Yamaha RX-V3800 vs Sony 5300ES vs Onkyo 806 vs Denon AVR-4308ci? - AVS Forum
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Old 07-04-2008, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
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I continue to be a fence-sitter on finding the perfect A/V receiver and its holding up my plans to finish my HT, but so be it, I guess. My budget allows for $2000 on an A/V receiver. I'll be driving 7.1 speaker setup and it would be nice to have the unit with the most real-world peak power (rather than "marketing peak power") possible. I'm considering:

Sony STR-DA5300ES - I guess this is highest end AVR they make? I've seen complaints about HDMI not working correctly from some sources, such as DirecTV receivers. Oh oh. I also would rather not buy anything Sony anymore if possible (not a fan of their business practices - swindling the HD format 'war', rootkit, ATRAC, etc - if it was up to them all video and audio worldwide would be DRM'd, encrypted and in their proprietary format and only they would hold the key).

Onkyo 806 (need that extra HDMI input over the 606). More than twice the weight of the Onkyo 606, and higher peak output. At the $1000 pricepoint its cheap enough to just keep upgrading every year or two, to the newest model versus going with a much more expensive Yamaha or Denon. Onkyo seems like the price/performance champion overall and hopefully in the x06 series it doesn't get hot enough to fry eggs on like previous generations. I assume its going to be Toroidal P/S again, and its heavier than the Denon so people say you can't go wrong with more weight in an amp.

Integra: Even worth considering? I can't really see any diffs in specs to Onkyo so it seems like paying extra for the label to say "Integra" instead of "Onkyo". I get the feeling Integra is targeted at the "custom installation" demographic where installers will sell for more basically the same stuff that Onkyo stuffs in its boxes.

Yamaha RX-V3800 (can't really see value in going higher to the RX-Z11 since at $5k you could just get a new Onkyo 80x every year and stay current on latest tech advancements). I've seen unfavorable reviews that Yamaha has less real-world power output than Onkyo.

Denon 4308ci (Only Denon receiver under $2k - next model up is way more). Denon strikes me as the "BMW" of A/V receivers, but I'm not sure that its that much of a badge of honor to have when its tucked away in my A/V closet. This $2500 receiver appears to be available around $1500 on ebay and elsewhere.

Am I missing any contenders worthy of $2000 pricepoint, give or take a few hundred? Any opinions between these models? I think it's come down to Onkyo 806 (or any Onkyo model above it - having Reon scaler would be nice) vs Denon 4808ci.

Thanks
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Old 07-05-2008, 02:17 PM
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I evaluated most of those options recently, and settled on a Pioneer Elite VSX-94TXH. You might consider adding it to your list of choices, as I believe it's in the same class as the Yamaha, Onkyo, and Sony you listed. The Denon is in another class, and of those listed probably has the highest output when driving 5 or 7 channels simultaneously.

It's not uncommon, as you may know, for a receiver rated 140Wx7 to put out 68-80 watts per channel when all 7 channels are driven. This is a limitation of the power supply more than anything else, and isn't a problem in real-world performance because the surrounds and back surrounds are used so infrequently and for short bursts of action. If something is rated 140Wx7, it probably will drive a good 120Wx3 into the front left, right, and center channels where the power is used most frequently.

Dunno about the Onkyo vs. Integra decision. I've read the amplifier sections on the Integra are beefier, but have no personal experience with them.

Greg

p.s. I've had the VSX-94TXH for about three weeks now, and I love it. A huge upgrade over my Yamaha RX-V2500 in terms of capability, and comparable sound (which I loved on the Yamaha).

p.p.s. That 48 TB library is awesome. I built several 16-drive SuperMicro chassis servers for my web hosting business, and am considering the 24-slot chassis for a disk-to-disk backup server upgrade. Nice stuff!
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Old 07-05-2008, 02:33 PM
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Your list is pretty similar to mine.
The main difference is, instead of the Sony ES, I have the Pioneer SC-07 on my list. Don't get me wrong, I currently own a Sony ES that I've had for ten years now. It has worked flawlessly. For reasons you cite, as well as a few of my own, I refuse to buy anything with a Sony logo. (Except for the PS3 which I use solely as a $300 Blu-Ray player)

With the advent of all the new HD channels on DirecTV, and the associated DD 5.1 audio, the volume on commercials has become unbearable.

