best 2-channel receiver.. what do i do? (denon, yamaha or nad.. or other?) - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 6 Old 02-12-2010, 09:53 PM - Thread Starter
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I know this is a very subjective question. Therefore, I will propose it as such -

You have two B&W floorstanding speakers of high quality and a velodyne minivee.

You have no plans of moving into a 4.1, 5.1 or 7.1 in any sort of the near future. This is not debatable.

What receiver would you go for under 500? under 1k? under 2k?

(I have been told to look entirely within 2-channel receivers)

two that i've looked at so far are the denon avr-697ci and the yamaha rx-797 (which i'm leaning towards). but i'd like some feedback on other options like the NAD (C 725BEE), etc. I'd also be interested in a suggestion from a different era.

thanks for your help.

(uses would be tape player (minimum), blu ray (most), phono (lots), ipod (lots) and cable (not so much).

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post #2 of 6 Old 02-12-2010, 10:17 PM
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Some of the old powerhouses from the past to look at are from Pioneer Sansui and Kenwood. The 160wpc Kenwood KR-9600 comes to mind for me being a longtime Kenwood fan (not the new stuff thank you very much) and owning more than a few of their 60-120wpc stereo receivers. A decent KR-9600 can be had for under $1000. They are tanks.
Pioneer built some good ones as well. Start with the SX-1250 and 1280. The Pioneer SX-1980 was the beast of the 70s - having 270wpc. It also weighed nearly 80 pounds.

They don't make em like they used to. When they don't work now we toss em. These old receivers are fixable.

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post #3 of 6 Old 02-13-2010, 02:15 AM
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Up until last month I had a 100 wpc Denon DRA 685 receiver as my bedroom receiver. (I just moved and it's in the closet at the moment.) I think it sounds great. - The Dra 697ci you're considering is a newer and improved take on the DRA 685.

It's been a while and things can change but, fwiw > When I bought my DRA 685 (maybe like 7 or 8 years ago?), I was also able to bring home what was then Yamaha's directly competing receiver (similar price; similar watts and specs) to see which one I wanted. I ran them both with Polk RT5 bookshelf speakers (2 way; 6½ inch woofer and actually very nice speakers that sound much bigger than they look.). I thought the Denon was way better than that particular Yamaha. The Denon just sounded bigger with more authority and much better bass while maintaining very nice and clear mids and highs. By comparison that particular Yamaha sounded thin and flat. The Denon also seemed to image better. Again, as I said, it's been a while.
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post #4 of 6 Old 02-13-2010, 03:52 AM
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I always find the Yamaha's a bit edgy sounding. Don't know why. It may be some internal bias from when they first changed to IC's from discrete back in the 70's, they were really harsh compared to Denon or Marantz. Prefer the Denon or Onk for mid-range stuff, but the newer Denons just don't seem to cut it like the used to. My old DRA 35 is more musical than my big 2800.
I have not had much luck in finding a really nice small receiver to replace my old NAD 7224 that finally gave up the ghost. Looks like I may go integrated with a tuner. ( Lots of perfectly good $10 tuners on e-bay. With the horrible broadcast quality these days, they all work fine). Cambridge, Arcam, NAD, Creek, etc. All under 1K.
If used, try to not get one too old so you don't need to recap. There was a Rotel about one generation back that should be very good. If you go back as far as a Lux 117 or so, then you get into aging problems.

For any choice, if you need more than 100W or so, no receiver from any time will cut it like a half-decent power amp. The big monsters from the past mentioned above were great IN THEIR DAY. In truth, the typical modern chip-amp will blow their doors off for musicality. Many of them are so old as to have analog tuners, and anything more than 7 to 10 years old needs new power supply caps.
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post #5 of 6 Old 02-13-2010, 06:48 AM
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you might also want to consider the HK stereo receivers .. the 33XX and 34XX series.. the 33 series is usually 90wpc at 8 ohms and the 34 is 120wpc at 8 ohms both are 4ohm stable, so you're able to drive some harder to drive speakers.
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post #6 of 6 Old 02-13-2010, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by coolsax View Post

you might also want to consider the HK stereo receivers .. the 33XX and 34XX series.. the 33 series is usually 90wpc at 8 ohms and the 34 is 120wpc at 8 ohms both are 4ohm stable, so you're able to drive some harder to drive speakers.

I agree. At a $500 price point you're pretty much confined to the big Japanese brands. But Harman Kardon builds some pretty robust power supplies into their receivers at reasonable prices. They've followed the philosophy of Matti Otala who espoused a high current / high slew rate design to minimize TIM. As a result, their amplifiers tend to be pretty robust and actually meet their rated power specs in real world use. They can also handle complex loads better than your average mass market product. Their 3490 is $350 on the web and packs 120W @ 8ohms / 150W @ 4 ohms. HK sells an optional iPod dock and XM radio receiver that can expand your sources. It also incorporates Dolby headphone and Dolby virtual speaker to simulate surround from two speakers. Not a bad deal and well under your price ceiling.

I'm using one of their flagship AVR's (AVR 7300) for switching & processing and to drive my center, surround, and rear speakers. It's a solid machine and weighs in at about 55 lbs mainly because of the huge dual toroidal transformers and the rest of the power supply components which include some massive heat sinks.
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