H/K vs. Pannasonic vs. Pioneer receivers

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JakubH, Oct 28, 2002.

  1. JakubH

    JakubH Stunt Coordinator

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    I am looking to purchase a new receiver sometime in the near future. Being that I am in Canada, some of the prices/deals I can get are not as good as in the US. To give an idea of my setup, I am currently using an old Carver HR-722 60WPC reciever in stereo with ACI Spirit (AKA Opal) floorstanders. The Spirits are sealed 2 way using a Vifa tweeter and 8" Vifa woofer. They are a relatively easy load, althought not particularly efficient, and can soak up a lot of power. When I get the new receiver, I will also add 3 Optimus LX-550s as rears, and the rest as my pocketbook allows. EDIT: Forgot to mention that usage is essentially 50/50 Music/HT.

    I am essentially looking for a few main features, it would be nice to get all of them but not essential. I want to have HD component switching (for my HDTV), as well as pre-outs for at least the front (I have an external line-level Paradigm active crossover that I intend to use down the road). I would like to have plenty of power on tap, at least as much as I do now, although more is always better. The receiver must have DPL II, and/or Logic 7.1, Circle Surround, NEO6 etc would be a nice bonus. I am not that concerned about having full 7.1 or 6.1 sound.

    Based on these criteria, and prices I have been able to find, I am so far looking at the following choices:


    1. H/K Avr-320 (~$950 CDN shipped from Ecost in US)

    Pros
    ----
    - lots of formats
    - full preouts
    - build/sound quality
    - EZset remote

    Cons
    ----
    - top end of my budget
    - no warranty (shipped from US)
    - relatively low power
    - not sure on bandwith of HD switching



    2. Panasonic SA-HE200 (~$860 CDN)

    Pros
    ----
    - Lots of formats
    - Lots of power on tap
    - Specs better than SA-HE100 which tested extremely well in S&V
    - 50mhz HD switching
    - 24/192 upsampling (big deal?)
    - Full warranty support

    Cons
    ----
    - No preouts (there is a tape loop though, and the extra power might make this less of an issue?)
    - crap remote
    - Panasonic name (psychological)



    3. Pioneer D-811s (~$550 CDN)

    Pros
    ----
    - Lots of formats
    - Full preouts
    - cheap enough that I can soon upgrade to a nice 2 channel amp for the mains
    - full warranty support

    Cons
    ----
    - relatively low power
    - only 27mhz component switching (is it a really bad thing?)
    - pioneer name (psychological)


    Given this breakdown, how would you all go about deciding? Would you choose something else altogether? Any insight/comments from owners of the listed gear or similar gear would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Lyden

    Lyden Stunt Coordinator

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    i'd go with the HK. back in the old days Panasonic and Pioneer used to be good but i dont trust them anywhere even close to as far as i can throw them. but really the new Panasonic's are decent but i'd still go with HK Pioneer is definately out of the question well thats my opinion.
     
  3. JakubH

    JakubH Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Lyden, thats the kind of opinion I am interested in. I am curious, why you don't trust Panasonic or Pioneer, even knowing that their units have tested so well recently? Do you mean reliability wise? In my mind, the Panny and Pioneer were less of a risk reliability wise since I would not have any warranty on the H/K, but perhaps I should reconsider that. Just wondering.
     
  4. Lyden

    Lyden Stunt Coordinator

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    no prob glad to have helped in some way. hmm i believe that the HK would out perform both the panny and the pioneer in sound quality and reliability. but i dont have any real facts ive demoed all of those i happend to like the panny more but the HK sounded better. i just straight out hate pioneer. maybe i subcontiously told myaself to not like it but i dont think it sounded to well. but my opinions is based more on sound quality not features
     
  5. Steve Adams

    Steve Adams Second Unit

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    I would go with either the panny or the pioneer, Hk has reliability problems. the panasonic he 100 would be fine. but the pioneer is great. it was probably not set up right for you. mine sounds awsome.....
     
  6. Benny G

    Benny G Second Unit

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    Almost everything has reliability problems if people discuss them enough. I'd venture to guess that Pioneer & Panasonic receivers have just as many problems - only they don't surface as often, because they arguably aren't bought/discussed as significantly as the HK.
     
  7. Rob Rodier

    Rob Rodier Supporting Actor

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    The H/K is the obvious choice.

    -rob
     
  8. MikeRP

    MikeRP Supporting Actor

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    I'm not sure anything is obvious in this business - having said that the HK 320 is a great machine. I would encourage you to look at the 520 and the 525. (Just for fun)

    There's a nice thread on AVSFORUM about receivers less than $1000. Check it out!