This has resulted in putting some sort of integrated Volume Leveling at the top of my list. The only receivers I know where this exists for sure are the new Denon xx09 series. Unfortunately, the highest wattage model (AVR-2809) is quite a bit less than what I was looking for. This made me start to think, why not buy a lower output receiver (AVR-1909) along with a mid range amp from Emotiva or Outlaw. This would allow me to spend $600 for a receiver now, with Volume Leveling, and then in a year or two when all these HD codec issues get straightened out, spend a couple of grand for something I can keep long term. Problem is, the 1909 doesn't have pre outs. So, I looked at the Pioneer 1018 which has pre outs. Problem is, it doesn't appear to have Volume Leveling. It has something called ALC, but based on the 1018 thread, no one has posted this is effective for commercials. This gives me little confidence the SC-07 will be any different.

All this has lead me to wait and see. The Integra 9.8 thread has reports of a new 9.9 coming out in August. Possibly it will have Volume Leveling. Who knows ?

Then I start to think, Denon will surely come out with new xx09 models to replace their high end xx08 models. Maybe just wishful thinking on my part.

The Onkyo seems interesting, but the reports of overheating have me a bit concerned. I'll have my receiver directly under a 60" Kuro Plasma which reportedly puts out about 400 watts on its own. (Maybe all this would be okay if I lived in Alaska)

Needless to say, I'm not sure what I'm going to do at the moment.

BTW, I'm no fanboy of Audyssey so "Volume Leveling" could be called something else by some other receiver manufacturer. That just happens to be the Audyssey term for it.

EDIT: I just went to the Audyssey and they call it "Dynamic Volume" not Volume Leveling.

- John
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Old 07-05-2008, 05:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammong View Post

p.p.s. That 48 TB library is awesome. I built several 16-drive SuperMicro chassis servers for my web hosting business, and am considering the 24-slot chassis for a disk-to-disk backup server upgrade. Nice stuff!

Greg you have no idea how great the 24-slot chassis is - especially for the $970 price point. I bought one for home when I could first get my hands on it in January from Ingram Micro, and then bought the second one, and when combined with a Supermicro motherboard all the connections and fan headers and functionality like fan speed control fit like a glove. I have bought two for work, and have started buying the 12-bay chassis for work as well since they're cheaper than buying DL380's and using overpriced 2.5" SAS drives.

Combined with an Adaptec 5-series card or Areca's newest generation of cards, and leveraging the cheap cost of 3.5" storage (i.e. even an enterprise grade Seagate is less than $200 for 1Tb) it's good times for mondo storage with these Supermicro chassis.
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Old 07-05-2008, 10:52 PM
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Sounds like you do about the same stuff I do. I got two racks of DL380 G2/G3/G4 servers, some DL580s, and I'd like to replace the whole bunch of them with Supermicro chassis and off-the-shelf drives. My days of spending $475 for a 300GB drive are over. Have you fiddled with SuperMicro's IPMI card with the KVM over IP? Good stuff!

I've been using 3Ware 9650SE controllers lately, they seem to do the job. Wish I could get the I2O cable I need to get the backplane hard drive status lights to work. The drive activity lights work fine, but the status lights for drive failure/etc don't.

The glaring question I got in the back of my mind is ... how much data do you actually have on that array? If I ripped all of my Blu-Ray and DVD content, I wouldn't be more than a couple of terabytes.

Greg
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Old 07-06-2008, 12:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by hammong View Post

Sounds like you do about the same stuff I do. I got two racks of DL380 G2/G3/G4 servers, some DL580s, and I'd like to replace the whole bunch of them with Supermicro chassis and off-the-shelf drives. My days of spending $475 for a 300GB drive are over. Have you fiddled with SuperMicro's IPMI card with the KVM over IP? Good stuff!

I've been using 3Ware 9650SE controllers lately, they seem to do the job. Wish I could get the I2O cable I need to get the backplane hard drive status lights to work. The drive activity lights work fine, but the status lights for drive failure/etc don't.

The glaring question I got in the back of my mind is ... how much data do you actually have on that array? If I ripped all of my Blu-Ray and DVD content, I wouldn't be more than a couple of terabytes.

