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AVR Overload


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#1 of 19 OFFLINE   Iconoclast

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Posted May 27 2009 - 12:16 PM

I recently upgraded my Home Theater, (New TV, 5.1 Speakers, HD DVR & BD player)
Room size approx. 400 sq. Feet with high (12-17 foot) vaulted ceiling. Prior to this upgrade I used the same AVR & had 2.1 sound. (I demoted my L&R speakers to Surround status with the upgrade)

My Pioneer VSX-D912 AVR has shut down & displayed “OVERLOAD” during very loud BD movie action scenes (Incredible Hulk, Dark Knight)

I have the volume set at -15 for movies. To stop this I had to set it at -17 for Dark Knight & drop it to -19 for Incredible Hulk. I do like to listen to movies at very loud volumes. I wonder if the lossless audio (DTS HD MA or Dolby True HD) on these BD movies are just “too much” for my AVR to handle driving 5.1 at loud volumes?

It is NOT overheating. I tested by playing just the loudest, action scenes when the AVR had been off & was COLD. It shut down anyway. I also added a small cooling fan to suck hot air out of the vents & no help (but, it was cooler to the touch) My console has an open front & there is 6 inches of space above the AVR.

My speaker wires are not crossed or strands touching (I use banana plugs.)


AVR = 110 W per channel @ 8 ohms, 20Hz-20KHz front speakers 0.2% THD.
With all surrounds (7.1) driven the specs are @ 8 ohms,110 W, 1 kHz, 1.0% THD. Don’t know what it is with my 5.1 all driven.

Mirage Speakers (5.1):
OS³-FS Floorstanding Speaker x2
OS³-CC Center Speaker
Omnisat as satellites x2
LF 100 sub Woofer
All Speakers are 8 Ohms nominal impedance with 4 Ohm minimum Impedance. RF, LF & CC can handle up to 175 Watts, Efficiency = 93dB for L&R & 91dB for CC. AVR crossover set to 100HZ. Speakers set to small.
So frequencies below 100 Hz s/b handled by powered sub & not my AVR, right?

I am using a Panasonic DMP BD80 BD player & use the 7.1 ch analog audio outputs to obtain the lossless audio from BDs since my AVR lacks HDMI.

I replayed all the audio tests from my DVE BD at -15 volume & all speakers still sound fine. The audio still sounds great. I tested a DVD with DTS sound (Behind Enemy Lines) & it was extremely loud during action scenes at volume = -15. No shut down. This only seems to happen with BD lossless audio.

I emailed Pioneer & they suggested:
“The symptom is that of the receiver overloading, normally caused by a bad speaker connection or a bad speaker.
1. Check the speaker wires, make sure the positive and negative wires are not touching.
2. remove the speakers, one at a time. Turn on the receiver, turn up the volume. If the receiver still overloads, turn off the receiver and replace the speaker. Remove the next speaker.
Continue this process until you have found that when a speaker is disconnected, the receiver no longer overloads.

If you have removed all speakers, one at at time, and the unit still overloads, the receiver will need service.”

Is this necessary? If I had a “bad” speaker wouldn’t I be able to hear something amiss during the DVE audio tests or playing music or movies? Can a speaker only reveal its problem When playing an extremely loud signal?



I’m thinking of watching movies at a lower volume & then replacing my AVR. I would hate to do this & then discover the new AVR has the same shut down/overload trouble.

Any troubleshooting ideas?

Thanks,

Steve

#2 of 19 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted May 27 2009 - 12:59 PM

Have you defined your left/right/center as LARGE? Try defining them as SMALL so the self-powered sub will try to handle the low-frequency duties.

I have heard of times where an input voltage is so large a spike that a receiver shuts down even if it has not amplified the spike and over-heated.

Note: I also use banana plugs and was having "PROTECT" mode problems. I searched and could not find any wires sticking out to cause a short.

Just before taking the unit in for service, I cut the ends off all wires, stripped and re-attached. Problem went away. (Frustrating because I do a neat wire job to begin with.) You cannot always see a short. Dont forget to do this on both ends of each speaker wire.

Let us know.

#3 of 19 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted May 27 2009 - 04:39 PM

Quote:
All Speakers are 8 Ohms nominal impedance with 4 Ohm minimum Impedance.
Hmm, 4 ohm minimum.

