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Need feedback on Onkyo vs. Denon vs. Harman Kardon

post #1 of 82
Thread Starter 
Denon AVR-1312
Denon AVR-1613
Onkyo TX-SR313
Onkyo TX-NR509
Onkyo TX-NR414
Harman Kardon AVR1565
Harman Kardan AVR1600

Those are the choices I have at my local stores to upgrade my current Pioneer VSX-520-K (if you guys saw my other topic you know why): I have a feeling I could get a way better sound out of my Klipsch F-30, both for movies and games, by changing/upgrading that amp. Central/surround speakers will follow shortly after.

Just looking for general feedback about the above: will be mostly used for gaming and blurays, everything connected through HDMI. Small living room (apartment) of around 250 feet/square. Looking for sound QUALITY here, not power and don't care much about all bells and whistles (features). Just want quality, a warm sound where every single tiny detail in the soundtrack is heard, no matter the sound level (can't play it super loud since I'm in an apartment building but I can crank it a bit during afternoons and weekends).

Thanks for the comments/help!
post #2 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urobulus View Post

Denon AVR-1312
Denon AVR-1613
Onkyo TX-SR313
Onkyo TX-NR509
Onkyo TX-NR414
Harman Kardon AVR1565
Harman Kardan AVR1600

Those are the choices I have at my local stores to upgrade my current Pioneer VSX-520-K (if you guys saw my other topic you know why): I have a feeling I could get a way better sound out of my Klipsch F-30, both for movies and games, by changing/upgrading that amp. Central/surround speakers will follow shortly after.

Just looking for general feedback about the above: will be mostly used for gaming and blurays, everything connected in HDMI. Small living room (apartment) of around 250 feet/square. Looking for sound QUALITY here, not power and don't care much about all bells and whistles (features). Just want quality


Thanks for starting this thread!

I have noticed that my old Harmon Kardon DPR-1001 receiver is far more robust in terms of power output than my current Onkyo TX-SR608, Is HK quality that much better on their older models vs what is now available out there?

I had trouble with my older Pioneer Dolby Pro Logic receivers in that the rear amps would fail in a few years. Otherwise the were fine.
post #3 of 82
Thread Starter 
Somehow I have a feeling I might get better sound quality (better ''handshake'' I think it's called?) with my Klipsch F30 with either Denon or Harman Kardon than an Onkyo...

Spent some time readin on the three and saw that maybe Onkyo wouldn't be as good...

Again that could be wrong, which is why I came here for guidance
post #4 of 82
Judging from the list of receivers you are considering, I presume your budget is somewhere around $300-350. Personally, I would lean towards the Denon 1712 due to the large discounts given now that the 1713 is released (call Electronics Expo) and the fact it has Audyssey MultiQ XT. That is 2 steps higher level of Audyssey than the 2EQ in the Onkyo plus is the only one that adjusts the subwoofer. I should say I am not familiar with the HK so am not including them in my comments.

As for the amp sections themselves, I don't think there would be much audible differentiation between any of them, including the HK. The room correction software would make the greatest difference regarding what you hear.
post #5 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeechTom View Post

Judging from the list of receivers you are considering, I presume your budget is somewhere around $300-350. Personally, I would lean towards the Denon 1712 due to the large discounts given now that the 1713 is released (call Electronics Expo) and the fact it has Audyssey MultiQ XT. That is 2 steps higher level of Audyssey than the 2EQ in the Onkyo plus is the only one that adjusts the subwoofer. I should say I am not familiar with the HK so am not including them in my comments.

As for the amp sections themselves, I don't think there would be much audible differentiation between any of them, including the HK. The room correction software would make the greatest difference regarding what you hear.

The 1712 is certainly nice, just be advised that it does not pass through analog sources via HDMI. So if you have a Wii or non HDMI Xbox, DVD player etc... you'll have to hook them directly to the TV.

I have the HK AVR 1600. I've had it for about a year and so far it's been great. Seems to have quite a bit of power, never gets hot, looks nice and is pretty simple to operate.

I don't know if the EZSet EQ is any good since I'm only running a 2.1. If you can get one in the $250 range it would be a good buy IMO.
post #6 of 82
Thread Starter 
I'm in Canada, so we're getting screwed here: the 1600 is twice that...
post #7 of 82
This is my view of the 3 brands:

Denon: Good features, good reliability, fair to good pricing. My recommendation, and also what I own (AVR-988)

Onkyo: Good features, poor reliability, often priced a bit better than the feature-equivalent Denons

Harmon Kardon: Crappy features/connectivity including lack of pre-outs. I've read about a lot of buggy receivers from them, though I haven't really read about them in the past few years, so hopefully they are less buggy (no, I don't remember any specific examples from the past, either)


I'd take them in that order. HK isn't even a consideration (for me at least) because of the terrible connectivity. I'd take Yamaha over Onkyo even though you lose Audyssey and gain the less-good YPAO, but at least it'd be reliable. I'd probably take Pioneer over Onkyo as well, though again, MCAAC isn't as good as Audyssey.
post #8 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonoMan View Post


Harmon Kardon: Crappy features/connectivity including lack of pre-outs.

