Upgrading from Pioneer 5.1 to Sony 6.1 help...

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Matt*B, May 29, 2005.

  1. Matt*B

    Matt*B Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey all,

    I have a Pioneer VSX-D411 right now and love it. However, I am ready to upgrade to a 6.1 receiver. The one that is in my price range is the Sony STRDE598 6.1 receiver (here: http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Sony-...oductDetail.do)

    I know that everything about this will be an upgrade, EXCEPT, the new sony receiver only has 90 watts per channel, whereas the Pioneer has 100w per channel. Will I really miss this?

    Here are the exact speakers I use -- maybe the specs will help you help me: http://cerwinvega.com/products/homea...es/avs632.html

    My current setup rocks, however, I am afraid that If i drop down to 90 w per channel, i will be missing something.....

    I appreciate your help!
     
  2. SteveMetcalf

    SteveMetcalf Agent

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    Watts are somewhat of a misleading spec. Really the difference between 90 and 100 watts is negligable. Let's look at it from the perspective of sound intensity. The human ear percieves about 10db(decibels) as twice the volume level. Decibels are a logarithmic function. If you go from 100watts to 200watts you will increase the sound intensity by 3db, 200watts to 400watts,3 more db, 400watts to 800 watts, 3 more for a total of 9db increase in sound intensity. Not quite twice the volume! The same operation can be done in reverse. 100w to 50w = -3db, 50w to 25w = -6db 25w to 12.5w = -9db total. 100w to 90 w = -.45db. The human ear percieves 1db as the smallest detectable change in volume. You really won't notice.
     
  3. FeisalK

    FeisalK Screenwriter

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    Matt, do a search on the Sony DE series receiver on here and at Agoraquest.com before committing; I have not come across a glowing review about them. The DAxxxxES and the DBxxxxQS series get a lot of respect, but the DE seems to be substandard, and you might be disappointed in the end.

    As Steve said, 10 watts don't make enough difference to hear.

    For that price (below $199?) around $200 you might think about getting one of the JVC digital receivers which have gotten rave reviews on Audiocircle.
     
  4. SteveMetcalf

    SteveMetcalf Agent

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    IF watts are your concern, I wouldn't suggest a digital reciever as the answer. These can't perform as well in the uppermost reaches of the amps headroom. There are very clean, but whereas a class a, a/b, b, amplifier has direct voltage amplification, and a sufficient power supply to match(in most cases), a digital or "Class D" amp doesn't work this way. It uses a sampling frequency, (in the case of sony a 2,800,000hz sawtooth waveform)as a reference signal to derive pwm information.(a squarewave data form called pulse width modulation)when compared to the input signal. The fluctuations in the squarewave control the push pull of the output transistors and ultimately the speaker. This is why you can turn the volume up all the way without hearing any noise. On the downside, because these amps typically require less power they are equipped with a smaller power supply and therefore cannot supply dynamic sounds at the top of the power range. Digital amps are an excellent choise for those who don't always like it loud.
     
  5. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    As a former owner of a few Sonys, I'll have to advise against Sony DE also. Give some other brands like Marantz, Onkyo, Harman Kardon and Denon a listen.

    Steve's math is correct, but it also depends on how accurately the amp was rated, since the testing method is never the same between different manufacturers. So, you can't just go by 100W vs 100w, you actually have to give them a listen with similar speakers, preferably in the same room (ideally at home). If you compared Harman Kardon to Sony DE, you'd likely see a considerable difference in wattage in comparable price category, because Sony wants to put 100W on basically everything, while H/K rates their amps more realistically and you might see 65w, 85w, etc... While those amps are rated low, they may actually put out much more power dynamically, giving you more real world output than a similar Sony.
     
  6. SteveMetcalf

    SteveMetcalf Agent

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    To further explain the phoenomenon that John mentioned about wattage ratings, you should know that RMS vs RMS is a comparison of average and constant power based on an average and constant input. If you compare the RMS rating with a peak power rating from various devices you'll note differences from mfg a to mfg b even though the RMS is the same. Why? Well, the power section,consisting of various components has a transformer and capacitors which deliver power when the amp requires it. In the case of real audio scenarios the average level is NOT constant, and quite often has peak demands far above the RMS rating. The amp with the better power section will win here every time. That's why some of the more elite brands will sound better and louder, even with the same RMS rating.
     
  7. Matt*B

    Matt*B Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey all,

    Yea, I couldn't see myself steering away from Pioneer. I loved my old one too much.... So I ended up getting the Pioneer VSX-515-K with 6.1 surround. SO far, so good.

    Quick question though. I know that with a 5.1 receiver and a 5.1 speakers, if you play a DTS 6.1 dvd, the sound that would have been in the rear-center will simply come out of the L and R rears instead - so you at least still hear it.

    Now, with my new 6.1 receiver, if I do not have a rear-center speaker yet, will i still hear the 6th channel split between the 2 rears?

    Also, I have to read on how to put it into 6.1 mode. There's a button for DVD 5.1 but oddly enough, no plain view button for 6.1

    Thanks for the advice,

    Matt
     
  8. Mark Dill

    Mark Dill Stunt Coordinator

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    There should be a speaker config menu, or maybe just a button, (on my old Pioneer it was just a button) where you can tell your receiver how many speakers you have hooked up to it. On my Pioneer there was a little display that showed an icon for each speaker I had hooked up. You push the "speaker config" button and it would rotate through different possible configs (with a center, without, with surround, without, etc) So, when you have the receiver setup with 6 speakers, it will always be in 6.1 mode when a DTS or DD signal is received. If there is no specific 6th-channel information, it will matrix the left and right surround to create a 6th channel by playing the sounds common to both surround speakers.
     
  9. CarlosGH

    CarlosGH Stunt Coordinator

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    The DVD 5.1 is for SACD or DVD-Audio, six analog inputs from an external source. Depending on the DVD you are watching, if you listen to LoTR which is DTS 6.1, you'll hear the rears and the center independently. Each will have its own seperate audio channel. When you watch the thousands of 5.1 movies, you can leave it at 5.1 or activate the recievers sound fields. Most are DTS NEO:6 decoding to create a psuedo 6.1. If your reciever is THX certified, you can use THX EX to create 6.1/7.1. One thing to note, most people even Dolby suggest listening to 6.1 on a dual center speaker, ie 7.1. They say it has something to do with sound perspection. Though I really wouldn't know if it makes a difference.
     
  10. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    The "6.1" is on the disc itself, the receiver just decodes it. Your receiver, if properly setup, should automatically detect a 6.1 signal and send things to their correct places. When using a 5.1 setup, the rear is left out, but no information is "lost", because the receiver, which should be configured to know it doesn't have a rear center(s), will not process the signal as such.

    There are plenty of DSPs to simulate 6.1, NEO:6 is just one. DPLIIx, CS6.1, THX-EX, Logic7, etc... and those available will vary by manufacturer.
     
  11. CarlosGH

    CarlosGH Stunt Coordinator

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    I forgot about DPLIIx and Logic 7. My old 6.1 Sony only had DTS NEO:6 and DPLII. Now my Pio 1014 has DTS NEO:6, DPLIIx, and THX-EX. I've seen Logic7 one only a few other recievers, is it realistic?
     
  12. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I haven't heard L7, but many say it is the best 7.1 function out there, performing a similar rear channel extraction as DPLIIx, where the two channels are slightly varied based on the side they are on.
     

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