Anyone have listening experience with any of the digital receivers out there (HK, Sony ES, etc.)? How do they compare in sound quality and features to the usual line-up of well reviewed receivers (Elite, NAD, HK, Marantz, etc.)?
I had a chance to A/B an Sony ES3000 with a Denon 2803 on Vienna Acoustics speakers.
I am not a true audiophile, but to me the Sony sounded very harsh, crisp, and kinda, well, digital.
The denon sounded more acoustic, warm and musical.
I went in wanting to buy the Sony, but wanted to check out the "hiss" some people talk of, but came out empty handed. I am now awaiting Harman Kardon to release their next generation digital amps next month to hear them.
I have heard three of the four Panasonic units and the HK1001 I have not heard the Sony units. The Panasonics are not feature laden and neither is the HK. I have also listened to that TacT M2150 - big bucks with sound to match.
I really like the sound of digital amps, I find them to be incredibly accurate with a low noise floor and wide open soundstage. For my ears the best part is their bass control. I would be very surprised if you don't see sub-woofer manufacturers using these amps as a standard.
I never bothered listening to the Sonys because of the hiss issue listed on many of these forums - although I have read a post where it supposedly has been fixed.
When you compare the Panny and HK digitals to other products from a pure sound perspective I don't think they have any competion in their price range and much further up, but thats my opion, to some people the accuracy of these units is perceived as a lack of power and as "bright" sounding. And yet others say they have a "tube-like" upper end.
When you compare the HK with the Panasonic IMO the HK is overpriced. HK is coming out with a new line up of digitally amplified recievers shortly and they should be more feature laden.
With the exception of the hiss I have read very positive feedback about the sound of the Sony's. Even from anti-Sony types.
Originally posted by jwilock Were you able to compare the sound of the HK with any of their other receivers like the 7200, or one of the new x30 series?
No, the store I frequent does not carry full product lines. They "pick & choose" the best products from the companies they're distributers of.
They had the HK hooked up to the same speakers as the Panny XR-45 in a 2 channel display, and they had a Panny XR-45 hooked up as the lone receiver in an HT room.
I have the HK AVR8000 at home and I brought home an XR-25 for a try-out, I was predominantley checking out the amp section though. I used the HK as a preamp into my Anthem PVA5 and used the direct inputs of the Panasonic. The Panasonic was more accurate than the Anthem - to a point.
When musical passages got very "busy" I found it lost some high frequency control.
When I did run a digital signal directly into the Panny and let it "decode" 2 channel audio it did a remarkable job, as good if not better than my HK. But the amp section still lost control of the highs. (I don't mean it sounded like crap it just got too "bright" for lack of a better word.) That was the
XR-25. When I listened to the 45 at the store it did not exhibit this characteristic at all and remained accurate and controlled all the way through, a BIG improvement over the 25 - to my ears. In the HT room they had it decoding the 2 channel DD "Party at the Palace" live concert DVD into a surround format I think it was PLII it did a very good job. I prefer the Logic 7 decoding that I used with my HK for this DVD though. I didn't have time to check out any other material, being Canadian I had to go play hockey
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