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AVR Sound Comparison

post #1 of 168
Thread Starter 
I am very surprised I was actually able to here a difference between the following receivers:

Yamaha RX-V765
Onkyo TX-SR707
Pioneer VSX-21TXH

I visited a Magnolia studio and listened to the above AVRs with the same speakers and exact scene (fight scene) in Gladiators - then some music. I started with the 707, sounded good; and then tried the 765. The cling of the swords drastically reduced with the 765. The distinct cling came back with the 21, and it seemed to have more surround sound.

Is the cling of the sword being very distinct on the 707 & 21 mean they are bright receivers (trying to get a grasp of that term - bright)?

The 765 almost seemed muffled compared to the 707 & 21. This is actually consistent with my current Yamaha (RX-V590). That said, when I listen to the music, I started with the 765, then the 707, then the 21 - each AVR change resulted in a cleaner sound. The 21 sounded the best with the movie & music - in my opinion. The 707 wasn't far behind, but I was actually disappointed with the 765, in comparison.

Another point of worth noting, my better half did not like the heat produced by the 707 and actually said she didn't want to get the 707 because of that (the 707 has gravitated to the top of my short list, previous holder of this spot was the Pioneer VSX-9040TXH, but I am a few months too late). Heat-wise the 707 was hands down the winner (hottest), followed by the 21, and then the 765 (coolest).

Those who have followed my story, both in the speaker and AVR forum, I am still torn between a beefy AVR or a decent AVR with an external amp (running 4 ohms-ed L/R/C). I believe the 707 and the 21 (or 9040) would handle the load, but wife is currently against the Onkyo, so leaning towards Pioneer.

Do all receivers in the same line sound the same, i.e. a Yamaha sounds like a Yamaha at $300 or $800?

What would be a good pairing of AVR (at least 4 HDMI inputs) & external amp in the <$700ish range (for both)? I still want the features that provide quality picture & sound, but don't need all the bells & whistles; it will be running a 5.1 set-up.
post #2 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxjean View Post

I am very surprised I was actually able to here a difference between the following receivers:

Yamaha RX-V765
Onkyo TX-SR707
Pioneer VSX-21TXH

I visited a Magnolia studio and listened to the above AVRs with the same speakers and exact scene (fight scene) in Gladiators - then some music. I started with the 707, sounded good; and then tried the 765. The cling of the swords drastically reduced with the 765. The distinct cling came back with the 21, and it seemed to have more surround sound.

Is the cling of the sword being very distinct on the 707 & 21 mean they are bright receivers (trying to get a grasp of that term - bright)?

The 765 almost seemed muffled compared to the 707 & 21. This is actually consistent with my current Yamaha (RX-V590). That said, when I listen to the music, I started with the 765, then the 707, then the 21 - each AVR change resulted in a cleaner sound. The 21 sounded the best with the movie & music - in my opinion. The 707 wasn't far behind, but I was actually disappointed with the 765, in comparison.

Another point of worth noting, my better half did not like the heat produced by the 707 and actually said she didn't want to get the 707 because of that (the 707 has gravitated to the top of my short list, previous holder of this spot was the Pioneer VSX-9040TXH, but I am a few months too late). Heat-wise the 707 was hands down the winner (hottest), followed by the 21, and then the 765 (coolest).

Those who have followed my story, both in the speaker and AVR forum, I am still torn between a beefy AVR or a decent AVR with an external amp (running 4 ohms-ed L/R/C). I believe the 707 and the 21 (or 9040) would handle the load, but wife is currently against the Onkyo, so leaning towards Pioneer.

Do all receivers in the same line sound the same, i.e. a Yamaha sounds like a Yamaha at $300 or $800?

What would be a good pairing of AVR (at least 4 HDMI inputs) & external amp in the <$700ish range (for both)? I still want the features that provide quality picture & sound, but don't need all the bells & whistles; it will be running a 5.1 set-up.

Were they running any room correction? If yes, you got your answer why they sounded different. Another factor maybe their amplification power, were they all identical?

All receivers in the same line may or may not sound same. Your choice should be determined by the sensitivity of your speakers. If you have speakers with low-sensitivity, it is possible the receiver at the higher-end (with more power) will sound better since it will cause less distortion.

