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Panasonic XR55 alternative?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
On the suggestion of this forum some years ago, I bought a Panasonic XR55. Paired with my Dana speakers, it sounds extraordinary. Unfortunately, it's started to emit an occasional squealing sound and may not be long for this world.

Is there a new favorite among economically-priced amps/receivers?

Some background: my sole audio device is a digital feed from an HTPC. My sole display device is a projector that's wired only to the HTPC. I have a 5.1 setup with Dana bookshelf speakers and a subwoofer with no particular desire for more speakers. The Dana's are around 87 w/db/m. Theater volume is about -17db on the receiver. The playback material is only ever PCM, DTS, or AC-3. Probably 75% of the time, I have it in two-channel stereo.

So I don't seem to need more power, HDMI inputs, or advanced features of any sort. The only thing I'd have liked to have seen on the XR55 are proper 5-channel surround and a crossover option under 80hz. If I could find another one, I'd buy it. All I really care about is an amp of equal quality. What would you recommend instead?
post #2 of 4
The XR units were popular because they offered the class D amplifiers in a compact chassis at a reasonable price. People also loved that they had pre-ins which allowed you to effectively use them as multi-channel amplifiers. There was nothing like them at the time.

However in reality the amplifiers weren't exceptionally powerful or clean, it was just an excellent value in a compact chassis that was amazing at the time.

Given your relatively simple requirements for a basic, clean sounding AVR, I'd recommend an H/K. This would be my choice if I had no desire for the room correction features like Audyssey.

However it may be worth your time to try a box with Audyssey normal or XT first, as it can be a huge benefit. Maybe pick a Denon up from Best Buy or somewhere you can return it should it no impress you.

If you need the compact size, there is a slimline Marantz. Hell, you could probably be happy with one of the current Panasonic HTIB receivers as the amp section is still the same.
post #3 of 4
I don't know about Harman Kardon, but I think a Denon is nothing like your Panny in sound. I had a recent Denon 2 channel receiver, plus have heard their AVRs and while they sound 'musical' they sound muffled and too polite. I just picked up an '06 Yamaha AVR and I'm amazed at the clear, peppy and sweet presentation.
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
When the Panasonic arrived, there were various favorable comparisons to more expensive amplifiers. Were these debunked?

I'm not totally adverse to using a receiver with pre-outs to power a separate amp, if indeed that would offer similar or better sound quality. Any suggestions on that front under $500?
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