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Onkyo 790 vs 894

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Need help trying to decide between the Onkyo 790 & 894. ShopOnkyo has refurbish unit @ $299 & $569 respectively. Is it worth the diff to go with the 894. I realize that DVD player does not come with the 790 and no HDMI. Honestly, I don't know if that really makes a difference or not. I assume I could pick up a DVD player and hook it up like the 894 does. Room not big enough to use 7 speakers the right way. Will hook up to a Sony 50A10, Cox Cable Hi Def box. Any thoughts or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 10
if hdmi isn't an issue go with the 790, you don't have to use it as a 7.1 system, you can leave the 2 rear speakers off but it would give you the option if you decided in the future to go 7.1 and with the price difference you can get several quality dvd players, haha.
post #3 of 10
General consensus around here is that the 790 is the bargain system. It's quite a package and difficult to beat at the price it can be found. Refurb units are available at quite a discounted price break.

Here's what I like about the 894--the front and surround speakers are all the same. If hi-rez multichannel music is important to you, this might be the deal maker if for some reason you really need an all in one box HTIB type system.

However, at the price level of the 894 you can do pretty good with separates. Many who post here feel the factory speakers offered by Onkyo are difficult to get good sound out of, leaving many to feel they had to upgrade the speakers. Others, myself included, have had good luck getting decent sound out of the Onkyo speakers, but it takes quite a bit of work and some additional investment is stands, etc. As I said in a previous post, though, getting good sound takes some effort, it just depends on whether you want to supply that effort before the purchase or after the purchase.

My gut feeling--if you have previous experience with home theater systems, go with separates and feel smug you'll never have to look back as far as speaker upgrades are concerned. If not, I think you will definitely be impressed with the sound the 894's speakers will put out with good source material and some tinkering and careful balancing/calibration.

Good luck making your decision!

Doug
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for some of your thoughts. I was leaning to the 894 but maybe the 790 is too good to pass up at $299 (refurbished) Still don't know. I will use it mostly for dvd's and better sound quality than from just the sony a10. Don't really know if hdmi is or should be a factor at this point. Any thoughts on a dvd plyer to match with the 790 if I go that route. But maybe by the time you spend a $100 or so for a dvd you're only about $169 diff from the 894. What's a fellar to do????
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmcgrath View Post

Thanks for some of your thoughts. I was leaning to the 894 but maybe the 790 is too good to pass up at $299 (refurbished) Still don't know. I will use it mostly for dvd's and better sound quality than from just the sony a10. Don't really know if hdmi is or should be a factor at this point. Any thoughts on a dvd plyer to match with the 790 if I go that route. But maybe by the time you spend a $100 or so for a dvd you're only about $169 diff from the 894. What's a fellar to do????

I got the 790 plus the Onkyo SP404 DVD player for $457 total at CC using a 10% off coupon I got from ebay. Plus they give you a $50 discount if you get the package. Make sure you do it only line cause I don't think they give those discounts in store.
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmcgrath View Post

Thanks for some of your thoughts. Any thoughts on a dvd plyer to match with the 790 if I go that route. What's a fellar to do????

In my world music is the most important factor, so I suggest when you shop for a DVD player that you make sure you get a MCH (multichannel) capable player. What this means is that it will be fitted with 5.1 analog outputs so you can enjoy Super Audio CD and DVD-A (not all DVD players decode both SACD and DVD-A, so check carefully and get one that decodes both if you can). The receivers in both the 790 and the 894 are MCH ready.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmcgrath View Post

But maybe by the time you spend a $100 or so for a dvd you're only about $169 diff from the 894. What's a fellar to do????

Good point. If the MCH capability is important to you, you'd be hard pressed to find a MCH ready DVD player for $100. By the time you buy a MCH ready DVD player, you might very well be at the price point for the 894, and at that point I'd most assuredly recommend going for the 894 for the matching speakers. When listening to hi-rez music sources in surround, matching speakers is the way to go. All the speakers have the same frequency response and timbral characteristics, and so the saxaphone that starts out in the right front and ends up in the right rear as he moves about the "sound stage" will sound the same in both locations. Not so with a system like the 790 where the surround speakers have different frequency response and timbre than the front trio.

As for HDMI, it's a developing technology and I'm not convinced to invest in it yet, but the 894 has 2 HDMI in/1 HDMI out so if you decide it's for you the 894 would be the way to go.

You are aware that the 790 system is 7.1, whereas the 894 is 5.1, right? If 7.1 is important for you, you need to compare the 790 to the HT-S907 system, which is 7.1. Just a thought.

Oh, my, Oh, my, what's a guy to do???

Doug
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well, I finally went with the Onkyo 894. Got a refurbished unit for $569 from shoponkyo. Hopefully I made the right decision. Never have purchased a refurbished anything but the concensus here seems to be that the onkyo refurb units are ok. I was close to going with the 790 but decided to go ahead and spend a little more. Anyone bought the 894 refurb? Thoughts? Thanks.
post #8 of 10
let us know how it looks when you get it.
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmcgrath View Post

Well, I finally went with the Onkyo 894. Got a refurbished unit for $569 from shoponkyo. Hopefully I made the right decision. Never have purchased a refurbished anything but the concensus here seems to be that the onkyo refurb units are ok. I was close to going with the 790 but decided to go ahead and spend a little more. Anyone bought the 894 refurb? Thoughts? Thanks.

As for refurbs, I have 2 Onkyo products that were bought as refurbs. My TX-SR600 digital receiver didn't have any indication as to the reason it was refurbed, but in 4 years I have had zero problems with it and I use it every day. BTW--I never turn the piece off. During the 70's there was quite the confusion regarding how to preserve the longevity of solid state stuff and the most commonly held opinion was that turn-on and turn-off transients were more harmful than leaving them powered continuously. I have 3 home theater systems and leave them all powered all the time.

The HT-S780 system I bought said it had "minor cosmetic defects" on a sticky label on the box. I can't find them. Needless to say, other than some confusion on my part regarding the "zone B" option, I've never had any problems out of this unit, either. I'd say you are more likely to get decent refurb stuff than not. The only Onkyo product I've ever had to return was a HT-S680 I bought from a B&M and it had a defective surround channel. It was a brand new item.

I wish I had waited and bought an HT-S907. The rear speakers on my 780 system leave a bit to be desired when listening to 5.1 hi-rez music sources and I wish I had matching rear speakers. I think you made a great choice and I hope you'll post letting us know how you like it. For me, being ready for 7.1 was important and so the 780 system gave me that, but somehow I suspect that I'll be ready to upgrade before 7.1 becomes the surround format of choice. Blu-ray and HD-DVD may make that come along pretty quickly, though, if the masses adopt the new technology. We'll see........

Doug
post #10 of 10
I just got the 894 and really like it. I never thought much of HTIB until I checked out the Onkyo line because of this forum. I think you will be very pleased with your choice. FYI - people have been asking why there isn't much volume until you get to 50 or so on the indicator. I found out that the indicator is showing an approximate dB output. It very closely matches the average I read on my Radio Shack meter. I also recommend using a meter to calibrate the speakers levels. It really helps the system play to its potential.

I tried out the system on the cannon barrage just before Pickett's charge in Gettysburg. Awesome.

I ended up getting it from Vann's for $649 shipped because ShopOnkyo was out of stock. This is one popular system.
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