Best "Basic" receiver? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 26 Old 10-27-2018, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Best "Basic" receiver?

I currently have a Pioneer Elite SC-07 that I need to upgrade from. I found that I hardly used any of the inputs or features of this receiver, and am looking to replace it with a much more "basic" unit. The reason for my upgrade is due to the fact that I need to be able to run a 4K / HDR signal through the receiver to the TV, as well as I need ARC for when streaming directly from the TV.

My question is, what would be the best "Basic" receiver for less than $500 ($200-$300 is the sweet spot) given my requirements...
5.1 Audio (I will never go more in this particular room)
4K / HDR video signals must be passed through the receiver to the TV from items like PS4 Pro, Roku 4K, etc.
I'd like a bluetooth option to play music from my phone for simplicity, but not required
All my devices are HDMI, so no composite is needed, however if it does have composite id like the ability for it to convert the signal to HDMI in order to send it up to the TV if needed

* I see Atmos all over now... Honestly, 99.9% of my content is streaming from Netflix and video games, so not convinced I really need Atmos here. I am building a theater next yr in the basement where I plan to go all out, so don't need to spend a lot in this room.

My Speakers
Front - Polk Monitor 75T
Rear - Polk RM7000
Center - Polk CS2

Some receivers I have found online are the following
Sony STR-DH590
Yamaha RX-V385BL
Yamaha RX-V383
Sony STR-DH770
Onkyo TX-SR373
Onkyo TX-NR575

There are just so many budget options out there, my head spins and I can't trust best buy reviews, etc. Hoping you guys can help me out.. .again.

Edit: Another thing I don't quite grasp is the Ohms. Currently I feel like my setup doesn't get loud enough with the SC07 and Monitor 75T's. They are both rated for 8 Ohms. If I buy a 6 Ohm receiver and use my 8 Ohm speakers, will I cause damage on either end? I found a new runner up in the Sony STR-DN1080 if I can get it for slightly lower than its current asking price.

Thanks!

Last edited by askeptic; 10-27-2018 at 02:46 PM.
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post #2 of 26 Old 10-27-2018, 05:37 PM
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I just picked up a Sony STR-DH590 for my secondary system which is primarily for a 5.1 music video set-up. I am more than happy with it. It has a nice low profile look. It was easy to set-up. It has basic speaker distance and trim using the supplied microphone with only one sequence of test tones. Most functions are easily accessed from almost hidden front push buttons.

The 6 ohm rating means you can use speakers with a minimum 6 ohm rating. 8 ohm speakers would be fine. The JBL L880 and L890 + JBL center I am using in this set-up are 8 ohm speakers. The price is right.
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post #3 of 26 Old 10-28-2018, 06:24 AM
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If your speakers are not getting loud enough with a Pioneer Elite SC-07 something is wrong, and it isn't ohms.


What do you mean by loud enough anyway? Receivers get loud to the point of distortion not a muted sound.
Can you explain? Is it a very large room?

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post #4 of 26 Old 10-28-2018, 07:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeuspaul View Post
I just picked up a Sony STR-DH590 for my secondary system which is primarily for a 5.1 music video set-up. I am more than happy with it. It has a nice low profile look. It was easy to set-up. It has basic speaker distance and trim using the supplied microphone with only one sequence of test tones. Most functions are easily accessed from almost hidden front push buttons.

The 6 ohm rating means you can use speakers with a minimum 6 ohm rating. 8 ohm speakers would be fine. The JBL L880 and L890 + JBL center I am using in this set-up are 8 ohm speakers. The price is right.
Thanks, ill check out that guy. the price is right for sure! Only needing 5.1 and 4K/HDR (HDR10 / Dolby Vision) support, looks like this guy is really all I need.

I assume it has enough power to make my speakers loud.
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post #5 of 26 Old 10-28-2018, 07:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by altpensacola View Post
If your speakers are not getting loud enough with a Pioneer Elite SC-07 something is wrong, and it isn't ohms.


What do you mean by loud enough anyway? Receivers get loud to the point of distortion not a muted sound.
Can you explain? Is it a very large room?
The room is roughly 15 feet wide by 26 feet long.

I can crank the SC-07 up, and I never get any noticeable distortion, but it just feels like the Monitor 75T's never get "loud". I don't think muffled is the right word as they are clear, but I can never fill the room with audio and have it so I can't hear other stuff going on around me if that makes sense.

