Kenwood VR-6060 vs. Pioneer VSX-D811S?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Kevin_Cas, Sep 22, 2002.

  1. Kevin_Cas

    Kevin_Cas Agent

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    I have decided to get one of these for sure(http://www.bestbuy.com/compare.asp?t...85&txtCount=17). Has anyone been to compare these two recievers head to head? I wish I could do it myself, but I have neither the time, energy or money to demo 2 recievers at the same time and take one back. Listening in-store was not an option either, the Pioneer was not hooked up properly. I am well aware of the glowing reviews that the Pioneer has recieved on this forum and elsewhere, and I would have no problem going with it had I not been able to obtain the Kenwood for the same price(Kenwood normally retails for $100 more). I know that higher retail dosent necessarily mean "better", but since not many have been able to speak of the quality of the Kenwood, I feel apprehensve about simply dismissing it based on intangibles such as reputation of the Kenwood brand(which I understand is not exactly glowing). Any positive/negative advantages/disadvantages to both would be greatly appreciated. I will be hooking up either to a JBL NSP-1 package, if that helps. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. John E F

    John E F Stunt Coordinator

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    I used the Pioneer at home for about 2 weeks and was pretty impressed with movie performance. Musically it was lacking, even with the midnight mode on in my opinion. I am currently testing the Kenwood and have been pretty impressed so far. For movies I would say they are pretty much the same. I think the Kenwood sounds better for music. I can list some differences between the two, some you may find important.

    Pioneer:
    1. Full Preouts
    2. Two sets of binding posts for the rear surround so two speakers can be used (this can be achieved with any receiver though)
    3. Dolby EX and DTS ES has to be activated through the set up menu
    4. No phono input

    Kenwood:
    1. Limited preouts (subwoofer and rear center)
    2. One binding post for rear center (you can still hook up two speakers though)
    3. Dolby EX and DTS ES can be activated at anytime without entering the set up menu
    4. Phono input that works very well
    5. Circle Surround II - This is similar to Pro Logic 2, but uses the rear center as well. It is also adjustable, unlike DTS Neo 6
    7. No "direct" or "all channel stereo" mode
    8. No digital output

    They are really close in features. I think the Kenwood does better with music and they both are equal for movies. On the other hand, I don't expect much for music reproduction out of a $400 a/v receiver. I guess you really need to decide which features and sound you prefer. Either one would do fine. Eventhough Kenwood may not be highly regarded, this one is every bit as good as the Pioneer and others in its class. The Kenwood 6070 adds THX, full preouts, and Zone 2, but it just didn't add up to the extra $200 for me.
     
  3. Leonard B

    Leonard B Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the Kenwood 6060 and am pleased with it. I don't find it to be lacking in power for my 14x19x7 room. I compared the specs of the 6060 with the THX 6070, and they appear to use the same amps. Unlike the Pioneer, which I've read can get pretty hot, the Kenwood does not have this issue. The remote is really good. I had no problem programming all of my components, and the LCD display shows you what component you have selected. It is a really good receiver for someone on a budget who wants all of the audio processing formats. See also the following link: http://www.ecoustics.com/bbs/messages/1/624.html?
    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
    HW Reviewer

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    I've never had any heat issues with my 811S. I've also found that the Loudness feature (as opposed to midnight) takes care of any 2ch lackings.

    Also, DTS-ES and DD-EX don't have to be turned on and off in the setup menu. Having 6.1 set to auto turns it on and off automaticly, and fixed leaves matrix encoding on all the time.

    I leave it set to fixed because i like the matrix processing to be done on 5.1 source material as well as 6.1. Ther reason you may think it has to be turned on and off every time in the menu is because alot of titles lack the DD-EX and DTS-ES Matrix flag that tells the receiver that it's receiving 6.1 material.
     
  5. John E F

    John E F Stunt Coordinator

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    I understand how the EX/ES auto flags work (or don't in most cases) so the auto detect mode may not work. Unless you leave 6.1 on all the time, you would have to go into to the setup menu to turn it on or off with the Pioneer. The Kenwood allows you to turn it on and off without entering the setup menu. This can be done at anytime during playback. I like this better since I don't usually listen to 5.1 in 6.1 mode. This may or may not be a huge deal, depending on your preferences. I also don't expect stellar 2 channel performance out of a receiver in this price range. Either one can be setup to do a decent 2 channel job. I don't know if I would spend an extra $100 on the Kenwood, but with both now at Best Buy for $400, it is really a toss up based on features. The phono stage in the Kenwood will probably be my reason for keeping it.
     
