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Receiver Reccommendations for under $500 (1 Viewer)

SeanA

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 16, 2003
Messages
329
Well I just discovered my crappy Aiwa home theater receiver is defective and may have been all along. And wouldn't you know, I am three months outside the warranty.

Only one of the three optical inputs is working. I had been running my DVD player through one of the optical inputs all along and it works fine, but I just hooked up my Samsung SIR-T151 HD receiver to one of the other optical inputs and nothing. I verified that it was the receiver that is defective by hooking up the optical output from my DVD to the other two optical inputs on the receiver... and nada, no sound at all. :frowning:

It is probably too late to make a semi-long story short, but I think I will be in the market for a new receiver and I am looking for some suggestions ??? Sound quality is about equally as important to me as features. And based on my speakers (Wharfedale Emeralds), I think I will need a true minimum of about 60W per channel. Any suggestions in the under $500 range ?
 

SeanA

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 16, 2003
Messages
329
OK... I did a little research and came up with a preliminary list of candidates (some may be over $500):

> Kenwood VR6070 (good reviews here)
> Sony DA 4ES (also good reviews here)
> Yamaha HTR-5560 (top seller & well rated on Amazon)
> H/K AVR 325 (top rated on C-Net)
> Pioneer VSX-D811S (Editor's Choice on C-Net... good rating and low price)
> Panasonic SA-HE100 (top rated in Consumer Reports)
> Onkyo TX-SR600 (second rated in Consumer Reports)

I would be a little nervous about the quality of the H/K and the Panasonic based on some reviews I have read in this forum. However, I would be interested and appreciate any opinions on any of the above.
 

RobWil

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 17, 2003
Messages
733
Let me take a shot at ranking those ;)

1.Sony 4ES
2.H/K 325
3.(tie) Yamaha HTR 5560
3.(tie) Onkyo TX-SR600
4.Kenwood 6070
5.Pioneer 811
6.Panasonic HE100

This is based on part experience part research.

I have had quite a bit of experience w/ H/K and I would not worry if I were you.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it :D
 

Jamey F

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Dec 20, 2002
Messages
200
Add the Denon 2803. The 3803 can be had under $1k, so I'm betting if you are springing for the Sony 4Es the Denon 2803 would be in the same price range. Also, the HK 525 is around $600 if you find it at a deal.

Ranking is difficult without knowing the features he wants. It sounds like he is running lots of inputs into the receiver and letting it be a switch for many things, possibly video. I would think the Sony 4es, the HK 525, and the Denon 2803 should be near the top of the list if he's willing to go over the $500 mark and he needs video switching. Some of the others may not be able to pass HD level component video.
 

Craig_Kg

Supporting Actor
Joined
Feb 25, 2002
Messages
768
Try the Sony STR-DA2ES - it will be comfortably be in your budget, has most of the STR-DA4ES features and you can just add external amps if you want more power.
 

Ian C

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Oct 27, 2000
Messages
190
Onecall.com has the H/K 525 refurbished (but still with full warranty) at $520 and the 325 at $420. I'm currently considering one of these, as I think those are best buys at those prices. I'm just debating over whether I really need the 525, when I can always just add an external amp to the 325 later if I upgrade my speakers.
 

Steve Adams

Second Unit
Joined
Oct 20, 2001
Messages
432
Ok, imo, stay far away from sony, i have had like 6 peices of sony equipment, and everything broke. I would recommend the pioneer, great sound, lot's of features. also look at the kenwood, onkyo, denon, yamaha. all good, but from past experience, stay away from sony!
 

ChadLB

Screenwriter
Joined
May 5, 2002
Messages
1,526
Remember people are giving opinions.

My rank.........From experience/reviews/

Sony - prefer not to give my opinion on this.....

H/K - Seems to be a great bang for the buck, seems to be warm/laid back sound from readings

Yamaha - same as HK...I just don't like the look of there equipment

Onkyo - 600 I owned it and had a problem playing a couple of dvd's so I returned it. Great receiver(though it does not have pre-outs)

Kenwood - had 2 before the onkyo/pioneer not bad receiver..liked it better than sony..don't like the look of the new models(my opinion)

Pioneer - Own it....not the greatest for music. Preferred the Onkyo sound over the pioneer but enjoy the pioneer for the features/remote.

Panasonic - No idea.....

so which order would I put them in...

1. HK
2. Yammie
3. Onkyo
4. Pioneer
5. Kenwood
6. Sony
7. Panasonic
 

WillB

Agent
Joined
Mar 6, 2003
Messages
29
I own surround sound recievers by pioneer and yamaha, but nothing can touch my H/K 325 that I got from one call refurbished. Though, I really like my high end yamaha, the HK would be your best bet.
 

chun howe

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Apr 18, 2003
Messages
119
i might add marantz sr7200 ($499) shipped
it's from accessories4less.com
check this site out, they got tons of marantz products.
 