One other issue I could never figure out (And I stress, I really don't know much) is that the SC-07 never really leveraged my 12" Polk Sub. Certain bluRays would trigger it, but 95% of all content (mainly Netflix) would never use the Sub. I likely just have something not configured correctly.

None the less, I am looking for a simple solution for this room now. Not ever planning to put speakers on the ceiling or adding on the walls (building a theater next yr for this purpose), I think the cheap Sony STR-DH590 may be all I need. I am assuming it can push enough power to my speakers. Also less settings for me to mess up hah!
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post #6 of 26 Old 10-28-2018, 08:10 AM
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If it was distortion free and clear and turned up and you could still talk or hear things that's a good sign that the Pioneer was able to run those speakers effortlessly. It could actually be loud (checked with an SPL meter) and you not realize it. I would expect that from a Pioneer Elite. This is what most of us try to achieve actually with proper power and speaker placement. When you get a lesser receiver and when you turn it up it hurts your ears that's actually distortion.
Anyway, a newer receiver will most surely help you get that subwoofer tuned in better. Sounds like the crossover was too low and maybe the gain on the sub.
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post #7 of 26 Old 10-28-2018, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by altpensacola View Post
If it was distortion free and clear and turned up and you could still talk or hear things that's a good sign that the Pioneer was able to run those speakers effortlessly. It could actually be loud (checked with an SPL meter) and you not realize it. I would expect that from a Pioneer Elite. This is what most of us try to achieve actually with proper power and speaker placement. When you get a lesser receiver and when you turn it up it hurts your ears that's actually distortion.
Anyway, a newer receiver will most surely help you get that subwoofer tuned in better. Sounds like the crossover was too low and maybe the gain on the sub.
Thank you for the information, I just need to do some research on a few of the things you told me to look for. I appreciate the time and help on that though.

In your opinion, running those speakers, do you think I will have enough power in the Sony STRDH590 or do I need to pony up to a larger receiver? it appears to have what I need for this room, however when it comes down to Ohms I just get lost, especially because Sony is using terms in 6 Ohms rather than 8 on their site. (145 W/ch - 6 Ohms) Thanks!

* Edit: The second option would be for me to knock a larger hole in the wall and just run all my devices to the TV rather than Receiver, and then use an optical cable from TV to SC-07. I prefer to go through the receiver to keep things clean, however that is always an option if the step down is to large.

Last edited by askeptic; 10-28-2018 at 09:44 AM.
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post #8 of 26 Old 10-28-2018, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by askeptic View Post
(145 W/ch - 6 Ohms)
145 W (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 1ch THD 0.9%)

Break down: 145 Watt for a single 1 kHz signal on ONE speaker has almost 1 Percent Distortion. At least its 6 Ohm!
Actually this is why I hate SONY receivers, It should be illegal to list watt ratings this way. You'd have to research what the actually 5 channel watts are.


Now what the watts really are and what your speakers need in your room? I can't tell you if it's enough, but I bet it's no where near that older Pioneer Elite.


Also the ohms is what a speaker needs, not what a room needs. Your Polk's are 8 Ohm nominal
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post #9 of 26 Old 10-28-2018, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by altpensacola View Post
145 W (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 1ch THD 0.9%)

Break down: 145 Watt for a single 1 kHz signal on ONE speaker has almost 1 Percent Distortion. At least its 6 Ohm!
Actually this is why I hate SONY receivers, It should be illegal to list watt ratings this way. You'd have to research what the actually 5 channel watts are.


Now what the watts really are and what your speakers need in your room? I can't tell you if it's enough, but I bet it's no where near that older Pioneer Elite.


Also the ohms is what a speaker needs, not what a room needs.
Thank you.
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post #10 of 26 Old 10-28-2018, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by altpensacola View Post
145 W (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 1ch THD 0.9%)

Break down: 145 Watt for a single 1 kHz signal on ONE speaker has almost 1 Percent Distortion. At least its 6 Ohm!
Actually this is why I hate SONY receivers, It should be illegal to list watt ratings this way. You'd have to research what the actually 5 channel watts are.


Now what the watts really are and what your speakers need in your room? I can't tell you if it's enough, but I bet it's no where near that older Pioneer Elite.


Also the ohms is what a speaker needs, not what a room needs.
Aye, I am not sold on Sony, just need something that works well and doesn't break the bank if you have other suggestions. (Pref to keep it below $500 USD)

Another cheap receiver I was looking at was the Yamaha - RX-V385BL

I use to buy Onkyo (before the SC-07) but I haven't been reading raving reviews on them as of late.