Over the years I've seen some other speakers rated similarly and when tested by pro reviewers, depending on the music content their impedance *regularly* dropped down to 4 ohms. All it took was one big WHACK on a bass drum with the volume turned up and the amp powering the test speakers went into protect mode. Impedance also involves phase angles, something I'll freely admit I know little about!, but I clearly remember certain large Infinity speakers in the 80s having funky phase issues, which required the owner to use an even more heavily-built amp to operate them properly.

Next.......

The average volume level on the hi-res soundtracks could be higher than the DTS and Dolby Digital tracks, helping to cause the overload situation, either in the power amp section of the receiver or the input circuitry that Bob spoke of.

#4 of 19 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted May 27 2009 - 04:43 PM

It's easy to just remove the negative speaker cable for each speaker, and then test each speaker one-by-one by re-attaching the negative lead and playing the loud section of the movie at the volume level it was causing an overload condition.
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#5 of 19 OFFLINE   Iconoclast

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Posted May 27 2009 - 06:20 PM

Thanks for the replies.

Bob, yes speakers defined as small. I don’t follow re input voltage spike. Are you referring to a line voltage spike from my home A/C power? I use a good quality surge suppressor for all my equipment. I bought the screw connector type banana plugs from monoprice & there is no way that the connection is not very tight, I was very careful & they are screwed tight onto the splayed out wire strands . This would not be the case if I had soldered a connection as I am terrible at soldering! I will not take the AVR in for repair. If I decide it IS the AVR I will replace it with a ‘better’, more powerful model with HDMI. I would be extremely annoyed if I do this & the same exact thing happens. Not just the $ spent but the set-up time & learning curve & setting up the Harmony remote again.

Lance, you raise a very interesting point re the 8 or 4 ohm situation. Actually, I currently have 2 Polk 6 Ohm speakers in a separate room hooked up to the “B” switch. I use A+B When listening to music & that uses 2.1 in the main room & 2 in the other room. No problems but, It is no where near as loud. As you know, movies can have very dynamic sound tracks & go from a quiet whisper to a spine vibrating explosion which is awesome in a good home theater. It sounds as if you are saying given my speakers 4 ohm minimum that I may require a Heavier, more powerful Receiver to avoid this problem.
I have been doing research on a possible replacement AVR & it is not easy with so many varied opinions in the forums. The issue of newer models having more features while going with cheaper less powerful parts. (Onkyo 805 vs. The newer 806 for example) The difficulty in comparing apples to apples with the deliberately misleading power specs. I have read that if two receivers are measured the same -- (say 20-20K all 7 channels driven , continuous power spec) -- the difference between 100 W/ch. & 115 W/ch is very small (assuming both have low THD say, .05 or .08%)
I also found this amplifier challenge very interesting:
Richard Clark Amplifier Challenge FAQ



Finally, Patrick, thanks for the idea to decrease the inconvenience of testing each speaker individually as suggested by Pioneer. I will probably do this. But, I still want clarification that all my tests to date may have still “missed” a speaker problem. I guess I’m not sure what the individual speaker problem could be. (assuming no speaker wire problem.) I have heard a blown speaker in the past & it buzzes or distorts certain musical passages quite distinctly. I assume (incorrectly?) that going through the Digital Video Essentials (DVE) BD audio set-up a second time -- AFTER this overload problem appeared -- would have revealed any defect in an individual speaker. There are many test tones & even a test that has a tone that slowly goes from 20Hz to 22kHz! Speaker by speaker. I’m too old to hear much above 15-16kHz now Posted Image But, they all sounded great. No buzz or rattle. So is it possible that a speaker needs replacement yet, the only time the problem appears is at extremely loud parts?

