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Yet another sub $300 receiver recommendation


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25 replies to this topic

#1 of 26 Norm W

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Posted May 09 2002 - 01:35 AM

I am new to the home theater realm, and want some advice on an entry level receiver. I just ordered the JBL 135 speaker set, since my wife's primary concern is speaker size. I have in mind a few receivers around the $300 range. I know I can't get much with this, but that is what I must work with.

HK AVR-120 $300 at jandr.com
Onkyo TXSR500 $300 at Circuit City
Onkyo TXDS595 (refurb) $300 plus shipping (can't remember where)
Sony STRDE675 $199 clearance at Sears
Yamaha RXV430 & 520 can't find a place (other than Crazy Eddie's), but maybe in price range
Panasonic SAHE70K $200 at Circuit City

I'm leaning to the H/K and Onkyos, but know nothing about the Yamahas. I was told the entry level Yamahas aren't that good, but that person is very subjective (i.e. fancy talker, but not much legitimate info to back him up)

The JBL's have an efficiency rating of 86db, so I am a little afraid of the H/K b/c of the 40 watt output. The rest have much more power (I know the ratings vary with manufacturers). I want to keep this receiver a while and want to get something reliable, without the gizmos I most likely will not utilize.

Right now, I am seriously considering the Onkyo 500. Please let me know if there are other alternatives out there (The Denon 1602 is $400, which is definitely out of my price range).

I have read many threads which many like the Onkyos, HK and Denon. I just want to make sure I have all the facts and opinions I can get before I choose.

#2 of 26 ThomasL

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Posted May 09 2002 - 02:23 AM

Norm, I would also add the budget Pioneer to the list. Perhaps the VSX-D711. Some may disagree but I've found Pioneer very decent for the budget minded. Yamahas seem to have a good reputation as well. Best Buy should sell the HTR Yamaha line as well as the Pioneer VSX-D line. Also, the entry level Onkyo would be an excellent choice to look at. Personally, I'd avoid anything that is labeled "refurbished." Just my experience but once something has gone into the shop, it's never quite the same again. As for power ratings, probably the Onkyo is going to be the most accurate but then again, you also have to ask will you even come close to drawing so much current as to overload any of these receivers? Assuming it's a small room, you have a subwoofer to handle the lower frequencies and you don't "crank it" to brain-splitting levels, then you'll probably be fine. So, what is probably most important is how it sounds with your speakers and what features it comes with that you want.

good luck,


--tom

#3 of 26 Vince Maskeeper

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Posted May 09 2002 - 03:03 AM

Norm,

Have you considered the used market? Certainly, buying used does present a bit of a gamble- but like any gamble there is a a very healthy payoff available for taking the risk.

In the case of receivers- often products from 1-2 years ago pop up at deeply discounted prices as new models with new whizz-bang features are introduced. I've found that my dollar can go a lot farther in the used market than it would ever take me buying new.

And, while used is a risk- you can usually reduce the risks to nearly nill by buying from the classified ads here on this forum. Most guys on this forum baby their gear and treat it properly (not to mention, if they ever had a problem with it- they probably posted about it on the forum, so a quick search would tell you the details).

I've found that you can get 2 year old receivers which support DD and DTS that were $1200 new for under $400! Solid, high quality components on skinny budgets.

Can't beat that.

-Vince

PS: I have a second hand Denon receiver (the 3300)- which I love- and recently a part went bad on it. I called Denon- and although it was out of the 2 year warranty period, they still offered to fix it for you free of charge. So, again, depening on what you buy- you might very well get a good product with a service guarantee for a lowball price!
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#4 of 26 Ted Lee

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Posted May 09 2002 - 03:05 AM

hi norm - welcome!

i'd keep the onkyo and hk at the top of your list.

the onkyo's are a good blend of performance and features for the money. i think the 500 is the latest model and so far is getting good reviews.

the hk's (although conservatively rated) can usually handle quite a bit - i wouldn't worry about the 40wpc rating.

i would skip the sony at all costs.

btw - here's another thread on the same topic:

http://www.hometheat....ight=500 onkyo
 

#5 of 26 John Garcia

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Posted May 09 2002 - 03:38 AM

Of those mentioned, I would also say keep Onkyo at the top of your list. They will deliver more current than the others, with the exception of maybe the Yamahas.

If not refurb, how about open box items at local stores. I have found some very good deals on more or less new gear that way. It's worth a look around for demo, open box, last year's model, etc...

Hey Ted, TAG! Posted Image Now I'm following you?
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

 


#6 of 26 Norm W

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Posted May 09 2002 - 04:02 AM

What a great response! Regarding used items, I will consider them, but I'm not too sure of online vendors that sell these. I will certainly look through the classifieds. I'm afraid there may be new techonolgy I will use later on that I will miss out on a year old item. For example, I have noticed the newer models have DPLII and the older ones don't. Is DPLII that great of a thing to look to newer receivers instead of regular DPL?

