HK vs. Yamaha vs. ? (Receivers)

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Brian McD, Jan 17, 2006.

  1. Brian McD

    Brian McD Auditioning

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    I currently have a Denon AVR3200 receiver and Energy eXL series speakers (eXL 25 towers up front, 16's in rear, S-8 sub, and eXL C for the center). The system is used 80%+ for HT.

    I am having a problem with the Denon and want to replace it. I have done some reading and like many, am having trouble deciding on a new reciever. I am considering the HK AVR635, the Yamaha RX-V1500 (or RX-V657/757) and the Pioneer VSX-1015TX. MY BUDGET IS ROUGHLY $500 to $700.

    Unfortunately, I don't have many options for auditioning these units due to living in a small town. I have heard the HK at Circuit City, but the speaker choices were fairly lame. I am leaning towards the HK unit due partially to its weight and reputation for being heavy, solid equipment.

    I would appreciate any comments or suggestions on the units listed above or any suggestions for others. Also,
    any suggestions for on-line purchasing would be appreciated.

    THANKS!

    PS -- Should I expect to hear much of an improvement in the sound stage produced by any of these units vs. my Denon?
     
  2. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    Here's a simple solution:

    Write down the various receiver models on small pieces of paper and place them in a hat. Draw one piece of paper out and go with the listed model number.

    Each receiver has subtle sonic differences. Each also has varying feature sets. With your listed budget, most receivers will offer you similar options.

    Agonizing over which receiver in the $500 range is not as critical as trying to decide which flagship receiver to buy in the $4,000 to $5,000 price range.
     
  3. Paul Mor

    Paul Mor Stunt Coordinator

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    Can't speak for the other models, but I'm quite certain you'll be happy with the H/K. Good Luck!
     
  4. MikeNg

    MikeNg Second Unit

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    I'm an HK fan, but lately I've been having a LOT of QC issues with the latest gen AVR's.

    If you're considering HK, I'd wait 'til the middle of the year to buy so they can work out the kinks, or buy a refurb from their harmanaudio site.

    Something to also remember is that HK's generate a LOT of heat, and should not be installed inside a closed cabinet. I think you can get away with that with the Denon.
    Mike
     
  5. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    I recently researched these two models in this (along with several others in this price range) for a friend. You might want to check the on-line manuals. I found the HK manual was pretty abysmal, hands down the worse of all that I looked at. IMO a user-friendly manual is no trivial matter these days when some receiver’s manuals are over 100 pages.

    Many manuals (Yamaha included) have pictures all along the way to help you find the right button on the remote or the front panel for whatever feature or function is being discussed. HK has only a single layout picture and diagram for the front panel and remote. For the remainder of the manual, you have to flip back to the front if you need to find out where say, the #25 “Program” button is. Pretty ridiculous.

    I also found that you have to wade through lots of menus to program the remote, and you only get 5 seconds to press a the next button when programming say, a macro sequence, before it defaults out of program mode. So if you happen to get flustered or loose you place in the programming sequence (which isn’t hard when you have to direct your attention back and forth between the remote’s buttons and the manual’s directions), or have to turn back 30 pages to the picture to find the button you’re looking for, you’re screwed. By contrast, Yamaha gives you 30 seconds before it self-exits programming mode.

    That’s just my assessment from studying the manuals. The folks here who have actually used the HK can better tell you how bad it is (or isn’t).

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  6. Brian McD

    Brian McD Auditioning

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    Thanks for the comments so far.

    How much of a sound improvement should I expect from a new receiver (my Denon has Dolby Digital but not DTS, etc.)?

    As for HK's questionable manual, have people had any luck with HK customer service (in terms of answering questions)?

    Also, in response the comment about HEAT....where can I find a good (and easy to install) fan kit? I do keep my receiver in an armoire but keep the doors open while its in use. However, it would probably be a good idea to add some ventilation.
     
  7. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    My 520 is enclosed in a custom built (by me [​IMG] ) entertainment center and heat has never been an issue. But the 520 is only a 5.1 receiver and I don't push it too hard. As for a fan kit, I've heard allot of people use a kit designed for computers. Cheap, quiet and easy to find.
     
  8. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I've had an HK 635 for almost a year, no QC issues whatsoever. The manual is not the best but no worse than Yamaha's. I had the RXV-1500's predecessor, the RXV-1400 for a few weeks and for sound quality the HK is far superior. The 635 also has the best auto setup and auto eq in the business, and I've owned Denon, Yamaha, Pioneer recievers with this feature. I'm also using Energy speakers similar to yours, along with an Hsu STF-2 sub.

    In my experience Pioneer has the best owners manuals, and very decent sound. My Pioneer 45 TX sounded better than the Yamaha RXV-1400 or Denon 2805, but not as good as the HK.
     
  9. mackie

    mackie Supporting Actor

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    Write down the various receiver models on small pieces of paper and place them in a hat. Draw one piece of paper out and go with the listed model number.

    That's how I feel about it too. Look at features and price.



    Pictures are good. I like pictures. Pictures make me happy[​IMG]

    I've read a lot of posts about HK having QC problems. Nad has had problems in the past too. IIRC Yamaha had a problem with one of it's receivers a couple of years ago, but it seems to be an isolated problem. The Yamaha I used to own that a friend now has is 8 years old and doesn't miss a beat. I don't hear much about Denon (I own 2) or Onkyo having problems.
     
  10. MikeNg

    MikeNg Second Unit

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    In the last 6 installs, 4 of them failed. That's bad. One that worked had really bad crosstalk between the 'multi-room' and the main room (you could hear the multi-room input in the main room, when the main room was off). That's just poor quality.

    Don't mean to bash HK since I'm a long time HK fan. Their amp section is very good. The problems I've been running into lately I suspect have to do with kinks in their manufacturing in their new models (all the problems were with latest gen. AVR's and it's early in the model year). I've had a 'late model' 7300 with 0 problems.
     
  11. Brian McD

    Brian McD Auditioning

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    I ordered a refurbished HK 635 from eBay....hopefully it will be in good shape since it has been refurbed. Does anyone have any experience with refurbished HK units?

    I am also going to get a new DVD player (probably the Sony DVP-NS70H) in the near future. I want something that will upconvert to something close to HD. My question is, what is the best way to connect this to my TV and HK 635? If I use the HDMI cable directly to my TV, I will still have to use optical digital cable to the AVR 635 for audio? Any other options?
     
  12. Jongyoon Lee

    Jongyoon Lee Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes. Use toslink or coax for digital audio connection. That's the only option to pass the digital audio to your receiver as HK635 doesn't have HDMI input.
     
  13. MikeNg

    MikeNg Second Unit

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    I've had good luck with the refurb's. I think they are better than new in some instances, as they correct known defects as part of the refurb process.
     
  14. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    There is a software update for the HK 635 available on HK's website. Prior to this update the receiver would automatically reset itself to whatever incoming digital surround format it was receiving every time it sensed a new one coming in, so if for example you had it set to Logic 7 and the incoming signal changed from DTS to DD it would drop out of Logic 7. It now sticks in the selected format. The auto eq setup is also different, sound has actually improved noticeably with a more spacious effect.

    One neat feature of the HK's is the ability to download software updates from their website and update the software on the receiver.
     
  15. Brian McD

    Brian McD Auditioning

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    How does it connect to the internet? USB? Also, once it connects, how do you tell it to go get the updates?

    Do you think the refurbished unit directly from HK will already have the update installed?
     

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