Marantz v. Pioneer v. Denon v. Yamaha Receivers

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Steve & Karen, Mar 20, 2002.

  1. Steve & Karen

    Steve & Karen Stunt Coordinator

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    In the Brightness vs. Warmth, Music vs. HT, reliability etc... what is the experience/expertise regarding Marantz v. Pioneer v. Denon v. Yamaha Receivers?

    This will be with Def Tech PowerMonitors, which are a little bright (at least compared to Paradigm Reference 40 which was other finalist), so I was going to go with Denon, but then heard some not so good things about reliability and also I kinda wanted the front AV-inputs for the camcorder... so?

    -Steve
     
  2. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Personal opinion:

    I think that Marantz has the most 'musical' sound, very sweet. Still what I remember from the good ol' college days. Problem is the S-Video monitor out is reported to be flaky on some of the x200's. Not a problem on the other S-outs.

    Denon reliability is quite good, actually and I find the sound rather neutral and business like.

    Yamaha is kinda bright but the latest models are less so.

    Pioneer depends on what model you're talking about---Elite or standard.

    Now I'm sure there's someone out there running the Def Techs with something from any and all of these manufacturers and thinks it's the cat's meow. Go audition the models you're interested in. It's the only way to know for sure.
     
  3. JeffHayes

    JeffHayes Stunt Coordinator

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    Steve,

    I own a Marantz SR-8000 receiver that I use as the main component in my family room theater which is mainly used for everyday TV and also controls all the in-ceiling and patio speakers via it's second zone output. When I first bought the Marantz I was using my Paradigm Studio 40s, Studio CC and ADP-450s with it and it sounded awesome with music and incredible with movies. I had people over at our condo that were actually pissed off that the separates that they bought didn't sound as good as my receiver. I will ALSO echo the comment about the S-Video monitor output... it sucks. Plenty of us have been in contact with Marantz and they are supposedly fixing alot of the issues with the x200 series of stuff... too bad mine is an x000 series so I am sure they most likely won't even look into for me.

    Since we moved into the new house, the SR-8000 is providing audio to my (5) Niles AT8200 in wall speakers, (6) Niles HD800 in-ceiling speakers and my pair of Niles OS-20 outdoor speakers on the patio... they sound great and my installer (who doesn't sell Marantz or Niles) actually asked if he could bring over his Denon 3801 and hook it up to my stuff he was so impressed with the sound.

    As for the other brands, I can't really say... I am thinking about pulling the trigger on the Pioneer Elite 49TX... too bad I don't have a dealer around me that sells both Paradigm and Pioneer Elite or I would audition this combo first.

    Best of luck in making your decision.

    Later,

    Jeff in Houston
     
  4. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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    Steve, make sure that your PM's are fully broken in. Keep the tweeters away from any object close by (if next to a tv, keep the speakers slightly in front of the tv). Decreasing the toe in will also reduce the brightness. Also make sure that your cables are not cluttered or coiled (wrap excess cable in a nonoverlapping snaking "s" pattern). Finally, if you still are not satisfied, try some different cables and/or cd players. These speakers are very revealing, and you should notice differences when using different receivers, different cables, and different cd players. The DT's are fairly neutral in nature.

    I am partial towards Yamaha with DT...almost everyone I know who has this combination just loves it. Also, Yamaha is top-notch in terms of reliability.

    Otherwise, if you could listen to these speakers (preferrably at home) with different receivers, you will get a good idea about what matches best with them. I know of DT users who have had good results using Yamaha, Marantz, Onkyo, Denon, etc.

    Good luck!
     
  5. MatthewJ S

    MatthewJ S Supporting Actor

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    I sell Yamaha and Denon and though I carry pioneer elite, I don't often recommend it ...I'm afraid to go into the reasons because I don't want to start a war, let me just say that this is merely the opinion of someone in the top 3% of salespeople in a large mid-fi retail chain...as for Denon, I have owned and loved their products, but have been less convinced of their reliability of late...Yamaha's new rcvrs 1200,2200,3200 have impressed me with their amp sections as well as their feature set...As for Marantz ,I have always thought they had a nice sound but I don't sell them (yet) so I am not as familiar with others but there have been many discusions re. reliability issues of late, I hope that the merger will sort out all the issues w/ Denon and Marantz......
     
  6. Steve & Karen

    Steve & Karen Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks to all who have chimed in so far...

    ...I should mention that my price range is $400-800 (wide but definitely under
     
  7. Earl Simpson

    Earl Simpson Supporting Actor

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    3802 can be had for $770. 2200 should work for you also.
     
  8. Steve & Karen

    Steve & Karen Stunt Coordinator

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    with all the 2-way comparison of receivers threads running, I was hoping to put it all together with this one... c'mon... any opiions on the Marantz vs Yamaha vs. Denon vs. Onkyo vs. Pioneer (non-elite)....?
     
