Pioneer Elite owner maybe jumping ship for next receiver. How does Onkyo compare? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 06-04-2013, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
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My current receiver is a Pioneer Elite VSX-03txh. I've been fairly happy with this receiver but the lack of features is starting to hurt a bit.. specifically only 3 HDMI inputs. I've had to resort to splitting HDMI to my TV and optical to the receiver to get everything to fit. Plus the 03txh lacks an integrated phono input. Once again i've got work arounds in place but my setup is pretty complicated to operate which annoys the wife.

Speaker wise right now I have Ascend Sierra-1s for L/C/R, MTM-200s as rears and a Outlaw LFM-1 Plus Sub.

This Pioneer is my 3rd elite. Back in the day Elites were a given due to the necessity of having the modulated dolby digital support for Laserdiscs but obviously thats no longer a concern. So I'm thinking maaaybe it might be time to look at other brands especially when they seem to offer more features for the price.

I've been looking at the Onkyo 709. I like the feature set.. it has phono inputs, 7 HDMI inputs, a nice interface (the interface on the 03txh isnt much better than my VSX-99 from '96!) and a bevy of cool features like the learning remote and the ability to pass a signal through to the tv without power up the receiver fully.

So a few questions.. Is the 709 going to be a step down in terms of sound quality from the older elite? They are similar in original price points plus the 709 has a few years of extra technology in its favour but i've never had an onkyo so i'm not sure if i'm stepping down. I know many people say receivers aren't really important for sound quality and its all speakers but i have definitely heard an improvement in SQ in upgrading my receivers over the years.

Secondly.. the 709 pushes about the same power as the Elite.. @ 110w per channel. The Onkyo 809 bumps this to 135w per channel. The 709 is available for $399 and the 809 is around $549. Is the extra power worth the $150? The only other difference i can see is the 809 has better 4k upscaling but i seriously doubt i'll have a 4k TV anytime soon so this is a bit of a moot point to me.

My living room isn't very big so i dont need the power to fill the room or anything but was wondering if that would make a difference in sound quality. If its not major i'd rather stick with the 709 as its cheaper and a bit smaller dimensionally which would be nice as my cabinet isn't huge.

I've also been looking at a Denon 331x series. Not sure how those rank against the Onkyo.

I've looked at some of the newer elites but its hard to get the same feature set as the Onkyos without going pretty high in price. I'd like to keep the receiver costs around $500 if i can. I've paid significantly more for my Elites in the past but if i can keep costs down and still get good quality that's fine by me smile.gif

Thanks!

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post #2 of 14 Old 06-04-2013, 12:04 PM
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The output power difference is in the mud. Look at features. For me, the biggest feature I would like to try is Audyssey XT32 as these days I think room correction is the biggest player in the final sound (unless you plan to change speakers, but even then the room is likely to dominate). You'll get as many answers as people whom respond, but I am eyeing one of the new Denon's (waiting to win the lottery or price to drop). They seem to have attracted quite a fan base on AVS. Onkyo's history is a little more checkered in terms of reliability but that is purely anecdotal, my impression from threads here. Must remember more people post with problems than praise, human nature...

Onkyo's have a rep for running hot, not that any AVR these days is exactly cool, but keep that in mind if you have limited airspace. The solution may be to just pick up one of the low-voltage fan units.

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post #3 of 14 Old 06-04-2013, 03:28 PM
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I would have second thoughts about Onkyo... I have owned two TOTL Onkyos... Both units had to go back to Onkyo for repairs. if you search Onkyo, you will see all kinds of problem threads on Onkyos. They have HDMI issues, board failures and decoding IC issues.

My two Onkyos both have had HDMI board failures, one of them twice. The HDMI boards fail because Onkyo uses cheap 85 degree rated caps and they would dry out because of the high heat generated by the HDMI processor. Even if you run a fan over the HDMI board, the caps will eventually fail. When you send the unit in for repair, they will replace the caps with the same cheap parts, guaranteeing the issue will reappear.

