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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for a 2 channel receiver in the $500-$800 price range (or so) and have yet to find anything that looks convincing. I'm focused on build quality over features.


I've auditioned a Marantz SR7002 and liked the 'Marantz sound' vs Integra. I had almost settled on the SR5003, but I've owned a 5.1 system for 9 years and have only used 2 channels. Their SR-4023 looks promising, and I'll audition that and the SR5003 soon, but am a bit worried by the new xxx3 styling (more plastic), and want to see what else is out there. I'm currently driving PSB Century 300i, but will upgrade to something in the $2k range in a year or so (the Studio 60 sounded quite good). I listen to a wide range of music, from Nirvana to Bach.


The NAD C 725BEE looks good, but I'm scared off by the reliability reports.


The Outlaw also looks promising, but I'd have to mail order and do the 30-day trial.


Finally there is the Rotel. A bit more pricey, but worth a look.


The stereo receiver offerings from Yamaha, Onkyo/Integra and HK seem to be at a lower price point/build quality.


Did I miss anything? Going to an integrated amp with separate tuner could certainly get me the quality I'm after, but it really opens up a can of worms.


BTW, I made the mistake of looking at the Dynalab MD-208 -- impressive, but way out of my league.


Thoughts?
 

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I've had the NAD 720BEE for about 8 months now. I had read about NAD's reliability problems as well. However, so far, there's no issue with it. The build quality looks decent to me. The sound is good. Because the 725BEE has come out, you can get the 720BEE quite inexpensively (around US$500). I don't think the two would be different, sound-wise and build-quality-wise.


As you said, the Rotel is expensive. However, if you don't mind buying used, then I've seen the 1052 come up on Audiogon a few times for around $500.


You may also want to consider the Yamaha RX-797, which is their top stereo receiver, or the Denon 697.
 

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I was in the same boat as you're in but switched priorities to an integrated. Based on reviews, comments from users and reputation, I was fully prepared to go the Outlaw RR2150 route, and still might.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
EFC: Thanks. I'll go up to the NAD dealer and give them a listen.


Airite68: Which integrateds are you considering? Are you going to forgo the tuner, or have you narrowed that down as well?
 

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My current NAD receiver is getting old and is starting to have the occasional problem. I'll likely tap the used market when the time comes. If I had to buy a new receiver tomorrow, I'd likely go for the Outlaw RR2150 or the Marantz SR4023. The styling on the Outlaw is kind of odd, but everything else seems good. I'd have to audition the SR4023 first though, because the tuner in my Marantz SR5200 AVR is lousy.


I'm glad there are still a few companies catering to the lower end 2 channel market.
 

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How do you justify the price of a stereo receiver like the Outlaw RR2150 ($699) when the Harmon Kardon HK 3490 ($299) can be had for so much less, and has virtually all the same features? I actually prefer the vintage styling on the Outlaw (others might not), but is the sound quality that much better? The aux line-in and USB are nice touches, but can't a $15 line-to-RCA converter cable serve the same purpose?


Also, if a radio tuner isn't that important, how much more do you get for your money compared with a cheaper integrated like the Cambridge Audio 540A ($299), or Onkyo A-9555 ($449), plus $100-200 phono preamp (if wanted)?


Still, the bass management interests me, as well as the bonus features mentioned above. I want to love the Outlaw, but the price point is so steep...
 

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Yeap, exactly my thoughts, if you're going to get a 2ch receiver just because an integrated doesn't have a tuner, you may want to reconsider as FM doesn't sound that good to begin with. Might as well get an el-cheapo 2ch receiver or a 5.1 that you can use for something else later.
 

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Quote:
How do you justify the price of a stereo receiver like the Outlaw RR2150 ($699) when the Harmon Kardon HK 3490 ($299) can be had for so much less, and has virtually all the same features? I actually prefer the vintage styling on the Outlaw (others might not), but is the sound quality that much better?

The Outlaw might handle low-impedance loads a little better, but unless your speakers are unusual, that's immaterial to you. Much of what you're paying for with the Outlaw is the fact that it's a small company that lacks economies of scale.

Quote:
Also, if a radio tuner isn't that important, how much more do you get for your money compared with a cheaper integrated like the Cambridge Audio 540A ($299), or Onkyo A-9555 ($449), plus $100-200 phono preamp (if wanted)?

You get a better phono preamp, plus audiophile bragging rights. That's about it.


If it were me, I'd buy a Rotel integrated and the Sony HD tuner.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whoa /forum/post/15469325


EFC: Thanks. I'll go up to the NAD dealer and give them a listen.


Airite68: Which integrateds are you considering? Are you going to forgo the tuner, or have you narrowed that down as well?


In your range, the Rotel 1062 would be my choice.
 

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Forgot to mention that I really don't listen to FM much since I'm in the boonies. Though possibly a temporary solution, I couldn't resist getting one of these for 1/2 the retail of the Rotel:

http://store.virtueaudio.com/product...ap21-pbf-1.htm


Of course the Virtue Two is a limited to a single input but the sound is exceptional.


I might wind up with the Rotel anyway though, honestly, I was about to double the budget, looking at the Simaudio Moon i-1, Naim Nait 5 and the new Anthem 225 (None of which I've auditioned yet). For me, it was difficult to determine when the law of diminishing returns would kick in, especially without auditioning equipment. The Onkyo 9555 is another possibility and though I did have one for a short time, I could not warm up to the sound, pun intended...
 