#6 of 19 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted May 28 2009 - 03:33 AM

Sometimes, it's possible that one of your speaker's has a compromised crossover network, which could lower the overall impedance seen by the amplifier for that channel for certain frequencies being played loudly at the times, and that could cause an overload condition for the amplifier section. You just don't know until you test each speaker individually at the volume level causing the overload situation.
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#7 of 19 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted May 28 2009 - 08:20 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iconoclast
Lance, you raise a very interesting point re the 8 or 4 ohm situation. Actually, I currently have 2 Polk 6 Ohm speakers in a separate room hooked up to the “B” switch. I use A+B When listening to music & that uses 2.1 in the main room & 2 in the other room. No problems but, It is no where near as loud. As you know, movies can have very dynamic sound tracks & go from a quiet whisper to a spine vibrating explosion which is awesome in a good home theater. It sounds as if you are saying given my speakers 4 ohm minimum that I may require a Heavier, more powerful Receiver to avoid this problem.
When you say "It is no where near as loud" do you mean:

* you are setting the volume level lower for music listening than for watching a movie?

* or that when you try to listen to your music as loud as your movies, the receiver cannot drive the speakers to the same level?

If it's the latter situation, it is common for an amp to include what's called a current limiting system. This system reduces the amount of current supplied to the amp to prevent damage to its output transistors or the receiver's power supply and this in turn results in a lower volume level for the same setting on the volume *knob*.

Quote:
I have been doing research on a possible replacement AVR & it is not easy with so many varied opinions in the forums. The issue of newer models having more features while going with cheaper less powerful parts. (Onkyo 805 vs. The newer 806 for example)
To cut the receiver manufacturers some slack, IMO it is a fact that most HT receivers are no longer being used to power large floorstanding speakers being sent a fullrange signal. Instead, most HT receivers will probably be powering small sats limited to 80Hz to 150Hz at the low end paired with a powered subwoofer to reproduce those power-hungry lower frequencies, which requires much less power on the part of the receiver.
Quote:
the difference between 100 W/ch. & 115 W/ch is very small (assuming both have low THD say, .05 or .08%)
True. Let's put it this way: IIRC to raise the listening volume level twice as high, all else being equal one needs TEN times as much electrical power to do so (our hearing system operates on an exponential scale), so I also believe that five watt difference between those two Onkyos will very probably be totally imperceptible.

Quote:
I also found this amplifier challenge very interesting:
Richard Clark Amplifier Challenge FAQ
I have some trouble with some of his conclusions. Because if desired, an amp can easily be designed to deliberately sound audibly different and IMO it is not "evil" or bad engineering practice to do so. Why not? I think most speaker designers do it all the time. Speaking of that, check out the paragraph titled "Is adding an equalizer just a way of “dumbing down” the better amplifier ?" Adding a capacitor to roll off the high end of a transistorized amp - hmm..........

#8 of 19 OFFLINE   Iconoclast

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Posted May 28 2009 - 09:15 PM

Patrick, OK, I will do the individual speakers elimination test this PM.

Lance, I am setting the music volume lower,although it is still quite loud. (-30) I can go louder & it does not cause overload--just too loud for me. I tend to listen to TV shows at -25, DVD/BD at -15 & music at -30. When I refer to LOUD for movies I refer to the loudest portions of action scenes. (Explosion for example) I wouldn’t want my music, even rock to be that loud.
Re Richard Clark, I have no expertise, just find it interesting. I suspect flaws can be found in his study especially as data not documented or submitted for open review.
I went to listen to two AVRs Thursday evening. Pioneer Elite SC 05 vs. Denon 3808CI. They both sounded great but, they could not play through my Mirage speakers (They were in a different room.) I thought the Pioneer was brighter/cleaner. Sales guy said he set the dB exactly the same but I thought the Pioneer was a bit louder. Same speakers (Klipsch) I am not certain that a given dB on the AVR dial is = AVR to AVR. He says YES. I don’t even think the power is = between two AVRs that clam the same power. Not to mention that I question the way these are set up in the big box retailers where employees seem to have some trouble with setting as if they just learned yesterday. What if some filter or special sound mode or EQ is set on one & not the other.

If I replace my AVR I want to UPGRADE. With either of these there will be no question of sufficient power to drive my speakers even if the 4 ohm minimum is a factor.

I am leaning towards Pioneer as I have had two with great results until this overload situation. I can get a new SC 05 for $749 online. Seems a great bargain as the list is $1800. New 3808CI = $1020. (Reputable merchants per review web sites.) I think Pioneer is d/c the SC 05.

I will report back with test results.

