Best bang for buck Receiver?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Shane J, Aug 31, 2005.

  1. Shane J

    Shane J Stunt Coordinator

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    I am in the market for a receiver in the $800-$1000 price range. Preferably with a built in DVD player. Looking for as many bells and whistles as possible. new or used or refurb'd.

    I know I have been asking a lot of questions lately. I am just trying to piece together a decent system. I have learned a lot here already.

    Thanks

    Shane
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Shane: Though $800-$1,000 will net you a terrific receiver, I'm puzzled by your desire that it include a DVD player. Virtually no stand-alone A/V receivers include a DVD machine. You will, however, find such combo units in HTiBs. So, you might consider getting, say, a Denon AVR-2805 and then look for a nice player in addition. JB
     
  3. Shane J

    Shane J Stunt Coordinator

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    the built in DVD player really isnt a necessity. I can get a fair DVD player for a pretty cheap price and let the receiver do all the work....cant I?

    I will look into the receiver you suggested. Thanks.
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Which is exactly why most receivers don't include one. The ones that do, really are just a compromise at best, and you usually sacrifice upgradability.

    Shop around. If you wait a bit, the Denon 3806 is coming out soon, which means you should be able to pick up a new-in-box 3805 for a great price.
     
  5. James Phung

    James Phung Second Unit

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    I'd recommend you go out and listen to various receivers and choose the one that sounds best with features that you like. You've got a good budget there and there are a lot of good receivers in that range. In addition to the Denons, check out the Pioneer Elite (54tx, 56txi, 72tx), Yamahas, and Harman Kardon 635.
     
  6. Mark M. Smith

    Mark M. Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    I'd also like to include a possible suggestion of the Outlaw 1070 receiver. They're just barely shipping them out right now and only a few people have even received them, but they have a solid reputation of giving excellent bang for your buck with the 1050.
     
  7. Steve_L

    Steve_L Stunt Coordinator

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    You should also put the budget of receiver and DVD player into the context of how much you intend to spend on speakers.

    I would suggest that you can spend a bit less on the receiver and DVD player and then use that money on more budget for speakers and get a lot more sound for your dollar.

    For instance, pick up one of the Pioneer 1015s or Yammie 5970 for ~$400. Plenty of power and features, and then spend the extra bucks to get a better set of mains and subwoofer.

    It's arguable that one can't hear much difference or get more features, all else being equal, between many of the solid state receivers in the $500-$1K price range.
     
  8. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    ?? When you move from the $400 range to the $800 range, you definitely start getting to the point where you are going to hear the difference, depending on the speakers. Some aspects of sound quality may not improve dramatically, but dynamics will. You're really paying for one or two more features, but more importantly more power if you have speakers that need it or a larger room. A sub $500 receiver just won't cut it for me anymore without a separate amp (large room and difficult to drive speakers). Now, what you could do is pick up the 1015, a used 2ch amp and a lower end DVD player for about that budget, maybe a little more, and end up with a setup that can handle most speakers.
     
  9. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
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    I have seen the Denon AVR-3805 on sale for $999 which is a great deal.
     
  10. Jacob C

    Jacob C Second Unit

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  11. SteveCallas

    SteveCallas Second Unit

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    John Garcia,

    Would you say the Denon 2805 sounds better than the Pioneer 1015, not based on which has a more powerful amp, but overall, based on DACs? These two units have basically the exact same feature set, and I'm sure the Denon has a more powerful amp section, but using pretty efficient speakers, that isn't much of a concern. In your experience with the 1015, if it had more power, would you be able to live with the sound for music?
     
  12. John S

    John S Producer

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    Pretty equal in my opinion. I have always asserted you would have to step up to the 3800 series Denon stuff to yeild significant performance over the 1014/1015....

    Not highly though of, but lately I have been using the Yamaha 5890 for installations. It has significantly more power than the 1014/1015, but with efficient speakers, it is not a factor as you said.

    The 1014/1015 really is impressive with efficient speakers.
     
  13. SteveCallas

    SteveCallas Second Unit

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    Thanks for the info. I'm looking for something inexpensive with a good feature set to tide me over for the next few years until the new formats and connections are settled on, then I will go seperates. At about $400 shipped, the 1015 seems like a great bargain. I can't see me going all out now with the new stuff coming out in a year or two.
     
  14. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I haven't heard the 2805, so I can't comment on it's DACs. I'd have to agree with John S; the two are pretty equal (based on previous 280x models), and actually probably relatively close in real power output. I think the 1015 has a few features the 2805 does not because it is a bit newer.
     
  15. Steve_L

    Steve_L Stunt Coordinator

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    John, would you agree with my primary point, that is you should budget as much for speakers as you can, and that the money will be better spent there, than on the minor differences in the electronics sound or features? In other words, speakers make a much bigger difference in sound quality than the electronics.

