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Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

Old 03-29-09, 07:07 PM
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Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

After using my current Harmon Kardon AVR 525 for the past 4 years, I want to finally hear my BD and HD DVD movies with HD sound. I've been researching for most of the weekend and have decided on either a Denon AVR-889 or a Pioneer Elite VSX-01TXH (about $500-1000 if you're wondering my price range). I thought about an Onkyo, but reading in several places, they need lots of space to breathe, and I wil have this in an entertainment center. My current room is 15' x 20', but may move to a bigger house in the future. I basically want a receiver that will hold for the next 5 (maybe 10?) years before I think of upgrading. Any thoughts on these? I am open to other models as well...Thanks!

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PU...VSX-01TXH.Kuro

http://www.usa.denon.com/ProductDetails/4538.asp#

Here's what I have right now system-wise:

TV: Sony Grand Wega KF-50WE610 1080i
Components: PS3 80GB
Receiver: Karmon Kardon AVR 525
Speakers: Center: Infinity Beta C360,
Fronts: Pioneer S-H253B-K, Surrounds: Pioneer S-H253B-K, Back Surrounds Sony SS-MB150H
Sub:Velodyne VX-10B 10" Powered Sub

Last edited by E Unit; 03-29-09 at 07:12 PM.
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Old 03-29-09, 08:00 PM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

Well, future-proofing doesn't work....cheaply. Just ask those who bought Denon 5xxx receivers or the Onkyo 1000. Or Anthem, B&K, Cary, and all the other high-end companies that more or less broke promises. But 5 years will probably work out.

The cheapest way to get HD sound would actually be to buy a Sony 550 or Panasonic BD80 bluray player and plug it into the multichannel input on your AVR. $400 or less.

The best audio quality would probably be to get a nice preamp in your price range (using your current HK for an amp), although that isn't easy. The companies that make such things don't upgrade very often and people have been waiting for awhile. One is almost ready to ship.

Just getting the best all-around receiver that would do everything you want right now is probably the Denon 1909 or 2309. I believe the 2309 is the lowest end that offers Denon's really nice networking capability. Actually, I think the 889 is almost the same as the 2309, but probably without a couple features. They have 2 lines to sell at different stores. They kinda cross over.

Last edited by Spiky; 03-29-09 at 08:25 PM.
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Old 03-29-09, 10:09 PM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

Well while I certainly agree with Spiky, I can't help but notice your speaker set up. Based on your mis-matched speakers I can say pretty comfortably say that you would see significantly more improvement by upgrading your speakers and getting matching one's for that $1,000 and keeping your existing excellent receiver then only changing out your receiver to get lossless.

So my recommendation would be to spend a grand on new speakers and not change out receivers. You have an excellent receiver. And if you are truly worried about "future proofing" your not going to be able to do it with a receiver. But you can with speakers. Good sounding speakers NEVER go out of style. I have a pair of 20 year old KEF 103.2 that can compete with any similar priced/style speaker today.

However, that wasn't your question. If you are sure you want to get a new receiver, what don't you like about your H/K? H/K make several nice receiver that offer lossless processing if you want that feature. Oh and as far as needing air space, your H/K does. And really anything high current will need it. Sure some may do a slightly better job at getting rid of the heat then others, but anything high current is going to need space.

Last edited by Sdallnct; 03-29-09 at 10:13 PM.
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Old 03-30-09, 09:27 AM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

Originally Posted by Spiky View Post

The cheapest way to get HD sound would actually be to buy a Sony 550 or Panasonic BD80 bluray player and plug it into the multichannel input on your AVR. $400 or less.

The best audio quality would probably be to get a nice preamp in your price range (using your current HK for an amp), although that isn't easy. The companies that make such things don't upgrade very often and people have been waiting for awhile. One is almost ready to ship.

