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Help me spend money

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Aaron Reynolds, Feb 22, 2016.

  1. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Screenwriter

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    Aaron Reynolds
    So, it's been a while since I've posted here. Hi! I hope everyone missed me just a little but didn't worry that I was dead or something.
    My home theatre hasn't changed in basically forever, but a couple of recent events have put me into shopping mode and I need an amp. I'll tell you what I used to have and what my wants are, and I'd love to hear some suggestions about what to get and why.
    Until about a year ago I was running a Sony SDP E-800 preamp, an Ashly FET-500 power amp for my fronts, and a Yamaha RX V650 in pure direct mode for the rears. The E-800 suffered some kind of static discharge damage and has gone to electronics heaven. While shopping for a new preamp, I put the Yamaha into service as the preamp for the Ashly. It's not as fine-tuneable as the Sony was in terms of tone control, and I never felt like the sound out of it was as clean or clear. But I limped along. Then a few weeks ago the fan failed in the Ashly. That combined with the connectors all getting flaky and the advanced age of the amp -- she's from 1983 and has seen a lot of action -- made me think that maybe I should just get a whole AV receiver thingamajig. But my budget was limited.
    Then a couple of weeks ago a very silly social media experiment I had been fooling around with started generating income. So my budget expanded considerably. I have about $1000 Canadian to spend.

    What we use:
    A projector via HDMI
    An AppleTV
    A Blu-ray player
    A Wii

    The existing speakers:
    A pair of Sinclair 260T fronts (8 ohm 200 watts 91db)
    A pair of Onix Rocket 250s for the rears (6 ohm 120 watt 89db)
    No centre channel because they are the devil's handiwork, and no sub because every time I bought one and then compared it to just directing all the bass to the Sinclairs, the Sinclairs won.

    We watch movies and TV, and I listen to a lot of music, some streaming and some high res. There are a lot of iOS devices in the house, though AirPlay isn't a must-have because there will be an AppleTV connected. The room is a large-ish basement, rectangular but with bookshelves against the walls for acoustic dampening and ambience. It's about ten feet from couch to screen, maybe a little more.

    I was looking at an Onkyo TX NR747 for a few reasons:
    It is exactly within my budget
    I have an Onkyo headphone amp / DA converter that I really like
    The Ashly was THX certified and I am emotionally attached to those three letters

    I would love to hear about brands or models that I wasn't thinking about. My only requirement would be that they're available for retail or online sale in Canada.
     
  2. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I've been using Onkyo receivers for about 20 years and have been happy with their value. They've had some quality control problems with their video boards and main boards in recent years; perhaps a side effect of their mass-market scale and lower prices. I might feel differently had my timing been different, but my current receiver suffered the latest problem after Onkyo initiated a recall. So I got a rapid and free, essentially new swap on my 5.1 unit. So I remain happy with Onkyo as a brand and as a good value.

    All that said, my next receiver will probably be a Denon. They're also excellent. I've considered them for years, but their reputation for terrible UI kept me away. I'm told that's fixed. So I want to try them out.

    The NR747 looks very good. Although at a glance, I can't tell any practical difference between it and the step-down model the 646, for $200 cheaper. So I'd consider that one too, pending some meaningful feature the 747 brings that the 646 won't do for you. Either way, you're on budget, maybe with a few Loonies :) to spare.
     

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