Looking for a used AUDIOPHILE AV Receiver

I am in the market to purchase a used audiophile AV Receiver. Price range maximum $800 for a used unit, the less the better.

The most important factor is the audiophile sound quality, sheer musicality that the unit provides, not the features. It should also have HDMI 1.4 at least and also Speaker A/B switch would be a good option as I have 2 different pair of speakers in the front, one for HT (Definitive Technologie BP 7006) and the other for music Magnepan MMG.    

I know some brands like: NAD, ARCAM, ANTHEM, MARANTZ making good audiophile AV Receivers.

What would be the best option for a used unit?

Thanks for any advice.


Hi thxbest - I caught your other thread on your NAD.  Of those listed you may as well add Onkyo and Integra to the mix as they're probably comparable to those you listed - Another option would be Emotiva but you would need to get a separate pre/pro and multi channel amp, but that would be a big step up in price and performance to a receiver.

But in all honesty (and I think many might agree) there's simply no such thing as an "audiophile" AV receiver in the classic sense.  

Assuming there were such a thing, and they were available with HDMI 1.4 at $800 used - Man - that would be a game changer!

Hi Greg,

Thanks for your post.
Most of the units have the ZONE2 but not separate A/B Speaker Switch. Which unit does have A/B speaker switch? 
Magnum Dynalab made a couple of high end receivers at one time.  Not sure if they still do.
THX best - I think that most AVR's use the zone 2 functionality simply because all AV receivers are a minimum of 5 channels and usually 7.1 or 7.2 in which case if you have that many speakers connected having another set for speakers A/B wouldn't make sense really, and would in fact require an additional pair of power amplifiers for the two additional channels.

Since we're going down this road - have you considered getting a standalone preamp/ processor and a separate multi channel amp?  Would pretty much give you the best of both worlds, and there are some killer deals on prior generation preamps/ processors that would give you all the inputs and routing options that you could dream of.  In your price range a used Onkyo Pro PRSC-5509 would be a reasonable choice as would others.

The bad news here obviously is that you would then need a multi channel up to run it through to your speakers.  

The good news is that processors and their AVR siblings depreciate immensely every time a new format video or decoding format comes out so at least you you would have the freedom to upgrade the processor when the time comes and still have an amp that would never really become obsolete.

Wish there were a simple silver bullet here.


I agree with the idea that there's simply no such thing as an "audiophile" AV receiver in the classic sense.  It's difficult to get true "audiophile" in a receiver, when compared to separates.

The only way you'll be able to get separate processor and multi-channel amp (if require HDMI 1.4) is to look for an Emotiva UMC-200.  You can sometimes get that for about $400.  But then once you add in the multi-channel amp and interconnects, you are already looking at over $1k anyways.

I have not heard any of the receivers, but from everything I have read and seen, I would first look to choose a Marantz receiver because of it's use of discrete HDAM analog circuits.  Look for a receiver in the last 3 generations of products.  If you go too old, you'll get the older generation HDAM circuits which are warmer and slower.  Then look towards the most wattage receiver you can afford (the power supply makes all the difference here in sound quality).

Arcam has had a lot of reliability problems (google this).  I think I remember also reading that Arcam had a high failure rate.  I suspect it's because the Arcam engineers chose poor components (capacitors/diodes/etc.) or their physical layout of components put elements sensitive to heat failure very close to high-heat sections.  I'm not entirely sure here, but please research Arcam on this if you are serious.

I have heard NAD is very nice, but I have also heard that it's very warm sounding.  It's great if you're after that sound signature.  I'm not sure of the sonic signature of new NAD products.

I heard an Arcam a couple of years ago, recently after auditioning Ayre and Audio Research.

I have to say, I wouldn't be too upset if I had to trade all of my gear for one of them. Sounded really nice, close to the Ayre's darkness/quiet but also detail and natural air.


Some select comments

(1) I would highlight that ONKYO AVRs as a likely must-to-avoid. It’s HDMI and related motherboard failures are legendary, to the point that the company grudgingly admitted the same. Here is a sampler epic lengthy thread of bad experiences


(2) ARCAM’s AVR problems were not a simple design deficiency and not any pure engineering FUHBAR. Rather it shared a common issue affecting most AVRs since they were outsourced to be built in the cheapest-you-can-go arena and that triggered the problems: made in China.

Thus was regrettably poor Chi-Fi AVR build quality that was twofold: Cheap quality components subbed in at the ChiFi plants and dodgy assembly workmanship. NOTE: The HDMI boards eventually fail on just about every ChiFi AVR.

It got so bad that ARCAM capitulated and moved back to the UK  its top FMJ AVR unit production initially outsourced to China in face of mounting warranty claims .

