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Old 06-29-04, 11:19 AM   #1
DavePack
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Need suggestions for a good receiver < $500

My old Sony receiver has been out of commission for over a year, and it's time for me to get the home theater back in operation. I'm looking to purchase a new a/v receiver, preferably something less than $500 (I'm not a high-end audiophile).

The home theater is a 5.1 setup of nice Klipsch speakers (100w each, I believe). The sub is a 200w 12" Klipsch sub.

Currently, I have Dish Network hooked up to a TV via S-video, but in the near future, I plan to drop Dish and go with the local cable provider. That means HDTV offerings, so I'm starting to look around for an HDTV as well. I'm not sure what kinds of connections HDTV uses (component video?) so the receiver needs to support an HDTV connection.

Also hooked up to the home theater would be a DVD player and one or two video game systems (a PS2 and an Xbox). The PS2 is hooked up right now via S-video. The Xbox is in a separate room hooked to the TV via the hi-def pack (component video).

I'd prefer a receiver that will let me switch between all of these components with a remote, rather than having to use a switchbox for the video like I did with my old Sony receiver.

Thanks for reading, gang. Suggestions?
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Old 06-29-04, 01:00 PM   #2
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Onkyo 502 or 601. Just read the specs and you'll agree
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Old 06-29-04, 02:36 PM   #3
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You say you're not an audophile, and I don't know if you are just trying to be humble by saying that, but $500 is allot to spend on a reciever when there are decent ones available for 1/4th that price.

With $500 you are not exactly in the entry-level pricerange.
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Old 06-29-04, 02:49 PM   #4
B.A.
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Try one of the new full digital path receivers, such as the Panasonic XR50.

SA-XR50

If you search the web, you can find it for close to $250.

There are plenty of threads on these full digital path receivers at avsforum, hometheaterforum, audiocircle forums, etc.
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Old 06-30-04, 08:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by agent2099
You say you're not an audophile, and I don't know if you are just trying to be humble by saying that, but $500 is allot to spend on a reciever when there are decent ones available for 1/4th that price.

With $500 you are not exactly in the entry-level pricerange.
Sorry, I should clarify. What I meant by that is that I'm not looking for an a/v receiver that is $1,000 or greater. I was trying to give a maximum ceiling--more realistically, if I can find something for around $300-$400, that would better suit my needs and budget.

Thanks, guys, for your suggestions on the Onkyo and Panasonic. I will check them out!
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Old 06-30-04, 11:01 AM   #6
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HK AVR230 ---> $475 @ CC

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Old 06-30-04, 11:35 AM   #7
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I'd go with theusuals: the HK above is nice, as is the Onkyo. Add the Denon and Yamaha receivers in the sub-$500 range and you'll have a solid set of units to choose from, all of which should sound excellent and clean. You'd have to check on the component switching though.

OTOH, I'd also try to buy a monitor with several component inputs. It is always preferable to hook up video directly to the tv where possible. Right now I'm only using 2 of 3 component inputs. (DVD and HDTV cable box)
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Old 06-30-04, 11:55 AM   #8
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I just bought that HK-AVR 230 for $408 shipped from BH Photo. This was my first experience with Harmon Kardon and i must say I am more than pleased.

Plus it looks great with my setup!!!
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Old 06-30-04, 01:27 PM   #9
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Let me ask you guys this--I mentioned earlier that my speakers can support up to 100w each, if I recall correctly. I see that some of your recommendations are below that--50w, 75w, 85w, etc.

Just how much of a difference am I going to notice between, say, a receiver doing 50w per channel vs. 85w? Or 100w? I don't want something that isn't going to sufficiently make use of my speakers.

I realize this might be a dumb question, but I've never really learned about the watts-per-channel component when looking at a/v receivers, and I'm sure one of you guys knows. Time for me to learn something new.
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Old 06-30-04, 01:48 PM   #10
drmoze
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The capacity of your speakers isn't an issue. That's more of a safety matter so you don't use a receiver rated much *higher* than the speakers, which could burn them out. (OTOH, having an underpowered receiver and trying to play it near full volume is even more dangerous for speakers, as the clipped signal will have more of a DC component that can fry coils, but... nevermind.)