Denon has just come with an HDMI 1.4a receiver for under $300. I don't know if it has built in Audyssey though. Just have a look.
post #3 of 168
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hd_newbie View Post

Were they running any room correction? If yes, you got your answer why they sounded different. Another factor maybe their amplification power, were they all identical?

All receivers in the same line may or may not sound same. Your choice should be determined by the sensitivity of your speakers. If you have speakers with low-sensitivity, it is possible the receiver at the higher-end (with more power) will sound better since it will cause less distortion.

Denon has just come with an HDMI 1.4a receiver for under $300. I don't know if it has built in Audyssey though. Just have a look.

None of the receivers were calibrated to the speakers, per the sales rep., as he said they will all sound better once tailored to your room. I will look up the Denon you mentioned (591?). Unsure regarding the amps? That is why I am considering the external amp - would an extenal amp with a "normal" AVR clean up the sound/distortion?

I am not sold on any one brand of receiver, just sort of against Onkyo (better half's heat assessment), but I may still go Onkyo???
post #4 of 168
If you prefer the 707, get it. For helping with the heat problem go to coolerguys.com and then choose a cooling solution from their Home Theater section. Depending on what you choose they are really worth the investment. Prices start from the teens to their deluxe kits that are still relatively inexpensive. Get the AVR you like best and cool it down. Besides that cooling kit will be around a long time. Good luck and enjoy.
post #5 of 168
This is a flawed comparison to say the least. That said, the 707 is a nice receiver.
post #6 of 168
There's too many variables, IMO, in doing comparisons at a store. Calibration of speaker levels, room correction settings, bass/treble adjustments if any. Also, unless you level match by meter, you will perceive the sound differently.

If at any point, any receiver was clipping, the comparion could be invalid.

As for Yamaha and sound, the circuitry does vary. I doubt there is much sonic difference due to the design and construction of the pre amp and power amp sections.

The main difference from receiver to receiver will be power. Yamaha receivers can be grouped into certain platforms that share a basic design. The receivers in the same platform will have the same power transformer, and similar power.
post #7 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxjean View Post

None of the receivers were calibrated to the speakers, per the sales rep., as he said they will all sound better once tailored to your room. I will look up the Denon you mentioned (591?). Unsure regarding the amps? That is why I am considering the external amp - would an extenal amp with a "normal" AVR clean up the sound/distortion?

I am not sold on any one brand of receiver, just sort of against Onkyo (better half's heat assessment), but I may still go Onkyo???

Onkyo's are good receivers. I agree with Michael. You are dealing with too many variables. For example, if one of the receivers are slightly louder than the rest, humans tend to interpret that as better. I wouldn't be rushing into any conclusions based on your experience.

You may or may not benefit from an external amplifier. It would depend on the sensitivity of your speakers, your listening distance from the speakers, and how loud do you listen.
post #8 of 168
I would definitely not go by the BB Magnolia. The 3 by me have absolutely little to zero calibration and will definitely no sound the same in your room. All three are good receivers though. The 707 does get warmer than the others, but that is an Onkyo thing for the most part. I'd look at the power consumption and features per dollar. I know the Yamaha and Onkyo have pre-outs so they should be comparable.
post #9 of 168
I am very surprised I was actually able to here (hear) a difference between the following receivers:

Yamaha RX-V765
Onkyo TX-SR707
Pioneer VSX-21TXH



Here's the thing. Let's just use two for example. Let's say a prospect went into that store looking for a Yamaha AVR. Let's say in his audition he played around with the EQ to see how it worked and had one of the front mains turned up waaaay past the center or the right one waaaay past the left, etc. Lets say the Pioneer's speaker levels were still at what they came from out of the factory. And then you came along behind him. Chances are certain that you would hear a clear difference between those two receivers. One may very well sound great compared to the other. But if both were setup correctly you may, in fact, not hear any differences at all. You can not walk into any electronics store and blindly listen to how things sound by flipping switches from one to another to see what sounds better. Useless. If you must, you need to at least turn the EQ off. But then SPL levels come into play. It's common knowledge that people perceive things that are louder as better. So there you go again. If you "really" want to audition you need to take the time to set the EQ of all receivers, at least as regards SPL levels and distance. But then you'll get it home and it will sound different anyhow.

