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What Receivers Have the Most Musical Sound, Best Build Quality?


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#1 of 38 OFFLINE   Slade

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Posted January 11 2006 - 02:39 PM

As I've posted, I'm strongly considering a Marantz 8500. I wanted to ask, though, what are some of the most "musical" sounding receivers in the 125 watt range? Also, what receivers seem to have the best build quality, best reliability?

How do Yamaha receivers in this range compare? I'm looking for purity in music. I think I've read that Yamaha receivers tend to have a more "processed" sound? Is this true? How is the build quality and reliability of the Yamahas?

Oh - by the way. Am I under the right impression that Marantz receivers are some of the better quality receivers out there? I do know the 8500 has been out for a while, so I'm not sure if I should wait on a possible 8600...

Thanks!

#2 of 38 OFFLINE   Wayne Ernst

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Posted January 11 2006 - 06:05 PM

Slade,

In my readings, I don't come across too many people complaining about Marantz. Others, to remain nameless, get mentioned quite a bit because of QC issues - or, firmware updates that take a long time to get released.

If you get a chance, you should also listen to the Yamaha receivers. I've never listened to a Yamaha against a Marantz. However, Yamaha does have a pure-direct option where you can bypass any processing to hear the music as it was intended.
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#3 of 38 OFFLINE   MikeNg

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Posted January 11 2006 - 07:12 PM

From a sonic perspective, I prefer HK. It just sounds 'right' to me. However, they tend to run pretty hot and require some amount of ventilation (don't even think about sticking it in a cabinet with other components and closing the door). I'm running a Denon 3806, which is OK to me, but doesn't sound as good as the HK 7300 it replaced. The only HK's I wouldn't get are the DPR series.

I wouldn't worry so much about wattage. I would focus more on whether the amps are of good quality. I've heard good things about the Marantz, but haven't listened to one personally. Let us know what you decide, and how it turns out.

#4 of 38 OFFLINE   John Garcia

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Posted January 12 2006 - 04:06 AM

Take a look at the Arcam AVR250 or 300. Marantz has always been a favorite of mine because of their music performance. I have an 8300 and I'm very pleased with it. Others you might audition would be B&K, and Rotel.
HT: Emotiva UMC-200, Emotiva XPA-3, Carnegie Acoustics CSB-1s + CSC-1, GR Research A/V-1s, Epik Empire, Oppo BDP-105, PS4, PS3,URC R-50, APC-H10, Panamax 5100 Bluejeans Cable
System Two: Marantz PM7200, Pioneer FS52s, Panasonic BD79
(stolen) : Marantz SR-8300, GR Research A/V-2s, Sony SCD-222ES SACD, Panasonic BD-65, PS3 60G (250G)

Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

 


#5 of 38 OFFLINE   mackie

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Posted January 12 2006 - 01:13 PM

The receiver shouldn't make a drastic change in the way your speakers sound. Yamaha, Denon, Marantz, Onkyo all make very good receivers that function similarly in the perspective price ranges. They'll have slightly different features but nothing major that'll make one more musical than another. The receivers will sound differently, but it should be a very minor change in sound since most have a very flat frequency response and decent amplifiers. If you're trying to change your speakers sound by choosing the "most musical receiver" you need to change your speakers.

BTW - what does musical mean? I bet we all have a different idea.

When looking for a receiver, I recommend checking different ones in your price range, audition, evaluate the features that are most important to you and buy the one you can get the best deal on.

#6 of 38 OFFLINE   Wayne Ernst

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Posted January 12 2006 - 02:02 PM

Quote:
BTW - what does musical mean? I bet we all have a different idea.

Very true. I've heard of people referring to the H/K sound as "musical" before. I like H/K, but feel they have a "drier" sound than some other receivers such as Yamaha. In any regard, the time that one spends listening before making a purchase usually pays off in spades.
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#7 of 38 OFFLINE   mackie

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Posted January 12 2006 - 02:45 PM

Quote:
Very true. I've heard of people referring to the H/K sound as "musical" before. I like H/K, but feel they have a "drier" sound than some other receivers such as Yamaha. In any regard, the time that one spends listening before making a purchase usually pays off in spades.


