Receiver advice. Onkyo 818, Denon 4311 or wait for the 4520 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 08-03-2012, 09:21 PM - Thread Starter
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I have been slowly piecing together a home theater system over the last year and a half and have been researching and looking to add a capable receiver to the equation. I have Paradigm Studio 60's with a Rythmik F15HP sub and am using Klipsch Quintets for surrounds. I will be adding a CC-590 and upgrading surrounds further down the line. I plan to add another sub, but probably not for another couple years until after I've added the new receiver, center, surrounds and room treatments. Right now the system is still powered by a Denon 1912 that was used with the Quintets prior to upgrading to the Sudio 60's. While I was happy overall with the 1912, I am looking to upgrade to a better performing, more powerful AVR that also has Audyssey XT32.

-I listen to about 60% music and about 40% HT.

-My current room is about 18x10 with wood floors and an opening to the rest of the living room. This will be changing shortly as I will be moving in the next couple months to head to my next duty station.

-I currently am running a 5.1 setup with a phantom center. I have run 7.1 in the past when the room configuration allowed for it. Further down the line I may be interested in also adding front height or wides, but this would most likely not be feasible for another couple years.

I am considering either the Onkyo 818, the Denon 4311 or possibly waiting to find out more about the 4520.

I am able to get the 818 for about $800 after tax from an authorized dealer with an employee discount. The dealer no longer has the 4311 in stock so I would need to purchase it from somewhere else such as Electronics Expo or Vanns. The other option would be to wait for my place of employment to stock the 4520 and see what kind of a discount I can get. My guess is it will be about 40% off MSRP before tax.

My thinking right now is that the 818 is an excellent value especially at the $800 price point. I question if the performance difference would be worth $500+ difference in price of going with a 4311 or 4520. Would I be better off putting that money towards a center channel and room treatments? On the flip side I fear that I may regret "settling" for the 818 and end up feeling the need to upgrade significantly sooner than I would with a 4311 or 4520.

Thanks for reading my lengthy post and any thoughts, advice and opinions would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Ryan
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post #2 of 19 Old 08-03-2012, 10:30 PM
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Personally, if you go with the 818, get external amps. Might want to consider the onkyo 3009. Does well above what I expected. Or wait for the 4520 since it is on your radar.

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post #3 of 19 Old 08-04-2012, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response. I was considering the potential for going to external amps farther down the line if I went with the 818 and later felt the need to upgrade. The cost savings would make this more of a possibility. I would probably start with a 3 channel amp to drive the fronts if it was needed.
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post #4 of 19 Old 08-04-2012, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pukemon View Post

Personally, if you go with the 818, get external amps. Might want to consider the onkyo 3009. Does well above what I expected. Or wait for the 4520 since it is on your radar.
Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Xparent Cyan Tapatalk 2

I'm curious as to why you recommend this.
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post #5 of 19 Old 08-04-2012, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Murphy View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by pukemon View Post

Personally, if you go with the 818, get external amps. Might want to consider the onkyo 3009. Does well above what I expected. Or wait for the 4520 since it is on your radar.
Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Xparent Cyan Tapatalk 2

I'm curious as to why you recommend this.

