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In need for a budget AVR


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#1 of 13 Judochop

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Posted April 05 2013 - 10:07 AM

I'm looking for a budget receiver for Home Theater.  I currently own a YAMAHA model that's about 10 years old, and has no HDMI inputs.

 

My requirements:

 

5.1 speakers set up.

All the newest sound formats for Blu Ray; TrueHD and all that.

3 HDMI inputs minimum.

Able to pass 3D bluray onto TV.

USB for iOS would be nice.

 

After those barebones requirements are met, I just want the best sound I can get for movies; clear dialogue, and punch for blow-em-up scenes.  I really don't care how music comes across.   I'm currently in a very small family room (12x20), but I do want to be prepared for a (slightly) larger space in case we move.

 

The DENON AVR1513 looks like a really good buy for me.  $250 would be right on target pricewise, but I'm worried about the punch factor.  I realize that a watt doesn't necessarily mean better, or even louder, but my old guy is rated at 110w per channel, and it meets my needs in the power dept.  A drop to 75w @ 8ohm seems like it could translate to a significantly different experience.

 

I'm curious to know if I can expect better sound with the new sound formats than I was getting from DD5.1 or DTS?  And can I expect better sound quality simply for the fact that it's been 10 years and techonology has advanced?

 

There ain't no way I'm going to be able to get out to test any of these devices, as if 'testing' them in a store was going to be of any help anyway, so I'm going entirely on any advice I can gather here.  Thanks!



#2 of 13 Judochop

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Posted April 05 2013 - 10:15 AM

Of couse the title should read "In need OF a...".

 

D'oh.



#3 of 13 Dave Upton

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Posted April 05 2013 - 10:46 AM

Personally, I would stray away from low wattage like that. This is a great example of a deal on a refurbished unit that you could really benefit from:

 

http://www.accessori...!specifications



#4 of 13 Judochop

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Posted April 05 2013 - 11:16 AM

Personally, I would stray away from low wattage like that. This is a great example of a deal on a refurbished unit that you could really benefit from:

 

http://www.accessori...!specifications

 

How do folks here feel about refurbished devices?   I've had good experience with some point 'n shoot cameras that were refurbs, but that's about it.   I'm totally game if the general consensus is positive.

 

Are there any AVR units available that combine big power with minimal bells and whistles?  An AVR whose objective is to create the best home theater sound without worrying about much else?



#5 of 13 schan1269

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Posted April 05 2013 - 11:25 AM

Onkyo typically suck the most juice off the wall...at every price point. Granted that isn't a complete tell all over absolute performance.

$250 is a tough budget for AVR w/o hitting refurb. If all I had was $300, there is no way I wouldn't buy a 616 as a refurb...or a used 608/609 on Ebay.

#6 of 13 gene c

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Posted April 05 2013 - 01:36 PM

What speakers do you have and which receiver have you been using. There is a decent upgrade in sound quality with TrueHD and Master Audio but the better your speakers are the more noticable the difference will be. And there have been improvements in sound quality with newer receivers via the use of Audyssey, MCACC, YPAO, etc room correction software not to mention the many more features and settings newer receivers have. But they have come with a trade-off and that usually means not as stout amp sections.

 

Refurbs generally have been given very good user reviews but as with anything, there can be some duds evrey now and then. Buy from an authorized dealer and you will have some warranty coverage. Ac4l.com is the most popular refurb site but there's also ecost.com, dakmart.com and H/K's's ebay store.

 

If you want a good amp section with fewer bells you wouldn't use anyway look for an older refurb from 2-4 years ago. Something like these two:

 

Denon 890  http://www.accessori...Receiver/1.html

 

Onkyo RC360   http://www.accessori...Receiver/1.html

 

If you really want a great amp section at a low cost then ebay/craigslist is your best bet in your price range. I just bought a good as new Adcom GFR-700 5.1 receiver off ebay for $400. Built like a tank. 6 months ago an H/K 745 pretty much new in box for $250. But of course, there is a risk involved when buying used. But most people really don't need as much specified power as they think they do.


"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.
 
 

 


#7 of 13 Judochop

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Posted April 09 2013 - 11:12 AM

Very helpful.  Thanks for the direction, Gene.

 

To answer your question, I have a set of the Athena Point 5 series, and a Velodyne sub.  I did a lot of research on the Athenas when I bought 'em 8-10 years ago and they got very good reviews for their price range (then ~$500 for the set of 5), particularly when used in home theater applications.   How they stand up now against the competition, I have no idea. 

 

Off the top of my head, my receiver is a Yamaha RX-V1400.  The picture in the cnet review looks exactly like what I've got.

 

What speakers do you have and which receiver have you been using. There is a decent upgrade in sound quality with TrueHD and Master Audio but the better your speakers are the more noticable the difference will be. And there have been improvements in sound quality with newer receivers via the use of Audyssey, MCACC, YPAO, etc room correction software not to mention the many more features and settings newer receivers have. But they have come with a trade-off and that usually means not as stout amp sections.

