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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm fairly new to the AVR world and I've spent a number of hours now researching. Wanted to potentially get some feedback from some of the veterans.


I've been looking mostly at mid-range Denon & Pioneer as far as AVRs, however I'm also entertaining the thought of going with a tube amp. I'd like to stay under $2k for a complete set (receivers + speakers).


I would like to ultimately put money into a nice set of tower speakers and potentially stick with just a 2-channel, however I've not seen very many available. The market seems to be flooded with 5 and 7-channels.


I'll be using this primarily for music (vinyl included - just got a Pro-Ject RM 1.3 turntable as a gift), however I plan to run the system through my LGSL90 for dvds, xbox, etc. I understand as I learn more about everything, I'd like to be able to build on the system, which has me leaning toward something with preouts so that I could go with a tube amp down the road. Sound quality is probably the most important criteria here, which had me scoping out Denon. Ultimately I'd like something that's going to blow me away listening to music and is sensitive enough to pickup nuances, etc. I don't necessarily need the "surround" effect for movies etc. Would rather get 2 high-end speakers than 7 mediocre.


I've done much research on the Denon avr1911 and the pioneer VSX-1020-K, however recently I found a deal on a Denon AVR890 for $370 on clearance at best buy. Today's the last day to pick it up (black friday deals) so I'm thinking I will and take it back within 30-days if I need. I don't realistically see myself ever using 7 speakers, and I know money could be better spent on a better amp with less channels, however $370 for something that lists at $800 is hard to pass up (although I don't believe it has preouts). I also am not savvy with the various decoders. Obviously the 890 lacks some that the newer models have. If anyone has any recommendations on the 890 or has some other candidate receivers, it would be much appreciated. I plan to continue research here and potentially hold off for an after Christmas sale. Just want something solid that is good quality for a first receiver that I could build off of. I apologize as I know there are probably 9430985043 threads similar to this, however I wasn't able to find much on the 890. Thanks again!
 

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If you're considering adding an external amp, you're going to need to get a receiver with a full compliment of pre-outs.


For Pioneer, that means stepping up to the 1120. For Denon, that would mean stepping up to the 990, 3310, or 3311.


The 890 and 1911 do NOT have pre-outs...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmf1218 /forum/post/19555315


....recently I found a deal on a Denon AVR890 for $370 on clearance at best buy. Today's the last day to pick it up (black friday deals) so I'm thinking I will and take it back within 30-days if I need. I don't realistically see myself ever using 7 speakers, and I know money could be better spent on a better amp with less channels, however $370 for something that lists at $800 is hard to pass up (although I don't believe it has preouts). I also am not savvy with the various decoders. Obviously the 890 lacks some that the newer models have. .....however I wasn't able to find much on the 890.

Read the 1st post in the Denon 890 Owner's thread ....


Also, Best Buy has been clearing out the 2310/890 models from $170+ although priced differently from store to store. Of the two models, you would want the 2310 over the 890 as it has a RS-232 port that will allow you to install firmware updates yourself, rather than having to ship the AVR off to a repair facility as you would with the 890. Either model includes the latest decoders (as nothing has been added in the past 3 years), although as you note, neither model has a full set of pre-outs. Your best bet would be the next higher model, 3310 which has a full set of pre-outs and has been down as low as $530 on Amazon although is back up again in the past 2 weeks. If you have no plans of 3D in the near future, going with one of these 2009 HDMI 1.3 models would be your best bet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
First off, I truly appreciate everyone's input. It's extremely invaluable as I know I'm taking the "quick" route to learning alot of this rather than spending the hours reading through endless threads on this. I just need some direction so I can focus my research.


Quote:
Also, Best Buy has been clearing out the 2310/890 models from $170+ although priced differently from store to store.

Good to know - I suppose my $320 (they knocked off $50 for not having a remote) wasn't quite a steal.

Quote:
Of the two models, you would want the 2310 over the 890 as it has a RS-232 port that will allow you to install firmware updates yourself, rather than having to ship the AVR off to a repair facility as you would with the 890.

Is this the same case with say a 990 vs. a 3310? Do all 3-digit AVRs lack this ability?

Quote:
Your best bet would be the next higher model, 3310 which has a full set of pre-outs and has been down as low as $530 on Amazon although is back up again in the past 2 weeks. If you have no plans of 3D in the near future, going with one of these 2009 HDMI 1.3 models would be your best bet.

Also good to know - I was hoping this passing cyber monday would not be my last solid opportunity to make a purchase..




I'm still having difficulty justifying a 7-channel, as I think I'd rather put money into 2 good speakers.. which has me entertaining an integrated amp like the Peachtree Nova or a Jolida tube amp. I think I may prefer the sound of a tube amp. I guess the ultimate setup would be to have both in order to use the pre-outs to power a nice set of speakers, and potentially build on the remaining channels as $$ allows, however I'm not sure what would make more sense as an initial investment.


As I said, I'll be using this for tv/xbox etc, however my primary use would be music... Is there significant gain in video quality or some other sensical that would constitute leading with an AVR? Would a 2-speaker setup sound legit as is with one of the higher end Denon 7.1s? If not I'd probably wanna go with the lowest cost AVR (again leaning toward Denon/Pioneer) that would allow for pre-outs and drive the front 2 with an external amp? there are some cyber monday sales that have them pretty low.. 429 for the pioneer 1120, 749 for a denon 3310, 999 for a 4310. It seems if my above logic is true Pioneer is a cheaper way to accomplish that feat? As I said I'll probably be waiting until around Christmas with cyber monday passing...