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I have the Marantz PM7001, which is no longer a current model. The most comparable current model is the PM8003, although it's a far bit more expensive than the PM7001 and out of your price range. If you can find the 7001, and it's likely that you still can, it's a fantastic integrated amplifier with plenty of power that ought to drive just about any speaker load. And it's in your price range.


Since you are focused on build quality, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find better build quality than the PM7001 in this price range.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
There is much more to a receiver than features, despite what Onkyo and Sony (and others) would have you believe. Build quality and reliability is important to me, even if it has negligible impact on sound quality. I personally just cannot stand the HK.


Now, as some have suggested an integrated amp is probably the best way to get this. I've seen the Marantz PM7001 and it does look like it is worth a listen, along with the Rotel and a few others. It just makes the decision more complicated...
 

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I second the Marantz recommendation. Their built quality for receivers are far better than Denon, Onkyo, and the rest of the japanese receivers. Their sound is also acceptable for music playback.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veda /forum/post/15471550


Yeap, exactly my thoughts, if you're going to get a 2ch receiver just because an integrated doesn't have a tuner, you may want to reconsider as FM doesn't sound that good to begin with. Might as well get an el-cheapo 2ch receiver or a 5.1 that you can use for something else later.

You can always add a better AM/FM tuner with HD radio.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...X0DER&v=glance
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Veda /forum/post/15471550


Yeap, exactly my thoughts, if you're going to get a 2ch receiver just because an integrated doesn't have a tuner, you may want to reconsider as FM doesn't sound that good to begin with. Might as well get an el-cheapo 2ch receiver or a 5.1 that you can use for something else later.

Well, if I could find a receiver with an amp as good as an integrated, then I'd be set. But that seems to be a very limited market and difficult without spending quite a lot.


So, I think I'll demo the Marantz receiver (just so I know), but then try out a few integrated amps including the Rotel and Marantz. Any others?


A few stations here have switched most of their content to HD. As I will not buy Sony (another story), any opinions on the Sangean HDT-1X? Seems like it has a few flaws, but as several have noted, it's only radio anyhow.


Thanks, all. My little boy is sick, so it might take a while to set up all of the auditions...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whoa /forum/post/15464010


I'm looking for a 2 channel receiver in the $500-$800 price range (or so) and have yet to find anything that looks convincing. I'm focused on build quality over features.


I've auditioned a Marantz SR7002 and liked the 'Marantz sound' vs Integra. I had almost settled on the SR5003, but I've owned a 5.1 system for 9 years and have only used 2 channels. Their SR-4023 looks promising, and I'll audition that and the SR5003 soon, but am a bit worried by the new xxx3 styling (more plastic), and want to see what else is out there. I'm currently driving PSB Century 300i, but will upgrade to something in the $2k range in a year or so (the Studio 60 sounded quite good). I listen to a wide range of music, from Nirvana to Bach.


The NAD C 725BEE looks good, but I'm scared off by the reliability reports.


The Outlaw also looks promising, but I'd have to mail order and do the 30-day trial.


Finally there is the Rotel. A bit more pricey, but worth a look.


The stereo receiver offerings from Yamaha, Onkyo/Integra and HK seem to be at a lower price point/build quality.


Did I miss anything? Going to an integrated amp with separate tuner could certainly get me the quality I'm after, but it really opens up a can of worms.


BTW, I made the mistake of looking at the Dynalab MD-208 -- impressive, but way out of my league.


Thoughts?

In my experience, Onkyo, by far, makes the best lineup of receivers, as far as price, features and performance. All their reviews for the most part are positive. I even helped install one with an acquaintance of mine, with a Pioneer 50 inch Kuro plasma. It worked flawlessly.


The TX-SR576 or 606 receivers, would be where I would start. Hope that helps.
 

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For what you are looking to do, the Harman Kardon 3490 might fill the bill. I think of my 3480 as an integrated amp that happens to have a tuner thrown in for good measure. With 120wpc it has the omph to drive all but the biggest power hog speakers just fine.


It has 2 sub outs and an optical input.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whoa /forum/post/15481387


Well, if I could find a receiver with an amp as good as an integrated, then I'd be set. But that seems to be a very limited market and difficult without spending quite a lot.

Like I said the Marantz SR4002 is the cheapest but best built and best sounding receiver that's acceptable for music. It certainly has the properties of a serious integrated amp. I don't know about the new new model that just replaced it. As with the Onkyo 606, it may actually be a downgrade compared to the prev model. Mass market budget electronics are cutting costs like crazy nowadays.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whoa /forum/post/15479632


I personally just cannot stand the HK.


...

*

I just love objective reviews.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmuell /forum/post/15470846


How do you justify the price of a stereo receiver like the Outlaw RR2150 ($699) when the Harmon Kardon HK 3490 ($299) can be had for so much less, and has virtually all the same features? I actually prefer the vintage styling on the Outlaw (others might not), but is the sound quality that much better? The aux line-in and USB are nice touches, but can't a $15 line-to-RCA converter cable serve the same purpose?


Also, if a radio tuner isn't that important, how much more do you get for your money compared with a cheaper integrated like the Cambridge Audio 540A ($299), or Onkyo A-9555 ($449), plus $100-200 phono preamp (if wanted)?


Still, the bass management interests me, as well as the bonus features mentioned above. I want to love the Outlaw, but the price point is so steep...

Amplifiers. I don't know if ATI also makes the amps for the outlaw receiver, but they do the other outlaw gear AFAIK. HK doesn't hold a candle to ATI. You may not need that, but if you do...
 
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