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post #1 of 133 Old 02-28-2012, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
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If HD is dead (as claimed by others on another board), then why did two new HD stations sign on in my home market within the last six months?
(We're not even a top 30 market here too!)

A power house FM in the market just fired up their HD. (103.7 WVEI-FM)
Looking forward to the HD2.

Yes the DXer in me hates the loss of one of the better DX frequencies, but I still got several others.

--Mike Fitzpatrick
Broadcast Engineer

Put your boots on folks, it's getting pretty deep in here!
Note: opinions and advice given here are mine and mine only.
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post #2 of 133 Old 02-29-2012, 09:15 AM
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The only thing I see dead in my market is HD Radio being a significant improvement in sound quality.

Once the classical station dropped their bit rate to 48K (which they said they'd never do) to add a useless, pointless STL for another station, there are no stations that sound particularly outstanding any more. The digital stations do have no multipath and some have higher frequency response, but other than that they just sound like good analog FM stations.

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post #3 of 133 Old 02-29-2012, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W1KNE View Post


Yes the DXer in me hates the loss of one of the better DX frequencies, but I still got several others.


how does HD radio affect DX'ing?
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post #4 of 133 Old 03-02-2012, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by billmich View Post

how does HD radio affect DX'ing?

The sidebands can wipe out distant stations next to them. The FM DXers I've talked to use powerful directional antennas so it's not a problem for them most of the time.

This was a bigger controversy in the early days of AM radio. People got used to listening to distant stations every evening only to have a new local station take over frequencies or neighboring frequencies. There are articles in old newspapers protesting new stations since some people felt entitled to the reception of distant stations in the evening.

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post #5 of 133 Old 03-03-2012, 05:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W1KNE View Post

If HD is dead (as claimed by others on another board), then why did two new HD stations sign on in my home market within the last six months?
(We're not even a top 30 market here too!)

A power house FM in the market just fired up their HD. (103.7 WVEI-FM)
Looking forward to the HD2.

Yes the DXer in me hates the loss of one of the better DX frequencies, but I still got several others.

HD will not die. Even though people are NOT out willfully buying the HD radios ibiquidy (spelling) shareholders are seeing to it this gets forced into car dash boards. Once implanted / embedded into a new car dash it counts as a sale. I am in the Northeast Market between Boston and New York and FM is saturated with HD / IBOC .
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post #6 of 133 Old 03-03-2012, 06:58 AM
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I am looking for just a simple table HD radio. I checked here http://www.hdradio.com/buyers-guide/receiver it seems like it is all high end receivers. I just would like to buy something like the Sony XDR-S3HD HD radio, but it looks like they stopped making them. Sure, you can get them on Ebay, but it seems like the prices are a bit out of line for a simple used table radio.
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post #7 of 133 Old 03-15-2012, 06:12 AM
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I'd say that HDRadio suffers from the same problem it did 5 years ago in that most people don't know anything about it.

Making it ubiquitous is the way to go. Every stereo going forward should just have it as default. This seems to be somewhat changing in the auto industry, which is good.

If you look at other units available for the home, the number of stereos including it seems to have decreased. Do a search on Crutchfield and you get back:
- 2 stereo receivers
- a few Home Theater receivers (high end stuff, not what the average person would buy)
- no tabletop receivers.

At least, when HDRadio is available, it's being built-in now instead of requiring some external tuner box.

My take on it is that it still seems to be struggling along. Your average person, if they bought a new car and it had HDRadio may notice, "Hey, what's this -1 channel? Oh, that's kind of cool." If they bought a car that didn't have it they wouldn't miss it. Conversely, most people won't buy a car without at least an AM/FM/CD Player in it. There is no real demand for HDRadio.
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post #8 of 133 Old 03-25-2012, 02:26 PM
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HD radio seems pointless to me. Analog FM suffices for car reception, and Internet streaming would seem to be as good technically.
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post #9 of 133 Old 03-26-2012, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by RobertR View Post

HD radio seems pointless to me. Analog FM suffices for car reception, and Internet streaming would seem to be as good technically.

More stations than analog FM and far more variety (depending on location). Internet streaming could be better quality if stations took it more seriously. Classical stations would be smart to stream their stations in a high bit rate format.

