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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm about to take the plunge on my first stereo upgrade in 10-15 years. (Yay bonuses at work!) I've done some research, and narrowed it down to a few units. I'd like some opinions on my choices.
  • The user interface is extremely important to me. I don't care how many features a unit has, or how good it sounds, if I have to fight with terrible controls or memorize large swaths of an arcane user manual to use it, forget it. I can handle a bit of set-up, but if I can't swap between stereo and surround with one or two easy-to-remember button presses, it'll be replaced.
  • My primary use for the stereo is music. I watch the occasional DVD. I may go full 5.1 in the future, so I want a HT-capable receiver, but not at the expense of really good sound on two speakers + sub.
  • I listen to synth/electronic/trance/jazz. I want to hear every nuance that Posner, Coltrane, Ellington intended.
  • My environment is very 'bright' - wood floors, little furniture, etc. - and approx. 2,000 cubic feet.
  • My budget for the whole setup is ~$1.5k, and I have $300-500 set aside for the receiver, the rest for speakers.


Here's what else is in the system:
  • Two Axiom m-50 speakers w/ ep175 sub. The m-50s draw max 200w and the sub draws 175w. Yes, I know there are cheaper alternatives that are as good or better (i.e. Ascend + HSU sub), but aesthetics are important to me. I loathe black or silver speakers sitting in the middle of my living room. Also, since I have such a bright space, I'm intentionally choosing slightly laid-back speakers; the receiver should jive with this.
  • I may add another two speakers to the system (Axiom m3s, max 175w) that play in another room. I don't need multi-zone capability or whatever, just A/B or simultaneous playing.
  • I'll be streaming music from a Mac via optical.


So far, I have these contenders, garnered from a lot of 'net research:
  • Denon 1705 - front runner #1 - only 75w/ch though?
  • Pioneer 1015 - 100w/ch, but read some criticisms of sound quality in stereo?
  • Yamaha HTR-5840 - Recommended on Audioholics, features look right


I purposefully left off H/K after reading about how complicated their interfaces are.

Any clear winners or losers in this list?

Any anecdotes or experiences?

Have I left off any worthy contenders?

Any info that you can provide would rock. Thanks.
 

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The panasonic xr-55....great for stereo with the dual amp feature (very powerful). Very clean, detailed, powerful sound. All that you can ask for and a bargain at 250 or less.
 

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Don't know about winners / losers but Denon has been noted by many people on several audio fora that I read for having a poorly written manual. The manual is probably available to look at on Denon's website so you can always check it out and decide for yourself. Other than that, Denon has a big following.


I've always read/heard that the Pioneer 1015 is a great bang-for-the-buck receiver.


Yamaha is noted for being very well built with good QC / few problems. I still have a Yamaha receiver that I purchased sometime in the early 1980's.
 

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I have no comparitive experience here, however I believe the consensus is that the Panny digital amps are a touch on the bright side. Might not be what this user wants. I stand to be corrected.
 

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Lab results for the Pannys frequency response have shown them to be flat for 8 ohm loads, a slight elevation in the treble for 6 ohm, and much more elevation for 4 ohm. The Pannys are not recommended for 4 ohm because they weren't designed to support it. If you have nominal impedance this low, look to HK's digital amps as they have dual output circuitry.


Speakers will have dips and spikes in their impedance plots. Most have a rolloff in the upper frequencies. In such situations it would seem that the boost from the Panny combined with the speaker rolloff would give you something more neutral.


HTH,

JnC
 

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I think it is a big mistake to exclude H/K. I use the AVR520 as a HT pre/pro and find it to have a very user friendly interface. The initial setup is no more difficult than any other AV receiver (and easier than some I have seen), and once you have it set I think you will find it very user friendly. So if you want the best sound with those Axioms I think you should at least audition a H/K receiver.
 

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I have an Onix SP3, NAD C320BEE, Sony STR-DA3000ES with ACI Sapphire XL speakers (and Onix Ref 1s).


I just picked up a 1015 to try against the batch to see how it stacks up against my other gear (some of which is going to be sold).


The Sony is a 'digital' amp and it can compete with the NAD and Onix. I am doubting that the 1015 will keep up, but I am going to give it a try.


I will be testing the 1015 with and without the auto EQ. I will probably get around to it this weekend. I'll be sure to post my thoughts.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobL
Marantz 4500
Yes, the two Marantz receivers I've had have been easier to operate than the two Denon units I had, and they sound better as well, particularly with music.

Both have poorly-written manuals but the Denon has more info in it, which is a bit more daunting to tackle when you're first starting to learn the thing.


The Marantz' front panel display is simpler/cleaner as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the replies and the advice.


I checked out HKs, and they were out of the running because the units in my price range only pushed 40w/channel. Not enough without an amp... I need a stereo first, AV setup second.


I checked out the Marantz 4500; it looked great, had a well-written manual, however the companion DVD players weren't capable of digital video, so I considered it 'second tier'. (Yeah, it wasn't part of my original spec, but I wanted 'matching' Receiver and DVD. I also want to keep an optical 'flow' as much as possible in the system.)


The Pioneer 1015 looked great, but it was at the very, very top of my budget. Not sure if I'm that discerning. Still on the list, but kept looking.


Denon kept coming up as 'sounds great but difficult to use'. Kept that in mind. Looked through the user manuals... cripes, littered with Engrish. Forget that.


I went to Tweeter and did some auditioning. Maybe I'm deficient in hearing, but on the speakers they had, I couldn't tell any difference between the Pioneer, Yamaha and Denon rigs in the same price range. The salesman echoed what I've been hearing in other places; Denons sound great but have a problematic user interface, Yamahas are great bang-for-buck and are easy to use, Pioneers are excellent in my price range also.


Turns out the Yamaha RX-V457 was in stock, looks practically identical to the 5840 I was considering, and only twenty or so bucks more than I could get online (and I could get it now. :D ). They also had a S550 DVD player - the floor unit - available for $50. Score! So, I just picked up everything I need for under $400.


Thanks again for the info. It really helped, and I'm very happy with my decision.
 

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Quote:
Pioneer 1015 - 100w/ch, but read some criticisms of sound quality in stereo?
Well, I listen to plenty of instrumental jazz music. The Pioneer was great for movies, but left more to be desired when it came to music. The upper end detail was a bit constrained and the stereo separation seemed a bit weak when compared to some other receivers.


If you ever get a chance to try an H/K, please do. I think it would pair nicely with your Axiom speakers.
 
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