I would look into the Yamaha line and see what you could find at a discount...
When my AV-8 died,this is what I did and at well under half the price!
It outperformed my Nakamichi in almost every way (although setting it up was more complex, but once done it worked very well).
You'd be surprised to see how far along quality has increased for less and less bucks.
I also have heard some nice things in regard to the Denon line as well.
The new higher end Onkyo and Denon AVR's have all the bells and whistles, support all advanced audio codecs and have lots of inputs. I have the new Onkyo 805, which can be had within your budget. You should go to AVSforum.com where there's lots of info on the latest AVR's.
Depending on how much power/wattage you need, NAD and Marantz are two excellent choices for under $1K. You'll get more output wattage/dollar from Marantz A-V receivers than you will from NAD. I went with the Marantz SR5600 in June 2006 and I'm very pleased with it. I had been an NAD loyalist for well over 20 years but I just couldn't swing the higher price. Just wasn't in the budget. I wanted at least 90 watts rms x 7 and the 5600 deliver that easily. Room size is fairly large and open. I agree with the other recommendation of Denon and Yamaha but I would place NAD and Marantz a notch above.
Here's 3 letters that is very hard to beat, IMHO.
Great amplifier, ability to handle difficult loads and
a lot more bang for your buck.... N A D.
Good luck and happy listening.
The most future-resistant AV receivers on the market right now are from Onkyo. Unless something has changed in the last 2 weeks, they're the only ones who have fully implemented HDMI 1.3 switching and decoding--at least as much as is currently available. Their latest can extract the Dolby TrueHD datastream from an HDMI input and decode it at the receiver.
From what I've been reading only recently, right now, the receiver to buy (or at least look at) is Onkyo. The current Onkyos have been doing well in reviews and in tests of all the magazines (and most noteworthy, the Onkyo 605 and 805 tend to give you a lot of bang for the buck). These Onkyos have all of the latest features and codecs, features that most competitors don't even offer or can't touch at the moment. That being said alone, the Onkyo models definitely deserve a hard look.
For your budget, I would also consider receivers from Denon (in that line, I like the new 2307 (HDMI Connectivity, the latest format codecs and a Faroudja Deinterlacer that can upconvert up to 1080p...... for less than $800.00....... has 100W x 7 amplification too)), Marantz SR5002, one of the NAD models or a Yamaha RX-V661 or RX-V881.
Or if you don't mind a lower power output and/or don't need a lot of power (and in the end, it current that drives the loudspeaker and not just wattage), I could also steer you toward the Harman/Kardon AVR-347.
So you see, for your price range, you have at least several (if not a lot) of options to choose from.
I liked the Nakamichi AV-10 when it was out. Sorry that it had to die a graceful death. May the Nakamichi AV-10 rest in piece.
Anyway....... Good Luck and Happy Shopping.......
Thanks for all the replies. I'm much more concerned with timbral accuracy and warmth than raw power or a ton of connectivity options. My setup is pretty simple and likely to remain that way- just a DVD as source and a single video monitor.
I listened to a pair of Mac 275's driving dynaudio c-2's today (mac pre as well- don't recall which one) and *that* was the sound I'm looking for. Don't understand why they weren't willing to part with a 5ch setup for my budget :).
Guess I'll have to listen to a number of the suggestions and see how they hit my ears- I like NAD fairly well, but need to hear most of the others as I haven't auditioned much for a while. Now if I could only find one with a good old analog volume pot...
Rather than an analog pot you might want to look at the remote features.
I highly recommend you audition the new Integra DTR-7.8. It retails for $1300, but our local dealer gives 20% off and I'm sure you can easily find one at this price.
The Audyssey EQ system is fantastic for movies, it's as future proof as you can get with HDMI 1.3, etc., and it sounds great. Direct bypass mode for analog and digital.
It supports pass through for all HD formats that will not degrade the signal. It does not upconvert or alter the signal in any way. This is how I like it. Most newer DVDP's already do this.
I don't know if your into multi-channel music, but with HDMI 1.3 you can have all your multichannel sources sent to the reciever digitally with a single cable.
Nice Burr Brown DA converters, THX Ultra II certified (can handle four ohm loads that most receivers can't), ability to use two of the amps to bi-amp front two channels if only using a 5.1 set-up, etc.
A lot of reciver for the money. Three year warranty and built in Japan, a major selling point for me.
I was looking for a AVR in the same price range as you and after much research it came down to this unit and the Denon 3808.
Both very good, but this one is the better bang for the buck IMO.
The 7.8 looks real good. Might be able to get away with selling my power amp.
How would you characterize the Onkyo house sound? By that I mean, people say Yamaha sort of bright, Pioneer a bit warm, etc.
Just installed a Denon 3808Ci yesterday. Replaced an Anthem AVM-20 + 5 amp setup. It's a very complicated piece of receivers with lots of switching capabilities. Retail for $1600. Denon 2808Ci is slightly less expensive for $1200. It has slightly less power, 2 HDMI in and no ethernet network capability.
In term of power, 3808Ci was able to drive the Dynaudio Audience 52+122+42W speakers Ok. I need more time to allow everything to gel. Last night was too late to do any serious listening test.
I read quite a few reviews regarding Onkyo on AVSforum as well. I believe it will work fine except that I am concerned about heat issue since my receiver is located inside a fully enclosed stand.
What is the room size and speakers setup?
Mtrot, I would describe the sound as fairly nuetral and detailed. Not bright, but not really warm either. Good soundstage.
In my HT system I use Klipsch Cornwall III's which are unmerciful with bright equipment and they're very listenable and non fatiguing with this receiver. Maybe just a tad shy in the bass region.
I'm not going to carry on like it's the best sounding recevier in the world for music, because it's not. But, in it's price range I personally have not heard better.
As I said previously, for HT and utilizing the Adyssey EQ, it ranks with equipment costing much more (better than the Arcam AVP-700 I owned in this regard) and music is about as good as your likely to get this price range (not on par with the Arcam in this regard).
I aslo used to own an Outlaw pre-processor model-750 and it was darned good for the price as well, but I wouldn't take it over the Integra.
I plan to purchase another tube integrated down the line and run my music source direct and the main channels through it. HT by-pass type configuration. Best of both worlds.
What speakers are you using? At the end of the day it's all about the synergy of the system. What sounds great with my speakers, source, cables, etc. might not work for you.
If your main interest is music and your not concerned with HT options and performance than you might also want to consider a used Arcam AVR-300/350. Strictly for music these recviers are very hard to beat, but just a little light in dynamics for HT IMO.
Let us know how things turn out.
Jack, my front mains are Legacy Audio Signature II. Center channel is a Pardigm Studio CC570v3. Surrounds are PSB Image 5.