My speakers are small, and I plan on using it 75/25 movies to music. The room is not that big, and I don't plan on cranking it up. The floor is tile, so I most likely will et some extra sound bouncing around. I am looking for a decent low end receiver (quality over quantity).

I have kept my eye out on open boxed stuff, but places like best buy discount like 10%. Unfortunately, most of the receievers I saw were dinged up Sonys with cables missing (looked like the former owner was so dissatisfied he threw it down the stairs). For some reason, no one seems to return Onkyos and H/Ks. I almost think they try to sell used stuff at a premium as "experienced equipment".

#7 of 26 GregoryM

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Posted May 09 2002 - 04:15 AM

I have the Pioneer VSX D711 ($300 at Circuit City)mentioned earlier, and it does a decent job on movie 5.1 in my much-less-than-ideal HT room, driving a set of Polk 6600 subwoofer/satellite/surrounds. For music it's a little less friendly, having only basic bass/treble adjustments, but that wasn't much of an issue for me, as I use it exclusively to drive my home theater.

Greg

#8 of 26 Ted Lee

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Posted May 09 2002 - 04:21 AM

<< shakes fist at john...yells "nnoooooo!!!" >> Posted Image

Quote:
Is DPLII that great of a thing to look to newer receivers instead of regular DPL?


although i've never heard it myself, i believe the general consensus is that it's pretty cool. it's really useful for extracing surround sensation out of 2-channel stuff. pretty cool for old vhs tapes, music cds, etc. i wouldn't consider it a deal-breaker, but something to consider.

btw - have you checked out the hardware for sale forum? you may find a good deal there. you can also post that you're looking for a receiver to buy.
 

#9 of 26 John Garcia

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Posted May 09 2002 - 04:53 AM

I held out for a receiver with DPL-II (basic), and I can honestly say I am not totally impressed. Particularly for music, after listening to multi-channel DD/DTS music, DPL-II just doesn't even come close. I actually do most of my music listening in 2ch stereo anyway, and I also prefer that to DPL-II. However, for older non 5.1 DVD movies, it is far more impressive. I haven't tried it out with VHS because I haven't had a VCR in my main system for 5 years (I can't handle the low picture quality anymore), but I would expect it to do quite well.

If you will be wathing a lot of VHS, I would say it is worth while, but I also would not consider PL-II a deal breaker. An older unit that is 5.1, but is higher quality than a newer unit with PL-II would still make most people more than happy.

Note: there are two versions of PL-II - one that has no adjustments and one that has a few parameters for speaker configuration. Not all receivers have the adjustable version.
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)

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#10 of 26 ColinM

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Posted May 09 2002 - 06:30 AM

I run 86db NHT Ones and Zeros with a 10 month old HK AVR110 (40*5) and have no problems at all. A solid unit all around for the $300 I paid.

Good Luck!
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#11 of 26 John Pine

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Posted May 10 2002 - 01:33 AM

Norm: For me, adjustable DP II is quite useful! I listen to mostly concert DVD's and CD audio but not many movies(70/30). It really just depends on what you watch or listen to. If you have a large VHS collection or listen to a lot of audio CD's don't pass it up, you'll regret it!
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#12 of 26 Juan Castillo

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Posted May 10 2002 - 02:03 AM

wot about the new kenwood vr-6050, its 299 at crutchfield, prolly cheaper elsewhere. Of all the 299 HT recievers that they carry, it seems to have to best options. At least for what i need. NO component switching, but you do get a preamp 6 channel, dd, ddex, dts, and dplII.

#13 of 26 Ryan T

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Posted May 11 2002 - 03:14 PM

Hi,

I would recommend the Harman Kardon or Onkyo. There both great receivers.

John,
Quote:
Of those mentioned, I would also say keep Onkyo at the top of your list. They will deliver more current than the others, with the exception of maybe the Yamahas.


I believe the H/K has more current (power output?) than the Onkyo or Yamaha. I bought a AVR-120 a few months ago. And it has plenty of power. most people think that H/K receivers are underpowered but in fact most receivers over state there power output. It seems H/K takes another route by understating there power. For a few examples, The H/K AVR-510 retails for $999, It is rated to output 70 Watts x 5 and it actually outputs 75 watts per channel with all channels driven. The Yamaha RX-V1200 retails for $899 and it is rated at 80 watts x 6 and it outputs only 47 watts per channel with all channels driven. The Marantz SR7200 retails for $850, it is rated at 105 watts x 6 and it only outputs 27 watts per channel with all channels driven! The Onkyo TX-DS696 retails for $830 it's rated for 100 watts x 5 and it only outputs 46 watts per channel with all channels driven. All of these specs are taken from Sound & Vision magazine's in lab reports. So as you can see the H/K is the only receiver there that comes close to there rated power and even goes over it! This is not to say any of the receiver mentioned here are bad. I just hear so many people say that the H/K receivers are underpowered compared to the other brands which is not true. Unfortunately I don't have any In lab reports on the receivers your comparing. But I think if there were any they would be close to the same results as above with the more expensive models. I hope this helps.



