I'm looking for a receiver that can control the audio volume in 3 areas separately. The source would be the same for all areas and not multiple discrete sources. This is primarily for audio (music) not video/TV. I'm also looking for something with an RF remote possibly. Thanks. The more affordable the better. Thanks!
I know of no receiver that independently controls the volume in three discrete areas. You would normally use a speaker switch box and independent volume controls for this sort of installation. There are a few variations on exactly how to set up a system with that combination but those are the prime ingredients for three areas.
Onkyo's NR10xx series AV receivers have powered Zone 2 and 3 as I recall. They would allow for this as long as the source for at least zones 2 and 3 are analog. That said, you can use a Logitech Harmony 900 remote if you want to use an RF remote. This would allow you to convert the RF remote to an IR signal at the AV receiver, which is how I run mine.
Eliot, Denon and I'm sure Marantz and Pioneer also make mulizone receicers. The Denon DRA-397 is a stereo model that will allow you to control the volume in each zone independently. You can set zones 2 and 3 are always on the same source as the main zone. Id imagine the the other brands' models can do so as well. I'd recommend checking all of them out to see which one you like best.