Yeah, I prefer a more neutral sound than aggressive or warm. I feel it's most important to focus on the speaker and then get the receiver or equipment that works with it the best. Some speakers need tons of power while others don't need much. A low power receiver just won't provide whats needed so it won't sound that great while it can sound wonderful with an efficient and sensitive speaker.

Also, if you don't like the way your speaker sounds a receiver won't change that.

#8 of 38 OFFLINE   John Garcia

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Posted January 13 2006 - 04:17 AM

"Musical" may be open to debate, but the fact is, receivers DO influence the sound. Most receivers offer 95% of the same features, so if they all sound the same, there would be no reason to have all those manufacturers competing with eachother at each price point. The differences aren't nearly as dramatic as changing your speakers, but as mackie said, choosing the wrong receiver for your speakers can be a bad thing. I feel one should narrow the choices by features and power, then go listen to those receivers and buy the one that seems to fit. Gotta try out the remote!! I love Marantz, but I hate most of their remotes, even most of the rebadged Prontos.
HT: Emotiva UMC-200, Emotiva XPA-3, Carnegie Acoustics CSB-1s + CSC-1, GR Research A/V-1s, Epik Empire, Oppo BDP-105, PS4, PS3,URC R-50, APC-H10, Panamax 5100 Bluejeans Cable
System Two: Marantz PM7200, Pioneer FS52s, Panasonic BD79
(stolen) : Marantz SR-8300, GR Research A/V-2s, Sony SCD-222ES SACD, Panasonic BD-65, PS3 60G (250G)

Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

 


#9 of 38 OFFLINE   mackie

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Posted January 13 2006 - 10:38 AM

Quote:
"Musical" may be open to debate, but the fact is, receivers DO influence the sound. Most receivers offer 95% of the same features, so if they all sound the same, there would be no reason to have all those manufacturers competing with each other at each price point.


Receivers do have an influence but there are other things that have a much more impact on sound. Speakers, set-up, and the room are the biggies. The amp section has to have enough power to drive the speakers. I agree a $299 receiver is not going to sound as good as a $1200 receiver, and the receiver performance should match the speaker's.

The manufactures are after our dollars and each focuses on a different set of features to get their share of the market. Most receivers in a price range will tend to function similarly or it won't be bought. Receivers, the good ones, today have essentially a flat frequency response with no major deviations. A properly functioning receiver that matches a speaker should NOT dramatically change the sound of a speaker.

It works with cars in the same class - Honda, Toyota, GM, Ford have very similar performance and each focuses on different features. Same with motorcycles, boats, irons... Some are better values than the others, but most function basically the same.

#10 of 38 OFFLINE   Jongyoon Lee

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Posted January 13 2006 - 11:41 AM

Quote:
A properly functioning receiver that matches a speaker should NOT dramatically change the sound of a speaker.


I'm sorry to say this, but that's way too much over generalization, and just wrong. Receivers do sound different from one another.

#11 of 38 OFFLINE   mackie

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Posted January 13 2006 - 04:03 PM

Quote:
I'm sorry to say this, but that's way too much over generalization, and just wrong. Receivers do sound different from one another.


Haven't said they sound the same. Please read the entire post. The whole point is that is there are other factors that are much more important in determining sound than the different brands of receivers.

If you compare receivers side to side, there will be differences, and each person will prefer the sound of one over the next. Receivers in the same class will generally preform similarly with the same speakers, and if they are functioning correctly the sound of the speaker shouldn't change drastically. I guess we can debate what a drastic change is as well as whether a glass is half full or half empty.

If you do not particularly like a certain aspect of your speaker, you're better off finding a different speaker, examine placement, and look into room acoustics before you start receiver swapping to make a major change in sound.

A Klispch speaker is going to sound like a Klipsch speaker weather it's driven by Yamaha, Denon, Onkyo, HK... Same with Paradigm, Boston, Monitor Audio. If a klipsch speaker is too bright or forward for your tastes, going from a Yamaha to a Marantz isn't going to make much of a difference, so you're better off looking for another speaker.

