A couple of weeks back my receiver stopped being able to adjust the volume with the remote (first world problems eh?) and I decided it was time for a new one. I had been using a Sony STR-DA50ES for the last twelve or so years and most recently had been using it to drive a pair of Klipsch F-20s, a KSW12 sub and some cheap Sony rears and center channel speakers. I had done research before buying any of the pieces and the biggest factor when I bought it all was bang for the buck. I think I paid $200-$250 for the F-20s, $125 for the sub, $50 for the Sony speakers (all new when purchased) and I bought the Receiver used for $650 off a frend who had used it for about a year.
I was pretty happy with the setup, it worked well and got the job done, especially from what I had invested in it.
So when I started looking for a new receiver I had to consider buying something from Visions as I had a store credit to use (don't ask, let's leave it at lesson learned) so I started looking at the Onkyo products. I ended up deciding on the TX-NR1010 with 7.2 surround, (specs here:http://www.crutchfield.ca/onkyo_tx_n...580txn1010.htm) and I am very happy with it so far.
It was super easy to hook up, everything is pretty much HDMI and the back pannel is very well labeled. It also has some pretty good features as it is the most recent offering from Onkyo. It has some wizbang microphone you attach and it adjust the equalizer to your room, is ready for nine, yes nine, HDMI components and you can hook it up to your wired/wireless network. It has a USB on the front that will let you use your tv to drive your ipod (and I think iphone) and a whole crapload of dolby/THX settings to thrill those of you who care.
I haven't used it much yet, but I am certainly impressed with it so far. I was listening to some Van Halen (the real stuff, not that Sammy Hagar crap) and it was like someone had actually turned my speakers on. The sound was so much clearer and the individual sounds were defined and crisp. My speakers have been called bright, but I like them and now I can't believe how much better they sound.
I haven't bought the $30 wireless dongle yet, but will shortly so I can use the interwebz radio connectivity. I am also still finding out all the abilities of the remote and what it will control. It does most of the cablebox/pvr stuff so my wife will be happy that she doesn't have to look a a table full of remotes. It also comes with the ability to program several macros, so that will be good. I hate having to push seventeen buttons to turn everything on or off. Sorry FWPs again...
I paid $1387 otd (this was after my $400 credit) and this seems to be the hold point right now. MSRP was $2200 when it came out in July, but I'm not sure if it will drop much further any time soon.
If you can take a listen to one I think you will be impressed at this price point, it has the majority of the features in the two higher models but really, who needs 11.2 surround? If you are on the fence for a new receiver it might be an idea to go take a look at what is out there, especially if it has been more than five years or more since your last look. I got lulled into a sense of complacency and I am sure glad I have this new unit.