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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guys & Gals,


Now that I'm in the ending phases of my theater construction, it's getting to be the time to pick up my components. After spending most of my budget on the pj and construction-related items, there's not much in the pocket.


This being the case, I'm taking advantage of a buddy of mine that works for a place that can get me a pretty good discount on a narrow range of equipment.


(Note: I'm a complete neophyte when it comes to audio equipment so please be gentle :D).


I've narrowed what he can offer down to the Onkyo TX-SR800 and the Harmon/Kardon AVR-325. He can get me the Onkyo for $653 (around $889 street) and the H/K for $560 (around $625 street).


The biggest question I have is whether or not the H/K (at about 50W/channel in 7.1) will have enough power to drive my speakers efficiently vs. the Onkyo which is rated at 100W/channel in all modes. For speakers I just picked up a pair of Paradigm Atoms for my mains, CC-170 for the center and Micros for the rears. Jury's still out on the sub. I'm wired for 7.1 but am waiting to pull the trigger on that for a bit.


The other thing is that the Onkyo is THX Select Certified (should I really care about this at this point???) and the H/K is not.


I guess the whole thing comes down to the experiences of others since I've never owned either brands myself (clarity, build quality, track record, etc). I've got a Denon AVR-95 in my living room HT and have really enjoyed it for the past couple of years and am leaving it upstairs. But given that I can get a pretty good bang for the buck given the discounts, I figured why not at least consider these two before shelling out bigger bucks going a more traditional route for something live a Denon 3803.


Your thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated!


Cheers!


- Ed.
 

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I have listened to both products side-by-side at home


I couldn't really tell much difference in quality between the two.

I might give h/k the musicality edge and Onkyo the H/T edge


The H/k has 3 sets of crossover frequencies so you can set you front, side and rear speakers at a different crossover. I think the options were 40,60,80,100,120 for each set.


The onkyo only has one set with the same options. Aside from this the onkyo is insanely configurable. Download the manual from onkyousa.com and take a look.


I did notice what I think is a bug in the decoding of the H/K. If you configure your receiver for 7.1 speakers and pop a 5.1 DTS disc in your dvd player, the recevier by default is supposed to use the DTS Matrix decoding to derive a 6th channel for your rear(s). Hoever the display showed DTS:Neo6 which is a decoding scheme for an analog/pcm/2 channel signal. I can't say for sure, but I think I was getting sound out of the rear but I dont know if it was actually decoding Matrix but displaying Neo6 or Decoding and displaying Neo6. Iim thinking it was the formar but either way, in my opinion its doing something incorrectly.


This happened as well on the 525, I havent checked the 520.


I was on the phone with Harman Kardon and they reproduced the problem so it was not isolated to only my unit. They were very dodgy as to admitting it was a problem.


Either receiver should have no problem driving those speakers.


THX is a nice to have, I wouldn't base your decision on it. If a receiver w/o thx sounded better than one that did, I'd take the one that sounds better.


If remotes are a concern, the onkyo's is 500 million times better...kay a little exageration. The h/k remote is horrid, especially close to the bottom where there is a 4x6 array of small, identically shaped buttons with osd in the middle. Oh, and the h/k remote is not backlit. Have fun in the dark with this one. The onkyo remote is backlit.


One last thing is the h/k uses a variable speed fan for cooling. I never heard it and the h/k stayed pretty cool. The onkyo on the other hand does not use a fan, but ran pretty hot (something I'm not used to)


I'm considering the Onkyo 800 myself, unless the new nad t762 comes out soon. I have also listened to the Nad T752 and is is a definte step up in audio but had a couple of issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by S4Golfer
Any chance of getting another Onkyo at that price? I can pick it up!! Thanks!
LOL! I'll take that as a vote for the Onkyo. :D


I need to be careful that this doesn't turn into a group deal or I'll be thrown in the dog house by the moderator... D'OH!


Peter - Thanks for the thoughtful feedback.


Cheers!


- Ed.
 

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I really don't think these two receivers are in the same league. Not that the HK isn't good - it is. But, the 800 would be more comparable to the 525.


I would definitely vote for the Onkyo between the 2 IMHO.


The Onkyo remote is very nice and the HK 520 remote I had was crap.



Good Luck:


Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Mike,


Thanks for the response.


Ok, that makes it two for the Onkyo (3 if I count S4Golfer's "proxy" :) ), none for the H/K. I suppose I should have made this a poll, eh?


Voting booth is still open (and, sorry, we DON'T do recounts here :D ) so c'mon in and throw in yer two-cents!


Cheers!


- Ed.
 