Back to your question. Any receiver that can play loud enough with a clean signal is all you need. And any of the above receivers will, I'm sure, be able to produce clean sound much louder than you'll want!

In general, more watts means louder. BUT: a big factor is speaker efficiency, which means that less-efficent speakers need more power (all else being equal) to play as loud. Also, it is not a linear relationship, so doubling the wattage does not double the perceived loudness.

Also, not all 'wattage' ratings are equal. First, some receivers are rated only at 1khz (a single frequency) for a standard 8-ohm load. Some receiver provide full-range power ratings (5 or 10 or 20hz up to 20khz). More importantly, you can achieve a particular wattage rating with relatively high or low current output. High current is critical, and will give cleaner sound with no distortion at louder volume than a low-current amp. As an example, most Sony receivers (with the possible exception of the high-priced ES series) are notorious for having low-current power amps. A 70-watt high-current amp will play louder and cleaner than a "100-watt" or "110-watt" Sony amp. FWIW, all of the receivers recommended above have nice high-current amps. (They are also usually noticeably heavier than the low-current ones -- weight can be an indicator of receiver quality!)
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Old 06-30-04, 02:02 PM   #11
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Wow...I had no idea. Thanks, drmoze--you've certainly enlightened me.
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Old 06-30-04, 06:29 PM   #12
Sdallnct
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I'm also going to say go with the H/K.

Last week I ordered a re-manufactored one direct from H/K. Should be here any day.

drmoze makes excellent point. And to add to that, at the price range I really start to look at quality over bells and whistles.

Also, drmoze, perhaps you can correct me as it has been a while. You mention that to double the power does not double the sound. If I remember correctly doesn't to double the power increase volume by 3 db?

My biggest recommendation is to buy from a quality dealer that allows you to try it out. In other words has a 30 return policy. There are many, many factors that go into how a system sounds. You REALLY will have very little idea how a single piece of equipment will sound until you get it in you system, in your room, playing your source material.
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Last edited by Sdallnct; 06-30-04 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 06-30-04, 11:46 PM   #13
hoyalawya
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The most feature rich receiver in that price range would be the new Yamaha STR 5760 - http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_g...terid=2672121.

Summary of features (that I am interested in)

110w x 7
Dolby Prologic IIX (synthesized to 7.1 instead of 5.1 in DD2)
Variable subwoofer crossover point from 40htz to 200htz
On screen display
YPAO
Video input switching
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Old 07-01-04, 07:58 AM   #14
drmoze
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Damn, at that price I'm tempted to upgrade! I'm currently running a Yamaha, and the 754 w/ch is plenty for me, even with my less-efficient NHT speakers. But the YPAO is a slick feature I'd like to try out, and I'm amazed they have it on such a low-priced receiver. (You have a mic in the remote, and the setup function will adjust the level *and* frequency response of each speaker based on test signals. If you ever listen to white noise balancing signals, you'll hear a difference in tone between identical speakers arising merely from their placement relative to walls, etc.)

And setting the sub crossover is a bonus: many HT receivers use the 'standard' 80 hz, but this gives some room to tweak the value for your speakers.

Yamaha makes nice receivers, and their sound modes are very listenable. THis looks like a really nice receiver....
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Old 07-01-04, 01:35 PM   #15
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Currently, my Onkyo is selling on Ebay for 160$, and I bought it for $1500...

You'd have to adapt it for AC3 though...don't know how much that would cost
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Old 07-01-04, 03:04 PM   #16
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That Yamaha STR 5760 looks like it would work for me as I really want DPL IIx and 7.1 ...Can anyone comment on this model or recommend something as good a value.
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Old 07-02-04, 11:01 AM   #17
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Just got my H/K in yesterday. Will try to get it hooked up this weeked. In fact, will try for tomorrow as they are coming on Sunday for Dish. Will let you guys know.

Can someone also tell me what component switching is and why it might be a benefit and/or example?

Several people have mentioned the lower end H/K's don't have component switching, but reading the manual it looks like there are several "S" video inputs and an output that can go to your monitor. Is that something different? Or we talking a specific type of input (component, s video, rf, etc)?
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Old 07-02-04, 11:13 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sdallnct
Just got my H/K in yesterday. Will try to get it hooked up this weeked. In fact, will try for tomorrow as they are coming on Sunday for Dish. Will let you guys know.

