Absolutely torn! Onkyo HT-S5500 vs. Yamaha YHT-397. HELP PLEASE!!! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 02-20-2013, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
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I have read about every review there is on both of these systems...I have tried to test drive both systems, but the Onkyo Receiver was not working at my local Frys...the Yamaha sub seemed...meh compared to the potential that is the MASSIVE Onkyo down firing sub...

I would buy the Onkyo in a HEART beat, but all the negative reviews around the sub, and even sometimes the receiver have me a bit worried because you would have to pay for shipping back to Onkyo to have them repair it...

My wife liked the look and size of the Yamaha and liked the sound of ALL the systems that did work at Fry's. The room is 16'-6" by 15'. The TV is in the corner and not against a wall. This means the sub would live in a triangle 3' by 3' behind the TV. I always felt/heard that downfiring are always better because they seem to use the room better. Our room is hardwood flooring.

The Onkyo at Amazon is $350
The Yamaha at Amazon is $300

I have $390 of Amazon cash to utilize...no additional funds available.

Also,(IMPORTANT QUESTION) which receiver would be better in the long run if I wanted to upgrade the speakers?
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post #2 of 10 Old 02-20-2013, 09:27 AM
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I have the Yamaha (RX-V371, I think the system you're looking at is the RX-V373) and it has been a solid performer for over a year now, and it's used at least 4 hours a day, everyday. Virtually no heat produced at all or any issues with the sub. The Sub is small (8" driver) but to get you going, it's not bad. I would consider upgrading the speakers down the road once the budget allows it. You can drive either 6 ohm or 8 ohm speakers with the Yamaha. Onkyo does make good systems but I just don't have any first had experience with them.
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post #3 of 10 Old 02-20-2013, 02:16 PM
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I looked at several HTIB in that price range and decided on the Yamaha YHT-397. After reading the reviews, the Onkyo 5500 seemed to have a lot of reviews indicating a specific issue with the subwoofer. It's also a 7.1 system which is something I didn't really need. I also looked at the lower priced Onkyo systems but they had passive subs which is not something I wanted.
Based on everything I read, the reported problems, the positive reviews, etc.., it seemed to me that the Yamaha was a lot more reliable and less prone to problems and issues. It also came with an active sub.

As for upgrading speakers later, they both have standard speaker connectors so either one should be easy enough to upgrade. I can't comment on the Yamaha's sound yet because I just got it and haven't hooked it up yet but for me, based on the reviews, reported issues, it seemed like the best choice for me. I'll know more by this weekend after I hook it up.
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post #4 of 10 Old 02-20-2013, 03:55 PM
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The Yamaha sounds fine considering the size of the speakers. A little extra tweaking with the x-over can get you better dynamic range out of the speakers. The binding posts on the receiver means that any type of speakers (other than one with proprietary connectors) can be connected for future upgrade.
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post #5 of 10 Old 02-20-2013, 05:29 PM
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Ok so I couldn't wait and blew off a couple of other things I had to do and spent the afternoon hooking up the YHT-397. I already had the speaker wires run but I took the opportunity to take everything apart and clean places that hadn't seen a duster or vacuum in years.

Anyway, for $300 I'm very pleased. The small speakers sound surprisingly good and the sub puts out some very decent bass. I used the YPAO auto setup which did a good job for setting up the individual speaker levels but after it was done I had to go into the settings and turn the sub up a little to where I prefer it. I have my Dish receiver, Roku 2XS and Panny Blu Ray player hooked up using the built in HDMI ports and it seems to work great.

I haven't tried it with my much bigger Onkyo speakers that I have from an old Onkyo system that got hit by lightning (which is why I bought this system) but when I have more time I'm going to experiment and see how the small Yamaha speakers compare to the larger Onkyos. But so far, without doing an A/B comparison, the Yamahas sound surprisingly good. Also, according to the specs, the receiver does support 4 ohm loads so maybe I'll put the tiny Yamahas on top of the Onkyos and see how it sounds running both in parallel.

Basically, first impressions are very positive right now. Over the weekend I'll be putting it through more demanding tests with my Avatar blu ray cranked loud enough to annoy the neighbors.

BTW, music sounds great through it. I tried it running Pandora through my Roku and it sounds excellent. And some of the DSP settings are pretty cool.
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post #6 of 10 Old 02-21-2013, 12:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Ordered the Yamaha setup. Thanks for the advise from y'all. I was really pushing for the Onkyo, but the reviews and larger speakers, and the receiver being dead at Fry's threw me.
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post #7 of 10 Old 02-23-2013, 08:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitarman3001 View Post

Ok so I couldn't wait and blew off a couple of other things I had to do and spent the afternoon hooking up the YHT-397. I already had the speaker wires run but I took the opportunity to take everything apart and clean places that hadn't seen a duster or vacuum in years.

Anyway, for $300 I'm very pleased. The small speakers sound surprisingly good and the sub puts out some very decent bass. I used the YPAO auto setup which did a good job for setting up the individual speaker levels but after it was done I had to go into the settings and turn the sub up a little to where I prefer it. I have my Dish receiver, Roku 2XS and Panny Blu Ray player hooked up using the built in HDMI ports and it seems to work great.

