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Receiver for Polk Monitor 60 -- Need suggestions! (Budget: $300-$400)

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hey all, I recently took my first little step into a decent speaker set up by purchasing a pair of Polk Audio Monitor 60s. They arrived the other day, but I don't have a decent amp or receiver to drive them, so I'm in the market for one and would appreciate it if you guys could help guide me in my research? My budget is $300-$400. I know a dedicated amplifier would probably sound better and give me better bang for my buck, but I love the input/output possibilities of a receiver, so my main focus is a receiver. Audio is the main focus for the receiver and takes priority over HDMI capabilities and what not, though. Any suggestions?

Much thanks in advance for your time!
post #2 of 7
You may be hard pressed to find a receiver in that price range that can push a clean 400 watts or whatever the root mean square is. I couldn't find it in the specs but I'm assuming they run at 8 ohms. I love the Harman/Kardon avr254 and avr354 because they can decode the new master audio and trueHD. They even have 2 power amps inside!!! I own the avr247. They all only push around 75w, BUT its at between .07-.09 THD. So it's somewhat subjective.

The most important thing considering your budget is to decide what features you want. HDMI? bluray audio decoding? sheer power? 2.1, 5.1, 7.1? Movies or music or both?

If it were me, and I had to do it all again...I would get something with HDMI 1.3, with a really good surround processor, forgetting all about the power rating. You can always go out later and buy:

1) An additional receiver that boasts an awesomely clear power amp but a shameful surround processor. These are ALWAYS on craigslist b/c ppl don't realize why their receiver sounds so bad.

2) A multichannel power amp. This will rock your world. The beauty of these is that you can get an amp with 5 or 7 (or whatever) seperate amplifier blocks. This allows more accurate control of the drivers in your Polks. What this does is actually cause your speakers a longer throw, creating more air displacement with less heat (heat is bad, heat is the end product of inefficiency). I would venture to say this is the largest deciding factor and biggest road block to good sound.

It's usually cheaper and less of a headache to upgrade power specs than processing and I/O's.

One last thing to consider is that you just bought speakers with a fairly high power rating so I'm sure you're just itching to blast them. The volume of your system is most dependent upon your amplifier's power rating, not your speakers'. If you by an underrated receiver/amp and crank it up to your speakers' expectations, you would most likely be sending a distorted signal to the speakers, which would damage them. You could ruin a pair of 1,000 watt speakers by hooking them up to 100 watt receiver and turning it all the way up. It would actually be less harmful to do this with a 500 watt receiver, dB for dB. This is headroom at its best, use it to your advantage.

I hope you find this more helpful in your decision making process than "get this one" with no explanation to back it up. If that's what you wanted though, my brother has similar Polk towers and had great results with both yamaha and onkyo products.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply. Since I'm spending what I believe is a lot of money here, I'd like something relatively "future-proof," so I'd like a 7.1 channel receiver capable of HDMI decoding (I guess 1.3 would be the way to go?). I don't know the latest technology on digital audio, so I don't know what to say here. If it means anything, I believe I'll mainly be using a 2.0 set up with the possibility of surround sound in the distant future. So, in that respect, sound quality is number one priority.

I guess I can extend my price range to $300-$400. What are my options in this price range?

EDIT: If it means anything, NewEgg says the power rating is "20 - 200 w/channel."
post #4 of 7
Ah, I see. The peak handling rating is 400w. Amazon was unclear. I am biased to Harman/Kardon as a med-fi receiver b/c that's what I use. Onkyo is holding their own but are often either of poor quality or absurdly priced. Yamaha is about the same story. I don't like most of the other receiver brands that a place like Best Buy would carry.

Off the wall suggestion, but you could buy a 2-channel power amp with no processing capabilities. You only need processing if you need to listen to a proprietary mix, like Dolby. The beauty is once you decide to get more speakers, you can get a pre/pro, which is a receiver w/out a power amplifier. As you get more speakers, get more amps. This way you can match the power specs to allow the speakers to operate at peak performance. Keep in mind that the quality of power amp does greatly affect the sound quality. You can get a rack once the equipment starts to pile up too high. On the higher end of the price range is Outlaw Audio. Check them out and maybe you'll catch the bug.

I know it sounds goofy but I really like this approach because it's future proof, not in the sense of new technology, but if you decide to refine your system at all (EQs, crossovers, etc). And from a tech standpoint, when you're ready to go surround, you can buy a more state of the art pre/pro. Also, if something breaks beyond repair all your eggs aren't in one basket.

Taking a normal approach that will require much less obsession, take a look at the Harman/Kardon AVR354. It says it's only 75w/channel but its 75w at .07-.09% THD. Which beats 200w/channel at .14% THD. Don't discount the used market. Happy buying, it only hurts when you have to take your wallet out.

p.s. The digital audio formats for Bluray Disc are Dolby TrueHD & DTS Master Audio.
post #5 of 7
i too have a harman\\kardon (h\\k avr 135)and i will agree they can produce beautiful sound and are very efficient recievers 50 watts p/c will sound more like 80-100 because of ther high current design

for example my old h/k stereo reciever @ 30watts p/c (h\\k vxi 440) would rock the house with 2 haffler 200 speakers (2 way 6.5" speakers @ 4 ohms)

but any way back to your question

this denon reciever would be very good choice for you at under 400
its a 75 watt p\\c 5.1 reciever that can decode dd-true hd and dts-hd

another option is a yamaha 6250 7.1 reciever
once again it can decode dd-true hd and dts-hd it runs at 90 watts p\\c

theres the harman kardon avr 154 but it can not decode dd-true hd or dts-hd and it runs at 30 p\\c

if you can afford it there also the h\\k avr 254
in my opinoin heres how i would rate the recievers i listed
1.hk avr 254
2.denon avr 1610
3.hk avr 154
4. yamaha htr 6250

and finally you if you listen to alot of music you could always just stick with good ol fashion strereo
some quick picks that i like are
1. harman kardon hk 3490
2. yamaha rx-497
the yahmaha runs at .04% thd @8ohms
post #6 of 7
My vote goes for that Denon 1610, it handles the latest audio and has Audyssey Dynamic Volume and Audyssey Dynamic EQ. The Dynamic Volume control is worth its weight in gold in my book. And I am a Denon fanboy, not a rabid one, but just find their gear to be the best bang for the buck out there along with the fact that they seem to have fewer issues when compared to the other guys.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for the suggestions, guys. I've decided that I'd very much like something capable of 1080p upconversion (which it seems the Denon 1610 cannot do?). With this mind, what do you guys suggest?
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