• 12-21-2007, 05:11 PM
    line seperating mid range and high end?
    Hey all, I am in the market for a new av receiver. I am curious what is the advantage of a high end product versus mid-range and what makes the difference? It is funny how some very high dollar models have pretty average reviews and some mid priced units do real well.
  • 12-21-2007, 11:25 PM
    Your right on in your comment. I saw a review several years ago where they compaired some high end audio equipment with some mid level equipment by looking inside to see what electronic parts were used in each. They found that some very expensive equipment used some pretty crappy electronics and some of the mid level stuff used better parts. High price does not always mean better.
  • 12-22-2007, 08:10 AM
    Hey Blackraven, I'm in rochester, Nice to see another Minnesotan. Yeah, I am really wondering if I should just stick with a Yamaha or Onkyo. I was going to go with something more high dollar but I am not really a technical person in terms of adjustments or tweaking so don't see an advantage.
  • 12-22-2007, 10:01 AM
    Good topic. I just discussed this with my salesperson at the hi-fi store I patronize. I'm considering an upgrade myself and he said that in general, the dividing line in $$ from mid-fi to higher end A-V receivers is in the $1300.00 area give or take. That's just a rule of thumb. One area of importance that we must all remain aware of is in the power ratings of A-V receivers. Most surround sound receivers will have a specification stating, for example, 90 watts x 7. If the spec does not state that this is "all channels driven" or the like, then the 90 watts refers to the two main channels driven only. When these receivers play in surround sound mode, that 90 watts drops down. Marantz for example guarantees 70% of its posted power when in surround sound mode. So my Marantz SR5600 is providing approx 63 watts per channel when in surround sound mode even though it is advertised at 90 watts x 7 into 8 ohms 20hz-20khz. Marantz states this is a conservative number. That's not bad at all and still sounds fantastic because Marantz produces a quality product. I'm driving B&W loudspeakers which are easy to power and drive. NAD specifies an average simultaneious power to all channels in their specs. Another consideration to make is to look at which A-V receivers are sold in the "mass market" stores (Circuit City, Best Buy, etc) and which ones are sold in the privately owned hi-fi audio stores. This is just my opinion but I would strongly urge you to consider buying in the higher end audio stores. You still can get a range in pricing but the brands are better. Again, just my opinion but the better brands are Rotel, NAD, Marantz, Arcam, etc.
  • 12-22-2007, 10:48 AM
    It all comes down to the cost benefit ratio and what will be the weakest link in your system. It doesnt pay to buy an audiophile receiver if your using a cheap and poor sounding speakers, CD or DVD player. There are some excellent sounding receivers in the $600-1,000 range. Look at any of the Denon 3000 series AV receivers or some of the higher end yamaha or onkyo receivers. My pick's would be the Denon 3806, Yamaha Rx-v2400, Onkyo TXSR705 or Marantz ZR6001SP. www.butterflyphoto has excellent prices on these. IMO the Denon is at the lower end of audiophile equipment. The reviews on this receiver have been excellent.

    Hey snodog, gotta love the minnesota weather!
  • 12-22-2007, 10:49 AM
    I currently have a Marantz 6200 that needs repair. The sound is great and I dont want to downgrade in quality but want more modern features like the hdmi. Besides that what else would have changed in the last five years? As far as khz and such. Would there be any improvements or is it worth fixing the 6200?
  • 12-22-2007, 10:58 AM
    How much money are you willing to spend?
  • 12-22-2007, 11:02 AM
    Yes lovely MN weather! I have a ps3 right now which I am using for Bluray player and will be getting a good cd player. I have all paradigm speakers. The monitor 7's and cc370 center, 10"sub and titans surrounds. Probably anywhere between 500-700 depending on what I find I guess. Also I dont really want to keep my marantz without getting it fixed so i would sell it.
  • 12-22-2007, 11:13 AM
    I would compare the specs of the newer Marantz to your older one. At that price range I don't know if you will find anything better than what you already have. If your willing to spend $900, then the Denon AVR3806 is onsale at www.electronics-expo.com for $848
  • 12-22-2007, 11:30 AM
    That yamaha rx-v2400 looks nice for 699. I personally dont care for denons all that much. Not sure why but them and Harman kardons never did much for me. What do you think about the Onkyo 705?
    Funny, my local hifi place is not stocking Marantz or Onkyo anymore. I like the store and the workers but question their integrity at times. They are saying thy do not carry them anymore because of the build quality is going down. (?) Not sure if it is true or that they have just had problems with the company's customer service and such. (kind of what I think) It would make perfect sense to veer customers away from something you aren't going to be carrying anymore. Makes me think twice about buying in the future from them.
  • 12-22-2007, 11:35 AM
    I've always like Onkyo and the 703-705 are decent receivers. I prefer Marantz myself over the Onkyo but you should compare the specs and features of both. Good luck in which ever you choose.