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post #10 of 133 Old 03-26-2012, 12:31 PM
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It depends on what you're looking for. Here in Detroit, the only full-time Hispanic music station is on HD radio only. And the only way to get traffic and weather every 10 minutes 24/7 is also only on an HD subchannel. (WWJ-AM carries some sports. During those times, the WWJ news programming continues on WXYT-HD2). Granted, it's all available via streaming, but there's even less of that in cars, here, than HD Radio.

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post #11 of 133 Old 03-26-2012, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertR View Post

HD radio seems pointless to me. Analog FM suffices for car reception, and Internet streaming would seem to be as good technically.

There are a few reasons to like HD radio:

1.) Once the initial equipment investment is made, there are no additional charges. As far as I know there is no way to acquire free internet streaming in the car.

2.) At least in my area and to this point there are no commercials. I suspect this may have to change in future, but I LOATHE commercials so this is a very important perk of HD radio for me.

3.) To my ear the sound quality is substantially better than analog FM. I hear the difference every time I tune into a main - the analog signal plays for a few seconds while the HD signal kicks in - major improvement. This is on a Sony XDR-F1HD so I can't speak for other units.

4.) As others have noted, there is much more variety on the sub-channels. I have discovered A LOT of new and new-to-me music that I may not have otherwise found. Right now I am listening to the "Real Oldies" sub, where about every 15 - 20 minutes I hear a song that I have never heard before or only vaguely remember. I always knew there must be more songs in the oldies vaults! "The Delta" is my favorite local sub, where I first heard Joe Bonamassa, Son House, Mofro, The Blues Project, Keb Mo, and many others whose music I have subsequently purchased.

Some food for thought, perhaps.
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post #12 of 133 Old 03-27-2012, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post

Granted, it's all available via streaming, but there's even less of that in cars, here, than HD Radio.


Probably why the demand and availablity of low priced HD radio home products is pretty low. The only reason HD radio is still around is because it's being installed in cars. I wonder how much money automakers have invested in ibquity?
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post #13 of 133 Old 03-27-2012, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhufnagel View Post

Probably why the demand and availablity of low priced HD radio home products is pretty low. The only reason HD radio is still around is because it's being installed in cars. I wonder how much money automakers have invested in ibquity?

I think there's a little more to it than that.

Most people don't use streaming in their cars. They're concerned about going over their limits, etc. It's a clumsy process (plugging in wires, docking cradles, unplugging, etc.) unless you've taken time to set something up (which most don't) then you're likely not streaming. Many probably aren't even aware of it.

The geeks definitely do it. Your average geek will talk about streaming Pandora, Slacker, iHeartRadio, TunedIn, etc. and it works really well in most cases. Outside of the geek world - not so much.

That being said, these same people I'm talking about who don't stream aren't likely installing aftermarket HD Radios, either. If their car didn't come with it then they aren't doing it.

Why HD Radio is still around? Probably because the people behind it (iBiquity, the stations that have invested money in time and equipment, etc.) are still hoping that it'll catch hold and at least become 'something'.

It's definitely a niche product right now. Most homes very likely do not have an HD Radio receiver in them of any type. Most cars on the road are missing it as well. The adoption rate is pretty bad. Only now (what, 10 years into it) is it sort-of being added into car stereos (sounds like it's being added into 'premium stereos' which most people pass on). People don't know about it and aren't looking for it. It's probably on par with the 'loudness' button in terms of people demanding it.

I do think it's a bit foolish to say, "Oh, streaming is here so people are doing that and it's killing HD Radio." Streaming is a very limited market right now. Growing, yes - still limited. While I don't have the numbers I'd guess streaming is growing faster than HD Radio but I'm still the only one I know (immediate family and friends) who does any sort of streaming.
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post #14 of 133 Old 03-27-2012, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhufnagel View Post

I wonder how much money automakers have invested in ibquity?

None. You have to remember where the automakers are. HERE. In Detroit. The reason you're seeing HD radios now is due to efforts from us (radio in general) and iBiquity going back some 4 or 5 years. It takes THAT long to get things through the automotive pipeline. Heck, just adding an input jack for an iPod so that it's standard on new cars took forever.

