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is denon the superior musical receiver over hk and pioneer?


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#1 of 93 OFFLINE   Myo K

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Posted May 13 2003 - 08:28 PM

i have never seen anyone here in the forums recommend denon receivers for music listening.

i either see people list hk 525 or the pioneer elite tx45,

so of course i began reading about hk and was happy, and very sure of getting the 525 from good feedback. but now i question the opinions i read here, im wondering if theres an actual bias since most people that post hear own hk and pioneer receviers, and not as many own denon. could this possibly be the reason why hk is often recommended for music?

heres why i began to question the opinion of some of the recomendations. high current/clean power, weight of amps aside, lets forget about all that, forget the specs and actually listen to the detail and sound reproduction of the amplifier/receiver...

i have gotten 3 opinions from 3 music experts that ive come across. and oddly enough out of all three opinions i was told that denon is superior in replaying music over harmon kardon and far superior over what pioneer has to offer. all three have told me that it replicates the sounds in music thats most true to real life music.

who did i ask? all three were/are music majors. i purposely questioned people that had direct professional experience in music. the first was a singer, whos a music major, a pianist and has professionally sung in recordings for years, and currently sings with his college choir, hes even performed with the phil harmonic before, and i seriously trust his judgement in how music should sound since hes been doing it for years, and he recommends denon to me right off the bat. after listeng to to yamaha, hk-325,525 and pioneer elite 45

the second person was a sound engineer, a pianist, singer and works in audio studios, his recommendation? denon.. he told me that it had detail that hk receivers didnt have, i still had a difficult time swallowing this since so many praise the hk 525 online.

the 3rd person, was a worker at my local ht shop, a jazz musician, and another music major, and even though i didnt know him till today, i do know he knows exactly what hes talking about regarding musicality and having a somewhat lengthy discussion with him about overtones in music and such. he told me pioneer wasnt that great for music "even the elite 45" and that hk was about clean power, but didnt create as much detail in music as the denon does... this was exactly what the previous person told me..

that was enough to convince me, 3 music majors all telling me denon was the musical receiver of choice out of hk pioneer denon and any receiver in its price range.

so my question is, rather then just making an assumption about hk being the best musical receiver, how many making the recommendations have history in music, and how many have audtioned only the one unit that was purchased? if you have auditioned multiple units, how did you come about your final decision? this is mainly targeting those that use their home theater set up majorally for music listening yet use it for movies to a much lesser extent.

i have a theory that a lot of votes are for hk and pioneer because they seem to have the largest consumer base. if anyone can provide me a direct answer as to why denon is not a superior choice for musical receivers please give me an answer, if you have extensive background with music that would be even better Posted Image

the reasoning behind this thread is to give a different point of view, i was sincerely going to get the hk 525, but now i will be getting the denon 2803 since i listen to 90 percent pusic and 10 percent movies.


edited as of 5/15/03 i have purposely altered the original thread, i apologize to those who found the original thread as an insult, in no way did i mean to imply any particular persons advice any less worth then the next person and it was not its original intent. In hindsight I regret not posting in a less abrasive manner, so I've edited the post to avoid any more future arguments, once again i apologize.

#2 of 93 OFFLINE   Kevin_R_H

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Posted May 13 2003 - 10:50 PM

Myo,

If you are 90% music, then buy the HT Receiver that is as inexpensive as you can endure. If you are looking to spend $1,500 on a HT Receiver, my advice would be "Don't". This is assuming you don't have unlimited funds.

Save your pennies, and (eventually) buy a 2-channel power amp (and subsequently a stereo preamp) as you can afford them. Along with this, also dedicate more cash to Main Speakers than Center, Rears, and Subwoofer.

This will eventually allow you MUCH higher 2-channel enjoyment, and this 2 channel system will also be the foundation of your Home Theater. Just ensure your cheap HT Receiever has "Pre-Outs", which allows your stereo rig to perform double-duty.

And you wouldn't have overspent on your HT Receiver, whose sole function will be to provide dialog/sounds/effects for DVDs, which isn't a challenging task anyway (same for speakers). And don't forget, when watching movies, your stereo amps will still be powering the Mains, so all this receiver has to do is power the Center and the Rears.

It won't be anywhere in the 2-channel path, as your 2-channel sources will be connected directly into your stereo preamp.

I know it seems this is "an expensive way to go", but for someone who mostly enjoys music, this will eventually be a less-expensive path (for incorporating 2-channel into HT). And, by virtue of its excellence, the stereo portion will also "lift up the sonic capabilities of your entire HT for watching movies".

Disclaimer: if your music listening is all multi-channel, kindly ignore everything I wrote. However, SACD and DVD-A are not "multi-channel only" - most have an "enhanced 2-channel signal".

