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Discussion Starter #1
I'm thinking about replacing my aging stereo receiver, and have landed on these two:

Both are around the same wattage and price. I'm leaning a bit toward the Yamaha for the loudness feature - I know that's not a purist preference, but I like the option of boosting the low end at lower volume, and it's the first I've seen that has a dial to select how pronounced the effect is.


Anyone have any opinions between these two? I'll be plugging in a old Pioneer turntable and a combo CD-SACD-DVD-A player, and powering Advent Legacy III speakers. I'll be playing 70s Rock, Prog, some Jazz/Blues.


Thanks for any thoughts!


*EDIT: Thanks to the suggestion below, the Onkyo TX-8050 has been added to the equation.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaverJ  /t/1519729/yamaha-r-s500-or-harman-kardon-hk-3390#post_24405931


I'm thinking about replacing my aging stereo receiver, and have landed on these two:

Both are around the same wattage and price. I'm leaning a bit toward the Yamaha for the loudness feature - I know that's not a purist preference, but I like the option of boosting the low end at lower volume, and it's the first I've seen that has a dial to select how pronounced the effect is.


Anyone have any opinions between these two? I'll be plugging in a old Pioneer turntable and combo CD/SACD/DVD-A player, and powering Advent Legacy III speakers. I'll be playing 70s Rock, Prog, some Jazz/Blues.


Thanks for any thoughts!

I like the loudness feature as well. A better implementation of that is to use an AVR with audysey and use dynamic eq. Dynamic eq doesn't just boost bass frequencies but adjusts the entire frequency response to be equal to the frequency response at reference level where it was mixed. A little more complicated, but better implementation. If you want simplicity, I'd definitely go with the loudness feature.
 
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Discussion Starter #3

Quote:
Originally Posted by glangford  /t/1519729/yamaha-r-s500-or-harman-kardon-hk-3390#post_24406031


I like the loudness feature as well. A better implementation of that is to use an AVR with audysey and use dynamic eq. Dynamic eq doesn't just boost bass frequencies but adjusts the entire frequency response to be equal to the frequency response at reference level where it was mixed. A little more complicated, but better implementation. If you want simplicity, I'd definitely go with the loudness feature.

Never thought of using Audysey for stereo music, but it should work, right?


I have a Denon 2112ci 7.1 in the Home Theater and I love Dynamic EQ. The only downside is, as you mentioned, it gets a little complicated and I believe MultiEQ is designed mainly for 5.1+ systems playing movie/TV audio. The new receiver is for a strictly 2.0 music-only setup, occasional headphone use (beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO), with no TV in the room.


Thanks for the suggestion though!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaverJ  /t/1519729/yamaha-r-s500-or-harman-kardon-hk-3390#post_24406084


Never thought of using Audysey for stereo music, but it should work, right?


I have a Denon 2112ci 7.1 in the Home Theater and I love Dynamic EQ. The only downside is, as you mentioned, it gets a little complicated and I believe MultiEQ is designed mainly for 5.1+ systems playing movie/TV audio. The new receiver is for a strictly 2.0 music-only setup, occasional headphone use (beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO), with no TV in the room.


Thanks for the suggestion though!

Works good. Just plug in your mic and run audyssey. It recognizes what speakers are plugged in and sets the eq accordingly. Set dynamic eq to on dynamic volume to off and you're done.
 

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 HK 3390 and Yamaha R-S500  sound slightly different. HK is on the warm/vintage side with great soundstage ,Yamaha is more crisp and forward with (sometimes) "metalic" highs , with greater dynamic on the overall sound.

If you consider to keep your speakers you have to decide what match is best for you.

You can also check out the Onkyo TX-8050 ,which is very similar , plus it has integrated DAC and networking functions.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaverJ  /t/1519729/yamaha-r-s500-or-harman-kardon-hk-3390#post_24406084



 The new receiver is for a strictly 2.0 music-only setup, occasional headphone use (beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO), with no TV in the room.


Thanks for the suggestion though!
JUst saw that...

Be carefull with HK3390/3490 and headphones. When you plug in the headphones you can't have a "clean" stereo sound. It automatically switches  to some kind of DSP -s Harman claimes that  are specially designed for headphones usage but I don't agree with that at all. A proper headphone preamp plugged into the rec-out-s is required.

