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Best new AVR for under $1500 - Denon 3803/Pioneer 55txi/Yami 3300/Marantz or ????

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Paul Fa, Sep 14, 2003.

  1. Paul Fa

    Paul Fa Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi all,
    I continue to listen to systems in this range and continue to be confused. Different set-ups make it near to impossible to 'hear' much of a difference (different listening rooms, input devices, speakers, cables etc.). Demoing multiple AVRs here at home is not viable either as my current 2 (main)speakers are destined for the garage with the rest of my current system. Also the time to set-up/test/tear-down/return/start over just isn't there, nor would I be able to tell much with a delay between each testing session.

    The goal is 60/40 music/ht. I'd like to use a HTPC (Sony Viao RZ34??)as a jukebox and CD/DVD creator (compile different groupings of music for trips, skiing, etc.)to input into the AVR and would like to mate this all up to a pair of paradigm Monitor 9 mains, CC370 center, ADP370 surrounds, and a PW2200 sub.

    If my ears at 43 are something less than audiophile-tester sensitive [​IMG] , I suppose features become a little more important than having the ultimate in frequency response and thd. I'm a busy guy with family, work etc. and try to read and educate myself as much as I can - especially on this excellent board - but after about a year of research the systems mentioned above are as close as I've come to making a buying decision. My listening room at home is about 22'x24' with high ceilings and a couple of large (8') openings into the entry and dining rooms on a slab foundation. I may add back surrounds to fill in the sound field some day so 6.1/7.1 capability in the AVR would be good. I would like to use a digital connection from the HTPC to the AVR rather than regular composite/RCA type connectivity.

    Thanks for your help - any advice other than "just go buy something" which I already get plenty of would be most appreciated! Again kudos to such a great resource - this forum is outstanding!!
     
  2. Paul Fa

    Paul Fa Stunt Coordinator

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    Help! [​IMG] Come on folks I really need your input on this! I know this is less interesting than a discussion of the minutia of pulse code modulation and up/down conversion rates and bit sampling stats, but it's real world - something I'm sure I'm not alone in trying to sort out. I really would appreciate your opinions! Among all you audiophiles isn't there anyone who has demo'd some/all of these receivers and can talk to ease of use and some features/benefits analysis? Maybe you know of a recent review I've missed and could point me to a link or article?

    Think of it this way - if you help me figure out this buying decision now, in only a short time I'll be asking for far more interesting help!!![​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Thanks,
    Paul
     
  3. ChrisHeflen

    ChrisHeflen Supporting Actor

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    Paul, you're going to get people telling you to buy HK, buy Elite, buy Yammie, buy Denon, etc.. and then people are gonna say no don't get that, get... Did you know you could get Outlaw seperates for that? You have to decide. They all are pretty good at that price. Do some checking around on the net on the brands your interested in and compare the features. If you are going to be running Paradigms most of the receivers in that price range will drive them fine as they are fairly efficient spks.


    If $1500.00 isn't a big deal to you then go to your local Magnolia HiFi and tell them give me the best receiver you've got for that much. If it is a big deal to you then you owe it to yourself to make time to choose your INVESTMENT wisely. YOU have to live with it.

    Do YOU like the Pio's remote? Do YOU like the Denons set-up process? Not everybody's gonna like everything about one thing.
    Do you actually think you get a bunch of posts that all say to buy same thing?
    Check out audioreview.com and see what users say about the ones your interested in.
    Paul take the time, you'll be glad you did then you won't wonder.
    Besides we all know... get the 55txi (and now it starts)
     
  4. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    Since you mentioned that you listen to 60% and 40% would be utilized for home theater. Harman Kardon is is quite musical -- and does quite fine with movies too. The AVR-7200 by H/K can be located for about $1,050 (shipped) price. From the size of your room, it looks like you could use the power that the 7200 provides.

    Also, the new "ES" line from Sony is hitting the streets. The 3000ES will be listed at approx. $1,500. However, they are only available in silver this year.

    So many choices ...
     
  5. RobD

    RobD Second Unit

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    Is that Sony a laptop? If so the Pioneer could have am advantage because it has a USB input, this will allow for a far better sound from the PC than the built in soundcard. If the Vaio is a Desktop then its less of an issue because you can easily add a $50 soundcard to output in optical and pretty much do the same thing. If you like your music/HT fairly loud then you will need some sensitive speakers or go for the Pre/Power amp combo instead.
     
  6. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    I've heard good things about NAD's latest entry in this price range, I believe the T762. NAD has a good track record for "musicality" of their receivers (and other audio equipment). If I were shopping for a receiver in this price range, this would definitely be on my audition list.

    Doug
     
  7. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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  8. kevitra

    kevitra Second Unit

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    What is your budget (EDIT: I should read the thread title... [​IMG] )?

    The Sony 3000ES is $999.99 list, according to Crutchfield. The 5000ES is the $1500 model.

    Sony also has the 2000ES for $800. It uses digital amps like the 3000 and 5000. It is still unknown if the amp are any good or not, but it is hard for me to believe that Sony would 'risk' the entire ES line on sub-par amps.

    There are also the two new Yamaha receivers, the 1400 and 2400. They both have automatic room calibration with a parametric EQ.
     
