Torn between Onkyo and Pioneer...

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Greg-ST, Apr 4, 2004.

  1. Greg-ST

    Greg-ST Stunt Coordinator

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    As the thread title says, I'm a bit torn between some receivers from these two companies. Specifically I'm debating between Onkyo's TX-SR501, TX-SR601 (maybe), Pioneer's VSX-D812K, VSX-D912K (another maybe), and their newly released VSX-D814K. My budget's around $300 but staying under that figure would be nice.

    The reason I'm torn is because of all the mixed reviews I've seen. I tend to do as much research as I can before plunking down the cash for something like this. However, I can't seem to decide on which one would suit me best. Right now I have a Kenwood receiver (VR-615) that's rated at 100x6. I'm sure it's pretty overrated though in that regard. Right now it powers all five of my JBL speakers (JBL NSP1II) and partially powers my suboowfer (Dayton 10"). It works pretty well, at least for my 10'x12' room. What I want out of an upgrade is better sound and better power (more of it and cleaner).

    What I'm reading is that the Onkyo's are somewhat conservatively rated and can often output a little more than their rating when asked to. Supposedly they should sound pretty good as well. The Pioneer's are rated much higher and should be able to ouput at least near that rating. CNET seems to like the Pioneer's over the Onkyo's. Whatever I get it's going to need room for future upgrades and possibly a larger space. Honestly, I think I'm leaning the most toward the VSX-D814K. It's got the same power as the 812 but it also includes 192KHz/24-bit DAC's instead of 96KHz/24-bit.

    If anyone wants to chime in with suggestions or advice I'd greatly appreciate it!
     
  2. ChadLB

    ChadLB Screenwriter

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    Quick advice:
    Onkyo's mentioned don't have pre-outs...in case in the future you want to add a 2/3/4 channel amp.
    The Onkyo also doesn't have MCACC though you could use a SPL meter and DVE,AVIA, or S&V to fine tune your setup.
    Whereas the Pioneers have pre-outs, Auto MCACC(912/914), better remote.
    If it was me buying between the ones you mentioned I think I would go for the Pioneer. If you can still get it get the 912 over the 812/814. Why, because it has the Auto MCACC versus the Manual MCACC that the 800 series has.
     
  3. Chuck_W

    Chuck_W Second Unit

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    i think circuit city has the pioneer 912 on sale for $299 this week....
     
  4. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    The CC flyer in today's Sunday paper does list the Pioneer 912k for $299. It's MCACC only adjusts speaker level and distances--won't do the equalization that the MCACC on the Elite models performs. At that price it's a very good value.
     
  5. Steve Adams

    Steve Adams Second Unit

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    I have an older model pioneer vsx-d810s, I like it alot. You should do yourself a favor and look at Sherwood and sherwood newcastles. in that price range, sherwood is one of the best sounding brands out there.
     
  6. Greg-ST

    Greg-ST Stunt Coordinator

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  7. MikeRP

    MikeRP Supporting Actor

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    Hi!

    I have the Pioneer Elite 41 TX which is just a rebadged Pioneer 811 which is the same as a 912 with auto MCACC.

    I have it in my basement theater. In the Upstairs theater I have the much regarded 45TX. So, I've been able to compare. $1000 bucks versus $300 bucks.

    I truly am impressed with the Pioneer 41 and I think you will like it (912) very well.

    It is not quite as easy to setup as the 45TX but after some looking - it actually isn't too hard - the remote is also very good.

    But, on the other hand, I had a Onkyo 595 which was replaced by the 600 then the 601 and I was very impressed with this receiver although I had it awhile back. The remotes I would rate a wash maybe with the edge going to the Onkyo.

    My vote is for the Pioneer........I just recommended it to a friend and he pruchased it from One Call.

    Good Luck.

    Mike
     
  8. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    Actually, this is not very true. From the readings that I've gone through, the recent Onkyo receivers tend to have a "limiter" on them and are usually good for only about 50 watts of output before invoking this limiter. The tests conducted by Sound and Vision seem to point out that the limiter gets invoked after a few seconds. They've been able to capture power outputs prior to the limiter being invoked, but those outputs don't do much good as the receiver can't deliver them on a continuous basis.

    But, I really think that one needs to focus on more than just power alone. For probably 80 - 90% of our listening needs, we are only using a few watts of power. It's that last 10% when we desire more power when playing music for a party or cranking up a very enjoyable action movie. Considering that the 80 - 90% of the time lower volumes are used, I'd look for the receiver that sounds the best to your ears - regardless of the power it can produce. After you hear something you like, then look at your budget and see if there's anything else in the lineup that might provide a bit more power for you at an acceptable price.
     
  9. SteveAnd

    SteveAnd Extra

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    Do a search on other forums, such as AVS. This is absolutely not true in normal listening conditions.
     
