which components to buy?

I am intrigued by the idea of switching from receivers to seperates....I dont have a clue as to how to go about doing it... I dont have any high end stores in my area, only best buy, so I dont know what to look for. Here are my needs.
7.1 surround or better.
1200 square foot room with 16 foot ceiling.
I have 4 IL-60's I would like to use to save on changing them to something else.
I have owned the Z9 and thought it was ok but didn't see a huge differece over my RX3300 to be honest...but I figure it was probably my speakers or wire that was the limiting factor..
my budget is about $1000 for the processer and amps.
One or two more things to look at. balanced vs unbalanced inputs. If married, what will the significant other let you have? Do I have somehwere to put all this stuff. Will this expensive equipment be protected from electrical problems (i.e. lightning/surges)? Am I going to be upgrading any audio/video that I already have that this might need to work with? Will I add blu-ray or other HD Audio formats? Do I need an EQ because of the room accoustics? Do I want it to control video as well? Do I want an on screen display or is the LED ok?
Again, most of this goes back to your goal and what you plan to use it for. If your room is untreated and you are having sound issues I would strongly suggest spending some of that 1000 to fix that problem before buying anything else. Room, speakers, and source (cd/tape/record/dvd) will be the biggest sound changes in your system. I say source only because a high quality recording CD will sould much cleaner then a low quality tape. You can try and fix the room electronically but it will cost you...


The best of luck!
$500 range newer receiver, with HDMI 1.3, Dolby and DTS Master HD capabilities, and Room EQ. Then, spend $500 range on used 5.1/6.1 channel amp - like used Parasound HCA1206 (run bridged for front 3 channels, minium). Other-wise, HCA 1206 running all around, or HCA 1205 for front 3 and side's.
This will get you the latest decoding, plus much much much stronger applification than what you'll get from ANY receiver's amplification - especially for your critical front L/C/R speakers!
Good luck
actually WHAT ARE THE DIMMENSIONS OF YOUR ROOM? At 1200 square feet, your room would be something like 20x60. Is that right? If so, I'd be looking at larger powered speakers likely - such as Definitive BP's with large woofers, to help drive the room.
Hope this helps
Good question, that's a huge listening space! The 4 x 500 watt RMS 12" subs should help fill the base but I'm going to assume his listening area is just a very open home plan with dinning room/living room, kitchen and breakfast nook all being connected in a two story home.
That Z9 is a beast. Amp and transformer rivals many dedicated amps. By the way, Yamaha makes the Z9. If you don't need HDMI, find another one in the used market.