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post #1 of 2 Old 11-07-2013, 06:13 AM - Thread Starter
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I am curious what this audience's response is/was to the Cnet article on AVReceivers being outdated: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33199_7-57576681-221/how-to-save-the-av-receiver/

I have a Denon 3311ci which, until last week, I never thought about, but which really seems to represent an Apex of evolution from 1970s receivers more than a peer of the rest of my digital devices. When I look at the quality of design and integration of the new TiVo Roamio (which is completely awesome) versus the Denon, it makes me sad.

The amp needs to join its digital brethren in the new world. We are past the time when we can make excuses for amps and receivers because they "handle power" as opposed to shifting bits. Tesla handles power, too. The old world is fading.

Here is my take on the author's comments:

1. Design - I really do believe that the era of the black or silver box has to end. It is the AV version of the standard windows PC enclosure. I think it is time to split the worlds into high-end/rackmount and home/designed. If I buy server hardware for my business, it is 1U 2U etc, and it has standard mounting hardware and NO CONTROLS. I put it on the rack, attach the cables, and control through the network. If I buy a laptop for my desk, it is light and aesthetically thoughtful. Is my laptop a piece of crap for not being rack-mounted? Nope. It is exceptional engineering. Can someone make a high-quality AV Receiver that looks great. Yes.

2. Remote/Controls -The remote should only have controls that you use virtually every time you watch. If you need to configure, connect via smartphone or web browser. My Denon remote will let me control NORAD, launch a drone strike, and calculate the GDP of emerging countries. Volume, source, power. Frankly, let my Samsung TV control power and volume. Actually, the Denon came with 2 remotes (seriously?) and has controls for a VCR, including a record button??

And for goodness sake, 100% IP controllable. IR is decades old.

3. Sound modes - Don't care, never use them. I watch movies.

4. Size - I get it, the amps and heat sinks are heavy and bulky. But the amps are way too big, and most notably too deep. The obsession with rackmount size means I had to create a custom cabinet. Should not be necessary. I have a Tripath 2-ch amp for the kids TV in a loft, and while my Denon is on the fritz, it is serving as an integrated amp for my home theatre. (Makes you wonder about size and creeping features)

5. Radio - Never, ever use the radio. Make it an upgrade from the basic packaging.

6. Streaming - Denon, Onkyo and Marantz need to get out of the streaming business. They are not experts in software or interfaces. I can solve that problem with TiVo or AppleTV or Roku for a trivial amount of money with a better experience.

7. Connections - Steve Jobs was the first to say screw it to legacy connections when he went all USB on the Mac. Time to go all HDMI (or just digital audio)

I know that some of you will read this and presume that I should just buy some crap system marketed as home theatre in a box, presuming that I cannot possibly understand why things need to be exactly as they are. But I don't find my iphone or MacBook Air to be crap, and they are designed for people who care about design. I don't buy a blade server for my desktop, and my company doesn't buy Airs for our rack.

And I recognize that TiVo deals solely with bits, so it can afford to be small and light (BTW, it should also be 1/2 of its size).

So here is my spec list for the "new" AV Receiver (I get that the answer may be that my best AV Receiver may be an AV integrated amp)

1. 7.1 with adequate power (I know this may negate #4, above)
2. Only volume, power, and source controls on the unit
3. No more than 10" deep
4. No component, S-video, or Composite.
5. IP control (open) and automatic firmware updates
6. Web-server with top-quality user interface design for configuration
7. iPhone app for remote

In reality, if Tripath announced a 7.1 integrated amp with 1 optical input, IP control, and a simple remote, I would buy it today.

Thoughts?
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post #2 of 2 Old 11-08-2013, 03:44 PM
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First, I don't even own a smartphone nor any desire to. I don't even want a phone of any kind in my rooms with a/v gear. I don't want people with smartphones in my house or car unless they're off (or we're not interacting at all, then fine get on the damn phone). Smartphone is an oxymoron IMHO. Texting is a backward step in communication evolution and so help me I'm going to run someone texting while driving right off the road one of these days....

That ranted, you're undoubtedly more typical of the future newbie a/v consumer whereas avr's need to satisfy old farts like me even though I'm relatively up to date.....other than wanting to have an umbilical phone. In the cnet order with some answers to yours as well:

1. I don't have any issues with many avr designs (altho the Marantz porthole thing I don't like much). As far as size goes, my Onkyo is quite reasonable and at 11" in depth isn't much different than your desired 10". As the need for legacy inputs declines and simpler all in one connections like hdmi become more the norm, I think the cabinets will naturally get smaller. There are already rack-oriented pieces out there if you want. Most avr's have adequate power now for most uses, and with the change to class D amps, they will get smaller and lighter.

2. I like the clean black glossy look; when off it's not even noticeable but then that fits into my decor. That Peachtree in the cnet article is going to stand out on or off and not in a good way, l don't think that's good looking at all nor would blend in with any other component I have. Reminds me more of a clock radio without the clock or radio. I like the backup of having the controls on the unit without relying on a remote. I use them occasionally during setup changes mostly, but I wouldn't want to rely only on a remote.

3. I like the choice of features. I use quite a few of them. If I wanted less features there are other choices. I like using the streaming features by just turning on the avr; mine only has audio streaming but that's fine with me. If I have good reception I still use local radio! Amazing! I've never used s-video at all, but I still have use for composite connections and recently even component. I generally use hdmi though.

4. While I need a dongle to make my avr wireless, that's cheap and easy and works fine. What use would I have for Bluetooth? Have they finally made Bluetooth high fidelity? I may be behind on that but last I checked it was low fidelity but then I have no use for bluetooth outside of controlling my PS3 (see comments on smartphones and I can't figure out why I'd want a tablet either).

5. Who the hell cares what an infrequently used thing like the GUI looks like? Straight forward and easily read sure beats crap out of some dork's idea of multicolored graphic heaven...some of those get damn hard to read with the chosen colors. As long as it's an intelligently structured menu I'm happy.

6. The remote will evolve but does well for the complexity of operation in the current format. When a touchpad style remote and software gets cheap enough it'll happen. Smartphone users I believe already have choices in this regard with many receivers. Using my pc to set something up has appeal, but not likely want to pay extra for it.

7. Including cables or speaker wire? Why when I already have that stuff? While fine for a first-time user of gear I suppose, be useless to me.

IMHO smile.gif

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