Help me pick between these receivers... (warning, noobie)

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Bullet Head, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. Bullet Head

    Bullet Head Agent

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    Im a total noobie. I have a pair of real old Kenwood floor speakers for now, they can easily handle 100W. I am about to buy a Samsung plasma tv and a dvd player and want to setup a home theatre. The room is about 15x15.

    My friend is selling a Rotel RSX-1056 for about $700, is that a good deal? The bummer part is that it doesnt have HDMI, is that realllyyyy that much of an issue?

    Then I also am looking at the Pioneer Elite VSX-80TXV, retail at $650, anyone know where I can get a better price for this?

    Any Yamaha receivers under the $700 price tag? Ive seen Yamaha THX receivers, does the THX really sound that good?

    Then there are also the Marantz lineup, the SR5600, SR4001 or SR5001.
    http://us.marantz.com/Products/172.asp
    I dont know why the SR5600 doesnt have the HDMI but I think I would want that if its going to be necessary in the future. What is the biggest advantage of HDMI? Is it the best way of getting the data across from the source to the processor without losing it in between or is there another way to achieve this without the HDMI? Also what are the differences between HDMI v1.1, v1.2 and v1.3?

    Basically $700 is my limit on the receiver alone and would like to use it primarily for movies and sometimes music, maybe 90/10%. I dont have good speakers yet, but I will look into those in the near future. If you can recommend any other brand at this price mark, that would be appreciated.

    Thanks all.
     
  2. Alon Goldberg

    Alon Goldberg Screenwriter

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    Rotel RSX-1056 gets my vote, if you can get her down to $600. You'll get better quality components, honest wattage, and less bells and whistles than the Pioneer Elite or Marantz models. You just need to decide if the Rotel has all the features that you will need. The RSX-1056 was $1,100 new.

    Another receiver to deeply consider would be the Denon AVR-2807.

    Here's a quick primer on HDMI, let us know if this answers your questions: http://www.electronichouse.com/info/...mi_basics.html

    Don't worry about THX certification, this doesn't mean the receiver will sound any better, it just means the manufacturer paid for a certification process to assures a base quality level.
     
  3. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Amir

    The trend these days is towards equalization. Subwoofers often have 1 band EQ, the better ones have as many as 8 bands of EQ. People are just starting to realize that if EQ is good for subwoofers, it makes sense to EQ the entire frequency range. That is why Pioneer, Denon, now Marantz are using room/speaker EQ. I think Marantz is now using Audyssey, as is Denon.

    So, I have to disagree with Alon. For $500 or less, I would go with the Pioneer 1016. Set-up properly, with all speakers set to small and bass redirected to a subwoofer, it will easily handle your fairly small room. The money you save on the Pioneer should be used to get a subwoofer.

    For about $280, you can get the BIC H-100. So, for less than $800 you will get a fine receiver, with HDMI, and a very nice subwoofer. The combination 1016 and subwoofer will just blow away simply replacing your receiver with something more expensive than the Pioneer 1016.

    I also disagree with Alon about THX. THX is a listening mode that works well on certain older material, specifically Dolby Surround material. At higher price points, THX Ultra certification requires specific performance criteria be met. For example, the amps in THX Ultra & Ultra 2 receivers must be able to power all channels at the same time into 3.2 OHM loads. There is more, but if you want to learn about THX, Google it, and you can learn all about it.

    If you want to learn more about the BIC H-100 or anything else, please feel free to send me a Private Message, it is easy [​IMG]

    PS I have a THX receiver.
     
  4. John Brill

    John Brill Supporting Actor

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    HDMI necessary in the future? Depends on how long you want to own your current system for :) Welcome to the beginning of an expensive hobby! Personally, I don't have any HDMI components so I passed on the feature as I don't plan on buying HD-DVD or Blue-Ray players anytime soon.

    Now, the Rotel RSX-1056 is a fantastic receiver. Rotel tends to be a manufacturer that people upgrade too after having dipped their toes into the Home Theater experience and want more. I recently upgraded my Yamaha RX-V540 for a Rotel RSX-1067 (and it doesn't do HDMI!).

    The next thing for you to consider is speakers, your Kenwoods just aren't going to cut it. Normally I recommend newbies look for top end HTiB's (Yamaha, Onkyo, Dennon) to dip their toes but you have a great deal in a Rotel I recommend that you look into a decent 5.1 speaker package to pair it up with. This part is going to be expensive so don't snap up the BB/CC mini-satelite set for $99, look at spending closer to $1k to start...

    Also, as Alon said, don't be swayed by the fancy certifications and options available on many receivers. THX is simply a paid certification and DSP's, though fun at first, end up being options you don't use.
     
  5. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    John

    Are you seriously suggesting that for someone who is 90% HT and 10% music, that the Rotel will sound even close to a Pioneer 1016 AND a subwoofer? After all the guy is not an audiophile.
     
  6. Alon Goldberg

    Alon Goldberg Screenwriter

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    Arthur - are you seriously comparing a $400 Pioneer VSX-1016TX to an $1,100 Rotel RSX-1056? I think you've lost your mind!
     
  7. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Alon, the OP is 90% HT. I guarantee you that the 1016 AND a BIC H-100 will swamp any difference between the Rotel and no subwoofer. This is not even a close call. The subwoofer will make 1000X more difference than Rotel vs. 1016.
     
