I just bought a Onkyo TX-SR500 to use exclusively for listening to music. It's replacing an old Sony shelf system I had (quite a good one I always felt, unfortunately it broke). In all the audio playback devices I've ever had I'm used to having more tonal controls and/or loudness/boost effects to fill out the sound. As a result no matter how I set the treble/bass on my Onkyo it sounds flat in the middle. It has good bass and highs, just the mid-range has no depth/character and sounds flat. It gives voices a very un-natural quality. In case you're wondering what I'm listening through, since I spent all my money on the receiver and can't yet afford to upgrade the crap speakers I have (that came with the shelf system), I mainly use my Philips 895 headphones for listening (which is a pretty decent pair of phones). I also have a Pioneer 509 receiver I use for DVD surround sound. When I play music through that, listening with my headphones, I get the fuller,richer,more properly balanced sound I want; but the sound doesn't have as much clarity as with the Onkyo. I'm using a Pioneer 503 DVD player to play the CDs I'm testing the sound quality with. I have it connected to both recievers so I can do a direct A/B comparison from the same source. I think one reason the Pioneer might sound fuller is because according to the manual it's treble boost is at 10 kHZ and the bass at 100 Hz. The Onkyo's are at 20 kHZ and 50 Hz, which seems too high and low respectively. So I guess I'm asking what my options are. Is there another brand reciever in the $300 range that will give me more the sound I'm looking for or more tonal control? I'd consider gettng a stereo receiver to keep it in that range, I just figured a 5 channel would allow me to upgrade to future formats (SACD/DVD-A). Would getting an equilizer let me get the sound quality I want or is the flat middle inherent in the way the Onkyo amplifies the sound? Also, how would an equilizer effect the overall quality because I'd have to hook it up via analog outs on my receiver and the back into the receiver via analog ins from the equilizer? That seems like it could effect the overall quality. I'm thinking of just returning the Onkyo and getting a Pioneer 411 or 511 which would be about the equivalent of the Pioneer I have for DVDs, but I'm not sure I want to sacrifice a loss of clarity for a gain in tone. Any help would be appreciated.