STR-DA9000ES quandry


I have a Sony STR-DA9000ES receiver that I purchased in 2004 and a few weeks ago, it began shutting down after a few minutes with "Protector error 11".  I disconnected it and it still did it.  I called Sony and they recommended a complete factory reset.   I did that, and it no longer reports this error when disconnected, but does report it after playing at volume for a few minutes.

I sent it to the Laredo service center for a similar problem back in 2008; they replaced a few parts and it's been fine since then.  It drives a pair of B&W Nautilus 801s.  I originally bought the STR-DA9000ES intending to slowly build a surround system, but that's part of a remodel that we still haven't started. The 801s sound wonderful -- the Sony amps produce a rock-solid center image under the 70" TV, so I was even able to avoid adding the center speaker.

Last year, I bought a Marantz 8801 prepro and that's now doing decoding and preamplification duties, so for a year, I was using the Sony only as a 2 channel amp.  After it started shutting down, I took a Nakamichi PA-7 out of a storage closet and am using that between the Marantz and the 801s until I figure out how to proceed.  

So, my quandry:

1) should I have the Sony repaired and continue using it, even though I'm only using two out of the seven channels?  I did bi-wire since the Sony has two outputs for the mains.

2) Since I don't have a surround system and won't for at least another 2-3 years, should I have it repaired and then sell it?  I see on the Audiogon Bluebook that it's going for about $1,000 -- presumably as a 7-channel S-master digital amp, since it only has DVI digital inputs.

3) Should I try to sell it as-is in the current state?  They've been sold on Ebay for $250 in this state and there's currently one listed for $400.

When I called Sony ES support, I was told that Sony closed their Laredo service center a few years back and service is now handled through something called United Radio Service in East Syracuse, NY.  Has anyone used them?  Given that the STR-DA9000ES is more of a computer than anything else, I'm worried that a non-manufacturer shop might be able to simply replace boards rather than trouble-shoot the problem like Sony did in 2008.  And being more than 10 years old, parts are likely not available so I'd be out round-trip shipping of this 50lb beast.

Any advice would be most welcome.
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Howdy to you as well. Happy Holidays. I was not familiar w/ your Sony Rec., so I looked it up. Holy Smokies! What a beast. (as is your Nak amp.) I'm not into 5/7 ch. sound, just 2 ch. sound. I can't see how anything that so complicated (the Sony used as an amp only) could sound optimally compared to a dedicated 2 channel amp. I've owned a few Sony pieces but nothing like what you have. How does the system sound w/the Nak compared to the Sony? If you do get the Sony repaired will it replace the Marantz/Nak? The question is how well will it get repaired and how long will the repairs last? Don't know. I'd want someone extremely experienced working on the unit. Then you have the repair estimate and shipping both ways. I think I'd personally pass unless it "magical" in your system. Hard to say...How does the Marantz/Nak sound compared to the Sony? 
Happy Holidays!  If I get the Sony repaired, it definitely won't replace the Marantz as it has the inputs and outputs I need, and supports HD digital audio and lossless surround formats.  I might continue to use the Sony for amplification (would have to for a while to test the repair), but since 5.1 or 7.1 is off in the future and the units are still in demand, I'd probably sell it. They do seem to have decent resale value ($1k in the blue book here) which I can only attribute to using it as a 5 or 7 channel surround amp since the decoding is out-of-date, no HDMI inputs (only dual DVI), etc.  Plus it looks impressive. :-) 

I read that Sony developed these "S-master" digital amps using B&W 801s as their reference speakers and the sound is fine and hasn't tempted me to replace it so far. The Nakamichi PA-7 sounds great as well.  They do sound subtly different -- the Nak sounds warmer and the bass is a little more pronounced which I actually like (that's the only way I can describe it -- both rattle the house with an action movie or the organ symphony) but the Sony's imaging is slightly better -- the Nak sometimes makes me wish for a center speaker. Also, the Sony runs a lot cooler (the Nak gets very warm just idling).  But it's a waste using only 2 of the 7 Sony amps and I worry about the low speaker impedance which dips well below 4 ohms. I do bi-wire and considered using 4 of the Sony's amps but couldn't figure out a setting to do that.  Then after it broke, I realized I can just split the input signal since all the amps are supposedly the same.  Duh.  I'd like to try that but then I suspect the power supply might be the limiting factor. 

At this point, I'm thinking I will send it off for service.  I guess I'll be out $100 if it can't be fixed but broken ones seem to sell, so I can probably get that back.

Thanks for taking the time to reply.Much appreciated.

At sometime we all become orphans. Give it up, after all ten years of service, that  is not bad.  Move on.  Sell it on eBay for parts.  Your future should be a pre-pro plus amps.  It is the old theory of risk, being diversify. One of the benefits of pre-pro is that you can custom tailor the power to each speaker, something that is not possible with an all in one.
Hi Coolhunter: I agree separates are the way to go, especially for the flexibility, so there's not just one point of failure.  I figure my next purchase might be a three channel amp like a Parasound -- could biamp the speakers with the Nakamichi and still have a place for a center channel.  In any case, that will be fun.  I just want to extract maximum value from the Sony, either by sellling it for parts or having it fixed and selling that.  Last time, they just replaced some output transistors and that might be the extent of the problem again  Thanks!  I'll post again after I figure out what I'm going to do.  In the meantime, the Marantz and Nakamichi combo is filling the house with music and it sounds great!