#9 of 19 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted May 29 2009 - 07:31 AM

Quote:
Re Richard Clark, I have no expertise, just find it interesting. I suspect flaws can be found in his study especially as data not documented or submitted for open review.
What I have a HUGE problem with is that he seems to think that it is O.K. to use an equalizer(!!) to cause one amp to sound like the other if the test subject thinks one sounds "weaker". Huh?? Unless I am really confused about statistical concepts, that renders any test results useless! It's like he thinks an amp's frequency response should not be considered when choosing an amp but in my opinion that is WHY many amps sound different!

PLUS the circuitry in the equalizer itself can affect the sound, even if all its sliders were set at "0". Again, this could also seriously taint the test results. AND....he seems to have no problems with adding additional circuitry to a solid-state amp to get it to sound the same as the tube amp it is being compared to. Again, the tainted test that would result would be useless IMO.

Everyone hears differently, whether because of preconceived notions of what music should sound like or based on the physical differences of their respective auditory sensory systems, but whatever, some people like their music with a slight bump in the lower bass and some might like theirs with a bit of softening at the upper end of the spectrum, so it's no surprize many amp engineers design amps to reflect their own preferences & that X number of people buy them because they *also* enjoy that type of sound.

What might be a better test would be to try to discover the AMOUNT of the sonic differences between different amps. In my experience amp differences are usually subtle, but they are there. Same goes for sonic differences between CD players, dvd players, cassette decks and standalone tuners because all these use an analog output stage & just like an amp, these can be designed to generate whatever "sound personality" the engineer desires.

So while two different amps can sound the same, it doesn't mean ALL amps sound the same.

#10 of 19 OFFLINE   Iconoclast

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Posted May 29 2009 - 03:08 PM

I think I found the problem!

Speaker elimination test complete. D/C in turn each speaker & played loud action scenes at -15. In every instance (except one) by the 2nd action scene --the Overload/Shut Down occurred just as b4. The final test was the CC speaker. With that one d/c I was unable to reproduce the shut down! I played the loud sequences more than 5x sequentially, way more than needed to cause the issue.

So this proves it is either the CC speaker, the CC speaker wire or the CC speaker connections.

I will Check those connections again & unless I see a problem, call Mirage to have the speaker repaired or replaced.




Lance, I agree adding an outside equalizer skews the results. Test s/b performed with all filters special modes OFF & as flat an EQ as possible. As you say if AVR-A has a low frequency boost, some may prefer that to AVR-B which may be much more flat (accurate.)

#11 of 19 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted May 29 2009 - 06:42 PM

You may want to swap the connection between the center channel and one of the front channel speakers and see if the overload condition follows the actual center channel speaker, or the amp channel driving the center channel output.
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#12 of 19 OFFLINE   Iconoclast

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Posted May 29 2009 - 07:23 PM

Patrick, Brilliant idea!

I will do it Sat PM.

I had checked & the CC wire is fine. The banana plug ends may have been a bit loose since I had pushed the AVR back against the rear wall of the console since it barely fits. So I force bent the spot where the wire enters the banana plug. I was sure this was the problem. For testing -- the AVR has been sitting on a few phone books in front of the console so no wires are compressed in the rear. I cut the ends off & re-connected the Banana plugs for my CC LF & RF. Perfectly solid & I am not pushing the AVR back in place. I can see the connections.
I tested yet again with all 5.1 speakers & was able to play 4 sequential loud Hulk action scenes & thought I had solved it & the 5th tine…..overload!

So, failing on the 5th time makes me wonder if my test result of not reproducing the problem with CC d/c may have been premature? I may have only played 5 or 6x action scenes & may not have done in such rapid fire succession as I have today. I’m memorizing the 3 main loud action scenes by now!

I’ve emailed Mirage to see if they have experienced problems like this that ended up being a speaker defect only seen at loud volumes.

I’m heavily leaning towards buying that new Pioneer Elite SC 05 for $749 anyway.

It has more power, ICE, D-class amp & rave reviews. Does not upscale via HDMI but, so what? My New TV & new BD & Cox HD DVR look great. I don’t watch any SD channels as all my usual channels are available in HD anyway.
BTW, my plan is to cut out the entire back of my console so the rear connections are not compressed. That will give me an additional 2” & I can move the entire console out another inch from the wall if need be. Especially if I go ahead & get the new SC 05 which is even deeper.

