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Looking to upgrade receiver (1 Viewer)

CantThinkOfAName

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I am going to eventually change all components in my home theater setup, but I am starting with the receiver. I am trying to keep the budget at $600. I currently have a Harman Kardon AVR 2600. I was looking at the Denon avr-x3300w, but I wanted to see if there were any other options in the price range that would be better. I do not need huge power since I do not have a huge living room, but I would like to be able to crank it occasionally.
 

Scott Merryfield

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Welcome to HTF, Brian!

I bought a Denon X3300W early this year as a replacement for my 8+ year old Pioneer Elite 94TXH receiver. I was moving into the 4K video world, and the Pioneer did not support that.

I also looked seriously at Yamaha (didn't keep my notes, so cannot remember which comparable models), but Denon seemed to meet my specific needs at a little better price point. I needed a receiver which supported DSD and had plenty of HDMI inputs. I wasn't concerned about having 7.2.4 channels for Dolby Atmos -- either 7.1 or 5.1.2 was enough for my room, where I have no easy way to mount ceiling speakers. The X3300 was the lowest Denon model with DSD, a graphic user interface over 4K video and the higher end Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room correction. It's three year standard warranty was also a nice bonus over the two years from the lower models.

I have been quite happy with the Denon. It drives my B&W 600 Series 7.1 speaker setup quite nicely. The Audyssey room correction provided me with better sound quality than I was getting with my old Pioneer Elite's MCACC system. Setting up the receiver through it's menu system was quite easy -- this is an area where the AVR manufacturers have really improved things since I bought my last receiver.

I also briefly considered Marantz, but they and Denon are one company now and share a lot of components and features, and the comparable Marantz models were a little higher in price than the X3300W.
 
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Mike Frezon

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I purchased a Denon X2000 in 2014 and love it. The current equivalent of my model is the X2300. Mine has plenty of power and gets plenty loud enough (for when my wife is out of the house!). The X2000 DOES support 4k videoi pass-through but if I ever want to upgrade to Atmos audio, I'm going to need a new receiver.

Not sure if you want to consider a refurbished model, Brian, but Accessories For Less has the 3300X available for $450.

I purchased mine as an "open box" item at Crutchfield.

Crutchfield has the X3300 (new) for $599. The X2300 is just $499. Here are all their offerings. You might find it easy to use their list to see what kind of models/features are out there.https://www.crutchfield.com/g_10420/Home-Theater-Receivers.html#&clearAll

The key with receiver purchases is to know what you are going to want/need your receiver to do in terms of specs/gear/etc. And then think a little bit down the road as they can be one of the higher price pieces of gear in someone's system...yet the one which can need more regular upgrading most often--as technology moves forward. Speakers and sources often hold their value over a longer period of time.
 

Scott Merryfield

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Scott, is the X3300W capable of decoding actual SACDs? Or are you just playing DSD media files?

Aaron,

The X3300 handles SACDs fine. I have about 30 or so titles, and play them via either my Sony X-800 UHD player or old Oppo 980H DVD player. Each component is setup to send DSD to the receiver for processing. My previous Pioneer Elite also had DSD support, so it was important to me to find another receiver with the same feature.
 

Aaron Silverman

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Good to know! I was looking at the Sony S6700 BD deck, but it's unclear whether it passes the DSD layer or just the CD layer of SACDs.

My PS3 started to go, which got me looking into a new BD deck, which got me looking into a new receiver, which got me looking into a new display. . .which. . .well, it's a good thing my wife is out of town!!!
 

Mike Frezon

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I went with the Oppo 203, Aaron, because I specifically was looking for a good single player which could handle Blu, DVD, and the various high-rez audio discs. The fact that it's a 4k player is a bonus for me as I'm still using my 1080p Panny plasma.

