Pioneer VSX-D914-K vs. Onkyo, Denon, etc. (long post)

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Marc W, May 10, 2004.

  1. Marc W

    Marc W Auditioning

    Apr 26, 2004
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    I'm considering buying a Pioneer VSX-D914K and I'm soliciting opinions. First a little about me and my room:

    - I'm looking for the best sound I can get for under $400, and preferably closer to $300.

    - My current speakers are:
    JBL 3800 mains (3-way, 8" woofers)
    JBL 2600 surrounds (2-way, 6" woofers)
    JBL EC-35 Center (3-way, 5" woofers)
    Hsu Research STF-2 Sub
    No rear center(s) planned at this point, but probably soon.

    - The room I'll be setting up my home theatre in is somewhat on the large side -- I'm guesstimating 3400 to 3600 cu. ft. of space in the theatre room alone, plus quite a bit more if you count the adjoining (via a 10' wide opening) kitchen. Not an enormous room, but still fairly sizeable (darn cathedral ceiling ;-). It has wood floors too, fwiw from an acoustical perspective.

    - I don't have a huge number of components, so I don't need any special level of connectictivity. Likewise, I don't feel the need for a huge array of fancy features -- I mainly just want the best possible sound I can get.

    - My current thinking is that I do want to get DTS 96:24, and I'd also like a 192KHz/24-Bit DAC (vs. 96/24).

    I had been strongly considering the Onkyo 601 and the Denon 1804. Both seem to be well-regarded products in my price point, but then I came across the Pioneer VSX-D914K. The Pioneer seems to offer more than the Onkyo or the Denon, but I'd like some help in figuring out how much value the additional features add. For example, the Pioneer offers:

    - Motorola 48-Bit DSP. Is this a big deal? Purpotedly, it improves the sound as compared to Pioneer receivers that do not have this feature. I've read at least one professional review that praised the Motorola DSP, and I've also read a review from a guy who directly compared a Motorola DSP-equipped Pioneer to his own (non-Motorola-equipped) Pioneer VSX-D811S, and he attributed the better sound to the Motorola DSP (I currently own a D811S myself). Does anyone have an opinion on the merits of this DSP?

    - Pioneer's "Auto MCACC." If I understand correctly, this feature is an automatic version of what I could do myself with a SPL monitor. Am I correct? If so, this feature may add some convenience, but I don't really mind setting up my receiver the long, manual, "hands on" way. After all, how often do you really have to do it? And I actually prefer the "hands on" approach with my HT equipment, but can MCACC do a better job?

    - Power. As I stated above, my room is fairly large. I won't be pushing the volume levels through the roof on a regular basis, but I'd at least like the option. According to a review I read on, the Denon 1804 can only provide 35 (or so) watts of power to 5 channels, when pushed. I don't think the Onkyo fared much better (although I'm not sure that it was the Onkyo 601 that they tested). There was some data on the VSX-D914K (or on a very similar model?) which measured 80 watts to 5 channels. Sorry, the details on the exact Onkyo and Pioneer models are foggy -- but I'm pretty darn sure that they were, at the least, models that are *very* similar to the ones I'm looking at (i.e. the same "guts"). I realize that's tests do not necessarily reflect the "real world" use of these products (as they themselves stated), but 35 watts vs. 80 watts is a big disparity. Does this translate to a real world advantage for the Pioneer?

    Finally, as I mentioned above, my primary criterion is to get the best sound quality in my price point. I realize that sound is very subjective, but if anyone has done a direct comparison audition of the receivers I've listed (or similar offerings by other manufacturers), then please let me know your opinions.

    If you've made it this far, then thanks for reading! Brevity has never been a strong point for me. ;-)

    Best Regards,

  2. ChadLB

    ChadLB Screenwriter

    May 5, 2002
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    Each of those receivers will probably sound a little different with your speakers. I have not listened to a Onkyo or Denon recently but you may also want to throw in some of the new lower end Yamahas in there(HTR5760)...or even a HK230.
    The Pioneer has some nice features the others don't:
    PRE-Outs in case you want to add a external amp.

    Not sure how well the remote is but the one for my Pioneer 811 works everything I own(VCR,DVD Player, Recever, Projector).

    The biggest thing the Lower end Pioneers lack and I still don't understand why they haven't changed it is the lowest crossover point is 100HZ. This is why I am avoiding looking to get one...............

    The other 2 you mentioned have better crossover points
    The onkyo does 60, 80, 100, 120, and 150Hz and I think the Denon does the same.

    Your best bet is to grab your favorite Music and go listen to them somewhere. Not sure where you are going to find all 3 at one store but maybe them and go from there.

    I used to own the Onkyo 600. I preferred the sound of that over the Pioneer but ran into problems with my 600 so I returned it and got the Pioneer instead.....worked out better as I use it as a Pre-Pro.
    I am actually testing the HK230 right now as I picked it up Saturday. Need to spend some time with it sooner or later...

  3. Will-Layfield

    Will-Layfield Stunt Coordinator

    May 17, 2004
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    Chad how are you liking the H/K unit over the pioneer? I am also considering many of the same units being talked about in this thread and wondered hos you liked the pioneer vs. the H/K.

    Thanks -Will
  4. ChadLB

    ChadLB Screenwriter

    May 5, 2002
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    I returned the hk as I was testing it and now am testing a Yamaha HTR 5760.
    The positivs of the HK: warmer sounding then my Pioneer 811. Triple crossover feature which helps the fronts blend more.
    Logic 7, Easy setup

    The thing I didn't like about the HK was the Blue lights....and to turn them off you have to dim the whole setup. The front buttons were flimsy also.

    I haven't had tons of time with the Yamaha but for the price it isn't a bad receiver.
    I won't buy a low end Pioneer until they do something about there crossover.

    My idea this week is to look at 3 different stores:
    Store 1) compare HK 430, Denon 2805, Yamaha 5790
    Store 2) Compare Denon 2805/3805, marantz, NAD
    Store 3) Look at some of the Pioneer Elite models

    I think is what will happen is I will bring home 2 receivers to compare 1)HK or Denon 2) Pioneer Elite 53/55tx.

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