I currently have a Sony STR-DE515 which I purchased over 5 years ago, and like most uninformed consumers, thought that the Sony was a quality product. However, in my quest for a new receiver, I have yet to read a review or speak with an audiophile who had ANYTHING good to say about Sony's receivers.
Here are the receivers I'm considering, the best prices I've found for each, and some of my reasoning:
Yamaha RX-V1400 - $560.
This was my first choice, BUT I've since read many a review on this forum complaining that the Yamaha's are very bright. What I liked about this receiver is that with the exception of a 232C port and an extra 10 watts a channel (neither of which I'll ever need), this unit has all of the power and features I could possibly want. I also think that their Yamaha Parametric Room Acoustic Optimizer is a great feature.
Marantz SR6300 - $595.
I've heard some good and some bad about the Marantz. The good being a solid, good quality product, that produces warm sound. The cons I've heard are that their amplifiers do not produce nearly the power the units claim to. From a features standpoint, it seems to be lacking a component video input and a fixed bass. I'm not sure, but it might also lack compatibility with a high definition signal for my HDTV ready TV.
Integra DTR-5.4 - $600.
The dealer I visited yesterday was pushing the Integra. Although, he had me listen to the Infinity Intermezzo's on another receiver as he didn't have the any Integras in stock. I have yet to find a single review of this product or any other Integra receiver, but this dealer seemed to be very knowledgeable and was convincing in his belief that this receiver would give me the best sound for my price range. As far as features go, it is certainly lacking when compared to the Yamaha.
Pioneer Elite VSX-53TX - $671
I don't know much of anything about the Pioneers. However, like the Yamaha, the Pioneer has an automatic acoustic calibration function.
Some other receivers in my price range are the NAD T752 which I understand is a terrific sounding unit, but it seems to lack features and is rather ugly. There is also the Denon 2803 which, according to my research, is even brighter sounding than the Yamaha.
While I could live without it, I would love to get a receiver with an automatic acoustic calibration feature which the Yamaha and Pioneer have. If I hadn't researched further, I probably would have already purchased the Yamaha RX-V1400. But now that I've read more, I'm just more confused.
I am also skeptical about the price points for the Marantz, Integra, & NAD units. It seems that these manufactures are wise to limit the distribution channels, which means less competition and having to pay at or near MSRP.
Thank you so much for any input!
You are right...the Yamaha and the Infinity would probably be a bad combination, in my opinion. I have heard this combination together, and I didn't like the way it sounded. Definately a "bright" duo. It almost hurt my ears after awhile. You are also right about the Denon. While I don't know if it is as bright as the Yamaha, it is probably too bright for your Infinity's. I am a big NAD fan. The T752 can be had for $699. You are correct in saying that the 752 (nor any other NAD for that matter) is lacking in features, but it more than makes up for it in performance. If you truly think that you will need the extra features (i.e.automatic calibration), then NAD is probably not for you. I own a T762 and I have never missed the features. I much prefer the standard stereo or Pro Logic II for music listening rather than other "concert hall" or "jazz club" modes that don't really sound that good.
If you are truly put off by the lack of features and outward appearance of the NAD, then I would recommend the Pioneer Elite over the others you listed. Its power supply is the best, its warm sound would definately mellow out your Infinity speakers, and it has all of the features you are looking for.
Thanks for your message, it is VERY helpful!
After my initial posting, I realized that I probably should also consider the Harman/Kardon receiver as they either own Infinity or are a sister company to Infinity. It looks like the AVR 430 ($620) and DPR 1001 ($599) are 2 models in my price range that should be considered.
Any thoughts on the Harman/Kardon's?