Best AVR for ~$500.00 or under. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 03-31-2011, 06:54 PM - Thread Starter
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So recently I've been on the research hunt, I did some searching and there wasn't much recent talk about receiver comparison at this price point.

If you were given $500 dollars, what receiver would you get and why? I'm in these shoes, and before I drop $500 I'm looking for any last opinions I can get to persuade me one way or another.

Another note, is it worth waiting around for a few weeks/a month to see what new 2011 models come out that would hopefully drop the price of the 2010 models?

Thanks.
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post #2 of 19 Old 03-31-2011, 07:24 PM
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If audio quality is important to you and are willing to increase your budget by $100 the. Get the NAD T747 from audio advisor. It is an awesome receiver for that money.
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post #3 of 19 Old 03-31-2011, 07:41 PM
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Well it depends on what you are looking for as far as features.
Are you wanting
1) 5.1 or 7.1
2) How many HDMI ports do you need?
3) Do you want internet conn. such as Pandora and etc?
4) A great G.U.I ( on screen display ) or just a "basic"? * This is just a personal thing
5) How many watts are you needing for your speakers? * If no amp amp/needed that is
6) Does size matter? Such as is there a HxWxD max to fit into a cabinet?

Its not a bad thing to wait if you have time but sometimes if you wait untill the next gen. models come out all the "good" A/V's are usally sold out buy then... just a thought thou.
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post #4 of 19 Old 03-31-2011, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Well it depends on what you are looking for as far as features.
Are you wanting
Quote:


1) 5.1 or 7.1

5.1 minimum, 7.1 would be nice to have.
Quote:


2) How many HDMI ports do you need?

3 minimum, everything seems to be going to HDMI these days.
Quote:


3) Do you want internet conn. such as Pandora and etc?

Not necessary, no need/don't want to pay for any bells or whistles.
Quote:


4) A great G.U.I ( on screen display ) or just a "basic"? * This is just a personal thing

Doesn't matter how it looks, as long as it works. Rather money be spent on what's under the hood than aesthetics.
Quote:


5) How many watts are you needing for your speakers? * If no amp amp/needed that is

Well 90W seems to be the standard for around this price range, obviously higher would be nicer. Important factor is clean power, 120W rated doesn't necessarily mean true 120W.
Quote:


6) Does size matter? Such as is there a HxWxD max to fit into a cabinet?

Doesn't matter, big or little as long as it's best performer.

Quote:


Its not a bad thing to wait if you have time but sometimes if you wait untill the next gen. models come out all the "good" A/V's are usally sold out buy then... just a thought thou.

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post #5 of 19 Old 03-31-2011, 08:42 PM
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I guess everyone has thier favorites as I am "bias" as well. I have always owned th Onkyo line as they have always been a great performer for me. I have the Onkyo TX-NR808 at the moment as its an excellent receiver for my needs! If you check Vanns.com you may find a great deal on an "open box" deal in there clearance section as I did. I.M.O I vote for the Onkyo line ( as noted ) but I'm sure the Denon, Yamaha, Pioneer *(just to name a few ) are well respected as well.

Here are a few to look at: ( Keeping at $500 or under as well as wants & needs)

Onkyo:
http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-HT-RC260...627937&sr=1-10
http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-HT-RC270...628308&sr=1-12
http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-TX-SR608...1628171&sr=1-4
Newest model to replace the 608
http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-TX-NR609...1628082&sr=1-3

*out of these I would go with either the RC260 or 608 as it would be the best bang for the $. The Rc260 is the same as the 608 but with just a few less "gizmos" like THX cert. and such

Denon:
*Last yrs model but a good one I believe
http://www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/it...enon-avr2309ci
/www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/item/clearance/538557121/denon-avr1611
http://www.amazon.com/Denon-AVR-1911...1628372&sr=1-1

* out of these I would go with last years model 2309 or the 1911

Pioneer:
http://www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/it...oneer-vsx1120k
http://www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/it...oneer-vsx1020k
*I would go with the 1120 if I had to choose

Yamaha:
http://www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/it...amaha-rxa700bl
http://www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/it...yamaha-rx-v667
* I believe these are very good out of the Yamaha line

Note: I just thought I would give you some ideas of AV's out there as others can commnet on the other lines as I can only reccomend the Onkyo line. Other's may have a better idea or give you thier experiances with each line.

Good luck in the search!
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post #6 of 19 Old 03-31-2011, 08:56 PM
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I was looking for the same thing. Two strong choices seem to be the Denon 1911. Prices seem to be creaping up, but not hard to find under $400. If you look on the threads you can see if the "step up" features are worth it to you.
Also, A4l has the Onkyo refurb rc-180 for $400. Almost sold out. From what I can see, that is a great deal for the features it has. In terms of features for under $500, the RC-180 could be the best bet now. I have read about problems with Onkyo reliability, which may be why this unit is so heavily discounted. Or, maybe it is just a terrific deal? Who knows for sure. There are a few sites that sell older model and/or refubished Denons. If you become familiar with older models, you might find a good deal. Checking the 2011 denon thread, a denon could be avalable for around $500 with audessy XT, if you think that is worth it.
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post #7 of 19 Old 04-01-2011, 06:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Some good stuff skally and David HT guy.

