5.1 or 7.1 Receiver



Full Audioholic
My FIL is looking for a new receiver. He has 4 channels in his home theater room, but the back two surrounds are probably 20' or more behind the couch and these two speakers are run through a volume control. Also, he has 3 more channels that go throughout the house. So, I don't think he has true surround sound, as he is missing a center channel and the status of the 2 back speakers. He mainly watches tv (sports and movies) and listens to music through the radio or Direct TV through the house, the receiver he had for 15 years wired the speakers either parallel or some other method 7 channels into 3 speaker inputs, so not wired the best.

My thoughts on a new receiver, either 5.1 or a 7.1.
5.1 wire all the channels individually, but two of the five channels would need to be wired in parallel, and set all the channels, except the L&R as all channel stereo. (Will this eventually fry the two channels that are running 2 speakers?

7.1. Wire all the speakers on their own channel, and provide a new center L&R speaker from RBH's clearance area, and have one of the rear channels run the 3 other zones in the house, that he usually listens to music. Would this damage the 1 channel that would run parallel?

His budget is $200 - $250. Most of the receivers are 5.1 in this range. for $300 I did see some that were 7.1 or 7.2. or would it be better to pitch in some cash and get him a 7.1 with a zone 2 and a new L, R, C speakers if RBH has something for a good deal?

He is 75 so he isn't too concerned with the quality too much, but his receiver has bit the dust. When he bought it it was a pawn shop one for $150 15 years ago.
Any input would be appreciated, or if there is a different direction that I could go that I'm missing, I would appreciate it.

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