Frankly, taking EQ out of the mix, any well constructed AVR that is not driven past its rated specs, will provide very little, audible, differences. So pick the one that has the features you want and the power you want, buy it and enjoy.
post #10 of 168
Wow, a new receivers sound different/no they don't thread. I was watching it go 'round. It usually doesn't vary. And by post #9, you've officially opened a can of worms!

There is no difference, there is a big difference, it's the room, it's the speakers, it's the heat, it's the amps. Get a sub, get room treatment, you are crazy, get cables, get a life.

At the end of the day, trust your ears, not your posters.
post #11 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by runnin' View Post

Wow, a new receivers sound different/no they don't thread. I was watching it go 'round. It usually doesn't vary. And by post #9, you've officially opened a can of worms!

There is no difference, there is a big difference, it's the room, it's the speakers, it's the heat, it's the amps. Get a sub, get room treatment, you are crazy, get cables, get a life.

At the end of the day, trust your ears, not your posters.

Yes it doesn't. Including your post. Posts like no. 9 are almost always followed by comments like:

Quote:
Originally Posted by runnin' View Post

At the end of the day, trust your ears
post #12 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by runnin' View Post

Wow, a new receivers sound different/no they don't thread. I was watching it go 'round. It usually doesn't vary. And by post #9, you've officially opened a can of worms!

There is no difference, there is a big difference, it's the room, it's the speakers, it's the heat, it's the amps. Get a sub, get room treatment, you are crazy, get cables, get a life.

At the end of the day, trust your ears, not your posters.

While I agree with you about where these types of threads end up, your using my post to prove your point makes no sense. I gave rather specific reasons as to why any audition of AVR's at any store might provide different results. Do you disagree with any of them? Frankly I don't think anybody on either side of the coin would. It's inflamatory posts like yours that usually start the endless bickering.

I posted my opinion without the need to point out or call out anybody else. If you did the same, the thread wouldn't have started down this road, now would it???!!!
post #13 of 168
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxjean View Post

Is the cling of the sword being very distinct on the 707 & 21 mean they are “bright” receivers (trying to get a grasp of that term – “bright”)?

Do all receivers in the same line sound the same, i.e. a Yamaha sounds like a Yamaha at $300 or $800?

What would be a good pairing of AVR (at least 4 HDMI inputs) & external amp in the <$700ish range (for both)? I still want the features that provide quality picture & sound, but don’t need all the bells & whistles; it will be running a 5.1 set-up.

I understand the comparison was flawed and accept that. The comparison is just what prompted the questions presented - which very few have actually addressed...

Maybe everyone just loves the occasional "yes it doesn't" thread.
post #14 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lhasa-lover View Post

While I agree with you about where these types of threads end up, your using my post to prove your point makes no sense. I gave rather specific reasons as to why any audition of AVR's at any store might provide different results. Do you disagree with any of them? Frankly I don't think anybody on either side of the coin would. It's inflamatory posts like yours that usually start the endless bickering.

I posted my opinion without the need to point out or call out anybody else. If you did the same, the thread wouldn't have started down this road, now would it???!!!

I was only referring to post # 9 in generic terms, I wasn't targeting your comments specifically, but everyones' as the can of worm opening sound ramped up. Lighten up.
post #15 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxjean View Post

I understand the comparison was flawed and accept that. The comparison is just what prompted the questions presented - which very few have actually addressed...

I hope I helped answer why there was a difference between them when you auditioned them in the store. As to your final question of an AVR and a power amp for under $700 for both...I personally think you would be better off spending that entire amount on an AVR.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxjean View Post

...Maybe everyone just loves the occasional "yes it doesn't" thread.

I think you are spot on with this one!!
post #16 of 168
The OP asked a completely legit question. Of course he will get opinions. And not all opinons are correct.