Again, I truly appreciate your input. I'm open to any and all ideas. Just want to make clear my modes of use use/intended final system/budget, etc. so I can make the best decision.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmf1218 /forum/post/19566977


Is this the same case with say a 990 vs. a 3310? Do all 3-digit AVRs lack this ability?

No. The 990 and 3310 are both networking models and are firmware updated via the internet. Also note, the 3310 has been found on clearance at Best Buys for $400+.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks jds-


I guess I'll keep my eyes peeled then for a sale.


I gather it would be best to start with the Denon, and add an external amp later?


And perhaps that money would be better spent on speakers (I've been eying MartinLogans) and an external amp rather than on going from a 3310/990 (fairly equivalent?) to something better?
 

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Does the 890 have pre-outs, if not, you can't add an amp. You can get a new 2310 (roughly the same model I believe) for $500 shipped online.


Also check Frys.com as they have some clearance models, and you may get lucky finding one locally.


Onkyo makes a few interesting Integrated Amps, including a 2-channel model that has a DAC and digital inputs, but unfortunately, the "bang for the buck" is in the 7.1 channel models.


Find something with Pre-outs so you can add amps later if you want to. I believe the Yamaha 667 has Pre-outs, and *maybe* the pioneer 1120 but i'm not sure on that. I wouldn't worry about the amp now, spend the extra money on the best speakers you can afford as you're likely to keep those the longest, next buy good amps, since they also really don't change much over time. The receiver is probably the component that will get replaced the most over the life of the system.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmf1218 /forum/post/19572719


Thanks jds-


I guess I'll keep my eyes peeled then for a sale.


I gather it would be best to start with the Denon, and add an external amp later?


And perhaps that money would be better spent on speakers (I've been eying MartinLogans) and an external amp rather than on going from a 3310/990 (fairly equivalent?) to something better?

Yes, money is generally always better spent on upgrading speakers over upgrading the AVR. Although if you feel an external amp will be in your future, then as noted above, ensure the AVR has pre-outs ... the Denon 3310/990 are the lowest level models last year and the 3311 (not 991) is the lowest level this year.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by intence /forum/post/0


Does the 890 have pre-outs, if not, you can't add an amp. You can get a new 2310 (roughly the same model I believe) for $500 shipped online.


Also check Frys.com as they have some clearance models, and you may get lucky finding one locally.


Onkyo makes a few interesting Integrated Amps, including a 2-channel model that has a DAC and digital inputs, but unfortunately, the "bang for the buck" is in the 7.1 channel models.


Find something with Pre-outs so you can add amps later if you want to. I believe the Yamaha 667 has Pre-outs, and *maybe* the pioneer 1120 but i'm not sure on that. I wouldn't worry about the amp now, spend the extra money on the best speakers you can afford as you're likely to keep those the longest, next buy good amps, since they also really don't change much over time. The receiver is probably the component that will get replaced the most over the life of the system.

Just to clarify, the Pio 1120 does have pre-outs. The Denon 2310, 2311, and 890 do not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So on the receivers that have preouts on price (lowest to highest):

Pioneer VSX-1120 (110 WPC, ~$550 on sale)

Denon AVR990/3310CI (120 WPC ~$750 on sale - down to $550)

Denon AVR991/3311CI (125 WPC ~$1k)


As I said I was leaning toward Denon, however with the thought that I'm aiming to save money on the AVR to spend on speakers/external amp... is the Pioneer the best call here? Obviously there's a tradeoff in power, but I would think I'd gain some features or functionality since it is a newer model. Are there are any Marantz or similar brands I'm missing that I should be considering?
 

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I've also picked up the Denon AVR-890 after canceling out the Pioneer VSX-1020k due to the fact that it didn't have HDMI Standby Pass-Through capability. That is an important feature for me because I don't want the amp to power on every time I want to watch the news late at night.
 

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^^

You do realize that that feature can easily be replicated by simply connecting the HDMI from the cable/sat box directly to the TV with an optical cable from the cable/sat box to the AVR? Also, in many cases this configuration will still be required due to HDMI handshake issues which are very common with cable/sat boxes and AVRs.
 

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Yes I know, but it would be nice if I can hide everything underneath the receiver since the Denon is capable of having HDMI Standby Pass-Through. Not that it's important on that part but sometimes I like to watch my DVD or Blu-Ray player without the receiver. I know it can be set up like the same route as plugging it straight to the TV but I like the idea of HDMI controlled.


What do you mean by "this configuration will still be required due to HDMI handshake issues which are very common with cable/sat boxes and AVRs"?
 

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Many cable/sat boxes are only designed to be connected directly to a TV so when you connect them to an HDMI repeater (ie. AVR) there may be video or audio drop outs. Usually the only work around is to either change box model, change provider, or connect HDMI straight to the TV as I noted above. If you review any AVR thread, you'll usually note HDMI handshake issues are discussed quite frequently and almost always re: cable/sat box.
 
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