The Onkyos suffered from the dreaded DTS HD Master bomb issue, twice as well. What really ticked me off was that Onkyo first acknowledged the issue and then denied that there was a problem. Only to have them eventually able to duplicate the issue. It took them five months to update the firmware to fix the problem. The other issue was that they did not post the firmware update online. Whenever I read about users having the problem, I would point them to contact a specific individual at Onkyo and he would send them the update. Other service people denied that there was a problem.

I live in Hawaii. Onkyo has NO service center here. If they break, you have to send the units to Nevada or NJ. Fifty pound receivers are not cheap to ship from Hawaii, $200 one way to Nevada or $250 to NJ.

I used to love the Onkyo because of their value, but their reliability and support absolutely sucks. If anyone asked me about Onkyo, i would tell them to avoid them like the plague. I do not see as much issues as Onkyo does. i currently own a Pioneer and love it.

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post #4 of 14 Old 06-04-2013, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah one thing i noticed while researching Onkyo (because I am really not familiar with them at all) is the reports of them running hot and being unreliable.

I will say that from what i've seen the 709 era models seem to have fixed these problems.. at least judging by what people have said. Supposedly it doesn't run overly hot and i haven't seen too many complaints about quality issues.

Jon, what model Onkyos did you have?

Thanks!

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post #5 of 14 Old 06-04-2013, 07:08 PM
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If you haven't read anything bad about the 709 then for the price go for it. The 818 (which some claim can be had for about $500) has so far been relatively trouble free and the 24p bug has been fixed and freely available. I've not read anything about heat issues, HDMI failure, dts bombs...It's human nature to reminisce on history esp. bad track record. For your budget the Denon 3312/3313 would also be fine if you can find one, I compared the 3312 with the 818 and would pick the Denon if not for the XT32 in the 818.

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post #6 of 14 Old 06-06-2013, 12:41 PM
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I had the 905 and 906... A friend of mine has the 5007... that failed as well....

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post #7 of 14 Old 06-06-2013, 01:15 PM
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I definitely think you should also look at the newer Pioneer and Pioneer Elite models. Their class-D3 amplification is excellent, they run extremely cool promoting long life, and have plenty of the features you need like additional HDMI inputs. It sounds like what you're dissatisfied with has more to do with the age of your current AVR and what was available technology-wise at the time.

I have an SC-61 Elite, at the time of writing this it is being replaced with this years model (SC-71 I believe). This thing pushes a demanding load from a Klipsch RF-7 II system effortlessly to ear shattering volumes, and it doesn't even get warm. The Klipsch's are very efficient but the RF-7's are known to drop well below 4 ohms at times which makes it a challenging load. Before buying this I had an even older receiver than you, a non-HDMI Sony. All of these modern AVR's have much greater features than anything available years ago and I'm able to do things that would have been downright impossible years ago with the technology available then. Stream airplay from a PC to the receiver, Android/iOS app to control AVR functions, and can even view what Pandora is playing directly on the App. My old receiver didn't have any of the new audio codecs, airplay, HDMI, control apps...

I guess all I'm saying is don't completely write off Pioneer for no other reason than your current AVR is a little old. On the flip side, other companies are churning out some great products as well. If I didn't buy Pioneer the next go around, I'd probably opt for a mid/high level Denon such as their 4520. It'd be hard though, I'm really a fan of Pioneer's class D amps.


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post #8 of 14 Old 06-06-2013, 02:40 PM
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I will second giving the new Pioneer's a look and yes those D3 amps seem to handle every speaker we have them hooked to since none of our clients have the same brand or model with the exception of Triads when we install ceiling or wall thats all we use.
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post #9 of 14 Old 06-06-2013, 03:07 PM
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I've had Onkyos for a while now and never had any problems. The 709 ran hot, but never failed (gave it to my brother). My 809 ran perfectly fine, and now resides in my father's Living Room. I have have a 818 which has been flawless for over a year, which is now in my Master Bedroom. I just sent back a Denon X4000 (the amp board fried when I plugged it in). I replaced it with a Pioneer 1522 (two actually), the first one had a 12V trigger issue. The second one, so far so good.

The only problem I have had with AVRs are the Denon and Pioneers (my 1120 sub out doesn't work anymore).

