Onkyo/Denon - who designs this junk?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by robert bartsch, May 12, 2008.

  1. robert bartsch

    robert bartsch Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a two Denons and an Onkyo receiver. I can't use any of them without referring to hunded page manuals.

    There is no reason to design products so consumers are unable to use them.

    Unfortunately, this has become the norm today.
     
  2. chuckg

    chuckg Supporting Actor

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    Oftentimes, the push to include features (just to sell a product) leads to a mishmash of nightmarish proportion. In this case, the produc is not so much "designed" as it is "jammed together." I once had an Aiwa receiver (don't laugh at me, it was free) that was clearly intended to cause derangement, and result in the utter demolition of the device, possibly in the hopes of selling another to unwitting purchasers. Performing even simple tasks was achieved in two entirely different ways depending whether one was at the front panel, or using the remote.

    But I had never heard before of Denon and Onkyo being included in this camp. Let us know what is throwing you off, and perhaps we can suggest a simpler way to handle it.
     
  3. CraigF

    CraigF Cinematographer

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    It is true the current Onkyo manuals are quite terrible. I am not familiar with the current Denon ones, but since a Denon AVR is near the top of my list for next purchase, I'll pay good attention. I am harder to fool these days, so I may not appreciate how lacking some are. It's the poor organisation I tend to notice. The worst manual I've ever had was for a Panny DVDP, complete but hard to find stuff.

    This is not a new phenomenon, AVR manuals have required very careful and attentive reading for about the last 10 years or so, pretty much ever since they started having numerous surround modes and bunches of digital inputs.

    You'll survive. However, if we remember most people couldn't program a VCR, it doesn't look good for them beyond a basic setup...

    My personal wish would be to have the manuals in (updateable) firmware (second choice would be on DVD) that I could view on the system display while I'm fiddling. With links I could click on...again, it's the poor organisation of the printed manuals I have a beef with.
     
  4. pink

    pink Stunt Coordinator

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    denon and onkyo is one company Osaka DENki ONkyo.
    I have to agree with you, it is junk...
     
  5. CraigF

    CraigF Cinematographer

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    ^ And I'm pretty sure they don't even design their AVRs, farmed out to a contract design firm (Etonics??...I forget the name...). But that doesn't address their manuals, necessarily. As a person who has written many technical manuals, I can tell if a manual was written by a "designer", or a "user", at least when it comes to the more complicated parts. Designers fail to mention many important facts, because they're "obvious" (right?). Even worse is when the manual editor is more of a marketer than an info-giver...way too much emphasis on simplifying and touting. Bottom line is the manuals often get short shrift when product $$ are allocated.
     
  6. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    I've always felt that Onkyo receivers were fairly user friendly compared to some other brands I've used (I haven't much experience with Denon). I always make a point to revisit a manual in it's entirety about a month or so after the purchase. Things that seemed a bit confusing at first are much clearer after a little time and some "hands on" experience. Besides, I don't really care about the manuals. I wish they'ed design the d*mn receivers better. You know, with the stuff I want in them [​IMG] .My first true avr was an Aiwa DV-75. Go ahead and laugh. I paid for it! ($199) [​IMG]
     
  7. Ed Moxley

    Ed Moxley Cinematographer

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    I have found Denon receivers to be very good gear. No hands on experience with Onkyo. Denon manuals are intimidating to people that know very little to start with. But if you know a little bit already, and read carefully the stuff you're not so familiar with, it's usually not that hard to figure out. I have setup two different Denon systems, for people, and never had to look in the manual at all, during the setups. I looked through them afterward, just out of curiosity.

    The one thing I do hate about a Denon receiver, is their remote! The remotes can be a nightmare to learn, for newbies. I would suggest that newbies that buy a Denon receiver, also buy a Harmony remote. It will make your life much easier, for day to day use. Especially for your wife or girlfriend. It won't help in the setup though.
     
  8. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    I concur with Ed. I've owned and setup both Denon and Onkyo, and never had any problem with either the manuals or the setups. I've got a technical background, so I've read much, much worse than the average receiver manual when it comes to tech literature.

    . . . and Denon remotes are horrible.
     