 

Refurbs generally have been given very good user reviews but as with anything, there can be some duds evrey now and then. Buy from an authorized dealer and you will have some warranty coverage. Ac4l.com is the most popular refurb site but there's also ecost.com, dakmart.com and H/K's's ebay store.

 

If you want a good amp section with fewer bells you wouldn't use anyway look for an older refurb from 2-4 years ago. Something like these two:

 

Denon 890  http://www.accessori...Receiver/1.html

 

Onkyo RC360   http://www.accessori...Receiver/1.html

 

If you really want a great amp section at a low cost then ebay/craigslist is your best bet in your price range. I just bought a good as new Adcom GFR-700 5.1 receiver off ebay for $400. Built like a tank. 6 months ago an H/K 745 pretty much new in box for $250. But of course, there is a risk involved when buying used. But most people really don't need as much specified power as they think they do.



#8 of 13 schan1269

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Posted April 09 2013 - 11:21 AM

By the way, the RC360 is, essentially, the NR609(or 608? Don't remember) minus THX* certification.

 

*And all the THX sound modes.



#9 of 13 Judochop

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Posted April 09 2013 - 11:38 AM

After doing more research on the new HD sound formats, it does look as if the improvement in sound quality is minimal, and maybe even unnoticable.  It'd be nice to have an AVR I can use as an HDMI hub so I wouldn't have to switch inputs on my TV, and it'd be nice to have the new sound formats, but I'm not sure 'nice' is worth a couple hundred dollars or more.  Esp. when my Yamaha still kicks it.

 

Thanks for the replies.  I think I'll hold off for now.



#10 of 13 gene c

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Posted April 09 2013 - 03:16 PM

I have a set of Point 5's in my closet that I've had for several years. They would compare favorably to the Energy Takes and Infinity Primus Pack.

 

I personally think that HD audio is an improvement over standard DD/DTS but not earth-shattering. And more with music then movies. The automatic setup and room correction feature like Audyssey, MCACC, YPAO, EZSetEQ might offer a better improvement in sound quality than HD audio. But if you're happy with the Yamaha/Athena setup then you might be able to put the money to better use elsewhere. 

 

If your Bluray player has the multi-channel analog outputs then you might be able to get the Hd audio that way.


"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.
 
 

 


#11 of 13 Judochop

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Posted April 11 2013 - 11:42 AM

I have a set of Point 5's in my closet that I've had for several years. They would compare favorably to the Energy Takes and Infinity Primus Pack.

 

 

The automatic setup and room correction feature like Audyssey, MCACC, YPAO, EZSetEQ might offer a better improvement in sound quality than HD audio.

 

Glad to hear my Athenas are still respected.   Do you always go to your closet to listen to music, Gene?  :)

 

Are the automatic set-up / correction functions actually better at calibration than my ear, or just more convenient?  I've bookmarked the Onkyo NR414/515 as my prime picks for when I get around to replacing my Yahama, but Audyssey calibration doesn't show up until the the 616 model.  Would you consider it a 'must have' for getting the best sound out of an AVR?

 

Edit:  Now looking at the Onkyo website, I find the 515 does indeed include Audyssey auto calibration.   Looks like I found my man!


Edited by Judochop, April 11 2013 - 12:02 PM.


#12 of 13 gene c

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Posted April 11 2013 - 01:44 PM

Glad to hear my Athenas are still respected.   Do you always go to your closet to listen to music, Gene?  :)

 

Are the automatic set-up / correction functions actually better at calibration than my ear, or just more convenient?  I've bookmarked the Onkyo NR414/515 as my prime picks for when I get around to replacing my Yahama, but Audyssey calibration doesn't show up until the the 616 model.  Would you consider it a 'must have' for getting the best sound out of an AVR?

 

Edit:  Now looking at the Onkyo website, I find the 515 does indeed include Audyssey auto calibration.   Looks like I found my man!

The Athena's were pretty beat up being display models at Best Buy but it was all cosmetic damage. Scrapes in the plastic enclosures, badly torn grill cloth, etc. I figured it would tough to sell them in that condition even if the drivers, tweeters and crossovers were all perfect. Stuck them in the closet and they're still there.

 

Personnaly, I don't care for the sound quality of these automatic eq systems but most others like them. I usually start by running them and then tweaking them (just a little bit) to my liking. They should be more acurate than doing it by ear and when members have double-checked the speaker distances and volumes with tape measures and sound pressure level meters they are usually spot-on.

 

My only fault with Onkyo is they only give you the entry level version of Audyssey (2EQ) were Denon gives you MultEQ or MultEQ XT in their moderately priced receivers. Otherwise, Onkyo's are hard to beat for value.


"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.
 
 

 


#13 of 13 DaveF

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Posted April 13 2013 - 03:34 AM

I like Onkyos, dollars to doughnuts.

But after some quick rmesearch, i had my dad get a refurb Pioneer 522 from BestBuy for $180
The newer model 523 is on Amazon for $249. Appears to have the features you want, with a solid set of inputs for the budget class.




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