This is kind of what I was thinking about before I dropped the 818 in favor of the 3009. I am still keeping a lookout for amps on craigslist as I see amps as a long term investment. Avr's these days tend to get outdated every 3-5 years if you like to stay current. Also, as a treehugger, I dropped the amp idea for now because avr's with preouts currently do not not shut down the amps so I figured if I went with 818 and amps, I would be using 150-200% more power than necessary. If I was a music first guy, I would've gone marantz. I just decommissioned a denon 1712 and although it was OK, I feel not many avr's come close to powering speakers like a dedicated amp unless you start perusing the higher end avr's of X manufacturer. I sold my onkyo 806 awhile back and it was a solid mid end receiver, and I still hear it often. Even though my speakers are bigger and better than the friend I sold it to, I could still tell how dynamic and powerful the 806 is and was sorely missing that from my denon. The denon 4311 was on my radar but I couldn't find it at the right price and went the 3009 route. In retrospect, I wish I had got the 5009. I have always actively cooled my components so the onkyo heat issue is not a concern to me. Even though the denon 1712 was a lot cooler, it still got moderately warm with long movie/listening sessions so heat issue is a moot point to me. Perhaps these d class amp receivers do better heat wise and I've had limited listening experience with them in very non ideal listening environments, I still couldn't get over the fact that onkyo receivers provide a very dynamic experience. The channel separation seems to be underrated too in many higher end avr's and didn't realize this until breaking in the 3009, especially with my high def and lossless music collection. Sub eq was a small deciding factor also. I just recently got an excellent deal on a hsu vtf 3.3 to accompany my hsu vtf 2.3 and was leaning heavily toward just keeping one. I am now 99% sure I will keep both. Dual subs for music in my apartment is mostly a waste, but it shines with movies. The 818 is lacking sub eq, but your average wanna be audiophile will not be concerned with it, and personally I don't think sub eq is a big deal either. I had to manually setup the second sub for my living room because it definitely sounded like something was whack. It took about 10 minutes to fix it by ear. Also, audyssey Xt32 is definitely worth a look for the results and upgrade over it's not too shabby xt lower rung option. Audyssey DSX is probably the biggest thing I enjoy from my system now. My front speakers are right next to each other and not spread out as recommended, but I still notice a humongous difference. Anyways, sorry this has been long winded. If you go with amps, the 818 will shine. I preferred simplicity and energy savings so I wnet with the 3009 because I know the 3009 amp is a lot beefier to the ear than on paper even though then power output specs are similar. But I don't think you will go wrong with the denon 4520 or marantz 7007.
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post #6 of 19 Old 08-04-2012, 10:54 AM
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Just perused back over the original post and wanted to add if you're employed by somebody who sells this stuff, why don't you wait for the 4520 to get a discount on what I am sure will be a nice avr. Or you could opt for the 3009/5009 now, and just do like me and find an awesome deal on amps for the future, but satiate your needs now by a nice margin still. I am willing to bet with your situation, if you got the 818, you will get upgradeitis sooner than later. Your movie/music ratio is about the same as mine and that is another reason I am throwing onkyo some love. It does well both ways. My denon was better with music and underwhelmig occasionally with movies. I guess it depends on how much you like your music. Marantz is well known to put an orchestra in your living room, though you won't get as many bells and whistles as denon or onkyo. And I don't know how loud you like to listen, but the onkyo 3009 doesn't show any signs of whimpering until about -10 to -5 db depending on the source and quality of what you're playing, and going slightly above reference just probably won't happen because it will be too noticeable. I'm willing to bet the 5009 goes reference before you notice ANY hiss or distortion. I can't play anything above -15 db anyway because of my apartment situation. Hope all this helps with your situation.

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post #7 of 19 Old 08-04-2012, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again for the continued input. Have you had the chance to hear both 818 and the 3009 and if so were you able to notice a difference in SQ? Music is probably most important to me and I have a growing lossless, collection, but the system certainly gets used for movies and some gaming as well. I was considering Marantz, but I decided to take them off the list given their current lack of XT 32. I see my current path of upgrading going as follows: new receiver, adding a cc 590 center, room treatments, matching Paradigm surrounds, a 2nd Rythmik sub and then maybe front heights or wides. This would take a number of years to do as I've been adding a new component about every 6-12 months. I normally try to buy the best of something that I can afford within my budget, as this tends to curb the upgradeitis and gives me something I will be happy with for a long time. I am a bit leery of applying this principle to receivers though, given the fact that they date so much quicker than speakers or subs.
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post #8 of 19 Old 08-04-2012, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoffusmc_09 View Post

Thanks again for the continued input. Have you had the chance to hear both 818 and the 3009 and if so were you able to notice a difference in SQ? Music is probably most important to me and I have a growing lossless, collection, but the system certainly gets used for movies and some gaming as well. I was considering Marantz, but I decided to take them off the list given their current lack of XT 32. I see my current path of upgrading going as follows: new receiver, adding a cc 590 center, room treatments, matching Paradigm surrounds, a 2nd Rythmik sub and then maybe front heights or wides. This would take a number of years to do as I've been adding a new component about every 6-12 months. I normally try to buy the best of something that I can afford within my budget, as this tends to curb the upgradeitis and gives me something I will be happy with for a long time. I am a bit leery of applying this principle to receivers though, given the fact that they date so much quicker than speakers or subs.

