Receiver for 99% HT

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by SeanV, Oct 16, 2003.

  1. SeanV

    SeanV Stunt Coordinator

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    Hello all,

    I have spent the past few months assembling my first HT system. (Many thanks to those who have contributed their opinions/advice). My system was done piecemeal due to budgetary constraints. I finally have my speakers which are:

    Receiver: Sony STRDE685
    Mains: Paradigm Studio 40 v2
    Surrounds: Paradigm Atoms
    Sub: SVS 20-39 PC+

    I have a 2 part question

    Part 1:

    I waited to get all of my speakers before replacing my receiver, which I am now ready to do. I was strongly leaning towards a Marantz 7300 from AC4L.com. But now I am wondering exactly how important an upgrade in receiver is when considering total HT usage. I understand that people see significant differences when listening to 2 channel music with better equipment, but is that difference as evident in HT use? Would I be missing much in HT if I went with the Marantz 5300 or 6300(or another manufacturer), other than features like component switching.

    Part 2:
    The max that I want to spend on a receiver is $700. Taking into account the stuff above, what are some of your suggestions for my setup

    Part 3:
    Thanks in advance.


    Sean
     
  2. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    Well my recommendation goes to a Harman/Kardon. There new lineup just came out and it looks awesome. There parts are top-notch as well. The AVR-330 and the AVR-430 should fit your price range in what you are looking for an in terms of quality you just can't get any better.

    Marantz is a good product as well but I just don't think any reciever can beat HK until you reach seperates and even then it can be hard to beat a top-line HK reciever.

    If you don't care about all the new features you could get the Harman/Kardon AVR-525 which is last years model but is also great. Take a look at them I think they will appeal to you more than the Marantz.
     
  3. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    I second the motion for Harman Kardon, for me it's Logic 7, and the sound.
     
  4. Rick Lyon

    Rick Lyon Stunt Coordinator

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    I have Paradigms and heard the Marantz 7300 yesterday pushing the Atoms and was very impressed. The 7300 has everything I need and the sound was incredible. The 7300 powering the Titans is what sold me on the Paradigms in the first place so it seems logical that the Marantz is an excellent match. I went back yesterday to audition the 7300 and was amazed that the Atoms had some much sound considering their size. I can't wait to get it home tonight and try it with my Titans.

    I'll report back with my assessment but Marantz is a good match with Paradigms from what I've heard.

    As far as HT use versus music, no movie sound track is real sound, it's all digital. If a receiver can correctly decode a music CD, do you think it would struggle producing a gun shot? If it can play a multi-channel SACD featuring a large and detailed symphony and produce accurate detail, do you think a few explosions will prove difficult? I'm about 80% HT as well, and keep in mind, half of a movie is music anyway. The better the music the better the DACs, amps, decoders, etc.
     
  5. Rick Lyon

    Rick Lyon Stunt Coordinator

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    Oh, and H/K is a bad match for Paradigms.
     
  6. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    I don't see how HK could be a "bad match for paradigms", especially since the V2 studio series can be a bit bright and HK is a warm receiver, and this combo would yield an overall neutral sound... the same is true for Marantz. Seems like something like yamaha would be a bad match for paradigm, unless you are really into the bright sound, which some people are.
     
  7. Rick Lyon

    Rick Lyon Stunt Coordinator

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    That's what I've read. Of course it's all subjective, but I've spent the better part of 2 months searching for a suitable match for my Paradigms doing google searches and posting on half a dozen audio/video and home theater forums. The match of H/K and Paradigm was found very few times. The majority was Denon, Marantz, NAD, Onkyo & Yamaha. For separates it was Rotel, Anthem, B&K, Outlaw, etc.

    Just based on my research, H/K was not a good match. I could be absolutely wrong in my assertion however, it's just what I've read.

    As for Yamaha, I've read their earlier models were bright, but with the 1400 or 2400 and up that issue is solved. However, that the brightness of the Yamaha was tamed by the warmth of the Paradigms.
     
  8. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    Rick,

    One possible reason for that is most places i've found that carry Paradigm don't carry HK. I've been to probably 15 different paradigm dealers on the east coast and have NEVER seen an HK product in the same store. Alot of people (not HTF people, but alot) prefer to buy everything at one store, and alot of times they get the same receiver they demoed the speakers on.

    Just one possible explanation.
     
  9. Rick Lyon

    Rick Lyon Stunt Coordinator

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    That's a possibility. But even in threads asking the same as this, for a good match, I never saw H/K mentioned. I was looking at the 525 but a few things turned me off. Coupled with the lack of seeing positive matching experiences with Paradigm led me to believe it was a good amp, just not for the Paradigm. But as you said, that could be due to a lot of things.
     
  10. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

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    Rick, I think your reasoning has a few holes. Just because you have not seen Paradigm and HK mentioned as a match does not mean that they are not a good match. That is like saying that you hardly ever see peanut butter and jelly on the same shelf space in a supermarket, so they must not be a good match.
    OTOH, I see your reasoning about the lack of Paradigm and HK matchups made in the realm of audio advice sites. I would have to agree with Stephen in that Paradigm dealers hardly ever carry HK, and even those that do hardly have the Digms hooked up to an HK. Since alot of people would rather purchase multiple items from the same dealer, such matching of Digm and HK is very rare. My best advice would be to try to find a good Brick & Mortar dealer who would be willing to lend you an HK unit to use with your Digms. I would assure you that you would find the match suitable, and then you can change the fact that no one on the web suggests the pairing of Digms with HK by posting about this all over the place (sorry, being a little facetious)[​IMG]
    But in all seriousness, if you are in the market for a good receiver to match up with Digms, I would suggest either something from Marantz or Rotel. They are both slightly "warm" receivers, but I think that they have their differences, where IMHO I find the Marantz line to be a little warmer. I would compare them as I would compare a B&K amp to a Rotel amp, with the B&K being a touch "warmer." Hope this helped.
     
