Onkyo TX-SR800 Anemic or Powerhouse?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Steve Osborne, Jul 9, 2003.

  1. Steve Osborne

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    Circa 1915: "You can have any color you want, as long as it's black".
    Ah, the good ole days when you had no choices, and did not know any better. Ignorance is bliss. Anyway, here I am looking at the Denon AVR-3803, and the Onkyo TX-SR800, and the countless other recommendations in here on receivers. I am a bit concerned about the power ratings for the Onkyo TX-SR800. I did read a review in Sound and Vision on the TX-NR900 that said it clipped at 55 watts! The review also says that Onkyo has a thermal limiter, and right before the limiter kicked in, it delivered 150 watts per channel at 8 ohms. Now I know watts and current are not the same thing, current is more important. And that when real world power is looked at, the NR900 performed well compared to the others in the test. I know the TX-SR800 is not the same as the NR900, but maybe some of the talk about poor power with Onkyo receivers is due to this limiter, assuming that other Onkyo models have a similar limiter. I have liked Onkyo in the past, and I'm kinda leaning in that direction. By the way, I got a local Circuit City to give me a price of 789.00, that's out the door , tax included, on a NEW, NOT OPEN BOX, TX-SR800, to match a web price. That's pretty good for a brick and mortar store.
     
  2. Jaime B

    Jaime B Stunt Coordinator

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    Steve;

    Unlike 1915, in the year 2003 we are burdened with countless options (decisions, decisions...) on EVERYTHING created by Humans. (Ok, except for Microsoft, who are home free with almost NO competition.)

    On that note, go listen to as many receivers as you can before buying, if you can. Onkyos used to be very good electronics with smooth, but powerful sound. Lately, they have been less good sounding and some people have had problems with unreliable units. It is as if management decided on serious cost cutting on their line, I may be wrong on this, but that's what it looks like.
    For sure, the TX-NR900 flunked the advertised output rating. Amperes is part of wattage (W= VxA), so given the same set of speakers, more watts will sound louder and clip (distort) at a higher output volume. For HOME THEATER, a robust power supply with lots of watts rules, (given that the tonal character meets your auditory taste.)
    If the retailer has an exchange policy, I don't see where you can go wrong if you choose the Onkyo, and then it doesn't perform to your liking.

    Haven't been to Dallas in over 10 years...

    JaimeB
     
  3. Bill Will

    Bill Will Screenwriter

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    Jaime B, Choices? [​IMG] Sorry Sir, that tv only comes in Silver not Black.
     
  4. Jaime B

    Jaime B Stunt Coordinator

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    Bill:

    Great observation! Silver TV's are in vogue these days, however there are dozens upon dozens of "silver" flat screen TVs with tons of different features and price ranges.

    Nevertheless, great point: "Sir do you prefer 36" HDTV or non-HDTV 36 incher. Big price differential. Do you want more or less input and output connections, adjustable color temperature, digital comb filter - make your choices AS LONG AS IT'S IN SILVER"

    Good one Bill!

    JaimeB
     
  5. Bill Will

    Bill Will Screenwriter

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    As Mr. Ford said, "You can have any color you want as long as it's black" [​IMG]
     
  6. Mark Dickerson

    Mark Dickerson Stunt Coordinator

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    Steve:

    Since you are aware that current is more important than watts, I suggest that you skip both the Onkyo and the Denon and go directly to an NAD 752 (which can be had for the same amount of money as the Onkyo), thereby saving yourself a lot of heartache, not to mention buyer's remorse.

    Power ratings from the big Japanese audio cartels are as bogus as it gets. Check out this site:

    http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Holl...1/ratevsac.htm

    and you will see just how bad it can be. My favorite in the Hall of Shame is the Marantz 7200, promising 105 wpc x 6, but only able to deliver 27 wpc with all channels driven, but the Onkyos and the Yamahas are not much better. Still, at least they were willing to risk it. Sony admitted their D4ES receiver was not meant to have all channels driven at the same time (is this really a HT receiver?!), so they got S&V to skip the power test altogether! These guys build really snazzy front ends, but the sound just isn't there.