I can't really give you quantifiable opinion as I was in a dirty listening environment, a fry's demo room, and my only option was hooking up dual rca stereo inputs between the two. I was actually trying to see how well the Polk audio LSI 25's sounded that were on clearance. Given the circumstances, the difference was like a Honda civic SI with exhaust and a Porsche 911 turbo, if you get my drift. I want to say Lamborghini Murcielago but I haven't driven one and I wasn't on a race track suitable for either comparison. If you have external amps, get the 818. If not I think you should go ahead and get the 3009. I have heard the paradigm studios mated to an onkyo 805 and I really liked what I heard. And I feel confident the 3009 will last me 5 years because I actively cool mine and it has plenty of ventilation.

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post #9 of 19 Old 08-05-2012, 09:45 PM - Thread Starter
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I think I'm going to go with the 818. The money saved could be used to buy my center channel and/or room treatments and I'm thinking those will yield a bigger increase in performance than stepping up to a 3009 or 4311. I can always add the amp if need be and keep that as a lasting investment or in a few years upgrade to a higher tier receiver. Either way it should be a sizeable jump from the 1912.
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post #10 of 19 Old 08-06-2012, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoffusmc_09 View Post

I think I'm going to go with the 818. The money saved could be used to buy my center channel and/or room treatments and I'm thinking those will yield a bigger increase in performance than stepping up to a 3009 or 4311. I can always add the amp if need be and keep that as a lasting investment or in a few years upgrade to a higher tier receiver. Either way it should be a sizeable jump from the 1912.

You're making the right choice. The only reason to get a more expensive receiver is if you ever want to go above 7.1 or add a second subwoofer. You don't need an external amp for your setup.
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post #11 of 19 Old 08-06-2012, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by KidHorn View Post

You're making the right choice. The only reason to get a more expensive receiver is if you ever want to go above 7.1 or add a second subwoofer. You don't need an external amp for your setup.

Thanks for the input. I felt like I had arrived at the right choice after thinking it through, but it's always good to hear some feedback that correlates with my line of thinking.
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post #12 of 19 Old 08-06-2012, 01:28 PM
 
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Yes, unless you need above 7.1, the 818 is the way to go. I personally need 9.1, so I am going with the 3010.
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post #13 of 19 Old 08-06-2012, 01:59 PM
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In terms of reliability is the 5009 superior to the 3009?
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post #14 of 19 Old 08-17-2012, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Well i made the decision to go with the 818. It should be here sometime late next week hopefully. I will post my thoughts and first impressions after I get it set up. Thanks again to everyone for the input.
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post #15 of 19 Old 09-14-2012, 03:37 PM - Thread Starter
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I've had the 818 for a while now and am very happy with it. XT 32 really did an outstanding job. It was most notable in tightening up the low end, but the mids and highs cleaned up a bit too. It has quite a bit of power and the interface is pretty user friendly. I'm definitely satisfied thus far.
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post #16 of 19 Old 09-14-2012, 05:15 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. This AVR is on my radar.
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post #17 of 19 Old 10-02-2012, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
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No problem. Glad it helped. If you have any other questions just let me know. Pm might be the best way to get a hold of me.
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post #18 of 19 Old 01-30-2013, 05:00 PM
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hoff...I'm looking at Onkyo 818 also...sales guy says it will power 5.1 HT, the living room 2 speakers (sub?), and the patio 2 speakers with different audio in each...is this true or are amps needed? how about an ancient phono RCA input? having trouble breaking the $1K price point and may have to downshift my ambitions....
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post #19 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
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With the 818 you're only going to get 7 channels. There are pre-outs so you could run 9.1, but you're going to need an external amp for that. I definitely like the receiver thus far. I probably will add an external amp at some point just to give myself more headroom. I really don't push the receiver and there is still room for me to up the volume some more, but I don't just to be on the safe side in terms of clipping. Even with being conservative, in 90-95% of cases the 818 doesn't leave me wanting more, but like I said I probably will add an amp at some point just for more headroom and peace of mind that I can have the volume where I want it 100% of the time with plenty left over. Let me know if you have any other questions.
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