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Recommend 7.1 Surround Receiver (range $250-$450)

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hello, all!

I am purchasing a home soon, and plan on making some much-needed updates to my home theater once the move is complete.

I am upgrading from my 42" Philips plasma with Ambilight (over 5 years old now!) to a Samsung UN55B6000. I am very excited to upgrade to this TV, after quite a bit of research and price comparisons.

My question, however, deals with the surround receiver. I currently use an old Onkyo HT-S580 HTIB setup. I would like to upgrade to a 7.1 receiver, and was looking for one with the following features:
  • 7.1 surround (currently only using 5.1 speakers, but would like the option to upgrade in the future)
  • Convert Analog Component signal to HDMI (I would like to run a single HDMI cable to the television; everything else will pass through the Surround.)
  • Upconversion? (The only device I use that does NOT broadcast in 1080p is my Wii... but it'd be nice to upconvert that to either 720p/1080i/1080p)
  • Supports current Blu-Ray codecs
Accessories like fancy remote controls or iPod docks are of absolutely no value to me; I stream my media through a home network, and I use a Harmony remote to control my devices.

I was considering the following Receivers, but would like to gather some votes from people more knowledgeable than I. If you have an alternative receiver to suggest, then please do!

Finally - as a side effect of choosing ANY of these receivers, I will have to buy a new subwoofer; the one I have uses 2-wire speaker wires to connect; all the receivers I've looked at only support the pre-amp RCA subwoofer connection. Could someone suggest a subwoofer to replace my old one? Keep in mind I'm on a budget. (If you know a way to hook up my current woofer with some trickery, that'd be great too!)

P.S. I'd like top avoid replacing my current satellite speakers; I figure I'll blow enough money on the other stuff. Does anyone anticipate problems with my current set?

Thank you so much for your words of wisdom! I can't wait to get this up and running

Please be as long-winded as you like; I will soak up every single thing you say.

(p.p.s. I originally posted this somewhere else, until a friend of mine said that THIS is the place for home-theater advice. Thanks in advance.)
post #2 of 11
My vote goes to the Sony STR-DN1000.
post #3 of 11
If you are using the HTiB speakers I would save your money on the AVR. If you want sound quality improvement, buy better speakers first. Do some reading in the speaker thread. Buy the AVR after your buy new speakers!

Go to the subwoofer forum. Do some research and see how big of a deal a subwoofer is. It can make or break a system. There are a ton of threads there for low cost subs.

In the end it is your money. The more time you spend reading about HT, the better your system will get for the money. Most people who go cheap end up hating their system and "upgrade" months after buying. They throw good money away and end up spending much more in the end that they had to.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
After some looking around, the Polk RM6750 seemed to catch my eye. Is this something you might recommend as a speaker set to complement the Sony STR-DN1000?

I know it's an "all-in-one" solution, which tends to be frowned on by the purists... but how do you think this set might stack up overall? Is it decent? Is it better than the set I already have (see link above)?

I also considered the Polk RM-705, with the more modern look and downward-firing woofer (a plus, with my hardwood floors), but I don't know if I can justify the extra $100 bucks on Amazon...

Do you think the sub with either of these sets would "break" my system, as you put it? Or "make" it?

You've been quite helpful so far; thanks again for your thoughts.
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbyrnes View Post

If you are using the HTiB speakers I would save your money on the AVR. If you want sound quality improvement, buy better speakers first. Do some reading in the speaker thread. Buy the AVR after your buy new speakers!

Go to the subwoofer forum. Do some research and see how big of a deal a subwoofer is. It can make or break a system. There are a ton of threads there for low cost subs.

In the end it is your money. The more time you spend reading about HT, the better your system will get for the money. Most people who go cheap end up hating their system and "upgrade" months after buying. They throw good money away and end up spending much more in the end that they had to.

I completely agree with mbyrnes on this. If your set on getting the all in one then take a look at saturdayaudio and look at Monitor Audio's Radius speakers. Better yet you might consider getting PSB or RS6"s fronts for now and use what you have now for the rest until you can upgrade them. You will be much better off in the long run and end up with a system 100's times better to boot
post #6 of 11
Denon 1910
post #7 of 11
or even Denon 1610. 5.1 with pre-outs for 2 channels. Downside is that it cannot upscale video.
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by BTownTKD View Post

After some looking around, the Polk RM6750 seemed to catch my eye. Is this something you might recommend as a speaker set to complement the Sony STR-DN1000?

I know it's an "all-in-one" solution, which tends to be frowned on by the purists... but how do you think this set might stack up overall? Is it decent? Is it better than the set I already have (see link above)?

I also considered the Polk RM-705, with the more modern look and downward-firing woofer (a plus, with my hardwood floors), but I don't know if I can justify the extra $100 bucks on Amazon...

Do you think the sub with either of these sets would "break" my system, as you put it? Or "make" it?

You've been quite helpful so far; thanks again for your thoughts.

