2 weeks in receiver hell...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chess Martin, Sep 14, 2002.

  1. Chess Martin

    Chess Martin Agent

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    I bought a Pioneer VSX-D509 in 2000 and figured I wouldn't have to think about receivers for at least 5 years or so...
    ...i got back from vacation (a week in Reno :up: ) the wednesday before last and discovered that my Pioneer was dead. I presume it was a power surge of some sort since we get a lot of lightning here, but I can't be sure since it's on the same surge protector as everything else and everything else seems to be fine. It powered up and seemed to be sending something to the speakers, but it wouldn't process any signal (analog or digital) from any source into anything even remotely resembling theater including its own tuner.
    ...at any rate, it was disappointing, because I'd always been very happy with the unit. Made my Energy Exl:16s sing and had pretty decent bass management to the sub. Plus it had a wonderful learning remote.
    So I came here like any good HTer would and read a few threads. I was pretty much dead-set against getting another Pioneer because of the inexplicable demise of my 509, so I was looking for recommendations for a good $250-$400 receiver. I also figured I would upgrade to 6.1 even though I don't have any near future intentions of getting a rear center speaker. anyway, It seemed like a few people were happy with the low end Kenwoods and the new Panasonics seemed fairly interesting. I ordered a Kenwood 6050 on that same Friday.
    It came last Wednesday relatively unharmed via UPS, and the hookup/setup was relatively painless in spite of one minor gripe with the remote (more on that later). So all was relatively good, and I'd survived a WEEK without a receiver, but there was something not quite "right" about the way the Kenwood sounded. At first I thought it sounded OK, just different from the Pioneer. I think I described it as "warm" at the time, but I think i was just rationalizing. I wouldn't call the Kenwood underpowered by any means, but it had a really odd power progression. most of the way through the volume, it was to quiet, then it sort of came to life at a sweet spot, then two clicks later the sound turned muddy. Then I started to notice things missing on my CDs...like certain midrange and high frequencies were just gone. Then I noticed that on DD playback the dialogue was really subdued compared to the soundfield. I had to turn the center channel up 5 db just to make it tolerable, and even then, the people onscreen sounded...I think my girlfriend described it as "far away". Finally, there was no crossover per se on the receiver, just settings for speaker sizes "normal" and "large". I was constantly adjusting the gain on my sub because it was either boomy or silent.
    ...and then there was the remote...and this is no big deal, just a pet peeve. There was no input code or even a control button for a CD player! Can you believe it? Unless you happen to have or plan to buy a Kenwood CD player, you're just SOL. [​IMG]
    Notice I've been talking about the 6050 in the past tense. I tweaked it as best I could for 4 days, and gave up. I took it to Best Buy (and I'm not proud of this, so there's no need to flame) and traded it (plus $100, so it wasn't a total scam [​IMG] ) in for a Pioneer VSX-D811 which has about a million good reviews and recommendations on the board. I'm probably rationalizing again, but I'm going to write the death of the 2 1/2 year old 509 off as an oddity since they seem to be pretty reliable for everybody else.
    So thats how it's gone so far...two weeks and running. The 811 is still in the box and I have a legitimate receipt from Best Buy, which is as good as $405ish cash I suppose. I'm actually thinking pretty hard about not opening it and ordering an Onkyo 600. I'm just afraid to spend the extra $50-60 when I might just get the same crappy (to my ears anyway) "warm" sound I got with the Kenwood.
    ...the saga continues. sigh.
     
  2. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

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    So whats the problem! Even if you open the 811 you can return for refund correct???

    Or did I miss something.....

    I would, if you can return for full refund, OPEN the 811S and go for it. It's a good receiver with room to grow...

    The only week point mentioned most of the time is it's 2-channel sound preformence.
    It can be considered week and thin. Now these are personal opinons of owners and testers. Would you find this to be the case, only you could answer that. Also for many, excellent 2-channel is not their priority!
    The 811S has decent build quailty, DD, DTS, EX, ES, NEO-6, 5-6 channel stereo, DPII, etc and the ability to up-grade with external amps or eq's in line on all or part channels, makes for a very versital receiver.

    At it's price point (around 300.00 on line) it is considered one of the leaders in the some what semi higher end "entry level" receivers,,,, with a very large happy following.

    So assuming that you can return for a full refund, I would have at it, what you got to loose!!!!

