Kenwood

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by JeremyR, Feb 24, 2004.

  1. JeremyR

    JeremyR Supporting Actor

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    Out of curiosity more than anything, was wondering why I don't see much about Kenwood's Sovereign line of products. You read more about the ogher high-end lines of Sony ES and Pioneer Elite for example, but you just don't see much on the Kenwoods. Just out for fun shopping around and ran across a huge selection of the Sovereign line of products at Nebraska Furniture Mart, and I came away duly impressed. Of course you more than pay for it as it is pretty high-dollar equipment, at the point of looking more at separates. But I noticed that the DVD players, for example, were certified by Faroudja, and according to the salesman they were the first to receive that designation by that company. I also really liked the looks of them, but could definitely see a love/hate relationship with the looks where others might not like their appearance. Any thoughts? A new subwoofer comes next for me, but I've been nothing but pleased with my Kenwood receiver I've had now for a little over 2 years and was just inquiring. Any discussion?
     
  2. Aaron Gilbert

    Aaron Gilbert Second Unit

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    I think it's simply age plus dealer network. The Sovereign line of receivers and DVD players are now going on three years old I believe. Kenwood has yet to replace them with a new line, and I haven't been able to find any rumor that a new line is coming out in the near future. To me, this is partially a testament to how good they are. I myself just bought a VR-5090 receiver, and am quite impressed by every aspect of it. I agree on the looks, it could be a love/hate reaction, I of course really like it. I think they are far more stylish and classy looking than any of the newer receivers (including the high dollar ones). Even at it's age, my receiver has Dolby Pro Logic II, DTS ES matrix/discrete, and Dolby Digital EX. It also does conversion of composite video and S-video to component, a very handy feature that is still not widespread. It's driving five four ohm speakers at reference levels, four set to large no less, and has no complaints. Well I could go on and on... Sufficed to say, I think this line of receivers is grossly underrated and unknown. The only thing they lack (and I bet this is a deal killer for many people) are amplifiers for the surround back channels - you'll have to buy a stereo amp to connect to the preamp outputs. For me this was no problem, I already had the amp, but even if not, you can find quality two channel amps with more power than a receiver puts out for $200 or less, used.

    The fact that these receivers are getting aged and are not well known often means you can get them gear for a huge discount, so that's a bonus.

    Kenwood only lists two major retailers in my area as carrying the Sovereign line (Magnolia Hi-Fi and Good Guys). I know Magnolia doesn't carry them - they have not carried Kenwood home audio for about six years! I haven't been in to a Good Guys store for some time, so it's possible they carry the line, but one major retailer in a major metropolitan area like Seattle does not give great exposure, and Good Guys hasn't been doing so hot.

    I hope Kenwood has something up their sleeve, because most other manufacturers seem to be coming out with a new line once a year or so. It would be a shame to see Kenwood exit the mid to high end home audio arena completely, as in my opinion they make some of the nicest stuff out there for the price. It's just as reliable as any other manufacturer (and more so than many).


    Aaron Gilbert
     
  3. JeremyR

    JeremyR Supporting Actor

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    Actually, that was one of the things I liked about the Sovereign receiver, was that it didn't require the internal amplifier to drive the two rear channels. Thee receivers are pretty big and tall, and very heavy.
     

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