Time to buy a new receiver...but I have no clue.

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Jonny K, Aug 4, 2003.

  1. Jonny K

    Jonny K Second Unit

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    I want a good quality receiver that supports both Dolby Digital and DTS (although pretty much everything does). I can't afford seperates.

    I'm currently using a Kenwood 1080VR receiver (without DTS support) and it's been acting up. It has 120W X 4 power (the two rear channels are 60W).

    For this new one, I don't want to spend more than 1,000 Canadian, which is about 650 US. My current receiver was purchased as a demo model, and I've had nothing but trouble with it. For that reason, I'm interested in new products only (I don't know about refurbished).

    Problem is, I'm still relatively new to the home theater hobby, and I have no idea what brands are good quality and where I should concentrate my energy. Can anybody suggest any good buys in my price range?

    Also, I understand I should buy this from a Home Theater store and not a large electronics chain, correct? Those big chains with their under-informed staff don't inspire confidence in me.

    Thanks.


    Jonny K. [​IMG]
     
  2. Don Barduca

    Don Barduca Stunt Coordinator

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    Okay. I'll throw in my 2 cents.

    Go with either the Sony DA4ES or the Pioneer elite VSX-43tx. Both can be had for ~$650 from an authorized dealer, and represent the best value to performance I can think of. Everyone has their opinions, but these two stand out in thread after thread.

    Only con is that both are recently discontinued so you would need to act quickly. Stores near me have both so I am assuming they would near you as well.

    Good luck.
     
  3. Lee M T

    Lee M T Second Unit

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    As far as sound goes, you'll have to determine that. But some nice options are...

    Yamaha RX-V640/740
    Marantz SR6300
    H/K AVR 225
    Denon AVR-1803
    Onkyo TX-SR601

    I own the Yammie RX-V640 and could not be happier. I love the unit. The British version of Sound & Mag recently reviewed this unit and gave it 5 out of 5 stars. At least I think it was Sound & Vision. LoL...

    I previously had a Pioneer (not Elite) and I would personally stay away. Perhaps the Elite gear is considerably better. I just know the difference between my old Pio and my new Yammie is night and day...even though the Yammster "supposedly" has about 75% less wattage.
     
  4. FrankHW

    FrankHW Agent

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    The best thing to do is to go into an AV shop with an established reputation. With the exception of a few shops that deal exclusively in ultra-high-end (and these stores sell only stereo gear anyway), all AV stores will carry some budget brands (i.e. less than a grand per component) i.e. Sony ES, Denon, Yamaha, Paradigm, etc. Talk with them about what your specific needs are, and they'll have something for you. You can get steals on demo models that have been well maintained with full warranty, so you don't have to worry about a bad unit.

    Where in Canada do you live?
     
  5. Jonny K

    Jonny K Second Unit

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    Calgary.


    Jonny K.
     
  6. JimC_A

    JimC_A Stunt Coordinator

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    I'd check into a Yamaha RX-V1300. The prices are coming down in advance of a new model. See what you think at their website.
     
  7. Jonny K

    Jonny K Second Unit

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    Ok, I finally had some time to look at your suggestions...

    First thing I noticed is what these things cost. I see some receivers going for 300 dollars with 7 X 100 power, yet the few receivers you guys suggested cost much more and have less power (in the numbers). Now I assume these receivers are much higher quality, correct? What exactly seperates them from the cheapies anyway? All I see are lists of complicated features. Will a high quality receiver putting out 60W per channel be as loud and satisfying as a less expensive one with 100W per channel? See, my current receiver is probably of moderate quality, and puts out 120W X 4 power. If I buy a receiver that does 60W X 5 power, what exactly will that mean to my HT experience? Less volume? My speakers aren't high quality, will that be a problem with less watts?

    This receiver will be my first real step to getting a high quality HT setup (my current setup being odds and ends, whatever I could drag together).

    I have yet to find time to actually go to a HT store and look around. I'm partially worried that I'll hear an awesome receiver at the store (demoing on great speakers) and then when I take it home it'll just sound like crap on my own system. But I guess there's little I can do about that.


    Thanks,


    Jonny K. [​IMG]
     
  8. Jonny K

    Jonny K Second Unit

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    Oh, one more thing. When do the new models come out anyway? Should I wait?


    Jonny K.
     
  9. Don Barduca

    Don Barduca Stunt Coordinator

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    Jonny,

    Most people are going to give you suggestions on the high end of your range, because typically more $$$ equals better performance. (And because on this forum most end up spending at least the max of their range and often end up going over. The HT bug is tough to beat back.[​IMG] )

    So to answer your questions...yes, usually the higher price when comparing two receivers equates to higher quality transformer, amps, DACs, etc. The whole smash. Now, everything inside can mean more than just 100 watts per channel.
    e.g. Distortion, channel separation, SOUND QUALITY, etc.
    All of those things can swing drastically from one receiver to the next all while outputing 100W each.

