First Post - The Long Road Back - Warning: Lo-Fi

I was a budding hifi enthusiast in college... used to spend a lot of time at a store called Stereolab in Cols, OH (now that dates me right there). Anyway time went on and at some point I decided it would be a good idea to get into HT 6.1, etc etc. Ended up with a system doing double duty for music and video powered by a huge do-everything receiver made by a large asian conglomerate that cost around a grand several years ago.

A few weeks ago it started getting noisy in one channel and yesterday night I pulled it out of the rack and stuck my old 2 channel rig in there so I could listen to music while I figured out if I should repair the giant receiver or look into new gear. The old system has been in my closet for years just sitting there (an NAD 1600 Pre and 2100 Amp).

I was shocked at how much better it sounded than the big monster receiver. The difference is not subtle at all. Compared to the old NAD gear from the closet the big giant 6.1 receiver sounds like garbage. Really it was sickening what I have been missing.

So I'm going back to a dedicated 2 channel music system... music is what I care about and I'll worry about the TV some other day. So help me out... what should I look at to partner my B&W Nautilus 805s for music? I like the looks of the NAD M3 and the matching SACD/CD player. What other stuff in the same price ballpark should I listen to?

A few weeks ago it started getting noisy in one channel

Have you considered that it may have been faulty for some time before finally crapping out?

This would give a simpler explantion for why the NAD is a completely different and far better sound.
maybe you should try Arcam or NAD, or Outlaw audio HT recievers before giving up the home theater idea. I was very surprised as to how good some current recievers actually sound. I had a cheap HarmonKardon reciever for a while and was surprised at how well it did in two channel. I enjoyed it almost as much as my plinius 8200. Plus seperates still sound better then recievers and that's true in the HT world as well.
You're indicating that all HT receivers are junk - they're not - don't assume becaue the one you bought sounded bad that the norm because Denon, Pioneer and others mentioned above make excellent receivers.

While some consider it blasphemy here, you could end up missing a lot more by going the route you're thinking of, than finding a decent receiver.
Shadorne - that's a good point and I hadn't considered that the noise problem that made me pull the receiver out may have just been a part of the problem, maybe other performance was degraded also.

Snofun3 - maybe I need to do more research, I've been out of the hobby for years. Hearing music sound good again makes me interested in getting back in though.

Lenny_zwik - yep. 1970s - back when every decent size town had more than one hifi store. We have really lost something in the age of the big box I think.
In that price range:
Musical Fidelity A5 integrated, A5 CDP
Krell Kav 400xi ntegrated, Krell SACD Standard
Try some of the suggestions made regarding receivers, if that's the route you want to go.

Try some multichannel music too like that on DVD-A's, or SACD's for some revelations. My personal preference is for concert DVD's, where the video component brings a completely new aspect to the experience.

See some of the threads regarding best concert DVD's for some excellent recommendations.

I always enjoys the "real music isn't multichannel arguments" where suddenly the reverberant part of music or a concert doesn't exist apparently.