You may want to look at this Pioneer VSX821K receiver at Vann's for $349.99) --I'm not pushing Vann's or Pioneer-- I was looking for what you're looking for. I'm sure other sites have this and other models as well as the price appears in your price range, has a USB port for IPOD, IPAD. etc., has A/B speaker capability, has a feature to expand compressed music and, if you want to go further into home theater at some point, has good features.
It looks like the other brands (except perhaps for Onkyo) have pre line outs for connecting a second amp to get multi-room capabilities. But, take a look at the receivers at this site for reference and to see the features. You probably won't get away for less for $350 for a receiver with IPOD connectivity and almost all receivers at that price and up have home theater features.
Hi - I confess that I am a near-idiot when it comes to home audio, so
please don't laugh at my questions concerning topics
like impedance. I am trying to create a simple two-room system, specifically
hoping to run an iPod through ceiling-mounted speakers in each and/or both of
two adjacent rooms. I have only the iPod thus far, and know I will need a receiver
and, obviously, two sets of speakers. I'm looking at an entry-level
receiver like the Sony STR-DH100, which has an A/B switch, and speakers like
the Polk RC60i.
My questions are these:
1) Are these components compatible in terms of power and resistance?
The receiver has an 8 ohm output and the speakers have a nominal impedance of 8
Ohms each. I was told by one non-objective source (i.e., looking to push up
costs) that I needed a receiver that could switch down to 4 ohms of output -
Onkyo and probably others make one, for more money. My intent is to play music
at moderate volumes only, most often in one room OR the other but occasionally
in both. If you're so inclines, please give me an idea of what's safe to use
together and whether I need to spend the additional money on a different
receiver and/or speaker, and why in terms I might be able to understand.
2) If you have any thoughts about low-to-mid priced devices from, say,
Sherwood, Onkyo, Yamaha, etc., that would do the trick as well or better than
the Sony, or about speaker brand alternatives, feel free to share those as
well. I am not seeking a particular brand of anything, and do NOT need any
superstar products in terms of performance, but need to make sure the receiver
has an A, B and A & B capability, can accommodate at least an iPod dock
input, and can run safely without distorting, overheating or blowing.