I've been beating my head against a wall looking at most of the same stuff. I really hate when things are "subjective" but that seems to be the case, usually there is always an underlying reason something is better than another.

I'm likely to pick up a refurbished/open box one myself. A lot of this is coming down to where/when I can find the best deal it seems. I personally have a little bias towards Yamaha because it's what my Dad swears by and having heard his system, it's exceptionally nice. Granted - he has like the $1,000+ model.
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post #8 of 19 Old 04-01-2011, 06:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostcode View Post

Some good stuff skally and David HT guy.

I've been beating my head against a wall looking at most of the same stuff. I really hate when things are "subjective" but that seems to be the case, usually there is always an underlying reason something is better than another.

I'm likely to pick up a refurbished/open box one myself. A lot of this is coming down to where/when I can find the best deal it seems. I personally have a little bias towards Yamaha because it's what my Dad swears by and having heard his system, it's exceptionally nice. Granted - he has like the $1,000+ model.

Then look for a deal on the Yamaha 867. Lots of features for the money. Call different authorized vendors and ask for their best price. You may be able to get a very good AVR for a better price than you think.
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post #9 of 19 Old 04-01-2011, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by phantom52 View Post

Then look for a deal on the Yamaha 867. Lots of features for the money. Call different authorized vendors and ask for their best price. You may be able to get a very good AVR for a better price than you think.

I second this ^, along with other lines (Onkyo & Denon too) that have pre-outs like the NAD someone posted above. But even better (better being very subjective), Onkyo & Yamaha have a few offerings that pop up on sale for right at the $500 mark, and they not only include pre-outs, but are 7.2 and also have Ethernet connections, Audessey (Onkyo) or other "advanced processing", and their output ratings are from 90-135wpc (2ch)...along with a bunch of other whistles and bells. If you look around and bide your time, you can do much better than what you're about to settle for because of what you perceive to be the box you're stuck in because of budget.
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post #10 of 19 Old 04-01-2011, 07:29 AM
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I third Phantoms suggestion. He steered me to the 765 last year on closeout from newegg. I could not be happier with yamaha's products.
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post #11 of 19 Old 04-01-2011, 08:28 AM
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Check out the NAD T747 thread for some actual power output measurements before you believe the advertised power ratings for various receivers. In my opinion, the T747 belongs in the league of $1200+ receivers and it is on sale for a ridiculous price. Of course if you crave all kinds of DSP options and Ethernet etc the go for the other brands. But for sonic quality and support of 7.1 lossless Audio through 4 hdmi 1.3 inputs, get the NAD T747 while it lasts.
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post #12 of 19 Old 04-01-2011, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bommai View Post

Check out the NAD T747 thread for some actual power output measurements before you believe the advertised power ratings for various receivers. In my opinion, the T747 belongs in the league of $1200+ receivers and it is on sale for a ridiculous price. Of course if you crave all kinds of DSP options and Ethernet etc the go for the other brands. But for sonic quality and support of 7.1 lossless Audio through 4 hdmi 1.3 inputs, get the NAD T747 while it lasts.

First, let me preface this with a "meant in a friendly...and of course, opinionated way" .

I think NAD makes awesome quality stuff....but I've also been around the block. This is largely what the audiophile world is about. Guys (mostly), chasing unrealistic expectations of purity via buying into non-mainstream AV gear, when the the most unfortunate fact that is forgotten is that, as human beings, our hearing potential is quite limited. Yes, some here will claim to have the hearing that is akin to Superman's, but the truth is....it ain't so. Double blind tests prove this every day of the week. While oscilloscopes and such can provide differences in speaker wire, sound waves, etc., our hearing cannot. I repeat, our hearing is limited and cannot differentiate between many offerings at higher price ranges, but our minds will damn sure do it for us.

Bottom line...and my opinion, of course: The NAD featured doesn't offer the whistles and bells (like Audessey!) that many home owners are looking for in a HTS system they're creating. Of course, you'll get a great quality AVR with the NAD, but bragging to your wife and friends about the purity & quality of a NAD will be lost on almost anyone when compared to the offerings of the ...tsk, tsk..mainstream brands.
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post #13 of 19 Old 04-01-2011, 11:55 AM
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^^^ No doubt that the NAD is a very nice AVR, especially for the price its going for at this time. It does seem from reading the thread that it does have some funky quirks with the video processing part of it. After reading much of that thread(thank you bommai for bringing to my attention) if you are willing to put up with those it seems that most are very happy with them. But there are also some that were disappointed in the video capabilities. These quirks were also mentioned in several professional test and reviews. I think I'll stick to the "mainstream" brands for now. That to me is either the Denon's or Yamaha's. JMHO.
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post #14 of 19 Old 04-01-2011, 12:21 PM
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The Yamaha 867 is on sale at Crutchfield for an excellent price. Its over your $500 but well worth the price difference. As a matter of fact IIRC it was only $50 more than the 667. Free shipping. Also check its price tomorrow at Newegg. Good luck for whomever wants one of these.
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post #15 of 19 Old 04-01-2011, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbx123 View Post

First, let me preface this with a "meant in a friendly...and of course, opinionated way" .