Ryan

#14 of 26 John Garcia

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Posted May 11 2002 - 07:06 PM

The 120 is the lowest model. If we were talking about the 225 or 325, then maybe I would change that statement. Yes, H/K underrates, but so do Marantz, Denon and Onkyo. Personally, I would choose Marantz first, then H/K, Onkyo&Denon, ...
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

 


#15 of 26 Ryan T

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Posted May 12 2002 - 04:19 AM

Quote:
The 120 is the lowest model. If we were talking about the 225 or 325, then maybe I would change that statement. Yes, H/K underrates, but so do Marantz, Denon and Onkyo. Personally, I would choose Marantz first, then H/K, Onkyo&Denon, ...


am I missing something? If Marantz, Onkyo, Denon under rates there power output then what the heck happened with all the Sound & vision in lab reports? I do realize that the 120 is the lowest model but I think it outputs about 40 Watts per channel. It's maximum power consumption is 520 watts so it could easily output 200 watts. And even at 40 watts per channel it competes with most receivers that cost a lot more. I went with the H/K because I'm more interested in music than HT but I still wanted surround sound. I did not like the Onkyo as much because it sounded a bit bright. I still have not listened to a Denon receiver but I hope to some time.



Ryan

#16 of 26 John Garcia

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Posted May 12 2002 - 04:37 AM

Do you believe everything you read? I own a Marantz 6SR200, and there is definitely no lack of power, even at ref level, 6ch driven. A single magazine doing a test of a single, MULE, pre-production amp is not the best source of information. I take those tests with a graing of salt at best. I believe my ears, and my amp can produce SPLs that make even me uncomfortable, without distortion (no clipping even well above calibrated ref, Paradigms all the way around)

Onkyo bright? I would definitely not say Onkyo is bright, but that is more dependant on the speakers. Denon is more bright than Onkyo, Marantz or H/K. That is why I chose Marantz - same features and power for about the same price of a similarly featured H/K, Denon, or Onkyo. (I compared the H/K 510, Onkyo 595,696, Denon 3802). The Onkyos & H/K didn't have 6.1, and the 3802 sounded a bit flat. For 2ch music, there is no better receiver in this price range than Marantz. The previous generation of Marantz actually sounds even better to me (I also have an SR4000). I found the Onkyos to be rather warm and full in the midrange, and a tiny bit laid back in the highs, but that could have been the speakers.

If anything, previous lower model Yamahas were very bright, but I have listened to some of them recently, and while I still do not love the way they sound, they do seem to be less in your face than before and do have some very good amps. H/K is overpriced, IMO. Of course, this is all just that, my opinion.
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

 


#17 of 26 Ryan T

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Posted May 12 2002 - 08:47 AM

John,

As far as I know the Sound & Vision In lab reports are accurate. I agree the H/K receivers do seem a bit overpriced. In my opinion the Marantz receivers are very close to the H/K in sound quality. As for the Onkyo being bright I switched between the Onkyo TX-DS494 and the H/K AVR-120 and the Onkyo seemed to be brighter sounding.



Ryan

#18 of 26 John Garcia

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Posted May 12 2002 - 09:04 AM

Both H/K and Marantz have a smooth rich sound to me, all of the others sound somewhat brighter to me, some more than others. For me it was a toss up between the H/K and Marantz. Had the 520 been out at the time, my choice may have been more difficult. Posted Image
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

 


#19 of 26 Ralph Bru

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Posted May 13 2002 - 02:03 AM

go with the Onkyo TXSR500. it has got nice reveiws as mentioned and a bargain! I got the replaced model (494) for $150.00 @ CC as a demo model and is like new with remote and manual. also has the same warranty as a new one. check out your circuit city for those deals, you cant beat them. this is my first experience with Onkyo and dont think I will be looking back. they sound incredible, I have owned Pioneer, JVC and other low end receivers and the sound quality is noticeable when compared to the Onkyo by far. my ears didnt know hwta they were missing till I owned one.

#20 of 26 Jack Briggs

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Posted May 13 2002 - 07:12 AM

Why no mention of the Outlaw Audio 1050? It's a lot of receiver for not a lot of dough.





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