Would a new receiver make a difference?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Steve>JF, Dec 24, 2003.

  1. Steve>JF

    Steve>JF Agent

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    I have a Kenwood receiver, model VR-616 that came with a home-theater-in-box. It claims to have 100w/channel and the subwoofer amp is on board. I replaced the speakers that came with it with the package with Polk R15s and a CSi20 center. I also bought a powered subwoofer and connected to the speaker inputs from the receiver. It sounds fine. My question is this: will buying a new receiver such as the Onkyo SR501 or SR601 make enough of a difference in the quality of movie sound? Is it worth the bucks? I use this system for 99% home theater/movies. Last question: Is there a receiver/amp that is specifically made for 6.1 home theater, i.e. no AM/FM tuner, no phono inputs, no DPS modes, etc.?
     
  2. KyleGS

    KyleGS Second Unit

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    I personally do think it will be worth the bucks. I went from a Sony DE reciever (absolute junk per this fourm) to a Harman Kardon reciever. It was a LEAP in terms of stereo performance BUT only a 10-20% improvement for HT duties. But in your case the reciever may need an upgrade. Sounds like it is not all that flexible.

    ALSO- If you want to upgrade (at this point) I would consider better spks and sub. JBL has a great little speaker (N24 + C-center or for all five = NSP I or II) plus the 10" sub from partsexpress would be a great match for your current reciever.

    Links:
    N24
    NSP-II

    DLS 10 Subwoof

    Merry XMAS [​IMG]
     
  3. Paul S

    Paul S Stunt Coordinator

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    It is highly doubtful that you will see any increase in the quality of audio no matter what receiver you purchase. All modern amps take a basic signal and amplifiy it with little or no distortion. In the real world, all modern amplifiers with the same power ratings sound basically the same. I know there are many who will argue but double blind tests were done years ago by the Hirsch/Houck labs between high end amp/receivers and the standard garden variety and no one could tell the difference between them. If an esoteric amp is adding that "special" sound quality to your audio signal, junk it, it is only supposed to amplify, nothing more. All name brand amp/receivers do that.
     
  4. KyleGS

    KyleGS Second Unit

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    Here we go again...
     
  5. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    Quote:
    It is highly doubtful that you will see any increase in the quality of audio no matter what receiver you purchase. All modern amps take a basic signal and amplifiy it with little or no distortion. In the real world, all modern amplifiers with the same power ratings sound basically the same. I know there are many who will argue but double blind tests were done years ago by the Hirsch/Houck labs between high end amp/receivers and the standard garden variety and no one could tell the difference between them. If an esoteric amp is adding that "special" sound quality to your audio signal, junk it, it is only supposed to amplify, nothing more. All name brand amp/receivers do that.

    OK, so this means the following:

    1) Those of you out there with $2,500 Pioneer Elite receivers, $4,000 pre/pro and amplifier combinations can just ditch the gear you have.

    2) Since a simple $200 receiver will provide the same sound - there is no need to spend an extra $3,800 on your procesing.

    [sarcasm] Whew, I am so relieved that this is possible. [/sarcasm] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  6. Paul S

    Paul S Stunt Coordinator

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    Amplifiers sound just about the same. You spend the extra money on the bells and whistles/build quality that the more expensive amps/receivers provide. The more expensive gear will undoubtedly have heavier duty parts that will most likely last longer and cost more but whenever an amp is operating correctly it will sound just about the same as any other of a given power rating. You can make a 100 watt amp the size of a small speaker cube or the size of a microwave. Do you think the larger amp would sound better because of the large/heavy parts used in its' manufacture???

    Sorry, if your big expensive receiver is somehow altering the signal in any way (other than amplifying), junk it!! If it is altering the audio, why would you consider this desirable??? The object is to take a weak signal and make it louder with as little distortion as possible. It is only supposed to amplify, period. So in answer to your question, no your Elite will not SOUND any better than a Yamaha, Denon or any other.

    You might spend megabucks to get more power and that is a very real reason to buy a more expensive amp/receiver. Also, more features are certainly a consideration.

    If you want better sound buy better speakers and spend money to alter your listening environment.

    I am not trying to convince you of anything and doubt if I could anyway. If people can argue over how much better a single piece of wire makes their speakers sound, (i.e esoteric speaker wire vs 12 gage lampcord), I can't imagine the arguments about how much better their amplifier is sounding, especially after they have spent megabucks on it. The Hirsh/Houck labs people couldn't tell the difference, perhaps your ears are better than theirs.
     