Expensive as hell...but now you can compare it to the new arrival Oppo 205 and explain to your wife how much money you'll be saving!! :laugh:
 

CantThinkOfAName

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Thank you for the info. Right now I'm leaning towards getting it. It seems good for the price and with gift cards I can get it pretty cheap haha.

Somewhat off topic, is there any benefit to running HDMI through the receiver rather than directly to the TV other than if you run out of ports? Right now I just have my cable box and PS4 running to my TV with a fiber cable to the receiver. Running out of port is not an issue for me. Wanted to see if there was any more benefit to running the HDMI cables through the receiver.
 

Mike Frezon

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An HT receiver is considered the "nervous system" or "brain" of the HT. Usually all signals pass through it. This, in turn, allows us to use our receivers as an easy switcher/router for our systems. All sources feed audio/video into the receiver...and the receiver sends the appropriate signals to the TV/Speakers. This is one of the joys of HDMI.

If you get a universal remote (Harmony is a popular brand in these parts), you can then program it to create various "activities." For example, you create an activity called "Watch TV" and the remote will turn on the TV, the DVR and the Receiver. It will also set the proper inputs for the receiver and the remotes controls will allow you to change channels via the DVR and change volume via the Receiver. If you decide you're done with TV and want to play a game, you click the activity "Play Game". it'll turn off the DVR, turn on the PS4 and re-set the receiver's inputs. you've got clear routing when set up this way.

Up-to-date receivers also have the advantage of being able to handle any and all audio formats that are thrown at it. State of the art processing.

And that's all pending that I understood your question correctly! :laugh:
 

David Willow

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Thank you for the info. Right now I'm leaning towards getting it. It seems good for the price and with gift cards I can get it pretty cheap haha.

Somewhat off topic, is there any benefit to running HDMI through the receiver rather than directly to the TV other than if you run out of ports? Right now I just have my cable box and PS4 running to my TV with a fiber cable to the receiver. Running out of port is not an issue for me. Wanted to see if there was any more benefit to running the HDMI cables through the receiver.

Optical coming from where? The TV? If that is the case, you are most likely only getting stereo from your PS4 and cable box. That kinda defeats the purpose of having a home theater.
 

CantThinkOfAName

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Optical coming from where? The TV? If that is the case, you are most likely only getting stereo from your PS4 and cable box. That kinda defeats the purpose of having a home theater.
I was not aware of this. I think I need a lesson on how to set this up it seems. So I am assuming all of the peripheral devices go through the receiver and the TV stick with the fiber? Will this get me more than stereo when I am just watching TV and not using the other devices?
 

David Willow

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The optical connection from the TV is typically used to pass 5.1 from the TV's tuner and internal apps (assuming it has apps). Most TVs will not pass 5.1 input back out as 5.1. They convert them to stereo. Check your owners manual.

Edit to add: Since you are upgrading to a more modern AVR, you will no doubt want to get the best sound from movies when playing them on your PS4. That means HD audio (TruHD or DTS HD). Optical cannot carry these signals no matter how it is hooked up. Your only option is HDMI directly into the receiver.
 
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Mike Frezon

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So I am assuming all of the peripheral devices go through the receiver and the TV stick with the fiber? Will this get me more than stereo when I am just watching TV and not using the other devices?

In short, yes.

All your sources (cable box, disc player, PS4, etc.) connect via HDMI (if possible) into the receiver. Then a single HDMI out of the receiver to the TV. That way, you are taking advantage of the full surround sound capabilities that your sources and receiver can provide. It also provides the best possible picture image. [Both of the statements about best sound/picture are contingent on your receiver being up to the task of processing the signals you are sending it.]

Set up that way, you can then route all your signals directly from your source to the TV THRU the receiver.

IF you are using the TV as a source (because of built-in apps for streaming, lets say)...then you will only get stereo sound via the ARC (Audio Return Channel) HDMI connection. See David's post about the use of the Optical out from the TV. I think that link about ARC will explain most of this to you.

If you've got more questions, keep 'em coming.
 

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