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AVR research for an upgrade


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#1 of 14 OFFLINE   Adam_S

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Posted March 25 2013 - 12:09 PM

I'm going to get a new AVR after a LONG time, my last and current AVR is a 12 year old Pioneer, and I bought it for around 200 in a discontinued model sale in early 2001.  So a lot of the wide world of AVRs is brand new to me--like multi zone, upscaling or Audessy etc.

 

Initially, I've looked at the Onkyo 818 and the Denon 1913 (though I can't really see that there's much difference between the 809 and the 818 other than the 809 being $400 cheaper).  But I'm worried about overbuying, or missing out on other manufacturers that haven't pinged on my radar during my first weeks of research.

 

I won't be buying until May or June, probably, so I'd like to know if new models are going to come out I should wait for, or wait for the new models to depress the prices of the current models.

 

Currently I have only Audio routed through the receiver, with HDMI & component going to the TV (Panasonic GT55 inch).

 

I have:

 

Direct-TV DVR

PS3 (pretty much only a bluray player)

Wii

headphone-jack-to-RCA for connecting phones/ipod to play music (I have a Galaxy, wife has an iPhone5)

AM/FM antenna for radio

 

TV has an optical audio out, but no RCA audio out, so if we watch something streamed through the TV (which is convenient and way easier than the PS3 or Direct TV) we have to use the mediocre TV speakers, which is annoying (because my old ass receiver only has one optical and one coaxial input and both are used)

 

We will also occasionally plug our still camera to the TV  via an HDMI to HDMI-mini cable, it records 1080, and video is stunning on it.

 

So I don't need a lot of ports, I'm not going to get an XBox or apple TV, we might upgrade to Wii U in a few years, maybe, we will probably get a 4K TV in 5-10 years. We'll never have more than one TV in the house, we're both pretty adamant and in agreement on that point, living room only.

 

I do still have some old game consoles and a VHS player that I may occasionally want to hook up for either something obscure/rare I've rented or for a retro gaming party/night. A front port that still has an analog option would be nice, but it's not especially difficult to connect them to the back of the receiver on the rare occasion we'd bust them out, but we would need the analog connections and upscaling since the TV is component and HDMI inputs only.

 

I may upgrade to 7.1 eventually but that would be after I finish upgrading the existing surrounds, subwoofer, mains and receiver.

 

I don't give a damn about wattage/channel, I'm in an duplex, so I can't blast things at maximum volume anyway.  The speakers are a mixture I've picked up over the years and will slowly be upgraded (I got a Martin Logan Motion 6 Center last fall, 12 year old JBL N24s for the surrounds and I forget what the mains are, KLH I think, are since I inherited them from a roommate and didn't buy them myself, Jamo subwoofer, eventually I plan on upgrading to more of the Martin Logan motion series). 

 

The HT is situated in the living room, hardwood floors, plaster and lath walls, it's about 24x12 rectangle with the TV above the fireplace on one of the 12' walls), the room opens on one of the long walls, semi-open-concept into the dining room via a large archway. 

 

Budget is supposed to be 500ish, but I'll stay under 1000ish if the features are right and the sale seems good enough.   I want to buy new, not a refurb.

 

Some questions:

 

HDMI renders the Coaxial and Optical connections obsolete, correct?  Other then sending TV-originated audio to the receiver via optical, I have no need for these connections, nor need them on the receiver.

 

Audessy renders my trusty SPL meter obsolete, correct?  It will do all the calibration and balancing for me, automatically?  Or is Audessy just there to turn all the DTS/DD signals into ProLogic?

 

Multi Zone isn't truely multi zone right?  You can't watch a movie on the HT and send the radio to Zone 2?  You only get the same sound in multiple locations, correct?

 

If so, I don't need/want Multizone as it's basically worthless, but if it allows me to diversify sources so that we can listen to the radio or the iphone in the bedroom while one of us watches TV in the living room, then I'll be happy to hook that up (since we won't ever have multiple TVs, I'm only interested in sending audio).

 

Line out multizone means sending an RCA cable, correct and you'd have to have speakers with a separate power cord for this to work?

 

But some receivers send the extra "two" channels of a 7.1 system as powered speaker cable to speakers in the second room, right?  And again I doubt this would allow you to use multiple sources for multiple playback.  If not, we'll just put an ipod/iphone dock/speaker in the bedroom.

 

When a receiver like the Onkyo 818 has all the different analog and digital connections are these all different inputs or are they 'shared' inputs?  If I hook up the SNES to the RCA in on input one would that invalidate the HDMI connected to HDMI 1?  Does upscaling take up the slot of an HDMI input?

