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How much does a receiver color sound?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I have a 20 year old Onkyo 5.1 receiver that I am thinking of upgrading. How can I choose a new receiver without changing the quality of sound too much? I'm wondering if my unit is affecting the sound quality of my speakers. I would be looking for a mid grade unit between $400-$500.
post #2 of 8
The source of much debate on the forums...if you're using the various sound modes of course your avr is coloring the sound as that's what those are for....if you want just the amp alone with no room correction, no dsp, etc then use the pure mode. Personally in that price range I think they're mostly similar in any case and wouldn't worry about it. I'd worry more about your room and the speakers themselves....
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
It's been so long since I purchased a receiver that I'm not even sure what I need let alone how to get the most from it.
post #4 of 8
A more current model with Audyssey (Onkyo, Denon, Marantz) would more than likely improve the audio quality of your speakers. Look at the Onkyo 626 and Denon E400 both of which are in your budget.
post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarbo View Post

It's been so long since I purchased a receiver that I'm not even sure what I need let alone how to get the most from it.

Like jdsmoothie suggests, good room correction is one of the better features of modern avrs and Audyssey works well in my experience and is more capable in some respects than Pioneer's MCACC,, particularly sub management. I've had both Pioneer and Onkyo avrs so have experience with both.
post #6 of 8
I have used Auddysee and MCACC and Pioneer does a better job in total system integration. Pioneer does a good job with the subwoofer. If has 3 filters that do the same things PEQ does except it stops at 63 Hz. These are frequency, bandwidth, and gain/attenuation. The second or third harmonic is what we hear and is more important to address that the first harmonic. Different favors for different people, lol. There is only two things to do below 63 Hz IMO, bass boost near 20 Hz or cut one peak. Any more and things get messed up. MCACC addresses peak problems under 63 Hz at the next higher harmonic. 95+ percent of subs already have a built in bass boost.
Edited by derrickdj1 - 9/8/13 at 1:30am
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Are Yamaha receivers worth a look? Or is there anything I should avoid like the plague?
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarbo View Post

Are Yamaha receivers worth a look? Or is there anything I should avoid like the plague?

You might want to look at the product-specific threads to see if the make and model you have chosen has a bit of lemon in it.

As others have pointed out, the automated system tuning facilities (Audyssey, MCACC, YPAO) are hot topics. I'm using an AVR with Audyssey Multieq and find it to be advantageous. On the one hand my speakers were good enough that corrections on the order of only 5 dB were all that was needed, but it did fine tune the system and give a stronger sense of naturalness.

I'm under the impression that Audyssey XT32 is the most generally highly regarded of the bunch. The various automated system tunders have their own proponent and experiences threads here on AVS.

The best and most comprehensive automated system tuning facilities command strong price premiums. I know of one refurb AVR with XT32 that is about $700, but as new products, you're talking more like $1K. Without XT32 a similar AVR would be $100s less.

It's kind of an interesting world. If you run them in direct mode or even turn on the bells and whistles but leave them zeroed out, these modern AVRs are very clean and uncolored. So now the "best sounding" AVR is the one that has inverse coloration that is tailored to your speakers and room.

One piece of hype to not be distracted by is power wars. Many will want the comfort of AVRs produce high power with sine waves and resistive loads on the test bench. AVRs that can pull this off can weigh twice as much or more than others that can't perform so well on the test bench, and are priced accordingly. However, music has a lot less average energy than sine waves, and the lighter, cheaper AVRs work out well as a practical matter. There is a similar argument about driving low impedance speakers. It turns out that the same argument applies and mainstream AVRs work will with speakers whose impedance dives down to as little as 3 ohms or less over part of the audio band.

AVRs are a highly competitive market segment and any AVR that can't cut it runs the risk of being queen of the store room and a bozo on the audio forums. The companies who do well in this market are delivering what the market actually needs, or they will die. AVRs now have a tremendous amount of effective technology in them. Most controls and switches have been replaced with settings on menus. The good news is that features implemented in software won't be subject to oxiditaion or get loose like the old-time feature-laden receivers did.
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