    Also, you have to check on how the manufacturer rates the Watts per channel.
    -One receiver could be 100W X 2 channels driven, but 5 X 35W.
    -Another could be 100W thru one channel while the remaining channels are 1/8 that. (Standard industry meas.)
    -Finally you could see 100W X 5, very rare for any receiver to not inflate their claims somewhat though.

    The receivers most have suggested perform admirably by Watts per channel but you also need to factor in more than the power performed (i.e. power perceived and quality of sound) An example is the DA4ES I suggested above, now while it's amp section can't compete with others such as Pioneer Elite and HK on paper it doesn't show that in use. Most say the performance is rock solid, it's feature packed, and definitely a Best Buy. Are you going to be able to say the same of a receiver half the price?...not if you are comparing it to the DA4ES.

    Hope that helps a bit more.

    P.S. New models typically are released by many manufacturers in the fall season. And I also highly second JimC_A's vote for the RX-V1300. I have a Yamaha and it's great. I was just pushing your cost envelope a bit more at first is all.

    Don
     
  10. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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  11. DavidY

    DavidY Supporting Actor

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    Unless a Canadian Sony dealer is clearing the Sony 4ES out, I would be surprised if one could pick one up for CDN$1000....as the Canadian MSRP was CDN$1500. In addition, you should check out the terms of the Sony ES warranty here in Canada....probably 3 years versus 5 years in the US. I bought my Sony DA777ES receiver three years ago in Canada....it came with a 3 year warranty. Prior to it's expiry a few months ago, I had the warranty extended an extra 2 years.

    Dave
     
  12. Jonny K

    Jonny K Second Unit

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    Yeah, when I looked at many of these receivers they're significantly more expensive in Canada (and not just because of currency conversion). It's annoying. I've got lots of homework to do before I buy.

    Thanks,


    Jonny K.
     
  13. Don Barduca

    Don Barduca Stunt Coordinator

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    You could buy the DA4ES from a good online retailer. Their product control is much better than most manufacturer's and as such they honor the warranty whether purchased online or not. 3yrs vs. 5yrs...well 5yrs is better, but either is still likely higher than any other brand. And as for your knowledge bit at B&M's...thats why you posted here isn't it?
     
  14. MathBrisk

    MathBrisk Extra

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    I am myself shopping in Canada (Quebec) for a receiver in the same price range. I've spent quite a while going from stores to stores and listening to many different receiver. The good news is that in the 1000$ CND price range, you'll probably end up buying something great, whatever it is. Now, of all the different brands and models I've listened to, the NAD T752 was the most impressive of the bunch. That being said, the CDN price for it is around 1200 $. The other alternative would be the lower model, the 742 which is still pretty amazing at around 850 $ CDN. If you don't need half a milion DSP, 6.1 and component switching, than the NAD T742 is your best bet. Sound wise, both for music and HT this is the one, no doubt about it. Altough there are many other excellent receivers out there, and that 'sound quality' esp over an amp is extremely different from a person to an other, the NAD is miles ahead.
     
  15. Jonny K

    Jonny K Second Unit

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    I've never heard of "NAD" before. Can anybody give me some info? How long have they been around? What markets do they serve?


    Jonny K.
     
  16. TylerZ

    TylerZ Stunt Coordinator

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  17. Jonny K

    Jonny K Second Unit

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    It seems that the more I learn about these receivers, the more difficult my decision becomes!

    Let me sum up what I'm looking for:

    1. I don't care about DSP modes that make my music sound like it's in a theater, or stadium, or whatever.

    2. I don't need multiple sets of speakers. I will only have one set of speakers (don't need A and B speakers).

    3. I want 6.1 sound (but don't need 7.1). I don't currently have a rear center channel, but I still want this feature for the future.

    4. I want to be able to play all the modern audio standards, such as DTS ES and Dolby Digital EX and all that jazz. (maybe I got the names messed up, you know what I mean).

    5. I'm curious about Prologic II. I'll be watching TV with this receiver too, so maybe this is a feature I want?

    6. Above all, I want high quality sound.

    7. I need to keep my spending at around 1,000 Canadian (and less is better).

    8. I don't need a million inputs and outputs on the unit. All I need is VCR, DVD, TV and CD. Three optical inputs/outputs would be no use, I just need one optical input for DVD. I'd also like to be able to route all the video through the receiver.