Good luck,
Kevin

#3 of 93 OFFLINE   CurtisC

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Posted May 14 2003 - 12:15 AM

I have the 3803 and am very happy with its musicality.I listen to 90% music and its better than any others avr's I have owned.

#4 of 93 OFFLINE   Evan M.

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Posted May 14 2003 - 03:15 AM

To start off, I am a musician as well as my wife so I have that experience to back up my opinion. The one thing that somewhat suprises me is that none of these people (from what you said) mentioned anything about speakers. If you ask me speakers will make the single biggest improvement or the oposite effect on the sound. Sure the receiver and amps are important, but without the right speakers than all of that money speant on the amp section is useless. With that said denon and h/k are both fantastic companies. Both are very musical in there own way. I think they are both warmer receivers that show off the midrange a bit more which in turn makes them less fatiguing to listen to. I actually do not prefer this type of sound forever. It tends to bore me. I prefer a more up front sound which live music is all about, whether it be classical, jazz, rock or funk. I actually prefer Yamaha receivers (when it comes to just receivers) because they tend to have more pronounced high ends and low ends without over doing it, especially the newer models. Again this is my opinion. You need to do all of the listening on your own though so you can form your own opinions. Ask us for or anyone for advice all you want but in the end your ears are going to be living with the sound so let them be the deciding factor. I agree with the above poster though. If you want true musical sound eventually you would want to go to separates. Good luck in whatever you choose. There are so many options out there that it can be fun yet stressful at the same time Posted Image.

#5 of 93 OFFLINE   Chris A H

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Posted May 14 2003 - 04:07 AM

I am a musician as well (voice major, currently directing an 80-voice male choir, have produce a few choir CDs) and agree with Even M., a reciever does not a system make.

The sound you hear will vary greatly depending upon the combination of components. When I audition components I used source material I know well from groups I have worked with, so I know what they should sound like.

Last year I did a comparison of receivers (I would like to get seperates but do not have the budget for it) and used the same room with the speakers I currently own using 2-channel source material, then had a friend work the controls so I wouldn't know which one was playing. The outcome: Marantz 7200 best, then Yamaha 2300, then Denon 3802. I did not audition the HK as I could not arrange to get one in the same environment, and it did not have a few features I had to have.

Your mileage may vary, but I would certainly listen to something extensively before you buy it. Gather opinions from those you trust, but buy based upon your own ears.

Good luck.

#6 of 93 OFFLINE   Myo K

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Posted May 14 2003 - 04:30 AM

im heading off to work so i must keep this brief, forgive me for not posting more detailed information previously about my current situation,

im looking for a "cheap" home theater Posted Image

(not to me since i dont make that much money, so it would be considered expensive for me)

i already have speakers, the omni series by mirage,
so im just in the market for a receiver thatll play both music and home theater, a two channel receiver is out of the question since i already purchases 5 speakers and 2 subwoofers. that is why none of the people mentioned in my previous post didnt recommennd speakers to me, because i told them i already had a speaker set and was looking for a receiver. the ht guy hooked up the same speakers i had in his store with a denon and it sounded pretty dang good.

im in the market for a musical receiver that will also have movie capabilities, my price range hovers around the 800 dollar range for a ht receiver.

the only receiver comparable for that price that ive seen recommended by many are the hk 525 and pioneer elite 45

Posted Image
ill be back to post a more thurough reply to the individual posts, when i get back, you input is greatly appreciated! Posted Image thanks for replying

#7 of 93 OFFLINE   CurtisSC

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Posted May 14 2003 - 04:40 AM

Quote:
I did not audition the HK as I could not arrange to get one in the same environment, and it did not have a few features I had to have.

Chris, what features did the H/K 525 lack? I also love the sound of Marantz.

I just bought a 525. The other two receivers in the running were the Marantz SR7300, and the Pioneer 45TX. I would have been happy with any of them...but the pricing to feature ratio on the 525 was hard to beat.

By the way, you can get a refurbed 525, with full warranty from onecall.com for under $600.

CurtisSC not to be confused with CurtisC.....
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#8 of 93 OFFLINE   Adam.Gonsman

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Posted May 14 2003 - 06:30 AM

I think something that bears mentioning is that even people's descriptions of "musical" tend to vary. For some, it means deatailed and very accurate. For others, it means warm and smooth.

A lot of actual musicians tend to favor very detailed, accurate reproduction because it's what they're used to from their own playing. You can't get more accurate than the real instrument. These people often favor yamaha and other "brighter" receivers.

A lot of us though have developed a taste for a warmer, more mellow smooth sound for music. We actually **like** a slight amount of coloration in the sound we hear. I would put HK into this category.