And what AVR in the same price range has pre-outs?

You can still get a new AVR 3600 for about $550 which has pre-outs.
post #9 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kini62 View Post

And what AVR in the same price range has pre-outs?

You can still get a new AVR 3600 for about $550 which has pre-outs.

I got my Denon AVR-988 for that price in November of 08, and it has pre-outs and dual independent 12v triggers, etc.
post #10 of 82
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately the Denon 1712 is not available in my area it seems after shopping a bit: the 1312 or the 1613 are my options... Are they pretty much the same?

Any other feedback/personnal experience on the 3 brands is welcome
post #11 of 82
Congrats on even considering the HK, most people in your shoes would go for that Denon or Onkyo.The masses suffer from group think, the HK of course is the better of those units,IMO.
post #12 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urobulus View Post

Unfortunately the Denon 1712 is not available in my area it seems after shopping a bit: the 1312 or the 1613 are my options... Are they pretty much the same?

Any other feedback/personnal experience on the 3 brands is welcome

The 1312 does not have Audyssey - pass

The 1613 has Audyssey MultiEQ - OK

The 1713/1712 has Audyssey MultiEQ XT - better

The room correction software makes the biggest difference, and Audyssey in the Denon/Onkyo is far better than the HK alternative, whatever the benefits of the HK otherwise.
post #13 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by khollister View Post

The room correction software makes the biggest difference, and Audyssey in the Denon/Onkyo is far better than the HK alternative, whatever the benefits of the HK otherwise.

Room correction software can be like opening a can of worms. If you like the way your speakers sound now, than don't use low end room correction like Audyssey. If you think Audyssey will make setup easy, think again, this could be the start of weeks if not years of tweaking....
post #14 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by khollister View Post

The 1312 does not have Audyssey - pass

The 1613 has Audyssey MultiEQ - OK

The 1713/1712 has Audyssey MultiEQ XT - better

The room correction software makes the biggest difference, and Audyssey in the Denon/Onkyo is far better than the HK alternative, whatever the benefits of the HK otherwise.

HK receivers also have a dark colored sound by design for some reason. At least on the older receivers. It was very obvious and proven with reactive load testing, when looking at the frequency response. This in opposition to a resistive loading that shows little since speakers are reactive not resistive.
post #15 of 82
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldSchoolMETAL View Post

HK receivers also have a dark colored sound by design for some reason. At least on the older receivers. It was very obvious and proven with reactive load testing, when looking at the frequency response. This in opposition to a resistive loading that shows little since speakers are reactive not resistive.


Hmmm not sure I'm following you here... What do you mean by ''dark colored sound'' exactly?

By the way just want to point out again that next amp will be linked with a pair of Klipsch F-30 (if that info can help at all) so I need the best combo possible (pretty sure I heard that some amps go better with specific speakers).
post #16 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by joehonest View Post

Room correction software can be like opening a can of worms. If you like the way your speakers sound now, than don't use low end room correction like Audyssey. If you think Audyssey will make setup easy, think again, this could be the start of weeks if not years of tweaking....



still trying to spread that "advice", huh?
post #17 of 82
^^
That's where the "reputation" feature on the new platform will come in handy ... low rep with lots of posts means "ignore".
post #18 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by joehonest View Post

Room correction software can be like opening a can of worms. If you like the way your speakers sound now, than don't use low end room correction like Audyssey. If you think Audyssey will make setup easy, think again, this could be the start of weeks if not years of tweaking....

Just pure guesswork or what ?
Most system do sound better if measured correctly by Audyssey and do improve the sound audibly, especially if you don't have an acoustically optimized listening room.
But if your taste is different... this has nothing to do with a neutral listening setup but just personal preference, which is probably anything but correct.
post #19 of 82
^^^

i'd "guess" that it's not even "guesswork", it's plain old regurgitated audiophile pablum...

one example for those who like pictures...

subs in a room "uncorrected"...



subs corrected by audyssey (in this case xt32 with the pro kit)... ignore the funkiness below 15hz, that is a measurement artifact...



not too difficult to see which "sounds better"...

for further explanation/interpretation of the above, see this link...

clicky
post #20 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

^^
That's where the "reputation" feature on the new platform will come in handy ... low rep with lots of posts means "ignore".

i'm hoping so... but i'm afraid it won't...
post #21 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urobulus View Post

Hmmm not sure I'm following you here... What do you mean by ''dark colored sound'' exactly?