    You might want to look on ebay or www.audiogon.com for deals on used higher end equipment.
  • 12-22-2007, 11:39 AM
    Mr Peabody
    I think whether a $500.00 receiver gets a glowing review or a $1,500.00 receives a mediocre review depends on how it performs in it's price range compared to other products there. A $500.00 receiver may actually perform out of it's price range and make it a much better value than a $500.00 receiver that performs like $500.00. Hence, the term "giant killer".

    In your price range you will pretty much be left to mass market receivers. Higher end receivers like Rotel, NAD, Arcam or B&K generally for go some of the bells & whistles and concentrate on better sound quality. Although I think sound quality and sound stage is just as enjoyable when listening to a good movie sound track HT is secondary to some who will gravitate to the higher end receivers which are better for music playback.

    Whether cheap are expensive today's receiver's require a lot of setting up for HT. If you aren't comfortable with the tweaking look for a receiver that offers the auto speaker set up, and I'd also get one to include room equalization. The Audessey is one of the better systems from what I understand which is offered on the Onkyo and Denon that I'm aware of. The Onkyo TX-605 I think is only around $399.00 and offers most of the current HT features and technology. In my opinion Onkyo offers one of the best amp sections of any mass market receiver. I'd watch out paying for stuff you don't need like multiroom capability and installer set up features like on the Denon "SI" series. From what I've read here I think the PS3 only has HDMI out for HD audio and video, so the HDMI will be a must. Really, really, read the small print on the HDMI, some only carry video and a host of other limitations, to be sure your receiver has full HDMI capability. With the PS3 and Paradigm you have the start of a nice system.
  • 12-22-2007, 12:01 PM
    Snodog, don't write off Denon. The 3000 series Denons are worlds better than the other receivers you are looking at. Its well worth the extra money if you can swing it for the 3806.They use torroidal power supplies and higher quality electronics. If you are in the minneapolis area check out the local High end store Audio Perfection on Lyndale ave. They carry NAD, Denon, Rotel, Macintosh, Ayre and many other high end equipment.
  • 12-22-2007, 02:38 PM
    Mr Peabody
    The Denon 1908 is current at about $599.00 with the 2308 about $849.00. The 2308 has video upconversion of analog video and more power. The 3808 is the current model and more than double your budget. In the 3808 range it would be time to also consider Rotel or NAD if interested in better music playback.

    The 3806 is a couple models back. The 2308 is actually a better option with upconversion of analog video and the newer HD audio decoding. The 3806 has HDMI but no upconversion of video and some TV's won't accept a 480i signal via HDMI. The Onkyo does pretty much the same thing sthe 2308 will for much less money, in fact I've seen the 805 beast for $699.00 at CC. I have not heard the Denon or Onkyo to know which is better. From reading an interview with a Denon rep I do know the "CI" receivers have computer interface and installer features you are paying for. I don't know if the performance bar was raised. Time to do your listening home work to see if Denon is worth the extra coin.


    I didn't see any reviews of Onkyo 605 or Denon 2308 except for what people say on forum reviews. The forum reviews are good to see what, if any, issues they had with any of the receivers. Check for ease of set up, remote use, etc.
  • 12-22-2007, 03:19 PM
    I believe that the difference between high and low end has no meaning because it is different for everyone, it depends on your expectations, high end for one guy is low end for another guy, i remember speaking with a guy a couple of years ago that had just tried out a Denon 3806 and he said it was the worst piece of sonic trash he had ever had in his home.Now he was coming from a $30,000 2 channel system and just wanted to set up a theater system for his wife and kids to use.He ended up with an Arcam system and that was jusst good enough.My point on all this is buy what sounds good to you, listen to as many as you can, at home if you can.Decide what features you need and don't pay money for ones you don't.

  • 12-22-2007, 10:47 PM
    I agree 100 percent musicman although, that is really my question. Are there physical characteristics that are not found in the mid priced units? I understand that an Onkyo or Yamaha may not be the nicest in the world but better than what most homes would have. If i was to wait and buy a $1200 Rotel reciever would I find a very noticeable difference between that and a $600 Yamaha or Onkyo or my Marantz that I currently own?
  • 12-22-2007, 11:09 PM
    Mr Peabody
    Snodog, I think you would notice a difference however only you can judge whether it would be enough to warrant the difference in price. Like you say, most would be extremely happy with the likes of the 805 but if you are a music lover and a more critical listener you may appreciate the more fidelity provided by the specialty hi fi manufacturers. You really need to go do some listening to get a feel for how a few of these sound.
  • 12-23-2007, 12:39 AM
    There are physical differences in that normally high end gear is better built and uses better components both internal and external.They weigh more, for example i own a dvd player that most people would consider high end and when you pick it up it weighs over 30 pounds, has amazing sound and is the first dvd player that i have heard that could qualify as a high end cd player.It like many high end products is short on features but high on picture and sound quality and it is built in Canada.
    Mr.p is right however you need to go out and experience it for yourself, seek out a high end store, us music lovers are friendly folks.

  • 12-23-2007, 05:48 AM
    melvin walker
    Mid range and high end ?
    I was of the impression that only separates could be classified as high end. Receivers being a compromise was never considered high end except in exceptional cases. Price generally determines whether something is high end or not. Marantz receivers are not costly and who builds them now , Marantz has had several manufacturers since 1970.

