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Mid-Level Receiver, Looking for assistance with some choices


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#1 of 10 OFFLINE   apatel

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Posted December 06 2009 - 05:36 PM

I am looking to purchase a new receiver to replace my 15 year old Pioneer.  Since I don't plan to purchase another receiver for another 10 years (hopefully), I'd like to get something that will last, and has some of the latest features and technology built-in so that I can use it in the future if needed.  This would go into my family room which is about 15 x 15, and has one side open to the kitchen. 

For now, I plan to watch home movies on Blue Ray, connect a PS3, Wii, iPod, and Dish Network.  I'd like to have internet streaming audio since that opens up the options for music channels.  I would set the speakers up in a 5.1 configuration for now, and I haven't decided which speakers to buy yet.   Although they will be something I can mount on the wall since I have little kids who I don't trust with nice floor standing speakers.  I also plan to drive two HD televisions in adjacent rooms with the same receiver, so having 2 HD Video outs would be a priority for me.  I also listen to music often, and since my house has speakers wired in several rooms, I'd like to be able to send the audio to 3 different zones.  THX Certification is not important to me.  

I have been looking at the following models: 

Onkyo TX-NR3007 and TX-NR1007
Pioneer Elite SC-27 and SC-25
Sony STR-DA5400ES and STR-DA5500ES
Denon AVR-4310CI and AVR-3310CI
Yamaha RX-V3900 and RX-V2065

Overall, I'm looking for a great sounding receiver, flexibility with zones and outputs, internet capability, something that will last, and ideally something relatively easy to use.  I know ease of use isn't a strength of all of these models.  

I read many posts on this site, and I haven't come across something that has helped me decide yet.  
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I saw a good post by Jeff Gatie that described the following:

Onkyo - Best bang for the buck, but not as high quality fit/finish/weight. Audyssey a plus.
Denon - High quality, respectable, feature laden but more pricy. Audyssey a plus.
H/K - High quality, not as many extra features, medium bang for buck.
Pioneer Elite - See Denon, except the use the inferior MCACC calibration.
Yamaha - Good bang for buck, good features, waaaaayyyyyyy to many DSP modes for my tastes.  It's like their receivers exist to warp the sound in 1000 different ways.
Sony - Good components, bad receivers, unless you get the ES line.  Underpowered, under featured, hard to calibrate.  
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I don't know if this all still holds true, or applies to the models I am looking at.  Are there certain brands or models I should eliminate?  Any guidance is greatly appreciated.  Oh, lastly my budget for receiver and speakers total is around $4,500.  This is my splurge for the year, and I don't plan to replace this for a long time.







#2 of 10 OFFLINE   Ed Moxley

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Posted December 07 2009 - 12:34 AM

I would go with the Onkyo TX-NR3007. Onkyo is a lot of bang for the buck. I have Onkyo myself, and love it. I find it to be pretty easy to use. The Audyssey features are very good. Even though you don't need a receiver to stream, you have a ps3, it is a nice feature. I absolutely love Pandora. Some people complain that Onkyo receivers run hot. If you don't close it in, or set something on top of it (to block the vents), you shouldn't have a problem. My Onkyo 805 is supposed to be one of the worst for heat, but mine isn't closed in, and I don't have a problem at all. It hardly even gets warm, after being on 18 hrs. or more a day.

For speakers, I'd strongly consider these: http://www.svsound.c...s-sbs_black.cfm SVS is known to make one of the best subs on the planet, and their speakers are becoming known as great speakers too. Won lots of awards. If you scroll down their page, you'll see they offer wall brackets too, for mounting the speakers like you mentioned. If I'm ever able to buy a new speaker system, these are the ones I'll get. I hope to get one of their cylinder subs in April. Everyone says their customer service is outstanding, which also means a lot. The only place to get their stuff is from them. They have a very good return policy, if you don't like them. But, I haven't heard of anyone returning them yet........ /img/vbsmilies/htf/smile.gif

Samsung HL61A750 (LED DLP)            Onkyo TX-SR805
Oppo BDP-83 Blu ray                                  Polk Audio LSi9
Polk Audio LSiC                                  Sony SS-MB100H
SVS PC12-NSD (Sub)                       ...

#3 of 10 OFFLINE   apatel

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Posted December 07 2009 - 06:52 AM

 Thanks Ed.  I've read some good reviews on the Onkyo as well.  So far here is what I have gathered:

- Denon's have great features and good sound, but the remote, GUI and customer service are subpar (hard to believe they are the only receivers with built in WiFi)
- Pioneer Elite has perhaps the best sound, and good features, but may be pricey
- Onkyo has 9.2 which is a plus, and has some good features but doesn't support 3 audio zones.
- Sony reviews have been quite mixed, I will probably eliminate this from the selection.