    I don't think it has as much to do with a thermal limiter as it does design philosophy and undersized power supplies. 25 years ago, Yamaha was widely recognized as the best available line of receivers and they were (as still are) very conscious of the reliability of the product, so they designed receivers that had very tight tolerances, especially in the power supply. Then NAD came along with a totally different philosophy which decided that tight tolerances in the power supply constricts the program material too much. Instead, they began to build products with a very loosely regulated power supply, which gave them lots of headroom and a much more dynamic sound. Today, the Yamaha philosophy abounds in Japanese audio companies, and they choke their receivers with power supplies that that are just plain too small and too restricted. Ever notice how they rate their receiver's power? It is always "Front speakers: 100 wpc" "Center Speaker:100 wpc" "Rear surrounds: 100 wpc" You see, that allows them legal cover if they are ever challenged by the FTC in that they never said it was 100 wpc x 5, or 100 wpc x 6. Like Sony, their HT receivers are not designed to have all channels active at the same time.

    Only NAD and H/K have gone a different route, which used to be referred to as being "high current amplifiers" although all of the Japanese receiver makers now claim they have high current amps, too. By that they mean that the receiver's total power exceeds 100 watts of total power, so it must be high current, right? Obviously, the term has lost its real meaning. I recently heard the NAD head to head against an Onkyo 700 (claimed 100 wpc x 6), a Denon 2803 (claimed 90 wpc x 6), and a H/K 525, and the power and detail produced by the NAD was simply amazing when compared to the others. Until you compare them head to head using the same source material and speakers, you cannot know how much of a difference in the sound there can be between receivers. And, as S&V has demonstrated, you get more than the promised power with the 752.

    If good sound is what you want, then a mass market receiver from one of the big guys (e.g. Onkyo, Denon etc.) is not for you. Compare the NAD and I know you will hear what I mean. Short of that, you must go to separates. [​IMG]
     
  7. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    As usual, I don't dispute the 'data' presented above, but I dispute its significance.

    Suggesting that none of the 'mass market' receivers will allow you to achieve 'good sound' is, in my opinion, way off base. Review charts of wattage data all day long if it makes you feel good, but at the end of the day all that matters is that you are happy (or not) will an AVRs real-world performance. Plenty of happy 'mass market' owners out there. NAD and separates are not the only paths to a nice HT setup.

    And, of course, your resultant sound has far less to do with the amplification source and much more to do with your hearing apparatus, your biases, your room and your speakers (subject of another discussion, right?).

    Steve, the only way you'll figure this out is if you demo the SR800 in your room, with your equipment. Would you buy a car without test driving it?
     
  8. Bill Kolp

    Bill Kolp Extra

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    I believe the tests conducted provided power readings using a static load. A/V receivers such as the TX-SR800 are designed for a dynamic load (most A/V receivers are designed this way). Basically this means that all of the seven channels are not requiring the same level of power at the same time. While listening to dialog on the center channel, the other 6 channels are idle.

    On the otherhand the TX-SR800 ALL STEREO mode provides L/R stereo with all left channel receiving equal power according to the signal provided and the same for the right. The center channel mosaics the L/R information. So in this configuration the maximum power drain is achieved. Naturally, the power requirements increase as the volume increases.

    Anyway, I run the TX-SR800 with 4-ohm front speakers in a 7.1 configuration which is even more of a load on the receiver. The volume has been up so high that the family has threatened to leave the house. It has never shutdown on me or had any problems. I am quit happy with it.

    This is not an endorsement for ONKYO. I would have purchased any brand/model (Well almost - there are models within brands that I would not consider) that would handle 4-ohms, 7.1, good professional evaluation, and a dealer willing to give me a great price.
     
  9. Jaime B

    Jaime B Stunt Coordinator

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    Mark:

    I think Angelo.M wrote pretty much what I would answer to your post. Furthermore I take issue with your analysis of the Yamahas. While many Jap receivers flunk their stated power ratings, for the correct reasons you state (cheap powers supplies & components), it usually is because it's the only way to meet a price point. Marketing hype will dictate a "standard" rating of no less than 75W for the unit to be successful in the market place.

