Is it really worth upgrade to HDMI AVR? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 03-16-2011, 09:03 AM - Thread Starter
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My current AVR is a Yamaha RX-V1000, which was a mid range unit at the time going back 7-8 years I guess. It supports 5.1 with about 85W / channel which is sufficient for my needs. I am running all Paradyne speakers with a massive SVS sub. I'm happy with the sound quality.

My inputs include:
- blueray DVD
- Wii
- uVerse DVR

So only 2 HDMI sources.

It isn't a problem for me to switch the TV between sources rather than integrate into the AVR. In fact, I have the main uVerse unit sound output going directly to the TV as well as the AVR and most of the time watching normal TV shows we just use the speakers in the TV.

Although old, the Yamaha does support dolby digital. I only have one input device that can output a digital signal anyway - the DVD player. The uVerse box is just stereo out.

So other than aggregating my HDMI cables, is there any tangible benefit to moving to a newer AVR that supports HDMI and some of the latest sound encoding standards? Is there something beyond dolby digital that is going to really drive me to upgrade? I don't care to move beyond a 5.1 speaker set-up the way the room is configured it just wouldn't make much sense. It is not a dedicated AV room, it is also our living room.

Any feedback?
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post #2 of 8 Old 03-16-2011, 09:32 AM
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You don't have to move to an HDMI AVR. There are some things that become better if you do.

1. Room correction. The more modern room correction functions (Audyssey, et.al) are effective at compensating for room maladies, making your sound better.

2. Component source up conversion. If the video chip is advanced enough, some AVRs are capable at taking an input signal and upconverting well.

3. Lower number of cables. Makes life simpler.

4. Newer technology. Moderns AVRs can decode lossless sound (TrueHD, DTS-HD-MA) when fed a bitstreamed source. 3D may not matter now, may later.

5. Some AVRs provide firmware upgrades via network.

6. Streaming music to the AVR. Some can get music from the network, with a server based on a PC or network hard drive. You can use MP3's or lossless formats like FLAC on SOME AVRs.

7. Different speaker options. Some new AVRs have the ability to add 'wide' or 'height' speakers, adding sound to the frontal three speakers.

8. Control of the AVR from an iPod / iPhone and streaming music from them through a bluetooth device.

Again, you have to judge if the newer features are worth the upgrade. The room correction feature for me was key, as well as the lossless formats.

You can get the lossless formats on your current AVR, though by running 5.1 analog cables from your Bluray player to your current AVR, but only if your bluray player provides 5.1 analog out connections, and if the Bluray player decodes TrueHD and DTS-HD-MA internally.

This can only be done on the analog lines, since digital connections outside of HDMI can't carry the signals. Your AVR doesn't decode those signals anyways, so you're stuck with analog.
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post #3 of 8 Old 03-16-2011, 02:28 PM - Thread Starter
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isnt dolby digital decoded in my AVR?

Are these HD formats really any better for a 5.1 set-up?

Like I said, I have no interest in moving to 7.1.
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post #4 of 8 Old 03-16-2011, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C4RACER View Post

isnt dolby digital decoded in my AVR?

Are these HD formats really any better for a 5.1 set-up?

Like I said, I have no interest in moving to 7.1.

You would be hard pressed to notice the difference in the sound. The convenience is another topic though. Also it doesn't matter if you choose a 7.1/2 AVR if you decide to get a newer model. The EQ programs today will calibrate however many speakers are connected. The difference in the EQ programs is that some will EQ your sub(s) and others won't. Audyssey Multi-EQ and up will. Yamaha's new Aventage series with YPAO A2000/A3000 will also EQ subs. Pioneers MCACC will not EQ subs in any form IIRC. Hope this helps in some way.
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post #5 of 8 Old 03-16-2011, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C4RACER View Post

isnt dolby digital decoded in my AVR?

Are these HD formats really any better for a 5.1 set-up?

Like I said, I have no interest in moving to 7.1.

Dolby Digital is, but the lossless formats are supersets of those. TrueHD and DTS-HD-MA are formats that reproduce all of the sound in a movie or song. The 'lossy' formats like DD, DTS have lost some of the information in the encoding that was done to put out that format.

The fact is that a good lossy format encode can be very close to a lossless version, and overall, you'll be pretty happy with either. I like the lossless formats because they are better, and I can be sure no music or sound is lost. Whatever floats your boat, it's not a killer difference.

Like I said, if you do want the lossless formats, the way to do it with your current AVR is to run the analog 5.1 connections to your AVR from a capable bluray player, and let the player decode them to PCM.

Like mentioned above, the room correction, to me is much more important.
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post #6 of 8 Old 03-16-2011, 03:05 PM
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One individual in one of the threads of this forum put in a link to rigorous testing (blind ABX) that very strongly indicated that there was negligible sound improvement with the new blu-ray codecs.

I replaced two THX receivers with new ones with HDMI and other features for the convenience. Instead of three HDMI cables to the TV, I have one from the receiver to the TV. Instead of three optical cables going into a switch box, everything is handled by the AVR. I no longer have to do switching on the optical switch box and also in the TV.
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post #7 of 8 Old 03-16-2011, 03:30 PM
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Your situation will vary but I feel for those poor chaps who thought they were upgrading from a nice AVR from a few years ago to a cheaply made lower end AVR with worse amp section just because the new one has HDMI audio processing and video switching. While I did not fall victim to it exactly, I did buy a HK AVR 7550HD recently and am close to returning it not because it is not good, but because my previous gen HK AVR 745 is equally good in the audio department.
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post #8 of 8 Old 03-16-2011, 04:03 PM
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In my own opinion, HDMI is mostly a convenience feature.

It does keep video in the digital domain, as video is now all digital at least in my setup. Otherwise, you are going digital to analog back to digital.

HDMI keeps wiring much neater, IMO.

I can't say I hear a difference in audio quality with lossless. Especially as lossy from Blu-ray is better than lossy from DVD.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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