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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Surround Decorder Performance

Many have commented on the differences in surround decoding (DD, DTS, etc) between pre-amps...leaving me wondering if this may be more important than amplifier quality in terms of over all differences between receivers...


I've got Diva's 6.1's now,and Rocket 750's coming...Currently driving them with an Onkyo 575x (70wpc)


I'm getting the itch to buy a new receiver, will have to be in the low $1000 range...or I could just wait for a couple more years and go for seperates...Even then, I'd be limited to something like the Outlaw 950/770 combo, unless I win the Lottery.


My room is large 17x25x9' ceilings, opening to another 17'x20'x9' room...


Can anyone offer some insight into the decoding performance of $1000 receivers...


Decoding performance being equal, whose AMPLIFIER section seems to have the most current available for the dynamics...I rarely play REAL LOUD...but at moderate volumes, I do want the dynamics to ROCK-THE-HOUSE .


My listening habits are 80% HT 20% Music.


Thanks in advance



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I shopped for about 3 months and finally settled on an Integra DTR receiver. Integra is Onkyo's high-end line, and their model 7.2 - 9.2 receivers are all stellar performers for the price ($850 - $2500). I went with the DTR 8.3 ($1150) which generates 145 wpc to all 7 channels. It's THX Select certified and it decodes every 2 - 7.1 channel surround sound format I've ever heard of including DPLII, Neo6, THX Surround EX, and DTS ES.


It also upconverts all incoming video signals (composite, s-video, etc.) to component output - great for a projector or HDTV. Menu functionality isn't as intuitive as I'd like (I actually had to open the manual!), but the power supply is a monster, and I don't think you'll find better overall sound quality for the price. At least I couldn't.
 

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I haven't performed any double blind testing between HT receivers or processors, however I have done extensive comparisons between CD players, external CD DACs, and power amps. In those tests, I found that the difference in DACs was significantly greater than the difference between amps (excluding comparisons of amps that measure very different, like a 3wpc single-ended tube amp vs a 200wpc solid state amp).


So I believe that DACs are much more critical in impacting the final sound of a system.


HOWEVER ... the differences between DACs can range from significant to subtle to essentially nonexistent. And while I found that I tend to prefer the sound from more expensive & higher quality DACs, that price is not an absolute arbiter of preference. There were multiple instances where I preferred the lower cost DAC/player.


The differences were usually so subtle that it took careful listening to very high quality recordings to pass a DBT. And these tests were in very relaxed environment, leaning back with my eyes closed, soaking up the music. If I were having to watch a movie at the same time, I think it would EXTREMELY HARD to pass a valid DBT.


Tom B.
 

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WOW!!! A voice of reason :)


It's nice to hear someone acknowledge that while there can be a difference between products (like DACs or similar quality amps), it's often very subtle and can easily be lost when you're not concentrating on critical listening.


I think we sometimes focus a little too hard on the tweaking and not enough on the enjoying, although it is awfully fun playing with different equipment ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Jake, Tom, excellent comments...


The question is partially driven by my current Onkyo 575...I just haen't been completely impressed with the Center channel (Diva C3, nor the surrounds (R3's)...


I partially thinking that this Onkyo may be on the low end of DAC quality...and that accurate channel seperation isn't being performed...


Of course, I can't tell that...and I haven't the hardware to do a DBT...yet :)


Tom, you are confirming my thoughts..but I'm also hearing (correct me if I'm wrong) that at this price level, I'd be hard-pressed to identify in a DBT...


if thats the case, then I'm no longer concerned...


Thank You
 
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