Pioneer 811s/Pioneer 43Tx/Outlaw 950 and Parasound HCA855a/Sherbourn 5210

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by ChadLB, Mar 29, 2004.

  1. ChadLB

    ChadLB Screenwriter

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    Item used in testing and this is just my input/opinion I am no Expert.
    Receivers: Pioneer 811s(Own currently), Pioneer 43Tx, Outlaw 950

    Amps: Parasound HCA855a(Own Currently), Sherbourn 5210

    Front speakers: Acoustic Research Hi Res 11’s
    ·The AR11 has an 8" side-firing high excursion woofer, a 1" plasma transferred, diamond hardened Titanium dome tweeter and a 5-1/4" Magalloy Minocqua mid-range.
    ·All transducers are magnetically shielded.
    ·Driver Complement Plasma Transferred Diamond Hardened 1" Titanium Dome Tweeter, 8" Side-firing High Excursion Woofer, 5 1/4" MagAlloy Monocoque Mid-Range
    ·Enclosure Design
    ·Frequency Response 35Hz-23KHz 2dB
    ·Sensitivity 91dB @ 2.83 Volts/Meter
    ·Crossover Frequency 100Hz and 3.2KHz
    ·Rated System Power See Recommended Amp. Power
    ·Recommended Amp. Power 20 Watts 200 Watts
    ·Nominal Impedance 8 Ohms
    ·Enclosure Dimensions 34" x 8 1/16" x 16"

    DVD Player: Toshiba 3950

    Hooked up using digital coaxial connection for all testing. No analog testing done. All 2 stereo channel testing.(consisted of Dave Matthews, Norah Jones, Nine Inch Nails, The Eagles, Janes Addiction, U2, The Dixie Chicks, Creed) Mostly doing comparisons by hooking up LFS to Receiver directly and the RFS to Receiver/amp combo when possible.

    [​IMG]

    Pioneer 811s
    Sound – Sounds weakdull without using the loudness button.
    Look/Feel – Looks like any entry-level receiver….nothing special. Display is readable from a distance.
    Remote Control – Well since this is the receiver I own I enjoy the remote as it controls everything I own (Mitsubishi VCR, Toshiba DVD Player, Sanyo PLV-Z1)
    Usability – Easy to setup…should be since I have owned it for 2 years.
    Connections – Enough connections for me as I don’t use much besides the Pre – outs and Coaxial connection for DVD player.
    Tuner – Gets the job done.

    Pro: Pre-Outs, Supports SACD/DVD-A, has all the current decoding capabilities that I need

    Cons: Sounds dull, lowest crossover point is 100Hz

    Pioneer 43Tx
    Sound – Straight out of the box it sounded better than my 811s and it should, as I believe it used the Motorola chipset.
    Look/Feel – The gloss finish gives it a nice look.
    Remote Control – Not too bad…had to get out the manual to figure out how to use some of the buttons. I am sure it would also learn all of my current equipment.
    Usability – A little difficult to setup as I tried without using the manual and that didn’t happen…close but not quite.
    Connections – More than enough for my setup.
    Tuner – Same as the 811s …gets the job done.

    Pros: Black Glossy Look, Sounds better than the 811 out of the box, 80Hz crossover, Pre- Outs, Supports SACD/DVD-A, has all the current decoding capabilities that I need

    Cons: Harder to setup, Remote was a little difficult to use also.


    Outlaw 950
    Sound – Sounds great with either amp.
    Look/Feel – Well not as ugly as some people claim it to be. The front buttons seem flimsy…almost like they would fall apart if used too much. Display is hard to read as it
    Is smaller than the others.
    Remote Control – Didn’t really use that much yet. Probably would get the job done for what I would use it for.
    Usability – Easy to setup, as I didn’t even look at the manual when I set it up. Just played around with the front panel setup.
    Connections – Again more than I need but has what I want: Pre – outs, SACD/DVD-A inputs
    Tuner – Gets the job done. Nothing fancy.