    Pioneer also makes a Elite 41 TX and 43 TX you might want to consider.

    Mike
     
  9. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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    Between those 3 the HK would probably be your best choice. A bit pricier, but better build quality and possibly sound quality if you like the way HK sound. Something to note, HK seems to be having some quality problems over the past few years so you may want to avoid Ecost who I believe is not an athorized dealer in case you need to return your unit.
    Now if you were looking at Pioneer Elite instead, I would say go for that and don't even think about the HK[​IMG] The 41TX and 43TX as already mentioned would make very nice choices, though may be outof your budget.
    J
     
  10. Jaimin

    Jaimin Stunt Coordinator

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    I am actually trying to make the same decision as you are. One thing to know is that the Pioneer vsx-d811s is the same receiver EXACTLY as the vsx-41, except for the face plate and one extra step of quality control that it goes through in the factory. With that said all of these receivers will probably output power within the same range, about 65-80 watts per channel. I think the panny might be a little more powerful than the other two. The HK and panny have better music quality but supposedly one of the dsp modes in the pioneer helps its 2 channel stereo (I haven't been able to test this out but two or three others have said that on this forum). I listened to the HK and it was amazing, very much doubt that you will be disappointed with this choice, it only lacks dd ex, but you stated that you don't want 6.1 so it doesn't matter for you. What it seems to me is that the most important factor here is budget. I highly doubt any of these choices will disapoint you at all. If you can use the extra money saved from the pioneer to get better speakers, or some stands, or additional other components I say do that. But if you have everything else laid out, go with the HK. The panasonic may sound really good and look sweet in silver, but I really think it lacks the upgradability. It does have MOSFET amps though, someone else maybe can chime in to explain how that effects sound, cause I don't remember (I just remember learning about it in EE class). Sorry for the long and out of order post, just trying to share all the knowledge about these that I have learned. Lastly I really think you can make your decision a lot easier by just trying to listen to all of them. I only found places that had the HK hooked up so that is still making my decision a little harder. Anyways, I don't think you can go wrong with any of the receivers. Lastly the HK 320 can be had for around $450 in the states so maybe if you look harder you can find an etailer that will ship to Canada for a lower price than what you found. Good luck with your decision.
     
  11. CollinMorphew

    CollinMorphew Stunt Coordinator

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    Just a thought here. I think your best choice is the Pioneer. Although it's not the 100 watts per channel it says with all channels, it is very consistent at about 68-74--the Pan and H/K drop off slightly on output but power per channel is only good if it still sounds good. For straight out of the box music, the H/K may sound a little better--not much if you adjust the Pioneer to midnight (that's what the change in the earlier post was talking about). With midnight selected on the Pioneer everything sounds better. With out it on, it sounds a little like a tin can (I listened to all these receivers along with the Denon 1803). The main thing in listening to what your actually asking is, you want something with features and sounds good to start but you already mention future upgrades. While I think the sound quality will be equitable with the H/K and Pioneer, the money saved will really help you out. Add to the fact that you get all the current processing capabilities (DTS, ES, Neo 6), 6.1/7.1 (matrixed), and full preouts; you now have a future proof box that you can use all through out your upgrades. This will now turn into the last piece you have to upgrade as opposed to one of the first. Maybe kind of long but those are my thoughts. A little more than telling you "the obvious choice". I really think you'll be surprised at the sound quality and the power of the 811 over the other units--especially for the dollars spent.
     
  12. DanielM

    DanielM Stunt Coordinator

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    no warranty NO WAY.....
     
  13. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

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    From a shear Build & Sound stand point the H/K would be my choice.
    BUT,----> with the on and off going H/K issues and you "NOT" having a Warranty for the H/K this (to me) would rule out the winner in the contest. What good is something that s broke and your putting out cash to repair. You may be lucky and have noproblems but are you a gambler!

    Sticking with the Receivers you selected this leaves the Panny and the Pioneer.

    Having heard both, from a sound stand point I prefer the Panny. Also it is quit stunning in the Silver.
    But I must agree with "all" of Collin remarks here. Only if the Panny had full preouts ould my opinion change.

    Given your criteria and selections, I agree with Collin as much as I would rather not, (I am not a Pioneer fan) the Pioneer makes the most sense for you. Room to grow, all current formates, upgrade abilty for seperate amping, Warrant, and extra dollars to put in your pocket or to put somewhere else in the system.

    It just makes the most sense. This staying with the choices you made.