I think NAD makes awesome quality stuff....but I've also been around the block. This is largely what the audiophile world is about. Guys (mostly), chasing unrealistic expectations of purity via buying into non-mainstream AV gear, when the the most unfortunate fact that is forgotten is that, as human beings, our hearing potential is quite limited. Yes, some here will claim to have the hearing that is akin to Superman's, but the truth is....it ain't so. Double blind tests prove this every day of the week. While oscilloscopes and such can provide differences in speaker wire, sound waves, etc., our hearing cannot. I repeat, our hearing is limited and cannot differentiate between many offerings at higher price ranges, but our minds will damn sure do it for us.

Bottom line...and my opinion, of course: The NAD featured doesn't offer the whistles and bells (like Audessey!) that many home owners are looking for in a HTS system they're creating. Of course, you'll get a great quality AVR with the NAD, but bragging to your wife and friends about the purity & quality of a NAD will be lost on almost anyone when compared to the offerings of the ...tsk, tsk..mainstream brands.

Funny you mentioned the wife. My wife is the one that told me the NAD T744 (predecessor to T747) sounded so natural and flawless (in her words). I bought it used for $150 on craigslist. While I have listened to pre-amp, amps of NAD at my brother's home, I have never listened to their AV receiver before. When I found one for $150 I jumped at the chance. My jaw dropped when it kept up with my HK AVR 745 (the 2006 flagship). If I did not have the HK AVR 745, I would have easily bought the T747. All the bells and whistles won't help against a crappy receiver. You need good speakers and good amp. The T747 does have room equalization and calibration. You can calibrate it just like the other main stream brands.

It also has 4 HDMI 1.3 ports. It does something funky with the video in that it does not truly pass through. Instead it sends it to the maximum capability of the display. It bitstreams and supports 7.1 PCM. It has optical, coax inputs, it has 7.1 analog inputs. If you are truly obsessive about the video, just get a bluray player with twin HDMI outputs like the oppo 93 or Panasonic 300/350/310!

The original poster wanted to listen to music also. The NAD will blow away the other recommendations here for music. Guess what - I think the OP should take a chance and buy the NAD T747 from AudioAdvisor - they take returns without restocking fee. If he/she is not impressed, just send it back. It is the cost of this hobby!!!
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post #16 of 19 Old 04-01-2011, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bommai View Post

Funny you mentioned the wife. My wife is the one that told me the NAD T744 (predecessor to T747) sounded so natural and flawless (in her words).

O'rly? . I must have married the wrong woman, because my wife wouldn't even realize if I painted our house a different color while she was at work. Semi serious. Congrats.......I think.

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Guess what - I think the OP should take a chance and buy the NAD T747 from AudioAdvisor -

I'm shocked!
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post #17 of 19 Old 04-01-2011, 02:13 PM
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One thing to consider is the height or wide speaker channel option. On a Denon or Onkyo, you need to have Audyssey DSX or Prologic IIZ. Pioneer and Yamaha probably have their own versions of these. A guy who seemed very knowledgeable at a high end shop told me that with good front and center speakers that have a very wide sound stage, the height/wide speakers probably may not make that much of a difference. But, for speakers more typical of when most people have, the heights/wide would be noticeable. Anyway, although some people claim no difference with these extra speakers, my reasoning is to have these features so that at least you have the option of adding the extra speakers.
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post #18 of 19 Old 04-01-2011, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David HT guy View Post

One thing to consider is the height or wide speaker channel option. On a Denon or Onkyo, you need to have Audyssey DSX or Prologic IIZ. Pioneer and Yamaha probably have their own versions of these. A guy who seemed very knowledgeable at a high end shop told me that with good front and center speakers that have a very wide sound stage, the height/wide speakers probably may not make that much of a difference. But, for speakers more typical of when most people have, the heights/wide would be noticeable. Anyway, although some people claim no difference with these extra speakers, my reasoning is to have these features so that at least you have the option of adding the extra speakers.

If you read what Audyssey states on their website they note that the biggest difference maker is DSX wide mode. I haven't heard it, only read it. Don't know what Pioneer calls theirs but with the Yamaha's, its presence setting.
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post #19 of 19 Old 04-01-2011, 03:20 PM
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I saw that on the Audyssey site. To make matters more complicated, the height placement for Audyssey DSX and Prologic IIZ are different. Audyssey's height position is much wider than Prologic. That might be why Audyssey claims that wide should come before height. Maybe with their recommended speaker placement, height does not add that much more to the sound if you are already using wide? I don't use wides, but my system passes the dog test. I love it when I am watching a movie and in the movie there is a knock at the door, and my dog goes to my front door and starts barking!
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