Please Help! Confused: Which AV Receiver?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Sean_F, Jan 3, 2006.

  1. Sean_F

    Sean_F Auditioning

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    Dear Smart People of the HT realm,

    I am a newbie somewhat in this new HT thing. I have tried to read up on everything but I am stumped when it comes to what AV receiver I should get. I know this much:

    1: In my room that I built I wired it for 6.1 surround.

    2: I can't spend more than about $800.00

    3: I want the most POWER/FEATURES for the money

    I have read up on many of the new models and they are all 7.1. I can never get a real answer sure answer if a 7.1 receiver will work for 6.1? I heard that you have to do some reprogramming to make it work, I also here it will do it just fine. Should I just stick with a 6.1 receiver and If so which one do you recommend. As for speakers, I'm getting all Polk brand Rti6's L/R and CS3 center,PSW-12 SUB, still thinking about the surrounds.

    I want this to sound good, but I don't want to kill my finances over it. One min I think Harman, then I think Denon, then I think... well you know..

    So what say you? I hear this is the best place to get answers, so here I am.

    Thanks in advance!

    Sean
     
  2. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    I assume you're looking at the Denon 2106 vs the H/K 340 based on price. By most accounts, both are very good receivers. You might do a search on the forum to see if anyone is running one of these receivers with the speakers you plan to get.

    Is there anyway to run another wire for 7.1? Probably not, but I thought I'd ask.

    Also, for the sub, you may want to consider an internet-direct brand such as Hsu or SVS. These often offer more bang-for-the-buck than retail subs.
     
  3. John S

    John S Producer

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    Rest at ease. All 7.1 AVR's I am aware of and Pre/Pro's support 5.1 and 6.1 as well.
     
  4. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Sean:

    Any receiver that will do 7.1 will do or 6.1. You just set it up for what you have at the time. For example I have a pre amp that will do 7.1 but I don't have the rear side channels or center rear channel hooked up so I just run it in 5.1.

    Outlaw Audio has just released their 1070 receiver that you should take a look at.

    Parker
     
  5. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    Most any receiver in that price range will be more than enough for the RTi6's. While the latest features are nice, how an avr sounds is even more important. I learned my lesson with the Pioneer 1014...no offense intended. And don't skimp on the dvd player. It has a greater effect on the overall sound of a HT than most people think. Including myself.....until yesterday [​IMG].
     
  6. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    They have it on closeout for that price. JandR has it for that price as well.

    IMHO, it has no competition at that price point. Just make sure you perform the software upgrade on it.

    I'm probably going to get one shortly.
     
  7. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Supporting Actor

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    "Reprogramming" makes it sound much more involved than it really is. Every 7.1 receiver that I'm aware of simply asks you during the setup whether you're running one or two rear center speakers. Piece of pie!

    If you do some browsing through these forums you'll also discover that at the moment there are no true 7.1 discreet soundtracks on DVD anyway. It is, however, generally recommended to run two rear center channel speakers because (as is frequently debated) our brains have difficulty localizing a sound coming from directly behind us.

    I'd second SethH...if you can get another line to go 7.1 without too much hassle it would be nice, even if you don't spring for the 2nd rear center right away. Unless the speaker wires are tacked down in some way, you could use the existing wire to pull two new ones...just a thought.

    "POWER/FEATURES"--Power kind of depends on how large of a room. I'm pretty brand loyal and I've always had good luck with Denon.
     
  8. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Sean,

    I’ve been doing some research for a friend in that price range. I’d recommend the Yamaha HTR 5890 or RX-V1500. List prices are $850-900; street prices are less. Tweeter currently has the 5890 for $600; $100 under Best Buy (I know, shocking). These models appear to be on the verge of replacement by the HTR 5990 and RX-V1600 models, which are MSRPing in the $1100 range (should be readily available in the $900 range). For the extra money you get HDMI capability, which is a huge step forward in simplifying interconnectivity – one cable for both digital audio and hi def video.

