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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's one I've been mulling over for a while. I'm in the process of piecing together every component of a soon-to-be home theater system for my parents. Display device (x2), wiring, speakers, acoustic panelling, and of course the pre/pro /amp related hardware. I currently use a Denon AVR-5803 to handle all of the latter.


During my day to day searches for information, I frequently note people with low opinions of all-in-one solutions, or mainstream manufacturers - that is, anything you might be able to find at Best Buy. Instead, the praise is reserved for names I frankly don't ever see outside of these forums. NAD, Marantz, etc. I've looked around for some of these names, expecting to find prices in the stratosphere to reflect their comparative low profile, but this didn't really seem to be the case.


So, what's the story? My Denon seems to do a good job (apart from a curious problem it develops from time to time), but am I simply missing out without knowing? Quality? Reliability?


On the same topic, I observe that my current receiver is both pre/pro and amplifier, and that seems to be another item which earns its fair share of tsk-tsking. How big of a deal is this, really?


Knowing what I know about the way Bose operates, and keenly aware of how similar traps can apply to other markets, I am very open to some corrective education here, and this is certainly one of my weakest areas. Feel free to chime in. As I learn more, I may be able to narrow down my questions. Thanks.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colmino /forum/post/0


During my day to day searches for information, I frequently note people with low opinions of all-in-one solutions, or mainstream manufacturers - that is, anything you might be able to find at Best Buy.

I've never heard a decent sound demo at BB.
 

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Colmino, without looking this up I think either CC or BB sells maybe the lower half or lower third of Denon's AVR line. Some of the those models do get decent press here, but you are right, there is a bit of a tilt toward the non-mainstream brands. On the other hand, the Panasonic XR-55 has attained a cult following and it is
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colmino /forum/post/0


During my day to day searches for information, I frequently note people with low opinions of all-in-one solutions, or mainstream manufacturers...


So, what's the story? My Denon seems to do a good job (apart from a curious problem it develops from time to time), but am I simply missing out without knowing? Quality? Reliability?


On the same topic, I observe that my current receiver is both pre/pro and amplifier, and that seems to be another item which earns its fair share of tsk-tsking. How big of a deal is this, really?


Knowing what I know about the way Bose operates, and keenly aware of how similar traps can apply to other markets, I am very open to some corrective education here, and this is certainly one of my weakest areas. Feel free to chime in. As I learn more, I may be able to narrow down my questions. Thanks.

First off, there's a lot of what people call audio elitism. It's always tempting to spend more money on the premise that ensures quality. Having spent a lot of money, some people feel the need to criticize cheaper products and even their owners.


Whether a two amplifiers of a comparable power sound much differently is a often debated topic. What should be pretty clear though, is the law of dimishing returns. I am sure you have heard a cheap boom box. Buy a $200 receiver and decent speakers and it will BLOW AWAY the boom box. But as you spend more money, the improvement you hear will diminish.


To me, Yamaha, Pioneer(Elite anyways,) and Denon unit all sound great. I have also heard really high end setups. Sure they sounded better than my Yamha, but the difference was most probably the $5000+/pair speakers. Speakers make a bigger difference than the amp.


Even more so, some people will tell you your room accoustics make the biggest difference of all! People are willing to put $1000's into their system and not a dime into any attempts to deal with room accoustics.


Reliability is always an important factor in any purchase decision. I have had mixed results with no name brand electronics. But I have had Sony's break on me too. The internet is a good source for connecting you with product owners. It's worth doing a little snooping around.


As for separates, I personally feel audio/visual receivers to be an excellent practical solution. Some people are opting for using their reasonably priced receiver as a pre-processor and adding amps for more power. Some people have raved about how much it improved their system. Cheapest route is probably pro amps. If you are interested, check out some of the threads where people have gone that route. Some people are amping just the L/R channels, other's the front three. Before going that route, I would try out a $500-$1000 receiver from a trusted brand like yamaha, Pioneer, Denon, Onko or Harmon Kardon. They all have their proponents.
 

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Denon is highly regaurded here. Shoot even I get attacked for being a Denon fan boy from time to time and I no longer own my Denon.


What I see more often than not is that people state these AVR's you listed as being better for music listening.


I actually think there is a great mix from those that use even under $200 AVR's to people that use all high end separates and everything in between.




Some distinctions can be made with some of the names people list on here for the higher end as far as AVR's go. They are not really mass produced. Or at least not in the sense, Pioneer, Yamaha, Denon, Onkyo and some others are anyways.


Marantz is sort of in between as far as mass production is concerned.
 

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I've owned the Yamaha RX-V1300 and RX-V3300 (both excellent) and JVC RX-DP10VBK and 20VBK (JVC's flagship - also both excellent) and prefer the sound and feature set of the Sony analog ES series of the past few years (STR-DA5ES, DA4 & 7ES, DA3100ES). This years Sony ES models I can't recommend because they are much lighter and have weaker amplifier sections than previous year models (though I haven't actually heard one yet).


Sony often gets a bad rap around here for reasons that elude me. Last years DA3100ES was one of the best bargains out there, built like a tank (47lbs!), had really strong, clean amps, and sounded absolutely fabulous (for both music and movies). A few can still be had on ebay new for only $600.


I'm currently using the DA4 (same exacts guts and design as the 3100), and just love it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHNnDENVER /forum/post/0


RWetmore, Sony shoudl not get a bad rap from their ES lines. I really think thier bad rap, all stems from their non-es lines of yesteryear.

Maybe, but I've noticed that Sony (even the ES series) is often looked down upon by seemingly elistist Yamaha and Denon owners.


