Best receiver for Athenas? (plus: CR bashing) [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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01-12-2004, 09:08 PM
Hi all --

First, great forum. I'm a low-end buyer trying to up grade my home theater and just bought the Athena AS-B1s as mains/front surrounds after learning about them on here (and listening to them, of course).

Now I'm shopping for a receiver. I ignored the cardinal rule of Never Trust Consumer Reports For Audio Equiptment and got their "best buy," the Panasonic HE-100. It had all the imputs I wanted (2/1 component, 3/1 digital audio), sounded fine on surround .... then I tried to play my CD player ... and was hugely disappointed. My 8-year-old Pioneer receiver, the one I bought the Panasonic to replace, provided far superior sound quality on every disc I put in.

So now I'm back to square one. I'm looking for a dependable receiver that will light up my AS-B1s, while still providing top-notch surround, and has gobs of imputs (and, if possible, doesn't bust $350). I'm tempted to go the Pioneer route, but I read on here that they're farming out their manufacturing nowadays.

Any ideas?



01-12-2004, 11:10 PM
So you liked the older Pioneer with your new speakers?

The Panasonic is supposed to be not that bad, I have not heard it.

what was it about the sound you didn't like? Also it is very important to have them set-up properly and positioned well. Too close to a back wall and the bass will sound boomy, too far away and the bass can thin out and then the treble will sound harsher.

Plus the cheapo spring jacks on the Panasonic mean you have ot be more careful with the connections making sure the whole wire gets in there. Bare wires oxidize in about 6 months which may dull the sound as well.

You can get a Yamaha or Onkyo in your price range along with several others. Yamaha is likely the best in your budget, but do try the positioning fixes.

01-12-2004, 11:29 PM
You should also be aware that most receivers in this price range are going to sound virtually the same as the Panasonic in all likelyhood. They are designed with H/T in mind not music andmost of these companies are uninterested in selling a top notch amp and are more interested in selling features. SO while the Yamaha etc I mentioned will likely offer better build I seriously have doubts it will sound any better.

Or a $350.00 Receiver in general is not likely to be a BIG improvement over the Panasonic.

You should keep this in mind before you spend a lot of hard earned cash that may just add features.

01-13-2004, 11:39 PM
I would recommend a harman kardon, the avr-125 or better yet avr-225 can be had on ebay direct from Harman with 1yr warranty for around $200 - of all the receivers in that price bracket, I like them the best in stereo mode, and forget about the watts they are heavyweights when it comes to power supplies and caps, they will play loud and very with good clarity & soundstaging, I used to have one.

The other thing to look at would be an integrated if you want really good CD sound, and are willing to watch movies without being surrounded by speakers. Those speakers only need around 25-35wpc clean power, you could look at inexpensive amps like nad, cambridge, rotel, creek, etc. Some can be had cheap on ebay. These are a big step up from the receivers, I know I just made the jump. But if you are stuck on H/T, I would say give harman kardon (and possibly marantz) a listen, in that price range they sound warmer, fuller and not as bright and thin as most.

01-14-2004, 08:20 AM
Guess I'm now down to four choices --

Pioneer - VSXD912K
HK avr-225 -- ebay refurb
Onkyo TX-SR501
Yamaha HTR-5640