  10. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    I also read the S&V article and even they said the bench test would not likely be encountered in the real world. I have an Onkyo HT-R500 and it has never shut down, even at high volumn. I put their amps in the same class as H/K and Denon and and above most other consumer brands. That said, I think the Pioneer would be a better choice for Greg as he would probably use the features of the 812-814-912 more than the clean power of an Onkyo. I do agree with Wayne that most people don't use all the power a receiver has on a regular basis and I don't think you should either. Running any receiver "full blast" for long periods is just asking for trouble. BTW, I also have an H/K 520, Aiwa DV-75 and had a Pioneer 412 for about an hour and a half. I also spend WAY too much time at the A/V stores! [​IMG] . Gene
     
  11. KellyR

    KellyR Agent

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    I have the 812k (picked it over a comparable Onkyo and Yamaha) and I really enjoy it. I don't know if it was the best decision but I got tired of reading review after review and asking question after question so I leaped and have been very satisfied.
     
  12. Greg-ST

    Greg-ST Stunt Coordinator

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    My mind's set now. I'm definately getting the 912K. Cheapest it can be had online as seen through Pricegrabber.com is nearly $400 with shipping. Circuit City's price of $299.99 (~$320 here with tax) is a really great deal if you ask me. I'm going to try and get it sometime this week.

    Thanks everyone! [​IMG]
     
  13. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    I would go with the Pio just based on sound alone (for my ears). Also the recent Onkyo receivers have been overspecd by a huge margin. I remember reading the latest S&V where the Onk rated for 100W/ch only put out about 50W/ch (with 5 channels driven) before invoking the limiting circuit.

    On a side note you would be surprised on how much power you might need during musical crescendos. On a recent visit to a store that had the latest Monster power amps (with wattage readings for the channels) hooked up to moderately sensitive (89 db I think) Monitor Audio speakers in a fairly large room playing at reference levels, I saw the amps reach for peaks of 500W (for a fraction of a second) during the canon blasts in chapter 1 of Tchaikovsky 1812 overture. Now that kind of musical material is really hard to reproduce faithfully without some serious amplification.

    My 2 green cents.
     
  14. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    Greg,

    Also check out the Web page for the Pioneer 912K at the Circuit City site. Just above the price, it reflects: "$25 Merchandise Card Available." You might want to look into this additional incentive when you purchase the receiver. Spend the $25.00 card on a few DVDs when it arrives. [​IMG]

    Oh, I'm not sure if you purchase the receiver "in-store" whether the $25 card will be offered or not. However, you could purchase the receiver on-line and then pick it up at your local store. If I were you, I'd also print out the Web page for the receiver where it indicates the $25.00 card - just in case the CC folks give you any flack when you get to the store.

    Enjoy! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  15. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    Steve,

    Even better yet, I reviewed the reviews at the Home Cinema Web site, which revealed the following:

    Onkyo 501: 35 watts @ 8 Ohms when 5 channels were driven.
    Onkyo 701: 50 watts @ 8 Ohms when 5 channels were driven.

    On another note, the Pioneer 912 produced 80 watts @ 8 Ohms when 5 channels were driven.
     
  16. Harold Wazzu

    Harold Wazzu Supporting Actor

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    I have had my 912k for about 6 months now. I bought it for $300 from 6ave.com which was a real bargain back then.

    I must say that this is a very well put together receiver. The main differences between this model and the 914k model is the 192/24 DAC and DPL IIx that's it. Plus the 914k doesn't have the front door to hide the fron inputs, which I think adds alot to the look of the receiver.

    This was my first AVR I ever bought so I'm no expert but I think I made a very wise decision.
     
  17. Greg-ST

    Greg-ST Stunt Coordinator

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    Just got back from Circuit City with my new 912K [​IMG] Haven't taken it out of the box yet. I have to remove my old receiver and put it away in the box (along with the rest of the HTiB setup it came with.. ie. Kenwood HTB-205). After that I'll set it up and post later (maybe tomorrow) with my initial impressions.

    Thanks again for the replies!
     
  18. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    Greg,

    Did Circuit City hook you up with a $25 gift card?
     
  19. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    Regardless of what some magazines have printed, I would put the amp section of an Onkyo up against any other consumer brand. I have never heard anyone complain about Onkyo's shutting down or not being powerful enough. Usually just the opposite. And Onkyo isn't my favorite brand either. I much prefer the sound of an H/K. But for the price, Onkyo's are very nice indeed. And Greg, be sure to let us know what you think of the Pioneer. Owners are the best critic's. Gene
     
  20. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Crutchfield's hardcopy catalog (remember that?) is now listing specs for the Onkyo 502. Six channels, rated at 75 Watts per. Has DPLIIx and dts 24/96. No preouts. MSRP $299. Worth mentioning, I thought.

    And not to wave the Onkyo flag (my only piece of Onkyo gear is a ~20 year old DPL receiver which is still going strong, however), but I tend to agree with gene c. Lab testing doesn't necessarily correlate with real-world experience; Sound & Vision admits as much in their testing of the Onkyo.
     

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