Need a new hub for my living room 2.1 sound system. Audiophiles, help!
February 11, 2015 3:52 PM   Subscribe

I'm simplifying my audio setup to a bookshelf speaker/subwoofer system in my living room, after a Peachtree Nova/Ohm Walsh MicroTall setup for several years. I'm looking to spend around $350-400 on an amp/receiver and have several requirements and questions about how to choose the right equipment.

One of the main issues is that I don't really intend to go beyond my 2.1 setup, which makes buying a 7.1/surround receiver seem silly. However, several of the receivers that are stereo only lack in some areas I'd like. For example, I plan on using some sort of wireless bluetooth or Wifi option to stream Spotify and other music from my phone/Macbook and most don't have this ability.

Additionally, this setup will be the hub for my television, Playstation 4, Wii U, a turntable and occasionally my Macbook using Audirvana for lossless playback.

Basically, what am I sacrificing in sound quality in buying a surround sound receiver vs. a dedicated stereo receiver?

While I'm using inexpensive bookshelf speakers right now, in the future I plan on upgrading those to be between $500-1000. I am currently using a Velodyne EQ Max-8 subwoofer.

Some of the models I'm considering are:

Yamaha R-N301
Yamaha A-S301
Onkyo TX-8050
Sony STR-DH850
Yamaha RX V675
Marantz NR1403
Yamaha RX-V477

Some have wifi, some don't. Some have phono in, some don't (if not, I have a cheap phono stage I can use). Some have room EQ ability, some don't. Do I need preouts for the subwoofer and a stereo amplifier? Some lack optical inputs (PS4 and Macbook would utilize those, for example).

I'd appreciate some help in understanding what limitations I should be considering if I go with a 2.1 only "hub" (receiver, integrated amp, etc.) vs. what it will offer me in sound that a surround receiver can't.
posted by rbf1138 to Technology (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I run 2.1 as well and purchased the Marantz NR1403 a few months back, really happy with it. The room EQ microphone setup made music/movies sound better than they ever have in that room.
posted by Cosine at 4:27 PM on February 11, 2015

I have a Marantz PM5003 with speakers in your upgrading price range. I love it. Family members have been using various Marantz receivers for decades and they still produce great sound.
posted by JackBurden at 4:41 PM on February 11, 2015

Your recommendations nudged me in the right direction!

Truly appreciate your input. In the end, I read this review and it sold me on the Marantz:

Dude had pretty much the same point of view as I did. I bought an Amazon warehouse unit so it came to $300, then I threw in the Yamaha Bluetooth/coaxial adapter for my Spotify and streaming needs. It's also the only one wth preamp outs, so I could upgrade the 2.1 setup easily if/when needed.
posted by rbf1138 at 8:48 PM on February 11, 2015

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