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  1. #1
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    Question The BEST A/V Receiver under $300

    Hi,

    I recently bought 2 JBL Northridge E80s and now am shopping for an A/V Receiver which is under $300. Can't afford an I primarily will be using them for music although I intend to get surrounds and a sub sometime soon to hook it up to my HDTV.

    CNET suggested an Onkya TX-SR503. Have also read some good reviews of Denon AVR-1602, but it falls short in wattage. Need 100wpm.


    Any suggestions? Am a bit of a noobie so any advice is appreciated.

    Rahul

  2. #2
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Panasonic SA-XR55

    Quote Originally Posted by therahulk
    Hi,

    I recently bought 2 JBL Northridge E80s and now am shopping for an A/V Receiver which is under $300. ...Any suggestions? Am a bit of a noobie so any advice is appreciated.

    Rahul
    This receiver features "digital" amplifiers ...
    I have an earlier model, the SA-XR25, which is really very good for the price. (Note that it took hundreds of hour of use to burn off a very "bright" sound, but sounds good at last.)

  3. #3
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    I'd say go to a local hifi shop and see what they have. 300 for a brand new one might not get you a great receiver, but if you're willing to buy one that's 1 or 2 years old, im sure you could get yourself a hell of a deal. There are some great deals out there and if its well-built in the first place, age isnt that much of a setback. yamaha stuff is always good, and im sure you could find something under 300 by them even new. my first receiver as a hifi person was a yamaha htr-5460 and i loved it. paid 370 i think for it.

  4. #4
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    You might want to go check out the newer Pioneer receivers (VSX-815, 915, 1015), which can be found pretty much anywhere. Lots of bang for the buck and I've seen quite a few positive reviews, even from the snobbier of the audio publications.

  5. #5
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    I'll second the Pioneer recommendation. I think they have the hot models this year. Soundwise, I find most sub $1000 receivers to be extremely similar.

    I wouldn't worry about the 100 watt/channel thing much. 85 watts is probably more than enough, those extra 15 watts don't add up to much necessarily.

  6. #6
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    I found a Yamaha RXV650 for $ 320.00 last year. That was an overstock, not from a local store. I chose that model on the advise of some of the guys here. Good receiver, good choice.

    jocko

  7. #7
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    Smile Thank You

    Thank you very much guys

    I have shortlisted the following after some looking around:
    1. Pioneer VSX-815
    2. Denon AVR-1705
    3. Yamaha RX-V550 or RX-650
    4. Onkyo TX-SR503

    Sound-wise all rate very good..with minor differences. I am in the process of comparing features. Giving more priority to features for music more than anything else...and yes wattage. Need at least 85 watts at 8ohms to drive my speakers. In that the Denon and the Onkyo fall short in specs but according to some online reviews compare equally to the 100 wpc Pioneers in the actual output. The Yamahas seem like a safe bet unless u want on-screen display and a few other features.

    Will buy this week. Do let me know if any of you is aware of any good deals online in that price range.

    Regards,

    Rahul

  8. #8
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    In your case I would spent those 300$ on good second hand gear. For 300$ it is impossible to buy a surround reciever that can give a convincing stereo performance.

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    Thumbs up

    I know a dedicated stereo receiver is usually better for two channel music, but if he wants to upgrade to surround sound later, a home theater receiver is perfect. There are a lot of fine choices in the 300 dollar range for a nice entry level home theater receiver. Personally I've always liked Onkyo components, so I think the one he mentioned would be a great choice. Looking at Onkyo's website, it seems to offer a lot of bang for the buck.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Invader3k
    I know a dedicated stereo receiver is usually better for two channel music, but if he wants to upgrade to surround sound later, a home theater receiver is perfect. There are a lot of fine choices in the 300 dollar range for a nice entry level home theater receiver. Personally I've always liked Onkyo components, so I think the one he mentioned would be a great choice. Looking at Onkyo's website, it seems to offer a lot of bang for the buck.
    Invader3k.. or anyone else,
    This is probably a dumb question but what is the difference between stereo receiver and home theatre receiver? And what exactly is 2 channel music?

  11. #11
    Pat
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    Quote Originally Posted by lithnights
    Invader3k.. or anyone else,
    This is probably a dumb question but what is the difference between stereo receiver and home theatre receiver? And what exactly is 2 channel music?
    Lithnights,
    I run a "stereo receiver" two channel system...nothing more than two speakers. A Home theatre receiver is also capable of 5.1 or 7.1

    2.1 = 2 speakers and a sub
    5.1 = 5 speakers and a sub.
    7.1 = 7 speakers and a sub.

    Thats what I've been told anyway.
    Have a good day.....Sez' Pat
    Denon 685 Receiver & 2900 Player, Sonographe 120 Amp, Klipsch RF7 Speakers, 2039+ svs Sub, 10gauge solid core copper cables

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    "Invader3k.. or anyone else,
    This is probably a dumb question but what is the difference between stereo receiver and home theatre receiver? And what exactly is 2 channel music?"

    Not a dumb question, lithnights. Basically, a stereo receiver is designed to power two speakers only...thus, a stereo receiver is generally designed for listening to music only, though you can definitely hook it up to your TV's audio outputs (giving you better sound than most TV speakers provide), or use any audio source with it that you like. Two channel music is typical stereo music (like on a music CD, vinyl record, or cassette tape, etc). It is called "two channel" because the left speaker and right speaker produce different sounds.

    A home theater receiver is generally designed to power five or more speakers, and usually send information or power to a subwoofer as well. They are generally used for exactly that, home theater listening...typically listening to DVD movies in surround sound, though you can listen to your TV shows and many other sources in surround sound. A home theater receiver also lets you listen to music in either traditional two channel stereo, or can almost always give you a "surround sound effect" from your music by utilizing all your speakers.