Start with new front speakers. Go listen to as much as you can and find speakers you love. Bring YOUR music with you so you know what each speaker will sound like when you play YOUR music. I would rather have a great 2.0 system than some el cheapo 5.1 system (Which will not be able to reproduce HD audio to sound better than the 1.5mbps lossy audio on Blu-Ray).

My sister has a Polk 5.1 system that was $800. Until I replaced the junk sub with an old Mirage sub I had laying around, the system sucked. It really isn't that much better now, but the Mirage sub made a world or difference. Those tiny little speakers just don't sound natural to me. Once you hear good speakers you will know what I mean.

Buy the best 2.0 system you can and use your old speakers for now. Upgrade as your budget allows. If you can buy the matching center channel (if you find speakers under your price range) and you current speakers will be fine for a while. Upgrade the sub next (do research first). Do the rears last.

Get the AVR last. Every year a newer and better featured AVR comes out. HDMI 1.4 is coming and who knows what else. You will get more for your money later. Get speakers first so you can actually hear a difference (and the difference between 1.5mbps and HD audio is VERY subjective) when you make the switch. Good luck. This isn't a race and should be very enjoyable. I love auditioning speakers and do it even when I am happy with my current speakers. I stumbled across my current front speakers that way.
post #9 of 11
I agree with what the others have posted here regarding good speakers. That being said, if your top line budget is what you have posted, I can give insight on what I have done in the past. I used to run an Onkyo SR701 with Bose (yes Bose) satellites in a 5.1 configuration with an excellent sub (M&K MX-70). It really sounded pretty darn good. When I upgraded my speakers, it sounded a WHOLE lot better, but I did not realize it until I upgraded so I really was not 'missing' the better sound and I was happy with what I had. I used that system for a couple of years until I had saved enough money to upgrade my speakers. I first bought pretty high end Polk LSi15 mains - got floor models for 800 bucks (pair) which was a pretty good price. I used the bose cubes for center and l/r surround until I saved enough to upgrade those. I used that upgraded system from about 2004 up until last month. I bought an Emotiva XPA-5 amp and a Yamaha RX-V665 to use as a preprocessor for the amp because it was the lowest end model that has preout jacks to run to the amp. I also just ordered a Rythmik 15" 600 watt subwoofer that will ship on monday.

I do not know how your Polk satellites sound, but I assume that you are more or less happy with them so if you cannot afford to really upgrade everything at once - do it slowly but buy QUALITY with each item you select. If you are interested in the new formats/HDMI switching first and foremost - then make that your first purchase but buy something that will take care of you for several years.

I was happy with my Onkyo. It did the job well and the only complaint I had with it is that is runs really hot. Of course, I did not help it by forcing it to drive my 4 ohm mains either, but Onkyos do run hot - it is a fact - make sure you have good ventilation. I owned the 1991 flagship Yamaha AVR that I bought brand new and used until I got the Onkyo in 2002 (I think). I was very happy with the Yamaha. I went back to Yamaha last month with the 665 based on a bunch of recommendations on these forums for using them as a prepro. So far, I am satisfied with it but at some point I will buy a dedicated prepro such as an Emotiva.

The old Bose/Onkyo system I had? It was shipped to my brother last week. He is upgrading from a Bose 1-2-3 system and I am sure he will be very happy with the upgrade. If my new Rythmik sub can handle all bass by itself, he will probably get the M&K subwoofer as well and will be able to enjoy that system for years to come.

I apologize for the length of this post but what I really wanted to get across is for you to set your budget and priorities, but to be patient and buy quality items - even if it takes time to get it all. As stated earlier, speakers are super important. Good speakers sound good with a budget AVR, but cheap speakers generally sound cheap (even with a killer AVR). Buy the most subwoofer that you can afford. A quality sub will last for YEARS (speakers will too for that matter). Be patient grasshopper! Build a system that will please you for a good, long time and don't worry that you cannot afford everything at once...

I hope my rambling has helped you
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Your rambling helped IMMENSELY. It forced me to step back and formulate a longer-term plan. I was stressing about getting everything at once. You gave me some refreshed perspective.

Let me run my current plan by you; I feel pretty good about it.

I know the speakers are going to make the biggest splash with audio quality, but I also have a more immediate need for the updated HDMI hookups and upconversion of a new receiver. So, I'm going to buy the AVR first, along with a subwoofer to replace my (incompatible) passive one.

I plan to purchase the STR-DN1000 as my AVR and the BIC V1220 for my sub. I think the sub alone will make a large, immediately-noticable difference in quality.

Beyond that, I will start researching some better front speakers, but will not purchase for awhile. Once I've selected some front speakers, I can migrate my old HTiB sattelites into the empty "7.1" audio positions. Better speakers AND an instant upgrade to 7.1 = two birds/one stone.

Thank you again for your input, everyone! I feel pretty good about this approach, but please voice your opinions as well!
post #11 of 11
You are very welcome. I don't have any experience with that AVR or sub but what I have read in consumer reviews is mostly positive. Good luck setting your system up and I hope that you are happy with it!
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