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Well not always true but certainly true of modern and midrange AVR units.

http://www.cnet.com/news/how-can-30-year-old-receivers-sound-better-than-new-ones/

I been saying and thinking this for a couple years and glad to see I'm not alone.

My 10+ year old Harman Kardon AVR525 still sounds better than the subsequent Onkyo, Onkyo again, Denon, and Yamaha amps I replaced it with. It doesn't do DTS HD or Dolby True, but play a CD and it craps on them. It was cheaper 12 years ago than my current Denon 3312 cost me two years ago too.
 

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I had a similar experience going from a 20yo sony POS to a new denon. But only in 2ch mode with no eq. After audyssey eq the denon sounds better. And my old sony has an unchangeable crossover for all speakers and no independent level adjustments except the sub and center ch. The limitations of the old electronics out ways the slightly better SQ, IMO.
 

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My old flagship Onkyo TX-NR1000 receiver poo-poo'ed on every future Onkyo I've owned since selling it. With that being said, I would never let a receiver power anything in my present setups so the perceived declined in sound quality is not all that big of a deal to me.
 

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Most 30-40 year old receivers have been in the landfill for 10-25 years. The highly sought after vintage receivers, like the Yamaha CR-2020, were not cheap and didn't end up in the landfill for a very good reason. Also don't forget to pull out the inflation calculator....
 

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Most 30-40 year old receivers have been in the landfill for 10-25 years. The highly sought after vintage receivers, like the Yamaha CR-2020, were not cheap and didn't end up in the landfill for a very good reason. Also don't forget to pull out the inflation calculator....
Yep. And thank God most speakers from that era are in landfills too.
 

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Hey, I've got the HK525 too! In fact, I just bought a 520 the other day. I'll use them in tandem to produce six overhead channels for Atmos/DTS:X.

These articles are fun but I'm a man of technology. I can't do the same things with my beloved HK that I can with current gear.
Yeah I like the tech too. That's why a proper pre/pro and a stack of pro amps is the solution. Best of both worlds :)
 

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Yeah I like the tech too. That's why a proper pre/pro and a stack of pro amps is the solution. Best of both worlds :)
There are still great AVRs. There's also something to be said for simplicity, less devices, and shorter signal paths. Pro amps are great for subs, but they're not always the best for the rest of the speakers.
 

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Well not always true but certainly true of modern and midrange AVR units.

http://www.cnet.com/news/how-can-30-year-old-receivers-sound-better-than-new-ones/

I been saying and thinking this for a couple years and glad to see I'm not alone.

My 10+ year old Harman Kardon AVR525 still sounds better than the subsequent Onkyo, Onkyo again, Denon, and Yamaha amps I replaced it with. It doesn't do DTS HD or Dolby True, but play a CD and it craps on them. It was cheaper 12 years ago than my current Denon 3312 cost me two years ago too.
Gttenberg is a buffoon who believes in most of the audiophile ju-ju out there.

I've repaired or worked on quite a few AVRs and the signal path for most of them is digital in -> DSP -> DAC -> poweramps. Analogue sources typically go into a selector chip/ADC combined, then to the DSP. All processing is done in the digital domain. The signal path is shorter than most old receivers and much simpler.

ICs improve over time and there is very little there that needs improving because typically it's been essentially perfect, ie inaudible for a long time and there isn't much there anyway. Tuners have been good for decades at least for the typical poor quality of signal most stations put out these days.

People have made arguments that discrete poweramps are better than IC units, but based on my experience, I call BS on that. Except for very few units from a decade or more ago, used within their range, they are by and large excellent. Does anyone remember the fuss about the 47 Labs amps from around Y2000 and all the gushing at went on in the press about how good they sounded? It's an LM3875 in the most basic schematic from the datasheet. Also designers get around the difficult thermal requirements by keeping the output devices off the main IC. You can take an $11ish LME49830 addd a few passives and the output devices and driver and build a 500W poweramp that looks to most people like a 'chip' amp and have something that equals or betters most discrete designs. It's simple and cheap to build an amp of about 100W (around the o/p of most AVRs) with noise and distortion too low to be audible and measure in a way that the designer of those old receivers shown the the article would have killed for. It's nostalgia driving what they're saying as having been inside a lot of those receivers, they are simply not all that great. I could better all the analogue line levels stages of those old discrete units with an NE5534 (a >30yo design) let alone with something more recent like the LME49720. I've already described how the power amp stages could be done with the LME49830.

Power supplies have gotten smaller, true, but I've still yet to see any real evidence that it's going to be awful sounding as a consequence. The magazine tests that people quote from time to time that show power dropping all channels driven are of little relevance: how often is full power required on all channels, in phase simultaneously? Very, very rarely if ever from more than a fraction of a second with actual program content. You'll just lose a bit of level which is quite hard to detect under short transient conditions. If you hear distortion on transients because of this, you need to step up to something bigger is all, or add an L/R external poweramp.