  8. Alon Goldberg

    Alon Goldberg Screenwriter

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    Arthur - valid point [​IMG]
     
  9. Bullet Head

    Bullet Head Agent

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    Thanks for the replies fellas. [​IMG]
    If the subwoofer will really make that much of a difference, I will get one in the near future. Actually I already have a powered 12" JBL which I can use temporarily. Looks to me like you guys are pointing me towards the Pioneer 1016 because it can be paired up with the sub for about the same price as the Rotel 1056. But if we were to compare just the receivers and assume I have a sub, is it worth the extra $300 (1056 $700, 1016 $400) to go with the Rotel?


    Also, how about Kef C40's for speakers instead of the older Kenwoods?
     
  10. John Brill

    John Brill Supporting Actor

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    Yes, but, for the $200-$300 difference, Rotel with sub vs Pioneer with sub my vote is still hands down with Rotel especially if he can get it for $600. It all depends on how tight your budget is and how serious you want to get into this hobby. What's a couple of hundred bucks amortized over 12 months? In 6 months time he'll be kicking himself unless HDMI is important to him. Ultimately, his call.
     
  11. John Brill

    John Brill Supporting Actor

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    How many Kef C40's do you have? 5?

    The point is, for Home Theater, you are looking at having 5 equally matched speakers (1 Center, 2 Fronts, 2 Backs) and a subwoofer to fully experience the surround sound environment. This will be important regardless of receiver.

    What is your budget for the whole system? Looks like you have already spent $3k+ on the video portion, would be a shame to cheap out on the audio side.

    In my opinion, HDMI isn't all that important unless you plan on doing HD-DVD/Blue-Ray.
     
  12. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Amir

    Like I was saying before, subwoofers now typically have one band of EQ, the best have 8 bands of EQ. Many here use Behringer EQ for their subs. For 90% HT use, having a speaker/room EQ in your receiver will make vastly more difference than Rotel.

    Pardon me if I am wrong but John is more from the "purist" school. Pioneer, Denon, Marantz, Yamaha all have speaker/room EQ. This is what people are buying.

    Amir

    If you were 90% music and 10% HT, I would say, get the Rotel, but at 90% HT and 10% music, you will hear 100X difference between speaker/room EQ than Rotel vs. Pioneer.
     
  13. John Brill

    John Brill Supporting Actor

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    Not really a "purist" but a "minimalist". I love gadgets and reading feature lists but realize that in most cases, I'm not going to use them. The speaker/room EQ features with the microphone thing, to me, is a nice feature but one that I ultimately have troubles with. In theory, if only 1 person will be watching the movie and you set-up the microphone in that spot, at ear level, you get the best calibration as determined by some engineer based on some algorithm. What about the other people in the room sitting 2-3-6 feet away from that spot? Is the sound calibrated for them? No, to do that you need to really get involved with multiple microphone placements measuring sound waves bouncing from every angle, wall treatments, etc, etc. If you have that kind of time on your hands and it really matters to you, fill your boots!

    The other problem I have is that everyone's listening criteria is different. Some people actually prefer some distortion, or more/less bass, etc, etc, away from the ideal algorithm where tweaking will be made. The microphone EQ feature may help you do some initial set-ups quickly, tweeking in the end will probably take as much time.

    Ultimately, I always recommend that users audition everything they are considering and make their purchase on what "sounds" best for them as opposed to feature lists (within reason of course, some features may be required thus eliminating some equipment). Budget of course will also be a determining factor. Personally, I don't think HDMI is required especially since HDMI 1.3 is not yet finalized.

    JB
     
  14. Bullet Head

    Bullet Head Agent

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    All of what you guys say is actually starting to make sense to me. I have been leaning towards the Pioneer receivers after doing some research unless someone else can point me to something else under the new $500 receiver budget.

    Im contemplating between the Pioneer Elite VSX-80TXV or the Pioneer VSX-1016TXV.

    The 1016 does offer the HDMI over the Elite 80, but other then that, everything else looks the same to me.

    Any other models/suggestions?
     
  15. John Brill

    John Brill Supporting Actor

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    At that price range, with HDMI, I can only think of the Panasonic SA-XR70 as an alternative but would probably choose the Pioneer VSX-1016TXV over it based on connectivity options.

    Also, the VSX-80TXV has HDMI input/output... Elite brand of Pioneer tends to have upgraded parts.

    However, I haven't listened to either to determine which I would like best :)
     
  16. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Good point JB, however, with the 1016 going for $400 at Amazon.com, would you still pick the Elite?
     
  17. videobruce

    videobruce Stunt Coordinator

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    Just why is that $1100 Rotel THAT much better than Pioneer?? BTW, I'm not a Poineer fan.
     
  18. John Brill

    John Brill Supporting Actor

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    If I was just going on specs and budget I'd probably pick the 1016 over the Elite.

    If I was just starting to dip my toes into the Home Theater hobby and didn't have the chance to buy a Rotel RSX-1056 for ~$700 and HDMI was important to me, the 1016 would definately be on my audition list.

    Would I buy the 1016 sight unseen not having listened to it or other Pioneer models because of a recommendation from the internet? Not a chance.

    JB
     
  19. CurtisC

    CurtisC Second Unit

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    Wow,to suggest Pioneer over a Rotel,I guess the gizmo guru's knew what they were doin'.Too bad sound quality has now taken a backseat to gadgets.btw,I own Rotel and Pioneer
     
  20. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Curtis

    Are you suggesting that for someone who is 90% HT, that speaker/room EQ will not just crush any difference that the Rotel may have over the $400 Pioneer?

    For HT use, where would one notice the SQ differences with the Rotel properly crossed over at 80Hz?
     

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