My receiver went out the other day. RIP my Pioneer. Seven years, almost.

I had turned it off (at the power strip, too!) waiting for a thunderstorm to pass, but it never turned back on…

So now my home theater is a bit stuck: I have HDMI coming from the Blu-Ray player that mostly passes through into the projector, but sometimes I run HDMI from a computer (a retired Mac Pro). So I need some sort of receiver, unless I abandon the computer and just stick to the Blu-Ray player. Come this winter, I’ll probably bring the PS4 back into the theater.

All I need, though, is a stereo power amplifier to bring the 2.0 speakers back to life (they’re big Klipsch speakers, laying horizontally). I have a stereo power amp in my guitar rig, and I have been wondering how to bring it down a notch.

It’s a Samson 120a Servo, set up in bridge mode to push 120 watts to an 8 ohm load, but I’ve got it running into a 16 ohm 4x12 speaker box.

I really only need 20-50 W, so I may invest in a guitar “amp pedal” that just uses transistors (like the big Samson) to push sound.

Options I guess I should consider:

Guitar amp pedal, use the Samson in theatre

This sucks because I have no volume control beyond the single knob on the power amp, but it does give more options guitar-wise and turns out cheaper.

  1. $170 Quilter labs micro block 45
  2. $152 Electro-harmonix 44 magnum
  3. $108 Mooer baby bomb 30

Just replace the receiver

I should probably just do this.

  1. $280 Sony STRDH 590
  2. $280 Denon AVR-S 540 BT

The Denon lacks banana plugs, which is dumb. Otherwise, it looks exactly like my Pioneer. Especially the inside.

I suppose these are all made in the same factory, white label, so I should be happy with another 7 years. I guess the Sony is made in a slightly different factory, but I don’t think it’s too much of a gamble to go with the Sony.

Other options entirely

I could just buy a long optical audio cable and try to settle for a sound bar. I just don’t think they sound as good as big speakers. There’s no replacement for displacement as they say in engine design.

Engine engineering isn’t really a phrase.

How did the word engine come to capture both the default word for a gas piston motor, and only second to that, an object of ingenuity? Weird.

What would I do with the speakers, then? Listen to music?

That’s certainly possible with a sound bar, though, especially since it (only) connects over Bluetooth to my phone. It’d be impossible to play a physical CD through my sound bar, though.

I think I have to spend the money on the receiver. It did sound really good, the last one. I had to volume hunt a lot, but I think that has more to do with source material having lots of explosions and quiet dialogue (UGH).

Might as well eat the cost, and move on.

Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to add a center channel, you know, to better understand dialogue. And a subwoofer to go in the corner. Something like that.