 


 

#2 of 14 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted March 25 2013 - 12:22 PM

HDMI renders the Coaxial and Optical connections obsolete, correct?  Other then sending TV-originated audio to the receiver via optical, I have no need for these connections, nor need them on the receiver.

Technically yes. Most AVR today only have 1 coax and 2 toslink. But you won't need more anyway once you start using the HDMI.

 

Audessy renders my trusty SPL meter obsolete, correct?  It will do all the calibration and balancing for me, automatically?  Or is Audessy just there to turn all the DTS/DD signals into ProLogic?

No. Audyssey is not the endall in room correction, neither is YPAO/MCACC. You'll still tweak to your liking. The third question doesn;t even make sense. Audyssey and "Pro Logic" have absolutley nothing to do with each other.

 

Multi Zone isn't truely multi zone right?  You can't watch a movie on the HT and send the radio to Zone 2?  You only get the same sound in multiple locations, correct?

Multi-zone really is multi-zone. Different things in different areas. Depending on AVR, you can even send video to the 2nd zone. Will you use that? Bathroom? Bedroom? Patio?

 

Line out multizone means sending an RCA cable, correct and you'd have to have speakers with a separate power cord for this to work?

Unless you want the AVR to self-power the 2nd zone. Either way is the correct way.

 

But some receivers send the extra "two" channels of a 7.1 system as powered speaker cable to speakers in the second room, right?  And again I doubt this would allow you to use multiple sources for multiple playback.  If not, we'll just put an ipod/iphone dock/speaker in the bedroom.

If you choose to do it this way, sure. Your choice.

 

When a receiver like the Onkyo 818 has all the different analog and digital connections are these all different inputs or are they 'shared' inputs?  If I hook up the SNES to the RCA in on input one would that invalidate the HDMI connected to HDMI 1?

Onkyo(and others) allow "stacking". I use a Belkin F8Z(look for it on Amazon) for bluetooth streaming from Ipad/Ipod/Phones. It uses CD on analog. My CD player is connected toslink. The toslink overrides the analog...when the CD player is on.

 

 Does upscaling take up the slot of an HDMI input?

Upscaling has nothing to do with "where" you put the HDMI. they are separate things that have nothing to do with each other. Upscaling is taking 480i/p and turning it into 1080P. I also assume you meant HDMI up-conversion. Which still has nothing to do with "where" you put the HDMI.

 

The 818 has enough inputs on it that you won't have to share anything. I have the SR707 and NR1008 and have LD/CED/VHS/DVD/BD/Directv/Lenovo entertainment PC/Wii all connected to the NR1008. Didn't run out of inputs. The SR707 has two DVD players, a BD player, Laptop, Directv and a Wii.

 

You aren't going to have to "share" inputs. You have less stuff than I do.


Edited by schan1269, March 25 2013 - 12:42 PM.


#3 of 14 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted March 25 2013 - 12:32 PM

And to answer the questions you didn't actually ask...

 

Your "zone audio" must be analog. Sure if you buy a Denon 3311/12(maybe the 3313???) you get digital audio for the zones. But...you don't want to spend that much...and you won't buy a refurb. So forget "digital inputs" exist for multi-zone.

 

Now, the "stacking" I mention above is only for the 5.1. So, if lets say you connect your SNES via component and analog audio...then even if you did pair up an HDMI to the same input...the SNES only works via analog...so it ingores the HDMI anyway. Conversely, the way my Belkin is connected to the AVR, when I fire up Zone 2 and pick CD as the input...

 

The 5.1 area is listening to the CD player(if it is on) and the Zone 2 only has access to the Belkin...regardless of the current "on or not" of the CD player.

 

As far as a front composite input, Onkyo is about the only company still including one. I would expect it to disappear for the 2013 models though. Seeing the "Ghost of the former line-up" the 727 is from the 709/717 before it...I don't have much hope for the 828.


Edited by schan1269, March 25 2013 - 12:33 PM.


#4 of 14 OFFLINE   Adam_S

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Posted March 25 2013 - 02:02 PM

Thanks, all that info is very helpful!


 

#5 of 14 OFFLINE   gene c

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Posted March 25 2013 - 05:30 PM

When browsing brands websites use their "compare" feature to see what the differences between models are. As you go up in the lineup the difference in price becomes much greater.

 

Knowing where to buy is as important as knowing what to buy. The popular websites are ac4l.com (they also sell new stuff), newegg.com, Crutchfield.com (their Research area is very helpfull), Onecall.com, Vanns.com (but their B&B is in bankrupcy :( ), tigerdirect.com, jr.com, electronicsexpo.com, Amazon of course and a couple I can't think of at the moment.

