WARNING: WHAT FOLLOWS IS A LOT OF WRITING, RAMBLING AND, TO BE HONEST, A BUNCH OF 'MALARKY' (AS JOE BIDEN JUST MADE POPULAR AGAIN - yeah right). IF YOU ARE OF THE TL\/DR SCHOOL OF THOUGHT, DON'T READ IT OR SKIP OVER TO THE END.\n\nGood day all! So, I recently went through a divorce (not messy, just sad - thank you in advance for your condolences ;)) and I decided to liquidate all of my existing main listening area equipment (save for my Bluesound Node 2i and Hsu ULS-15 MK2). Out the door went my Yamaha A-S801, Oppo BDP-103 and KEF R500. I've already swapped the Oppo with a Pioneer UDP-LX500 and am actively looking to replace the other items. Thankfully I have a pair of Bang & Olufsen S3s in the bedroom and a plethora of headphones to tide me over for the time being so I am not music-less (which would be awful!).\n\nI am of two minds for this next go 'round: typical 2 channel integrated amp\/receiver and passive speakers OR active speakers and preamp (or integrated\/receiver with pre outs). My budget at this time (I may go higher up at a [much] later date) is $800 for electronics, $1600 for speakers. Unfortunately, this cannot be exceeded in any way. And, before anyone puts it out there, I am not interested in any kind of AV receiver (with one exception - see WILDCARD below). Also, the emphasis of my system has been (and always will be) music reproduction. It just so happens that I can do video as well, so that's a bonus...\n\nBefore I talk about what I have it narrowed down to (at this point) and open up the floor to discussion, please note that I am an interior designer by trade and even though sound quality is paramount, appearance is extremely important as well. My KEF R500s were in the gloss white and looked smashing - I would like to do something similar. But different.\n\nAs always, I welcome any an all suggestions (with the two caveats - AV receivers and looks - stated above) of products that may best what I have selected and fall within my budget!\n\nOPTION 1 - Integrated Amp\/Receiver, Passive Speakers.\n\nFor an integrated, to replace my A-S801, I was looking at something a little different, like the IOTAVX SA3 for $499:\n\nIt boasts 45WPC, a DAC and other fun features. It was designed to easily add the matching amp at a later date and up the power to 100WPC (all into 8Ω). This is a new company and this product was originally designed to be under the Nakamichi moniker, but that fell through. Anyway, it is receiving rave reviews.\n\nIf I were to go the 2 channel receiver route, I would get a refurbished Yamaha R-N803 from A4L for $549:\n\nIt has pretty much the same internals as the A-S801 but adds a plethora of features - most importantly to me would be YPAO.\n\nAs far as speakers go, I have a few I like. A few are known to me (sound-wise) and a few are unknown (though I do not doubt they sound excellent). First off is the KEF R3 in Walnut, refurbished, $1599 at A4L:\n\nI've heard these and love them. I would prefer white, but they are not in stock and I need them NOW, NOW, NOW! Next is the Elac Adante AS-61 in white, $1499 (original MSRP was $2500) from Music Direct (and others):\n\nI have not heard these and cannot find a pair to audition, but if they improve on the Uni-Fi UB5 (which I have no doubt that they will) they should be awesome. MD also has a B-stock pair in rosewood (meh, it's okay) for $1350. A brand new speaker that has me very excited is the Focal Chora 806 for $998 ($1198 with stands) in dark wood\/blue from everywhere:\n\nI have not heard them because nobody has them, but if they improved on the Chorus line (again, I have no reason to doubt that they have) they should sound impressive. their main selling point for me? They look totally awesome! The next choice will no doubt sound killer (I had a previous model and loved it) but are ugly as sin (to me - not a reflection on you if you have them): the Ascend Sierra-2EX in piano black, $1498:\n\nYea, I could make them work with some neat stands like these:\nThis would be considered a "performance only" option. A couple more that are based only on reputation but look really nice are the Sonus Faber Venere and Canton Vento Reference 9.2 DC (the former on Ebay, latter on A4L). I know there are some Canton owners on AH. Any SF folks?\n\nEither of these would be a "faith based" purchase...\n\nOPTION 2 - Powered Speakers\/Preamp\n\nSo, I had this wacky notion after hearing a demo, watching a few videos and reading a few reviews: why not get an amplified speaker? The designer knows exactly what amplification to use for best performance, most have bluetooth and\/or streaming options (I don't really need it, but WTH). The first speaker is one I with which I am familiar via demos and I like it a lot more than its passive relative, the KEF LS50W in black\/blue, $1499 at A4L:\n\nI also really like the sound of the LSX, but it may be too wee for a main setup like I am trying to build. Then again, it may not! Change my mind. The only thing that offends my audiophile sensibilities (whether it makes a difference or not) is that the KEF actives convert everything to digital. With that "concern" in mind, I have found the Elac Navis ARB-51. I would prefer white or ebony, but I cannot find one in my price range. HOWEVER, a local Best Buy has a black, open box pair for $1200.\n\nSorry - I am running out of images (10 max on this site) so just use your imagination :eek: The Elac keeps everything in the analog domain. I have not heard them (may do so at BB, if I decide to pursue this option) but they are supposed to be better than a Uni-Fi on steroids.\n\nFor a preamp, I have my eye on the Parasound NewClassic 200, $749.95 at Audio Advisor:\n\nIt has everything I am looking for (sans balanced connections) and rudimentary bass management (one can change the subwoofer level with the remote). There are also many used preamps out there, such as a nice Parasound P3 on Ebay for $799. We'll see... Options welcome! You got some obscure Chinese tube preamp - let me know!\n\nWILDCARD: Remember when I said, way back at the top, that I was not interested in any AV receiver suggestions? Well, I was at Best Buy last night and saw something similar to this:\n\nThe designer in me likes this because it matches my new Pioneer UDP-LX500. That's really it: looks. And Pioneer's version of bass management. But mostly looks.\n\nSo, my AV receiver friends, how does the Pioneer sound? Yes, I know, within the amps parameters, blah, blah - the Pioneer is Class D and I have heard some not great examples of Class D, so if anyone has experience... Also, here is a big question as I have no (zero, zip, nada, 0) experience with AV receivers: is there a way to designate more that one channel as FR or FL? In essence providing an active bi-amplification solution? That would be great... Also, my AV receiver brethren, do you know of any other company that has an amber readout? I know Yamaha of old did... Because looks. Also, the SC-LX701 at $899 busts my budget - does someone have a cheaper model in mind? It does not have to have the latest (or any, really) AV bells and whistles.\n\nAnyway, thank you all in advance for your valuable time and consideration. If you have a better product (be it speakers, amps, etc.) that you have experience with or, simply, think I am an idiot and am going about things all wrong, by all means, let me know!\n\nTL\/DR: What, are you lazy or something? Scroll back up and at least look at the pretty pictures!