What "Flagship" AVR? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 53 Old 06-11-2011, 07:52 AM - Thread Starter
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I am looking for a "Flagship" AVR to replace an 8 year old Pioneer Elite VSX-45TX. Loved the Pio but need HDMI switching, more power, improved surround, etc.

I have a 5.1 home theater with B&W 804's and HTM3 center. Room is approx. 20x14. 70% theater and 30% music.

Price isn't a big issue but would like to stay under $2500.

Please point me in the right direction.

Thanks for your help.
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post #2 of 53 Old 06-11-2011, 08:48 AM
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You may look at the Pioneer Elite SC-37
And maybe if you've got the time, you may wait until the successor of it will be launched, the European version(the SC-LX85) is already announced and will be available in September later in the year.

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post #3 of 53 Old 06-11-2011, 08:59 AM
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while not really a "flagship" ("real flagships", sadly, are essentially gone), the denon 4311 is a nice unit that can be had for well under the budget...

i recently acquired a denon a100 (4311 in a fancier package), and i'm rather satisfied with it...

edit: if you really wanted a "real flagship", the closest thing i can think of that would be "2011 modern" would be to pick up a denon 5308 and then plan on spending another 1400 for the upgrade when it comes out later in the year... that would pretty much be your only option, and sadly, it would cost far more than $2500... otherwise, i would have done it already...

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post #4 of 53 Old 06-11-2011, 09:47 AM
 
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The only company still making a "new flagship" every year is Integra.

The DTR 80.2 is the King of all the new receivers. Nothing out there does more than it does.

Yes the Denon 5308 is more expensive(and in some respects is possibly better, but heck...it still costs more then the 80.2), but it is LONG in the tooth.

Yamaha hasn't really released anything new in the RZ line. You can still find a few places with NIB RZ'z, but they are 2 years old(and still "current")

The Elite SC series(the SC 09TX) is still technically current, and it is also 2 years old.

So, you can pick up a "new 2 year old" Denon or Elite. I know of nobody who still has any new Yamaha RZ in a box. Or you can pick up the Integra DTR 80.2...or the(probably September???) DTR 80.3.

Also, the main reason there are no more "flagship" receivers...you can blame these two...
Integra DHC 40.2(especially its predecessor the 40.1)
Marantz AV7005 (when/if you can find one)
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post #5 of 53 Old 06-11-2011, 10:13 AM
 
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I'll be the first to suggest you might be better served stepping up to separates which would be a great fit for your speakers, which go down to 3ohms. Pre-pros have come down a long way since you were last in the market, and ditto with amps. But as a first step, many buy a receiver with pre outs to run an amp which is an even more economic way to do it.

The most bang for buck is the ID companies like Emotiva and Outlaw Audio, but I'd stay away from their pre-pros. You could pick up Emotiva's XPA-5 for 900, and spend 1000 for a decent receiver. Or Outlaw has a combo deal right now, the Marantz 5005 receiver and 7125 amp for 1299. For your room size you could even step down to the 7075 amp.

A separate amp will give your speakers more presence and quality than any receiver can and you will wonder why you waited so long!
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post #6 of 53 Old 06-11-2011, 11:00 AM
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NAD T775HD is on sale for $1299 from Audio Advisor. I have heard good things about it. I have the predecessor T763 and it rocks. If you really want true flagship, you might want to look at separates.
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post #7 of 53 Old 06-11-2011, 11:16 AM
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Sony STR-DA5600ES does quite a lot and can be had for around $1,500. I have one and am happy with it's function, for real power you will need seperates.
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post #8 of 53 Old 06-11-2011, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schan1269 View Post

The only company still making a "new flagship" every year is Integra.

The DTR 80.2 is the King of all the new receivers. Nothing out there does more than it does.

"[M]aking a 'new flagship' every year" is practically a contradiction in terms. Most would argue that a true "flagship" AVR does not get replaced every year. For that reason, as well as its ~$2500 price, the Integra 80.2 (and Onkyo 5008) is more generally a "top of the line" AVR, much like the Denon 4810CI or 4311CI, Yamaha A3000, Pioneer SC series 37, etc. But it is not really a "flagship" in the same sense that the Pioneer 09TX, Yamaha Z11, and Denon 5308CI(A) are/were undoubtedly "flagship" AVRs.

