I can only spend $300-360 on a receiver paired with Athena B2 book shelves. I saw a yamaha in that price range but am afarid it will make my athenas even brighter (based on some other posts here). It seems like everyone speaks about:
Marantz denon harmon Kardon pioneer
Considering my speakers and price range which two brands should I focus on? I'm very new at this
If you could stretch your budget a bit further or wait a little while, I'd advise you to get the SR5400 as it is a very favourably reviewed receiver with more than honest power ratings as well as having more options for future surround uses.
I got Harman Kardon AVR 230 (refurbished) under $300 (including tax and shipping) from Harman Kardon Direct at eBay. It includes a 2-year warranty. I heard a lot of good things about Harman Kardon receivers, and of course, it's one of the best looking receiver I have ever seen. Take a look at H/K.