Now, I would wager the majority of us on this board aren't musicians. So it would make sense or at least be reasonable that more of us tend toward the warm buttery side of musical. This would explain why HK seems to get more recomendations than anything else for being "musical." I know I'm guilty of recommending HK for this and I actually prefer a more detailed accurate sound. It's just that it seems most people don't, so when they say musical, I say HK because I tend to assume that's what they want.

All that said, I'm gonna fall in line and doubly agree that speakers have the single largest sonic impact of anything in your system. I would go so far as to say that speakers outright determine the sound of the system. All other components including amps, pre/pro's, receivers, various players, etc can only enhance or hinder that sound set by the speakers.

#9 of 93 OFFLINE   Michael Yung

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Posted May 14 2003 - 07:43 AM

So what if you are a musician? Herbie Hancock does infomercials for Bose! What sounds good is totally subjective. No apologies necessary if you like something everyone else thinks is junk. And good measurement doesn't guarentee good sound.

What I've found in forms like this is that most people ask and give advise purely base on specs and measurement data. Which means nothing. You have to home audition them to hear the difference. Of the receivers you mention, my personal favorit would be H/K. This is based upon my own home audition experience. But the best reciever in your price range I actually think is Marantz. Lots of detail and dynamics.

#10 of 93 OFFLINE   RobWil

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Posted May 14 2003 - 08:04 AM

Quote:
i have gotten 3 opinions from 3 music experts that ive come across. and oddly enough out of all three opinions i was told that denon is superior in replaying music over harmon kardon and far superior over what pioneer has to offer. all three have told me that it replicates the sounds in music thats most true to real life music.


As someone else mentioned, it is not just the receiver that determines the way the end result will sound, but also the speakers and certainly the source player and source media, room acoustics, etc. Even given all of that it would still be subjective enough that no one, expert or not, could give a definitive answer as to whether "A" is the best over "B" and/or "C".
If you ask enough people (like 1000 maybe) for their opinions on which is best musically out of the choices of ,say, Yamaha, Denon or Harman Kardon, I would bet eventually the results would be pretty even. It's like flipping a coin 5 times. It may come up heads all 5 times, but if you flip it 1000 times you will eventually get close to 50/50.
It never fails to amaze me the number of people that ask "what's the best this for $XXX" or "what's the best that for $XXX" when in most cases there really is no best of anything. It doesn't matter whether you're talking about receivers or watches or cars or horses or beer. There are many that are great and possibly those to absolutely avoid, but rarely is their a consensus best of anything.
Also, like Mr. Yung above, I fail to see the significance of an opinion such as this coming from a musician. You certainly don't have to be a musician to know what music does or should sound like.
that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

#11 of 93 OFFLINE   RobWil

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Posted May 14 2003 - 08:11 AM

Quote:
i have never seen anyone here in the forums recommend denon receivers for music listening.

I would have to disagree here also. I have seen denon's being suggested quite often for music.
that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

#12 of 93 OFFLINE   RobWil

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Posted May 14 2003 - 08:18 AM

Quote:
the reasoning behind this thread is to give a different point of view, i was sincerely going to get the hk 525, but now i will be getting the denon 2803 since i listen to 90 percent pusic and 10 percent movies............. but now i question the opinions i read here, im wondering if theres an actual bias since most people that post hear own hk and pioneer receviers, and not as many own denon............ so my question is, rather then just making an assumption about hk being the best musical receiver, how many of you actually only own the hk and allow that to sway your opinion? and how many making the opinions are music professionals?


If you have sources that you feel are better then why are you here? It makes total sense to go out and buy the denon. I mean, gee, three whole people recommended it....what else do you need? Whatever you do don't make your own decision based on research , opinion and auditioning.
that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

#13 of 93 OFFLINE   Angelo.M

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Posted May 14 2003 - 08:37 AM

Look, you can't base your receiver purchase on what anyone tells you, musician or not.

I consider myself a musician, but I would not presume to choose a receiver for you based on this nebulous notion of 'musicality.' In my opinion, receivers have no sound. It's all about your speakers, your room and room treatments and, first and foremost, your brain. That's where the sound is created. This stuff about Marantz being best for music, and H/K being warm, and Onkyo being bright, and Yamaha being detailed and Sony being harsh--those statements aren't worth the paper they're printed on. Yes, there are differences in power and harmonic distortion and other things, but you can't really categorize them as easily as one would believe by reading this board.

You have to like what you hear, period. Who cares what three people think?


#14 of 93 OFFLINE   RobWil

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Posted May 14 2003 - 08:38 AM

Quote:
ill be back to post a more thorough reply to the individual posts, when i get back, you input is greatly appreciated!