 

You can also go into BestBuy/Magnolia and ask them what their best price is. They just might surprise you. Or not. Frys doesn't seem to have deals on receivers like they do on speakers.

 

Like some others around here, I haven't bought a new receiver in years. All mine are refurbs or off ebay/craigslist. Yeah, I've been luck (knock on wood) but buying used and refurb has allowed me to run an enormous number of receivers through my house without going into backrupcy myself. My latest pickup is an Adcom GF-700 with hdmi video switching. Very basic by todays standards but it seems to be very well built. If it had OSD via hdmi it might have been a keeper.


"Everyday room": Panasonic 58" Plasma, Dish HD DVR, Pioneer Elite vsx-23, BDP-23 BR, dv58avi universal dvd player, Paradigm Studio 20 V1, CC-450, Dayton HSU-10 subwoofer.

"Movie/Music room": Toshiba 65" DLP, Dish HD receiver, Marantz 7005, CC-4003, BD-7006, Polk LSI25's-LSi7's-LSiC, 2 original Dayton 10" "Mighty-Mites" subwoofers. (subject to change without notice).
 
Also have  MB Quart Vera VS05 +.....too much to list. Help me.
 
 

 


#6 of 14 OFFLINE   Adam_S

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Posted March 26 2013 - 09:49 AM

As far as a front composite input, Onkyo is about the only company still including one. I would expect it to disappear for the 2013 models though. Seeing the "Ghost of the former line-up" the 727 is from the 709/717 before it...I don't have much hope for the 828.

 

When is the 828 supposed to come out?


 

#7 of 14 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted March 26 2013 - 09:56 AM

Onkyo, the last couple years, has been on a schedule of late March/April on <7XX.

 

8 and 10 show up by May. The rest by June/July.

 

The only way to know your "sure" is to watch the 818. When it drops around $150(on Amazon, which would mean $850...sitting on $1000 today), you know the 828 is due. Also, Onkyo tends to put them up on the website 3-5 weeks ahead of "street date".


Edited by schan1269, March 26 2013 - 09:58 AM.


#8 of 14 OFFLINE   Adam_S

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Posted April 07 2013 - 09:37 AM

is the Onkyo 809 a previous year's model?


 

#9 of 14 ONLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted April 07 2013 - 10:38 AM

is the Onkyo 809 a previous year's model?

It's the 2011 model while the 818 is the 2012 model.


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#10 of 14 OFFLINE   Adam_S

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Posted April 18 2013 - 12:42 PM

Thanks, is there much difference between the 809 and the 818? The 809 just dropped into the 550 range.  I see that the 809 has SVideo inputs, but the 818 doesn't.  Did the 818 add features or did it just drop SVideo?


Edited by Adam_S, April 18 2013 - 12:44 PM.

 

#11 of 14 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted April 18 2013 - 01:01 PM

Everybody dropped S-Video in 2012(except for sumo class AVR and even then, the NR5010 doesn't have it either) and multi-channel inputs(which those are only needed by people with HDMI 1.1 or older SACD/DVD-A players)

 

The main difference is cleaner networking and "instant-preview" on the X1X.

 

So, off the top of my head...the 818 lost the S-Video and multi-channel. 

 

Anything else is so minor(and year change...meaning affected more than just "it") it is a footnote.

 

If you want to be exactly sure, the 809 and 818 can still be "side by side compared" on Onkyo's website(you'll need two tabs open, one on the new product, one on the old product and swap tabs).


Edited by schan1269, April 18 2013 - 01:10 PM.


#12 of 14 OFFLINE   Adam_S

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Posted April 18 2013 - 01:52 PM

Thanks I didn't realize I could do that on onkyo's site. I'm reassured now that it really is very minor stuff different---and I bought the 809. :D


 

#13 of 14 OFFLINE   gene c

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Posted April 18 2013 - 02:29 PM

Looks like Onkyo updated their website.

 

If you click on the "Show Older Models" tab on the upper left of the Receivers page you can view the 809 and 818 on the same page. The 818 adds a few things, most notably Audyssey XT32 but loses a couple of things. But even the manufactures information and compare features can be wrong or incomplete.


Edited by gene c, April 18 2013 - 02:29 PM.

"Everyday room": Panasonic 58" Plasma, Dish HD DVR, Pioneer Elite vsx-23, BDP-23 BR, dv58avi universal dvd player, Paradigm Studio 20 V1, CC-450, Dayton HSU-10 subwoofer.

