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  1. #1
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    Actual Sound Quality Improvements in Name Brands Over Past 5 Years

    Curious on anyones input on this. I maintain, and will be happy to be proven wrong here, that in terms of actual sound listening quality which I define as music, DVD 5.1 sound or better & TV digital sound 5.1 or better that one hears through the human ear as opposed to a techincal reading, that there has been no actual sound quality improvement in name receivers such as Denon & Yamaha, in the past 5 years. Please note, I am not referring to wear or tear & parts lasting longer but just sound listening quality. I do not consider new features such as being able to set volume controls through an attached mike, sound settings such as "concert", "stadium", "club", being able to play 2 systems through your receiver, etc. improvements in sound quality per se. If anyone feels differently feel free to post here.

    Conversely, has sound quality improved in cheaper lower end brands?

    I'm basically asking this because someone made the point of saying a few months ago that higher end receivers such as Denon that went for $1200 5 years ago may not sound better then $300 no name receivers manufactured today. I don't agree but I'm curious what other people think.

  2. #2
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Don't know about no-name $300 receivers vs 5 year old $1200 receivers, but if you were to narrow the gap, say, $300 today to $600 5 yrs ago or so I'd say they easily sound better now. Evolution, man. Power is pretty much the same, it's just become a lot cheaper today. The processing has improved though, and that's what contributes to sound quality the most in a receiver. The $600 receiver might have a bit more power, but unless you pushed both to extremes it'd be a non-factor.
    The improvements haven't been incredibly huge, but the price cuts have been. Receivers have just fallen in price, offer more features, and better bang-for-the-buck now by far.
    My previous 2 receivers both cost about as much as my current one brand new, but each upgrade has improved performance. A bit in terms of sound quality, and a lot in tems of features.

    I don't think I'd jump from a $1200 receiver to a new $300 one, but a $500 receiver would probably stack up nicely and offer all the new processing, setup flexibility, and possibly more connections. Not bad.

  3. #3
    I put the Gee in Gear.... thekid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardGein
    Curious on anyones input on this. I maintain, and will be happy to be proven wrong here, that in terms of actual sound listening quality which I define as music, DVD 5.1 sound or better & TV digital sound 5.1 or better that one hears through the human ear as opposed to a techincal reading, that there has been no actual sound quality improvement in name receivers such as Denon & Yamaha, in the past 5 years. Please note, I am not referring to wear or tear & parts lasting longer but just sound listening quality. I do not consider new features such as being able to set volume controls through an attached mike, sound settings such as "concert", "stadium", "club", being able to play 2 systems through your receiver, etc. improvements in sound quality per se. If anyone feels differently feel free to post here.

    Conversely, has sound quality improved in cheaper lower end brands?

    I'm basically asking this because someone made the point of saying a few months ago that higher end receivers such as Denon that went for $1200 5 years ago may not sound better then $300 no name receivers manufactured today. I don't agree but I'm curious what other people think.
    You may want to check out the SV link I posted in refrencing my recent purchase. This quote from John Sciacca of Sound and Vison speaks somewhat to your point.

    "An A/V receiver with all the features of Pioneer’s VSX-815 (see "Cost Control") would have cost thousands a few years ago, but progress has reduced its price to less than $400. David Ranada called it a bargain that makes it easy to get great sound from your speakers. And a low price doesn’t have to mean poor performance — David found that the Pioneer produced enough power to fill all but the largest rooms with sound."

    Not trying to be a shill here for this unit and the point he makes is probably true of Denon or Yamaha etc. I think the ability of lower end products to have, and execute features that were only available on high-end gear 5-10 years ago is there with some manufacturers. So for that price range I think you can say that sound has improved. At other price points it may be more problematic.

    I don't think you can separate the technology/build quality etc entirely out of the equation because they do in some cases affect sound quality to some degree. Having said though the history of technology is that there are few "Eureka" inventions. So with that in mind I guess the question is "Has there been any truly remarkable technological advances in the industry that have improved sound quality in the last 5 years?" I don't know I am not an expert in this field like others here.

    IMO I always remain skeptical because most of the time these "improvements" are more marketing tools than actual improvements. (And this is coming from someone who owns Bose speakers...talk about creative marketing... If you are a maker of high-end gear you are certainly going to say sound has and is constantly improving due to breakthroughs in technology or else the entry level people who can match your core sound producing features will be taking your market.

    We see on this forum daily what is at the heart of your question. Some here equate price and features with quality of sound/picture. Others look strictly at performance measurements and charts sometimes making the assumption that the measurement listed actually is detected by a human listener who for a variety of reasons may or may not hear the difference.

    Sorry to be so long winded but I think you ask a GREAT question and I will be interested in seeing the responses.

  4. #4
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    We're seeing more of a trickle down of features moreso than of actual "sound quality"

    That, you still have to pay for to some extent. But, features are what sell these puppies and make people wanna run and spend their hard earned money moerso than actual quality of sound. Throw in a few more DSP options and people just get wet dreaming about the possibilities. Does that improve the actual "sound quality"? Well, I dunno but we're doing our best to keep these manufacturing facilities in foreign countries working. Gotta love that global economy.

    Speakers, however, have been slowly but steadily been delivering more bang for the buck as each passing year goes by.
    Last edited by markw; 12-24-2005 at 07:58 AM.

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