    Secondly, please explain what you mean by the term dynamics ? That term is sometimes used in audio terminology as "dynamic range", (the difference between the softest and the loudest sounds) but I don't think you mean that? Do you? Or are you talking about some other dynamic ? I'd be interested in what you mean in using that term and what spec a buyer might look for that measures that.

    The Pioneer 1015 and the and Yammie 5790 are both in the 110RMS Watts per channel, across the entire frequency range, all 7 channels driven. You need 220 to realize another 3 db of volume. Another point for paying attention to speaker selection and efficiency.
     
  16. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Good amplification is needed for demanding speakers. General listening with typical speakers uses only a few watts, but when you get to a loud, busy passage, that number can spike up very quickly. More demanding speakers, need enough power to handle those peaks without clipping the signal causing distortion. Highs may sound fuzzy instead of crisp, bass may sound sloppy instead of tight and deep. Depth may be missing entirely, but that also depends on the speakers. To me, this is the difference between a cheap receiver and a decent one, and a good part of that is the ability of the amp section to deliver sufficient current.

    With $1K, I wouldn't get a $500 receiver and a $500 DVD, I'd probably look for a $200-300 DVD and spend the rest on a receiver, possibly looking used or at last year's models when a new one comes out.

    The 1014's own manual stated that 110w is only for 2ch. For THX select spec, each channel is tested individually from what I understand, not with all channels driven. The advertised power is misleading - it means each channel can INDIVIDUALLY deliver 110w, but that does not mean it can do it with all of them driven at the same time. Having played with one myself, I found the 110w rating to be somewhat exaggerated (by ear).
     
  17. SteveCallas

    SteveCallas Second Unit

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    I'll agree that the 110 watts x 7 is probably hopeful at best - it's probably a lot more like 60 watts x 7. But as has been stated, with the money you save on the 1014/1015, you can easily buy a dedicated amp for the mains for stereo listening, and let the receiver handle the center and surrounds when watching a movie. Total cost would be under $1000, and I think you'd be good to go. This is probably what I'll be doing.
     
  18. John S

    John S Producer

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    Steve_L, the Yamaha 5890 is the one to me that seems to have more muscle than a 1014/1015.

    By dynamics in this case, I'll take a stab at thinking he is talking about when the AVR is pushed hard. But, it is all dependent on speakers and room size.

    With my JBL S38's, in my room, the 1014 I returned did not support reference type volume levels, I got scared it was going to blow a tweet on one of my speakers.

    The Yamaha 5890 in the same test seemed to have plenty left at reference in my room with my speakers. My room is tough, 20'x30' serveral large openings to other areas of the house. Also keep in mind true reference is loud, I mean real pay theater type loud, very few people actually run those types of levels sustained.
     
  19. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Yep. I should have included that part, it really becomes noticable more or less when you are pushing the receiver very hard, and that was the case when I listened to the 1014. I was pushing it to it's limit to see what it was capable of, and I also had to back it off for fear of damaging speakers. This is not a level at which I would normally listen, but in comparison, it tells me about the real capability of the amp section. As I pushed it harder, the sound began to compress rapidly. At average listening levels this wouldn't happen, but during a big movie action sequence where a lot is going on and power demand is spiking up quick, you might notice it.
     
  20. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    How often do you see a post that reads anything like this:

    My receiver sounds awful when I turn it up loud enough to satisfy me?

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but not too often.

    Now, magazines like S&V will note that a receiver that in testing turns out to only put out 30 watts per channel X 7 starts to sound audibly strained, that is about as much as they will say. This happened recently when they tested 3 modestly priced receivers, Pioneer 815, Marantz 4500, and Sony DE698. With 7 channels driven, the Marantz managed 64 watts X 7, Pioneer 61 watts X 7, and the Sony only 31 watts X 7.

    The Pioneer 815 only weighs 22 pounds. When you move up to the 1015, it weighs 34 pounds. Much of that 12 pound weight difference is in the power supply.

    If the 22 pound 815 did 61 X 7, I would venture to guess that the 1015 can do about 80 watts X 7.

    With typical listening levels of 0.5 watt, 80 watts provides a good bit of headroom. You would be quite surprised at how loud 80 X 7 would be.

    Of course if you have audiophile quality, low efficiency, low impedance speakers that is another story. But then, people with those kind of speakers are not usually constrained to buy $500 receivers.

    The Pioneer 1015 is flying off the shelf as fast as they can make them. Best Buy has been having some 10% off days. If I were you, I would try a 1015 @$450 for up to 30 days and go from there.

    The Harman Kardon 635 probably has even more features and perhaps a little bit more power, but costs $700 and has a number of known glitches. HK has a deservedly poor reputation for releasing buggy receivers. They do not do enough beta testing before they release their receivers.

    Try to get a Pio 1015 for $450 from BB and see if it meets your needs.
     

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