6.1 receiver decision (long)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff_Fitz, Oct 20, 2002.

  1. Jeff_Fitz

    Jeff_Fitz Stunt Coordinator

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    I am looking for an entry-level HT setup for my family room and I have decided to go 6.1. For speakers, I will likely be going with the Axiom Epic Micro with an additional QS2 for the center surround. This system will be used 90% with satellite/DVD and 10% with music (mostly in 5.1/6.1 or multi-channel stereo).

    I have defined my requirements in order of importance as follows:
    1) 6 amplified A channels
    2) 2 amplified B channels (must be in addition to above, not instead of)
    3) S-Video switching (ideally Component Video switching too but its not a show stopper)
    4) full set of preouts to give me the option to use it as a pre-pro later
    5) Some sort of Dynamic Range Compression to improve low volume listening (don't want to wake up those kids)
    6) All the latest surround processing including DPLII, DD, DD EX, DTS, DTS ES, DTS Neo:6. THX is not required.
    7) Multi-channel inputs (ideally 6.1) for future-proofing.
    8) A learning remote that will allow me to get rid of the sea of remotes hanging around my family room. Nice to have.
    9) Phono in would be a nice to have

    I want to keep the price at or below $869 Canadian. I intend to buy from an authorised Canadian dealer.

    Here is what I found when I looked around:

    Sony – The STR-DE985 does not have a full set of pre-outs and does not do DTS ES or DTS Neo:6.

    JVC – Doesn’t have a 6.1 receiver near my price range.

    Panasonic - The HE200 looks interesting but it does not have a full set of pre-outs.

    Denon – The AVR-1803 was the receiver I was waiting for, but I am disappointed. It doesn’t have a full set of preouts. Also, you can't do 6.1 and have an amplified B-channel at the same time. Also, the availble B-channel is mono only. On the plus side, it does have multi-room/multi-source, but as I said, I don’t want to buy a second amp.

    Marantz – They don’t seem to do amplified B-channels at all in my price range.

    Harmon Kardon – They don’t have a 6.1 receiver in my price range.

    Onkyo – The TX-SR600 does not have a full set of pre-outs. Also, I am concerned about the rumours of build quality issues, drop outs, and all-channels driven power that is way below the advertised wattage.

    Yamaha – The RX-V630 does not seem to do DTS ES and DTS Neo:6. Yamaha says the 630 is “DTS ES Compatible”, not exactly sure what that means, but I think it means DTS ES Discrete is not supported. I am also concerned about the rumours of all-channels driven power way below the advertised wattage.


    So what I am left with? Drum roll please...

    1) Pioneer VSX-D811S – Available for $549 Canadian from an authorized dealer here in Halifax.

    2) Kenwood VR6070 – On sale at Future Shop for $765 Canadian. (Note - The VR6060 is cheaper but does not have a full set of pre-outs.)

    I am leaning toward the Pioneer because it has everything I want, it’s more than $200 cheaper, and it seems to get a lot of great press on the HT boards.

    So what do you guys think – Pioneer or Kenwood?

    Also, have I missed something out there that I should be taking a look at?


    Jeff

    P.S. - I know this thread is similar to another thread on the board right now, but I did not want to hijack that gentleman's thread.
     
  2. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Jeff:

    The Pioneer 811 is probably your best bet, given the criteria you've set out.

    Not knowing what it might retail for in Canada, have you considered the Sony 2ES? I think it has all of the features you want. Just got a chance to play with one for a day--very impressive piece, and it sounds better than the Pioneer, to my ears.

    --AM
     
  3. Jeff_Fitz

    Jeff_Fitz Stunt Coordinator

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    Angelo:

    The Sony ES STRDA2ES retails for $1199 Canadian. Nice unit, but not in my price range.

    Jeff
     
  4. Jeff_Fitz

    Jeff_Fitz Stunt Coordinator

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    Anyone else have any thoughts or comments?
     
  5. Steve Adams

    Steve Adams Second Unit

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    I recommend the pioneer. i have the 810, got it at sears for 369 tax in. it's awsome. great sound. a little hard to set up. but all in all an awsome receiver....looks great as well!
     