Just getting the best all-around receiver that would do everything you want right now is probably the Denon 1909 or 2309. I believe the 2309 is the lowest end that offers Denon's really nice networking capability. Actually, I think the 889 is almost the same as the 2309, but probably without a couple features. They have 2 lines to sell at different stores. They kinda cross over.
Thanks for your thoughts - I guess I should have left that part out about being future-proof. I'm more interested in getting some good quality HD sound now. I did read about using my HK as an amp, but it seemed damn tricky. But I am reconsidering selling it off like I originally had intended to.
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Old 03-30-09, 09:31 AM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

Originally Posted by Sdallnct View Post
Well while I certainly agree with Spiky, I can't help but notice your speaker set up. Based on your mis-matched speakers I can say pretty comfortably say that you would see significantly more improvement by upgrading your speakers and getting matching one's for that $1,000 and keeping your existing excellent receiver then only changing out your receiver to get lossless.

So my recommendation would be to spend a grand on new speakers and not change out receivers. You have an excellent receiver. And if you are truly worried about "future proofing" your not going to be able to do it with a receiver. But you can with speakers. Good sounding speakers NEVER go out of style. I have a pair of 20 year old KEF 103.2 that can compete with any similar priced/style speaker today.

However, that wasn't your question. If you are sure you want to get a new receiver, what don't you like about your H/K? H/K make several nice receiver that offer lossless processing if you want that feature. Oh and as far as needing air space, your H/K does. And really anything high current will need it. Sure some may do a slightly better job at getting rid of the heat then others, but anything high current is going to need space.
Thanks as well for your thoughts on this. I actually did ponder getting my speakers matched corectly, but I don't know how to go about it. I know my center is way too big (got it fora great price). I like the Pioneer speakers because they're only a few years old, so I assume I'd have to replace my center and back surrounds. But I have a limited budget of about a $1000 right now, and I would rather be able to get the receiver now, then slowly get the matching speakers. So many damn ways to go about it....
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Old 03-30-09, 09:47 AM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

The problem is would you have "good" HD sound with your current speakers?

Personally, I skip the pioneer speakers. They make some nice high end receivers, but not so much speakers. There are several nice 5.1 speaker set ups out there at around a grand. Mirage, KEF, SVS, etc....that would last many, many years. And again there is NO doubt that by changing out speakers would be more of an improvement then simply going lossless with your current set up.

Ok, I said my peace, I'll move on...

Why do you think you need to spend a grand on a new receiver? The Onkyo 606 is the receiver of "choice" right now. Can process lossless, 4-HDMI inputs, nice sounding, well under $500.

I've had my eye on the H/K 254. 3-HDMI, excellent sounding (like all H/K), easy room set up, well under $500. I'm considering it for my dedicated media room (my current H/K doesn't have HDMI at all) Or even the AVR 354 @ around $600 or so.
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Old 03-30-09, 09:57 AM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

Yeah, sorry - I forgot to answer your question about my current HK - and the short answer is that it simply kicks ass, but it has no HDMI. But I do love it, that's why I'm resonsidering on even selling it. I definitely will look into those speaker setups you mentioned though.

Funny thing is about those receivers is that I was eyeing the 606 until I started reading about the heating, then I just stopped. But you're right in that just about all high-current equipment needs space to breathe. So maybe I'll relook at that one.
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Old 03-30-09, 10:27 AM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

Well don't forget about the H/K. They STILL kick ass. They just don't have all the bells and whistles a lot of other amps have. But with the 254/354 they are nicely loaded (including HDMI/lossless) with excellent sound, and high currenty.

Personally I wouldn't consider an amp that didn't need some air space. But don't think you need a ton! I keep a H/K for living room set up in an enclosed cabinet. Also in that cabinet is a Dishnetwork DVR that can generate a little heat itself. I drilled a couple of large holes in the back of the cabinet, but often keep the doors closed (I use a RF remote). I've never had a problem.
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Old 03-30-09, 11:11 AM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

As someone who used to recommend Onkyo, and specifically this receiver, at this point I would skip the 606. The 606 was fine when there weren't as many receivers in that price range with that many features. That isn't the case anymore. And with other models stacking up feature wise, I can't look past how many people are having issues with their 606 and how many refurbs are on the market. I would still happily recommend other models.