Here is the SC-07 ratings - 140W x 7 (20Hz - 20kHz, .09% [email protected] 8ohms, All Channels Driven)

Edit: Another idea is that I can move my Polk Monitor 75T speakers to another room and run a full Polk RM2300 set up (satellite speakers) that can be powered much more easily. No great for music, but it may help.

Last edited by askeptic; 10-28-2018 at 10:04 AM.
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post #11 of 26 Old 10-28-2018, 09:56 AM
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That was a good receiver, it is too bad it doesn't meet your current requirements.

On the loudness issue, I am wondering if something has been changed in one of the many settings to reduce volume. You could always try a factory reset to set it all back to original settings.

You probably want to do this before you trade it, sell it, or whatever anyway.

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post #12 of 26 Old 10-28-2018, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
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That was a good receiver, it is too bad it doesn't meet your current requirements.

On the loudness issue, I am wondering if something has been changed in one of the many settings to reduce volume. You could always try a factory reset to set it all back to original settings.

Thanks, I will give this a shot. It is a great receiver however I need to be able to run a 4K / HDR signal through now. Even if I bypass the receiver and go straight to the TV, I am unable to carry the DTS-HD or Dolby True-HD signal back via optical and ARC isn't supported. I'd buy a new elite if I could.. things have changed since my original purchase though... (Kids)
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Originally Posted by askeptic View Post
Thanks, I will give this a shot. It is a great receiver however I need to be able to run a 4K / HDR signal through now. Even if I bypass the receiver and go straight to the TV, I am unable to carry the DTS-HD or Dolby True-HD signal back via optical and ARC isn't supported. I'd buy a new elite if I could.. things have changed since my original purchase though... (Kids)
Your kids want a Pioneer Elite VSX-LX301!' They just don't know it yet. Buy it with some 7.1 Disney movies.....


Seriously, I don't actually have knowledge of entry level receivers available now, or needs of Polk speakers. I researched 3 years, yes THREE years before I upgraded my receiver.. but I was looking at upper end stuff with pre-outs. Trivia. I almost bought Pioneer Elite, but scored a cherished Marantz at a close out price.

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post #14 of 26 Old 10-28-2018, 11:15 AM
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For very basic, I'd probably go with a Yamaha just for the reliability, but if your budget is $500, you can find more than just basic.
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post #15 of 26 Old 10-28-2018, 12:30 PM
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I tried cranking up my Sony STR-DH590 to max with my JBL L880 and L890 speakers and I found it to be loud to very loud and borderline painful. There is no way I would ever listen that loud. The speakers are in a large room but my MLP is only about eight feet from each of the speakers. The crossover to the sub is set at 80 Hz which perhaps removes a little from the speakers.


My JBLs are rated 91 dB sensitivity vs your Polks at 90 dB which makes them about the same based on the manufactures ratings. However speaker manufacturers play ratings games with sensitivity just like receiver manufacturers play games with output ratings.


Sony is probably rating their amp at 6 ohms because that gives them about a 30 % increase in wattage which is good for marketing. However they are not the only ones playing games. I would be skeptical of other manufacturer's ratings as well.


I would never crank my primary system listed in my signature to max because of hearing loss with the more powerful amps and more efficient speakers.
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post #16 of 26 Old 10-28-2018, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by zeuspaul View Post
I tried cranking up my Sony STR-DH590 to max with my JBL L880 and L890 speakers and I found it to be loud to very loud and borderline painful. There is no way I would ever listen that loud. The speakers are in a large room but my MLP is only about eight feet from each of the speakers. The crossover to the sub is set at 80 Hz which perhaps removes a little from the speakers.


My JBLs are rated 91 dB sensitivity vs your Polks at 90 dB which makes them about the same based on the manufactures ratings. However speaker manufacturers play ratings games with sensitivity just like receiver manufacturers play games with output ratings.


Sony is probably rating their amp at 6 ohms because that gives them about a 30 % increase in wattage which is good for marketing. However they are not the only ones playing games. I would be skeptical of other manufacturer's ratings as well.


I would never crank my primary system listed in my signature to max because of hearing loss with the more powerful amps and more efficient speakers.
I agree Sony is not the only one. What do you think was the db on the Sony when it started to hurt?
Curious about your primary system, what is "max"? Do you play it at or near reference sometimes? 85db? Do you notice you are actually playing it at a higher volume but didn't realize it due to no distortion on certain media?

