Wow. When I bought my JBL Northridge series speakers I knew they had the potential to sound good. When I got home and hooked them up I was dissapointed. They just didn't sound like they should. I knew my out of date 6.1 channel Panasonic reciever was to blame. You see I install integrated audio and mid to high level home theater systems for a local electrical contractor. Every week I am putting in a new system and every week I was realizing just how wanting my own system was. Then I made a huge mistake. I went to CES and found my way to Alexis Park. You see for those of you who don't know Alexis Park is where the highest of high end is. It is where the best speakers in the world can be auditioned. This trip to CES greatly influence my purchase of the northridge speakers. I was impressed over and over by simple 3 way designs in HT demos. I knew that that simple design coupled with excellent equipment could produce wonderful results. As you may have read in my other posts I have owned and of course installed several different brands of recievers. Onkyo, HK, tons of Kenwood and JVC and Pioneer . . . but I hadn't ever installed a Marantz. So what sold me on it. Well someone on this forum described the sound as being warm. I love a warm sound in fact I LOVE how tube amps sound so warm and so transparent. Call me a distortion junky if you want all the "tube" sound is is distortion. So big deal. My old reciever wasn't a bad reciever it just sounded likek crap. I think just about every Joe-sixpack would love it. It's for sale. I ordered my marantz reciever from accessories4less.com. I ordered a 4500 and a matching 4500 DVD player. It took it about a week to arive here via fedex from Florida. The reciever that I ordered was a factory remanufactured model that was offered at a discount. Aside from packaging that was obvioulsy not factory this reciever is perfect. If this reciever was sold as new I would NEVER have known the difference. Well onto the review. Setup is easy. I ran the toslink out of the back of the DVD player to the optical in on the reciever and fired her up. (yes I made all other necessary conections) First off this bad boy has a simple setup menu that has you up and running in no time. I immediatly noticed a difference in the way the room sounded. I popped in the DTS demo DVD "alive". WOW, the first track, a sample from Robots was so clean sounding. The menus are easy to scroll though and I was all setup in under 15 minutes, it may take a new user a little longer, I have gotten pretty fast at setting up recievers. My favorite feature of this reciever is the pure direct feature. Like source direct or just plain direct it sends the signal straight through un attenuated. My highs are higher and lows have so much more authority. The Marantz reciever has what they call a HTEQ. The manual explains that recordings of movies in your home may be harsh because they were met to be played back in large theaters over large speakers, the HTEQ is supposed to fix that problem by "softening the sound". What a waste of money there is no way on earth this reciever needs to have a softer sound. The sound is so deep and so transparent. What really blew me away is how much I have been missing, even in some of the better HTs that I have installed. The sound of this marantz rivals any pre/pro I've installed and it isn't even close to being thier top of the line. And power, either this reciever is WAY underrated or my panansonic and pioneers are both WAY overrated. The marantz's 70WPC packs way more punch than the panasonics 110WPC. There is just no better deal than a refurbed Marantz. They are killer. The imaging was so increadable, I listened to the telarc DTS dvd and wow. The Eagles DTS Hell Freezes over was soo smooth and so deep, that is a great DVD. The echo and bamboo forest scenes from House of Flying daggers were amazing, the impact on the drums and melodic whoosing of the bamboo spears gave me chills. I listened to a bunch of 2 channel stuff and while it doesn't hold a candle to some other 2 channel IAs or 2 channel recievers this marantz is very very good. Bottom line, this reciever is better than anything double its price. And as good as anything tripple its price except for I imagine its bigger brothers. If you are looking for a reciever, give marantz a try. You won't be sorry you did. I can't wait to watch all my movies over again to hear what I've been missing. Wow.