That would be another "weak point" for the HK ,but I still love how it sounds.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks ed1em2... you've made the decision even harder!



That Onkyo looks good too, and networked music from my PC or iPhone is something I didn't think about, but might actually want!


Your description of the HK's "warm" sound had me leaning in that direction, but it's missing some of the features of the others that have value to me.


Do you have an opinion on the sound of the Onkyo, compared to the Yamaha's brightness? I was hoping that the Yamaha's loudness option can balance out the high-end, but now the Onkyo's networking/iPod integration is really appealing.
 

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I strongly recommend buying an AV receiver instead of a stereo model. You can buy one for less money that will do the job just fine, provide more features and capabilities, and even act as a backup for the HT receiver. It won't care a whit that only use two of the amps.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW  /t/1519729/yamaha-r-s500-or-harman-kardon-hk-3390#post_24411497


I strongly recommend buying an AV receiver instead of a stereo model. You can buy one for less money that will do the job just fine, provide more features and capabilities, and even act as a backup for the HT receiver. It won't care a whit that only use two of the amps.

Agreed. Plus, if he wanted, he could add an external power amp and use the receiver as a full-featured, two-channel preamp as part of a high-powered stereo system. As you certainly know, very few (if any) stereo preamps at any price provide the bass-managemt and room-correction capabilities of even a mid-priced AVR. And the sonic advantages of a dedicated stereo preamp are highly dubious.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the suggestion. I'm also considering something like a Denon 1713 with Audyssey MultiEQ XT, which is around the same price as the units previously mentioned.


But the main concerns with the Denon are:
  • Will need to get a phono pre-amp (extra power and clutter)
  • Will need to bring a TV in the room to set it up
  • Only two analog ins, I need three


Any other affordable AVRs recommended for 2 Channel setup?
 

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At the same price a dedicated stereo amplifier/receiver is obviously better than a AV multichannel receiver regarding strictly the stereo sound. The majority of music is still availabable from stereo sources. Think that way: At 400$ a multichannel AV have 6 amps ,a stereo one has 2. It's sounds very simplistic but it's a fact -the 2nd one is built better.

Of course AV receiver have lots of stuff on board: Multiple A/V digital and analog connections ,sound DSP-s ,Video processing, room calibration ,bass managenment, networking ,s.o...but that's because such units are made for different tasks ,other than simply listening to stereo music. For movies ,multichannel music , I would pick anytime a multichannel AV ,but for stereo music no.

Recent stereo receivers have also networking functions ,intergrated DAC-s ,iPod dock , airplay and other stuff. Onkyo TX 8050 and Yamaha R-N500 are such units.

Edit: Onkyo is more on the Yamaha side ,but it's not a rule. For instance 8050 sounds   quite different fom A-9050( thinner sound). Onkyo ,I guees hasn't got their own trade mark sound
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ed1em2  /t/1519729/yamaha-r-s500-or-harman-kardon-hk-3390#post_24410767


 HK 3390 and Yamaha R-S500  sound slightly different. HK is on the warm/vintage side with great soundstage ,Yamaha is more crisp and forward with (sometimes) "metalic" highs , with greater dynamic on the overall sound.

If you consider to keep your speakers you have to decide what match is best for you.

You can also check out the Onkyo TX-8050 ,which is very similar , plus it has integrated DAC and networking functions.

How did you ascertain these sound quality differences? What did you use for level-matching? What measurements would account for these differences, given that both have audibly flat frequency repsonses and audibly low THD (below clipping of course).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ed1em2  /t/1519729/yamaha-r-s500-or-harman-kardon-hk-3390#post_24412418

At the same price a dedicated stereo amplifier/receiver is obviously better than a AV multichannel receiver regarding strictly the stereo sound. The majority of music is still availabable from stereo sources. Think that way: At 400$ a multichannel AV have 6 amps ,a stereo one has 2. It's sounds very simplistic but it's a fact -the 2nd one is built better.

Of course AV receiver have lots of stuff on board: Multiple A/V digital and analog connections ,sound DSP-s ,Video processing, room calibration ,bass managenment, networking ,s.o...but that's because such units are made for different tasks ,other than simply listening to stereo music. For movies ,multichannel music , I would pick anytime a multichannel AV ,but for stereo music no.

