Looking for a good receiver in the $400 to $600 range....

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by TommyWMedford, Nov 17, 2003.

  1. TommyWMedford

    TommyWMedford Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi all. In just a few months, I'm going to be upgrading my receiver, and I could use some help. Right now, I'm using a Yamaha RXV-430 to power my Polk RTi speakers, which consists of RTi38's for my mains and surrounds, and the CSi30 for my center. I will be upgrading to the CSi40, as well. Right now, my main choices are:

    Harman Kardon AVR-325, or AVR-525
    Yamaha RXV-1300
    Entry level receivers from NAD or Outlaw

    That's really all that I'm looking at right now. If there are other receivers I should consider, please let me know. I've listened to both of the HK's, and I was hugely impressed with both. I don't really need tons of power since my apartment is kind of small. I would like S-video upconversion, component video inputs, but these aren't absolutely necessary, but they would be nice. I'm not really looking for an overly bright sounding receiver, something warm and natural. The HK's really did impress the hell out of me, even when they were powering some pisspoor Bose cube speakers. I haven't listened to the Yamaha yet, nor have I listened to NAD or Outlaw, but everyone tells me they're great. I would spend more on a receiver, but I'll also be buying a new TV, upgrading the center speaker, and subwoofer, so $600 is about all I'll have to spend, and I want to do this right.
     
  2. Mark Russ

    Mark Russ Second Unit

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    Go to 6thAve.com (or call their 800 #), and order a Denon 3802 for like $648 shipped. You wil instead get a brand new 3803 with full warranty. You can nit possibly do any better for the money, plus Denon and Polk go together like peas and carrots.
    Just do it!
     
  3. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    I think the Harman/Kardon is about the best you're gonna get for that price range.

    Harman/Kardon is a more warm sounding reciever while Yamaha is known to be on the bright side.

    www.soundcity.com has some good prices on stuff.

    Enjoy looking around... The HK AVR-325 I think would be the best choice as the 525 doesn't include a load of features more than it has and it costs a couple $$$ more.

    If you can... go with the new HK AVR-230 or the AVR-330, they are both awesome pieces.
     
  4. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    The yamaha 1400 can be found online as low as $560 + SH. I would also look at the Pioneer Elite 43TX as low as $470 and the HK's. The Outlaw 1050 is a bit out-of-date with no DPL2 and only 6 channels of amplification. It is however a great sounding unit with plenty of power despite the conservative raiting (same with HK). The Denon 2803 refurbished from ecost for $460 would also be a very slid choice.

    Your speakers, personal prefferences (sound and features), and which side of the budget you're more comfortable with should be your deciding factors. Good luck [​IMG]
     
  5. Rich Wenzel

    Rich Wenzel Supporting Actor

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    outlaw has just been cancelled...

    in the $500 range, I would look at a H&K, Pioneer, Yamaha, and Denon...

    The pioneer in this range, has the MCACC if thats important to you...

    Rich
     
  6. Shiu

    Shiu Second Unit

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    I have the same Polk RTi38/CSi30 setup. They sound great with my Sony STR-DA4ES. With the same speakers, I found the HKAVR525 produced very similar sound quality, no warmer, in my opinion. If you can get the 525 at $600, it is a good deal.

    I do remember that people in the Polk forum like their Denon/Polk combinations, so the 3803 should be a great choice too.
     
  7. TommyWMedford

    TommyWMedford Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for all the help. I have listened to the Pioneer Elite receiver, and I had been considering it up until that point. The receiver was poweing some Klipsch Reference speakers, and while it sounded pretty good, it didn't seem to have the same impact as the HK's. I've listened to both Infinity and Polk with the HK's, and the sound was a lot more natural to me. It almost seemed like I was in a movie theater.

    The Sony STR-DA4S seems like a pretty good option, although I've been unlucky with Sony products in the past, mostly with their DE line. Their ES receivers have gotten a lot of praise, so I definitely keep that one in mind when I'm ready to buy.

    The Denon doesn't seem like a bad option, either. I know plenty of people on the Polk forums who think Denon is a great match for the Polks.


    I honestly think Harman Kardon sounds amazing with the RTi speakers, it sounds so natural to me, but I will definitely give the others a good listen, as well. Thanks for all the help. It is greatly appreciated. Right now, I've got the best sounding system I've ever had, but it has taken a lot to get there. I don't even want to begin to think how much money has been wasted in the past, and I just want to kick myself in the a** for thinking that I could get good sound by buying crap. I want to make the right decision on this receiver. I absolutely love my Polk's, and I don't think I'll be upgrading them for a while, except of course the center speaker. I hope to get a good deal on that in the coming months. I'm sure there are going to be those who'll tell me to upgrade all of my Polk speakers to their new RTi line, but I don't think I'm going to do that. I don't find the new look very appealing, and it most likely won't look good in my apartment. Anyways, I guess I should wrap this up. Thanks for all the advice, guys.
     
  8. Trevin Chow

    Trevin Chow Stunt Coordinator

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    I have been debating the HK 325 vs Denon 2803 decision for quite sometime, and was ready to pull the trigger on a denon 2803 from ecost for $460 (authorized refurb). However, ecost is out of stock with no idea when they are getting more in stock. Same goest for ClubMac which has a smiliar price. Other authorized refurbs are being sold for over $60 more than ecost or clubmac which kills the deal for me. I'm thinking of the HK 325 now but am not sure how it stacks up to the denon.

    (if it matters, this will be used almost entirely for home theatre with M&K speakers or deftech speakers)
     
  9. Shiu

    Shiu Second Unit

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    Last time I listened to the HKAVR525 driving Polk speakers, I found the CSi3 sound much better than the RM6700 centre speaker, but I could not tell the difference between the CSi3 and the CSi4. I do agree with you on the new RTi line of speakers. They don't look as good, and, subjectively, I found the RTi38 sound better. If I were to do it again, I would still take the RTi38. There is no doubt the HKAVR525 works very well with the RTi, but if you frequent the Polk forum, you definitely should audition the Denon.

    One last point, HK receivers can decode HDCD, not sure about the Denon ones. HDCD sounds great with my Sony 4ES even though the Sony does not have an onboard HDCD decoder. I can't imagine how much better they will sound with the AVR525, or with a HDCD capable CD player.
     
  10. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    I think the aVR-325 stacks up better than the Denon 2803, but that is my personal view on it.
     

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