Even if you purchase an HT receiver in your proposed price range, you can always add an external phono preamp later.
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Elizabeth - Yes, I've been wondering about dust. Maybe I'll invest in a can of compressed air first! Not as much fun as a new receiver, though.
Others - I know Consumer Reports is sneered upon by most audiophiles, but they ranked the Yamaha RX-V663 and the Sony STR-DG820 over the Onkyo TX-SR606. However, it's hard to know exactly how each component scored. Maybe the tuner tested higher/lower than the amp. In my case, I listen more to CD's than FM. But anyway, considering my aging ears, is it safe to shop for features as much as sound? These days, it is hard to test a receiver for sound. My choices are Circuit City, Best Buy, Fry's, online sites, or the one remaining audiophile store in Houston (Audio Concepts) which sells NAD at the lower end. The Yamahas tend to get good reviews overall, but the Onkyos tend to get higher marks for user friendliness. For features, I like the consumer level Sony. How much have audio products improved over the last 17 years? Can a higher end comsumer level receiver equal a 1991 Sony ES? Thanks again for everyone's help!
Been very happy with the Sony STR-DA 3000 ES.Can't comment on the phono section,haven't used it-mostly HT/music on CD/DVD.Repairing older units can be expensive,as I found out.Bought a DVP-9000ES to start outoff the Gon.Had some freezing up when I got it,but functioned-couldn't get the digital out "on".Finally took it to an authorized repair,bench fee was $45.Came back that it needed about $750 to put back in good working order.
However,this didn't keep me from purchasing the NS 9100ES player.Have had good luck with Sony in sound and reliability (when bought new from authorized dealer).