Battle of the Budget Receivers

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Gary Miller, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. Gary Miller

    Gary Miller Stunt Coordinator

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    I walked into a local big box store this evening with the intention of purchasing a Sony STR-DG720. It's a birthday gift for my brother and will be used in his bedroom. It seemed to have an impressive feature set for the money. However, I let the salesman talk me into a Yamaha RX-V463 for just about the same price. I'm still a little confused about the comparative features though. I have the better part of a week before presenting this gift, so exchanging the unopened boxed unit isn't a problem.

    The Sony boasts 7.1 channels vs. 5.1 for the Yamaha. That's really not an issue, for as long as my sister-in-law shall live, seven speakers in one room will never be a part of my brother's life. Power output comparisons are probably not terribly important either, given the space constaints. Still, I'm a little confused and conflicted about the HDMI audio differences. (One of the Amazon reviewers commented that the Sony has onboard HD decoding, but I haven't seen any other evidence of this). I'm pretty sure my brother will spring for a blu-ray player in the not too distant future, and presumably that player will have on-board DolbyTrue HD decoding. Both the Sony and Yamaha receivers, if I understand correctly, have HDMI inputs for both audio and video. Does that mean the HDMI inputs will simply pass decoded HD audio through?...or will it be necessary to use the component audio connections for this purpose. (Since wires and wives are generally incompatible, a few HDMI connections would be much preferred).

    Any other thoughts about these two entry level receivers? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    I recommend against last year's RX-V463. I don't think 2 HDMI inputs is enough long term. If going with Yamaha get this years RX-V465 which has 4 HDMI inputs + on-board decoding of all the newest formats. Sony with 3 HDMI is OK IMO.

    The Sony does not have decoding but as you noted you can get blu-ray player with decoding so it doesn't matter too much.

    HDMI carries both audio & video. The receiver will pass the video on to the TV; the audio, if decoded by the player, is just multi-ch PCM, that is converted to analog and amplified to drive the speakers.
     
  3. Gary Miller

    Gary Miller Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Stephen...Very helpful response. I wasn't aware of a newer Yamaha, but that sounds like a perfect combination of features and price for a modest bedroom set-up. Unfortunately, though, it doesn't look like the local retailers have it yet. If it were for myself, I would buy it online, but since it's a birthday gift, I'm concerned about the hassle of potentially exchanging it.

    I'm still a confused about one thing though. I remember reading last year, with only passing interest at the time, about the new 1.3 HDMI platform. I only remember that it has something to do with HD audio compatibility. How does that apply to receivers in this category? I don't see "1.3" listed on the spec sheets for either unit.
     
  4. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    For audio HDMI vs. 1.3 means a receiver can decode the the new DolbyHD/DTS-MA formats itself so the player doesn't need to.

    In order to get full hdmi 1.3 for audio and video you need the Sony 820, Yamaha 663 or Onkyo 606. If those are not in the budget then it pains me to say (I'm not a big Sony fan) the Sony 720, coupled with a BR player that decodes the new audio formats, would be the better of the two choices. The Onkyo 576 would also be a good choice. If the 463 does accept 7.1 LPCM via hdmi then it would also work.
     
  5. Gary Miller

    Gary Miller Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Gene. Thank you. I probably should have stuck with my first instinct, which was the Sony. I have no logo affinity myself for one brand over another, but Sony receivers do seem to generate a lot of negativity around here and other boards as well. I've had Yamaha equipment myself over the years, and have only had good experiences. I was easily swayed in this case because I also prefer the look and feel of Yamaha units.

    Still, I'm trying to stay within budget and the Sony seems to do what I need for the price point. I wish the Yamaha V465 that Stephen suggested was more readily available..that would be the perfect solution.
     

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