. I've heard only one home system that even mildy impressed me. Just run the TV through a high quality two channel and forget the surround sound part.
The biggest issue with going with an AV receiver and stereo integrated is that it takes about $800 to get into an HDMI receiver and that's nearly half of the stated budget.
I have an Integra 50.1 receiver that seems to be a much more solid unit that my friends Integra 40.2. Just the difference in weight gives a clue to how much difference there is. I think a new 50.2 would be about $1,500. I'm not sure what the prices are on the next models up.
My friends 40.2 is currently running a 2.1 setup and it's not nearly as good for home theater as my 4.1 setup. Having the rear channels is necessary even if they are not high quality speakers.
Keep in mind that everyone has a different opinion of what sounds good.
I don't think the speakers that you're considering are way outside the box for a AVR in your price range. My speakers are worth about $3k retail and they sound great. I've heard my speakers connected to a system in the store that was intended for the Focal Grande Utopia's and while they sounded much better, I still don't feel that mine are lacking in comparison.
Is your surround system going to consists of 5 or 7 speakers? If it's 5, then I suggests considering a used 5 channel reciever like a Marantz, Dennon or even a McIntosh. You won't have HDMI but you can just go direct with the wiring and probably get better results. The only thing your giving up in that scenario is a more convienant remote setup. Good ones which were top of the line in their day go for around $300.
I have a Marantz SR-18ex that sounds pretty decent. Very heavy with 140 watts/ch. Use the amps in the reciever for the surrounds and use the pre-out to your amps for your Maggies. Try it without a preamp for a while then experiment with a dedicated preamp (with AV pass through).
I want to thank everyone for their help...this site rocks! I pulled the trigger today on the NAD 765 HD receiver. In my research, it kept popping up on various sites/forums with a lot of positive comments regarding its audio capabilities. I realize that it's not optimum, but I'm comfortable at least starting with this. I also was able to find it @ Audioadvisor.com for only $999 (retails for $2499) brand new. I noticed that Amazon and various other sites are sold out and Joe from Audioadvisor explained they are getting ready to come out with a new series/model. Since this does everything I need at present, I'm feeling pretty good about the purchase. Thanks again for everyone's help.
I think you made a good choice in an AVR with your choice of the NAD 765HD. As many have expressed, it will not do as much justice to a 2-channel setup as a quality integrated or seperates but for an AVR it should sound pretty darn good. I have an older(2004) NAD T773 receiver that I picked up at a pawn shop for $350.00 about a year ago that sounds wonderful with 2-channel as well as HT. I am using it with a pair of B&K amps driving a Klipsch RF-63/RC-64 combo and letting the NAD handle the surrounds.
The NAD you bought should be a very good compromise.