Looking for solid low-end recommendations, plus some beginner questions. Should be easy. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 08-18-2012, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Finally, a new excuse to lose several days of my life to AVS! I love this place. smile.gif

I'm looking to buy a receiver soon; i have actually never owned one before. My 5.1 speaker setup is fairly modest, and i really don't need much from the receiver, so i'm looking at low-end models. I don't care much about audio quality, as long as it's not offensively horrible. Budget is $400/400€; let me know if i should go higher.

Requirements:

  • at least 4 HDMI inputs (3 might be tolerable too)
  • at least 2 digital audio inputs
  • at least 1 stereo analog input
  • reasonable headphone support

Would be nice, but not a hard requirement: Ability to control the AVR with the iPhone.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. The first model i looked at is the Onkyo TX-NR414, since The Wirecutter recommended it. It has all the features i need, but people on here seem to be having all kinds of horrible issues with Onkyo models and customer support. Seems like a risky buy?

Some questions:

  1. Concerning headphones: Is it a bad idea to plug headphones into an AVR? I remember reading that it usually results in bad audio quality, but i can't find another reasonable way to comfortably use headphones with all my source devices. It just seems like it should work.
  2. Generally, is input latency a problem with receivers? I'm all prepared to plug my consoles directly into the TV and run separate audio to the receiver if that's what it takes to be lag-free, but i'd rather just go all HDMI into the receiver.

Thank you for helping.
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post #2 of 9 Old 08-19-2012, 08:56 AM - Thread Starter
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After doing some more research, i probably won't go near the Onkyo TX-NR414 any time soon. It has nice bells and whistles, but i really don't need most of those. And there are just too many reports of reliability issues with this specific model and Onkyo AVRs in general.

I ordered a Marantz NR1402 to try out. It's last year's model -- the newer Marantz NR1403 doesn't really offer anything crucial over the 1402. And more importantly, i was able to get the 1402 for 229€, which is just an awesome price.

One thing i don't like about it: It only has two digital audio inputs, one coax and one optical. I think i'll be able to make my setup work regardless, but i wouldn't mind more opticals.

Other AVRs i might try if the Marantz doesn't work out for me:

  1. Denon AVR-1513 (downside: no Audyssey)
  2. Harman Kardon AVR 156 (downsides: no Audyssey, only three HDMIs)

I have yet to look at Pioneer models.

If anyone has any input on this stuff or is willing to answer the questions in my initial post: Thank you.
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post #3 of 9 Old 08-19-2012, 09:12 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 24k View Post

If anyone has any input on this stuff or is willing to answer the questions in my initial post: Thank you.

Consider something like a Denon AVR1713? Don't know the retail price in your neck of the woods but delivered, one can be had Stateside for about $400.00 (USD). If you go with last year's model like a AVR1712, b-stock or returns, price wise, you can do much better.

At this price point, you'll have trouble finding two HDMI outs.

Hope the above helps.

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post #4 of 9 Old 08-19-2012, 03:34 PM
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Also look into the Yamaha RX-V473. I think that it fits the bill and can be had for well under $400 in the U.S.

I don't remember how many coax/optical inputs it has though. Also it doesn't convert video, so if you have, for example, a Wii, you'll have to run component video to the TV as well as HDMI. I think that is par for the course at this price point although the best new Sony might convert.

No lag problems for me at least and I've tried it with Samsung and LG TVs.

(Sorry for all of the "don't know" and "might" language--writing this from a limited internet connection and can't look things up.)

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post #5 of 9 Old 08-19-2012, 04:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 24k View Post

After doing some more research, i probably won't go near the Onkyo TX-NR414 any time soon. It has nice bells and whistles, but i really don't need most of those. And there are just too many reports of reliability issues with this specific model and Onkyo AVRs in general.
I ordered a Marantz NR1402 to try out. It's last year's model -- the newer Marantz NR1403 doesn't really offer anything crucial over the 1402. And more importantly, i was able to get the 1402 for 229€, which is just an awesome price.
One thing i don't like about it: It only has two digital audio inputs, one coax and one optical. I think i'll be able to make my setup work regardless, but i wouldn't mind more opticals.
Other AVRs i might try if the Marantz doesn't work out for me:
  1. Denon AVR-1513 (downside: no Audyssey)
  2. Harman Kardon AVR 156 (downsides: no Audyssey, only three HDMIs)
I have yet to look at Pioneer models.
If anyone has any input on this stuff or is willing to answer the questions in my initial post: Thank you.