  9. Elbert Lee

    Elbert Lee Supporting Actor

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    It's somewhat difficult to do an exact comparison without a gudget guide. I've had extensive and limited experience with Pioneer (elite and non-elite), Yamaha ($400-800 models as well as its DSP-A1 and RXV-1), Onkyo ($800-$1700 receivers), Marantz ($800 and up), and most of the Denons from the 28K models- 5800)

    Personally, I like Denon because of what they TRY to do. They are founded on audiophile principals and a I like the fact that they try to incorporate the latest surround formats, THX certs, etc.... Whether the consumer feels that these are important, I can't say, but it's more or less in line with what I look for when deciding on a "favorite" brand.

    I've owned several Yamaha receivers and have never been impressed with their lower models. (Power and sound). DSP modes don't interest me, but their quality is good and they are usually free of bugs and quirks. When Dolby Digital was new, the Yamaha was daring enough to attempt to market a $1800 receiver and I applauded them for that. 3090 was quite a piece of work and when there was quirk in the unit, Yamaha sent TECHS to every customer's residence to fix it. EXCELLENT Service. However, I believe that they have fallen behind Denon, Onkyo, Marantz in the high end receiver market - SOUND from their DSP-A1 and RXV-1 is very smooth, mids are very warm, but I think it lacks the "sparkle" at the top end and are a notch below Denon, Onkyo and Marantz in transparency. I would classify Yamaha as the "Safe" sound, catering to Home Theater Magazine reviewers who absolutely love SMOOTH sound and label anything somewhat bright as "harsh" - (The reviewer likes his highs to be rolled off)

    Onkyo - I don't have a lot of experience with Onkyo, but their $1000 receivers were similar with the Denon $1000 3801 and offers a 2 year warranty as opposed to Denon's 1 year. I actually demoed both with a friend that wanted to power her NHT VT1.2 speakers and I have to admit that the Onkyo sounded better than the 3801 as the NHT's were somewhat bright with the Denon. However, Denon's 3802 did sound sonically different than the 3801, but I understand that they are being manufactured in Malaysia and some people have complained about transformer noise. I would call it a toss up between both of these brands in the $1000 range. Since I have a better relationship with a Denon dealer, I would just go with Denon.

    Marantz - Excellent sound across the board. their lower end and higher end models are consistent and are priced accordingly. While other brands fluctuate in quality/sound/"bugs" depending on the model place of manufacture, Marantz has proven to be fairly consistent.

    However, when it comes to price, one ends up paying more. In the $3000+ receiver category, I personally don't think that Marantz can compete since they offer less on paper for the $$$. I believe Marantz learned this since the Denon 5800 arguably the current overall leader in the flgaship receiver category ($4500 for the Marantz that offers less power and channels of amplification as well as surround formats makes it a tough sell since nobody really claims that it sounds any better than the Denon or B&K) Marantz rebounded with a less expensive model, but it's kind of too late since Denon is a step ahead of them with the new flagship.. Hopefully their merger will help both of them utlize their mutual strengths to build even better products.

    Pioneer Elite - Never cared for them. Mosfet power, THX certified - never quite aspiring for the typical "audiophile" sonic characters. Solid performer and offers a comprehensive package for J6P that wants a good looking, solid receiver and is user friendly (I don't find it so). I find the sound somewhat dull and harsh when pushed to higher volumes, but pretty dynamic on movie soundtracks. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them as a good value to well-off, non discriminating friends and family members, but not for semi-serious to die-hard HT and audio hobbyists. I believe that you'll find most dealers/salesperson will have the same opinion of the Elites and Pioneer receivers in general. If you wait for the right moment, you might even be able to obtain an outgoing "B STOCK" Elite Model marked down to around 40% of retails, which is telling about the product.....

    Sorry to ramble...but this is purely MY prospective based on industry impressions from people I've encountered in the forums, interaction with local dealers, and my own listening experience. There isn't any one way to go as each brand has an edge over the other in one category or another. It would be really difficult for me to decide since I would go almost entirely on features and build quality in the $1000 and below range and be EXTREMELY critical of all aspects of performance in the $2000+ category..

    Elbert
     
  10. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Steve and Karen,

    Why no H/K? The 520 is superb and has all the power and clean sound any sane person could use in a normal listening space. If not you could grab a 7000 on big discount. Musically I rate H/K with Marantz...that's why I own two...the 510 and 310.

    Is there a reason why Harman was left out of the mix?

    Curious in Gaithersburg
     
  11. Jon Teddlie

    Jon Teddlie Stunt Coordinator

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  12. Elbert Lee

    Elbert Lee Supporting Actor

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    Jon - No offense. I didn't mean to imply to that Pioneer Elite owners don't have critical ears, but Pioneer Elite was a brand that I would have recommend to my personal non-HT friends who want solid, good looking equipment to use and don't plan to make a hobby of it.

    I was referring to the older Elites. I have heard the 49tx and it is indeed a sigificant jump over the outgoing model. I would have liked to see a bit more amplifier power in the unit to see just how much better it is, because as of now, I really can't say it sounds better than the Denon 5800. I will be trying both of them with outboard amps next week so I can see which preamp is better.

