How big of an improvement would I see with a new receiver?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by george.Legeza, Dec 22, 2002.

  1. george.Legeza

    george.Legeza Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks to Christmas and a big paycheck I've been looking at some upgrades to my HT system. After Christmas I'll be using a pair of B&W DM303s and a LCR3 up front and a pair of Polk R20s for surrounds (I know - a strictly low-end budget system). My receiver right now is a Technics SA-DX950 which I've been relatively happy with. I'm also using an incredibly crappy Aiwa TS-W150 subwoofer. After Christmas I should have around $500 to play with strictly for HT upgrades. I'm already in the market for a new receiver purely because I want s-video switching and more optical inputs, but I'm also wondering how much of an overall improvement I would see if I went to a ~$500 receiver such as the Denon AVR1802 or Onkyo DX-TS595?
    Is it worth it for me to think about picking up a new receiver now or would I be better served by either getting a new subwoofer or saving to get new mains for an all-B&W setup? Thanks in advance for any advice. [​IMG]
     
  2. EricSm

    EricSm Stunt Coordinator

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    Can't really answer your question for you, but I recently did something similiar.

    I had a Polk RM-6600 system, with the PSW 350 sub paired with an older Sony STR-DE845. I was never very happy with it, even after extensive calibration and tinkering. The sound was never very clear, the surrounds were muddied. I had heard the speakers sound better, so I wondered if upgrading my receiver would help anything. A week ago I took home a Yamaha 530 to see if that would show any noticable improvement. Well, I'll be honest, I didn't think it sounded all that hot. Certainly not enough to justify another $450+. In fairness to Yamaha, I didn't give the thing all that fair of a shake. Another local retailer carries Denon's and they were willing to price match the Denon 1803 with any authorized internet dealer. Goodguys had a 10 percent off, free shipping sale, so I was able to get it for $450 + tax.

    After getting everything set-up and calibrated I decided to do some listening... I'm hearing things I'd never heard. I really didn't know home theater could be this good. Well, I did-- just not mine. The sound is that much more clear, defined. Midrange response is greatly improved. Everything sounds tighter. The surrounds are much more lively. I also noticed that I didn't have to crank the thing all the way up to actually get a surround sound effect. Even at low volumes the sound was just as clear and good(important for the neighbor/wife factor). I honestly couldn't be happier with my decision to upgrade. Even music, the previous major downfall of my system, sounds quite a bit better. Well, maybe if it was free...

    If you are really interested, I'd such looking into your local retailers return policies and do a take-home and try out. My experience worked out great.
     
  3. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    I upgraded from the Technics SADX 930 to the Denon 3802. The main differences I noticed was a smoother top end and a fuller midrange. Although the differences were noticable they wern't something to die for esp at mid to low volumes. At higher volumes the 930 sounded harsh and strained while the 3802 kept its composure. Also the 3802 sounded much more refined in 2 channel mode. So my advice is, if you listen to mid to low volumes and are more into HT then keep the 950 and upgrade to a better sub which will give you a better and refined low end punch in HT or to better mains. And if you are more into two channel music and listen to at high volumes (or have a large room) get a better receiver. But I suggest going with the closeout models from Denon like the 2802 or the 3802 if you can find them around $500. From what I have heard the previous models from Denon surpass the sound quality of the latest ones (the X803 models).
     
  4. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    When I upgraded a couple of years ago, I found that the receiver did play some role in sound difference. I was using a Kenwood VR207 DD only receiver. Then my $1000 upgrade was to a HK AVR 500, (600.00) and speakers from some Jensen speakers and Sony bookshelf for surrounds to Platinum Audio speakers (biwireable). 3 dual woofer speakers for the front sound stage and two single woofer for the surrounds (350.00)

    The receiver came before the speakers so I hooked it up to the old speakers and I noticed a profound difference in the surrounds. I was hearing things I never heard before. But the front speakers sounded different but I think the Jensens and the Design Acoustics center channel were just not great speakers hence it didn't really help those speakers.

    Therefore it's the changing of the receiver and the speakers is the best way to get a complete sound upgrade. A receiver does only so much and the lower end you get it the less difference will be heard. Of course when I connected the Platinum Audios to the HK, I said wow, the first time I felt
    really great about a system. Click on my signature to see the speakers and set up I'm talking about. P.S. I added the Polk RT25i much later since it was on sale for about 40.00 for the one.
     
  5. Carl Johnson

    Carl Johnson Cinematographer

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    You can improve sound quality by getting a better receiver but you'll get the most bang for your buck with better speakers/sub.
     
  6. george.Legeza

    george.Legeza Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I'm already relatively happy with my speakers (other than the subwoofer) so I'm definitely planning on keeping those for a while. I'm waiting to do a non-subwoofer upgrade until I can afford some 602s and a new center for the front stage.
    Anyway, I think I'm going to go with a new subwoofer (probably save up and get an SVS) and hold off on a new receiver for as long as I can stand to use a seperate S-video switch. Thanks a lot for all of the advice and opinions, guys. [​IMG]
     

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