But I think it's fair to say that comparing receivers in a store is not reliable. I would love to see someone explain how that's a fair comparison without eliminating all of the above mentioned variables.
post #17 of 168
I wanted to audition the Klipsch THX ultra 2 system at a local store. I had an already great system but wanted to hear these for comparsion. I brought my WOTW disc and my trust old spl meter with me. I brought my brother with me to show him something. We put in my disc and listened to the Pod emerging scene to hear what this system sounds like. My brother said my system was much better and this one was not worth buying. My system consisted of M&K S-250 speakers, SVS PB12/plus/2, and separates all calibrated in a treated room. I told him to watch this, so I went into the processors menu and ran test tones(before Audyssey existed). The speakers were off and all over the place. The subs were way off as well. I level matched everything, set the crossover to 80hz and all speakers to small. We then re-listened to the Pod Emerging scene and my brother nearly crapped his pants, I bought the system and brought it home and it even sound better in my room. OP, just go back to the store and calibrate every receiver before the demo and set the speakers to your liking. The room will have the same effect so EQ'ing will be the same to the speakers. Once you level matched and calibrated everything you then can listen to them. Bring a spl meter and your favorite movie or music disc(both). This will do wonders for all.
post #18 of 168
I think that's fair. But most people won't want to go through all that work.
post #19 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by runnin' View Post

I was only referring to post # 9 in generic terms, I wasn't targeting your comments specifically, but everyones' as the can of worm opening sound ramped up. Lighten up.

Referring to a specific post by number isn't generic. It's specific. And I'm neither overweight or excited so no need for me to "lighten up" I get the feeling you like to tell people what to do so why don't you tell the OP what you think about his questions instead of sparring with me.
post #20 of 168
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MKtheater View Post

OP, just go back to the store and calibrate every receiver before the demo and set the speakers to your liking. The room will have the same effect so EQ'ing will be the same to the speakers. Once you level matched and calibrated everything you then can listen to them. Bring a spl meter and your favorite movie or music disc(both). This will do wonders for all.

I wish I could; I would have to get there at opening, then I may finish by closing time... I am a "Noob."
post #21 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxjean View Post

I wish I could; I would have to get there at opening, then I may finish by closing time... I am a "Noob."

Might as well learn it now because your'e going to have do it when you get it home. At least then it won't because you chose the wrong one for you. Any of your choices would be easy to test. Anyway if it were me, I'd pick one, buy it, bring it home and set it up properly in MY room. If you don't like it bring it back and get another. Do it until you get one you like. That's the only way to find the one you really want, in your mancave, not theirs. Good luck and have fun doing it.
post #22 of 168
It really is easy. Just bring a spl meter. You go into menu or setup on the receiver. Go to speakers and levels. The speakers you set to small and subwoofer yes. With levels it will generate test tones for every channel. When on each channel take out the spl meter and make sure it says 75 db's on slow and c-weighted(spl meter). Do this with every channel and you are done. The speakers will now be in balance with the subs. Any room effect will be the same for the receiver so running audyssey won't matter as long as you keep them the same. It is worth it so you know what you like.
post #23 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by phantom52 View Post

Might as well learn it now because your'e going to have do it when you get it home. At least then it won't because you chose the wrong one for you. Any of your choices would be easy to test. Anyway if it were me, I'd pick one, buy it, bring it home and set it up properly in MY room. If you don't like it bring it back and get another. Do it until you get one you like. That's the only way to find the one you really want, in your mancave, not theirs. Good luck and have fun doing it.

Wonderful advice. Works like a charm every time and is a whole load of fun to boot.
post #24 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lhasa-lover View Post

Wonderful advice. Works like a charm every time and is a whole load of fun to boot.

+1... try them out.

I like the amp+AVR (or prepro) for my setup because I am driving 4 ohm speakers that are not too high in the sensitivity department - changing to this setup from worked for me because my old Onkyo wasn't too keen on 4 ohm speakers and the cost worked out fairly equal to getting an AVR that would push my mains effectively
post #25 of 168
Maxjean,

I think you will find that trying to level match sound and settings of receivers is going to be next to impossible for you since you are newer at this. Those advising such are not being mindful of this. Doing such comparisons at a store is going to be next to impossible unless you have many hours and a dedicated salesman with nothing else to do to assist you. Most won't let a customer be alone in the sound room changing gear and settings that they have carefully set up.

