What Brand of Receiver to Buy?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Dan Mertz, Nov 21, 2003.

  1. Dan Mertz

    Dan Mertz Stunt Coordinator

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    I am building my 1st home theater system and I have been convinced to stay away from a HTiB and told I sould go with an affordable receiver and to save up for some good speakers. However, I don't know what to look for in a receiver. I know I need DTS, Dolby Digital, and the right amount of connections, but what other specs should I look for? Which brands are good? My price range is around $150 - $180...can I get a decent receiver for that price?

    I have found 2 in that range, but I don't know if they are respectable brands when it comes to receivers. One is a KLH R7000 at BestBuy for $159 and the other is a JVC RX-6030VBK at Costco for $169. Can anyone give me opinions on either of these?
     
  2. ChrisArmour

    ChrisArmour Stunt Coordinator

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    For that kind of a price you dont have many good choices, but, you should be able to get a decent HT receiver that will serve you well. A receiver that you didnt mention that I would definatly consider would be the Sony STR-DE595, it should be a good starter for you. I personally prefer it over the other receivers you listed. MSRP is $200, but the lowest price I could find for it online was $152, not including shipping.
     
  3. Dan Mertz

    Dan Mertz Stunt Coordinator

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    Why do you prefer this Sony STR-DE595 over the JVC or KLH receivers? What makes it better in your opinion?
     
  4. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    Well Dan I don't know if you can shell out $200 but www.SoundCity.com has the Harman/Kardon AVR-125 reciever refurbished for $200.

    Now you're gonna think I don't want refurbished, it's already been used! SoundCity is an authorized dealer of Harman/Kardon and I buy from them personally at the store and know people who have bought from them online and there customer support is very good and if you have any problems they will help you.

    Harman also gives the FULL warranty on there refurbished product just like any new product they sell. I also know someone who had a product that was out of warranty and they gave him a trade-in credit for it since it broke and he was able to get a new reciever for a cheaper price... now that's a company who cares.

    Anyways I would take a look at that. The Harman/Kardon AVR-125 would be my first choice over any other reciever for a $200 price range. It has a very good amplifier, and everything you are going to need for a home theater set-up.

    Good luck with your decision.

    BTW, just from personally experience I would stay away from Sony but everyone has there own opinion on there lower-end... i've had alot of bad experiences with them.
     
  5. Dan Mertz

    Dan Mertz Stunt Coordinator

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    You're right. I'm not sure if I want refurbished. Can you tell me more about what exactly "refurbished" means? Why is this refurbished Harman/Kardon AVR-125 on sale for $173 when the list price is $449? Seems to good to be true. How "used" are these items?
     
  6. Ian-Fl

    Ian-Fl Second Unit

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    Refurbished means it was bought, then returned and sent to the factory to be inspected and repackaged. Since it was previously opened the manufacture can no longer call it new so they call it refurbished. Warranties still apply to referbs.
    It doesn't mean it was broken, repaired and resold.
    If you're on a limited budget and you want to get the best in performance gear, refurbs have to fall into the decision making.
     
  7. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    Also the reason the HK AVR-125 refurb is also cheaper is because they just introduced there new x30 line so they want to get rid of there old stuff, if they don't lower there price then it will take a long time to get rid of and it may never all "go away".

    So it is a model being phased out and it is refurbished which is why it is now so cheap. I don't know anyone who has had a problem with a HK refurbished yet and even if you do they are very good with warranties and helping customers out.

    Good luck.
     
  8. JeffHunter

    JeffHunter Stunt Coordinator

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    I would highly suggest grabbing a little extra cash together, jump your friends if need be. The HK 225 which can be had for $224.99 at ecost.com with free shipping.


    In all honestly the word 'refurb' does bug me a little, mainly because the word 'refurb' is usually attached to a 30-90 day warranty. Harman Kardon is well known for excellent customer service / satisfaction. Here is your regular 'refurb'. Someone buys a receiver from X store, gets it home and something either stops working very quickly, or doesn't work out of the box. They then return it for a new unit (this happens in the first 30 days, otherwise the receiver gets repaired instead of replaced). Those units get shipped back to HK, they fix whatever problem with replacement parts and sell it at discount. I can't say 100% but I highly doubt that you will find any scratches on any reburb unit, especially from HK. Your receiver will look and work like new [​IMG] ...

    Advantage B:
    HK has just launched their new receiver line which means they are liquidating old stock, which for you means your staying a slight step behind the times but your getting a major deal on a fine peice of stereo equipment.

    back to the AVR 225 advantages

    an extra 10 watts of power to each channel
    an extra 3 amps of power to boot along.
    a few more audio modes
    On Screen Display (I say this is a selling point right there)
    If you are unaware of what an On Screen Display, it's basically all the setup menus and such are outputted to your TV as well as on the receivers LCD. (Yummy)

    EzSet remote control -- Sets up your speaker channel volumes for you with a SPL monitor built into the remote .. another very nice feature [​IMG]

    and finally a 2 year warranty instead of the 1yr which the 125 has.


