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entery level upgrade..


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#1 of 17 OFFLINE   Ben_hunt

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Posted March 04 2003 - 02:37 AM

So like most everyone with an intrest in HT I have caught the up-grade bug. I know that what i am currently using for my setup is very much on the entry level side of things but i still would like to get some feed back about some new equipment. the big draw back for me is funding my project being a 19 year old college student i have some big expenses already. here is a list of my current setup and what i would like to do .

reciever: Sony STR-DE675 -> upgrade to panasonic SA-HE100
DVD Player: Sony DVPNS300 -> panasonic DVD RP56
TV: Sony vega KV32FV27
Speakers:Sony SS-MF600H
Surrounds and Center: Sony SSCR505H
Sub: Sony SA WM40(hand packed with polyfill)
Remote control: sony Rm Av2000-> sony Rm av3000
Cd changer: sony mega store 200disc
Game system : sony playstation 2
VCR: Sony SLV N51
interconnects: Acoustic Research HT PRO

What i am really wanting to know is what everyone thinks about the panasonic reciever and Dvd player(i know that i cant use the progressive scan with my Tv)
for the money the reciver seems like a pretty good deal ($400 Can. at radio shack) and the dvd player is going for $229.
any feedback would great..

#2 of 17 OFFLINE   JamieS

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Posted March 04 2003 - 04:18 AM

I can totally relate to the biudget crunch all though mine if wife realted and not school related.

I am also in Canada so I know what you are looking at radio shack price wise. When I first looked at it I said wow 6 channels at 100 W per pretty good for $400 but then I loked at the specs "100W x 6 (1kHz, 6 ohms, 0.9% THD)"6 ohms is key.

Now contrast this with the specs for a Denon 1403 which while only 5 channel should be available street price for maybe $500 or less. 70 watts per channel into 8 ohms, <.08%THD, 20Hz - 20 kHz • 100-watts per channel into 6 ohms, 1kHz, <.7%THD

Radio Shack is showing the 100 a 6 ohms! The GENERAL way to advertise is at 8 ohms (which most speakers are 8 ohm). Also look at the distortion .9 THD is not good. I would be surprised if it made more than 70 W at 8ohm. The specs are very misleading if you don't know waht to look at.

Future shop has the Yamaha HTR 5540 on for $399 right now. It makes 75 W X 5 (at 8 ohms!) This would be a far better peice of gear for the dollar.I'd either go for Yamaha or if you can go a few dollars over budget a Denon 1403. The ohther route would be to check your local shops for "trade ins" or go used. I think you will be much better off in the long run with any of these rather than the radio Shack receiver.

As for the DVD if you can't use the progessive scan and you have a separate CD player I don't see a reason to upgrade unless your current player has "issues" won't play MP3 locks up etc. If it works OK save the $ until you either get a HD tv and then get the progressive scan or save the money and put it towards future speaker upgrades (which would probably give you more bang for your buck.

Just my 2 cents

#3 of 17 OFFLINE   Ben_hunt

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Posted March 04 2003 - 05:16 AM

Jamie i did some checking and some power calculations and this is what i found..

the panasonic has 100W into 6 ohms. which is equivilent to
75W into 8 ohms..(ohms law)

these are the specs for the denon 1403
70 watts per channel into 8 ohms, <.08%THD, 20Hz - 20 kHz • 100-watts per channel into 6 ohms, 1kHz, <.7%THD
(the THD is less at 8 ohms because the resistance is higher and less current is getting through the processor. you can see it jump to 0.7% when running the denon at 6ohms)

here are the ones for the panasonic
100W x 6 (1kHz, 6 ohms, 0.9% THD)
75W x 6(1kHz,8 ohms, 0.0675% THD)
the only real difference that i can see is that the panasonic has 0.2% higher THD @6 ohms.which doesnt really matter because im gonna be running it at 8ohms any ways.

and it has DTS-ES and DD-EX, A/B speakerselection, component and s-video switching and 4 digital inputs(3 optical 1 coax)the only real draw back that i have found is that the speaker outputs for the b speakers and all of the surounds are push ports and not binding posts.

Vs. the Denon which has composite video switching and 2 digital inputs (1 optical i coax)

Both the Denon and the panny run at a 24 bit /96kHz DACs

thaks for the input tho.

#4 of 17 OFFLINE   JamieS

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Posted March 04 2003 - 06:40 AM

Wow you are a lot better at math than me. It sure does have more features than the Denon and Yamaha too. I guess I was a little Wary of it because of the fact that they "advertise" it as a 100W performer when really it is a 75 Watt performer. Personally I think there is a differnce with better brand (at least in that price range) as far as sound quality, build quality and making the rated power. Pioneer and Sony don't make good (quality) cheap recievers but their high end stuff is great. It sounds like features are pretty important to you so the RS sounds like a better match for your needs.