    It appears that our expectations today is lowered. Because of home theatre systems, video has replaced audio as a main concern. The music we listen to is different today as well , it tends to be less define. Maybe that is why audio has slipped and video has emerged.

    The question I would guess is quality , quality today is very expensive. Most Americans can't really afford quality today , which has led to the popularity of the receiver.,
    Average made speakers , and CD's of uneven quality.
    After all how many of us today has attended an audio show ? Or has heard a live vs recorded ?

    I guess the difference in cost of high end audio as in the case of high end cars has left many of us confusing the two , high end vs low end.
    Car example a 1973 Porsche 911 sold for $ 10,000 affordable by many Americans , today a 2007 Porsche sells for $ 70,000 out of the range of most Americans .
    Is audio any different ? so we compromise.
  • 12-23-2007, 07:30 AM
    Mr Peabody
    Again, "high end" is relative, you can't assume all separates are high end. Brands like Adcom, Outlaw or Rotel, to name a few, make separates that I would not consider high end. Better than average certainly but not high end. Krell, Naim, Musical Fidelity and others make integrated amps that many separates would not be able to match that are definitely high end. My 500i is basically Krell's 250p preamp & 250a amp in one box and original retail was $5,500.00.

    I agree though that I have yet to see a receiver that I'd consider high end. Even the mega priced Denon and other mass market brands still fall short of even mid fi brands when it comes to audio. You are mostly paying for multi-room features and more bells & whistles. Certain receivers from the likes of Arcam, possibly Rotel or B&K have audio sections that at least come close to mid fi, if not right in there. People looking at receivers should first consider how much even an entry level preamp processor costs. Rotel used to have one around $1,600.00 or so, I don't know if they still offer one in that price, that's retail price of a Denon 3808. So yeah, fellas don't fool yourselves, there are definitely compromises made to offer all that in one box. Which way to go depends on your priorities. Budget too, to some extent but from posts I've read here seeing some of the occupations and vehicles some have, my income is modest in comparison but my priority for music was high enough I found a way to get a decent system. Of course, if budget wasn't some concern I'd probably have Conrad Johnson Premier gear. My point is if some one can afford a nice Beamer why would they settle for a HT receiver. Their priority is auto status rather than best possible music playback. Am I getting off topic? :)
  • 12-23-2007, 09:36 AM
    I understand what you are hitting on. Cars, of course always are a good symmetrical comparison in terms of value vs luxury. My Pontiac will take me from A to B much more efficiently than an Escalade but not as much fun or as many heads being turned (if any).
    I still wonder though Mr. Peabody, you mentioned the mega-priced Denons and others that would still fall short. Are you speaking in terms of pure audio quality or build quality? It would seem that some of these tanks are built pretty damn solidly. IMO the PS3 has some pretty damn good sound for a cd player with upsampling now integrated...

    Also on another note, I am not dismissing Denon BR but I listened to a Marantz Denon and HK of equal comparison and didnt care for what I heard other than the Marantz which I then bought. They seemed really flat.
  • 12-23-2007, 10:38 AM
    Think of it like this, you play a cd on a PS3 and the sound is kind of bunched together in a mash,you hear the instruments but there is no sense of depth or width to the music and you cannot place the musicians anywhere in relation to each other.Now with a good quality cd player you will have a strong soundstage, meaning you can pick out each instrument easily and have a sense where the instrument is in relation to the other players, both width and depth and you will hear things that you did not know were there, musically that is.Of course the rest of your system needs to be as good as your cd player, good system balance is essential.
    There are players out there that would make a PS3 sound like a nail drug across a chalk board.

  • 12-23-2007, 10:45 AM
    I might have mentioned that the cd player prior to ps3 was a 5 year old sony dvd player so the difference is pretty clear. Brings me to another question, what would you recommend for a cd player? I would like to have sacd/dvd audio in my setup.
  • 12-23-2007, 11:19 AM
    Mr Peabody
    Snodog, I was only referring to sound quality. Some of those large receivers are built solid.

    When you use the PS3 as CD player you have to use the HDMI don't you? If you are using a digital output, optical, coax or HDMI, the decoding is being done by the receiver and a new player won't make much difference. However, if you use the stereo or multichannel analog there will be a noticeable difference between certain players. Your configuration and future configurations should be a consideration when you buy your receiver. I'm not sure if any receivers offer 2 sets of multichannel but I could see that being a need for those who want to keep SACD and use the same kind of input for BR or HDDVD.

    I wish I remembered the models, Outlaw had a preamp processor and power amp combo for right around $1k that got good reviews. They say their stuff is cheaper because they sell direct and offer 30 days to try. If I find the info I will post it. I can't remember if the pre/pro was up to date with current HDMI.
  • 12-23-2007, 12:03 PM
    I have no experience with a preamp setup but its a possibility, assuming I could figure out how it all goes together. Looking at the Outlaw website I am curious why they would select DVI vs Hdmi? They look nice and have great reviews. Possibility but I like the idea of Hdmi over dvi.