  11. PeterKurpiewski

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    I won't claim to have a golden ear or anything of the sort but my Paradigms produce some pretty great sound driven by my H/K AVR325. I've got Phantoms up front, a CC170 (I know, not the perfect match, but I'm on a pretty limited budget) and Atom rears and I was blown away. To me, at least, it sounds phenominal, but it may just be the fact that it's my first HTS.
     
  12. Rick Lyon

    Rick Lyon Stunt Coordinator

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    Chung- Well I did come across 1-2 posts that said the warm laid back sound of the H/K wasn't a good match. Then the rest of my research I noticed that I never came across the 2 matched so I drew my own conclusions. I'm by no means anything near as knowledgeable as a lot of people here and on the other various forums. That's why I read and copy and paste important notes. I of course read conflicting statements on many receivers matched with the Paradigms so I also know it's up to the listener's personal taste.

    Peter- Please forgive me, I'm not saying anyone with an H/K and Paradigms have a flawed match. I should've stated that I read that and drew my own conclusions. My Onkyo was my first receiver, ad I look forward to hearing the Marantz again and do some comparisons.
     
  13. SeanV

    SeanV Stunt Coordinator

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    OK then. Thanks to many for their responses. I am now considering the HK 525 and the Marantz 7300 as my final 2 options.
     
  14. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    Sean,

    After reading through this thread I can't emphasize enough the importance of you actually seeing and hearing any combination that you are considering. To make an audio decision on the basis of what you read is just not prudent, especially when there are diverging opinions.

    I use the thoughts of others to try to focus in on some contenders, but I only trust my ears for the final decision. The best way to handle this is to try to set up an audition of the product you are considering in your own home. There is no substitute for your own location in order to determine for certain how things will sound. Any showroom is only an approximation at best.

    Lots of dealers will allow you to audition equipment for no or very minimal cost. Look for one with a liberal return policy.

    Good luck.
     
  15. SeanV

    SeanV Stunt Coordinator

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    Robert,
    While I believe that ideally your approach is the best, I have had a problem with dealers and auditioning. Nearly everyone that I've talked to in regard to their audition/return policy has the attitude of "Make sure you like it before you buy it." (That was an actual quote from one of the dealers.) The second issue is that my budget is pretty tight so some of the "restocking" fees are not to appealing. (not to mention that they are ridiculously high, probably to deter the exact thing we're speaking of.) As I've said I've been doing this for a few months and I am actually getting tired of it, I just want to have a system in place.
    Like I said, I understand that I would be best served by auditioning everything in my home, but I am at the point where I am willing to choose between 2 or 3 top receivers based on information. I know this is taboo to many here and I can understand why that is. I'm just ready to get this over with so I'll have a total system in place. After that I'll take a year or two to recharge and probaly make some kind of upgrade or move to seperates........if I catch the bug [​IMG] .

    SeanV
     
  16. Steve F M

    Steve F M Screenwriter

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    Go with the Pioneer Elite VSX-45TX or the New 53TX blows h&K and Marantz away. My 45Tx drives my Monitor 7's(Mains) CC-370(Center) ADP-170's(Surrounds) and Mini Monitors(Rear Surrounds) and I could not be happier and I use it for %100 HT! I have had the High End Denons, Marantzs and H&K and by far the new and last Year Models of the Elite Receivers are the best bang for the buck in a HT Receiver.

    You can usually find the Pioneer Elite 45TX on Ebay or try Audiogon.com for about $600!
     
  17. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    Sean,
    I fully understand where you are coming from and that not all dealers are cooperative as far as try-and-buy is concerned. I've been fortunate in dealing with companies where you can return the equipment for a shipping fee (Outlaw and SVS come immediately to mind.)

    My main point was that if you are told that "Receiver A" sucks with "Speaker B" without you personally hearing it (either in your home, or at a store, or at a friend's house) you might run the risk of missing some nice combinations - especially if the opinions are based on hear say rather than actual listening experience.

    At the very least, if you can't get all the equipment together in one room, is to go with people whose opinions in the past have been in sync with yours. And sometimes a dealer who is reluctant to give you a liberal return policy might be willing to give you a store credit for another model. This might work if the two or so models you are considering can be had from the same vendor.

    Good luck with whatever you do.
     
  18. Ernest Yee

    Ernest Yee Supporting Actor

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    To further comment on chung_sotheby's post:

    The reason why you can't find that combo is usually because the high end dealers selling Paradigms usually don't have that great a selection in main stream receivers. H/K's consumer line usually is found at a GoodGuys or CircuitCity.

    Oh yeah - and where's the CC? I hope you got a v2 Studio CC
     
  19. dale^g

    dale^g Stunt Coordinator

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  20. Steve F M

    Steve F M Screenwriter

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    Is that how you get those receivers to work?
     

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