I am shopping for a Hi-Fi stereo - not a very popular subject in a world dominated by surround sound - and would much appreciate advice about two model lines I have short-listed by now. As my criteria are both sound and a compact form-factor, the choice is not great, at least not in the price league for which I am aiming. The two lines on my list are Yamaha Pianocraft and JVC EX. Has anyone listened to music (not movies, I don't watch many of them) on these systems side-by-side and can comment on their comparative sound quality? I am especially interested in the following model pairs:
RDX-E700 vs. EX-D1 (or EX-A1) - both 30Wx2 DVD/amplifier combos
MCR-E410 (or RDX-E810) vs. EX-A10 - both 50/60Wx2 separates
There is a lot of talk about the quality of Pianocraft amps and EX speakers and I am a bit wary about EX-A1/D1 single-driver speakers. They may be have wooden cones soked in liquor, but do they deliver the quality sound as good two-driver speakers made of less isoteric materials? Sound volume is important, but not as much as quality. I like my music to sound good, but not necessarily very loud; 60W watts should be adequate, and 100 or 120W even better if affordable. Yamaha speakers are said to need to be "worn-in" by a day or two of continuous radio-play.
The reason I am asking for sound quality advice is that I can't listen to either model lines where I am - they don't sell them here and local brands are too weird to consider - and will most likely have to order them online. That's less than an ideal approach to Hi-Fi shopping, but hey... we don't live in a perfect world.
If you know of any other good systems, word about them would be appreciated, too.
Assuming the features and sound quality you want are present in both systems, I'd have to say go with Yamaha. I have several Yamaha receivers including one of the Piano Craft models, the mcr-e300. Simply put, Yamaha product is well designed and built for the long term. Your grandchildren will probably inherit and use the Piano Craft system. I still have a Yamaha R-100 stereo receiver from the the 80's that I use almost daily. It looks like hell after following me over the years but works flawlessly providing seemingly limitless clean power with a number of useful features. The only 'repair' was to tighten a loose volume knob. I also have a dsp-a3090 that I use in a home theater that hasn't been significantly improved on since (with the exception of video switching). The Piano Craft is robust enough to allow for speaker swapping. I used to use a pair of Paradigm Atoms and pdr-10 with it and was able to drive them to very realistic levels without a hitch. So, if you've narrowed you choices to JVC or Yamaha, go Yamaha.