I am looking to upgrade my trusty old Yamaha AV receiver - which is still fab but has no HDMi inputs and being overtaken in usefulness. We use it to run sounds from the new Panasonic 3d plasma (chosen thanks to this magazine), blu-ray (ditto), and importantly the music from itunes from our HTPC. The latter in particular we feed throughout the downstairs and terrace of our house, using the A+B speakers switch on the Yamaha and feeding the B speakers by connecting to a 4 speaker selector box (like this one: http://www.nilesaudio.com/images/SSVC-4_hi.jpg). This works great. I guess its not strictly multizone, but we dont need multizone really. If we want to watch the cricket with the music on we outside we just use the TV speakers and feed the Yamaha with the HTPC optical input.
BUT I want this upgrade and am looking at the Onkyo 609 or Yamaha 671. But if I understand the (complex) manuals correctly I may be looking at a downgrade in terms of being able to do the A+B speaker switch combination. They dont seem to have a basic A+B speaker option, but instead a more fancy multi-zone option, which allows you to have a different source for Zone 2. But Zone 2 sources seem to be REALLY LIMITED - analog only inputs and not your standard inputs - notably the optical input from my HTPC. This is a real showstopper for us. And I wondered if anyone could confirm/deny my understanding and or guide me to a possible solution in terms of a box that is in this price and ability range but would allow the 'A+B' (in my language). Thanks in advance, Steve