By the way I'd think twice about using the component switching on either (run the DVD direct to the TV) I do not think the Denon RS or any low end reciever has the high bandwidth necessary to avoid losing quality (I could be wrong though you seem more technically inclined than I am but check it out.

#5 of 17 OFFLINE   JeremyFr

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Posted March 04 2003 - 08:21 AM

The only component Video Source you have to worry about with bandwidth on a reciever is HD really, almost any reciever with component switching will have more than ample bandwidth for normal DVD usage as it is not nearly as much required for HD sources.
For those of you who know your job is to teach.
For those of you who dont know your job is to learn.

#6 of 17 OFFLINE   Adam.Gonsman

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Posted March 04 2003 - 08:31 AM

One thing I would be warry of is any receiver that only rates it's amps for wattage and thd at 1khz. In this pricerange, probably none of the receivers will be willing to post specs across the board (20-20k) for all speakers loads. But at least the denon is willing to give a full band rating for an 8ohm and it's more or less on par with the panny's 1khz rating. This is an indication that the Denon will will be more musically accurate. But this, as you pointed out is at the expense of other features that they Panny has.

I'm not a fan of denon, but I think I would buy it before the panasonic if for nothing but it's amps look much cleaner on paper. To me, clean sound is the most important things. Fancy processing and the latest gizmos and technology come second. Of course, an actual listening should be given to both to make the final decision of which sounds better.

It still comes down to you get what you pay for. If the panasonic has more features, you know they're cutting costs somewhere and here it looks like the amps are part of the cut. You may or may not notice. A lot depends on your ears and your speakers.

And if you can't tell the difference in amps, or you don't care as much compared to the difference in features, get the panasonic. Trouble is, at this pricerange, there's a lot of trade offs and you have to pick and choose which aspects are more inportant to you. For me, it would be accuracy, for you it may be the latest sound formats. Just thought I'd throw this in for you to think about though.

#7 of 17 OFFLINE   AaronJB

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Posted March 04 2003 - 09:49 AM

I have the Panasonic and am thrilled with it. Many seem to be skeptical of its low price and the Panasonic name, but the aspects where the receiver cuts corners is the remote and the fact that it has spring clips to hook up surrounds & center. Features are terrific, sound is excellent.

Sound & Vision rating below:

http://www.soundandv....aid,190,00.asp
Aaron
Webmaster,A Guide To Current DVD
http://www.currentfi...m/dvdindex.html

#8 of 17 OFFLINE   JamieS

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Posted March 04 2003 - 11:55 PM

Aaron JB OUTSTANDING link. Even gives power rating with 1,5 and 6 channels driven. Sounds like a lot of features for the money.

#9 of 17 OFFLINE   Ben_hunt

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Posted March 05 2003 - 02:44 AM

thanks for all of the feed back guys now i just have to finance the endeavor.

cheers
ben

#10 of 17 OFFLINE   John-Miles

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Posted March 05 2003 - 02:53 AM

Honestly I would not upgrade if i were you. I recently upgraded, and well hoenstly it seems like you are upgrading for the sake of upgrading... i dont get it, I am sure you will get marginally better performance but myself I went from a Sony STR-DE445 ----> Yamaha RX-V1300 yes it cost me a bundle, but it was well worth it, now i wont ahve the upgrade bug again for a while, and i replaced my PS2 as a dvd player with a Yamaha S2300. Again i will not need or want to upgrade again for a while, because i spent significantly more on the new gear than i did on the old gear. the upgrades you are looking at are not much more expensive, and not much newer so it seems to me like you are paying 600+ dollars for a 50$ imporvement, will you notice an improvement int hat gear to justify 600-700 dollars? i doubt it, it just seems like you are upgrading for the sake of upgrading, personally i would save a bit more and significantly upgrade one piece of equipment, what you have now is not that old nor is it terribly inferior to the upgrades you are considering.
Cheers

John

#11 of 17 OFFLINE   BrianAe

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Posted March 05 2003 - 09:57 AM

I think John might have a good point. I don't know much about your current reciever, but if it can do dolby digital 5.1 surround then I would save to upgrade your speakers first. I think that might have the biggest impact.