Greg

Yeah I messed with the IPMI daughtercard on the Supermicro X7DWN+ motherboard I've been buying with this 24-bay chassis. I realized quickly I kind of never needed it. For the ones I bought at work, I already have them connected to an IP-based KVM switchbox (by Startech - most cost effective IP over KVM there is) and so IPMI is kind of redundant. Only time IPMI really pays for itself is if you colocate the box into a datacenter and its a pain to get physical access.

As far as what I store - its not even halfway full ; the project was intended to see how big I could build -- see the link in my sig for more info.
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Old 07-06-2008, 03:45 PM
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I wonder what they improved with the 806? I am totally new to using my receiver to transfer video signals to my tv. Does this receiver act as a hdmi switcher or does it enhance the quality signal to the tv? It is hard to believe that the signal from your satellite won't be reduced by going through the receiver first.
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Old 07-06-2008, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
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I wonder what they improved with the 806? I am totally new to using my receiver to transfer video signals to my tv. Does this receiver act as a hdmi switcher or does it enhance the quality signal to the tv? It is hard to believe that the signal from your satellite won't be reduced by going through the receiver first.

These days AVR's aren't touching your signal in the process of switching it unless you program it to upconvert to 1080p any signals it detects as being less than 1080p (i.e. a DVD source).

BTW, I had to laugh when you said "it's hard to believe the signal from satellite won't be reduced going through receiver first". My friend, DirecTV (and assumably Dish*) already decimate the HD signal by compressing the hell out of it - check out all the macroblocking on fast motion scenes. The pet name people (I think even on AVS) came up with for satellite HD is "HD Lite" due to the fact they rather than bitrate down so low to be able to broadcast more HD Lite channels.
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Old 07-06-2008, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammong View Post

p.s. I've had the VSX-94TXH for about three weeks now, and I love it. A huge upgrade over my Yamaha RX-V2500 in terms of capability, and comparable sound (which I loved on the Yamaha).

Can you elaborate a little more on this? I have a rxv1600 running a 7.1 deftech mythos ST setup. Just had to exchange my xbox360 because of the 3 rings of death (gotta love the best buy exchange warranty!) and the new xbox has HDMI. I now find myself 1 HDMI input short and wanted to replace the reciever anyway for DTS:MA and TrueHD decoding. SO....

THe question is how do you compare the pioneer sound? How about setup? Features? How is the "feel" of menu's when your used to yamaha?

Thanks!
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Old 07-09-2008, 08:00 AM
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bump...hammong??
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Old 07-09-2008, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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yeah hammong.. i'd be interested to know too.

by the way, I keep going back to the idea of a pre-amp and amp as the ideal setup - something like the Integra-9.8 + it's associated amp, or some other combination. The idea of being able to invest in a good amp that won't need an upgrade every year or two like an AVR does as new techs and features roll out seems beneficial. In other words being able to upgrade them independently of one another as things like upscaling/signal processing chips improve over time, etc.
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Old 07-09-2008, 04:47 PM
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I've been looking at about the same models the past few months while deciding what to get.

Unless you want the WiFi connection, HD Radio, or that tiny bit of extra power, you may want to consider the Denon 3808 instead of the 4308.

Unfortunately for me I actually want the WiFi and HD radio (makes a huge difference for AM which I do listen to), but can't justify the extra $900 when a network cable will cost me nothing (have one laying around and can bridge to WiFi via my HTPC) and a decent HD radio tuner is only $100. That and I rather spend an extra $900 on the speakers which will last me much longer.
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Old 07-09-2008, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by odditory View Post

yeah hammong.. i'd be interested to know too.

by the way, I keep going back to the idea of a pre-amp and amp as the ideal setup - something like the Integra-9.8 + it's associated amp, or some other combination. The idea of being able to invest in a good amp that won't need an upgrade every year or two like an AVR does as new techs and features roll out seems beneficial. In other words being able to upgrade them independently of one another as things like upscaling/signal processing chips improve over time, etc.

Solid theory! I might look into this too. THere is an outlaw 7125 on ebay for $700. What prepro are you looking at? I/ve never researched those. I take it they are generally much cheaper than a new format reciever?
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