Can someone also tell me what component switching is and why it might be a benefit and/or example?

Several people have mentioned the lower end H/K's don't have component switching, but reading the manual it looks like there are several "S" video inputs and an output that can go to your monitor. Is that something different? Or we talking a specific type of input (component, s video, rf, etc)?

Component switching usually refers to a feature where the receiver has multiple component video (red/green/blue connectors) inputs, with typically one output. Folks are then able to hook up different components (e.g., dvd player, HD cable, XBox, Gamecube, PS2) to the receiver, with the one output going to the television, and the receiver can switch among the various component cable video inputs. This is a great help, for example, for those of us with televisions that have only one set of component video cable inputs but want to use the best available option for sending each of several video feeds to the screen.
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Old 07-02-04, 02:47 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dah-Dee
Component switching usually refers to a feature where the receiver has multiple component video (red/green/blue connectors) inputs, with typically one output. Folks are then able to hook up different components (e.g., dvd player, HD cable, XBox, Gamecube, PS2) to the receiver, with the one output going to the television, and the receiver can switch among the various component cable video inputs. This is a great help, for example, for those of us with televisions that have only one set of component video cable inputs but want to use the best available option for sending each of several video feeds to the screen.
OK, got it. Thanks so much.

So basically if I wanted I could do that with this receiver only I would have to use "S - Video". But yes I realize that component is higher quaility.

I wanted to get that straight as this H/K is for the family room and will have a new TV that should have plenty of inputs. However, I also will need a receiver in our media room for a front projector. And since the projector will be mounted on the ceiling, I want as little as possible hooked to it. So thought I would need a video switcher or something. But instead, will just look for a surround receiver with component switching. Then if I understand it, I can hook up the dish receiver and dvd player to the receiver and switch between the two on the receiver rather then on the projector.
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Old 07-06-04, 10:30 AM   #20
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Just wanted to take a moment and thank all of you for your receiver suggestions. I noted every single one of them and did quite a bit of research over the weekend. I finally decided that the HK AVR230 would probably best suit my needs. I picked one up and installed it yesterday, and I must say I'm very impressed with the sound quality. I can already tell that it's a cleaner sound than what I got out of my Sony, although to be fair that Sony model was about 5 years old.

One interesting thing--with my old Sony and my almost equally-old Toshiba DVD player, I would get these annoying, 1-second sound dropouts watching a movie in Dolby Digital. Sometimes I could make it through the entire movie with no dropouts or just a few, but other times I might have them every minute or so. When I investigated, Toshiba told me it was a known "compatibility issue" between their player and Sony receivers, and they offered to fix my DVD player if I shipped it off to them. Of course, what they wanted to charge me made it more economical to just buy a new player, but at the time, prices were still a bit high on players so I kept the Toshiba.

Wouldn't you know it, in testing my new HK receiver yesterday, I got those damn periodic sound dropouts testing movies in Dolby Digital! So now I think the problem squarely lies with my DVD player. And since players are so cheap nowadays, I think it might be time I look into a newer model.

Thanks again, guys--all of your input was greatly appreciated and helped me to make the right purchase!
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Old 07-06-04, 04:44 PM   #21
Sdallnct
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Quote:
Originally posted by DavePack
Just wanted to take a moment and thank all of you for your receiver suggestions. I noted every single one of them and did quite a bit of research over the weekend. I finally decided that the HK AVR230 would probably best suit my needs. I picked one up and installed it yesterday, and I must say I'm very impressed with the sound quality. I can already tell that it's a cleaner sound than what I got out of my Sony, although to be fair that Sony model was about 5 years old.

Good choice. I've had my 120 (remanufactored) installed for about 24 hours. Watched 2 movies and playing with set up. LOVE it. It is night and day different in sound then the Sony.

Only thing I don't like to much is the remote. While it is a learning one, couldn't get it to work with a newer dish/pvr. However, this is a year or two older model, so suppose it is understandable. But which it didn't have seperate on/off buttons. Having trouble find a code for my universal remote that will make it work.
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