Originally Posted by kennyt
I think this is the biggest trend in audio today. The lower end is catching up to the high end, narrowing the gap every year. No, I'm not going to sell my reference rig for a receiver any time soon, or likely ever, but it think a good receiver is less of a compromise than it used to be.
I don't know about catching up. In 1990 if I went into Wal-Mart and came out with the cheapest receiver it would be a decent radio player. It would also likely have a tape cassette built in! For CD playback it would be tolerable for say in my office while I'm working.
Now if I did that it would be able to handle DD, DTS, and provide a decent surround sound field to whatever speakers I may have. For stereo playback however it would be noticably better than that 1990 Receiver but it would still be lacking in many areas.
I can still go get an $800 Onkyo, Yamaha, or whatever receiver and put it up against an $800 NAD and everyone will say "night and day," difference in music playback.
The higher end Receivers from NAD, Sunfire, Lexicon, and Arcam can approach a set of decent seperates. The new NADs for instance are an amazing sonic jump forward.
I like where the companies like NAD and Arcam are taking Receivers. However nothing would make me pick a Receiver or even those companies separates over your Meridian rig.