H/K AVR 7200 vs. Onkyo TX-SR800

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Bill_Nam, Jun 2, 2003.

  1. Bill_Nam

    Bill_Nam Auditioning

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    Help!! I have been researching for days trying to decide which home theater receiver to purchase. I started with the H/K AVR 525 and the Onkyo TX-SR800, but have since reconsidered and thought maybe the H/K AVR 7200 would be the better unit to evaluate.

    I continue to hear about Logic 7 or the lack of Logic 7 and this is one aspect I know very little about. I considered the Onkyo for the THX as I listen to music and movies equally and believed the THX option would be a nice advantage. Would this be a true assessment?

    Can anyone offer any insight into these two products and the advantages/disadvantages of both.

    You comments/ suggestions/ recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Jeff Meininger

    Jeff Meininger Second Unit

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    I recently shopped H/K 525 vs. Onkyo SR800.

    The 7200's amp section is surely way way way better than the Onkyo's. I think the H/K was bench tested at well OVER the spec'ed wattage, all channels driven. I'm not sure such a test has been published for the Onkyo, but I would be very suprised if the Onkyo met (or even came within 10 watts of meeting) it's power claims while all channels are being driven.

    The H/K weighs 61 lbs while the Onkyo weighs 36 lbs. Weight, while not being a bulletproof benchmark, is often a good indicator of the quality of the amp section (power supplies, capacitors, current reserve, etc).

    The Onkyo has a 4-ohm switch (in software). These tend to limit the current draw from the amp either through a large series resistor or some other method. Most of the time, they indicate that an amp's current reserves are inadequate (or at least less than ideal) for driving a 4-ohm speaker. If you're going to be using 4-ohm speakers, I do not recommend the Onkyo.

    HOWEVER, H/K tends to do some stupid stuff in the realm of ergonmics and audio feature sets. Download the .pdf manual for the 7200 from the H/K website and tell me how in the world accurate speaker delay settings can possibly be derived from that. Very very lame. Additionally, my AVR-525 has takes 2-3 seconds to switch from Dolby Digital to PLII mode and vice versa. (In other words, you often miss the first few seconds of the THX trailer, etc).

    Onkyo has EXCELLENT ergonomics and ease of use. Their manuals are the most understandable of any A/V receiver I've dealt with. Their feature sets are very nice. I've never had a problem with my Onkyo (SR500) locking onto a signal.

    Also, I have various quality control issues with my H/K 525 and I'm sending it back. My Onkyo, on the other hand, has been rock solid.

    For what it's worth, I'm probably going to end up getting a Denon 3803.
     
  3. MikeRP

    MikeRP Supporting Actor

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    Don't forget to put the Pioneer Elite 45TX on your list guys.

    Also the venerable HK 8000 is still a good value.

    I recommmend the HK highly as well as the Pioneer.

    Mike
     
  4. Bill_Nam

    Bill_Nam Auditioning

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    I had not considered the Denon. How does it compare to the HK AVR 525, AVR 7200 and Onkyo TX-SR800? Many people at Sound and Vision highly recommend Denon products but for quite a while now I have been hearing about H/K, especially with respect to their amp section and quality of audio and power output. Marantz was another brand I considered but I do not know enough about them.

    I have heard of bad experiences with Sony and Pioneer products dating back almost 10 years ago and although their products may have significantly improved, I am still reluctant to consider them again.
     
  5. Jeff Meininger

    Jeff Meininger Second Unit

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    I've talked with H/K tech support, and now I understand how the delay settings work. Apparently, the instructions in the manual are incorrect. The delay settings are still substandard when compared to other AVRs in this pricerange, but at least they're not useless like I thought they were.

    The Denon 3803 is an outstanding receiver, and it looks like it's in your pricerange.

    I think the amp section in the H/K 7200 is probably better than the amp section in the Denon. Even the 525 might have an edge over the Denon here. I imagine the Denon has a MUCH better amp section than the Onkyo, though.

    But for everything else, I think the Denon is the best choice. The preamp/processor section in the Denon 3803 is positively outstanding. All very high quality DACs, decoders, etc. Excellent feature set. Fast signal detection and lock. Very nice on-screen display.

    If you're going to be watching HDTV, the Denon's component video switching uses relays for 100MHz bandwidth (actually, can probably go higher) for oustanding video quality. The rest of this crowd uses 50 MHz "soft" switching that may or may not meet spec. That said, I'm happy with HDTV through my H/K 525. The denon also upconverts composite and s-video to component so you don't have to run so many wires to your display device. OSD can be displayed over component as well.

    If you can afford it, I think the Denon 3803 is your best bet. If you find that you are dissatisfied with the amp section (not likely), just buy a 5 or 7 channel power amp and use the 3803 as a dedicated pre/pro.
     
  6. Bill_Nam

    Bill_Nam Auditioning

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    Thanks Jeff for the recommendation. It looks like my journey starts all over again. Oh well, nobody said this was going to be an easy decision and if I want a top notch product, the extra effort is worth it.

    Besides, I believe there is a dealer in my area who sells Denon equipment and unlike the H/K and Onkyo dealers nearby, they have a listening room to help hear the finer points of the product.