    People many times want to offer up something else, yes this can be helpfull in some instances, but sounds as if you've done your home work and are now trying to narrow it down for the right reasons.

    Again, the H/K-520 would be my choice hands down but the *NO Warranty* issue, and proven problems many have had, the risk is just to big!

    The Pioneers Bandwidth is enough for HD according to what I've read. More is better but this is not a deal breaker here by any means.

    Enjoy what ever you go with....
    Geoff
     
  14. JakubH

    JakubH Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the feedback everyone. I will take the votes for the Pioneer Elite 41 as votes for the 811S, as they are the same machine and I'm certainly not one to pay a premium for the Elite name and wood panels.

    I am going to give it a bit more thought, and possibly find a store that carries all 3 (very difficult around here) so I can give them a listen. I still like the HK a lot, but if its going to be that expensive with no warranty, it will be hard to sell myself on.

    I could get the Pioneer for about $630 with tax. That leaves about $420 between its cost and the cost of the H/K 320 with no warranty (I was mistaken in my earlier $950 figure for the H/K). With that money I could get a nice backlit universal remote control and probably a used 200wpc stereo amp for the mains, leaving me with 200 watts going into the mains and I guess 80+ wpc going into the 3 Optimus Lx-550s, which should be more than enough power for the little guys.

    The Panny is nice because of its brawnier amp section and some of the 2 channel features, but realistically I can't see it having more than 30wpc more than the Pioneer in actual use. Because it has no preouts, I can't upgrade the amps, and I doubt the amp section, while nice for a receiver, can hold a candle to the Pioneer with a nice 200wpc power amp carrying the tougher channels to drive (my mains).

    So I guess you can tell I am now leaning strongly towards the Pioneer, especially after reading the comments here. My only concern now is the reported mediocre 2-channel sound of the Pioneer. Even if the midnight mode helps with this, I don't like the idea of using what is essentially a loudness control to make an amp sound 'ok'. Does anyone know if 2-channel weakness in the Pioneer is helped at all by adding outboard amps? IE, is the weak 2 channel sound a a problem with the amp section or the pre-amp section?
     
  15. Chris Purvis

    Chris Purvis Stunt Coordinator

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    Isn't the midnight mode just another name for dynamic range compression? If so then that's not the same as a loudness control - and not something I would ever want to filter anything through.
     
  16. JakubH

    JakubH Stunt Coordinator

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    Chris - The midnight mode in stereo is like a loudness button, in that it applies a boost to bass and treble that gets larger the quiter you go. In surround modes however, it does do dynamic range compression.
     
  17. CollinMorphew

    CollinMorphew Stunt Coordinator

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    A couple of things. I think you'll be extremely happy with the 811/Elite choice. The 2 channel is not a concern if you go to a seperate amp. I have an Adcom running my mains to expand the stage. I have since gone back to the Pioneer's internal amps as I'm shopping for another 2 channel amp with more power--it gets addicting when you get into the seperates. I am now back to using the midnight mode and it really does sound good. The midnight mode is a lot different than loudness. I have heard some people say loudness but it is usually corrected to midnight in the thread. Loudness does not sound that great but the midnight isn't like compression--it seems to be more of an evening out process--actually, what the music/movie is supposed to sound like. And the midnight is not part of the dynamic range--that is a seperate setting that stays off on mine. Just a thought, if you got the Pioneer for 630 you could get a nice Adcom 545 (100 watts x 2 8ohms) for about 200 and a remote and still come in under the H/K and be much happier. Anyway, hope some of this helps--I am in no way an expert but I put a 7.1 system together on a budget and listened to alot of receivers and amps and I'm very happy with this--I'm confident you would be to but it may help to listen to all if you can. I just like the upgrade and future proof ability for now--this will take you up to the point of going an all seperate route more than likely.



     
  18. Jaimin

    Jaimin Stunt Coordinator

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    Another thing to note is that the HE200 rating of 130wpc is at 6ohms. Therefore it most likely has no quantifiable difference in power from either the HK or the Pioneer.
     
  19. JakubH

    JakubH Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Colin, what you describe is exactly what I plan to do, although I may try to get a slightly more powerful amp used for the fronts. Since you are doing essentially the same thing, I have to ask - did you notice much difference in 2-channel stereo after getting the Adcom? Did you find you still need to use midnight mode, or did the new amp eliminate that need?
     
  20. CollinMorphew

    CollinMorphew Stunt Coordinator

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    Quite a bit. I don't use any settings other than normal when running the amps. Just hook the amp up to the pre outs and your set. This way you only use the input signals that are on the receiver. The output goes directly to your amps.
     

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