I think the current champ is the Yamaha RX-v565. Newegg has it for $420 right now but it was under $350 a week ago.
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Old 03-30-09, 11:54 AM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

The new x07 Onkyo's have a lot of HDMI input if you need it.

I believe the new Yamaha's have up to 4 while the new Onkyo's have up to 6 (TX-SR607).
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Old 03-30-09, 12:59 PM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

I was reading up on the Yamaha's and I had the 663 on my list, until I read the Cnet review where it had poor upconversion quality. So I don't know if it was limited to that particular model or series. I'll check out the newer Onlyo models though and not get focused on the 606. I would like about 3 HDMI's though.
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Old 03-30-09, 03:35 PM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

Originally Posted by SoSpacey View Post
I think the current champ is the Yamaha RX-v565. Newegg has it for $420 right now but it was under $350 a week ago.
Damn what a sweet deal. I have a Yamaha RX795 that crapped out on me and I payed at that time $799...and now look how cheaper they become. I think I am going to wait till this receiver reaches that low price again and snatch it up.
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Old 03-30-09, 10:47 PM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

I gotta agree with Sdallnct, I hadn't paid attention to your speaker list. You still get great sound from bluray, even if it is lossy instead of lossless. (or look at my first option) But getting seamless sound will be a bigger jump at this point, even than upgrading to a receiver that can decode DTS-HD-MA. Spend money on speakers first. There's a thread about speaker sets for $1000 this week.

BTW, all you do to hook up a preamp to your current receiver is plug in 6 wires, set it to that input. That shouldn't be complicated, unless I'm missing something about HKs in particular.
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Old 03-31-09, 08:39 AM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

Originally Posted by trespoochies View Post
I was reading up on the Yamaha's and I had the 663 on my list, until I read the Cnet review where it had poor upconversion quality. So I don't know if it was limited to that particular model or series. I'll check out the newer Onlyo models though and not get focused on the 606. I would like about 3 HDMI's though.
What would you be using the receiver to upconvert? Upconverting by the receiver is over rated and discussed way too often.

Let the receiver feed the native signal to the television and let the TV do the upconverting, when needed.

Or you can ignore the 663 and look at the one I recommended.

I would honestly spend as little of your budget on a receiver and try to turn that 1k into new speakers AND a receiver.

If you go with the 606, buy a refurb. They have been combed over by hand and can be had for under $300. That leaves you $700 for some speakers.
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Old 03-31-09, 11:17 AM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

Originally Posted by Sdallnct View Post
Well while I certainly agree with Spiky, I can't help but notice your speaker set up. Based on your mis-matched speakers I can say pretty comfortably say that you would see significantly more improvement by upgrading your speakers and getting matching one's for that $1,000 and keeping your existing excellent receiver then only changing out your receiver to get lossless.

So my recommendation would be to spend a grand on new speakers and not change out receivers. You have an excellent receiver. And if you are truly worried about "future proofing" your not going to be able to do it with a receiver. But you can with speakers. Good sounding speakers NEVER go out of style. I have a pair of 20 year old KEF 103.2 that can compete with any similar priced/style speaker today.

However, that wasn't your question. If you are sure you want to get a new receiver, what don't you like about your H/K? H/K make several nice receiver that offer lossless processing if you want that feature. Oh and as far as needing air space, your H/K does. And really anything high current will need it. Sure some may do a slightly better job at getting rid of the heat then others, but anything high current is going to need space.
I completely agree with Sdallnct.If your main concern is sound quality, upgrading your speakers will make a lot more of a difference than buying a new AVR.
I too would suggest to stick with the HK,use the 1K on upgrading your speakers and save up for a new AVR. You can sell your current speakers and add more to your speaker budget or the new AVR.
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Old 03-31-09, 11:42 AM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

Thanks gentlemen, I really do appreciate your reponses. I now have the added task of looking for better speakers. How would you all go about this? My room right now is about 15'x20'. I may move into a bigger house with hopefully a slight bigger living room. And I am way more a noobie at speaker searching - since I've been looking at receivers all this time.