  6. Kevin_Cas

    Kevin_Cas Agent

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    Thanks for all of your help. Up to this point, I hadn't taken the Kenwood out of the box, cause I wasnt sure if I would take it back and get the Pioneer(I bought it on Saturday to get some free speakers-2 KLH rears and a center that seem to be of a very low quality-$99.00 value) i paired that up with a $40 coupon, so I got the reciever for about 360 +tax including speakers. In terms of features, I realize that both have features that are nice to have, but I would probably never use(phono input for Kenwood, full 7.1 preouts and digital output for Pioneer), before I upgraded to another reciever entirely. Also, I like the fact that the music performance on the Kenwood is a little better, even though I will use it primarily for movies. The only thing that raises a "red flag" of sorts for the Kenwood is the Component Video Bandwidth. I dont like using my recievers as videos switchers whenever possible, but my television only has two component inputs, so I can forsee a situation in which Ill have to do it at some point(I currently have a PS2 and Progressive DVD player hooked up throught these inputs, but am thinking of adding and X-Box and an HDTV reciever). Has anyone who has had either the Pioneer or KEnwood used it as the primary video switcher? What were/are your experiences with it? Is there noticable "softening" of a progressive picture when run through the reciever(vs. direct television connection)? Supposedly the bare minimum of bandwidth rating to be able to pass a quality progressive signal is 10MHz. The Kenwood is rated at 10MHz, while the Pioneer is rated at 28MHz(which is high enough to handle even an 1080i signal). That being said, I know that manufacturer ratings are not alwys "trustworthy", especially in the reciever world. Then there is the issue of what the human eye/ear can actually detect. That is why I am hoping one of you can fill me in on this issue a little. Argh! What a tough decision! I dont know about everyone else, but when trying to decide between two components, it is eaiser when one is clearly better. In this case, it seems I "cant go wrong" either way, but in alot of ways it only is more frustrating. John, keep me updated on any new impressions and other differences you find between the two, as the only one who seems to have spent a decent amount with both models I am very interested in what you have to say. Thanks again.
     
  7. John E F

    John E F Stunt Coordinator

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    Take it out of the box and play with it! You can still take it back within 30 days with the receipt if you don't like it. As far as the component bandwith, I'm not sure. I run all my video straight to the tv. Hook up your dvd player through it and see if if you notice in loss in picture quality. I wouldn't run HDTV through a receiver if I could avoid it. When listening to music or movies, try to avoid using the active eq, speaker eq, and loudness at first. This will tell you if it sounds good without extra enhancements. I have played with those settings, but always leave them off now. Circle Surround II is fun, but I haven't really had a chance to play with the settings. Left me know if need any help getting it setup.
     
  8. MikeyWeitz

    MikeyWeitz Supporting Actor

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    I notice ZERO difference with the video switching on the 811s for progressive thru DVD or Xbox. I have no 1080i source however and can not comment on it.

    Progressive their is NO difference tho.
     
  9. Kevin_Cas

    Kevin_Cas Agent

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    A couple other minor questions I was thinking of that apply to either reciever.....Can you select a component/input directly, or must you cycle through all the choices until you get one? Or, if using as a video switcher, can you watch TV for example, while listening to the radio? I have a Pioneer VSX-D608 that could do neither. It is so annoying to have to switch through every input to find the one you need. Also, do you NEED a pre amp to power the rear centers? I was considering the idea of using the two KLH surrounds I have as rear centers, but I dont know how they would match sonically with the JBL package. Also, how do you hook up 2 rear centers to one binding post? Thanks all.
     
  10. MikeyWeitz

    MikeyWeitz Supporting Actor

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    you can assign the optical, digital coaxial AND component inputs. I have my xbox set to the vcr setting since I dont use one anymore and assigned a component input and optical input to that, DVD is set the other component and the 2nd optical in and my optical for my sat receiver is assigned to the optical in on the front panel. All are accessible thru a simple push of button on remote or can be cycled thru (altho the front panel optical/video in needs to be cycled). Standard stuff is fine!
     
  11. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Kevin, I use the 811S and have found it to be a very decent budget receiver. 2 channel music is fine with the Loudness mode enabled. I listen at relatively low levels and use a pair of Cambridge Soundworks Newton M50 bookshelf speakers for my fronts.

    As for inputs, you can directly select an input source from the remote but not from the front panel. I miss that feature actually but many receivers have gone to this type of setup. I am not sure what you mean by "watch tv while listening to the radio" but if you mean can you select a separate video and audio input, I am not sure but I'd doubt it. I think the only way you'll be able to do what you want is to wire your cable/satellite tv hookup directly to the tv.

