Denon ,Yamaha and Rotel are pretty close from what I have heard in this area. Maybe Rotel edges the others by a hair ..who knows thou!
Is the receiver going to see duty as a multi-channel processor/amp for movies or will it be used in a two channel system only?
If you're looking for a music only amp and can do without a tuner consider the 100wpc Jolida 1501 RC which uses a tube preamp section and solid state amplification. They go for around $750 new.
my exerience over the years from having sold Denon, yamaha, Rotel, Marantz, was that the Denon's used to be the "warm sounding" receivers! The Rotel was somewhere in themiddle between the Denon's warm'ish, slightly rolled off top end, and fat'ish bottom end toned sound, and the Yamaha's cool'ish, slightly hollow mid, and tipped up trebble sound!..that's about right.
However, every years things seem to change a bit.
Last Yamaha and Denon comparison I heard was between the flagship Yamaha RX1 and 5803 Denon. And, to my suprise, it was quite the oposite! The Yam was slightly rolled off, and the Denon was more extended on top!...if more neutral sounding.
still, I believe the latest Yamaha RXV1200/1400/2400, etc, are still that same "coolish" and slightly bright sound that I was used to from them. And, I think the AVR's in the lower price points were warmer than the Yamaha's. But you might ask around at others experiences.
The Marantz's seemed to be between the two, maybe a pinch better than what I heard from the Rotel's lately, but that's my experience.
I heard the HK's at Circuit City the other day, and that sounded a bit like the Marantz's at the lower price points...hummmmmm..
You might look into the Outlaw audio piece, which might be "disco'd" though...not sure. I seem to rember it was a good piece from what I heard.
Sorry for not stating the speakers. I will be using Aurum Cantus speakers. They are china made but hi-fi (OEM for red rose). I wont have a chance to audition these speakers so it will be a leap of faith.
From another forum i learned that these speakers work best with tube amps. I am planning to use an integrated tube for stereo but will also be using it for HT so hence the receiver. With that I just assumed that the warmest receiver will do the trick he he he. Is that a stupid assumption?
Budget is around hmmm 20-30K for the 5.1 receiver. How much is the NAD? I know Rotel is now out of reach. Denon and HK are my other choices then right?
these are Bookshelf speakers
Homer, you don't know how right you are. I recently got a tour of WQED pittsburgh, FM 89.3. I couldn't believe it! Their reference speakers in the studio were B&W 801's , yet they were using dual sony single bit 300 disc changers for air play. Not even an external dac. They were so proud that they were in the process of putting everything on a hard drive to save efforts and the fact that they burn up 300 disc changers. Wow, what's worse than a cheap 300 disc unit? How about using them to compress the recordings onto a hard drive and really lose the resolution.
Elevick, I KNOW how right I am! Ok ok... let's not "cop a 'tude" here... I have a Citation 23 tuner that I haven't even plugged in for 7 years. Last time I listened to the radio in the car was when I took a taxi. It's funny, and ridiculous, what you say about the radio station, and there are so many people out there that probably think Bose 901 speakers are the ultimate in listening experience...ugh...
I have to say, I almost never listen to receivers, but the other day speakers I was interested in were hooked up to a harmon Kardon: not only is the new line beautiful (blue back-lighting through black acrylic and big chrome knob, and big digital display), I was surprised at how good it sounded: smooth, detailed, punchy and great timing. I have no idea how it compares to the other brands...and FM does not suck, at least in my neck of the woods: free music!
I guess if you compare FM radio to CD's, DVD-A, SACD, or LP's, then Ya, it's crap. But I don't know any one how sits down and does some critical listening to FM radio like they would with the other forms of music. I personely use FM radio as back round noise like when I'm working in the yard or garage, driving from point A to point B. I just don't expect much out of FM radio so I'm never disappointed, besides, it's still the cheapest way to hear new music before you go out and lay down your hard earned cash for a CD or LP, and whats wrong with Bose 901's? ( that a joke for those who don't have a sence of humor.)
I guess those who won't listen to radio in their cars also won't listen to it in their yards or the beach. And forget about ipods and other mp3 players with their compressed sound. At some point it's not about the music anymore if you can only listen to perfectly reproduced cd/sacd and vinyl. FM is a great way to discover new musicians and a good receiver, or better yet, a nice vintage tuner can provide some very decent backround music when your casually listening around the house.
And yes, I love my itrip too so my 6 cd changer in the car becomes a 500 cd changer.
I have recently auditioned all on your list plus the NAD742. They were all runners up to the Rotel and NAD with the NAD being the warmest. HK came in third with the other Japanese makers sounding very bright. If you are looking for warmth for under B&K prices, I would say the NAD. I ended up with a HK AVR330 just because it was a deal I couldnt refuse. I heard the Arcam AVR200 has a similar sound as the NAD.
The pants, the cream, oh well, it has little to do with radio. Certainly during live music broadcasts. And as someone mentioned above, it is the discovery of new artists, new CDs, a huge library of sound that none of us will ever have on our shelves. For the pants I would probably recommend a receiver which in its philosophy resembles more a common SUV with a generous amount of chrome. MD-208 is a DB9.
well if we are talking solid state here, lets see.thats a tough question. ive owned 1000s of vintage stereo receivers over the years, but in tonal depth, clarity, and warmth all around im gunna go with the marantz 2230.
another good middle of the road one would be the H/K 330b. one of the cleanest ive heard in awile.
but two other receivers, that are as close to tube as you can get, in my opinion and personal experiance, is the marantz model 18 (original woodside, ny version)
and the low power fisher 200t.
*both are early solid state ones from the mid-late 1960s and were being manufactured wile the tube stuff was still avalible new, thus using alot of the same inside components,