    Where can I find receiver reviews on the internet? Every time I find a review, it's for either an old model, or a very high end model. What about CNET?

    http://reviews.cnet.com/4521-6531_7-...1.html?tag=txt

    And can anybody recommend a good Home Theater shop in Calgary? I've looked through the Yellow Pages and found a few places, but they all seem to specialise in building custom HTs. And if an HT shop advertises that they carry the apparently inferior Bose, is that a sign to stay away? (if they carry it, they must believe in it, right?). Can anybody recommend any Canadian websites where I can check out prices in Canadian dollars? All I have right now is Futureshop.ca and that's a pretty crappy resource.

    Another question: If a receiver is rated to deliver 20 HZ to 20,000 HZ, does that mean It won't send 10 HZ bass to my sub?


    Right now (based soley on internet research) here's some of my reactions to different brands/models:

    Denon AVR-1804 - The 900 dollar price tag is just in my range, and it seems to support all the formats I want. Hmmm...

    Yamaha RX-V740 and maybe RX-V1300 - I have no idea how much these cost, since Yamaha doesn't publish their prices to the web for Canadian customers, but I think they MAY be in the right range. I'll have to go to some shops in person to find out.

    Harmon Kardon - I really wish I could consider these guys, but the closest model that they offer with the features I want is the AVR 325, and that costs 1500 CAN. How is it the H/K stuff has such very low watts per channel? Does it really compete the same with such a tiny amount of power?

    Onkyo - I'm not sure, since I haven't found much information yet (not even Canadian prices). I do notice that they offer "192 kHz/24-Bit" DACs, as opposed to the standard 96kHz one's. Does this make a difference?

    Marantz - I won't buy these guys, since they only have ONE authorized dealer in Canada, and it's in Ontario. How unfortunate.

    Sony - For some odd reason, I have no inclination to buy Sony. Call my crazy, but I always think of HT in a Box kinda stuff when it comes to Sony.

    NAD - I did a little reading on their website, and I'll be sure to go for a listen to see what their stuff is like. I do like their minimalistic approach (since I don't need all the bells and whistles), but it's too early to say right now.

    In the end, when you dismiss all the fancy features, I want the absolute best sound quality for my budget. Do any particular brands have a reputation for this high quality? My dad used to sell electronics years ago and he says Harmon Kardon is very high quality...but that was years ago.

    Thanks again,


    Jonny K. [​IMG]
     
  18. Jaime B

    Jaime B Stunt Coordinator

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    Jonny:

    A few years ago I bought a Kenwood 1080VR for my wife's HT system, and it is a five channel receiver. I'm puzzled by your statement of 120W x 4. It is a 100W x 5 channel unit that actually puts out less that 50W, all channels driven. It sounds fine in her system, and she doesn't push it to the loudness I drive my Yamaha DSP-A1 anyway.
    If the Canadian version only has four channels, you have been missing a lot, THE CENTER CHANNEL!!!

    Well, anyhow, 5.1 channels will be a revelation for you, (just kidding, your receiver HAS to be 5 ch.- CHECK IT OUT!) and my vote goes for the Yamaha or the new Denon.

    Your simple needs, however, really point at NAD.

    JaimeB
     
  19. Jonny K

    Jonny K Second Unit

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    Um...the Kenwood 1080VR receiver is a 5 channel receiver. The front three speakers are 120 W, and the rear two are 60 W each. Put the two rears together, and you have 120W X 4.

    This is the manual for the receiver (right from Kenwood's website). Look at page 61 for specifications:

    ftp://docs.kenwoodusa.com/manuals/OM...-1997-KUSA.pdf

    So now my question is...how in the world can we both have the same receiver model and have completely different specs? Are you sure it's a 1080VR you bought?


    Jonny K.
     
  20. Jaime B

    Jaime B Stunt Coordinator

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    Jonny;

    The Harman-Kardon's your father remembers, say late '70's- to- mid 80's were the creme-de-la creme two channel stereo receivers of the time. The H/K's of today, due to economics and the competitive world we live in, are sourced from the Orient (probably China), to Harman's design and specifications. The newer H/K's also sound good and deliver their full specified wattage and are semi-hi current designs, unlike some other Japanese brands.

    Your father's recollection of those earlier receivers (which I remember fondly too) in no way relates to todays multi-channel units, except that by coincidence they are still well designed machines (but not nearly as well built), and in no way in the premium niche they used to be 2 decades ago.

    Today H/K is a high volume, competitively priced and heavily discounted mass market brand name.

    Tell your dad, and yes, I'm also getting less young...

    Jaimeb
     

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