Like others have said, It's mostly about room correction now days (IMHO). I did like the Audyssey X32 w, Sub eq. and without. I wanted to try MCACC again (more tweaking), this time around. Look at the features and what type of correction you think would work best for you.

I also live in Hawaii (Kauai to be exact, which has NOTHING for repairs)tongue.gif When the AVR breaks, it goes into the attic and is replaced with a newer model. Let's face it, in about two to three years, you're gonna want to upgrade anyway. That's how I look at it anyway.cool.gif
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post #10 of 14 Old 06-06-2013, 03:07 PM
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I've had Onkyos for a while now and never had any problems. The 709 ran hot, but never failed (gave it to my brother). My 809 ran perfectly fine, and now resides in my father's Living Room. I have have a 818 which has been flawless for over a year, which is now in my Master Bedroom. I just sent back a Denon X4000 (the amp board fried when I plugged it in). I replaced it with a Pioneer 1522 (two actually), the first one had a 12V trigger issue. The second one, so far so good.

The only problem I have had with AVRs are the Denon and Pioneers (my 1120 sub out doesn't work anymore).

Like others have said, It's mostly about room correction now days (IMHO). I did like the Audyssey X32 w, Sub eq. and without. I wanted to try MCACC again (more tweaking), this time around. Look at the features and what type of correction you think would work best for you.

I also live in Hawaii (Kauai to be exact, which has NOTHING for repairs)tongue.gif When the AVR breaks, it goes into the attic and is replaced with a newer model. Let's face it, in about two to three years, you're gonna want to upgrade anyway. That's how I look at it anyway.cool.gif
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post #11 of 14 Old 06-06-2013, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies everyone.

I don't have anything against Pioneer.. back in the 90s I was Pioneer across the board and mostly Elite at that.

However it seems like there's less reason to spend large amounts of money on receivers. I paid close to $1k each (and slightly over on one) for my last 3 Pioneers so if I can get something good for $400 (ie the 709) with tons of features then its very tempting.

Like I said i've read about Onkyo issues but i haven't seen anything specifically bad on the x09 era models. Most of the bad reliability seems to have been in previous models. Funny enough my last pioneer.. a rather pricy VSX-37tx developed all sorts of power issues towards the end and eventually died. I had it for about 7 years but I was still disappointed when it croaked given its cost. The power LED on my current pioneer is dying so it strobes on and off. Not a big deal but shows that Pioneer isn't exactly perfect in their reliability either.

I did check out some of the current model Pioneers with the similar feature set but the would run around $750-$800. I just dropped $2500 on speakers last year so If i can get away with a $400 receiver once again, sounds good. My only concern was if there would be a dramatic loss of sound quality going with the Onkyo but so far everything i've heard about them is pretty positive in that department.

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post #12 of 14 Old 06-07-2013, 06:47 AM
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I am also an VSX-03 owner who, within the past week, jumped to Yamaha and bought their new RX-A1030 model. Haven't hooked it up yet as I am in the midst of a move. But I started wtih Yamaha 20 years ago, tried Marantz, then more recently the VSX-03 and now back to Yamaha. I don't have any specific reasons for chossing the 1030 other than it was $200 less than the Pioneer Elite I was considering and that I just wanted a change. One thing I do like about the Elite line is they do look nice, great style.
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post #13 of 14 Old 06-07-2013, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grpape View Post

I also live in Hawaii (Kauai to be exact, which has NOTHING for repairs)tongue.gif When the AVR breaks, it goes into the attic and is replaced with a newer model. Let's face it, in about two to three years, you're gonna want to upgrade anyway. That's how I look at it anyway.cool.gif

You are wrong... Onkyo's Hawaii service center is in Kauai... Maybe this will be of help in the future...

NEW WAVE ELECTRONICS INC.
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808-826-7628 (Tel)

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post #14 of 14 Old 06-07-2013, 11:35 AM
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I had hdmi issues with my onkyo 606. Actually all video switching failed regardless if it was hdmi or not. I now use it in a music only system and it works fine for that. Onkyo definitely had a serious reliability problem up until maybe a couple of years ago. I currently have 2 Yamaha receivers I've never had any issues.
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