The last (and only?) truly "flagship" AVR from Onkyo/Integra was probably the $4000 NR1000 released in 2004. Its card based architecture was supposed to make it almost "future proof." But, as I recall, Onkyo did not really follow through on that implicit promise.

http://www.us.onkyo.com/model.cfm?cl...er&m=TX-NR1000
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...readid=487602/
http://www.audioholics.com/news/pres...based-receiver




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post #9 of 53 Old 06-11-2011, 01:04 PM
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Anthem MRX 700?
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post #10 of 53 Old 06-11-2011, 01:16 PM
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If you consider the Yamaha RX-Z7 to be a flagship model, then so is the A3000 (seeing how it has the same general features, and probably has a pretty similarly capable power supply.

Some would contest that the Z7 was a flagship model when you compare it to the Z11, for example. The power supply of the Z11 was obviously better.

I think the Z7 is probably adequate for most people. Adding amps did not seem to improve it in my system, anyway.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #11 of 53 Old 06-11-2011, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies!

Sorry for any confusion...

I put "Flagship" in quotes because I don't need a true flagship AVR as the term once implied. I want an AVR that is a significant upgrade from my current Pioneer Elite VSX-45TX. Not simply an upgrade in terms of HDMI switching and bells-and-whistles - by sonically.

I did some shopping today and was thinking of an Anthem MRX 500 and adding an MCA 30 for the 3 front channels. I heard a demo of the Anthem automatic room processing (ARC) and was very impressed.
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post #12 of 53 Old 06-11-2011, 05:31 PM
 
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You can get that Anthem gear for your budget? At any rate it sounds like you are not interested in ID options and might be a Canadian. Good luck!

Edit: Oh wait, I found the MSRP on that stuff, it's over your budget.
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post #13 of 53 Old 06-12-2011, 05:30 AM
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@aj...

correct as usual...

@schan...

my original post stands... don't confuse "most expensive avr a cem releases on a yearly basis" with "flagship"... it doesn't equate, in any way, shape or form...

@screen shot... any "significant sonic upgrade" that a "modern" avr will provide will be directly due to it's room correction abilities... which is a big part of the reason i pointed you towards the 4311...

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post #14 of 53 Old 06-12-2011, 06:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runnin' View Post

You can get that Anthem gear for your budget? Edit: Oh wait, I found the MSRP on that stuff, it's over your budget.

The MSRP is $3300. I am assuming I can get at least a 10% discount?

I have no problem stretching my budget a bit if I find something I really like.

At this point I am open to all suggestions.
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post #15 of 53 Old 06-12-2011, 07:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

@aj...
@screen shot... any "significant sonic upgrade" that a "modern" avr will provide will be directly due to it's room correction abilities... which is a big part of the reason i pointed you towards the 4311...

Good point. I think room correction can make a huge difference. I have been doing some reading and Anthem's ARC is very highly rated. I would like to know the differences between ARC and the higher-end Audyssey versions. I think Audyssey comes in different versions.

However, let's not forget about some of the other sound improvement features a newer AVR can have over my 8 year old Pioneer Elite - like Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD.

Finally, I know there are camps that say all amps sound the same - but real world listening and my experience supports the benefits of a beefier amp. 100wpc or so is nice but 200+ can make a difference on the very demanding sections of movies that my Pioneer could never handle.

I am reading, listening and learning. Appreciate thoughtful and experienced replies. Open to all suggestions.
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post #16 of 53 Old 06-12-2011, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Screen Shot View Post

The MSRP is $3300. I am assuming I can get at least a 10% discount?

I have no problem stretching my budget a bit if I find something I really like.

At this point I am open to all suggestions.

Are you willing to ply the secondary market? If so, you should be able to pick up an Anthem MCA 50 five channel amp for <$1000. Better yet, as you surmised, get an MCA 30 three channel amp for L/C/R, and let the MRX 500 power only Ls/Rs. An MCA 30 currently on eBay can be had for <$800.

AJ
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post #17 of 53 Old 06-12-2011, 08:56 AM
 
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If you want "near flagship", yet extremely current...

http://www.amazon.com/Denon-AVR4810C...7893768&sr=8-1 (I have one)

I almost pulled it from my basement to see if it would pass 3D. I tried an Integra DTR 8.8 before replacing it with a DHC 80.2.

The DTR 8.8 passed 3D via two 3 foot HDMI using a Samsung DLP and BD player. My home situation with the receiver in a closet(with all the other "non touch" components) made the BD -> AVR -> projector run 65 feet. It wouldn't do it.

