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Help choosing a midrange receiver <$600

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I am in need of some guidance in choosing my first receiver. This is also my first post here, and I'll greatly appreciate any help I can get from the knowledgeable folks that are part of this community.

After much reading I have found much of the advise here is great, but a bit outdated.

This is what I care about in this exact order:

1. Sound quality - Measured by the way the receiver plays music in 2 channel stereo mode (including possibly bi-amping as well), which is my 1st priority. Movie watching to me is secondary when determining audio quality.

2. Power - I've read many manufactures overstate the output. This bothers me. Maybe the best solution is one with bi-amping as an option. I don't plan on playing music extremely loud, but I want the best sound possible, and I have read the more powerful the receiver, the better (less strain) it will sound at lower levels.

3. Reliability.

4. HDMI - At least 4 or 5 inputs. I'm not sure why receivers need to "process" HDMI, why not just let the BR player signal pass through as it is? after all, isn't that what BR players are for? Either way, if the receiver does process, at the very least it should not lower the image quality. I would like the best possible image. I don't care much about 3D at the moment, but I guess it can't hurt to have it.

5. Either 5.1 or 7.1 - Most likely I'll have a 2.1 or 3.1 setup (with center channel), but it can't hurt to have options. Is there a 7.1 that will let me bi-amp using the side channels instead of the rear ones? My goal would be to have a 5.1 setup with bi-amping on the fronts (for music) if I ever do it.

6. On screen GUI through HDMI - I've read some GUIs don't work through the HDMI signal, requiring a separate video connection to the TV. This is out of the question.

This is what I don't care about:

1. Video upscaling - I'm looking at the future, not the past.

2. Secondary zones.

3. Airplay, bluetooth - As long as I have a USB to plug in directly.

4. Internet radio - I already have Roku, and will probably purchase the Sony TV box. Shouldn't this already cover internet radio options?

5. Controller App (iPhone,iPad) - I plan to get a harmony universal remote anyway.

I'll leave it at this for now. These are some of the models I've been considering:

Yamaha V471, V671 or A800.
Denon 1912
Pioneer Elite 52

The reason I'm considering these models is because at this range they seem to be rated higher as far as power output than <$300 models. Some also suggest better sound the pricier the receiver is.
I've read Yamaha overstates power, Denons don't play music that well, and Onkyos have become unreliable. Is this true?

For speakers I'm looking at the Polk TSI 400's or Klipsch RF-52s. As far as room I live in Florida, living rooms are usually open areas (kitchen, dining, living) all one big room.

Thanks in advance for your help!
post #2 of 21
For overall SQ, Harmon Kardon is the one to beat. Doesn't have all the bells and whistles that the Jap 5 have, but it does have the class leading amplifier section ( mui importante ) and a very impressive DAC. The 3600 is on a mega sale to make room for the 2012 models for $550 at Jandr.com.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Interesting, I hadn't even considered HK. How are they as far as reliability? I have read they actually understate the power output. Are they on the bright side when it comes to sound or more neutral?
post #4 of 21
Hold off, save a little bit more money (60 - 85$) and purchase an ONKYO TX-NR809 when you find it on sale online (Newegg or Amazon). Much better receiver and way more user-friendly features that you will use on a daily basis.

Here is info on the receiver:

http://www.us.onkyo.com/model.cfm?m=...s=Receiver&p=i

Our son owns it and loves his.
post #5 of 21
I believe the newer HK receivers use different amp sections than the past models so not sure about them yet. In this price range, I like the Onkyo 709. The past Onkyos have had reliability problems, but the x09 line seems solid over the last year. Another option is the Denon 2112; it doens't have the amp section of the 709, but isn't a slouch either.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the suggestions, I'll start to look into these models. I was leaning toward Yamaha originally, since I rarely see any complaints as far as defects.
post #7 of 21
If you go with a Denon, skip the 1912 and get a 2112, its got a more advanced version of Audyssey and streets for about the same price as a 1912. If your concern is sound quality, the room correction software is what will make a difference in the sound you hear from the receiver, especially at this price point. Call Electronics Expo or AVS Sales and see what they can do for you, you might be surprised by the price of a 2112 if you make a phone call. (Also, skip and don't worry about "bi-amping" unless you are talking about using speakers with active crossovers.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bi-amping
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
I found the following info on a lab test on the HK 3650. Where do you think exactly that the poor video performance would affect me? I pretty much watch blue ray movies, or watch movies through Roku.

http://www.hometheater.com/content/h...-labs-measures
post #9 of 21
Video performance would affect you little to none. Just bypass the hk's processing if you notice subpar performance. HK is amoung the best in sound quality, you can't go wrong with them in my opinion.
post #10 of 21
I would also skip the Sony tv box. Its not good and Sony even knows it. Also my personal preference go URC over Harmony. As for your question, I'm a Denon guy, and I agree about going up beyond the 1912. The 21 or 23 series are prob a better bet. I am not an HK fan, used to be but not anymore. I also like the sound quality from Onkyo, but had several issues with video processing in the past.
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
I'm definitely learning many things I didn't know. (active crossovers,URC over Harmony), I will be looking into this.

