H/K vs. Onkyo -- Help me decide whether I should upgrade!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeremy Anderson, Dec 23, 2002.

  1. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    My current system is:
    Onkyo 595 receiver
    Polk RT25i mains and surrounds
    Polk CS245i center
    SVS 20-39CS+/Samson 1000/ART-351 (EQ'd flat, reference level)
    Overall, I'm pretty happy with the sound, but the highs sound kinda' grating at high levels. I'm noticing that I can get a good deal on the Harman Kardon AVR-525 right now. A 7.1 setup might be problematic in my room, because the only place I could put them is about 2 feet behind me on the wall (whereas my side surrounds are 9 feet away). I guess what I'm asking is this:
    Would I notice a huge difference in sound, given my current speakers and receiver? How does H/K sound, in general, compared to Onkyo? Would it be worth going from 5.1 to 7.1 surround? Would having rear speakers that close to my listening position be a huge problem? Am I crazy for even considering this? C'mon... someone talk me into or out of this. [​IMG]
     
  2. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    Does the 595 have preouts for adding on a power amp? If so, I'd think that you'd see more improvement by adding some sort of outboard power, perhaps something to drive the front two channels. I just don't think that a lateral move in receivers from one company to another would be that cost effective, even if HK's are noted for their sound. If it's sounding raspy at the higher frequencies, you could be running out of power or be in need of warmer power, although I don't consider Polk RT speakers to be exceedingly bright sounding. Before doing anything, I would suggest you see if moving the speakers around some or perhaps even angling them differently helps. Sometimes, this helps a lot more than a lot of people think.
     
  3. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the response. The 595 does NOT have pre-outs, so I'm screwed there. It supposedly offers 75w/ch, but given Onkyo's well-known wattage inconsistencies, I'm wondering if the receiver just isn't keeping up with the demand. You would think that having all speakers set to small and letting the SVS handle all the bass would take quite a load off of the Onkyo, but it still seems like it's coming up short.
    Speaker position is not the problem. I've got my mains and surrounds on B-tech BT7 brackets, all aimed with a laser pointer, all measured with a room diagram to even out reflection problems, all properly time aligned. Imaging is rock solid. It's just that the highs get kinda' screechy at high levels, which makes me think it's a receiver/power problem.
    The biggest reason I'm considering the move to the H/K is that their wattage ratings seem to be consistent, whereas everyone bitches about Onkyo coming up far shorter than their specs claim. There's also the allure of having 2 speakers on my back wall, since my surround imaging could use some improvement. Or maybe I'm just trying to find an excuse to upgrade again. [​IMG]
     
  4. JohnSer

    JohnSer Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeremy, I just upgraded from the Onkyo 575X (predecessor to 595) to the HK 520 (predecessor to the 525). Didn't do true blind or A/B testing, but the H/K seems to have slightly stronger/tighter bass and slightly cleaner highs. I was able to detect a difference, but not as much as when moving from a low-end Pioneer, to 575x.
    I run home built peerless/seas 2-ways mains, which are only about 84-85db sensitivity. Currently, it is only a 4.2 system, no center. Will be moving to TMM 4 ohm mains soon. I figured the 4 ohm mains would be stressing the 575x too much, even though they are 3db more efficient, and primarily upgraded for that reason. The H/K does have preouts (575x didn't). Eventually will get the center speaker complete as well. Obviously, can't answer your 7.1 question.
    There are a few little quirks to deal with on the HK, vs the the Onkyo. I find the Onkyo remote easier to use, with its larger buttons and layout. The kids/wife were able to easily use the Onkyo vs H/K. Onkyo had a button for each source, vs H/K has a source button you cycle through sources. No biggy, just takes them more time to learn. Also see my thread: http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...hreadid=113994 Not sure if the Onkyo had that problem, or if the 525 does, either.
    Overall, the HK is a good upgrade over the 575x that will let me add new main amps down the road. Maybe even get to 7.1, if I can find somewhere to put the additional speakers (will need dedicated room vs living room).
    JohnS
     
  5. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    So the H/K doesn't have a button for each source? I use the ever-popular Radio Shack 15-1994 remote to control all my gear, and not being able to program a macro to change everything at once would make it near-impossible for my family to figure out.

    Okay, I'm starting to think it'd be a bad idea to change right now.
     
  6. Rick_FL

    Rick_FL Stunt Coordinator

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    h/k remote has a 17 or 19 -step macro, 4 macros on the remote. I have mine programmed to turn on my TV, DVD player and Receiver all at once, another programmed to turn on Cable, TV, and Receiver, etc.
     
  7. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    So would there be a significant difference in sound, or would it just be a waste of money?
     
  8. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    I don't think there would be a significant difference in sound. I'd wait.
     
  9. Rick_FL

    Rick_FL Stunt Coordinator

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  10. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    I'd wait and conserve resources for a more significant upgrade, either toward a flagship-class receiver or toward separates. But Onkyo 595 to H/K 525, although not quite lateral, is not a significant step up, in my opinion. I'd recommend taking the H/K over the Onk in a heartbeat if he didn't already have the Onk.
     
  11. JohnSer

    JohnSer Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeremy, just to clarify, the remote has seperate buttons for each device, but the receiver does not. The receiver has a number of buttons you cycle through modes. After everytime my family has used it, it has been in some other surround mode, etc. I purchased the OFA 8811, so that the original remote can safely be stored away.

    JohnS
     
  12. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    Thanks for all the replies. I've decided to hold off for now. However, come tax refund time I'll probably revisit this issue. [​IMG]
     

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