BrianHo

Agent
Joined
Apr 12, 2003
Messages
41
I own the Panasonic SA-HE-200 and love it. I paid $320 shipped with free rear center channel and a DVD. Instructions are bad ,but everything else is awsome.

Brian
 

ChadLB

Screenwriter
Joined
May 5, 2002
Messages
1,526
The marantz are refurbished but you can buy an extended warranty. Accessories 4 less is a reliable company also. I bought all my speakers from there with no problems at all.
Even talked to the guy on the phone.
 

KevinFC

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Nov 1, 2002
Messages
158
You should add in the Yamaha 5590. Plenty of digital inputs plus 110w per channel on a 6.1 receiver. It can be had for 519.00.

Yamaha 5590
 

SeanA

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 16, 2003
Messages
329
Thanks everyone for all the great suggestions !!! Sounds like the H-K 325 is in the lead so far.

One thing I realize is I should determine exactly what features are important to me. To be honest, I am not sure I even know the difference between 5.1 and 6.1. Not sure I need 6.1 since I only have 2 large fronts, a center, and 2 smaller surrounds... no sub. I think I want "THX certified", and I know I will need at least two optical inputs and one coaxial input. Don't think I need the video switching since I don't know what that is. (I feel a little ashamed to admit some of this stuff, but I am just starting to get into home theater).

One question (and maybe I need to post this separately)... What is the chance that a novice can open up their receiver and fix the optical connections ??? I am wondering if something just came lose inside. If it just needs some soldering, I can do that. One of the three optical inputs does work, so I will have a good reference point for how it should look. I just don't think it is worth my time and effort to send the receiver in for repair since it is now out of warranty and was only about $280 new. Maybe my best option is just to purchase a "coaxial" audio cable and hope the coaxial input on my receiver works ?!?!
 

Debbie_L

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Nov 24, 2002
Messages
79
Hi Sean,

I have the HK AVR 325 and am very pleased with it -- no problems at all. I got mine from Costco.com for $499. Costco is no longer offering the HK, but you should be able to find it elsewhere for under $600. Also consider Marantz. There are several good receivers on your list -- compare the features they offer vs. your needs. I wouldn't worry too much about THX certification, especially in your price range. But, if you feel it's something you absolutely have to have, your options are limited under $500. Check out the Kenwood VR-7070 -- "THX Select" and priced just under $500.
 

SeanA

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 16, 2003
Messages
329
I wouldn't worry too much about THX certification, especially in your price range.
Debbie,

Thanks for your advice. I've been doing a little research on the THX certification, and I think you are right. I don't need it... just need a good sounding receiver with the right combination of features. I also discovered what the difference is between 5.1 and 6.1. Right now, I don't need 6.1 because I wouldn't have a place for a rear center channel, but I may go with a 6.1 receiver just for the future.

BTW, I am going to pick up a coaxial audio cable and see if that works on my Aiwa receiver. If so, I may postpone a new receiver purchase for a while. I have spent quite a bit lately on home theater and a new puppy... and right now, my priority is the puppy. She's wonderful !!!
 

ScottRCapt

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Apr 25, 2003
Messages
80
I would take another look/listen to the Sony DA4ES. It has a great deal of user accessible adjustments that can make up for any deficiencies in a speaker or room configuration. Every individual speaker has it's own EQ setting. That is just one reason to look at the Sony; the 5-year warranty and ES amp sections are another.

Try both, bring them home and try them side by side, but remember, the Sony has a bit of a learning curve. Once you digest the manual and set it up with your system, you will be pleased.

Good Luck:D
 

ScottRCapt

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Apr 25, 2003
Messages
80
Also, to add to the discussion about THX.

This is an excerpt from Polk Audio's Web Site.

Home THX components are not necessarily better or worse than other products: they have simply earned THX approval by conforming to all THX-mandated specifications. Once the product has been submitted to Lucasfilm, LTD (the company that developed and licenses the THX standard) and passed a battery of tests, it can wear a "THX Approved" badge. In order to be a true THX system, all the audio components in that system--processor, amplifier, speakers and subwoofer--should be THX-approved. But that does not mean that THX and non THX components cannot be used together, they can.

And yet, although THX guarantees a certain, minimum standard of certain types of performance, many of the best products are not THX approved. Why? Audio manufacturers often choose to forego THX certification because either A) they believe THX specifications actually compromise performance (for example, many speaker manufacturers assert that THX-mandated dispersion patterns can negatively affect sound quality) or B) they decline to pay, and pass on to their customers, the licensing fees demanded by Lucasfilm.

So, should you buy THX-approved gear? That depends. For inexpensive, entry level gear, THX-approval guarantees a minimum standard of quality: a THX-approved receiver of amplifier will drive a variety of loudspeakers and, conversely, THX-approved speakers will work with most amps. So will most non-THX components! It would be foolish to ignore a product simply because it has or hasn't been THX certified. What's more, most high quality "high end" products are not THX-approved. If you need an "official seal of approval", THX might be worthwhile. But remember: you can build an excellent home theater independent of THX certification. When in doubt, trust your ears.
 

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