First you imply that no one here gives valid information.... that it's based on assumption and bias. Then you say you've made up your mind based on your three music experts and now you want more input from here!?!? Posted Image
I'm sorry, I'm really not trying to flame you...I'm just really confused!
that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

#15 of 93 OFFLINE   EdNichols

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Posted May 14 2003 - 08:38 AM

Where does Onkyo fall in this range? Has anybody compared it with any of the above brands?

#16 of 93 OFFLINE   Adil M

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Posted May 14 2003 - 08:38 AM

I'll say this. Among the "musicians" who shop where I work, half of them think Bose is the Best. I always find that funny.

#17 of 93 OFFLINE   RobWil

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Posted May 14 2003 - 08:52 AM

Quote:
Where does Onkyo fall in this range? Has anybody compared it with any of the above brands?

As far as my system, my room , and my ear is concerned, and, considering the specific models I have auditioned, I like the Onkyo. I had a TX-DS797 for a 30-day audition and had decided to keep it in favor of a Harman Kardon AVR-520 till I felt guilty about spending so much (my wife isn't really into it so it's just my habit I'm feeding!) I found basically the same thing on ebay in the form of an Integra DTR-7 (Onkyo). These Onkyo's are very nice musically, IMO, even though I'm currently playing around with separate amps. I really liked the Harman Kardon too, I just liked this particular Onkyo a little bit better....it was a very close call.
that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

#18 of 93 OFFLINE   Evan M.

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Posted May 14 2003 - 09:05 AM

Hi again, I agree with what everyone is posting on this thread so far but I feel I need to explain something about my post before this gets a bit ugly. And I am speeking for MYSELF not the other musicians who responded to this post, although they may share the same feelings. When I said that I am a musician so that will back up my opinion I think I may have come across a bit snotty. I did not mean it like that at all. I was just shocked that these three musicians that the gentleman who started the post should have mentioned something about speakers first because that just seemed like a no brainer to me having a similar background. I in no way wanted to convey that because I am a musician that my opinion is above everyone elses. The only way that I think my background helps me a bit is that i know how certain instruments sound and what I need to listen for when auditioning stuff for that "natural sound". However the most important thing that many people forget about when doing this, way before speakers and amps, is the actual recording. I don't care if your B.B. King, if you are listening to a bad recording than nothing will (should) sound natural.
Anyway, I just wanted to explain my veiwpoint before this thread veered into the wrong direction. Oh and by the way, if Bose waved thousands (probably more) dollars in front of me, you can be rest assured that I will start "beliveing" that they were as amazing as they say they are!!!!!Posted Image

#19 of 93 OFFLINE   David Judah

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Posted May 14 2003 - 09:22 AM

Any of those brands of receivers you mentioned would be fine for what you want them for. Alot of it is personal taste and feature & connection set.

Quote:
As far as the pioneer elite tx45 goes, I don't remember ever seeing it recommended here

It got alot of posts around the time it was released as do most new receivers here.

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#20 of 93 OFFLINE   Adam.Gonsman

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Posted May 14 2003 - 10:27 AM

Quote:
So what if you are a musician?

I never said or even implied a musician's opinion or preference is "more correct." I simply made a generalized statement that musicians as a group seem to prefer a brighter sound. But this is a generalization and too much shouldn't be read in to it. There are musicians out there that are brainwashed consumers just like the rest of the populace. Hence the reference to Bose. Besides, Herbie advertising for Bose just means they're writing him checks with a lot of zero's. It doesn't mean he really believes Bose sounds good. There are also a lot of rock musicians out there that are so deaf from their own music they couldn't hear the difference between an HK525 and an old Aiwa bookshelf. Musicians, like any other group always have exceptions. I was just stating a trend I noticed, not making a value judgement.

(OK, self defense mode off) :b

Quote:
Look, you can't base your receiver purchase on what anyone tells you, musician or not...You have to like what you hear, period. Who cares what three people think?


And this is the single most important thing that's been said in this whole thread. We can all recommend and condemn brands and specs and preferences till we're blue in the face, but it still holds true that YOU have to pick the receiver that sounds right to your ears with your speakers.

This is why you can come on this forum for advice, but it's only that. There is good advice and bad advice. You need to evaluate it for yourself. In the case of audio, people can suggest brands and use all our different adjectives like bright and warm and smooth and accurate, but they can't subsitute for actually listening. This is why it's sooooo important to demo equipment.

Only problem with this is that we have many readers from all over the world. This means there are some who don't live within a reasonable distance of a dealer where they can demo. Even in the US, there's a huge rural population that doesn't have this option. So we're left with only our adjectives and specs to try and describe to these readers what a peice of equipment sounds like. It's not an ideal situation, but it's better than them buying completely blind.


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