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post #17 of 26 Old 10-28-2018, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by altpensacola View Post
I agree Sony is not the only one. What do you think was the db on the Sony when it started to hurt?
Curious about your primary system, what is "max"? Do you play it at or near reference sometimes? 85db? Do you notice you are actually playing it at a higher volume but didn't realize it due to no distortion on certain media?
I have no idea what the dB would have been unless there is someway to back it in from the receiver settings. The volume was probably 80 or 90 percent of max when it became uncomfortable. Perhaps Barbra Streisand's pitch had something to do with it too. I am still unfamiliar with the display. I don't know if it has a volume display like my Marantz which shows volume relative to reference.


I never play my primary system near reference. The display reference is usually between -16 and -12. This is somewhat dependent on the sources which are somewhat inconsistent. So the dB of the Sony was definitely louder than that but I don't have a good feeling for reference. It could have been a little more or a little less.


I have no idea what max is on my primary system however I am nowhere near close. I don't think distortion is an issue on where the volumes is set. My better half controls the remote and volume setting has more to do with how much we are immersed in what we are watching. Law and Order might be -14 but a good movie with a lot of surround and LFE might be -12.

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post #18 of 26 Old 10-28-2018, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by zeuspaul View Post
I tried cranking up my Sony STR-DH590 to max with my JBL L880 and L890 speakers and I found it to be loud to very loud and borderline painful. There is no way I would ever listen that loud. The speakers are in a large room but my MLP is only about eight feet from each of the speakers. The crossover to the sub is set at 80 Hz which perhaps removes a little from the speakers.


My JBLs are rated 91 dB sensitivity vs your Polks at 90 dB which makes them about the same based on the manufactures ratings. However speaker manufacturers play ratings games with sensitivity just like receiver manufacturers play games with output ratings.


Sony is probably rating their amp at 6 ohms because that gives them about a 30 % increase in wattage which is good for marketing. However they are not the only ones playing games. I would be skeptical of other manufacturer's ratings as well.


I would never crank my primary system listed in my signature to max because of hearing loss with the more powerful amps and more efficient speakers.
Cool, good to know. I have heard Sony can put out the power. I may be going about this all wrong in assuming the watts directly relates to sound level. My SC-07 puts out a ton, but I think that still doesn't get Loud, however like someone above pointed out to me, it may not sound loud because it has so little distortion. (and I likely have something jacked up in the config)
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For very basic, I'd probably go with a Yamaha just for the reliability, but if your budget is $500, you can find more than just basic.
Thanks, just curious cause right now I am drowning in options, if you had the budget of $500 or less for a receiver, what would you go for? I really love how nice my Pioneer Elite is, however I am slightly worried about getting another and still not getting the sound I want out of it. It may just be my taste or ears, but I'd like more Bass and "louder" highs. (I have to crank my SC-07 up to hear a lot of dialogue when streaming). If I were to go with Pioneer again, the VSX-LX103 has my attention.
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@askeptic I chose the Sony STR-DH590 because of size and aesthetic in a low cost 5.1 receiver. If your Pioneer isn't driving your Polks well enough I don't see how the Sony will work for you. Considering your budget I am sure there are better options for you.
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post #21 of 26 Old 10-29-2018, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by askeptic View Post
Thanks, just curious cause right now I am drowning in options, if you had the budget of $500 or less for a receiver, what would you go for? I really love how nice my Pioneer Elite is, however I am slightly worried about getting another and still not getting the sound I want out of it. It may just be my taste or ears, but I'd like more Bass and "louder" highs. (I have to crank my SC-07 up to hear a lot of dialogue when streaming). If I were to go with Pioneer again, the VSX-LX103 has my attention.
I picked up a Yamaha Aventage RX-A770BL 7.2 receiver at best buy for a good price and had a 10% coupon so below your 500 budget. They have sent me two of those coupons recently. Sounds awesome.
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post #22 of 26 Old 10-29-2018, 12:46 PM
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I'm a Pioneer guy myself. not that i don't like others but I went with a pioneer and it worked out for me. Just food for thought: Event though you are only interested in 5.1 I would still strongly consider a 7-channel model only because most 5.1 receivers are really stripped down models designed to meet lower price points. One thing I look for is 5-way speaker posts rather than the push connectors. The Pioneer VSX-832 is one of the few 5-channel receivers that has this feature and is well under your budget. I also like the Denon S series series and you can find good deals on Yamaha receivers at certain big box stores.