I haven't tried it with my much bigger Onkyo speakers that I have from an old Onkyo system that got hit by lightning (which is why I bought this system) but when I have more time I'm going to experiment and see how the small Yamaha speakers compare to the larger Onkyos. But so far, without doing an A/B comparison, the Yamahas sound surprisingly good. Also, according to the specs, the receiver does support 4 ohm loads so maybe I'll put the tiny Yamahas on top of the Onkyos and see how it sounds running both in parallel.

Basically, first impressions are very positive right now. Over the weekend I'll be putting it through more demanding tests with my Avatar blu ray cranked loud enough to annoy the neighbors.

BTW, music sounds great through it. I tried it running Pandora through my Roku and it sounds excellent. And some of the DSP settings are pretty cool.

I believe the 373 receiver can output at 6 ohms...not sure about 4. When you purchase the receiver, it defaults at 8 ohms.

The YPAO works great, but considering it's more or less the equivalent of "sonar", the position of your sub usually needs to be manually adjusted. I have my sub bouncing off a wall at an angle and the YPAO reads it as being 32.5ft away when it's really only 13ft away, so it turns the sub way down. You just have to manually adjust it back up to where you like it. Plus it's convenient you can just adjust the raw volume of the sub for all the varied content that is out there. We hooked up my brother's turntable to the receiver via a TCC phono pre-amp into the audio input, and the bass reproduction was crazy, and I had to turn the bass down to 4 at higher volumes.

I actually purchased a 120x120x25mm Thermaltake fan to lay on top of the receiver. 95% of the time, I have no problem with the receiver getting hot, but if we REALLY push it(even at 8 ohms) above +6-10dB it gets pretty dang hot. If it's at max, it's too hot to even touch. Now typically, I usually just watch most movies between 0.0-7.0dB and it's not too bad. In fact at 0.0db, it's just "warm" and fine, but maxed out, it will get quite hot. Now granted they are getting a TV stand for the system, so I'm preferably looking for something with an open compartment and enough vertical space to fit the fan and to vent out the hot air. The fan is being delivered, but I think with the venting of it via the fan, it should be perfectly fine and way cooler as it just need more space to vacate. It's not a huge deal as it's only at really high volumes, but it's a nice peace of mind and insurance policy to have setup to babyproof it from my parents and brother who use it in a rather "derp" manner sometimes with their turntables and music channels. biggrin.gif Of course....I could just turn the max volume too....but where's the fun in that? cool.gif
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post #8 of 10 Old 02-24-2013, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by 1jeffcat View Post


I actually purchased a 120x120x25mm Thermaltake fan to lay on top of the receiver. 95% of the time, I have no problem with the receiver getting hot, but if we REALLY push it(even at 8 ohms) above +6-10dB it gets pretty dang hot. If it's at max, it's too hot to even touch. Now typically, I usually just watch most movies between 0.0-7.0dB and it's not too bad. In fact at 0.0db, it's just "warm" and fine, but maxed out, it will get quite hot. Now granted they are getting a TV stand for the system, so I'm preferably looking for something with an open compartment and enough vertical space to fit the fan and to vent out the hot air. The fan is being delivered, but I think with the venting of it via the fan, it should be perfectly fine and way cooler as it just need more space to vacate. It's not a huge deal as it's only at really high volumes, but it's a nice peace of mind and insurance policy to have setup to babyproof it from my parents and brother who use it in a rather "derp" manner sometimes with their turntables and music channels. biggrin.gif Of course....I could just turn the max volume too....but where's the fun in that? cool.gif

Is that for the Onkyo or Yamaha. I forget which one you purchased. My Yamaha never gets hot at 8 ohms and increased volumes, and it sits in a media console. Using a fan to keep your receiver cool is a good idea but you shouldn't have to do that with a well made and engineered receiver. You might want to set a limit on your max volume (about 10 -15 db lower than maximum) so that if the receiver accidentally gets pushed to max, it won't hit the maximum volume that it's capable of which will save your speakers and receiver.
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post #9 of 10 Old 02-24-2013, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post

Is that for the Onkyo or Yamaha. I forget which one you purchased. My Yamaha never gets hot at 8 ohms and increased volumes, and it sits in a media console. Using a fan to keep your receiver cool is a good idea but you shouldn't have to do that with a well made and engineered receiver. You might want to set a limit on your max volume (about 10 -15 db lower than maximum) so that if the receiver accidentally gets pushed to max, it won't hit the maximum volume that it's capable of which will save your speakers and receiver.

The front portion of the receiver will get downright hot if set at max volume for long periods of time. I would say at above +10.0dB for a long time will get it to the point where it's at a "hot" level and uncomfortable touching.
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post #10 of 10 Old 02-24-2013, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by 1jeffcat View Post

The front portion of the receiver will get downright hot if set at max volume for long periods of time. I would say at above +10.0dB for a long time will get it to the point where it's at a "hot" level and uncomfortable touching.

Then pick a volume that is loud enough for you but not loud enough to get it that hot because you will damage the receiver over time. All the more reason to set the max volume level to a "safe" point so you don't accidentally run it beyond that point.
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