  9. dan-0

    dan-0 Stunt Coordinator

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    Maybe time for Home-Theatre-in-a-Box?
     
  10. CraigF

    CraigF Cinematographer

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    Well, I think most people have missed the OP's point: he needs the manual! It doesn't help much by saying the manuals are just fine because you never use them or don't need them...

    You have to remember that *most* people here are hardly typical of the public at large when it comes to this stuff. And the OP, who's a new member, probably shouldn't have called Denon and Onkyo junk as a title. If he's totally new to this, then he must understand these are complicated pieces of equipment, not a toaster, so he may just have to find out a little more before writing them off as unusable.

    I know lots of people never read the manuals, that's why help desks treat you like a moron, and probably why relatively little effort/$$ is typically put into the manuals to start with (for those who need them).
     
  11. Ed Moxley

    Ed Moxley Cinematographer

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    I have found that most people that need the manuals, don't read the manual. They skim through it, hoping that what they are stuck on, will jump out at them. It doesn't work that way, usually. Most manuals for anything, including that toaster, will tell you to read the whole manual, before you start to do anything. Most people are in too big of a hurry to do that. I don't know the OP personally, so I don't know if he falls into this category or not. I read every word in the manual, for my first A/V receiver, and things went pretty easy for me, even though I knew absolutely nothing.

    When you know nothing to start with, you're going to be tweaking things back and forth, for awhile. This is when you really learn what you're doing. It's not something that's going to happen overnight. I know enough now, that I'm pretty comfortable setting up all brands of equipment. Since some brands are more complicated than others, I did have to refer to a manual for a new JVC digital receiver, to assign an input to the DirecTv receiver. It assigned different from anything else I had ever done. Even with the manual, it took me awhile of messing with it, before I finally got it. I have always liked the ease of setting up Denons. They have always been pretty self explanatory, in the OSD.

    I've found it easier to setup a system, than to try and explain to someone else, how to do it. Maybe that's the problem with the manual writers too. I'm also a very slow typist, and that doesn't help, when trying to help someone. I had to go back to one guy's house three times, because he pushed a wrong button, and couldn't get it back to where it was. Even though manuals aren't the easiest to understand at times, they will get you setup right, if you take your time and read it like you're supposed to. While reading, if there's something you don't understand, read it over and over until it sinks in (like learning about adverbs in school). I think people thinks it's so hard to do, that they read more into it, than there really is.

    A friend of mine was given a Denon 3802, because the original owner never could figure out how to set it up and work it with the remote. So he stuck it in his closet, and bought a Sony! When my friend saw it and asked why it was there, the guy just gave it to him. When he saw all the inputs on the back, he said OMG! It intimidated him. I went over and set it up, in about 20-25 minutes, including calibrating the speakers. When he saw how easy it was, he couldn't believe the other guy couldn't ever figure it out. I asked if the other guy ever sat down and read the manual. He said no. He's always in too big of a hurry to do that. So my friend got a $1000 receiver for free! He learned the remote himself, by reading the manual.................
    He recently bought a Harmony 659 remote, to make things even easier. [​IMG]
     
  12. Tralis

    Tralis Extra

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    That's incorrect. Onkyo is a generic term in Japanese meaning "Audio" or "Sound". Onyko is the trade name in the US for the Japanese company "Osaka Onkyo" or Osaka Audio. Denon in an abreviation for "Denki Onkyo" or Denki Audio. It would be like if you argued NBC and ABC are the same company becuase they both have "Broadcasting Corporation" in their name. Both Denon and Onkyo do have subbrands, such as Integra for Onkyo, but they are seperate corporations.
     
  13. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
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    Denon and Onkyo are not part of the same company. Denon is owned by a company called D&M holdings and this company also owns brands like Marantz, McItosh, Snell, Boston Acoustics, Allen & Heath and Escient. Onkyo however I think is just part of two other companies Integra and Integra Research. I may be wrong about Onkyo as I am not sure who owns them. But I am sure about D&M Holdings and Denon has a very good reputation for building good quality equipment.
     