Addendum:

i just learned about the the Denon S640H which is an up-to-date (for now) 5.1 receiver that doesn't look like they cut too many corners and has the nice speaker binding posts and Pioneer Elite receiver owner would be used to
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post #23 of 26 Old 10-29-2018, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who contributed to this thread. Everything you provided me with was very helpful. In the end, I ended up getting a Pioneer Elite VSX-LX103. While it is their entry receiver in the Elite line up, it has everything I wanted plus the speaker binding posts rather than the push connectors. While bi-amping doesn't do much (so I read) I'll bi-amp my Monitor 75T's with the extra channels for fun. Lastly, as silly as it may sound, I am excited for the built in chromecast functionality. There have been many times when I wish I could of just thrown audio over wifi to the receiver. My final decision was based on price, I was able to get it 25% off which really sealed the deal for me. In the end, my SC-07 has been nothing short of amazing and had never given me any issues, so I trust Pioneer... one of those ymmv cases.

Thanks again!

Edit: Whomever told me to reset my SC-07, thank you! I just did for fun and let the auto setup run. The only change I made was changing my front monitor speakers to "small" rather than " large" based off a thread I read about if "Large" it can take on some of the Bass from the sub and loose some of the highs. (Dont know if this is true)... Anyway, yep! it sounds absolutely amazing... I can hear dialogue now crystal clear and above all other audio. It sounds perfect... man I wish I did that a long time ago. I must of jacked something up good when I first installed it.
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Last edited by askeptic; 10-29-2018 at 05:31 PM.
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post #24 of 26 Old 10-30-2018, 10:15 AM
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@askeptic it looks like you made a good choice. I hope it works out for you.


I should add the speaker connections on the Sony STR-DH590 are lousy. The two mains are OK but the center and surrounds are poor, you push on a tiny thing-a-ma-jig and push a bare wire into it. Is that what is called a push connector?

HT: PSA MTM-210T front, MTM-210C center, PSA MTM-210T surrounds, PSA MT-110 rears, Atmos / Canton, Ascend CBM-170SE, PSA V1800 , PSA V1801, Marantz SR7009 AVR & Emotiva A-100 stereo amp, Panasonic 65ST60 Plasma, Oppo BDP 93, Sony S1700, Music video: JBL L890, L880, LC2, SVS pc13-Ultra, Yamaha RX-V385, ASUS 31.5" IPS monitor, Sony S1700, Multichannel stereo: PSA MT-110, Bose 901, PSA S1510DF, Denon X1400H, Marantz SR6005
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post #25 of 26 Old 10-30-2018, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeuspaul View Post
@askeptic it looks like you made a good choice. I hope it works out for you.


I should add the speaker connections on the Sony STR-DH590 are lousy. The two mains are OK but the center and surrounds are poor, you push on a tiny thing-a-ma-jig and push a bare wire into it. Is that what is called a push connector?
I call them spring clips.
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post #26 of 26 Old 11-16-2018, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobknavs View Post
I call them spring clips.
I replaced the Sony STR-DH590 with a Yamaha RX-V385 primarily because of those spring clips for the surround and center speakers. I moved the Sony to my game set up because it is stereo and the stereo connections are fine.


Overall except for the slightly larger profile I like the Yamaha better. I think it sounds better for music but that might not be fare to the Sony as it is a subjective opinion. It is easier to select a sound mode on the Sony by pushing a button on the front panel. The initial speaker set up on the Yamaha is a little more sophisticated. The speaker wire connections are adequate. It has a front USB port for a thumb drive and music playback which I have not yet tried.

HT: PSA MTM-210T front, MTM-210C center, PSA MTM-210T surrounds, PSA MT-110 rears, Atmos / Canton, Ascend CBM-170SE, PSA V1800 , PSA V1801, Marantz SR7009 AVR & Emotiva A-100 stereo amp, Panasonic 65ST60 Plasma, Oppo BDP 93, Sony S1700, Music video: JBL L890, L880, LC2, SVS pc13-Ultra, Yamaha RX-V385, ASUS 31.5" IPS monitor, Sony S1700, Multichannel stereo: PSA MT-110, Bose 901, PSA S1510DF, Denon X1400H, Marantz SR6005
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