    You do not need a another amp to power the rear center speakers on the 811S (or on the Kenwood I would assume). For the Pioneer, they give you two pairs of binding posts but there is only one amplified channel. This means that the two pairs are wired in series inside the receiver. Assuming the kenwood has only one binding post pair for the rear center, you can just manually wire them in series yourself or you could wire them in parallel. The latter simply means inserting the + wires for both speakers into the + post. The same procedure is then done for the - wires. Wiring in parallel will essentially show the receiver double the load as opposed to one speaker (e.g. 2 8 ohm speakers hooked up to the same channel will be a 4 ohm load on the receiver). Wiring in series will actually show half the load (e.g. 2 8 ohm speakers wired in series to the same channel will be a 16 ohm load on the receiver). Do a search in this forum for instructions on how to wire two speakers in series off of one channel.

    good luck,


    --tom
     
  12. Kevin_Cas

    Kevin_Cas Agent

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    JOhn, as someone who has the Kenwood, do you need to have both an optical and a digital coax hooked up in order to recieve both dolby digital and DTS? I read on some other message boards that some could only get dolby digital through either optical or coax(I prefer coax), but the problem was "solved" by using both cables in tandem. Is this true? If so, I feel it is a huge defect in my opinion. There could be no performance or practical advantage to have two cables running from the same source, can there? It would only take up an extra input, one I need for that matter. Also, (and this is for anyone) Im not sure I understand the way the phono input works. My roomate has a Pioneer Turntable of(guessing) relatively low quality. It simply has a stereo output on the back(actually, the cable is attached with the red and white connectors). Correct me if Im wrong, but dosent this mean that the turntable has a built-in cheapy phono amp, and thus, would not benifit if plugged in to a reciever with a phono input? The reciever's amp wouldn't supersede the built in, would it? Sorry if this is clumisly worded or utterly clueless, but I really have NO experience with turntables. Thanks.
     
  13. John E F

    John E F Stunt Coordinator

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    I use ONLY a coax connection and it works fine with Dolby Digital and DTS. I have never heard of needing both connected. The turntable should have a switch under the metal platter that will either enable the preamp or bypass it so you can use the receiver's phono stage. Simply lift the rubber disc off of the platter, unhook the rubber belt, and lift the metal platter straight up. This should expose the switch. I have a relatively new and inexpensive Denon turntable and the preamp in it isn't very good. The one in the receiver is by far better. You would be surprised at how many records you can find at thriftstores and flea market for a few dollars. Many of them are still in really good condition.
     
  14. Kevin_Cas

    Kevin_Cas Agent

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    Could not find any such switch. Too Bad. THe front of the unit is marked as "FULL STEREO TURNTABLE", so I guess Im out of luck. Ah well. The only thing: I waiting for my speakers! Looks like they wont be here till the 7th. I wont be able to fully test this Kenwood out till then.
     
  15. Jim Everhart

    Jim Everhart Auditioning

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    Kevin: If you are planning on using KLH speakers for your rear and center, it won't matter what receiver you buy. They will all sound lousy with cheap speakers. You are getting all hung up about all the specifications of the receiver and video switching. The bottom line is does the system as a whole sound good. As someone else said, get the Kenwood out and see how it sounds. Stop worrying about the specs and start enjoying the audio.
     
  16. Kevin_Cas

    Kevin_Cas Agent

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    Jim, I understand what you are saying. I am not using KLH speakers for my rear and center. I am actually using a JBL-NSP1 speaker setup w/ a sub, but as I mentioned, its not here yet. I was playing around with the idea of using the two KLH rears that came with the reciever as my 6th and 7th channels in a 7.1 setup(hooking them up to the same binding post). At this point, the only thing I have to go on is specs. I have it hooked up right now to the KLH center and rears, but I cant really "enjoy the audio" right now for the exact reasons you mentioned. It dosent sound good, but I know its the speakers fault, not the reciever's. Also, for better or worse, I am a bit untrusting of my own ears. I have only heard only one or 2 recievers in my lifetime other than the current Kenwood(not-counting in-store displays, which are unreliable at best). Since I am without a frame of reference, I rely on forums like these for my information, since many of the members here have experience with many diffrent units and know what is "good" or "bad". Regardless of your contention on different forums, I am not trying to find a weakness in the unit(I would like nothing more than to keep it-saving me the trouble of packing it up and taking it back to the store!). I am simply trying to find as much as I can as a unit that is relatively unknown( I am aware that compromises need to me made). There is a wealth of info on the 811S(mostly positive), almost nothing on the Kenwood(either positive or negative). I noticed you made a definitive statement that the Kenwood "is the best in its price range". If you are willing, can you give me reasons why you think so? Have you owned or demoed one or both units? Any input you could give me is eagerly anticipated and greatly appreciated. Thanks Jim and others, Im glad I found this forum.
     

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