Who has the best "Try it before you're locked into it" policy?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by TimothyE, Jan 10, 2003.

  1. TimothyE

    TimothyE Stunt Coordinator

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    I just bought the Harman/Kardon AVR-325 from Costco. It is really DEEP. I have it all the way against the back of the cabinet, and the glass door JUST closes without hitting the volume knob. With just the TV left and right pre-outs put into the H/K, the default "Logic 7" sound coming out is so amazingly clear and open I can't believe it! It does SO much more with the sound to clean it up than my Yamaha (R-V902) did. I can't figure out if it's something unique to the H/K, or if a lot of the newer receivers will do that. So far, the 5.1 from DVDs sounds pretty close to the same as the Yamaha did, but it sounds slightly less punchy and boomy.

    Because it's so big and might be a little overkill for what I need, I'm just going to try it out for a few days since Costco has such a good return policy. I've seen good reviews on the Pioneer VSX-D811S, which, according to what I THINK are our needs, does everything except HDTV component switching (28 MHz vs. the recommended 37 MHz). But after hearing the Logic 7 sound of the H/K, I'm wondering if any lower-end receivers can even come close.

    I can't figure out how to "audition" a receiver without bringing it home and setting it up, dealing with my speakers and arrangements. I would like to try out the Pioneer VSX-D811S before I return the H/K, but I want to make sure I buy it from a store where I won't have a problem returning it.

    How do you other members here go about this? Are there any stores you prefer to use for their "no questions, no hassle" return policy? West coast B&M preferred, but Crutchfield seems pretty good for online.

    Thanks,

    Tim
     
  2. Erik_C

    Erik_C Stunt Coordinator

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    Here's a different thought. Get rid of the glass doors. Otherwise you gear will cook. And keep the H/K. It may be a little overkill now, but who knows what you'll need next week/month/year. Just like with horsepower, it's always better to have more receiver than you need than not enough.
    -Erik
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I agree with Erik - a closed rack is a very bad thing for an amp. If the back is not completely open, then not having the glass door would be a good thing.

    I have heard the 325 and the 811. I'd stick with the 325.

    You might consider right angle, and staggered right angle RCA connectors, to save yourself about another 1/2 to 1 inch or so, depending on the cables.
     
  4. Guyza

    Guyza Stunt Coordinator

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    I had the same problem. Glass door hitting it when closing.
    Maybe you can do what I did with my H/K 525.

    The back panel on of ent. center is real thin wood.
    I cut out a shape the exact size of the H/K with a jigsaw and slid it back into the cab.
    Look great and when the fan kicks on, it vents it straight out the back. I also have about 3" of topside clearance for airflow.

    I'm contemplating hooking up a very quiet computer fan to the switched outlet on the rcvr. and mounting it on the back of the ent. center with a vent hole cut for it.

    That way, whenver I switch on the H/K, the secondary fan will kick on and pull the stale air off the unit.

    Good luck,
    Guy
     
  5. TimothyE

    TimothyE Stunt Coordinator

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    Taking the glass door off is not an option, according to my wife. I have to agree with her, as our HT is in our living room. It is quite visible as you stand in the front entry.

    Actually, the cabinet is open at the back and has a black open weave cloth velcro'd on for cosmetics. As much as I like the sound of a good solid receiver, it has to fit within the framework of our lives. We typically watch our movies after the kids are in bed, so we don't turn the volume up much beyond mild earthquake proportions. I like to know that it's CAPABLE of a lot, but I rarely get to exercise it much.

    So, will the AVR-325 just cook and starve in such a cabinet - even when used at very moderate volumes? I don't want to "trap" a receiver that has so much potential, so maybe that pushes me to a bit lower level unit.

    Circuit City has a great no hassle return policy. They don't have the Pioneer VSX-D811S, but they have the Onkyo TX-SR600. Is this worth bringing home to audition?

    Thanks,

    Tim
     
  6. BrianAe

    BrianAe Second Unit

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    The Onkyo-SR600 is a very nice reciever. It also runs rather cool which might be a bonus to you.
     
  7. Jose G

    Jose G Supporting Actor

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  8. TimothyE

    TimothyE Stunt Coordinator

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    We watched back-to-back movies last night with the sound level moderately high. I had the glass door closed and the back black cloth removed. I have about 5" clearance above it and the back is open to the air. The AVR-325 got warm, but not what I would call hot.

    I'm still thinking I'd like to try a couple other receivers, so I may try a couple at Circuit City. They don't have models that really stand out to me, but they have a no hassle return policy.

    Tim
     
  9. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Stay with the HK. Better sound. Better build. ANY receiver in such a situation would cook just the same. And this is another reason why media-center furniture is the worst idea ever. Not to mention choking components without airflow, and being stuck with a monstrous center that can't be rearranged, its a royal pain in the rear to change things around unless you have it a few feet from the back wall, and who wants that? And while the HK might be able to go louder better, it will also do medium, and low-volume better. If you have nice speakers, that is. And with an enclosed space like that, you probably should devise a fan solution to blow air in and out of the space, or the life of any unit will be shortened.
     
  10. TimothyE

    TimothyE Stunt Coordinator

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    Great input, Chris.

    Actually, the cabinet the stereo is in is only about 2' square and 50" high and on casters, so it's easy to get around back. It's made by Mitsubishi and matches our Mits 55819 perfectly.

    I agree that the HK sound is distinctive and my wife and I really love it. I listened to the Onkyo TX-SR600 and the HK AVR-320 side by side this morning at Circuit City. It didn't sound nearly as "clean" as the HK, but I really liked the ergonomics of the remote and it seems to offer everything I need. It's only about 1/4" shallower, so I don't know how much of a size advantage I could get. I went ahead and picked it up so my wife and I can do a direct comparison in our setup.
     
  11. Jose G

    Jose G Supporting Actor

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    I'm sure the TX-SR600 is a fine system also, but as Chris mentioned, play them both at low and high levels and listen for any sound limitations in both- let that be more of your guide than the heat issue. Research the power specs on both these machines- not the rated but the actual output- see what you find, maybe look to S&V for that info or the receiver comparison list on this forum. In the end, if the sound quality is not that apparent to you or really that important to you- go for what fits best. Good luck!
     
  12. TimothyE

    TimothyE Stunt Coordinator

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    We're falling in love with the H/K, so the Onkyo's going back to Circuit City. The build quality of H/K seems to be much higher and we liked the sound more. The remote is not very ergonomic, but we may want to replace that with a universal (MX-500?) one anyway.

    The AVR-325 has a fan in it that I've yet to see go on. Should I be concerned that I may have a non-operative fan or does it only go on at REALLY high temps? I placed a room thermometer in the cabinet about 2 inches above the receiver. It stabilized at 111°F with the glass door closed and at 109°F with the door open. I didn't get an accurate reading of the metal on the top of the chassis, but I'd guess it was closer to 130°F or more. Anybody know what too hot is?
     

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