    (I've just purchased an AVR225 @ Ecost yesterday, I can't wait : ) )
     
  9. Dan Mertz

    Dan Mertz Stunt Coordinator

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    How about the Yamaha HTR-5550? Vanns.com has it on sale for $199 which seems like a good deal.

    Any opinions on this receiver, or anyone's experience buying from vanns.com, would be appreciated.
     
  10. ChrisArmour

    ChrisArmour Stunt Coordinator

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    The main reason I would choose the Sony over the JVC or KLH is quality, not that the lower end Sony's are the highest quality receivers on the market, I do feel they are of higher quality than JVC or KLH. To be fair to JVC and KLH, I have not looked at any of their newer offerings in over a year. If I were you, I would definatly take these guys opinions and get a HK over the Sony, JVC, or KLH, it's not that much more money to save up and get a better receiver. I dont have an opinion of Yamaha electronics, I have never really played with them before.
     
  11. JeffHunter

    JeffHunter Stunt Coordinator

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    Dan,

    Look your going to be ripping yourself off if you don't get yourself an HK. There are other receiver brands that I would suggest, but as they aren't selling at discount atm they are far out of your budget. I know that your jumpy about ordering a refubished unit but look around the forum. Do you see any posts that say, this 'refurb' was a POS ? no... Online retailers are running out of the reburbished units, you have maybe until Thurs. to make a descision for or against HK.

    Skipping to the Yamaha.

    I have never owned a Yamaha product myself but I do know that they make a decent product. The build quality is well known, as are their high end products. *shrug*
     
  12. Ian-Fl

    Ian-Fl Second Unit

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    I agree that's the best deal around right now. I'm envious in fact for the people that can get that deal because I paid alot more for my H/K.
    If I could have bought a referb H/K when I was shopping I would have been able to buy that better sub I wanted.
     
  13. Dan Mertz

    Dan Mertz Stunt Coordinator

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    The only thing that still bothers me about that refurbished HK is that SoundCity's policy states that refurbished items only come with a 90 day warranty.

    They do have a Kenwood VR6050 receiver in their "overstock" section that is listed as "factory brand new" at a good price. Does anyone know if this is a decent receiver?
     
  14. Keith*D

    Keith*D Agent

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    If it helps you feel better you can get a refurb AVR-125 straight from HK for $228. I know it is more than you want to spend, but some people will pay a little bit more for peace of mind.

    Keith
     
  15. JeffHunter

    JeffHunter Stunt Coordinator

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    Dan,

    Authorized HK dealers offer full warranty (through HK not through the company your buying it from)

    AVR125 Refurb - 1 year warranty
    AVR225 Refurb - 2 year warranty
     
  16. Ian-Fl

    Ian-Fl Second Unit

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  17. Dan Mertz

    Dan Mertz Stunt Coordinator

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    ecost.com does say they are an authorized HK dealer, but HK does not list on their web-site them as one of their authorized online retailers. I'm not sure what that means.

    Anyway, I appreciate all the advice. I am thinking about going for a refurbished HK, but I have not completely made up my mind.
     
  18. JeffHunter

    JeffHunter Stunt Coordinator

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    Dan,

    The HK website of authorized retailers isn't updated on a regular basis, if you really want to know for *sure* you can e-mail HK customer support / service and they will verify for you. Ecost has been listing themselves for a while now, I doubt that HK would allow that to go on if they weren't actually an authorized dealer.
     
  19. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    SoundCity will provide support for 3 months which means that they will take it back if something happens and give you a new one. After that you just have to return it to the manufacturer... No big deal.

    As for the Yamaha, I looked at them myself and I took the HK over it as well. The Yamaha does offer all those cool DSP modes which don't really sound good anyways. There amplifiers are decent but are not as good as HK amplifiers for the same price....

    Good luck.
     
  20. gregD

    gregD Second Unit

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    A) you can only get so much for $200.

    B) by and large, you get what you pay for... refurbs are not necessarily flawed units, but they're not necessarily otherwise either... they are returned for any number of reasons, and it's never possible to document any specific unit... i bought a refurb'd marantz receiver a couple years ago, and was badly flawed (it was partially repaired).

    C) with a refurb discount comes some risk, and a lesser warranty... even after my bad experience, i wouldn't discourage anyone from buying refurb... just understand the tradeoffs for discount pricing.
     

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