    Look at Phil Iturralde's spreadsheet, and you'll also see overachievers. My DSP-1A is rated at 110W and it bench tested at 116W before clipping. My wife's Kenwood 1080 is rated at 100W x 5, and probably clips at less than 50W. Side by side, my unit stomps my wife's unit. Different price points, different listening preferences. I like it loud (but coherent), she likes medium loudness. Yet I'm ready for a separate amp for more transparency, detail, refined sound.

    My recommendation to listen to as many receivers as possible still stands.

    Enjoy,
    JaimeB
     
  10. PhilMays

    PhilMays Stunt Coordinator

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    I had the Onkyo TX DS 797 in my main system for some time. I believe the TXSR 800 is its replacement.

    I liked my Onkyo except for the DD dropouts. I also felt that for me, 100 watts per channel was not enough as I was really heating that baby up, even driving Klipsch speakers. I also felt that the sound "detail" was somwhat lacking which I blamed on my speakers and was looking at upgrading to B & W for their clarity. I eventially used the unit as a pre-pro and let a 5 channel 150 wpc amp do the job, only relying on two internal amps from the onkyo which really helped.

    I think the new TXSR 800 has addressed some of these problems. I have heard that it does not seem as powerful as the 797 due to adding one more amp for 7 channels of power. I do not know this to be fact as I have not A/B tested.

    I just replaced the unit with a Yamaha RX-V3300 and am amazed at the clarity the Yamy offers. I no longer am considering the B & W speakers as this unit is a power house of good, clean, output. I can actually hear minute details in the high regions that I never heard before.

    I moved the 797 to my bedroom replacing an older Denon 1800 unit that the Onkyo simply dominates over. I'm Pleased.

    If your pleased with the unit, that's all that matters. I do believe when you buy a unit at that price point it is not long before you want to get into the $1,500 dollar range of units, then on to seperates.
     
  11. Steve Osborne

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    Well, I know what I want for dinner, beyond that..who knows..
    Anyway, lots of good input in here, info overload.
    I’ll be moving soon, and will have a bigger area for my setup, so what might be enough watts and current now, may be inadequate later. I still have a couple of receivers from the 1970s, Marantz 2325 (HUGE current here folks) and a MASSIVE Pioneer SX-1250, that weigh in the 60 pound range or so, these will kick butt on just about any home receiver today in 2 channel stereo, not to mention incredible FM, but no multi channel.
    So, I’m kinda old school when it comes to thinking that a decent weight and current ability translates to good performance.
    I called Onkyo for some amp figures, they say the SR700 draws 6.7 amps, and the SR800 8.1 amps
    The SR800 weighs 36.6 pounds, the TXDS-797 is 38.1 pounds. Kinda interesting that the SR800 has another amplified channel, but weighs less than its predecessor, TXDS-797. The PDF brochure of the Denon AVR-3803 says it weighs 36.4 pounds and draws 7.0 amps, rated at 110 watts. The informal info on the web PERHAPS suggests the Onkyo’s Achilles heel is the amplifier, but may not be noticeable until you really push it. I’ll probably bring home a couple of different receivers for a test.
    Interesting stuff, and kinda fun, until it interrupts your sleep habits
    Steve
     
  12. matt*ms

    matt*ms Extra

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    Steve: I'm very happy with my sr 800. Pushing Paradigm Monitor 7's for mains, CC370 center, ADP 170 surrounds, Polk 35i's for rear. My basement is about 28' long x24' wide. No problem filling up room with sound. At -20db,s the pod races In Phantom Menace are awesome. My next investment will be either a Parasound or Rotel 1070 2ch amp for mains. Hope this can help.. Matt
     
  13. Steve Osborne

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    Thanks Matt. Are you going with the Rotel for the mains for more power or better quality amplification?