  9. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    I would have to agree with Wayne and say that you should get an Harman Kardon AVR-7200. The Harman/Kardon units are very nice, and the new models have alot of improvements over the older models. Also, there technical support seems to be incredibly helpful in solving problems. Such if your reciever breaks then they might give you a new one. [​IMG]
     
  10. JamieS

    JamieS Stunt Coordinator

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    If you are not going 7.1 right away the Rotel RSX 1055 also fits your budget. I have one with a Monitor 7, CC 370 Mini Monitor and PW2200 steup and musically I personally think it is THE BEST out there.

    Your room is bigger than mine so you may want as much (real) power as you can get.

    If features are # 1 then personally I'd pick between Denon, HK and Pioneer. Many people like the Pioneer MACC (auto setup). I have listened to both the denon and HK and found them both very good. Stong power lots of features.

    When I shopped for AVRS in this price range sound was more important to me than features so I chose between the Rotel and NAD.

    Take a look at the NAD T762 (or new 763 when it is out). for POWER + sound I think it is a great choice. As much as I like my Rotel unless you are going to add separate amps in that room I think the NAD extra power would tip my pick that way.
     
  11. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    I second the Rotel 1055 recomendation as well. Very musical and we have a ton of people in Club Rotel upgrading from Denon and HK to the Rotels and saying now much better movies and music sounds.
     
  12. Paul Fa

    Paul Fa Stunt Coordinator

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    Awesome! I appreciate the input folks!

    Thanks Chris for getting things started! And, no, I didn't think I would get a bunch of people telling me/agreeing on the same thing - actually that would have probably been the exact opposite of what I was looking for. I was hoping to start a conversation with strongly opinionated(no one here in this forum - right?[​IMG] [​IMG] ) , informed people who might discuss the merits or lack thereof of the current crop of middle/upper-middle class AVR's - which is exactly what you've helped me get started! I hope more people will chime in and keep this lively based on their own real-world experience - nothing like a good debate to gain information and insight into pros/cons we might otherwise have not thought of.

    A couple of questions/ideas your responses brought to mind:

    1. Power: I saw a link in another thread to a list of AVR's and their 'stated' v tested power and it appears that it varies widely even within a company's line. Was that list accurate in your opinion (if you saw it) and even so, how important is it overall? Most of the systems in the $1500 range seem to be between 110-140w - so it seems sensible to get one thats tested output is close to its' 'stated' output. Any of the choices discussed so far stand out head and shoulders above the rest?

    2. Remotes: I kinda feel from what I've played with, seen, and read about that I probably would invest in a aftermarket remote that would be larger, with better backlighting etc. - what do you think?

    3. HK, NAD, Sony, Rotel and Outlaw: Well, I need to do some more research here on these. I had heard some less than flattering things about HK's quality control, but am willing to give the benefit of the doubt to them. Sony is well... Sony. Big name, good perceived quality - maybe pay too much for the big name? (my current 'system' is a lower/middle range Sony system - so I'm not against them at all) As for the others - anybody else have an opinion?

    4. Lastly, my preference is 60/40 music/ht, but with the wife/kids I'd say that is flipped, so a good balanced system will be ideal. Also the connectivity to the PC (a desktop unit)will play an ever increasing role in the future - so a unit with the most up-to-date input choices (even on the front panel) will be helpfull - ie: digital, IEEE1394, USB 2.0 etc.

    Thanks again and I hope a few more of you out there will weigh in with your take on things.

    PS: Why is there so little passionate input/reviews of the Yamaha Rxv3300? It seems to have a lot going for it on paper.
     
  13. kevitra

    kevitra Second Unit

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    Pioneer Elite's last models had USB so you could output from your PC to the receiver. They dropped that feature from this year's model line.

    The higher end Onkyo and Integra receivers have an ethernet input. With their free software you can stream MP3s and WMA from your PC to the receiver. From what I have read the receiver has an on-screen display to view your music collection, but it is very limited. It seems like a very nice feature, but it is still in it's infancy. Maybe in a couple more years we will see receivers that integrate with our PCs with a friendly interface.

    About power: If you do not listen at very loud levels, having 140w vs 100w is not going to make a difference. Actually, if the unit puts out a true 140w vs 100w, even at reference levels the 40w difference will not matter. The issue is when a receiver is rated at 100w x 7 and it only puts out 40w x 7.
     
  14. RobD

    RobD Second Unit

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  15. Paul Fa

    Paul Fa Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Kevitra,
    Right, point well taken, and I'm aware of the power v loudness difference, but what reliable source can I use to know which is really outputting even 110x7. Have you seen the spreadsheet in the link I was referring to? Are those numbers valid? They only posted a very few models in that link anyway, but it appears that only the Denon's consistently came up with numbers near to/equal their 'stated' ones. Any other, better references???
    This is really important with the size of my room.

    I agree completely that in a few years the integration between HTPC and HT systems will finally be where we would like it now, so I'm trying to find the best that will at least not be too limiting over the next few years.

    Thanks again for the advice - now how about some of you that haven't put your $0.02 in?????
     
  16. JamieS

    JamieS Stunt Coordinator

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    As far as power output

    HK has always tested out equal or better than rated power becuse of the way they do their ratings. Their WPC is conservative.
    Rotel only makes 2 recievers and both output slightly more than rated from what i have seen.
    NAD also tends to rate power on the conservative side.

    I think that you would tend to have far more $1000 plus AVRS with correct power ratings than sub $500 ones. These low price ones are usually the ones that have big numbers to help sales but don't come anywhere near the power they say in all channels driven.

    The more music is important 50% + music bias is TO ME a lot the more I would lean towards Rotel, NAD and HK.
     

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