Originally Posted by Curious Ape
Yes it is louder than I would listen to on a normal basis if I was sitting directly in front of it. However, on the occasion that I was in another room and wanting to listen to them it would be a volume I would like to have it at. By comparison my logitech computer speakers had no problem at that volume and much higher these I would like to consider an upgrade and if they perform worse well then we cant have that.
Agreed. I'm not trying to dismiss what you're saying - just trying to get a bead on what's actually going on. If the system cannot play at a relatively loud level without clipping, that's no good.
Hope that answers your question since loudness is subjective.
Actually, loudness (intensity) can be measured and correlated to more concrete values. If you had access to an SPL meter you could figure out exactly how loud you're running it, and compare it to other known metrics and values (for example to see if you're risking your hearing). Some references:
On the purchase - that receiver should be available through retailers like Best Buy (or at least something similar to it); see if you can't go try it out in person. Even at $100-$150, you aren't talking very high end equipment - good stereo receivers have been around $500 since the early 1990s. That doesn't mean the Sony unit is bad, but it's likely a lot of plastic and probably doesn't live up to it's rated power numbers as much as we'd like to see (but it should certainly step on the T-amp).
Here's an example of a well put together stereo receiver (that will deliver lots of power, can handle a wide range of loads, and will work with many speakers and other devices):
You can probably find a better used component than the Sony, but it might take some doing. Check out the "Vintage Receivers" thread for some examples, and look around on Craigslist and eBay for what you can find.
Here's a killer example on Ebay:
You can strip the casing off and wash it in something mild (dish soap and bleach, for example) to help kill the "mild aroma" (I would probably assume it reeks like the inside of a cigar factory; it is ebay after all). The 770 is basically the older version of the 797 (and afaik, has the same amplifier).
Here's another example:
Costs a bit more, but has many more features (it will do surround sound).