AVS Forum banner
  • Get an exclusive sneak peek into our new project. >>> Click Here

Pitfalls of old HT receivers?

544 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  ClarkeBar
I'm looking to find a quality receiver in the $150 range for a home theater setup. Such a thing doesn't really exist in retail, so I've been looking at refurbs and used systems on Ebay.

Specifically, these:


AVR 225

AVR 230

AVR 235

AVR 240

AVR 310





HTR 5540

HTR 5550

Which one is really a wash. Ideally, I'm thinking either the SR502 or an AVR-230 or 240.

But some of these, like the Yamahas, the AVR 310, and the SR501 are a few generations old. I'm wondering what I'm losing in buying an older system, or things to watch out for.

People have mentioned 'component video switching', but I don't know what that is. Truly, I don't know much at all about receivers beyond what one would glean in fifty or sixty product reviews.

The setup it's intended for is very basic: 5 surround speakers and a powered subwoofer. The inputs will be a DVD player, a VCR, and CD player, and probably one game console. If I have to route the console through the VCR or something, I don't care.


See less See more
Not open for further replies.
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
With the sources and speakers you have, I don't believe you'd lose all that much by getting a receiver a few generations old. My Denon AVR3300 is about 6 years old (?) and still does all I need it to do. Aside from some new surround formats, and auto setup and auto room equalization and enhanced multi-room support on some of the more advanced units, I think you'd be fine.
video switching refers to the ability of the receiver to take in 2 or more video inputs and route it thru the output to the display. it's useful because once you select a source, the audio and video is automatically selected. component video is the best quality analog video you can get

as long as the receivers in consideration are built after 2002 you should have at least Dolby ProLogic II which does wonders with stereo sources (significantly better than ProLogic). these receivers would also have DD and DTS decoding so you'd be covered for formats.

as dd2 mentioned, you might not get auto-setup, but that's a one-time $40 investment in a Radioshack SPL meter (you would also normally use auto-setup only whenever you change speakers/placement anyway)

While you are looking on eBay I'd also say keep a look out for Panasonic SA-XR25 or SA-XR50 which sound much better than similarly priced receivers.
Thanks for the responses. I will keep an eye out for Panasonics, thought they seem to be fairly rare on the auction sites.

Do you have any thoughts on wattage?

The 5.1 speaker system will likely be Fluance SX-HTBs. The various Harman receivers, particularly the 1XX and 22X series, are only about 50W per channel. That's at the bottom of what Fluance rates the front two mains.

They'll be in a 25x15x10 room, and I will have a powered subwoofer for everything below about 80 hz. Would 45-50W be adequate?

See less See more

firstly speaker power ratings hardly mean much. a better gauge would be their sensitivity rating (usually given in xxdb/W/m) which would tell you how much power you need to get a certain amount of volume (SPL) at your listening position. a sensitivity rating of 90db/W/m will give you 90db with 1watt of power if you are sitting 1 metre away

so, adequate depends on the size of your listening area and the loudness you normally listen at. This calculator at Crown Audio is useful as a guide;

for example, take the the Fluance HTBs.

sensitivity: 85db/W/m.

sitting position: 3m (~9ft) away from the speakers

normal listening level: 80db (this is plenty loud)

headroom: 10db

amplifier power required (per channel): 28W

this is assuming all 5 channels are putting out 75db at the same time (you can be almost certain this never happens in a movie soundtrack) with the capability to peak at 90db (10db headroom)

how loud is 80db?

Normal Conversation 60dB

Busy Street Traffic 70dB

Vacuum Cleaner 80dB

Large Orchestra 98dB

Walkman at Maximum Level 100dB

Front Rows of Rock Concert 110dB
See less See more
I have just replaced a 310 with the 635. Before moving to external amping years ago and subsequently using various HK receivers as pre-pros, I ran them all as standalones with my 6 Ohm, 88dB 4 tower setup. Never encountered a problem...although my space is not as large. But to open up good speakers however, there is no substitute for good clean power which is why I went with external amping. You might want to consider if any models under consideration have pre-outs for future use with an amp.

As mentioned in previous posts, with an older receiver you will miss out on some processing advances. But as long as DD and DTS are present you will have the Lion's share of what you really need.

In terms of older hardware if overall functionality checks out, what you want to look out for is capacitor problems stemming from heat and/or power line issues. When I get any used/refurbed product I always pop the top and take a look. Caps will bulge at the top when going bad. You will notice things like hum bars in the OSD or buzz in the speakers even when using a power conditioner.

Good Luck.
See less See more
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Not open for further replies.