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Sound quality of A/V receivers (1 Viewer)

Tchewtch

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Dave Fox-Davies
Several years ago, maybe more, when I was more into Hi-Fi, it was very common to audition equipment and directly compare different models to determine your preference. I recently visited a home theater dealer to purchase a receiver and speakers, and I was somewhat surprised that he only carried two brands of electronics and two brands of speaker. The receivers were set up in permanent displays and hence were not directly switchable for istant comparison. The speakers were set up to enable such comparison. The dealer said that most people are more concerned with the "bells and whistles" rather than sound quality.


My question is this. Is there much of a difference in sound quality of the mainstream japanese manufacturers? I'm talking about Sony, Denon, Pioneer, Rotel, Yamaha and the like. I'm looking at what is probably the budget end of the market - $600 receiver, $500 speakers. So, maybe there isn't enough profit for dealers to spend much effort to demo this type of equipment, especially if most customers don't care.


I did demo a Denon AVR S900W with Klipsch speakers which was pretty decent for the price. The imaging wasn't up to a true high end hi-fi, but not too bad.
 

Clinton McClure

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Clint
I would go to a different dealer who carries more than two different brands.

Most AVRs will probably be equal in sound quality, but not in overall quality. I bought my last AVR (Yamaha RX-V995) in the mid 90s and it was the 2nd best that Yamaha made that year and was one of the best made overall. I am still using it today.
 

ChromeJob

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The dealer was correct in a limited way. If you compare feature sets of the various Yamaha RX-V's, you'll see more and more capabilities, and connections, etc., but will sound quality improve? Likely, not.

I concur, spend more on your speakers and less on the AVR, UNLESS there is a specific feature you want (e.g. Zone 2, YPAO measurement in multiple listening positions, pre-outs, multiple HDMI out, network functions, Internet radio services, number of HDMI/digital connections).
 

Dave Moritz

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Dave Moritz
I would agree that if your on a budged especially spend more on your speakers. You can spend a ton of cash on a receiver and hook trashy speakers to it and it will sound horrible. And you can take a low dollar receiver with some really nice speakers and that receiver will sound way better than the more expensive receiver. I depends on features your looking at but I also believe there is a difference between low end and upper end receivers. Features, conductivity, quality of dac's and quality of amplifiers. If you do not need more than a few hdmi connections and you are not using a turntable or any analog inputs a low end receiver may be what your looking for. If you want features and more conductivity and the ability to add external amplification later I would ether finance your project or just spend as much as you can to get what you need instead of buying something then replacing it in a few years. I would first sit down with a note pad and write down everything you plan to use and anything you might add. Go to all the company websites and compare there models between brands. Find out where the retailers are and check them out in person and if allowed bring a blu-ray disc and two of your favorite CD's to do critical listening of receivers and especially and more importantly speakers. Ask yourself if you might possibly dive into 4K/UHD? Will you be adding a HTPC to stream digital downloads to your home theater set up? If you have or will get a blu-ray player make sure it has Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio, I would think most a/v receivers now have both of those and the original DTS and Dolby Digital. Plan it all out and do research and ask questions! Do not rush into anything and buy once your sure it is the right choice for you.


You should also know when you are looking at lower end receivers that many of the models amplifiers are not rated at full bandwidth! Many models if you look at the power output might look good but when you examine them closer you will see the manufacturer rated the amplifier section at 1KHz and not from 20Hz to 20KHz like most other receivers and amplifiers are rated. Depending on the amplifier used you can take off anywhere from 15-23 watts per channel off what the manufacture claims when it is rated at 1KHz. This brings you closer to the real world output when the amplifier is operating in a 20Hz - 20Khz world.
 

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