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Hmm, I've got the 525 and just tried to see that DTS+NEO6 on the dispaly with all speakers enabled. I see it says dts+neo6 also, but.. I believe this is correct behavior. If you look at the dts website at the neo6 documentation it quotes as one of the features "Extended Surround - Neo 6 provides optimum decoding of Extended Surround matrix soundtracks, and can also generate a back channel from 5.1 material." So don't be alarmed to this and think it is a bug.


Anyway, sorry to digress, but:


I think the remote of the 525 is great. It is laid out logically and easy enough to use. It's also a learning remote and I was able to program all my other devices into it. The 525 remote is backlit, a press of the light button and every single button lights up for a few seconds, I guess the 325 isn't that way.


I got my 525 for $699 at cc by pricematching with costco. This would put it into a comparable price range of the onkyo. I think a better comparison here would be to see how the 525 compares with the sr800 since they are more equal in price.


I've never heard the sr800, but so far I think the 525 is a great receiver. I know the actual comparison here is for the 325, but you can actually get a 525 for about the price of the onkyo so I think you should try considering the 525.
 

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bcwang


have you seen the 525 bug thread with logic 7?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Jules343
bcwang


have you seen the 525 bug thread with logic 7?
D'OH!!! (insert Dragnet music here)


BTW - bcwang, I agree that the comparison should be between the 800 and the 525, not the 325 but it was a starting point (for another reason not mentioned here).


As a matter of fact, my buddy told me today that he can get the the 525 for the same price as the 800. But you got yours for $699, eh? I just may have to have a little chat about the "great" deal he could get on the 525.


Oh well, can't beyotch-slap the goose laying the golden egg just yet, now can we? :D


Thanks for the additional input. Keep 'em coming guys. Decision time is coming soon (otherwise my buddy's gonna beyotch-slap me for sitting on the fence too long).


Cheers!


- Ed.
 

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bcwang,


I never knew dts:neo6 could be used on 5.1 material. All the receviers I've seen only allow you to select neo6 if you have analog/2 channel content. Even the Onkyo 800 (if memory serves me) does not allow you to select neo6 for 5.1 material. The onkyo 800 uses DTS-ES Matrix to extract that rear channel for 5.1 sources. The onkyo 800 can give you 6.1 from 2.0 sources with neo6.


Now the H/K says it has DTS-ES Matrix onboard, well when the heck is it used then? Me confused.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Peter, two demerits for you for not paying attention to meeeee!


Just messin'. You're bringing up some good points here that are helping to paint a clearer picture.


Thanks,


- Ed.
 

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Peter,


I think this is how it works. DTS-ES Matrix uses Neo6 technology to extract the center rear channel from the surrounds. This is not the same as using NEO6 to create 5.1 or 6.1 channels out of 2 ch stereo. DTS classifies it as the same subset of technology, mainly channel extraction, which they have branded Neo6. So I think in all receivers, when reading a normal DTS 5.1 signal, and using 6.1 speakers, when it is in DTS-ES matrix mode, it uses the Neo6 technology to get that rear center channel. Harman Kardon just decided to name it DTS+NEO6 when in the matrix mode probably to avoid confusion with discrete DTS-ES.


Jules343,

Could you point me to the 525 logic 7 bug thread you mentioned?
 

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I prefer HK over Onkyo. Both make great products, I just like HK for music more than Onkyo. HT, Onkyo may be slightly better, but they are just mostly subtle differences. Onkyo has also changed their wattage ratings it seems, and some of the stuff is really weak. HK receivers are just darn powerful, and their power is underrated. Also, the SR-800 isn't really in the same category of receiver as the AVR-325. FWIW
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by loopy
Onkyo has also changed their wattage ratings it seems, and some of the stuff is really weak. HK receivers are just darn powerful, and their power is underrated. Also, the SR-800 isn't really in the same category of receiver as the AVR-325. FWIW
Loopy,


Thanks for your input.


1. I agree that they're not in the same category (see previous posts).


2. As for the power ratings, the Onkyo is rated at 100w/channel vs. 50w/channel with these two models (see point number one for qualifier in addition to your point about the H/K's being "underrated").


Given these two specific models, the 800 has a clear edge on power (although I doubt I'd need it all seeing how I have two kids, not counting me, under my roof as well).


My concern again comes back to build quality, overall company product line track record as well as how much more bang for the buck am I getting going with one over the other. BTW, forgot to mention that I will be primarily using this for HT.


Cheers!


- Ed.
 

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ELB_III

Just to clarify, the 525 is 70w x 7 or 85w x 2. Not 50w as you mentioned. And as usual with HK, they're underrated power figures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by bcwang
ELB_III

Just to clarify, the 525 is 70w x 7 or 85w x 2. Not 50w as you mentioned. And as usual with HK, they're underrated power figures.
Sorry, I should have clarified that I was referring to the 325 (50w x 7, 65w x 2).


- Ed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for taking the time to do this!


Take care,


- Ed.
 
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