In Need of Some Direction on a New Receiver


New member
Username: Phanatic

Post Number: 1
Registered: Jun-12
I am looking for some guidance on selecting a new receiver. Primarily, I want to make sure I have the right amount of power to drive a crisp, clean sound. I am looking to power 4 pairs of speakers. Two pairs are Bose (Free Space 51) outdoor speakers that will be located around our pool outside (with a wire run of about 150-200 feet). There is also a pair of in ceiling Polk speakers (RC65i) that will be located inside near the receiver and a pair of Polk (RC60i) ceiling speakers installed in the patio roof overhang. The audio output is going to be controlled through a Niles (SSVC-4) speaker selection/volume control system.

Home theatre features like surround sound are entirely not important to me. However, I do want a receiver that is internet ready to stream Pandora and Sirius satellite radio. I have a few Onkyo receivers in our house that I have been very pleased with as well as an older HK receiver that I am luke warm about. I am leaning toward Onkyo or Denon for this buy but wanted to get opinions and recommendations. I would also not be adverse to installing an amp if that is really what it is going to take to make the system sound great. Thanks for your time and input! I appreciate it.

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17275
Registered: May-04

Power itself is relatively unimportant in producing a clean signal. Anyone who has been around audio for any length of time can site many instances of a 40 watt amplifier playing subjectively cleaner at louder volumes than many other 125 watt amps. The manner in which audio gear is tesed for power output has little to do wth the manner in which power is used in a system and the issue of watts has been far too overrated for decades. IMO this is merely a matter of manufacturers finding it easier to build a high powered amplifier than to make a high quality amplifier.

Sorry to say, and not to insult you, but you choice of speakers means you are not likely to sit and soak in the richness of the music for hours on end. Outdoor speakers are what they are and they are not meant to do much of anything other than reach a listenable voume level in a hostile environment. Ceiling mount speakers are generally of significantly lower overall quality than their stand or floor mounted brethern. You are listening from an off axis position any time you are using ceiling mount speakers and the results are you will miss many of the subtleties of music. Bass is virtually always a compromise with ceiling and in wall speakers as the system is contained in an enclosure not meant for the use to which you are putting it. While you may enjoy music and wish to have the best component for the job, you are missing a cruical component in the signal chain as long as you are using ceiling mount speakers.

The list of high quality receivers is long and includes Harman Kardon, Marantz, NAD, Rotel, Cambridge and probably a few more I'm forgetting at the moment. These lines should all have internet capable products. If you buy a 50 watt amplifier from any of these companies, the step up to a 100 watt amplifier will hardly be noticeable when you consider power alone. Unfortunately, 50 watt amplifiers represent the lower end of a line of receivers and you will probably have better build quality at higher prices. Possibly not though as the world of receivers is a very competitive field and nothing in a receiver is really the best you can find.

You would, IMO, probably be better off with an integrated amplifier from one of those companies. Integrated amps tend to lack the geegaws intended to seduce the prospective buyer of a receiver and, therefore, the money has often gone more to quality than quantity. Would you consider an integrated amp such as this,

Add to this any number of ways to get your radio stations, music servers or docks, and you would have a higher quality and more flexible system IMO. Add a set of quality volume controls for your speakers and you would be set for many years IMO.


Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1825
Registered: Oct-10
Phanatic, you may want to consider wall mountable (not in wall) speakers and subwoofer, though I caution that the bass reinforcement when mounted to a wall might be too much.
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