I don't think Magnolia is the kind to purposely set up their receivers to fool a customer with bad settings or incorrect settings where a speaker is turned way down, this would cost them sales and unhappy customers. They want to meet your need and have you be a return customer.

And note, earlier I commented on yet another thread addressing the subject of receivers sounding the same and different. It is actually a hotly contested topic as you could tell by the rude response I got for trying to make light of it. In reality, some receivers do sound different than others and you need to find one that your ears like. Since you found the Yamaha not as good, I would re compare the Pioneer and Onkyo, and see if you can try a Denon. Take your time and enjoy yourself.
post #26 of 168
Trust your ears by understanding how they really work. Don't trust the people who are just parroting that subjective mantra without making an effort to understand the science of sound reproduction.
post #27 of 168
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by runnin' View Post

Maxjean,

I think you will find that trying to level match sound and settings of receivers is going to be next to impossible for you since you are newer at this. Those advising such are not being mindful of this. Doing such comparisons at a store is going to be next to impossible unless you have many hours and a dedicated salesman with nothing else to do to assist you. Most won't let a customer be alone in the sound room changing gear and settings that they have carefully set up.

I don't think Magnolia is the kind to purposely set up their receivers to fool a customer with bad settings or incorrect settings where a speaker is turned way down, this would cost them sales and unhappy customers. They want to meet your need and have you be a return customer.

And note, earlier I commented on yet another thread addressing the subject of receivers sounding the same and different. It is actually a hotly contested topic as you could tell by the rude response I got for trying to make light of it. In reality, some receivers do sound different than others and you need to find one that your ears like. Since you found the Yamaha not as good, I would re compare the Pioneer and Onkyo, and see if you can try a Denon. Take your time and enjoy yourself.

Thanks... I have read so much in the last two weeks my mind is spinning.

Right now I think I am just waiting for a "great" deal - value for dollar. The 707 the best deal right now, but don't want to jump on the first decent sale. Last night I found a good sale on a Denon 3310, but then read it had issues with 4 ohms speakers that didn't make sense to me.

Ideally I am seeking a <$600 AVR, but I am willing to go a little higher for a 'high-end' on closeout/sale/etc. I am still hesitant about refurbs, but a lot on this forum seem to recommend them a lot.?.?

I only have the L/R/C speaker (4 ohms, ML Encore TF) for my new set-up. Still seaking surrounds/sub/AVR. I have been researching the AVR the most.
post #28 of 168
Quote:


For example, if one of the receivers are slightly louder than the rest, humans tend to interpret that as better.

I'm human (regardless of what my wife says ) and I interpret that one receiver being louder than other receivers, as being louder. Loudness has zero to do with one being better.

As to the OPs opening sentence:
Quote:


I am very surprised I was actually able to here a difference between the following receivers

I don't understand the logic behind it. Of course there will be a difference. All the receivers are different. There will be a difference in sound quality. So why is he so surprised?
post #29 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splicer010 View Post

I'm human (regardless of what my wife says ) and I interpret that one receiver being louder than other receivers, as being louder. Loudness has zero to do with one being better.

That's correct, you're human, and countless comparative listening procedures -formal and otherwise- have illustrated that humans tend to favor the loudest of two or more alternatives choices.......almost without exception.

Quote:


As to the OPs opening sentence:
I don't understand the logic behind it. Of course there will be a difference. All the receivers are different. There will be a difference in sound quality. So why is he so surprised?

All three receivers are constructed to perform exactly the same tasks and presumably designed to be sonically transparent. Why would you assume that they must sound different?
post #30 of 168
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splicer010 View Post

As to the OPs opening sentence:
I don't understand the logic behind it. Of course there will be a difference. All the receivers are different. There will be a difference in sound quality. So why is he so surprised?

I was surprised, for a few reasons:

1. I never noticed a difference before (caveat, never tried either)
2. I have read a lot here and other places and there seems to be huge gap in the opinions of sound
3. I am not musically 'gifted' (most people on American Idol sound OK to me)
4. I seem to have selective hearing (whatever that is) - according to some
5. I used to think the speaker made the difference, not the source.

So, to not only notice a difference, but to notice a distinct and obvious difference between three AVRs (albeit not in an ideal setting, as mentioned at nauseam above) is "surprising" to me.
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