Processor and amp or AVR?

Currently using a Pioneer Elite SC 07 AVR feeding a Pioneer Elite Kuro plasma with Def Tec speakers in a 3 channel configuration - L,R,C.  Open floor plan not a good room hence only 3 channels.

Primary source streaming through Apple.   Set up is old technology but still delivers great entertainment.  I've tried to wait to upgrade my audio until my Plasma gives out but thankfully it still delivers an excellent picture.

If you were me would you consider a major audio upgrade to separates or the latest AVR? Or wait until a TV change?

In your experience is there even an audio upgrade when it comes to streaming TV (my 2 channel is analog only so no experience)

How many amplifiers besides the Mcintosh 303 has 3 channels?

Greatly appreciated for any input/feedback....



@pops- I’ve been down this road many times, but my experience is somewhat dated. I started with a Pro-Feel back in 1981 and eventually bought a crazy big CRT "pro" type monitor- a Sony that weighed close to a couple hundred lbs. At that time, there was a limit to screen size, but even before discrete encoded audio for video, I found that having rear channels- using Hafler plus delay, or later Fosgate analog surround processors, made the experience more involving.

I eventually went to CRT projection, very large dropdown screen, Meridian processor, used ARC amps front, back and center (overkill) and a fairly large Snell speaker system with two large Velodyne woofers. This was pre-DVD, and once DVD happened (before that, Laserdisc with AC-3, that big Pioneer player was very nice), I changed processors to a McI, the amps to McI solid state -multi channel basic separates, got a more modern projector, etc.

When I moved in 2017, I pretty much dispensed with the dedicated projection room theatre thing, and got a flat screen and used a smaller surround set up. 5.1. My processor-- a Marantz-- recently crapped out on me, but I found another, later model, factory refurbished. These things appear to be in short supply due to Covid/supply chain, yada. I found some processors back in the old days sounded too digital, but the Marantz, which is not super high end, gives you what you need and then some, and sounds decent. Current TV is a Sony 4k OLED that is a couple years old.

As to waiting until you change TVs, I dunno. I like having the improved sound- as mentioned, I find the whole experience more engaging, even though I’m no longer going "full Cleveland" (if you know what I mean).

I think video has benefitted from trickle down. I remember when the Faroujda line quadrupler was like 20k dollars. Now it is a chip that is included in even cheap Blu-Ray players. I think your biggest hurdle may be lack of supply. I also don’t see the amount of uber high end stuff I did when that market was booming (stereo stores survived on home theatre during the ’90s). I rely more on video streaming than DVD or Blu Ray at this point, so I’m not necessarily getting all that could be had, but it is pretty involving. I did my best to calibrate the TV-- I used to have Joe whatsisname (Kane?) do the calibration service on the projector.

I’m sure others will have more to add, and more current product recommendations. I’m pretty happy with the overall results I get using what I would consider to be less than state of the art in video-- in fact, I think some of this gear is probably better than what was sold 20 years ago, at least from a performance standpoint.

Good hunting.

Thanks Whart (Bill) great insight!  I have 2 Marantz and a Yamaha AVR siting on a shelf in the spare room.  All still work but obviously obsolete tech.  LOL.

Fortunately I convinced a friend years ago to take my Pioneer Elite rear projection TV for his kids video games with one caveat - it aint coming back!  He had to remove the molding and door jam to get it in his game room.

I've never really invested in my HT setup like I have my 2 channel system with the exception of my Kuro. I wouldn't mind since my wife is more into the video setup than I am - and apparently has no budget.  So I am doing some research and. it is overwhelming compared to my 2 channel rig.....

Thanks again...

I'm loving my Anthem MRX 540 right now.  The Anthem Room Correction works really well, with caveats, really well and an ideal platform to use if you think you might add a subwoofer.

I'm using it through my Luxman integrated.  The MRX drives the center and surrounds, while sending a line level to the Luxman for L and R.  I can't tell you how great it is once set up.

What's floor plan got to do?  Hang rears from the ceiling. Bigger than a Minimus 7 is as wasteful as a plasma TV on power.


If the open floor plan is on a slab, then I suppose that the three channel makes sense.

Our house now has a crawl space under the room, so I went with a Lyngdorf as I haven’t had a HT set up, and the XLRs allow one to run the signals to amps closed to the speakers, and use minimal length speaker wires.

Anthem, Marantz, etc. all do the same basic stuff, so if you need three channel that is easier than 5,7 or more.

Basically if you are happy with 3 channels, and also physically limited to three channels… then why change things?


If you were me would you consider a major audio upgrade to separates or the latest AVR? Or wait until a TV change?

I think planning it now makes sense.
And by the time the TV goes, you should be closer to having a good plan.

There are so many options, and constraints, that it is not easy to find the optimum.


But as you say:

Set up is old technology but still delivers great entertainment.

So it doesn’t seem like much can happen upgrading a 3 channel to a newer 3 channel. I would save the $ for then the TV dies and not rush it myself.

Plus the supply chain issues still have me awaiting gear… so nothing is complete, and I am over a half a year into it.

I don’t think your system warrants an investment in separates.  I’d recommend a Yamaha AVR as they offer relatively very good sound and excellent reliability.  Best of luck. 

What's floor plan got to do?  Hang rears from the ceiling. Bigger than a Minimus 7 is as wasteful as a plasma TV on power.

@fuzztone what do you mean?