    Something that few people seem to consider when shopping for their receiver is the remote. IMO the remote is a make-or-break deal because it’s a major (of not the major) factor determining whether your viewing experience is enjoyable or an exercise in frustration. The receiver’s remote should ideally control all system components, so you don’t have to constantly sift through a handful of separate remotes. People often have to buy specialty after-market remotes because of the inadequacy of their receiver’s remote.

    Here’s what I like about the Yamaha’s remotes.

    Buttons that are grouped and colored or sized by function. The worst thing you can have in a dark or dimly lit room is a black remote with tiny black buttons that all look alike; you’ll quickly find that it’s fairly useless. Sony, Pioneer, are you listening? Back lighting is a nice feature but it seems to be rather scarce in this price range.

    A button-by-button learning function. By that I mean the ability for your main remote to learn specific commands from other remotes (i.e., butting them together head to head while the main remote memorizes a signal from the source remote). Preset codes are nice, but inevitably there is some function you will want that the code didn’t give you – a display function, a closed captions button, etc. If the remote can learn individual commands you can get any additional functions you need. Not to mention, what will you do in a few years if some revolutionary new source component comes down the pike? If your remote only has pre-set codes, you’re screwed; they only have what’s currently available right now, not what might come later. Future source components will probably always have menu navigation, stop, start and pause, channel up or down, etc. If the remote can learn commands button my button, you’re future-proofed.

    Basic receiver controls like volume and mute always on-line. Often called a “punch through” function, this is a no-brainer feature that a surpassing number of receivers don’t have, or it’s something tedious you have to set up source by source. Denon, Onkyo, Harmon-Kardon, are you listening? Some don’t even have a punch-through feature; you have to endlessly toggle between the “Source” and “Amp” modes to control volume and DVD functions when watching a movie.

    Macro function. With so many components that have to be powered up, proper input selected, Dolby Digital or Music Surround mode selected etc., a macro function is a must. You also want either separate programmable macro buttons, or a switch that turns the macro function on and off. If your remote piggybacks the macros on the input select buttons, any time you try to change inputs – say from one vide source to another - the macro will run and (since it’s already on) will shut down the system.

    Separate source control selection. Handy if you want switch between say, the DVD player and TV, so you could (for instance) do a quick color adjustment. If your remote piggybacks source control on the main input buttons, obviously you’ll change the input when you try to control a different source.

    Ease of remote programming is another pet peeve of mine. I’ve seen Sony receivers with separate manuals for the remote! That’s pretty ridiculous. From what I’ve seen, Yamaha’s programming typically requires fewer steps than most other remotes, and they virtually eliminate sifting through endless menus to access programming features (a problem many if not most manufacturers have). A major gaffe of HK that caught my eye, they only give you five seconds to press the next button in a programming sequence. If not, the remote goes out of programming mode and you have to start over. This means you have to be very familiar with the programming functions before you start and have all your “ducks in a row” as far as the sequence of buttons you have to push. By contrast, Yamaha gives you 30 seconds before exiting, plenty of time to regain your footing should you at some point in the process get lost or flustered. That’s not hard to do when you’re looking back and forth between the remote and the directions in manual.

    Which brings us to some other things to look out for:

    A user-friendly manual. Home theater is complicated enough as it is, so you definitely don’t want a manual that makes things even worse. Back in the days of two-channel stereo, manuals were typically less than a dozen pages. These days it’s not unusual to find manuals over a hundred pages for even mid-line gear, so you want a manual that’s easy to navigate. I’ve looked at numerous on-line manuals the past few days, and Yamaha’s are among the most user friendly I’ve seen.

    At the risk of sounding like a second-grader, pictures, pictures, pictures – that’s what you want. Harmon Kardon is especially bad about this. They only have pictures at the front of the manual for the remote control, and front and rear panels. The other 40 pages are a dreary and tedious sea of black ink, and you have to constantly refer back to the pictures way back at the front of the book. The section on programming the remote, for instance, only refers to button numbers: “ Press the Program Button (25) for three seconds.” Trouble is, you have to turn 30 page back to refer to the picture while you’re going through all the programming steps! Hurry, only 5 seconds until it exits programming mode!