#13 of 19 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted May 30 2009 - 01:22 AM

Who's selling the Pioneer SC-05 for $749?
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#14 of 19 OFFLINE   Iconoclast

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Posted May 30 2009 - 01:55 PM

I completed the swap test. It proves the problem is the AVR & NOT my CC speaker, speaker wire or speaker connection!

1st I replicated & expanded my earlier test & proved I could d/c the CC speaker & play 10 x loud action sequence from Hulk. No Overload.
Next, I d/c CC speaker to the AVR LF input leaving the LF speaker d/c & the CC input empty. (Recall, in earlier tests the overload still happened When the LF speaker was d/c from its AVR input)
I played same 10 x loud action sequence from Hulk. No Overload!

Apparently When any speaker is connected to the AVR CC input it causes the overload!

I just ordered a NEW AVR Pioneer Elite Sc 05!


Patrick, You asked who sells for $749. (with free S&H)

Electrozone.com:
Pioneer SC-05 7.1 Channel A/V Receiver with Direct Energy HD Amplification

This store is highly rated by reseller ratings.com I did find some customer complaints on some sites.

As I was about to place the order I saw that the “free” S&H had no tracking number! You could get a tracking number by upgrading S&H to $129 (Total ~880 now) Sounds like a scam to me. I had already read where they attempt to sell you shipping insurance. Well shipping insurance is something the seller/shipper pays not the buyer/recipient!
I found dBuys.com had it for $788 & free S&H (with Tracking number!) & they say “Factory Sealed, Full Manufacturer USA Warranty” so no worries about refurbished being sold as new, or the grey market where they remove the serial number & you have no manufacturer warranty & must rely on the seller’s warranty.

I have purchased an expensive item from dBuy’s several years ago & they are rated highly. They will call to hard sell me extended warranty, cables, etc. I’m sure. Still for $788 I will have a great AVR at a bargain price. Not to mention being able to use HDMI instead of component & losing all those 7.1 analog out cables for a much cleaner, less crowded installation.

#15 of 19 OFFLINE   Iconoclast

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Posted May 30 2009 - 02:19 PM

Cannot seem to edit so correction:


1st I replicated & expanded my earlier test & proved I could d/c the CC speaker & play 10 x loud action sequence from Hulk. No Overload.
Next, I CONNECTED CC speaker to the AVR LF input leaving the LF speaker d/c & the CC input empty. (Recall, in earlier tests the overload still happened When the LF speaker was d/c from its AVR input)
I played same 10 x loud action sequence from Hulk. No Overload!

#16 of 19 OFFLINE   Iconoclast

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Posted June 02 2009 - 09:20 AM

Since I responded to question re merchant I must update.


Dbuys.com flat out LIED!

Their web site listed the SC 05 for $788 with free S&H and on the same page: “SHOP WITH CONFIDENCE! All products we carry are factory sealed, complete with all factory supplied accessories and a full manufacturers USA warranty.”

When I called them back -- after an email requesting a call--so they could verify my order, I mentioned how that statement on the web page was the reason I ordered from them as they were NOT the least expensive merchant. The phone sales guy then said that it DOES include the Pioneer warranty but it is VOID! (wtf?!) He said Pioneer voids all warranties for Internet sales from anyone offering lower prices (I later checked with Pioneer & this is only partially true--they do void warranty for non-authorized dealers online. They have a list of authorized online dealers on the Pioneer Web site)

I told dBuys that this item Then has NO warranty! He agreed & offered to sell me a 3rd party warranty for $70.00. I said the web site gave false information re manufacturer's warranty. He insisted no, we do give you the manufacturer warranty in the box (It is just voided!)

Unbelievable.

I cancelled the order.

Spent much time price searching & found many online dealers (not authorized where I could get it including a 3 year “MACK” warranty for $850-950. And Amazon (Authorized dealer) for $960& up.

Finally,

I purchased from 6Ave - authorized dealer -- $750 & free S&H.

I had read about 6 Ave having promotions in the past where you can "set your own price" as with Priceline. I looked & they don't have this now.

They do have a price alert. "Notify me when the price of item X drops to $xyz."