ADCs/DACs have long been transparent enough and the SOTA 24 bit units of a few years ago have been recycled into the multichannel ICs used in receivers today.

All the other digital features like Bluetooth or streaming are commodity chips with the processing in the digital domain.

I love analogue design and it was my employment for many years and has been my hobby for 30. But I have no nostalgia for most old gear and have designed/repaired/measured and tested a lot over the years so I don't buy the hypothesis that modern AVRs are crap and old receivers are good because my training and experience tells me otherwise. Oh, and especially considering the source of the article, I wouldn't give it much credence anyway. The only way my old Marantz 2285B receiver betters my newish Onkyo is aesthetics. The Marantz is a beautiful piece of industrial design and the Onkyo a drab black box.

 

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I have had a tough time letting go of my Yamaha RX-Z9 for quite a long time now. (I know the Z9 isn't as old as what is being discussed but it is one of the last big dollar AVR's) I tried to take advantage of the new surround formats by adding an OPPO 105 and running the Z9 in pure direct mode. This let the 105 do the work of converting the DTS-Master digital signal to analog that the receiver could use.

I just recently sold the 105 to get a Marantz 7702 to handle the room correction and surround processing duties. I will still hang on to my Z9 (and add a Pioneer Elite 59txi) to do the amplification and I hope it will all be a nice upgrade. I can bi-amp my front LCR with the Z9 (plus one surround channel) and use the 59Txi for the other 7 channels. Hopefully this will marry the best that I can afford from the past with the tech of today.
 

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@A9X-308 I agree completely. I was a consumer electronics repair tech for many years with my specific product group being audio products. Like you, I repaired stuff that was 30 years old and all the way up to what was modern at the time. I got out of that business around 2002-2003 when the newest and "craziest" AVR I ever worked on was the Pioneer Elite VSX-49TXi. I was working in a factory service company for Pioneer at the time.
Things certainly became more complex inside of higher end AVRs, I think that particular AVR has 6 digital boards in it, but the basics have not changed especially regarding signal path. I remember when Sony and a couple of others started using "integrated" output IC's for the power amp section and it became a point of contention in reviews when comparing low end models (with IC type outputs) to discrete transistor models. I remember finding out what the inside of one of those integrated power modules looked like and guess what, they contained transistors (just without their own discrete packages).
I still own a Yamaha RX-V795 that I won in a raffle in a Yamaha factory service class that I took in 1999 or early 2000. It was the most expensive piece of gear I had owned up until then with a MSRP of around $800 if I recall. It is still going strong and is used in my downstairs "kids" theater today.
 

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dug up the original article.





https://web.archive.org/web/2013010...canada.com/Articles/art_receiver_shootout.htm


the test speaker isn't particularly efficient:


http://www.stereophile.com/content/mirage-om-7-loudspeaker-measurements


impedance drops to about 4 ohms, so its 2.83v 86 db rating translates to about 83db 1w1m real sensitivity.


with 15db peak to average content in well recorded music and another 10db or so of additional spl recorded in the bass relative to midrange, they were clipping the snot out of the amps as soon as the music started (even though the claim is that the "amps were not driven beyond their limits").


so the fact that the amp with the larger power supply and power dominated the test is...not terribly surprising.
 

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Good catch LTD. A completely poorly set up and not like for like. Not worth the electrons it's printed on.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
dug up the original article.





https://web.archive.org/web/2013010...canada.com/Articles/art_receiver_shootout.htm


the test speaker isn't particularly efficient:


http://www.stereophile.com/content/mirage-om-7-loudspeaker-measurements


impedance drops to about 4 ohms, so its 2.83v 86 db rating translates to about 83db 1w1m real sensitivity.


with 15db peak to average content in well recorded music and another 10db or so of additional spl recorded in the bass relative to midrange, they were clipping the snot out of the amps as soon as the music started (even though the claim is that the "amps were not driven beyond their limits").


so the fact that the amp with the larger power supply and power dominated the test is...not terribly surprising.

Sounds like an excuse to use big power pro amps :)
 

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...


impedance drops to about 4 ohms, so its 2.83v 86 db rating translates to about 83db 1w1m real sensitivity.


with 15db peak to average content in well recorded music and another 10db or so of additional spl recorded in the bass relative to midrange, they were clipping the snot out of the amps as soon as the music started (even though the claim is that the "amps were not driven beyond their limits").


so the fact that the amp with the larger power supply and power dominated the test is...not terribly surprising.
With that, certainly looks like a test beyond rated capacity of some of the receivers. Wonder if statistics were compiled. ;)
 
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