Yamaha HTR-5960/5940 vs Pioneer VSX-816 [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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02-11-2007, 06:16 PM
I recently purchased the Yamaha HTR-5940 and was extremely pleased with the sound quality, look, and features. The only spec it lacked was “Preamp-Out” for use with my Adcom (for 2 channel audio). Although the Yamaha HTR-5940 sounded and worked wonderfully, I wanted to use my Adcom Amp for music.

My search for a comparable receiver with “Preamp-Out” capability ended upon the discovery of the Pioneer VSX-816. The search resumed 5 minutes after listening to it. It simply sounded horrible. It was way too bright and lacked any kind of warm mid-range. Even on 2-Channel mode through the Pre-amp Out to my Adcom Amp (not using the Pioneer’s amps), it sounded decidedly “different” than the Yamaha HTR-5940 and in my opinion, much worse. I can only attribute this to the Pioneers preamp. Even with no source input and volume on mute, there was an audible hum/hiss coming from every speaker. The distortion/noise was even worse on the front channels despite their being connected to the Adcom as mentioned above.

I went back to Best Buy and returned the Pioneer. The only Yamaha they had in the sub-$500 range with Pre-Amp Outputs was the HTR-5960.

Upon getting the Yamaha HTR-5960 hooked up, and giving it a listen, the differences between the Yammy and Pioneer were immediately apparent. In fact there was no comparison between the two regardless of price difference. For those looking for a comparison between the Yamaha HTR-5940 and HTR-5960, they are virtually identical in terms of sound quality. The main differences would be 6.1 vs 7.1 and the Pre-Amp Outputs. The sound on either are very warm, with crisp highs, and tight bass. It sounded great whether on 2-channel music or Dolby Digital 5.1/PLII. There is no unacceptable noise coming from any speakers with the HTR-5960 and once again, it sounds great.

Up against the Pioneer VSX-816, there is no comparison in any way. Even with a price tag difference of $200, there is no comparison. As I have experienced, you cannot go wrong with any of the Yamahas. I have demo’ed two of the lower end Yammys with very positive results. I can only expect that it gets better as you spend more $$$s.

In conclusion, I must admit that I am an extremely discerning listener. I have exclusively used Adcom Preamps and Power Amps for 2-channel audio for the past ten years. Upon getting into Home Theater, I did not want to spend a ton of money to power the center and surround channels as I still use my Adcom for the fronts. Yamaha is the answer. Get the Yammy that fits your budget and you cannot go wrong.