  7. V JACKSON

    V JACKSON Agent

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    I have to totally disagree. A $2000.00 receiver/amp will definetly sound differently than a $200.00 one. Now whether or not it sounds "better" is up to the individual, but I've personally never heard a $200.00 Best Buy receiver that could hold water in sound quality to a even a $500-$1000.00 receiver from Denon, Yamaha, etc.
    I would suffice to say that in a given price range, the differences in sound quality between amps and receivers may be more subtle, but I am still able to hear the dfference between a $2500.00 Sony Es receiver and a Denon at the same price point.
    Not saying that one is better than the other,each has its own particular "signature" regarding tonal quality.
    For example, I have a higher end Sony "ES" cd player, which to me sounds "sterile" , just like Sony receivers and amps do to me, when compared to my Denon Cd player and Denon receivers which to me have a much "warmer tonal quality. Again not that one is better than the other as a particular receiver or amp, they DO sound different. I think its more about personal preference,after all if a Honda drove and performed the same as an Aston-Martin, what would be the point???
    I do agree however that speakers would be your most logical upgrade first.
     
  8. Steve>JF

    Steve>JF Agent

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    Thanks to all for your advice!
     
  9. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    All recievers sound different regardless due to different processors and such that are used. Now if you don't like the sound of the kenwood it's one thing, if you don't feel like it's delivering enough power it's another thing.

    If you look at seperates that will end up costing $3000 or more there could be any number of differences, especially if you are comparing it to a reciever that ran you maybe only $200 or $300.

    The Kenwood I doubt is devliering that full 100watts that it actually says it is, but you should still be able to reach sufficient volume levels with it.

    If not, go to a store like CircuitCity and try out every brand they have there, don't just limit yourself to one thing, because you may like the sound of another better. Don't use CicruitCity or something like that as a price reference though, they aren't too good with prices.
     
  10. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Quote:
    It is highly doubtful that you will see any increase in the quality of audio no matter what receiver you purchase
    I had a 120 WPC Fischer stereo receiver that sounded .. OK when hooked to a stereo VCR. One Christmass my wife gifted me with a 80 wpc Yamaha, recommended by the sales person. Disappointed by the published power output I carefully opened the box intending to return the unit the next day for something better after giving it a chance.

    That plan lasted about 30 seconds after I fired it up. I was shocked at the change in the sound. It really made my Advent speakers sit up and sing.

    A few points to note:

    - My speakers were Advent One's: with big ... 12" woofers. They sucked lots of power

    - The Yamaha was the RX-V793 - a unit that has made "Stereophile's Guide to Home Theater" for 2 years after it was discontinued.

    So those power-hungry speakers really wanted the extra current that the Yamaha could produce that the Fischer could not.

    I believe a better receiver CAN make a difference. But will it make a difference for you? I dont know. Here is what I see about your system:

    - You have a external subwoofer. The low-frequency signals are what take a lot of power. You have off-loaded that chore to the sub.

    - Instead of my 2 big speakers, you have 5 smaller, more modern/efficient speakers in a circle around you. Since they dont demand as much power, the change you hear may not be as great.

    - Music is a lot more demanding of speakers and amps than home-theater. The difference may not be as great for a HT-only system.

    The only way to tell is to find a dealer that has a 30 day return policy and buy a different reciever and try it.

    One point: people who have moved to better amplification, then external amplification (a pre/pro setup) all swear they will not go back to an integrated system.

    Quote:
    Last question: Is there a receiver/amp that is specifically made for 6.1 home theater, i.e. no AM/FM tuner, no phono inputs, no DPS modes, etc.?
    No... and yes.

    Most AV Recievers include all of those things. They have to so they can compete with everyone else.

    You CAN find a Yamaha DSP A1 on eBay for about $500 that does not include a tuner. This was a flagship amp selling for about $2500. (It's the same one I have running downstairs playing Bend it like Beckham as I type this.)

    But a pre-processor with external amps - these often do not include a tuner or DSP modes. One of the better values is something like the Outlaw Audio 950 and 7-channel amp. (Click on the links above).
     
  11. DerrikW

    DerrikW Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes all receivers sound different. You can take 2 different receivers from different companies, all within the same price range, and you will notice a difference. Place a denon next to yamaha and tell me you can't tell the difference. Now on the other hand, if you put a $3000 receiver next to one that costs $300, if you can't tell the difference, you might want to sell all of your audio gear to buy hearing aides.
     

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