I was just checking out the Marantz SR5006, and I wonder if I just found the perfect receiver. It supports bi-amping (just in case) and is highly reviewed. Any toughts?

JDEaston, thank you for clarifying on turning off video processing, this is exactly what I needed to understand. I kept wondering why the emphasis on AVRs processing the video signal when I have the BR player for this. This helps a lot, and now keeps the HK receiver on my short list due to it's good audio quality reviews. Can you turn down video processing on all receivers?

Jmaxbrod, what do you recommend in place of the Sony tv box?
post #12 of 21
I really like the Marantz SR5006. It's above your budget but if you're comfortable with a refurb (still has a two year warranty) you can get it for 539 at accessories 4 less.

You also mention the Elite VSX-52...I have the 2009 equivalent of that receiver, the VSX-21TXH, I think it sounds great for stereo use. If you want to save some cash the non-Elite VSX-1121 is identical to the VSX-52 without the elite fascia and can be found for well under your budget.

The Marantz has MultEQ XT which will eq the sub, the pioneers won't.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by crystalsound View Post

I'm definitely learning many things I didn't know. (active crossovers,URC over Harmony), I will be looking into this.

I was just checking out the Marantz SR5006, and I wonder if I just found the perfect receiver. It supports bi-amping (just in case) and is highly reviewed. Any toughts?

JDEaston, thank you for clarifying on turning off video processing, this is exactly what I needed to understand. I kept wondering why the emphasis on AVRs processing the video signal when I have the BR player for this. This helps a lot, and now keeps the HK receiver on my short list due to it's good audio quality reviews. Can you turn down video processing on all receivers?

Jmaxbrod, what do you recommend in place of the Sony tv box?

As far as I know, any avr that will upscale your video also gives you the option to turn that feature off. 90% of the time your tv of bluray player will offer better scaling capabilities than that of the avr. My reciever recieved a good review on scaling capabilities though I usually turn that feature off and let the bluray or tv handle video processing.
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
I'm basically a newbie when it comes to this stuff, but it seems to me that people pay a lot of money for "overlapping" technology. We have smart TVs, BR players, TV boxes, and receivers that all do the same thing (internet apps). My particular BR player was poorly rated by some people because it lacked the internet functionality of other players. I chose it because I wanted it do do the most important thing a BR should do, which is to produce the best image possible.

I think I'll keep applying this philosophy as I continue to put together my setup.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by crystalsound View Post

I'm basically a newbie when it comes to this stuff, but it seems to me that people pay a lot of money for "overlapping" technology. We have smart TVs, BR players, TV boxes, and receivers that all do the same thing (internet apps). My particular BR player was poorly rated by some people because it lacked the internet functionality of other players. I chose it because I wanted it do do the most important thing a BR should do, which is to produce the best image possible.

I think I'll keep applying this philosophy as I continue to put together my setup.

Agreed.. most of this stuff does interlap, my uncle is using scaling on his tv, avr, and bluray player. Yet I can't tell a difference from his tv and mine even though we have the same model Mitsubishi tv.. Though he does get a better image on his projector, which is 720p, than either of our tvs regardless of scaling..if your looking at a new avr I would base my decision on what gives you the best features and sound quality for your money.
post #16 of 21
Make sure your stand or cabinet can hold the receiver you choose. In my case, the Onkyo TX-NR709 and the Pioneer VSX-1021-K/VSX-51 all fit but the Onkyo TX-NR809 and Pioneer VSX-1121-K/VSX-52 are all too deep. As for Denon, they all fit, all the way up to the AVR-4311CI.
post #17 of 21
The Yamaha RX-V571 sells for $319 at Amazon. I think its a steal. Its only $72 more than the 471 and its a 7.1 amp.

http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-RX-V571...2220300&sr=8-1
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
I had looked at the V671 before, but I guess what the V571 lacks I don't really need. This is a good option. I then started looking at the A800 or A810, because some people say the Aventage line is more refined. Is it just a label, or do they really use better components?
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
Does anyone know where I can find bench test numbers on the Yamaha RX-V571 and the Marantz 5006?
post #20 of 21
I'd rather have the RX-V667 or RX-A700 than the 571.

Higher end models with multichannel inputs and preamp outputs. Then you can add an external amp if you really need more power. I think your desire for biamping is overrated.

The A700 was only $329 earlier this week.
post #21 of 21
I went with the Yamaha A1010 for a ridiculously good price. I have not heard anything bad about Yamaha, except for them not using Audyssey, so you don't get the sub eq unless you step up to the 2010.
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