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post #15 of 133 Old 03-27-2012, 02:52 PM
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Most ISPs are either limiting amount of data per month or are considering doing so. Streaming will be adversely affected.
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post #16 of 133 Old 03-28-2012, 08:02 AM
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Sorry to break it to you guys, but even if the morons who own the stations keep signing HD signals on, everyone has pretty much stopped making receivers. Go into your local best buy, fry's, etc. The only thing anyone has is the Insignia "ipod" looking things, or spending upwards of $1k on 2-3 different receivers. The tuner guys have given up, the car guys mostly have as well.

Down at the NAB show last year they only had maybe a dozen units there, 4 of which aren't even available anymore. It's simply a waste of money with no RX's in the field. Some radio stations get them on-the-cheap from IBQ and give them away, but even that doesn't seem to work too well. More and more stations are simply turning them off to save on the power bill.

Here in Minneapolis, most stations (and all Clear Channel stations) still have it running, but that's an oddity, go anywhere outstate and they've all shut them off.

HD is a solution waiting for a problem, and the problem isn't here yet. Not to mention the piss poor design of HD. What would've been smart is to apply the encoding method used in HD to something more universal, like DAB. Then you'd see some interesting stuff. Instead of 3 subchannels, you can get 7... That'd be worth while, not to mention the flood of RX's already out there due to global adoption.
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post #17 of 133 Old 03-29-2012, 10:13 AM
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I see a lot of anti HD Radio sentiment on this forum. I have had a positive experience. If you drive from DC to Boston on the East Coast you will hear hundreds of HD Radio stations. The stations that have a -1 and -2 sound good to me and are an improvement over analog FM. I get disappointed when a station has more than that because the quality definitely suffers.
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post #18 of 133 Old 03-29-2012, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by John_D View Post

I see a lot of anti HD Radio sentiment on this forum. I have had a positive experience. If you drive from DC to Boston on the East Coast you will hear hundreds of HD Radio stations. The stations that have a -1 and -2 sound good to me and are an improvement over analog FM. I get disappointed when a station has more than that because the quality definitely suffers.

Do you get a lot of cut outs (HD2,3) or swapping between digital to analog?

I use it at home and it's great.

I gave up on it 3+ years ago in my car because it'd just bounce in and out of digital which really sucked. I'm wondering if it has improved in the mobile environment.
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post #19 of 133 Old 03-29-2012, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by goobenet View Post

HD is a solution waiting for a problem, and the problem isn't here yet. Not to mention the piss poor design of HD. What would've been smart is to apply the encoding method used in HD to something more universal, like DAB.

Speaking of piss-poor design!!! DAB doesn't have hardly any error correction, uses an ancient compression format, and is not reliable. You can't "apply the coding method" to something that already has a coding method.

DAB+ did add error correction and a modern AAC codec but now everyone with a DAB receiver has to throw it away and buy another.

The "piss poor" design of HD Radio beats them both with multiple levels of error correction and temporal redundancy. It's the most reliable and flexible digital broadcast system in use.

Quote:


Then you'd see some interesting stuff. Instead of 3 subchannels, you can get 7... That'd be worth while, not to mention the flood of RX's already out there due to global adoption.

The design of DAB has nothing to do with the number of subchannels. In Europe, many stations share transmitters and multiplex their stations onto a single DAB stream. That's a nice thing, but not practical in most cases here.

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post #20 of 133 Old 04-04-2012, 10:14 AM
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Speaking of piss-poor design!!! DAB doesn't have hardly any error correction, uses an ancient compression format, and is not reliable. You can't "apply the coding method" to something that already has a coding method.

DAB+ did add error correction and a modern AAC codec but now everyone with a DAB receiver has to throw it away and buy another.

The "piss poor" design of HD Radio beats them both with multiple levels of error correction and temporal redundancy. It's the most reliable and flexible digital broadcast system in use.


The design of DAB has nothing to do with the number of subchannels. In Europe, many stations share transmitters and multiplex their stations onto a single DAB stream. That's a nice thing, but not practical in most cases here.