I get more stumped on whether or not I just buy a set complete with Center, sides, and rears - or seperately.

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Old 03-31-09, 11:51 AM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

Are you now scrapping the receiver idea and just get speakers?

Is you budget still $1000?

Worry about your front 3 speakers first and use what you have as surrounds/rears. Then upgrade those later on.
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Old 03-31-09, 12:16 PM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

Originally Posted by SoSpacey View Post
Are you now scrapping the receiver idea and just get speakers?

Is you budget still $1000?

Worry about your front 3 speakers first and use what you have as surrounds/rears. Then upgrade those later on.
Agreed.
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Old 03-31-09, 12:50 PM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

Yeah, I can probably use all $1000 for them. What about the sub? Will the Velodyne suffice for now? So I'll focus on my center and two sides. Now the the size....any ideas on that?
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Old 03-31-09, 03:58 PM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

well, I don't know much about the Infinty you have. I assume it is an older model since I can't find it on the web site.

But right now, Fry's has the Infinity Primus towers for $129 each. If you have a local Fry's you can avoid shipping. If you have them shipped, order 1 each on separate orders because the shipping is much cheaper.

Your current speaker is made of ceramic metal matrix while these are metal matrix. You may want to call Infinity and ask them if these will be timbre matched. they may just be calling them something slightly different for marketing purposes.

If you could get away with those, assume $300 for the pair, shipped.

$400 for a new receiver (606 refurb for $300, or a Yamaha 565 for $400 or less)
$350 get an eD A2-300 sub for $350 OR
HSU STF-2 sub

This puts you slightly over your budget but it's the best I could do with the $1k.

Without a sub or receiver I can do MUCH better.
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Old 03-31-09, 05:23 PM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

Hmm....and I do have a Fry's about 15 minutes away....

Here's a link to my center channel form Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Infinity-C360-...8537927&sr=8-1

And if it'll make a bigger improvement upgrading my speakers only, then I'm all for it. I can hold off on the receiver for a bit. I'm just looking to get some great quality sound, but I kind of don't want that translate just bigger speakers. But I wil definitely look at those Primus ones.
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Old 03-31-09, 06:55 PM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

Well you could build a speaker set up over time, spend a more but get better over time or do it all at once. Your call. These are from another thread and should only be used as a starting point.

You should listen if at all possible. If not make sure you clearly understand any return policy.
Keep in mind even good speakers sound different from other good speaks. I agree that Polk and Klipsch make good speakers, but they are not my taste and I would never buy them. But you may really like them and they have a large following. I love KEF and B&W, but others think they are not that great and over rated.

http://forum.dvdtalk.com/9353145-post5.html

Bigger does not mean better. See my signature. My little Celestions actually do a very nice job.
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Old 03-31-09, 09:48 PM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

Originally Posted by trespoochies View Post
I get more stumped on whether or not I just buy a set complete with Center, sides, and rears - or seperately.
Either way, get a "set". Doesn't have to be all at once, but they should match.

Originally Posted by Sdallnct View Post
Bigger does not mean better.
Except for with bass. Assuming it's done right.
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Old 03-31-09, 10:41 PM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

Originally Posted by Spiky View Post

Except for with bass. Assuming it's done right.
Yup, but I added that comment because he or someone mentioned the towers for front mains. They may be great...but just because they are big doesn't make them great...or not great.
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Old 03-31-09, 10:51 PM
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Re: Help! Need some receiver feedback on my choices...

Tell you what 5 of those NHT AbsoluteZero's in White at $125 each + one of the base HSU subs would be a sweet little set up for around a grand.

Only issue is it doesn't look like they are shielded so can't get to close to the TV with the CC (or any of the speakers for that matter).
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