#12 of 17 OFFLINE   Adam.Gonsman

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Posted March 05 2003 - 10:46 AM

Ben,
I feel your pain for the budget crunch. I bought my Sony DB930 receiver the beginning of my sophomore year of college and I've been dumping bigger and bigger bucks since. Posted Image

I'm gonna fall in line here with John and Brian and say if you aren't bent on upgrading the reciever, that speakers would be a much better investment. Especially at the price point you're looking for electronics, new sound formats and processing percolate down from the upper models very quickly. So there will always be a receiver out there with more features than yours. The question you need to ask is if these are features that you need or can hear. This is why I first brought up the issue about the denon amps and the panny amps.

As far as sound processing formats and stuff go, most movies still seem to be apearing mainly in 5.1. Some of the big budget productions are doing 6.1 in some format or another, but keep in mind that means an extra speaker (or 2) to take advantage of even with a reciever that can handle it. You probably can't handle DTS with your current receiver, but unless you're ordering some of the ultra special editions of movies, they all have a DD soundtrack also.

For this reason, if you are determined to upgrade to another receiver, you would probably do much better to pick up a much higher end used model. Depending on what you get, you may lack some sound formats, but you will have far superior build quality as well as far more numerous inputs. This also brings with it much better amps (very important) as well.

And like Jamie mentioned, I wouldn't be super anxious to upgrade your DVD player either. As long as it has digital out and your receiver digital in, that's really all you need. You said yourself you can't make use of progressive scan right now and till you get around to getting a tv that can, you'll get a much better dvd player for your money since they keep getting cheaper all the time.

#13 of 17 OFFLINE   BrianAe

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Posted March 05 2003 - 10:59 AM

I think John might have a good point. I don't know much about your current reciever, but if it can do dolby digital 5.1 surround then I would save to upgrade your speakers first. I think that might have the biggest impact.

#14 of 17 OFFLINE   Ben_hunt

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Posted March 05 2003 - 04:45 PM

you might have a good point i was looking at some B&W DM602.5 S3's and they were rocking really well. because most of my usage is music and then about 25% DVD i might look to speakers first as the majority seem to agree. But i do have a small problem with my current reciver.

It seems as though the rear speakers are being driven during 2 channel usage (that really light hiss) and i am wondering if the internals might have been dammaged due to my sub being to close to the reciever. could this be a problem?

Thanks for taking the time to reply guys this really opened up my eyes

ben

#15 of 17 OFFLINE   BrianAe

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Posted March 06 2003 - 04:12 AM

I doubt that having your sub close to your reciever is causing this problem. Some recievers cause a small hiss no matter what, other times it could be caused by something else. There were reports of something about the grounding of cable TV as a cause for hiss. I'd experiment and see if you can find the cause or if it is inaudible from less than 1 or 2 feet just don't worry about it. Also, check your speaker wire connections to make sure they are good. Good luck.

#16 of 17 OFFLINE   Gianni

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Posted March 06 2003 - 05:16 AM

I too would strongly suggest that the receiver upgrade is not the best move. You would be much happier by waiting and
making a more significant jump in price and quality. In my opinion the Panasonic would be a laterel move in the grand scheme of things.

I too feel that you should concentrate on the speakers first.

#17 of 17 OFFLINE   Adam.Gonsman

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Posted March 06 2003 - 06:00 AM

Ben,
There is probably nothing wrong with your receiver. Sony's are known (at least among the audio people I know personally) for not having particularly clean amps till you hit the full ES line. I say full cause the STR-DB930 sitting in my closet is supposed to be ES in the power supply and the front amps and even in two channel music, I get some hiss starting at mid volume. As well, nearly all amps will have this to some degree if you turn them up far enough.

Also, speaker cabling, the type and also what it's run near can effect this. Try to avoid running the wires near any large AC power concentrations like the powerstrip that all your equipment plugs into. Things like that are great souces of RF interference.

[edited to clarify]
Since you hear a hiss [on the surrounds] even during two channel music, I would ask a couple of questions. Does the hiss get louder as you turn the volume up? If yes, then it's more likely something that your receiver is doing (this still doesn't mean it's misbehaving). If it doesn't, then it's more likely interference across your speaker wires. I would especially lean this direction is you have very small/sensitive speakers.

I hate to be thought of as peddling snake oil, but I found with my Sony (since for me it was the receiver's fault) that buying a so-called line conditioner like one of those little Monster Power strips that supposedly filters and level out the power for you equipment helped the problem slightly too. This wasn't a "my music sounds warmer or fuller" thing. This was an "I could turn the volume up about 10% further before I could hear a hiss from the speakers" thing.

The big question is whether you can hear the hissing when you're sitting in your seat listening to the music. Hopefully not the case.