I don't think you're seeing the point. Using something like DAB or DAB+ or DRM, or any other "openly available" format globally in use and millions of receivers in stores globally would encourage adoption. Applying the modified aacplus they use for IBOC into a DAB system (which would be on-par with DAB+ i suppose) would be a pretty simple method.

Instead, they came up with a whole new schema on which to do it all with, then on top of that IBQ wants to get rich quick doing it. Stations with an HD2 stream have to pay a percentage of net revenue the station makes BACK to IBQ! Why would you? That can add up to thousands of dollars a month in addition to the TX costs, maintenance, etc.

HD does have the error correction, but a lot of good that does when the signal simply is hiding behind a hill, it still goes away. It does no good really in the long run, considering it's broadcast. Same method applies to any RF signal.

I've been playing with HD stuff since 2003, i've watched stations bet the farm on it, and end up giving the farm back to the bank because of it. I've also seen some stations make quite a bit with them, but subsidized in some form (renting them to minority populations for instance is quite popular around here). I work in the broadcast industry, i'm not just an avid radio hater. Quite the contrary, i draw a paycheck from the industry. It's not that i don't like the idea of a digital format, i just don't like the one that the FCC picked.

You want to see a better hybrid, look at FMeXtra.
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post #21 of 133 Old 04-11-2012, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Bishop View Post

Do you get a lot of cut outs (HD2,3) or swapping between digital to analog?

I use it at home and it's great.

I gave up on it 3+ years ago in my car because it'd just bounce in and out of digital which really sucked. I'm wondering if it has improved in the mobile environment.

In the Baltimore area I have one HD2 station that cuts out (WPOC 93.1). They play 80s and 90s music that I enjoy. The rest of the stations are not a problem.
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post #22 of 133 Old 04-11-2012, 01:47 PM
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The FCC granted permission for most HD radio stations to increase power. This would help to eliminate some of the problematic dropouts in some areas. Although the type of antenna a station uses also plays a role, as well as polarization patterns. Top mounted vs side mounted, stick vs panel antenna, and horizontal vs circular polarization.
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post #23 of 133 Old 04-13-2012, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goobenet View Post

I don't think you're seeing the point. Using something like DAB or DAB+ or DRM, or any other "openly available" format globally in use and millions of receivers in stores globally would encourage adoption.

When you say "globally" you mean "places other than the United States". Receivers that are in a store in Frankfurt will not encourage people in Kansas City to purchase them.

Quote:


Applying the modified aacplus they use for IBOC into a DAB system (which would be on-par with DAB+ i suppose) would be a pretty simple method.

In one sentence you talk about the advantage of using receivers right off the shelf and in the next you talk about modifying them to use HD Radio's codec.

Quote:


Instead, they came up with a whole new schema on which to do it all with, then on top of that IBQ wants to get rich quick doing it. Stations with an HD2 stream have to pay a percentage of net revenue the station makes BACK to IBQ! Why would you? That can add up to thousands of dollars a month in addition to the TX costs, maintenance, etc.

And yet there are far more HD Radio stations in the world than DAB stations. Even my low-budget community stations are broadcasting it despite the crippling costs you cite. "Why would you?" you ask? It must be worth it.

Quote:


HD does have the error correction, but a lot of good that does when the signal simply is hiding behind a hill, it still goes away. It does no good really in the long run, considering it's broadcast. Same method applies to any RF signal.

Are you really saying that error correction in a broadcast digital signal "does no good really in the long run"? That's utterly incorrect! When I receive an HDTV television signal at home, 10%-20% of the data is being recovered entirely through error correction. It is absolutely necessary for reliable reception even in line-of-sight situations. Why do you think they added it in DAB+???

Quote:


You want to see a better hybrid, look at FMeXtra.

You really are not familiar with the technical aspects of digital transmission. There is absolutely nothing "better" about FMeXtra from a technical standpoint. Everything about it is worse. It tries to add a single low bit rate digital channel as a subcarrier service. That means it relies entirely on the quality of the analog signal. When the analog FM signal begins to fail, FMeXtra completely fails. When you get it a little annoying multipath in the analog signal, FMeXtra completely fails. This is simply the least reliable hybrid system anyone could design. That's why there are no FMeXtra receivers and no widespread adoption of it.

