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Receiver: 7.1/5.1 channel or stereo 2 channel? (1 Viewer)

ouki

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Jack Wang
I am setting up a whole-house audio system. I am still trying to decide if I want to buy a 7.1 channel or a stereo Receiver. 90% of the my time would be enjoying music. I am a music lover and like critical listening. However I would also like to be able to watch movies. In that case, sound is not as important as just music.

In your opinion, what should I get? Denon DRA-697CI seems to be a good one and only costs $600. A decent 7.1 channel Receiver costs at least few thousands. Thank you in advance.
 

Danklin26

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I would at least get a 5.1 system. Unless you are planning on devoting an entire room to home theater (i.e have room for all the speakers and if the room is big enough to worry about it) I would shy away from the 7.1. To me 7.1 really didnt make a difference although i have a Yamaha rx-v659(7.1 channel) which i purchased for around $450. This receiver was given high praise in a review done by Audioholics. It also has zone 2 inputs but you can now get one for about $600 that has 3 zones i believe.

If you must go with a 7.1, i suggest a Yammie. You cant go wrong there.
 

ouki

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Agreed on no need getting 7.1 over 5.1.
Someone told me that 5.1 receiver is not as good as stereo ones for critical music listeners. If cost is not a concern, will 5.1 output as good as stereo receivers when only running 2 channels?
 

Jeff Gatie

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Unless you run up into the dedicated 2-channel pre-amp/amplifier systems costing thousands of dollars, you shouldn't notice any difference. Certainly at the price points you are talking about, there isn't much to making a decent 2-channel portion of a 5/7.1 A/V receiver.
 

Danklin26

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Agreed with Jeff. Also, i know i plug Yamahas a lot here, but they're great amps, Yamaha's have a pure direct feature which bypasses all the video circuitry and DSP modes that produces a very clean 2-channel audio signal. You'd be fine getting a 5.1 system which you could use in the future if your needs changed.
 

ouki

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It looks like Yamaha rx-v659 has been discontinued. The newer version Yamaha RX-v663 is selling for about $500. Would you recommend this model, ONKYO or DENON at the similar price range?
 

Geoff Gunnell

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I'd second the Yamaha RX-V663, RX-V863, RX-V1800, and RX-V3800 depending on your budget. Go to the Yamaha site and compare the models' features.

You mentioned whole house audio; check each model to see how many zones it can power. And remember that most receivers cannot send digital audio sources (connected to the source via HDMI, optical, or digital coax only) to other zones -- you'll only be able to send analog audio signals input on L and R RCA jacks (and the AM/FM tuner) to other rooms.
 

ouki

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Would you let me know how you like the Yamaha 663? Which ebay store did you buy from?
 

ManW_TheUncool

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So far so good though I have not been able to put it through its paces yet -- and these things do have so very many features to try out :P (plus I'm just about to rearrange my HT space as well). My main use for mine is as an inexpensive prepro paired w/ my old B&K 5-channel amp, so I have not been using its amp section at all. Also, I'm only using a 4.0 config due in large part to the limitations of my living arrangement (though I do regularly look into going full 5.1 or maybe even 7.1), so my concerns at this time may not translate well for you.

BTW, if you're serious about 2-channel playback (for music, or even multi-channel for that matter), it might behoove you to give extra consideration to the Yamaha 663 for its DSD capability (via HDMI) over some of the other options. I don't know offhand if its DSD playback is better than the analog stage of the competition (for SACD anyway), but it's probably good to have that option anyhow if all else are equal -- and the Yamaha does at least use Burr Brown DACs. Unfortunately, I do not currently own an SACD player that outputs DSD via HDMI, so I cannot test it out anytime soon.

If the limitation of having just 2 HDMI inputs is not a problem for you, the 663 certainly seems to be a great option at the lower end of the price range. I'm guessing though that it might fall just a tad short of some of the competition in the amp section, particularly if you need the extra juice for a big HT sound in a large room or need to drive somewhat difficult audiophile quality speakers. Then again, in this price range, I'm not sure anything offers great quality amp section anyhow -- you might consider eventually buying a good, used (and affordable) power amp to pair up w/ the 663, if you do find a need for more/better power down the line (and I see such options in the HTF forsale section from time to time).

One thing. If I were looking to use the receiver for its amp section long term also, not just as prepro, I would probably want to pony up some more $ and at least consider the Onkyo 805 at minimum -- you can probably get that for ~$650 or so nowadays (like from Amazon). That receiver gets rave reviews though it does have its own share of side issues (like running rather hot).

As for the dealer I mentioned, it's this one:

eBay Store - Wall mounts: Tilt, Flat, Fixed

It's not clear on eBay that they are authorized to sell Yamaha gear, but the emailed invoice (and shipping label) I received bears a dealer name and address that's listed as authorized on Yamaha's site (as a custom installer). But like I mentioned above, the price I (and another HTFer) got might've been a clearance price from a few weeks ago, and I haven't seen them sell more units since then.

There is another eBay dealer that claims to be authorized (when I asked) though I have not verified their claim for myself. Maybe you can try them and see, if you cannot find some other authorized dealer that comes close in pricing:

eBay Store - Electronics: LCD Projector, DLP Projector, Projector Screen

Hope that helps.

_Man_
 

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