    Hope this helps and doesn't confuse you further

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Invader3k
    "Invader3k.. or anyone else,
    This is probably a dumb question but what is the difference between stereo receiver and home theatre receiver? And what exactly is 2 channel music?"

    Not a dumb question, lithnights. Basically, a stereo receiver is designed to power two speakers only...thus, a stereo receiver is generally designed for listening to music only, though you can definitely hook it up to your TV's audio outputs (giving you better sound than most TV speakers provide), or use any audio source with it that you like. Two channel music is typical stereo music (like on a music CD, vinyl record, or cassette tape, etc). It is called "two channel" because the left speaker and right speaker produce different sounds.

    A home theater receiver is generally designed to power five or more speakers, and usually send information or power to a subwoofer as well. They are generally used for exactly that, home theater listening...typically listening to DVD movies in surround sound, though you can listen to your TV shows and many other sources in surround sound. A home theater receiver also lets you listen to music in either traditional two channel stereo, or can almost always give you a "surround sound effect" from your music by utilizing all your speakers.

    Hope this helps and doesn't confuse you further
    OK, that makes sense. I didn't even realize that they made stereo receivers anymore.. it seems everything out there is Dolby pro logic, dolby digital etc. Even my 10 year old Kenwood had Dolby Pro Logic so I just assumed every receiver made would be HTR.

    On a separate note, where would be the best place on this site to pose a question about how to connect certain cables within my current system? Specifically if I want to listen to my normal cable TV watching through my surround sound speakers? Does the cable signal coming into my house even have the breakout needed so that I could hear a NASCAR race in surround? If not, I guess I could still enjoy TV through the left and right fronts.


    Thanks!

  14. #14
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lithnights
    OK, that makes sense. I didn't even realize that they made stereo receivers anymore.. it seems everything out there is Dolby pro logic, dolby digital etc. Even my 10 year old Kenwood had Dolby Pro Logic so I just assumed every receiver made would be HTR.

    On a separate note, where would be the best place on this site to pose a question about how to connect certain cables within my current system? Specifically if I want to listen to my normal cable TV watching through my surround sound speakers? Does the cable signal coming into my house even have the breakout needed so that I could hear a NASCAR race in surround? If not, I guess I could still enjoy TV through the left and right fronts.


    Thanks!
    That's what the dolby pro logic is for. If you have a calbe box, you plug the analog audio cables (red/white) to the back of your receiver and using a pro logic setting, the receiver will turn the analog (2-channel) signal into a surround sound signal. Not as good as watching a DVD in native surround format but it does the trick.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    This receiver features "digital" amplifiers ...
    I have an earlier model, the SA-XR25, which is really very good for the price. (Note that it took hundreds of hour of use to burn off a very "bright" sound, but sounds good at last.)
    Do some non digital amps have a bright sound that takes a while to "burn off"? Spicificly a harman kardon?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul_pci
    That's what the dolby pro logic is for. If you have a calbe box, you plug the analog audio cables (red/white) to the back of your receiver and using a pro logic setting, the receiver will turn the analog (2-channel) signal into a surround sound signal. Not as good as watching a DVD in native surround format but it does the trick.
    Great, that makes sense. I didn't know that pro logic actually converts the signal like that from TV to surround sound speakers.

    So... does the signal from, for example, a Nascar race on TV into a receiver into my surrounds enable one to hear rear sound in the rear speakers? e.g. if a car whizzes by on a DVD, I hear it go from back to front or front to back. Will this happen when watching a race on TV and having the audio go through my Dolby digital receiver?

  17. #17
    asdf bjornb17's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whatever6750
    Do some non digital amps have a bright sound that takes a while to "burn off"? Spicificly a harman kardon?
    i think the general consensus is that harman kardon receivers produce more of a warm sound, but i could be wrong

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjornb17
    i think the general consensus is that harman kardon receivers produce more of a warm sound, but i could be wrong
    I know this is off topic but, Mine is vary "shallow" like theres no depth..

  19. #19
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lithnights
    Great, that makes sense. I didn't know that pro logic actually converts the signal like that from TV to surround sound speakers.

    So... does the signal from, for example, a Nascar race on TV into a receiver into my surrounds enable one to hear rear sound in the rear speakers? e.g. if a car whizzes by on a DVD, I hear it go from back to front or front to back. Will this happen when watching a race on TV and having the audio go through my Dolby digital receiver?
    In general I find that pro logic does a competent job of mimicking how a 5.1 encoded DVD would sound, but it's not perfect and the sound in the rears is not as full and pronounced. For instance, I have Direct TV with a digital connection and some movie channels broadcast movies in 5.1 and some do not. I watched The Grudge in 5.1 and the scene where the ghost boy runs around the room you get a clear and well defined imagery of the footsteps all around the room; however when I watched the same scene on a different, non 5.1 broadcast, you can still hear the sound effects but they were less well imaged and less pronounced. So, you may get sound effects in the rear during the race, but don't expect to be totally wowed by it as you would if it were broadcast in 5.1.

  20. #20
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    After auditioning most of the low end units mentioned above, I elected to buy the fully digital Panasonic XR55. It sounded distinctly superior to the entry level Pioneers, HK's, and others with a much bigger soundstage and more detail.

    The Pany has also been measured to deliver a true 100watts, unlike the other units.

    I would not classify the sound from my XR55 as 'bright', but I would classify it as forward sounding.

    You guys can keep the heavy distortion inducing copper transformers made in China.

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