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post #24 of 133 Old 05-07-2012, 06:44 AM
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In regards to streaming, personally I don't have a smart phone, nor do I have any desire to pay for one. I have no need for an electronic tether for people to nag me all day. The previous statement holds especially true when I'm in a car.

Not everyone in the US has access to high speed internet. I spent 15 years in MI without any feasible access to HS internet, stuc on dial up until 3 years ago when I moved to SC and had access to cable and DSL.

HD radio doesn't cost me any subscription fee. Internet does.

Now, what I was really going to mention here, was that Onkyo has dropped their Universal Port from their entire 2012 model-line of AV receivers, thus rendering their U-port add-on HD radio module completely obsolete.
This saddens me, since that means the only way to get HD radio, and Audyssey XT32/BassEQ both in one AV unit, is to buy their current 2011 top of the line TX-NR5009 receiver, for $2800+
Prior to the 2012 line, quite a few of their receivers had the universal port for the HD radio tuner add-on. I haven't seen any affordable options for a separate HD tuner option, and if I do, it'll take an entire input on my AVR.

My question is this.. What the hell, Onkyo!?? haha

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post #25 of 133 Old 05-10-2012, 09:15 PM
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I already recommend to friends to avoid Onkyo receivers now because of a lot of heat-related failures over the last several years, but now you have told me of another good reason. My receiver now is an Onkyo TX-SR876, which I bought specifically because it has HD Radio built in.

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post #26 of 133 Old 05-13-2012, 06:57 PM
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I havent listened for a while, but when I turned on my HD radio tonight (Little Rock market), there were NO HD stations on at all. I get all the analog ones, but all the HD Radio stations are gone. Did 3 scans for HD, and nothing. Waste of money.

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post #27 of 133 Old 05-14-2012, 08:45 AM
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I love Onkyo AV receivers, in spite of some of their issues of late, since nobody else has anything even close to Onkyo in regards to features for the same price. Denon has a good AVR as well, but the amplifier stage isn't as good as onkyo's in regards to SQ, and if you want matching features/inputs/etc, you pay at least a grand more for the same thing. Shame nobody else has anything to compete.

Anyway yeah Onkyo had HD radio built in for a year, then went to Universal port for iPod dock and HD radio, and now has gone to USB for iPod/phone dock, and dropped the U-port entirely.
I've not heard as of yet if they will put HD radio back in as an integrated feature for 2012 models yet. I guess we'll wait and see when the NR1010/3010/5010 models drop.

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post #28 of 133 Old 05-14-2012, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Davenlr View Post

all the HD Radio stations are gone.

I spoke with Clear Channel Little Rock this afternoon and they assured me "only The Wolf is down right now. The rest of the HD signals are all up and running."

I spoke with Cumulus/Citadel Little Rock who assured me nothing has changed with them, either.

Walking the fine line between jaw-dropping and a plain ol' yawn.
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post #29 of 133 Old 05-14-2012, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by GlassWolf View Post

I love Onkyo AV receivers, in spite of some of their issues of late, since nobody else has anything even close to Onkyo in regards to features for the same price.

My Onkyo SR606 burnt up in a matter of months due to Onkyo not understanding that heatsinks should not be covered with other PC boards. Since then I've avoided their products. I replaced it with a cheap Yamaha receiver does everything I want and sounds just as good as the Onkyo ever did.

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post #30 of 133 Old 05-14-2012, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by scowl View Post

My Onkyo SR606 burnt up in a matter of months due to Onkyo not understanding that heatsinks should not be covered with other PC boards. Since then I've avoided their products. I replaced it with a cheap Yamaha receiver does everything I want and sounds just as good as the Onkyo ever did.

I have two Onkyo AVRs (DS797 and NR5009) and two Integras (DTR-7.1 and 6.8) and haven't had that sort of problem at all. I do realize a couple models have had a lot of problems, though. I'm sorry you wound up with one of them.
It's sad when a bad experience like that sours you on a brand. I personally despise Sony, Kenwood, and Bose for similar reasons, although my issues with them span a 20 year period of failures or lousy products. Yamaha was one I actually considered along with Denon when I chose my Onkyo units. I like a lot of their offerings.

-GlassWolf
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