I was tempted for about a day to try the 4810 in my living room, but it resides in the basement with a DVD-3910(I listen to SACD/DVD-A) with some OHM Walsh. Really didn't feel like messing up the magic it all created.

For what it is worth, I don't use Audyssey. I do it myself.

Also, Integra's NR1000 was so long ago(in my opinion) it no longer counted. Integra wasn't the only one that attempted card based architecture. NAD did it as well, neither did anything with it.
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post #18 of 53 Old 06-12-2011, 09:03 AM
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My vote is also for the NAD T775HD. True power,Audyssey Multi-Eq XT, and upgradable. True bargain at this time. If you want a better flavor of Audyssey then the 4311 is the only other choice. Either of these should work just fine.
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post #19 of 53 Old 06-12-2011, 10:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Screen Shot View Post

The MSRP is $3300. I am assuming I can get at least a 10% discount?

I have no problem stretching my budget a bit if I find something I really like.

At this point I am open to all suggestions.

I was curious if you were Canadian as I am, because that would make it more expensive to order gear from American Internet Direct companies, a sector in which you get most bang for buck. I will assume that you aren't interested in going that route.

I think comparing Audyssey and ARC is probably a good idea. The Anthem receivers are a new product, however, and time will tell whether they are trouble free as long as your last receiver. But I think Anthem has good customer service, and a 3 year warranty helps.
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post #20 of 53 Old 06-12-2011, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schan1269 View Post

For what it is worth, I don't use Audyssey. I do it myself.

Fair enough. However, unless you are using external amplification with a very capable outboard EQ in between AVR and amp, you cannot even approach the level of correction that Audyssey provides.

Quote:
Originally Posted by schan1269 View Post

Also, Integra's NR1000 was so long ago(in my opinion) it no longer counted. Integra wasn't the only one that attempted card based architecture. NAD did it as well, neither did anything with it.

Does that mean that NAD is still not doing anything with it?



http://nadelectronics.com/products/a...Sound-Receiver
http://nadelectronics.com/products/mdc-modules

AJ
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post #21 of 53 Old 06-12-2011, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schan1269 View Post

Integra wasn't the only one that attempted card based architecture. NAD did it as well, neither did anything with it.

Several high end products did/do it, too. My Meridian 861 underwent a number of board swap upgrades over the years although the latest, still board based, is a new hardware configuration. Also, Theta and Levinson.

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post #22 of 53 Old 06-13-2011, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Several high end products did/do it, too. My Meridian 861 underwent a number of board swap upgrades over the years although the latest, still board based, is a new hardware configuration. Also, Theta and Levinson.

Kal,

I'd love to get some advice from a contributing editor of Sterophile.

Any thoughts on this?
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post #23 of 53 Old 06-13-2011, 02:51 PM
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^^^

click on the link in his signature...

- chris

 

my build thread - updated 8-20-12 - new seating installed and projector isolation solution

 

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1332917/ccotenj-finally-gets-a-projector

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post #24 of 53 Old 06-13-2011, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schan1269 View Post

If you want "near flagship", yet extremely current...

http://www.amazon.com/Denon-AVR4810C...7893768&sr=8-1 (I have one)

Ack, why provide a full msrp link when Onecall/EE will sell it for ~2k?

Quote:
Originally Posted by schan1269 View Post

For what it is worth, I don't use Audyssey. I do it myself.

You keep posting that like it's a badge of honor. You seem to think that Audyssey is nothing more than an auto setup routine....
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post #25 of 53 Old 06-13-2011, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Screen Shot View Post

I am looking for a "Flagship" AVR to replace an 8 year old Pioneer Elite VSX-45TX. Loved the Pio but need HDMI switching, more power, improved surround, etc.

I have a 5.1 home theater with B&W 804's and HTM3 center. Room is approx. 20x14. 70% theater and 30% music. Price isn't a big issue but would like to stay under $2500. Please point me in the right direction. Thanks for your help.

I researched here for 6 months with your budget looking for that magic product. I came to the conclusion that the electronics and sonic quality in these "mid-level" audio products are very similar. No one brand is head and shoulders better sounding than the rest. So I picked stuff that works correctly, does everything possible (within reason), and is reliable. The denon 4311 was a little shaky out of the blocks but is dialed in now. The specs and features are well known. It is tough to beat this unit with xt32 set up properly. This thing has decent power but the budget still allows a nice 2 channel amp for $1000. Denon is beating the rest with reliability and functionality in this price range.
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post #26 of 53 Old 06-13-2011, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Screen Shot View Post

Kal,

I'd love to get some advice from a contributing editor of Sterophile.

