If you've gone receiver shopping during the last 10 years, you probably noticed that receivers, like other pieces of home electronics, have gotten cheaper while adding more features--Dolby 5.1, DTS decoding, room correction, etc.
I always assumed that this was an unalloyed blessing; but then, I'm more of a videophile. For me, five-channel sound was always most important, and then in service to movie watching. I very, very rarely listen to two-channel sound, which is where you notice actual sound quality.
Gene DellaSala has an interesting essay about how advances in circuitry and computing power have made it possible to put more features into AV receivers. But DellaSala notices that these advances have come at a price: The non-silicone parts of a receiver, which are responsible for sound quality, have been gradually cheapened.
A must-read for home theater junkies.
4 hours ago