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Need a new Surround Received with A/B Front Speaker

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by byggd, May 9, 2018.

  1. byggd

    byggd Auditioning

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    Greetings! I haven't been in the market for a AV received in some time and have lost track of what is out there.

    My Pioneer Elite bit the dust. I am running Polk front and center speakers / Bose 201 rear and a infinity sub.

    I don't need a unit with all the bells and whistles but wouldn't mind a unit with Bluetooth.

    In addition to the speakers mentioned above I have a pair of indoor/outdoor Polk on my patio and am looking for a unit with A/B front speaker connections so I can listed to music while BBQing.

    Any suggestions on a unit that won't break the bank (under $300)? I'm partial to Yamaha but am open to suggestions.
     
  2. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    Actually, the terminology has changed. What you want (using current terminology) is a receiver that has a powered Zone 2 speaker output. Receivers are more sophisticated these days, and while the two definitions are mostly the same, there is a critical difference. With A/B, the same volume control adjusts the volume for both sets of speakers and they can only play the same source. With Zone 2, the main speakers and the remote speakers have individual volume controls, and can play a different (or the same) source.

    I'm not really up on current lower end receivers, but I'm not sure what in that price range has what you want. Maybe a refurb. Hopefully someone will chime in with some specific suggestions.
     
  3. byggd

    byggd Auditioning

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    Thank you for your input. I thought dual zone was if you wanted to be able to watch your surround in one room while listening to music in another area. No? I may need to raise my spending amount. :) I did find this Sony 7.2 Channel Home Theater 4K AV Receiver (STRDH770)

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BV7SO8U/coliid=I1DRGZ5H5Q5BK4&colid=T7V9PSS5BVQE&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

    It has a versatile output that can be used as surround back, bi amp, surround front high or as a B output when listening to music.

    Anyone have any experience with this model?
     
  4. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    It can do that as well. Like I said, it's a lot more flexible than the old A/B setup. They can play different sources, or the same source, but they always have individual volume controls, which will always be an improvement.
     
  5. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    Looking at the Sony receiver, but without digging into the details, it appears to me that is actually an A/B kind of setup,like you're familiar with. since it calls the second pair of speakers "Front B" instead of "Zone 2", I'm guessing (again, I didn't double check) that it just plays the the same source as the main speakers, with the same volume.

    My question is, when you play music outside, do you also play the same music inside, and is it a problem that you can't adjust the volume (or source) for them independently? With powered Zone 2, you can. With the traditional style A/B setup, you can't. Just something to keep in mind when choosing a receiver. If I was doing it, I'd want to have individual volume controls, so I'd want the Zone 2 option, which will cost more.
     
  6. byggd

    byggd Auditioning

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    Our patio is just off the living dining room so always the same. One advantage to the old A/B set up is I could turn off the A speakers when I just want music in the back yard. Not sure if this unit will have that option but it is bluetooth and full 4K HDR video and 7.2 channel audio :) Their next model up has dual zone but also a $500 price tag.
     
  7. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    I don't either. Hopefully that answer is buried somewhere in the manual, which you should be able to access online. With Zone 2, the zones are completely independent, and it'll do anything you want.

    You can also go to A4L.com for a refurb or closeout model. They don't have Sony, but Denon, Onkyo and Pioneer are options. Closeouts of discontinued models are a great deal, since manufacturers update them so often. This Denon refurb is $299 and sold new for over $600, and can be configured for powered Zone 2. It also has Atmos, but you can't do Atmos and powered zone 2 at the same time, but if you want Atmos, you can get a cheap external amp later to drive the Zone 2 speakers while having 5.1.2 Atmos.
     
  8. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    Actually, I didn't dig into the details of how zone 2 works on the Denon...
     
  9. byggd

    byggd Auditioning

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    Thanks for the tip! I will check A4L out. I just want simple, the older I get ... the simpler the better. :)
     
  10. byggd

    byggd Auditioning

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    Thanks again! I just pulled the trigger on this unit. It has everything I was looking for and all the features you mentioned. All for $299 free shipping!
    RX-V681 7.2-Ch x 90 Watts Networking A/V Receiver
     
  11. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    Excellent. I want to mention it again, but I didn't dig into the details of how it works with zone 2. I think you can use the 7 channels of amp to power a 5.1 surround system and a remote 2 channel one, or you can add an external amp to power the (2) remote channels and use the internal ones for a 7.1 or 5.1.2 surround system. It looked like it gives every option, but you tend to have to dig into the manual to be certain. The back surround amp outputs do say they are assignable. You'll have to go into the speaker setup to configure it how you want, because it won't come that way out of the box.
     
  12. byggd

    byggd Auditioning

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    I read through that area of the manual and it has a separate zone volume control for zone 2 so hopefully I am good to go. I have always had good luck with Yamaha units.
     

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