By the way just want to point out again that next amp will be linked with a pair of Klipsch F-30 (if that info can help at all) so I need the best combo possible (pretty sure I heard that some amps go better with specific speakers).

more "old audiophile mythology"... in a properly controlled test, it's pretty unlikely you could tell any of them apart...

i "hear" lots of things... not many of them are "true"...

with those speakers, virtually anything you buy is going to drive them well beyond threshhold of pain levels... find the features you want in the budget you can afford...
post #22 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

^^^

i'd "guess" that it's not even "guesswork", it's plain old regurgitated audiophile pablum...

one example for those who like pictures...

subs in a room "uncorrected"...



subs corrected by audyssey (in this case xt32 with the pro kit)... ignore the funkiness below 15hz, that is a measurement artifact...



not too difficult to see which "sounds better"...

for further explanation/interpretation of the above, see this link...

clicky

I listen with my ears not my eyes. The graph of a heartbeat looks and sounds better to me than a flat line !!! A flat line doesn't mean better sound. Humans don't hear that way, so why should we force the speaker to work against the way we hear. The flat line is the easy way out, you can drink pure water, I'll enjoy my wine...
post #23 of 82
Thread Starter 
But that's the thing: I don't know what I have to lookout for since I'm new to all that stuff lol :P

Quality over power here, that's what I'm looking for. Like I mentionned before I know I have good quality speakers but I want to make sure I get the most out of them with the perfect amp for my budget (around 500$).

I can't really crank them up super loud like in a house anyway since I'm in an apartments building, hence why the ''quality over power''.
post #24 of 82
@joe...

right...

keep on exposing your lack of knowledge...
post #25 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urobulus View Post

But that's the thing: I don't know what I have to lookout for since I'm new to all that stuff lol :P

Quality over power here, that's what I'm looking for. Like I mentionned before I know I have good quality speakers but I want to make sure I get the most out of them with the perfect amp for my budget (around 500$).

I can't really crank them up super loud like in a house anyway since I'm in an apartments building, hence why the ''quality over power''.

well, power is the LEAST of your worries... even if you could crank them up loud...

imo... unless there's some type of "special feature" that only exists on a certain model, look for whatever one has the "best" room correction routines (regardless of what one other poster might think, graph don't lie) and whichever one you think is the most attractive...
post #26 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

@joe...

right...

keep on exposing your lack of knowledge...

Well I do know and see this, both graphs are less than perfect. So I'll just pick the one that sounds better to me.. If it can't be prefect and nothing in this world is. Than why should I live with the dull and lifeless sound of Audyssey, cause Audyssey sucks out all the sweetness in the name of perfection. Perfection being flat, said who, who said flat is perfect anyway.. The Fletcher-Munson curves are one of many sets of equal-loudness contours for the human ear, determined experimentally by Harvey Fletcher and Wilden A. Munson, and reported in a 1933 paper entitled "Loudness, its definition, measurement and calculation" in the Journal of the Acoustic Society of America. You should read this... Talk about science vs. making a buck.
post #27 of 82
flat tire,
flat soda pop,
flat sound,
Name three things that ruin your day ...

People use to think the world was flat to...
post #28 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by joehonest View Post

Well I do know and see this, both graphs are less than perfect. So I'll just pick the one that sounds better to me.. If it can't be prefect and nothing in this world is. Than why should I live with the dull and lifeless sound of Audyssey, cause Audyssey sucks out all the sweetness in the name of perfection. Perfection being flat, said who, who said flat is perfect anyway.. The Fletcher-Munson curves are one of many sets of equal-loudness contours for the human ear, determined experimentally by Harvey Fletcher and Wilden A. Munson, and reported in a 1933 paper entitled "Loudness, its definition, measurement and calculation" in the Journal of the Acoustic Society of America. You should read this... Talk about science vs. making a buck.

you really don't understand a word of what you are trying to say, do you?
post #29 of 82
All I know is that my Audyssey AVR sounds better than the 5.1 dts it replaced and better than the HK before that so flat, not flat; whatever, it sounds better...

To me and that is all that matters, isn't it.
post #30 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by joehonest View Post

flat tire,
flat soda pop,
flat sound,
Name three things that ruin your day ...

People use to think the world was flat to...

ROTFL ?Joe I don't think you're going to win this battle. As a person who has become increasingly interested in xt32, which version of audyssey has given you a bad taste.
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