Any thoughts on this?

Sorry. I do not follow AVRs.

Kal Rubinson

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post #27 of 53 Old 06-13-2011, 10:49 PM
 
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@Rynberg

I was not shopping for one, it is up to the interested party to decide if that receiver is one they want, then it is up to them to find it for a price they would like to pay.

And yes, it is a "badge of honor" to use a SPL meter and laptop to do my audio corrections. And yes, if you know what you are doing, you can be more accurate than Audyssey/YPAO/MCACC/ARC etc.

Onkyo/Integra has allowed separate subwoofer EQ for years, if you do the room correction yourself.
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post #28 of 53 Old 06-13-2011, 11:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schan1269

And yes, it is a "badge of honor" to use a SPL meter and laptop to do my audio corrections. And yes, if you know what you are doing, you can be more accurate than Audyssey/YPAO/MCACC/ARC etc.
How are you correcting the room response with an SLM, a laptop, and an AVR?
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post #29 of 53 Old 06-14-2011, 12:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Screen Shot View Post
I am looking for a "Flagship" AVR to replace an 8 year old Pioneer Elite VSX-45TX. Loved the Pio but need HDMI switching, more power, improved surround, etc.

I have a 5.1 home theater with B&W 804's and HTM3 center. Room is approx. 20x14. 70% theater and 30% music.

Price isn't a big issue but would like to stay under $2500.

Please point me in the right direction.

Thanks for your help.
Within your budget, and based on your other posts, I would look at an AVR as a preamp, and an external power amplifier. AVRs with >200WPC amplifiers aren't really done anymore, I know Yamaha and Denon have some older models that approach 200wpc, but you can get 200-400wpc amplifiers in the $1000-$2000 range (Emotiva, Parasound, B&K, perhaps NAD, Rotel, etc) and put a pre-amp in front for ~$500. You'll have all the decoding features you want (the HD formats is what it sounds like, I doubt if you'll notice a difference between them and the legacy extraction, but it certainly won't hurt), newer configuration/correction options (whatever that may be depending on what you buy), and all the power you could ever want (and honestly, I wouldn't spend $2000 on a receiver on the chance that it approaches its 140wpc better than the $1000 model does).

Yamaha RX-V867 paired with an Emotiva XPA-5 should come in under budget, offer more amplifier power than any receiver I can think of (except for maybe the Denon 5805), and you can replace the receiver/preamp if/when it suits you (with something like the 867 you get multi-channel inputs though, so in theory it shouldn't need replacing for a good long while).

If you don't like Yamaha, there's similar parts available from Denon (AVR-3311 or 4810/11), Harman/Kardon (AVR3600 or 7550), Sony (STR-DA3600ES or DA4600ES (must purchase from custom integrator though, not available online)), Onkyo (TX-NR808/809), and pre-amp/processors from Emotiva (UMC-1, yes I know it gets bad press), Rotel (RSP-1570), and so on (I don't really follow/know NAD or Anthem so you'll have to look on your own, sorry). Basically anything with pre-outs, multiple HDMI inputs, some sort of auto-cal/room correction function, and HD codec support is your criteria (if I'm reading your posts right) - so any of those should basically suit that.

If you don't like Emotiva, there's similar parts from Parasound (5250), B&K (200.5 or 200.7), Adcom (GFA-7705 or 7805), Rotel (RMB-1575), and so on (again, I don't really follow/know NAD or Anthem, and I'm not sure if the Onkyo PA-MC5500 would be worth it at 150wpc). Basically I'm looking for ~200wpc or better in a multi-channel package. However, I wouldn't go too much more than 200W with your 804s.
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post #30 of 53 Old 06-14-2011, 05:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walbert View Post
Within your budget, and based on your other posts, I would look at an AVR as a preamp, and an external power amplifier.
I think this is the way I'm gonna go!

High quality amplification has a much longer technical lifespan than the processor. It's a better investment to buy a nice 200wpc amp that won't become obsolete - and the separate amp will most likely be superior to the power section of the AVR. It also appears that there may be great bargains on the used market.

Using an AVR for the processing leaves lots of options. I'm leaning towards the Anthem for a few reasons.

1. The ARC is very highly regarded
2. Local dealer support, company product support, and online support all seem very strong
3. I like the concept of an "audiophile" brand like Anthem versus the more "mass-market Magnolia" brands like Denon, Yamaha, Pioneer, etc.
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