Recent stereo receivers have also networking functions ,intergrated DAC-s ,iPod dock , airplay and other stuff. Onkyo TX 8050 and Yamaha R-N500 are such units.

Edit: Onkyo is more on the Yamaha side ,but it's not a rule. For instance 8050 sounds   quite different fom A-9050( thinner sound). Onkyo ,I guees hasn't got their own trade mark sound

Obviously? How so? Because of price per amp? It's far more complex than that. Consider that AVRs sell at volumes many times higher than traditional stereo receivers and thus enjoy benefits of high-volume pricing.


Think of it this way: Walmart and your local main-street pharmacy both sell Tylenol. Do you think Walmart pays the same price for the Tylenol that the main-street pharmacy does? Walmart buys millions of boxes of it and uses that to negotiate low prices that your local main-street pharmacy, who might buy dozens of boxes at best, can not do.


All those features in AVRs can be disabled, leaving you with essentially a stereo receiver.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ed1em2  /t/1519729/yamaha-r-s500-or-harman-kardon-hk-3390#post_24412418


At the same price a dedicated stereo amplifier/receiver is obviously better than a AV multichannel receiver regarding strictly the stereo sound.

How? Why? (Assuming there's not a major difference in amplifier power output, of course.)


Just because a stereo receiver is "optimized" for two-channel output doesn't, unto itself, mean anything. What matters would be noise, distortion, frequency response and power output, and today's AVRs are very good at the first three, and OK at the fourth. And that doesn't even factor in room correction and subwoofer support, which -- unlike most "audiophile" hokum -- are going to be very audible. (Not necessarily "better," but definitely audible.)
 

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FWIW, I agree with the "keep two -channel systems fed by two-channel-optimized sources" i.e. a stereo receiver, integrated amp or, of course, separates if cash allows...


I absolutely love my Onkyo 8555 two-channel receiver, though it's discontinued now, and would recommend the company's "hi fi" products without hesitation; the new 8050 has the networking features but the 8211 I think it is has been built more in line with pure stereo audio functioning. They also make an 8020 model that looks nice...
 
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Those technical specifications are sometimes just numbers thrown on paper. Just look at the amount of output power they put there for an AV.  Hundreds of watts. It's enough to take a look at the unit power consumption to see there's something wrong out there. And speaking of cheap (low) entry level AV-s with tiny satelite speakers ,I would definitely not wanted to hear Leonard Cohen's voice coming from the subwoofer. And I hate Leonard Cohen.

Bass management and room calibration are indeed very useful features but unless you're not using a mediaplayer ,BD Player and streaming devices why would you go for an AV? OP only has the DVD-A stuff that requires multichannel amplification. And he also has a pair of vintage speakers that would be difficult to integrate in a 5.1 system built around them.

Speakeing about the lower prices on the AV-s ,it's not a locked rule. There's a lot of stereo stuff which is quite cheaper or equally cheap. Yamaha has new stereo receivers at about 200$. Same for some Pioneer amplifiers. Producers saw a gap and they're trying to fill it. Stereo receivers with integrated DAC-s and network features - are quite common this year. Why someone would buy a minivan when a he needs just a town car?

I'm not against AV-s ,they're great for their purposes which IMO are just different. And I really don't see the point of grabbing them from Wallmart ,unless you're running out of Tylenol.

There's also the "flat response". I'm working for 20 years mostly with expensive studio equipment that also includes studio monitors. I know what it(or should be) a flat response. Not even the best and the most neutral studio monitors don't have it. And I can tell that Hi-Fi home equipment is even more distant from that goal.

And anyone who has/had a pair of speakers powered by different amps in time can tell(without the oscilloscope) that there are differences. I know the theory " all amps sounds the same".

There's a huge debate about that. Some people simply trust their ears ,others their electronic instruments . That debate goes from pure placebo to rigid dogma.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ed1em2  /t/1519729/yamaha-r-s500-or-harman-kardon-hk-3390-edit-or-onkyo-tx-8050#post_24415387


Some people simply trust their ears ,others their electronic instruments . That debate goes from pure placebo to rigid dogma.