#12 of 38 OFFLINE   Shiu

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Posted January 14 2006 - 01:27 PM

I also find it easier to hear the different sound between speakers. Between different amps/receivers within a similar price range, I have to listen very hard, and even then the differences are usually subtle.

#13 of 38 OFFLINE   Justin*Smith

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Posted January 14 2006 - 03:21 PM

Sorry to hijack, but it's on topic. What receivers work best with a "warm" speaker as opposed to a "bright, harsh" speaker? I do not personally consider "bright" speakers to be harsh, but I've seen so many people refer to them that way that I included it in the question.
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#14 of 38 OFFLINE   mackie

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Posted January 14 2006 - 04:20 PM

Quote:
I do not personally consider "bright" speakers to be harsh, but I've seen so many people refer to them that way that I included it in the question.


I've seen it said around here that one person's bright speaker is another person's detailed speaker. A lot of the terms thrown around here are very subjective such as: musical, better, bright, neutral, warm, detailed, laid back, muddy, boomy, tight, forward... There are as many ideas of what these mean as there are people. They are helpful in getting a ball park idea of a particular sound quality but that's about it.

#15 of 38 OFFLINE   John_RO

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Posted January 14 2006 - 05:39 PM

Personal Preference. Just like speakers, recievers are going to sound different from each other. While the difference isn't as large as with speakers, it's still there. Way back when, I was torn between Yamaha and Denon. Just couldn't decide. So, I took my wife to the store and had them A/B the recievers for her. She chose the Yamaha hands down. I kinda liked the Denon better but her decision was objective. While I was looking at watts and features, she just liked the way it sounded.

So..."Musical" is really personal preference. Some like it bright, some like it warm. And others strive for that golden ring called "neutral." My advice, get what sounds good to you. If you can't audition it in person, then you'll just have to rely on other peoples ears and opinions as to what sounds good.

#16 of 38 OFFLINE   GregoriusM

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Posted January 21 2006 - 07:06 PM

Well, I owned a Denon 3805, and with my Paradigm speakers, it sounded a bit "muddy".

I returned it and bought a Rotel 1056. Clearer sounding, bu a bit thin. I would have kept it if 3 out of 3 of them malfunctioned (Rotel has had a lot of QC problems with the 1056)

Then I listened to Marantz - 7500 and 8500.

Wo! Toroidal amplifier, 125 watts, almost no heat under heavy use, wonderfully "musical", fantastic for HT.

It has a few less bells and whistles than the Denon, but the sound is so sweet, IMHO.

WHEN the 8600 comes out, which probably won't be until fall or next spring, it should have a decent AutoEQ like the 9600 at which time I will upgrade to it.

I just thought I'd throw in my 2 cents.

Greg

#17 of 38 OFFLINE   Steve_Blazer

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Posted January 22 2006 - 03:09 AM

Flip side of the coin, I have a Denon 3806 coupled to a set of Infinity Primus speakers and I think they sound great!


Its a very personal thing as to what 'sounds best' and to be honest the only way youll find out what sounds good to you is to listen to a bunch or combinations til you find it.

#18 of 38 OFFLINE   Steven Stock

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Posted January 26 2006 - 12:53 PM

I sent an email to Marantz last month to see if there will be a SR-7600 and SR-8600 coming out. They said that there is no plans for the SR-7600 or SR-8600 any time soon. They told me 7500 and 8500 will be here for the next year or two. It looks like I'm going with the SR-8500.

#19 of 38 OFFLINE   ChrisAG

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Posted January 26 2006 - 01:27 PM

They'll probably skip the 7600 & 8600 and release the 7700 and 8700 in the Spring or Fall.

#20 of 38 OFFLINE   Slade

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Posted January 26 2006 - 01:43 PM

I can tell you exactly when they will release the successor to the 8500...

About a month after I purchase an 8500. About 32 days after I purchase it, I'm sure they'll announce the 8600 or 8700 or whatever it will be...

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