    I am a little bit brand-biased at this stage. If the 49tx is truly an "audiophiles" HT receiver, it might take some time for Pioneer to estblish its reputation in this area. It took Denon and Marantz a few rounds and its disputable as to whether Yamaha has truly reached this level.

    Being a big believer in AC power, the B&K 307 amp section is the most robust and produces the warmest and fullest sound of all of the $3k+ receivers. Features aside, I've had problems with a couple B&K units and, for some reason, I can't get rid of certain transformer noises from the unit.

    My post may sound like a statement of fact, but it's simply a conglomerate of my opinion on each brand, my perception of how they are viewed by some trade magazines, local CE dealers, and opinions from other enthusiasts. I will keep an open mind on the new Pioneer and, like i stated before, will be taking it home next week to try it out for about 2 weeks. I hope that I will be pleasantly surprised.

    Elbert
     
  13. Steve & Karen

    Steve & Karen Stunt Coordinator

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    RE: Why no H/K? Curious in Gaithersburg

    Actually I was all set to get the H/K 320, when I discovered that it might/would not handle the Def Tech PowerMonitor 700s that I was planning for which are rated at "4-8 ohm." Apprarently the H/K x20 AVR line are not true high current (unlike most of the others) and will go into protective shutdown at anything
     
  14. Camp

    Camp Cinematographer

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    I have a DefTech based system powered by the H/K AVR-7000 and like what I hear. My BP-2000tl's and BP-30's (rears)utilize the same tweater and same cast-basket mid-range drivers (though larger) as your PowerMonitors.

    Many people characterize DefTechs as "bright" or speakers. I've simply never understood this. I consider my h/k and DefTech combo to be a very neutral sounding system.
     
  15. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Steve,

    The Sherwood Newcastle receivers can handle a 4-ohm load all day long. They're definitely worth looking into. Great 2-channel audio sound quality.

    Brian
     
  16. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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    Camp, I fully agree with you. The DT's seem to be neutral in nature to me. DT actually uses some very interesting technology with their tweeters. From DT's site: The magnetic fluid-cooled moving-coil pure aluminum dome tweeters Definitive developed for the bipolar power towers are of a unique design that synergistically brings together the performance advantages of metal domes (greater clarity) and soft domes (smoother sound and better dampening) in one state-of-the-art tweeter design. The pure aluminum dome is specially annealed (to "relax" the crystal structure) and acoustically loaded by a precisely configured acoustic phase plug/lens (to assure perfectly controlled, absolutely linear movement). In addition, the unique silk surround provides better dampening and wave termination.
     
  17. Steve & Karen

    Steve & Karen Stunt Coordinator

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    I belive that the H/K 7000 is quire different from the H/K x20 line, so perhaps it has no problem with the
     
  18. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
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    I to am looking to upgrade my receiver and currently am running a Yamaha RV-X995. I have be very happy with the Yamaha and it has good sound for music and ht. As far as the entire Yamaha vs Denon vs Marantz vs Pioneer thing. Denon makes a very nice receiver and there uper lines have more flexability than most other receivers. And unless it has changed Yamaha and Denon are made by the same people, ie Nippon Electric. Marantz used to be on of the best music receiver in the day. Marantz seems to be making a come back and has a nice receiver. Pioneer has there basic model and there Elite model. I personally do not care for the Pioneer receiver at all. Some people seem to get offended over this. Choosing a receiver is mostly personal preferance and choosing one that has the options you like. Depending on your budget you might want to look at B&K, Rotel, Denon, Yamaha, and Marantz. I am currently am looking at the Denon and the B&K for a 6.1 system to handle DVD-V, DVD-A and SACD. I suggest take your favorite movies and cd's and listen to them on a bunch of receivers and pick what sounds good to you.
     
  19. Ken Custodio

    Ken Custodio Second Unit

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    I just bought a Denon 4802 yesterday, and I am no way near finished calibrating it and adjusting all the settings and it sounds incredible already. I have been looking and demo'ing receivers for a few months now, and I looked at the Denon, Yamaha and Onkyo. The yamaha I listened to was paired with Klipsch speakers, which I don't think was the best choice, but it sounded remarkably well. But the yamaha was slightly behind Onkyo and Denon in terms of sound in my opinion. I suppose I was leaning towards the denon because that is the one I heard with my speakers Paradigm Monitor 9's. And the Denon had more of the features I was looking for. The only drawback I saw was there were no front av inputs for easy access, but there are MORE than enough on the back. There is an un-godly amount of inputs on the back.

    Ken
     
  20. Lyle_JP

    Lyle_JP Screenwriter

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    Of the current generation of receivers, the ONLY one I can even consider is the Pioneer Elite, because (as far as I know) it's the only one that still provides an AC-3 RF input for Dolby Digital sound from laserdisc sources. Outboard RF Demodulators are as rare as hen's teeth now, and Denon, Onkyo, Yamaha, and Marantz seem to have dropped their support for AC-3 RF (at least, as far as I can tell from their websites).

    Please correct me if I'm wrong. Do any current Marantz, Denon, Onkyo, or Yamaha receivers support Dolby Digital from laserdisc sources?

    -Lyle J.P.
     

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