    Steve
     
  14. Steve Osborne

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    Thanks for the info on other receivers. I did a listen to the Yamaha RXV3300 compared to the Denon AVR-3803 in 2 channel stereo mode with music at Ultimate Electronics today, as well as Dolby digital. I preferred the Yamaha. .I have now heard the Onkyo SR-800, the Denon AVR-3803, Yamaha RXV3300, and Pioneer VSX-45TX. The salesman at Ultimate said he really likes the Pioneer 45TX sound, so did I, but still sees continuing bass management problems, and does not recommend it. I'm kinda leaning toward the RXV3300, especially if I can get it for 100.00 more than the SR800, I'm curious about the watts usage that the owners manual and the back of the Yamaha receiver indicate, 500 watts consumption. That sounds way too little, the Onkyo SR-800 consumes 8.1 amps. The Yamaha weighs about 48 pounds, that's a good weight, about 12 more pounds than Onkyo and Denon. Maybe the claimed Yamaha wattage output is way overstated.

    Steve
     
  15. Jaime B

    Jaime B Stunt Coordinator

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    Steve:

    You are obsessed with and confused about amperage consumption. I've never looked at the power CONSUMPTION of any of the 10 receivers I've owned thru the years. Ampere draw is a variable with output volume, the Yamaha number you saw in the owners manual in probably at idle BUT THIS IS MEANINGLESS unless you are worried about your electricity bill! Also, weight has nothing to do with sound quality, if you want a weightier receiver, add some lead!

    Audition with your own ears and forget the manuals. The RX-V3300 is a superior product in its price range, and it is in the upper echelon of the Yamaha line.

    Enjoy!

    JaimeB
     
  16. Steve Osborne

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    Gee, I thought this was a friendly forum.....
     
  17. Jaime B

    Jaime B Stunt Coordinator

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    Steve;

    I'm just being assertive[​IMG] Sorry pal if I sounded rough, didn't mean to. My intent is to get you moving and set-up a decent Home Theater room ASAP!

    Once you have it to your liking, you'll be addicted to it![​IMG]

    Enjoy!

    JaimeB
     
  18. pradike

    pradike Stunt Coordinator

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    There are at least 5 different units in the same price range as the Onkyo SR-800.

    What I CAN tell you is that Onkyo makes a superior-construction unit.

    I have the 989v2 THX 7.1 top-of-the-line Onkyo, and its performance is stellar. That said, what is equally impressive is that it was constructed using top shelf parts in a top-shelf frame. Features are cutting edge, including DVI and optical outputs and 2 parallel streams for dual-room surround (overkill, but still a testimony of solid engineering). This thing is built to last, and not become obsolete overnight.

    JVC and Marantz also make good units in that price range, if thats what is driving your buying decision. If not, save up a bit more and move up to the next tier - the performance will be worth it.

    AND FOR THOSE WHO LOVE IT - its heavy and has 1200 watts of output...most likely sucks a bunch of electricity - but like me - its darn well worth it.
     
  19. Steve Osborne

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    Actually, I have been in home theater for over a year, first in a medium room, where I burned up a Sony receiver. My dad has the Onkyo TX-DS797, in the shop now getting the audio dropout bug fixed. I'm sure I'm more inquisitive about current draw than the average Joe out there. My high school years in the late 1970's exposed me to marvelous high current machines like the Marantz 2285b, 2325, and the Pioneer SX-1250, machines that can handle hard loads. As I mentioned above, I still use the Marantz 2325 today, good old fashioned metal cased output transistors sitting in huge heatsinks, large transformer, large power capacitors, in 2 channel stereo of course, it is still an awesome machine, that can deliver excellent 2 channel stereo with huge power, more bass than a Mack truck driving next to you on the highway.
    Right now, in my smallish room, it's probably not a big deal about power, but given my move soon to a more spacious room for home theater, and my burned up Sony from last year, I want a good machine

    Steve
     
  20. Jaime B

    Jaime B Stunt Coordinator

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    Steve- I did forget to tell you that if you go with the RX-V3300, you'll need an extra pair of (small) speakers for the front effects. It's a propietary Yamaha surroud doo-dah that really makes a difference!

    Pradike: I auditioned the Onkyo 989v2 and it really IS a superior product, however, I don't think Steve is looking at anything close to this price range.

    It belongs among the elite reference receivers, and well worth it suggested retail price.

    Graduated from Georgia Tech in 1980.

    JaimeB
     

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