It is also worth noting that Sony ES carries a full 5 year warranty, and even if you don't buy from an authorized dealer, they will still honor it. As far as I know, Sony is the only one who will do this. Yamaha and Denon will only honor it if it was sold from an authorized dealer, and even then, they only offer a 2 year warranty for all their AVRs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the great info, folks. Keep it coming. I also learned that I need to watch out for receivers that may have hidden limitations.. such as the inability to accept / passthru 1080p/60 component, which it fortunately seems my Denon doesn't have a problem with. There really ought to be a chart for these things.
 

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Dont buy Denon they dont stand behind there warrenty


but the Yamaha I have is freaking great.
 

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Here are some professional reviews of the 3100ES:

http://www.avrev.com/equip/sonyes3100/index.html

http://reviews.cnet.com/Sony_STR_DA3...3602.html#more


Like I say, I prefer the sound of this receiver over those I've heard costing 2-3 times as much. Cnet review perhaps says it best: "it sounds gorgeous." I really does though I can't quite describe why...it just grabs and keeps my attention more than any other I have heard. It's very neutral with perhaps a touch of lushness...can't get enough of it. I mainly use it for movies and listening to classical music in analog direct mode.
 

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Colmino - there are some brands that produce receivers/amps that are not as widely advertised as other brands - you mentioned NAD and Marantz, I'd add Arcam, Rotel and Cambridge Audio etc who are quite well known for making good souding equipment for (somewhat) reasonable, non-stratospheric prices.


You see them in audio forums because a lot of people here come from audio backgrounds and know these brands from their stereo setups but they don't have the mass market distribution of the Pioneers, Denons and Yamahas. Isn't the Internet useful, though



Quote:
Originally Posted by Chilled Man /forum/post/0


Dont buy Denon they dont stand behind there warrenty


but the Yamaha I have is freaking great.

I'm no Denon fanboy(!) but statements like this need to be qualified - what are the circumstances, etc. Where you had bought it from etc etc...


For every disgruntled owner, there are hundreds if not more happy owners and this goes for every brand there is (even the Sony DE line
)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The observation that some pre/pro components produce noticably superior results to other specimens of such hardware is what intrigues me the most. Observe Zissou's thread here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...=707173&page=1


This is a fantastic thread and Zissou seems to be pretty much the ideal source of informed opinion on the topic of pre/pro quality. However, the thread focuses of course on pre/pro hardware, so if a person such as myself is looking for the user friendly versatility of a Denon A/V receiver, it's not the thread to hunt.


But it still begs the question: If a person needs a versatile A/V receiver, and the Denon receivers don't remotely deliver audiophile quality - and Zissou's thread seems to indicate that they do not - then what would? Lots of combos are suggested, but it's difficult to imagine that operating such a solution would be as easy as pressing one button to switch both audio and video, which is sort of the point. (Btw, the focus of the question of "quality" in a pre/pro in this case appears to be on the DACs.)
 

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First I think it's extremely difficult to listen to equipment and tell which is best. I'm not counting comparing a $200 unit to a $2000 unit, that's usually obvious. When you compare stuff that is very good sounding, it's hard to get a direct AB comparison. Speaker placement, different rooms, etc. My ears tend to forget what the other piece sounded like after hooking up something new. Another thing is the higher end seperates are usually hooked up to killer speakers in the store, and the receivers usually aren't hooked up to the martin logans. Although I heard some with a BK receiver that sounded awsome.


In my own personal listening I've heard great HK, Marantz, Yamaha and B&K and emailed a speaker company and he liked Denon and Marantz the best for non-highend receivers.


To answer your specific question I think there's a bit of both, it feels good to have that name and there's usually a reason why stuff is popular. I don't think Denon would be the top or close to the top unless they sounded good. I honestly don't think that you'll hear a big difference between your 5803 and separates unless you have killer speakers. And the point of diminishing returns comes in, is that little difference worth a lot of money. You get to the point where you have really good sounding stuff and in order to make it great you have to gain a little with this piece and a little with that and so on.
 

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I became a Denon fan when my dad gave me his PMA-700V, which I still use for my main music listening (with a pair of Advent Loudspeakers). I'm using an AVR-3300 for my home theater and I really like it. Great sound and features (and only $300 on eBay). I'll probably stick with Denon unless some other brand has a very compelling offer.
 

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Sony is and has been looked down upon. Recently Iinstalled a Denon 2807 for a guy and I liked it.........then I installed a Pioneer 1016 for another friend and thought I wasted the first guys extra cash.


I really like Pioneer, Pioneer Elite, Denon and even Onkyo. I put Yamaha and Sony in the same class. Can't stand either. No reason why just don't likem.



These are all very good receivers compared to what we had in 2000. They each have their strengths and weaknesses but I'm continually amazed at the value for what you get these days.


Sony ES products are very nice but that warranty is worth very little if you can't get anyone at Sony to help you. I know Pioneer and Denon take care of their customers. Marantz is very good but seems a step behidg in the latest gadgets which we may really not need. Marantz does its thing very well.


This is really a fun hobby.......................
 

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there are a lot of uninformed people who rely heavily on price as an indicator of sound quality. They are so afriad of themselves and their inability to hear good sound from bad sound that they rather hide behind high prices to mask their incompetency.


Nodoubtedly some of those people belittle the mainstream all-in-one solutions for their incompetency.
 

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Part of this may have to do with system flexibility and reuseabilty. If you get a separate amplifier(s) then you can always use them throughout your system. All you need to do is upgrade the preprocessor. When you get a reciever, your stuck with an all in one solution. In the long run it can be a more expensive option.
 
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