I am definitely looking at the SVS speakers.  Have read a lot of good things about them.  I heard a set of Focal Dome's at Ultimate Electronics, and they sounded great (but pricey).  I'm curious if anyone thinks they're worth the money, of if there are other compact 5.1 speakers that are just as good.  

This seems tougher than buying a car!  Thanks for reading and I will take any advice I can get.  


#4 of 10 OFFLINE   Ed Moxley

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Posted December 07 2009 - 08:28 AM

It looks like the Onkyo TX-NR5007 supports 3 zones. Looks like zone 2 supports audio and video, but zone 3 only supports audio. That's what I get from reading the "Features" of it. See here: http://www.us.onkyo....ss=Receiver&p=f
This is their top of the line receiver, so it may cost more than you want to spend. I guess it depends on how bad you want 3 zones?


Samsung HL61A750 (LED DLP)            Onkyo TX-SR805
Oppo BDP-83 Blu ray                                  Polk Audio LSi9
Polk Audio LSiC                                  Sony SS-MB100H
SVS PC12-NSD (Sub)                       ...

#5 of 10 OFFLINE   apatel

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Posted December 07 2009 - 04:41 PM

 I just went to Best Buy Magnolia and listened to the Denon, Pioneer and Onkyo with the same settings, volume, speakers and the same seating position.  I heard a noticeable difference between the Denon and the Pioneer and Onkyo.  The Denon sounded flatter, and not as lively both with music (Dave Matthews) and Blue Ray (Transformers).  I thought the Onkyo NR-807 and Pioneer Elite (SC-25 and SC-27) both had more of a dynamic and vibrant feel to them.  Vocals sounded more realistic and there was almost an additional layer of depth to the music than the Denon.  I wonder if the Denon's were somehow not setup properly?

Anyhow, I am getting closer to figuring this out.  Now I am going to look hard at the features between the Onkyo and Pioneer Elite.  It's somewhat difficult to research this since I haven't been able to see what the GUI's look like on screen, or have a good feel for how easy they are to use.  I have downloaded the manuals and will read through them to get a better sense of the functionality as well.  More to come....

By the way, I heard these receivers with Mirage satellites, and the Definitive Tech's, and the DT's blew away the Mirages.  I still think I am going to choose between the Focal Dome's and the SVS SBS system.  (I wish I could get floor standing speakers...)




#6 of 10 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted December 08 2009 - 12:25 AM

One thing to keep in mind regarding user interfaces is that once you have the receiver setup, you will probably rarely use the GUI, unless you stream music through the receiver. I almost never navigate the GUI of my Elite 94-txh now that it is setup.


#7 of 10 OFFLINE   jcrilley3

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Posted December 09 2009 - 07:32 AM

I just installed a Pioneer Elite VSX 21 TXH and absolutely love it. The sound is phenomenal and it was very easy to set up. With HDMI there are very few wires anymore.

#8 of 10 OFFLINE   apatel

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Posted December 27 2009 - 02:46 PM

I ended up getting the Pioneer Elite SC-27, and so far I like it a lot.  It sounds phenomenal, was easy to setup, the remote is fairly easy to use, and I like the internet audio features.  

The only thing I have to figure out now is how to get the remote to control my TV and Dish receiver (if it is even possible), and I need to decipher what all of the various sound settings are and which ones are best for different types of music/video.  Overall though, I am very happy with the unit.  Still have some wiring to do, and need to figure out speakers/sub next. 

This is fun...


#9 of 10 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted December 27 2009 - 11:44 PM

Al,

I would highly recommend getting a Harmony universal remote control for your system. While the Pioneer remotes can be programmed to control other devices, a Harmony remote will provide a much more seamlessly integrated solution. I've used universal remotes for many years, and the Harmony's are by far the easiest and most flexible remotes I've ever used. I couldn't imagine using our home theater without one.


#10 of 10 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted December 28 2009 - 06:37 AM

I would second the suggestion of looking into the Harmony line.  I have an 880 and love it.

That being said, in all the years I've been into home theater, I have NEVER even tried to make the receiver remote the primary remote for my system.  Once everything is set up and configured, about all I use on that remote is power, volume, and switching inputs.  Furthermore, the receiver remotes never seem to have the right keys for mapping functions from other remotes, anyway.

I'm not a fan of DSP listening "modes" either - give me pure, unadulturated sound anyday.

I've found much more success using the cable/satellite remote as my primary.  It often has keys available for programming volume and power for at least the TV and one other item.  It's also the remote that does most of what I do at any given time.

Just some food for thought.


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