1. More optical inputs can be had using an optical switch similar to this one --> http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10423&cs_id=1042302&p_id=2946&seq=1&format=2

2. Skip the 1513 and look at the 1613 with Audyssey (or even last year's 1612, although no networking)
Quote:
Originally Posted by JBWIII View Post

Also look into the Yamaha RX-V473. I think that it fits the bill and can be had for well under $400 in the U.S.
I don't remember how many coax/optical inputs it has though. Also it doesn't convert video, so if you have, for example, a Wii, you'll have to run component video to the TV as well as HDMI. I think that is par for the course at this price point although the best new Sony might convert.

Or you can buy one of these ....

http://www.amazon.com/ViewHD-1080P-Output-Upscaling-Converter/dp/B0050RKH2Y/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1345417416&sr=8-2&keywords=wii+2+hdmi

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post #6 of 9 Old 08-20-2012, 07:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies guys!
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeMan458 View Post

Consider something like a Denon AVR1713?

So the Denon AVR-1713 is 499€ here (about $614), which is more than i was looking to spend. Though i might come back to it if the other options don't work out.

Last year's AVR-1712 doesn't appear to available anywhere here in Germany, including eBay. Same for the AVR-1613. However, i can get last year's AVR-1612 at 289€, which is a great price. The lack of networking features doesn't matter to me, so i'd pick this one over the newer AVR-1513 because it has Audyssey.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JBWIII View Post

Also look into the Yamaha RX-V473. I think that it fits the bill
I did, and it does! Seems like a great pick. The price is good, it has four digital audio inputs, AirPlay, and phone apps for control (most of the competing models don't seem to have this).

On the subject of networking features though, including AirPlay: The more i think about it, the more i realize that i don't need my AVR to do these things, because they're already covered by my source devices. I'd like to try AirPlay, but i wonder how often i'd actually use it after that.

Concerning analog video upconversion: I think i'm content just running the Wii's component directly to the display. The Wii HDMI adapter jdsmoothie linked to seems pretty cool actually, maybe i'll try that. Not a big deal, either way.

Thanks for the link to the optical switcher too, i wasn't aware that they were this cheap.

So to sum up, here's my current list:

  1. Marantz NR1402 - Ordered to try out, might come in tomorrow.
  2. Yamaha RX-V473 - Feature-wise the best one on the list, i think.
  3. Denon AVR-1612
  4. Denon AVR-1513 - Keeping it on the list for now, but the 1612 seems preferable (Audyssey, lower price, also a great thread here on AVS) even though it's older.
  5. Harman/Kardon AVR 156 - Downsides: Only 3 HDMIs, no Audyssey.
  6. Pioneer - Haven't looked into those yet.

I also tried to find out more about the headphone concerns i described in the initial post. My current impression is that the notion of "don't hook up nice headphones to an AVR, it will sound horrible" comes from audiophiles, and that normals shouldn't worry about it because it sounds just fine. I guess i'll have to try for myself?

Thanks again for the advice.
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post #7 of 9 Old 08-20-2012, 08:20 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 24k View Post

I also tried to find out more about the headphone concerns i described in the initial post. My current impression is that the notion of "don't hook up nice headphones to an AVR, it will sound horrible" comes from audiophiles, and that normals shouldn't worry about it because it sounds just fine. I guess i'll have to try for myself?

The above is a yes/no answer in that if you're listening to uncompressed CD's, using a quality DAC and headphone Amp, yes, there's a minor difference if you know what you're listening for; upper 1%-3% of the sonic information band you're capable of receiving. For casual listening, plugging a pair of cordless headphones into the out jack of the television or AVR will reward one with a "quality" mobile listening experience. Our main television is equipped with a Sennheiser RS-140, the office TV is equipped with an RS-180 and the main headphone Amp listening station is equipped with a HD-650. Yes, there's a difference between say a Audio-Technica, AD-700 and a HD-650, both of which are inches from my current location. Yes, there's a noticeable difference between less expensive and more expensive headsets.

The point I'm poorly making, don't listen to the naysayers and just do it. If that's what you want, get yourself a decent set of wireless Sennheiser headphones and enjoy the ride.

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post #8 of 9 Old 08-30-2012, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Better late than never: Thanks for the input BeeMan. I will be looking at headphones soon.

In case anyone is still reading this thread: I've been testing the Marantz NR1402 for about a week now, and i'm really happy with it. It seems like exactly the right receiver for my needs, and i got it at a great price too. Things i like about it:
  1. Does everything i need it to do without having too many superfluous features.
  2. Sounds good - i'm just now realizing how bad my previous setup sounded on the same speakers.
  3. It doesn't have any networking capabilities. I like that because i really don't need those from my receiver.
  4. It's slim.

So i'll stick with this AVR. Thanks for the help everyone.
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post #9 of 9 Old 08-30-2012, 12:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 24k View Post

So i'll stick with this AVR. Thanks for the help everyone.

(Thumbs-up emoticon goes here)

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