"Movie/Music room": Toshiba 65" DLP, Dish HD receiver, Marantz 7005, CC-4003, BD-7006, Polk LSI25's-LSi7's-LSiC, 2 original Dayton 10" "Mighty-Mites" subwoofers. (subject to change without notice).
 
Also have  MB Quart Vera VS05 +.....too much to list. Help me.
 
 

 


#14 of 14 OFFLINE   Dave Moritz

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Posted May 11 2013 - 03:38 PM

I recommend the Denon over the Onkyo as there is just to much of a heat issue with the Onkyo's and bad customer service.  And personally I like the sound from the Denon's a lot more than the Onkyo's.  I highly recommend you get more than you need and get the highest model you can afford!  By doing this you may have more inputs and features than you need at the time but later on you may end up needing or wanting those features.  And as you expand your system you will be glad you have the flexibility to add sources and not have to buy another receiver later.

 

If you have a PS3 you might want to stick with that instead of the Wii U as I hear a lot of negative things on that system.

 

You only need your old digital connections for sources that do not have HDMI!  HDMI will send your old Dolby Digital and DTS along with the newer Dolby True HD and DTS HD-Master Audio which can only be carried by the HDMI cable if your player doesn't internally decode the lossless audio.  Personally I would rather have my receiver decode the audio than the player as I feel it does a better job and sounds better. 

 

You may not care about it right now but you defiantly do not want to be under powered.  Once you get to 65 - 75 watts per channel it take a lot more to get noticeably louder!  In my experience the more expensive receivers have better quality amplifiers and sound better than the cheaper models.  In electronics you get what you pay for and it can never hurt having more power than you need!  You will never tap the amps out and end up with distorted sound if you get more than you need and later if you move out of your condo you will have the power you need or want without having for shell out more money to buy a new more powerful receiver!!!  Always think down the road, what do I need later?  What might I need to connect and what might I add later!

 

Multi zone is just that, it is multi zone and many receivers let you assign internal amplifiers!  If you keep a 7.1 channel receiver configured at 7.1 then you will need to add a small power amp for powering that zone.  You can configure the receiver to run in 5.1 and assign two channels to a different zone if 7.1 channel is not that important to you.  You can also look into a 9.1 receiver and assign two channels to another zone and that would leave you with 7.1 in your main room.  Another thing to look out for is receivers that have 7.2 or 9.2!  The ability to hook up two subwoofers to your receiver directly.  You can listen to a movie in your main room and listen to music or the radio in another room.  Or you can have a football game on and have the audio playing in other places as well.  Or just have different music in different rooms!

 

Audessy is the most popular and most praised room correction in my honest opinion but even then no room correction in these receivers are perfect!  You can always run the calibration software and they will get you close but you can always fine tune your settings with a SPL meter after the fact!!!

 

There are some good bluray players if you want to buy a newer 3D Blu-ray player.  The PS3 loads fast and performs very well but I personally can not stand the loading mechanism that pulls your disc into the player.  I find that the tray models are way easier on your discs and are not likely to scratch anything.  Especially since you most likely may be still watching some older dvd's in the PS3 that can definantly scratch your discs if dirt gets into the rollers.  And it is not very good if you get any kind of substance on your discs and that ends up transferring to the rollers in the PS3 which pulls the disc in, so you may want to consider a stand alone Bluray player.  I like Denon, Sony, Panasonic and Oppo and I would stay away from Samsung and especially LG (Lucky Goldstar).  If you never are going to use multi zone then do not worry about it, although the receiver may have it anyway.

 

There are many receivers that let you hook up your iphone or ipod directly and some include airplay for playback off apple devices.  You can also get something that lets you stream music right off your laptop or desktop pc as long as you run a Ethernet cable, I find this to be more secure and more reliable because wireless can be effected by the amount of furniture and walls between the source and your receiver.

 

You can get a Denon that is very expensive but for example you can get one that lets you run one 7.1 system and a second zone in 5.1 with at least audio in two more zones on top of that.  It depends on what you need or want to accomplish with your system.  Go to your local retailers and bring a few of your favorite music cd's and one or two of your favorite movies and use the same discs on every single receiver you are auditioning to make it easier to find the one you like the most in your price range.  Onkyo has good bang for the buck but do not close them in, give them plenty of ventilation!  Denon, Marantz, Rotel, Integra are good to check out as are some Pioneer's and there Elite line use to be good but I keep hearing higher failure rates with them and bad customer service with Onkyo.  Integra sounds really good as well but the last I heard they where still owned by Onkyo unless they where sold of at any time, maybe someone here knows for sure if Onkyo still owns them or not? 


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