    Pros: Triple crossover, Easy setup, supports SACD/DVD-A, has all the current decoding capabilities that I need
    Cons: Buttons on front are weak almost as if they would fall apart if used too much, Display hard to read from a distance.


    Conclusion:
    The Pioneer 811s gains the most by adding either amp though I didn’t notice much of a change from the Parasound amp to the Sherbourn. Though I am not sure if the amp was ever turned on. It was on a shelf in one of the showrooms but wasn’t hooked up to anything. Could be my speakers/room setting also that isn’t letting the amp show off its power. Though I know you only gain 3db’s by doubling the power. I would have expected more of a difference but didn’t hear it. Could be my ears….

    The Pioneer 43Tx is a nice unit but for me I don’t think it would be a keeper as it is a older Elite unit and I think I would go for the 53Tx model as it has the Auto MCACC with 5 Band equalization as the 43Tx is Manual setup I believe. This unit only gained by adding the sherbourn amp. I would probably compare the 43Tx to the Pioneer 811/Parasound combo. The 43Tx beats the Pioneer 811s side by side and should. Though some might say that it is not a fair comparison. I guess I am not into all those extra features like the advanced surround modes(Action, Sci Fi, Gaming etc). I think my problem is I want to get away from Pioneer and that is Why I have higher interest in the Outlaw.

    The Outlaw 950 is plain and simple looking. I still am going to compare it some more to my Pioneer/Parasound combo. I like the easy setup and features it has to offer so far. Again I really didn’t hear much of a difference with this hooked up to the Parasound vs the Sherbourn. I want to compare the Pioneer 811/Parasound against the Outlaw 950/Parasound with some more music/movies to see how much of a difference there really is, as I looked more at the 2-channel music so far.

    Ampwise…..I don’t see how in my setup the Sherbourn would be worth the extra $800. This would be by selling the Parasound for say $400 and then forking out $800.
     
  2. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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    With 91db 8ohm speakers, the Sherbourn will not really be needed IMO. That does not mean the Parasound 855 is better but it has all the power those speakers would need. You would need much harder to drive speakers to get a better feel for the amp differences.
     
  3. JakubH

    JakubH Stunt Coordinator

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    That is very interesting Chad, I have a Pioneer 811s as my main reciever, and also found that adding an outboard amp (in my case, an old Carver reciever) for the front speakers opened up the dynamics quite a bit. In fact, I bought the reciever mainly for its preamp section, knowing I would not use the onboard amps for anything but the center/surrounds. Nice to see someone else thinking along the same lines [​IMG]
     
  4. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Chad,

    Nice write-up. It's nice (and sometimes surprising) to have multiple components at one time to play with. I agree with Charles, the Parasound is doing fine with your 91dB speakers.

    Pioneer 811 gaining the *most* with the outboard amp. Well, the *most* is just against the Elite, which has a better amp section. That makes sense.

    Now, used as a prepro, I think you will find that the relatively new 811 will hold its own against the Outlaw 950. If you had a receiver that was a few generations older and wasn't even DPL2 capable (ie, Denon 2801, Pioneer Elite 24tx), then that might not be the case.
     
  5. ChadLB

    ChadLB Screenwriter

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    Ricky,
    Are you referring to the Pioneer 814 or are you referring to my 811 holding its own against the 950.
     
  6. JakubH

    JakubH Stunt Coordinator

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    The 811s has a nice preamp section for a lower-priced reciever, its major weakness is the amps. If you can take them out of the picture, or significantly reduce the load on them, I wouldnt be surprised if it can match more expensive gear like the Outlaw. After all, I always thought the Outlaw's greatest strength was its beefy amp section (for a receiver) and power supply?
     
  7. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Chad,

    Yes, I mean the 811 holding its own as a prepro. Not sure about an 814; you didn't list "814" in your writeup?
     

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