"Trust their ears." Yeah, that's reliable. It's not as if perception bias or the placebo effect actually exist. Sighted testing is so reliable in fact, that the FDA is going to drop control groups, placebos and blind testing from its drug-certification regimen. They're just gonna give people an experimental drug, tell them what it's supposed to do, then ask them later how they feel. They'll call it the "Trust Your Body" method. It'll be simple and effective. Then insurance companies will gladly subsidize prescriptions without objection and ... here's the clincher ... you and I will stick it in our bodies with confidence that it's safe and effective, because it's been tested to "audiophile-grade" standards.


Maybe you've seen this quote before from the late J. Gordon Holt, former editor of Stereophile ...

"Audio as a hobby is dying, largely by its own hand. As far as the real world is concerned, high-end audio lost its credibility during the 1980s, when it flatly refused to submit to the kind of basic honesty controls (double-blind testing, for example) that had legitimized every other serious scientific endeavor since Pascal. [This refusal] is a source of endless derisive amusement among rational people and of perpetual embarrassment for me."


Only in the world of "audiophilia" would a manta like "trust your ears" even be entertained, let alone taken seriously. Not only was Holt right, self-anointed "audiophiles" are utterly unaware how poor their credibility is to anyone not practicing their religion. Blindly practicing it. Consider the irony.



.
 

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It's an interesting discussion , an endless debate , but we're going offtopic a little bit and the OP might be a little confused.

He just want a unit to power his Advent Legacy speakers ,his main source is CD/SACD and DVD-A(multichannel required -or not). He also uses a turntable.

What is the best for him? With a multichannel AV he must built(or buy) a 5.1 speaker system ,he must purchase a phono preamp, he has to hire someone to redecorate his room.  His Avents will certainly end in the basement or garage.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks ed1em2 - it's an interesting discussion, and I didn't go into details as to what and where I was setting this up because I didn't think it was all that interesting.


This is boring as hell and OT for the most part, but for anyone still reading....
I have a 7.1 home theater downstairs with a Denon 2112ci, Oppo BDP-83, 7 Polk speakers and a Velodyne sub, among other things (Tivo, Roku, Xbox). Modest, but gets the job done. I have listened to music here in the past, like multi-channel SACD and DVD-A, but for the most part it's strickly a TV/movie room. Besides, the music I listen to now is via earbuds at the gym.


For Christmas the wife treated herself to the old jazz/blues Document Reissue vinyl catalog from Third Man Records, so I went into the storage room and pulled out the old Pioneer amp/turntable and Advent speakers (had to re-foam one of the speakers) from the college days and set it up in her studio upstairs so she could listen to her new records. I also hooked up the SACD/DVD-A combo player that was in the storage room (the Oppo replaced it) to supplement the turntable.


But then it happened - as we hit a couple record stores for her to look for more old records, I also got bit by the vinyl bug and wanted to start building a collection of vinyl myself and listen to music I missed/overlooked from the past. And one of things that appealed to me was to discover this old/new-to-me music the to experience it the way it was originally intended - on a turntable. So I picked the time period of 1967(ish) through 1977, and am searching for album-oriented Rock bands. My goal is to find rock and prog bands that didn't achieve fame, ala Van Der Graaf Generator and Dust, or maybe bands that had a hit or two but didn't reach super-stardom (Gentle Giant). But not neglecting superstars of the era that I listened to later on but missed the early albums, like Jethro Tull, Grand Funk, Doobie Brothers, Genesis, The Kinks, etc..


Also, we decided to clear out that storage room, move a couch in there and set it up as a "retro" (not in the strictest sense) stereo turntable music room, with optional headphones.



The reason I'm replacing the old Pioneer amp is it has developed some sort of intermittent ground "ticking" problem with the right channel of phono input. Plus, it has a old and fairly noisy cooling fan in the back that is somewhat annoying and distracting.


That's more info than anyone wanted to read, I'm sure.
I think I'm currently leaning toward that Onkyo 8050.
 

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A good resource to use is www.accessories4less.com They sell a lot of manufacturer refurbished units that come with warranties. You can generally get some great deals, and perhaps this route would let you get something more capable than if you bought new. Many people use this website and have had great success.
 
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