  6. Dan Ojennes

    Dan Ojennes Auditioning

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    Well, I purchased the Pioneer, they had a great deal at Best Buy this week, 24 Same As Cash for home Audio over $299. I plan to get it all hooked up tonight, then I will let you know what I think. Thanks for all the input.
    Dan Ojennes
     
  7. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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  8. Nick Cerretti

    Nick Cerretti Stunt Coordinator

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    Rich, what exactly is "acceptable" sound quality? [​IMG]
    Though you do bring up a interesting question. The amp would be the weakest part of the unit. Anyone using the 811 as a pre/pro?
     
  9. Steve Adams

    Steve Adams Second Unit

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    my 810 has "lots" of power. now if i get my house straightend away, im sure i will need more for my dedicated ht. 26x22 room. fairly big! so more may be in order. but we will see.....
     
  10. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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  11. Jeff_Fitz

    Jeff_Fitz Stunt Coordinator

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    Rich:

    You have a point that "sound quality" is not something I listed above. I was making a concious effort to concentrate on the concrete feature set items for this post.

    Sound quality is not something I intend to ignore completely, but I want to balance it with the feature set and price.

    IMHO the quality levels in home theater amplification go something like this:

    Tier 1
    - Receivers from JVC, Kenwood, Panasonic, Pioneer, Sony

    Tier 2
    - Receivers from Denon, Harmon Kardon, Kenwood Sovereign, Marantz, Onkyo, Pioneer Elite, Sony ES, Yamaha

    Tier 3
    - Receivers from NAD, Rotel, and other brands that are out of reach for many

    Tier 4 and up
    - Separates that are out of reach for many more

    Personally, I am trying to build an entry-level system so I am only considering receivers in the first two tiers. The dilemma I have is, how much more am I willing to pay to get the features I want in a "Tier 2" receiver. The MSRP's on tier 2 receivers with the features I want range from about $1000 to $1500 Canadian. The MSRP on the Pioneer 811s is $599 Canadian.

    I have a Yamaha HTR5560 on 30-day trial right now to see if I can do without some of the features I have listed. I am going to return it because it doesn't have some features that I have confirmed I want (DTS ES Discrete, DTS Neo:6, and a learning remote).

    I am leaning towards buying the 811s and putting the savings aside for the later purchase of a multi-channel amp if I think it is necessary. I think that arrangement would exceed the performance of similarly priced "Tier 2" receiver like the Denon AVR-2802 (MSRP of $1450 Canadian) without having to pony up the cash all at once. However, to be honest, given the fact that this system is in my family room running pretty small speakers for mainly home theater, the upgrade will not likely be necessary.

    I hope that clarifies things a bit,

    Jeff
     
  12. Nick Cerretti

    Nick Cerretti Stunt Coordinator

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    Sorry about the eyes Rich.
    I think for a mostly HT system, receivers in this price range don't really vary much in terms of sound quality. Obviously they is a difference music wise, but Jeff put a strong emphasis on HT. So features would be the biggest thing I would be looking for. Its easy for me because I rarely listen to music in my HT setup, so a receivers 2 ch. music quality is a useless feature.
    With that said, as you go higher in the receiver food chain (ie. more money involved [​IMG] ), its impossible to go back. My best advice is to never listen to someone thats way over your budget...lol.
    Again, using the 811 as a pre/pro is interesting. Adding a nice used 5 (or just a 3) channel amp would increase its price to Jeff's 'tier 2.' How would it compare to those receivers?
     
  13. Steve Adams

    Steve Adams Second Unit

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    the 811 is a sweet receiver, competing in the teir two catagory really. it's that good. the lower end pioneer stuff would be in teir one, but the 811 will hold it's own, and for the price it's a bargain. i will be using my 810 as a pre/pro soon so I will let you know of the results. im going to hook it up to a seven channel mcintosh amp. God, I love ebay!....
     
  14. Rich Chiavaroli

    Rich Chiavaroli Stunt Coordinator

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  15. Nick Cerretti

    Nick Cerretti Stunt Coordinator

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    Crossover isn't that too important. Besides, don't the low-end Marantz units have it set at 100hz too?

    And the THD spec doesn't mean much. All receivers eventually reach that. Also, wouldn't you be using a separate amp for the 811 to actually be competing with tier 2 units (price wise)?

    It's a great unit, but it doesn't have a chance against the Pioneer Elites, Denons 3802 and higher, Onkyo 700s and higher, etc. And it shouldn't. Sells for under $400.
     

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