The "top" build quality AVRs are regrettably uber-expensive, all north of $6k ( e,g ARCAM AVR 750, KRELL, CARY etc.) they perform top-shelf but AVRs change their CODECs and current models quickly become obsolete . The high buy-in cost in the face of rapid obsolescence make them a questionable buy for many of us.
Check out Cambridge Audio for your AVR. You may even find it suitable for 2-channel. You never know.
as per akg, the arcam sounds vg, and you can find "em within your budget, but there is alot of anecdotal scut about their reliability; likewise nad which sound fine when they actually work. i'd opt for anthem, which is significantly better made than its asian peers.
another brand to look out for is rotel.
the rsx-1550 is particularly good sound, no reliability problems.
the only drawback is that it was built for sound and has no luxuries like auto-setup etc.
I would highly recommend Anthem. I have the AVM 60 and it's a fantastic pre/pro and sounds great. I have a very good 2 channel/multimedia setup and am continually impressed by the sound of the Anthem. Since my DAC will function as a pre, I compare the sound from my PS Audio Directstream hooked directly into my Mcintosh power amp to running it through the Anthem. I honestly prefer the Anthem, mainly due to the sub integration and ARC DSP, which is fantastic. You will have a hard time getting your hands on an AVM 60, I think, but the AVM 50 is out there and is a great unit. I'd warn against Onkyo because of sound quality and reliability issues. Yamaha Aventage is pretty good, but the YPAO is not on par with the Anthem's ARC. Yamaha has a nice overall sound, though. Marantz makes nice AVR's and you would probably be happy with one of the more recent models. Good luck! 
Hard to beat any of the latest Yamaha RX-30XX models. They really do sound rather superb and when hooked up to a good pair of speakers, sound fairly amazing. My current setup is a RX-A3060 and it drives Aerial 5Bs and CC3B just fine to levels much louder I care to listen to. Prior to that I had the RX-A3040 and found it to be a fine, reliable product.

As to switching between a pair of speakers, I use an external switch (MapleTree Audio from Canada), but in reverse. I use it to switch between receiver and Cary Audio SLI-80, but for most background/daytime listening, I use the receiver and quite frankly I am very happy with it. Hard to beat Yamaha reliability and overall warmer but detailed sound.
I’d look for a leftover/refurb/used Yamaha 1050 and match it up with an Emotiva 2 channel amp (UPA-2, A300) and you could get close to your budget. Get some Belden 8402 cables to help stay around your budget. I just did something similar only I had a higher budget and went Yamaha 1060/used Parasound A23 Halo. I’m more concerned about music but want some HT abilities there for family movie time.
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Why is the Op looking for a used receiver?  I advise people to buy used all of the time and I am using a used Pioneer Elite AVR, but for for $800 these days you can get a pretty good sounding new AVR
I assume that you already purchased a used receiver but I'm actually selling an Anthem MRX700 which was their top of the line in that series. I think Anthem has a great sounding receiver and I went with them again when I upgraded recently.
almost certainly, avrs depreciate in value more and quicker than any other component--you'll routinely see former totl units listed on craigslist or wherever for a fraction of their multi-grand orignal srp. i think buying used is the smart way to go and $800 should get the op a monster
There is a Magnum Dynalab MD208 for sale in the classifieds selling for 1250.00  It has a 100wpc amplifier and a first rate tuner.  It sold new for 2500.00.  I would think it is much better then the mass market AVR.
I posted my Acurus ACT 4 Pre-Amp for sale, which has Atmos and DTS X already. Seperated DSP card so switching from one format to another happens instantly.

The system also lets you upmix any format up to Atmos and it fills in the available number of speakers.

Never been a fan of Yamaha gear. I've always found their designs produce a micro veil across the music. They always seem to get in the way of the recording.

I have done thousands of test in sound&vision in 19 years of time.

These brands you name are all 2-dimensional brands. This means that based on the stage they can build the depth is less than 1 metre. Most of these brands I sold for many years

Stage depth is an essential part for ’highend’ audio. Because it sets voices and instruments free from eachother in a 3-dimensional stage.

Even for surround it is very important. In 2010 by coincidence I found out that Onkyo had the DNA to create a deep and wide stage. I want to make a remark on this. I did test different products for Onkyo Benelux. The later models without Audyssey had also the limitation that now they have become 2-dimensional just like the brands above.

And yess the 5509 is the goal to a stunning level. We also modify this pre amp.

I use Pass Labs monos and powermps since 2009. I also owned the Pass Labs XP-20 for 2 years of time.

We created Statement Audio Pro measurment what in both stereo and surround creates a new level in quality.

In 2013 I was already able to outperform the XP-20 pre amp with the 5509 and our S.A.P.-measurement. Even in stereo it outperfroms the XP-20 with each single Pass Labs poweramp like it was a dinky toy pre amp.

This is based on the DNA of the 5509. Without insight and knowledge the 5509 is not that special and unique. But we created a new level in surround and stereo with it.

I give a few examples:

Stealth Low Frequecy. This is when the energy of instruments and voices become fully observable were it is standing. We use the best professional lasers and work at 0.5 milimeter precision.

Recently we received a new microphone. Now we can even put the energy in depth. We already had a stage of 5-7 behind the speakers. And voices and instruments were fully separated in depth and width.

Also In surround it creates a superior level in integration and holographic 3D image. This is what real 3D sound is. Because the brands who are 2D as the above ones never will create a true and real 3D sound and stage.

Beside this we are able now to create a superior level in diversity in the whole freq. range. This part influences our emotion for the biggest part.

When we watch a movie, it makes you exciting like a child. The emotion and intensity is of a much higher level. Soon we also will share it with cinemas. It will bring them to a much higher level of realism and intensity they can create at this moment.

You need to understand sound first before you can create the highest level in realism and intensity of any system. You need the right properties to build the most realistic sound. The most brands are incomplete in properties which you need for a sound what owns all parts there are.

When you use brands which are incomplete, you will always miss essential parts in realism and emotion. These parts influences our emotion. This means when you watch a movie with a brand who is incomplete, the level in emotion and intensity is always lower.

TS, are you still alive? as you say, Marantz is ok for audiophiles, but I'm the happy owner of Yam rx 485bl.

you may find it below or any other used receiver. Amazon offers almost all options lolhttps://helptochoose.com/best-av-receivers