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Hey guys! I am currently in the market for a basic 2-channel receiver to power a set of bookshelf speakers along with a subwoofer (which has both line level and speaker level connections). My current speakers consist of a pair of Sony SS-B1000 bookshelf speakers and a Definitive Technology ProSub 60. My currrent receiver has 5 watts per channel; I long ago ditched the speakers that came with it as they were just cheap 4-inch, single drivers in a poorly constructed case. My current receiver begins to badly distort at around 2/3 of its maximum output, hence the reason I am looking to upgrade. I have tested my speakers/sub with a 90's Yamaha RX-V592 HTR which my family owns; the output sounds much cleaner even at low volume levels. My budget limit is around $200. I am primarily planning to use this setup for music in an apartment, with occasional tv/movie usage. I am not necessarily looking for audiophile quality, but something that would sound cleaner than the Sony mini-system receiver I am currently using. No phono preamp or networking features are required, though I would take them as a bonus. I know that this is a complete tossup at my price point, but I hope to be able to get at least 3-4 service out of this receiver.

The following are in the running so far:

Yamaha R-S201 ($129, I really like the design of this receiver, but am not a fan of the spring clips on the back and many reviews I have read have claimed power supply issues with this particular model)
Onkyo TX-8020 ($199, I also really like this design of this receiver, but have heard that Onkyo has been plagued with reliability issues in recent years. However, most of these issues seem to be HDMI related, and mostly common on their AVR's.)
Sherwood RX-4109 ($99, Radioshack has these on a fire sale for $50, though the in-box receivers I saw in store were manufactured in Vietnam, which I have heard is often worse on the quality control front than even Chinese-made electronics)
Sherwood RX-4508 (Same Vietnam manufacture location as previous Sherwood, adds bluetooth)
Insignia NS-STR514 ($129, Rebadged RX-4508, but made in China and also adds bluetooth)

I have also considered a basic AVR in order to provide native bass management; if I decided to go this route, I would lean strongly towards a Yamaha or Denon. Let me know what your thoughts are, and please throw out any additional suggestions. Thanks!
 

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The Village Idiot
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A basic AVR is a good choice since it will give you some form of bass management - something none of those stereo units have. For a stereo unit I have an Onkyo 8050 which has digital inputs on the back and a USB port on the front that will play flac files from a thumb drive. Pretty handy IMO. You can get one here if buying refurbished doesn't bother you. I've had excellent results buying from that outfit.
 

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Having a AVR is a boon if you need bass management, media streaming, HDMI, coaxial/optical and want AV to do digital to analogue conversion, however if you just want a pure 2 channel system I'd recommend you get a 2 channel amp.
 

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Hey guys! I am currently in the market for a basic 2-channel receiver to power a set of bookshelf speakers along with a subwoofer (which has both line level and speaker level connections). My current speakers consist of a pair of Sony SS-B1000 bookshelf speakers and a Definitive Technology ProSub 60. My currrent receiver has 5 watts per channel; I long ago ditched the speakers that came with it as they were just cheap 4-inch, single drivers in a poorly constructed case. My current receiver begins to badly distort at around 2/3 of its maximum output, hence the reason I am looking to upgrade. I have tested my speakers/sub with a 90's Yamaha RX-V592 HTR which my family owns; the output sounds much cleaner even at low volume levels. My budget limit is around $200. I am primarily planning to use this setup for music in an apartment, with occasional tv/movie usage. I am not necessarily looking for audiophile quality, but something that would sound cleaner than the Sony mini-system receiver I am currently using. No phono preamp or networking features are required, though I would take them as a bonus. I know that this is a complete tossup at my price point, but I hope to be able to get at least 3-4 service out of this receiver.

The following are in the running so far:

Yamaha R-S201 ($129, I really like the design of this receiver, but am not a fan of the spring clips on the back and many reviews I have read have claimed power supply issues with this particular model)
Onkyo TX-8020 ($199, I also really like this design of this receiver, but have heard that Onkyo has been plagued with reliability issues in recent years. However, most of these issues seem to be HDMI related, and mostly common on their AVR's.)
Sherwood RX-4109 ($99, Radioshack has these on a fire sale for $50, though the in-box receivers I saw in store were manufactured in Vietnam, which I have heard is often worse on the quality control front than even Chinese-made electronics)
Sherwood RX-4508 (Same Vietnam manufacture location as previous Sherwood, adds bluetooth)
Insignia NS-STR514 ($129, Rebadged RX-4508, but made in China and also adds bluetooth)

I have also considered a basic AVR in order to provide native bass management; if I decided to go this route, I would lean strongly towards a Yamaha or Denon. Let me know what your thoughts are, and please throw out any additional suggestions. Thanks!
Our Yamaha RX-V592 behaved reasonably well, and had good sound quality.
Yesterday the cat barfed into the power-supply corner causing arcs and sparks.
The jury is out on whether a clean-up will restore it to functionality. :-(

After many years the RX-V592 had quirks, like

turn-on : no audio until subtly adjusting the volume control.
Dirt? Oxidized contacts? Difficult to sort out.



The most basic consideration with any audio system is the Transducers. Speakers, phono pick-up, FM receiver, etc.

LP cartridges are prone to have peaks,and dips, and holes in their response. Get the best one you can find without being biased by cost or brand name. Difficult.
With speakers, they have their holes in their responses and resonances and roll-offs. You have to listen to many speakers through the same amplifier and audio source. Rock & roll music isn't a good source for doing comparisons. Symphonic music is a better test. You have to put blinders on with regard to brand and price until you narrow choices down to one or two.

Buy the winner even if it costs a lot more or has a name you never heard of. Basically, Specifications are pretty useless when selecting speakers.

In an FM receiver, find the lowest microvolts sensitivity for a given specification of signal to noise ratio or SINAD.

Also look for the lowest value of "capture ratio." Capture-ratio is a factor when two stations share the same frequency,
and one is a little stronger than the other. If the signal strength difference is less than the capture-ratio you get noise from both stations. If the difference is greater you get only the stronger station. (a manifestation of the gain in the limiter stages in the IF)
You'll hear more stations well with good sensitivity and low capture ratio. However, some receivers can be "overloaded" if you live too close to a broadcast transmitter.



You probably made your choices by now, but this may be of value to some future searcher.
Cheers
 
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