  14. robert bartsch

    robert bartsch Stunt Coordinator

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    I may be new to the Forum but I am not new to audio equipment and Denon in particular since I have owned this brand for >20 years.

    Anyway, I am not alone. For example, one friend who lives nearby will not let others touch his Cable TV remote since he does not know how to "restore" any settings if they get changed by others. Frankly, I do the same when small children are in the house.

    I suppose it would help if the government mandated specs including wires, connectors, and wireless connections and such so average folks could operate TV, receivers, computers, modems etc. (GULP!)

    I have the view that you should not need to refer to a manual to operate electronics. Apparently, I am in the minority, however.
     
  15. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    The government's track record when it comes to creating simple and easy-to-operate systems is not a good one. Filled out a tax return lately?

    Yeah, I know -- that's probably an unfair analogy. But why would you want civil servants specifying the "right" components and connectors for home theater? At the rate government bureaucracy moves, we'd still be using adding machines and watching VHS.

    M.
     
  16. robert bartsch

    robert bartsch Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm a CPA in public practice for 30 years, so it is easy for me to file tax returns.

    Although i'm not a fan of government intervention, clearly consumers would benefit from government mandated standards.
     
  17. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Can I ask what happens to you if you actually open a manual? Do you spontaneously combust? Does it fry the retinas in your eyes? Do your testicles shrink to the size of peas? [​IMG]

    I've never understood the "you should not need to refer to a manual to operate electronics" view. It just seems like so much self-sabotage to me, like refusing to read a map or ask for directions. In my experience, people who stay away from manuals/maps/etc., in order to look smarter than someone who reads them, usually look quite the opposite.

    Personally, one of the first things I do when considering the purchase of a piece of equipment is download the manual. Then I can familiarize myself with a product before I buy it, compare it to other products and learn enough to speed the setup when I finally bring it home.

    Besides, electronics manuals are the best bathroom reading I know. [​IMG]
     
  18. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    It may be easy for you, but surely your experience should have led you to appreciate that government involvement is not automatically the path to simplification and clarity?

    Out of curiosity, what would you say to someone who messed up their tax filing because they refused to read the instructions accompanying IRS forms? Would that be the filer's fault or the government's?

    M.
     
  19. chuckg

    chuckg Supporting Actor

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    If you feel that ordinary, normal, everyday people might need some help filing their tax returns, then might it also make sense that some people may need help with their electronics? You might want to hire someone to set it up for you, and train you how to use the equipment.

    As I noted in my earlier post, the heavy pressure to include numerous (usually useless) features is what makes the electronics so confusing. Way back when, you set the selector knob to "tuner," "tape" or "phono" and adjusted the volume level to suit. Why would it surprise you that 40 or so surround modes, several different types of digital audio, and three times as many speakers would make things a tad more complex?

    As we engineers are fond of saying, "RTFM"
     
  20. robert bartsch

    robert bartsch Stunt Coordinator

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    In the 1970's I considered myself an audiofile reading everything on the topic for years. Back then, I even had some very cool components including a pair of Altec Lansing voice of the theater monitors with 15 inch drivers and cast horns, some vintage Marantz electronics, etc.

    Today, I have more coins and would like to re-establish the hobbie interest but the exerience, so far, has been a tad frustrating. For example, I have been struggling with a Denon 3300 and Klipsch drivers since 1999. The Denon took another dump recently, so I replaced it with an 803 Onkyo 7.1.

    I was expecting the experience to be better this time since technology has moved forward in the last 10 years (???). So far, the set-up has been humbling. None of the processes is intuative to me.

    After reading the manual time and time again, I am at a point where I can get sound out of 5 of 6 drivers (no sub yet) and I am able to turn it on and off. Adjusting stuff that should be simple, like balance controls, or tone controls is intimidating. The remote is virtually useless to me since my listening area is 12 feet from the unit and the text display is too small.

    I bought a high-end media PC that I hope to route into the receiver via HDMI then to the 52" TV but that project will wait until I can complete the "basic" sound system set-up and operate it with some measure of comfort. The HP unit came with 600 pages of manauls in PDF, the first page of which says, Getting Started! YIKES!

    This forum has been helpful so far.
     

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