They list the Pioneer SC 05 at full 1799.99 list price & In store only availability.
Since they are authorized Internet retailer for every product they carry which means NEW (not refurbished) & Manufacturer's Warranty for all products (not the b.s. 3rd party warranty that you may get with grey market goods) _ I tried it .

I set a $750.00 price alert.

Next day I get an email offering to sell it to me for $750.00 with free S&H!!
I just ordered it.

They have the BBB reliability logo which is good.

(I realize this has become OT but, didn’t want anyone to read the post later & get suckered by dBuys or any other grey market seller.)

#17 of 19 OFFLINE   sestamuch

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Posted June 02 2009 - 06:20 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iconoclast

Since I responded to question re merchant I must update.


Dbuys.com flat out LIED!

Their web site listed the SC 05 for $788 with free S&H and on the same page: “SHOP WITH CONFIDENCE! All products we carry are factory sealed, complete with all factory supplied accessories and a full manufacturers USA warranty.”

When I called them back -- after an email requesting a call--so they could verify my order, I mentioned how that statement on the web page was the reason I ordered from them as they were NOT the least expensive merchant. The phone sales guy then said that it DOES include the Pioneer warranty but it is VOID! (wtf?!) He said Pioneer voids all warranties for Internet sales from anyone offering lower prices (I later checked with Pioneer & this is only partially true--they do void warranty for non-authorized dealers online. They have a list of authorized online dealers on the Pioneer Web site)

I told dBuys that this item Then has NO warranty! He agreed & offered to sell me a 3rd party warranty for $70.00. I said the web site gave false information re manufacturer's warranty. He insisted no, we do give you the manufacturer warranty in the box (It is just voided!)

Unbelievable.

I cancelled the order.

Spent much time price searching & found many online dealers (not authorized where I could get it including a 3 year “MACK” warranty for $850-950. And Amazon (Authorized dealer) for $960& up.

Finally,

I purchased from 6Ave - authorized dealer -- $750 & free S&H.

I had read about 6 Ave having promotions in the past where you can "set your own price" as with Priceline. I looked & they don't have this now.

They do have a price alert. "Notify me when the price of item X drops to $xyz."

They list the Pioneer SC 05 at full 1799.99 list price & In store only availability.
Since they are authorized Internet retailer for every product they carry which means NEW (not refurbished) & Manufacturer's Warranty for all products (not the b.s. 3rd party warranty that you may get with grey market goods) _ I tried it .

I set a $750.00 price alert.

Next day I get an email offering to sell it to me for $750.00 with free S&H!!
I just ordered it.

They have the BBB reliability logo which is good.

(I realize this has become OT but, didn’t want anyone to read the post later & get suckered by dBuys or any other grey market seller.)


This is what Pioneer has to say:

""Unauthorized Internet Dealers
Pioneer does NOT offer a manufacturer's limited warranty for products purchased from anyone who is not an authorized dealer and it does NOT offer rebates or other special opportunities for products purchased from anyone who is not an authorized dealer. Pioneer is not able to identify all persons and companies who claim to be authorized Pioneer dealers. Pioneer has been able to identify the following persons and companies who are NOT authorized Pioneer dealers:

1. Valley TV (California)
2. New World Electronics (California)

eBay Sellers
Pioneer does NOT authorize any of its dealers to sell new products on eBay. Pioneer's agreements with its dealers prohibit sales on eBay. Accordingly, Pioneer does not offer its limited manufacturer's warranty or rebates for products purchased from any dealers on eBay.""

#18 of 19 OFFLINE   Iconoclast

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Posted June 02 2009 - 07:46 PM

Right.
And Pioneer themselves list the authorized online dealers. They have a separate list for AUTHORIZED Internet dealers and AUTHORIZED B&M dealers. And they provide links to their web sites. Yes, some have B&M stores but Amazon certainly does not.

#19 of 19 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted June 03 2009 - 06:29 AM

Since others might not be reading the 6Ave thread in the bargains area, Pioneer doesn't recognize warranty claims for their Elite line of gear if you buy the gear from a non-retail store (even if they are on Pioneer's authorized online dealers list), so an online purchase of Elite gear is a roll-of-the-dice for any future warranty claim on the Elite gear. If you call Pioneer, this is what they will tell you in regards to their Elite line of goodies.
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