    One more question though with regards to Denon. I have heard that they Service and Support dept. can be a challenge to work with. Do you know whether or not this is true?
     
  7. Gabriel_Lam

    Gabriel_Lam Screenwriter

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    To pass full bandwidth 720p and 1080i, you need, in theory, 37Mhz. However, because there are some losses, 45Mhz is a more common estimate on what is required. Above this number, it's all the same for 720p and 1080i and below. The biggest difference is actually the quality of the components themselves. Both H/K's and Denon's component switching parts are excellent.

    If you get a chance, you should really try to hear both of them. Denon and H/K have different sounds, and people tend to have preferences one way or the other.

    If you are looking at the H/K, don't buy today. I may be able to work out a better deal, in conjunction with Home Theater Forum, for tomorrow or the day after.
     
  8. Jeff Meininger

    Jeff Meininger Second Unit

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    Bill_Nam: I don't know about Denon's service and support. I do know that all 3 manufacturers you're considering (Onkyo, Denon, and H/K) will only honor the warranty if you buy from an authorized dealer. You can get good deals on H/K and Onkyo products through authorized e-tailers like OneCall.com. I can't seem to find a good price on a Denon from an authorized dealer, though. If you buy a Denon, it might be wise to also purchase an extended warranty. My friend bought his 3803 from etronics and for $50 extra, got a 2-year philips warranty. He's read through the paperwork, and it looks very similar to the kind of coverage he would have received from Denon if he had purchased through an authorized dealer for $300 more. [​IMG]

    Gabriel_Lam: I have read posts in which people claim that the in-chip switching often doesn't live up to spec. I don't have links to any scientific lab tests or anything, though, so it might be bunk.

    Gabriel: Also, I'd like to give my huge thanks to GotApex and the HTF "Deals" page. I got a great deal on my H/K because of you guys!!!
     
  9. Bill_Nam

    Bill_Nam Auditioning

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    Gabriel_Lam: When you mention "different sounds" between the H/K and the Denon, can you expand on that statement? Since my preferences are shared between music and movies, I am not sure which would be the better unit. There are separate dealers here locally, but only the Denon dealer has a room created for the purpose of hearing distinctions and they do not carry H/K.

    If the AVR 525 or 7200 is the better unit and possibly the better bargain, I would certainly be willing to consider a deal with Gotapex through the forum.

    Let me know your thoughts and thank you as well.
     
  10. Mark Dickerson

    Mark Dickerson Stunt Coordinator

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    Bill:

    A lot of this has to do with what speakers you may have. For example, another thread has someone asking what receiver works best with B+W 600 speakers. In my view, the H/K would be a bad choice for those speakers (which I used to own) because the B+Ws have a very laid back sound and the H/K's amp is very warm and somewhat laid back. On the other hand, the H/K is a killer combo with Klipsch or JMlabs speakers because they are so forward or bright sounding.

    Any of the receivers, Onkyo 800, H/K 525, or the Denon 3803, are very fine receivers and worth the money, but you need to keep your speakers in mind to get the best choice for your speakers. I have been shopping this price range and I have settled on an NAD, which is by far the most detailed sounding of the whole price class. Try getting the dealer to let you take a receiver home to try it out with your speakers before you buy. You wouldn't buy a car without a test drive, would you?

    Good luck
     
  11. Bill_Nam

    Bill_Nam Auditioning

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    True. It is almost easy to lose sight of the entire speaker issue when considering a new receiver, especially since funds are limited to one or the other. My speakers are Bose 301 and JBL (don't remember the model #). Not completely theater quality speakers, but for the moment I am replacing one piece at a time and I would like to get a top notch receiver now, so it is not out-dated in the next year or two.

    The idea of try before you buy is a good option and one I will consider.

    Thank you.
     
  12. Vital

    Vital Extra

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    Harman Kardon hands down. Harman Kardon invented the receiver. They out weigh everything in their price range (they are built like tanks), they sound much better for music than everything you listed and best of all they are built right here in the USA. I have always loved the warm sound the HK puts out.

    It's a no brainer IMO. Denon is a very good receiver and is worth comparing to the HK but not the Onkyo. I place the Onkyo in the range with the Yamaha and brands like that. They are just loud, they don't have anything special about their sound. They are not in the same league as HK, Denon, Marantz or Pioneer.
     
  13. RickBlacker

    RickBlacker Stunt Coordinator

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    Oh yeah! I can testify for that. What a great combination that is! I have Klipsch ref 7s all the way around with a H/K 7200 I just purchased, very nice indeed.
     
  14. Bud S.

    Bud S. Auditioning

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    Vital, I agree with most of what you say, but my AVR7200 was built over there in China. My old Def Tech center and surround speakers were built in USA but my new BP10B mains, yep, you guessed it, built in China. I see a discomforting trend here, but I am still happy with my gear.


    Bud
     
  15. RickBlacker

    RickBlacker Stunt Coordinator

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    Cheap labor Bud, cheap labor. And big corps bitch and whine because our economy is in the shitter, yet the are not helping our economy by sending our jobs overseas... Go figure.
     

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