    Regards
    Geoff
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I was not completely impressed with my limited experience with the 811, however the only way you are going to know if you like it is to pull it out of the box and hook it up. [​IMG]
     
  4. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Chess, since you bought it already, I'd go for it, open it up and try it out. If you don't like it, you can return it within 30 days. To be honest, in the price range you're talking about, you're not going to find one company with a vastly superior build quality and reliability rating. i.e. what happened with the 509 could happen with any of them including the Onkyo SR600 - whether it was a power surge or just a random failure (I just had one of those myself - killed a 20 inch Sharp tv I had, power supply just seems to have died and it's only 20 months old). With that said, I still have a $200 stereo Pioneer receiver from 1990-1991 that is still in use.
    As for the 811S, I happen to own that one too and I'd say that 2 channel music at relatively low (normal? [​IMG]) volumes is thin sounding with both the low end and high end lacking. If you find this the case, try switching on the "loudness" feature and see if you like that better. I personally use this feature for all cd listening.
    cheers,
    --tom
     
  5. Chess Martin

    Chess Martin Agent

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    the "problem" was that a receiver i was very happy with died and i replaced it with one i hated and ordered online, so i thought i might be stuck with it. a week without a receiver and a week trying to tune one you don't like just...well, it sucked. [​IMG]
    who was i kidding...of course i opened the 811. [​IMG]
    and i love it. it has everything i loved about my 509 and even addressed a few of my problems with it (namely lack of a good 4.1 channel stereo option). if by thin, you mean bright, i've always liked that sound, and my sub fills out the bottom end nicely. it sounds great from -50ish db to around -15 db, which is a nice range...especially compared to the Kenwood which sounded tolerable from about -25 to about -15. now i just need to find a couple of small energys to set up a 7.1 system. maybe i'll see if i can find a pair on ebay or something. any suggestions?
    in all fairness to the kenwood, i'm guessing it would sound pretty good with larger mains and a more competent sub than my SA-WM40, but i couldn't get that thing adjusted to MY taste on MY speaker setup to save my life. i won't go so far as to call it junk, but i sure did hate it.
    so all that's left now is an ethics question. i thought maybe i'd order another 811 online for around $310 and return it to best buy instead of the one i've already opened. the return would be about $405, but i'd have essentially dumped the Kenwood on them with nothing in return. if i choose not to do that, i'd be out about $50 as i have about $360 invested in the 811 at this point...actually, as i sit here and do the math, i'd be out more like $90 by not returning it.
    total investment at this point: $361
    cost of another 811: $312
    equals $673 minus about $404 for the unopened return
    equals $268
    i'd feel a little slimy for doing it (wasting BBs time and dumping the kenwood on them), but i'd feel pretty stupid for not doing it. i do give best buy a fair amount of business...eh, i'll probably just eat it, chalk it up as a lesson learned, and be happy that i have a receiver that i love instead of being stuck with one i hate.
    can someone tell me about the sound of onkyo receivers on sub/satellite systems...i think i've heard a few people describe it as sounding great with the take 5 system, which my eXL-16s should be a step up from.
    ...or should i just be content.
     
  6. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    Go ahead and take them both back to best buy. Guys there are not payed on commission, and it's a nation wide chain, so i don't really think it's going to eat into their profits. Regardless, a store that size should be able to compete with Internet prices, so let it be a lesson to them. They give you a return policy for a reason, so take advantage of it. Just my opinion, it's up to you.
     
  7. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Personally for me, if it ain't broke, don't fix it [​IMG] If it were me, I'd keep the one you have. It works, you bought it from an authorized dealer, and you like it. I wouldn't go through the hassle of unhooking everything, packaging it up, ordering another one on-line, driving to Best Buy to return the other one - waiting in line for 30 minutes to return it, etc etc. It just wouldn't be worth $90 of my time and energy not to mention I'd be fairly cranky with myself if the one I ordered on-line was defective on the off chance.
    cheers,
    --tom
     
  8. DanielSmi

    DanielSmi Second Unit

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    So if you didn't buy the Kenwood at BB how is it they let you return it, especially if you didn't have a receipt. Man what store was I'll go there I got some stuff to get rid of, I used to work at best buy and I can't get away with that and they know me and they're supposed to hook me up. That a real security problem ontheir part, I remember on guy who used to go from store to store with something to return like a cd, and when you come in LP (loss prevention) the people in the yellow shirts are supposed to put a pink sticker on whatever you have to return, What the guy would do is take the sticker off the cd and put on this Yamaha receiver that cost $800 I forget the model # and take that up to customer service and return it with no receipt and get like $850 (after taxes) in store credit. That's a huge security problem, that 850 gone like that, and that Stephen is why they don't compete with internet prices, the internet doesn't get robbed, and they also have to pay all sorts off other fees, where an internet site can have only one building and serve the entire world, and like 20 employees not a 100,000 employees.

    Daniel Smith
     
  9. Chess Martin

    Chess Martin Agent

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    my intention wasn't to unhook the one i have hooked up now, but to give best buy the unopened one...at any rate, i doubt i'll do it.
    as to why they took the other one back without a receipt...i can't say. but i will say that i repackaged it completely and never took any of the stickers off, so it was truly pristine. that might have had something to do with it. plus i didn't just return it for cash, i traded up to a $100 more expensive receiver, which is something they're probably less inclined to question.
    any thoughts on using a pair of take 2s as rear surrounds with my eXL-16s? i'm pretty sure they have the same aluminum dome tweeter. or maybe i'll just ask in the speaker forum.
    i'm also still curious about Onkyo receiver sound in Sub/Sat setups. i like a slightly bright sound with a lot of detail. maybe yamaha would be a better option. but i'm just thinking about the future now. i plan to keep the Pioneer. [​IMG]
     

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