would be largely influenced by your room and speakers. the new hk receivers are very good bang for the buck.
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I have owned several HK receivers and love the 125,325,525,either 7000 or 7200 I forget and the 8000,these are all from the same lineup during that particular year, these all are warm sounding,in fact I use B&W cdm 1nt and find these receivers to sound better then some "higher end" components I have used at least at low/moderate level,good synergy, the 7300 and other newer receivers dont sound at all similar , at least to me,very thin sounding.The biggest problem is obviously you have to purchase used and I have had several end up on my doorstep destroyed during shipping.
Ditto for Harman/Kardon Receivers. I am throwing in MY bid as well.
I had a Harman/Kardon AVR-210 from 2001-05 in my first H/T Setup, snd then when I upgraded my H/T Setup in 2005, I have sold my Harman/Kardon AVR-210 and went for a Yamaha RX-V1600 (which I still have, but I don't know how much longer).
Since then, I have gotten a Blu-Ray Player (a Pioneer BDP-51FD) and am in the process of auditioning a few Surround Bar Speakers (yes..... I am downsizing my H/T "JUST" a little bit), and now, I am getting a new receiver as well (I wanted to get one last year, but I had my condo renovated..... so all Audio and H/T purchases were curtailed at that time), snd the one I am currently looking at is the Harman/Kardon AVR-3600.
I was always fond of the warm and rich sound that H/K's were always known for. My Yamaha RX-V-1600 is a LITTLE brighter sounding than I could recall my Harman/Kardon AVR-210 sounding, but I wouldn't necessarily call it sterile. Maybe expressive is more of the word I am looking for. But anyway, when I finally upgrade my receiver in the next month or two, I will be returning to Harman/Kardon. Their AVR-3600 is the model I will be considering (as such...... I am thinking about switching out my KEF 2005.1 H/T Speaker Package in favor of a Definitive Technology Mythos SSA-42 Surround Bar..... which I believe is feel is a LITTLE bright and forward sounding......), in which case, the warm sound coming from the forthcoming Harman/Kardon would provide a welcome opposing sonic signature to the Definitive Technology Mythos SSA-42, and would prove to be a great match.
My $.02 Worth On THIS Matter.....
It depends on your speakers and your room acoustic. I have heard the Pio Elite @ BB and I don't know what people work @ BB did but their PIO Elite SC05 and the Def tech are terriblly HARSH. In my room, the Pio SC05 and the Def Tech SM 450 sound wonderful smooth and detail not a hint of harshness.
The Onkyo 876 with the old Mirage RFX7 system is beautifully warm and the vocal of DK is open and warm. The Onkyo 876 AVR is hard to beat.
Check out these little tube processors
from Grant's Fidelity in Calgary Canada
bought two one for my fronts and one for centre/sub huge increase in warm sound.
SO much so, that my upgrade addiction has been exorcised
I may never tweak my gear again
My Boston Acoustics avr7120 is very nice. Based on Outlaw and Sherwood Newcastle platform it is a highly rated yet overlooked beast due to it's short production run. Was only out for a yr or so and then BA pulled out of the 'components' market. The unit has a massive transformer and weighs 70 lbs as is! Recently saw one for 5 bills. Read the archived review via google...sleeper. Quoted as sounding like seperates and listed for 3K new.