Upgrading, need advice on Pioneer Elite, Denon, and Outlaw.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Eric T, Jul 5, 2002.

  1. Eric T

    Eric T Second Unit

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    I'm thinking of upgrading my entry-level Yamaha receiver. It works fine, but at higher volume levels the sound is a bit harsh. I'm basically looking for something with very clean sound, I'm not very interested in lots of other features.

    I went to the home theater store here locally, and was interested in the following models:
    Pioneer Elite VSX-36TX $999
    Pioneer Elite VSX-41TX $599
    Denon AVR-3802 $999

    I also looked at the Outlaw 1050 on the web, and was wondering if that one is in the same league as these others.

    The salesman told me that the 36TX has Burr&Brown DACs whereas the other two do not. I've heard that these are very good DACs, but I don't know how much impact that has on the sound.

    Can someone tell me the pro's and con's for these models, or suggest something else in the same price range?
     
  2. DanielSmi

    DanielSmi Second Unit

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    Technically you can't call it the Vsx-41TX because it isn't THX cert. hence the TX. I just looked at the specs for the 41 and its better than the 36tx except without thx cert which to me is important, movies are so much better with it. The Denon 3802 is the best of the bunch with 7channels and thx cert and analog devices processor and DACs. The 36tx is outdated it's last generation I don't know why they want a grand for it. But if i were you I would look around online, you can get better receivers for about the same price I don't know if you shop online but there are some good deals out there. I would see if you could get the Vsx-43tx which comes out in August for about a grand list is 1200 so it's definitely possible, that has a manual version of the MCACC which will coach you through step by step with the process, plus it's thx cert, and has a pretty good build quality. To answer your question no the 1050 is not in the same league, no component inputs, either 65 or 85w per channel can't remember (that's only with 3 channels driven instead of 6 so it's definitely not good), no quality processor or DACs (the 41 doesn't either nor does the 36tx except for its DACs),and only 6.1. Also I think the 41 is ugly. So IMO go with either the 3802 or the Vsx-43tx online.

    Daniel Smith
     
  3. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    well if the sound is harsh as you crank the volume up, there's two possiblilities. you're either clipping or the speakers just can't handle the continuous power. Any information on your speakers, such as sensitivity, maximum power handling capability? What're your plans both immediate and down the road?
    without identifying the source of the problem you may find, that even buying a new receiever, you'll still be unhappy. Before I'd go out and spring for a new receiver I'd see about perhaps borrowing a friend's that had more power capability (if that's the issue) and seeing if it made things better. Entice him with some pizza and beer. It's cheaper than eating the cost of returning a unit and having to eat the s/h both ways. Measure twice, cut once [​IMG]
     
  4. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    Or perhaps the Yamaha is a bright amp as it has been mentioned more than enough times as that. Bright sound can be fatiguing as you crank the volume and go up in scale.

    Of the ones listed, I'd buy the 3802. Now, There is the Sony 5es that is quite a bargain at ~$800 from oade.com or J&R.

    I would hesitate to recommend either w/o knowing what speakers you have. Then again its hard to tell what kind of sound you prefer as they all sound different.
     
  5. Eric T

    Eric T Second Unit

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    Chu Gai & Shane-
    I am using Polk Audio speakers...
    - RT12 mains, 8 ohms, 90dB.
    - CS250 center, soon to be upgraded to a CSi40 to more closely match the RT12s. 8 ohms, 91dB.
    - f/x300i surrounds, 8 ohms, 89dB.
    - Velodyne CT-120 subwoofer

    I use my system 90% for HT and 10% for music. I like to watch movies at near theater-level volumes, which means fairly loud. I prefer a warm-sounding system to a bright one, meaning I like clear highs, but not too heavy in the upper-midrange. Because of my bias towards home theater, clear dialogue will be very important.

    Long term goals...well, I don't plan to ever spend $2000-$3000 for one component like a lot of people here do, but I would like to have a high-quality system at some point. At this point, I feel that the weakness is in the audio signal processing and amplification.

    My speakers are not top-of-the-line, but I don't think they are the problem. The reason is that a couple of years ago (before my HT), I had a chance to use a NAD CD player in my system. I had the same RT12s, but an older JVC amp. I couldn't believe how warm and clean the sound was just by using this CD player instead of my JVC. I was hearing things I never heard before. This experience taught me the importance of good D/A conversion.

    Since I run a digital connection from my DVD player (JVC D723) to my amp, I know that the amp is responsible for generating the analog source, which is why I chose this component to start my upgrade. Am I on the right track?
     
  6. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    I think you are on the right track. The Denon is warmer sounding that the 5es IMHO and that's the route I'd go(keep in mind I'm a Sony ES fan).
     
  7. Eric T

    Eric T Second Unit

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    Well I went to my local HT dealer and auditioned the 3802, A/B with a $500 Sony receiver for comparison (I don't recall which model). We played them through some B&W floor-standing speakers which are similar in size and price to my Polk RT-12s.
    They both sounded good, and as expected the Sony had a brighter sound. However, the Denon definitely had more clarity in the upper midrange. The Sony seemed to have trouble seperating the individual instruments in that frequency range. This is exactly the type of behavior that my Yamaha receiver exhibits, only it's even more pronounced.
    Based on this audition, I think that the Denon should clear up the harshness and lack of clarity that I am experiencing with my current system.
    The problem is, the dealer is only willing to come down to $840 on the 3802. With sales tax, that comes out to about $900. I told him that I could get it for about $750 online, including shipping, but that I would be willing to pay more to pick it up locally, and support a brick-and-mortar dealer that allows me to listen before buying. I offered $800 out the door, but they wouldn't take it. I don't think that convenience and local support should cost me $150, so I will probably order this one from 6th Avenue or someplace similar.
    In the meantime, I did pick up my new center speaker from Circuit City, got a floor model for $380. So at least I got to bring something home today to play with [​IMG]
     
  8. Eric T

    Eric T Second Unit

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    [​IMG] I just called 6th Ave to order, and the phone message said they were closed. It also said that business hours were until 7pm EST Monday - Saturday. So they should still be open another hour. Dang it. Anyone have another phone number for them?
     
  9. Gregg Loewen

    Gregg Loewen Video Standards Instructor, THX Ltd.
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    $150 difference? Sounds like a bargain to me...you use them to audition the gear then dont buy from them?? If you encounter just 1 problem $150 is WAY CHEAP for a little bit of piece of mind.

    FWIW,

    Gregg
     
  10. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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  11. Eric T

    Eric T Second Unit

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    Gregg, Shawn, I agree that it's bad form, which is why I was trying to work out a deal with them. Like I mentioned, it's worth a lot to have local dealers where we can listen to the merchandise, I just think that $150 is a lot to pay for a little piece of mind. In any case, I'll think about it over the rest of the weekend, maybe I will still buy from them. Thanks to everyone for your comments.
     
  12. Eric T

    Eric T Second Unit

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    Having just read about American Express's Best Value Guarantee, I will definitely pick this up locally tomorrow [​IMG]
     

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