    Needless to say, you’ll find that a manual with lots of pictures and illustrations makes navigating both the manual and your receiver a much more stress-free experience.

    Video upconversion is another indispensable feature. It’s pretty common at all price points these days, but watch out for receivers with HDMI connections. The trend with them seems to be upconverting to HDMI only. You may be out of luck if you’re mixing composite, S- or component video connections.

    Back to the Yamaha models mentioned above, the 1500/5980 models were about the cheapest receivers I found that met my guidelines, especially the learning remote feature. It’s hard to find one with that feature for under $1000 list.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  9. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    You can't go wrong with Yamaha - very good performance for music, too. If you can, see if you can listen to the Polk speakers with the respective receiver that you want to purchase with the type of music that you'd typically listen to. I remember my Polk RTi speakers were a bit on the bright side.
     
  10. Sean_F

    Sean_F Auditioning

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    Thanks guys! Dang, this place really does rock with info!

    Now my brain is really going. I appreciate all the comments, and now have further questions. I will include some pics of my HT to help, but I want to know base on my Room size (L)15'x(W)13' and a 6.1 channel system. Is 65 watts per channel going to be sufficient for a good movie listening experience? I know that when I use a SPL calculator, it says that based on 65W Per Channel and speaker distance in my room, I would have an SPL of 98dB. IS that ok? Now I know there are other factors to consider when thinking about this, but for general purposes is 98dB enough or do I need to look at a higher receiver output?

    Tell me also, how important is this HDMI? Meaning should I be looking at having this included on a AV receiver? I know the importance of the upconversion for things like component and stuff (thank you very much Wayne.. I hear what you are saying and agree)but some of these models that you talk about like the AVR-635 or the YAMAHA don't include it?

    Enlightent me once again, and thanks for helping me out.

    Sean
     
  11. Adil M

    Adil M Supporting Actor

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    No matter which product you get factor in getting a good universal like Harmony or Home Theater Master down the road. Almost all receiver remotes are mediocre in comparison.
     
  12. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Both H/K and Denon rate their receivers conservatively (or I guess you could say more honestly than many manufacturers). 65w should be enough to get you where you want to go.

    The HDMI question comes down to your television. If your TV has more than one HDMI input then you probably don't need your receiver to do HDMI switching. If your display has 1 HDMI input then the receiver having HDMI is nice. If you display has zero HDMI inputs then it's really kind of a toss depending on when you plan to upgrade your tv.
     
  13. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    Denon doesn't rate their gear conservatively. All of the equipment reports that I've read, have the Denon falling a bit below their claimed power levels.
     
  14. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Sorry, I stand corrected then. However, I have never heard anyone accuse H/K of understating their power.
     
  15. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    I kinda feel the same way. Which may be a bit of a problem when matched with a Yamaha receiver. Then again, maybe a simple turn to the left of the treble control knob would eliminate the little problem.
     
  16. Justin*Smith

    Justin*Smith Agent

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    What do you guys think of Harman Audio? He could always look at a factory direct refurb like a DPR 2005 or even an AVR 635 for quite a bit less than retail and still get a warranty. By the way, anyone have any experience with the DPR 2005?
     
  17. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    Already discussed quite a bit up above (the 635 anyway). To update, 6thAVE.com has the 635 for $649 shipped and the 435 for $512 shipped. Further update. Of course, today their site is under construction and their products have been pulled from pricegrabber.
     
  18. DanI

    DanI Auditioning

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    Get the Pioneer VSX1015TX.
    It is an GREAT deal!
     
  19. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    Even though the 1014 didn't work for me, the 1015 is a nice receiver for the price. But I think with an $800 budget he can do even better.
     
  20. Sean_F

    Sean_F Auditioning

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    Hey Everybody,

    Is there any other way to show you my pics? The forum won't let me show pics from another web location until I have posted 15 times. Do I have to just wait? Or is there a way to upload them?

    Thanks.
    Sean
     

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