My music library, as are so many's music libraries these days, is no longer on traditional CDs. Storage being as inexpensive as it is, I have converted my thousand-plus CDs into uncompressed aiff files on a hard drive. The music is currently managed via iTunes. The current hardware flow is:
external USB HDD to
MacBook Pro with iTunes to
wireless router to
Apple AirPort Express via digital optical cable to
TOSLINK input on my AVR.
The controller is my iPhone running the free "Remote" software.
Although this works, I'd very much like to get the computer, router, AirPort Express, and iPhone out of the chain. To do so, I'll need an AVR that will allow direct connection of the external USB HDD. Additionally, the AVR will need either a remote or an on-screen interface to allow me to browse and select music from the USB input.
I see that various models from Onkyo and Yamaha allow USB input, but they seem geared to removable USB memory sticks. Will such interfaces allow HDD connection? Do they have browsing software built in?
My situation is further complicated by my power and quality requirements. I run Thiel speakers whose 4-ohm impedance is below the current capability of most inexpensive AVRs. The Thiels also require 100 watts or more to best display their dynamics. Further, the Thiels, being so accurate, will not tolerate any but the highest quality of electronics without revealing the amplifiers' sonic shortcomings.
Another of my requirements is exceptionally flexible bass management. I would prefer to run my Thiel main speakers in full-range mode and cut in the sub at or below 40 Hz. I would simultaneously prefer that the sub be engaged at a significantly higher frequency for the center channel speaker and yet at even higher frequencies for the surround channels.
Now to my question - Who makes such an AVR? An older model is preferred so that I might shop among the less-expensive used equipment. If only a current model will suffice, though, I'm willing to go that route. I have confidence that the level of expertise on these forums is greater than that found among local audio salesmen, and therefore ask - your thoughts?