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  1. #1
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    most worthless feature on your AVR?

    with the discussion i started on the Pioneer 1016 receiver, the terrible sound was mainly produced by enabling speaker EQ. This feature turned my 7.1 setup into a horrible mess.

    So, i'm wondering why do companies even introduce features many of us probably don't use.


    What are some of the AVR features you rarely or never use?

    my old HKardon reciever had HDCD option for such labeled CDs. Never used.

    my current Pioneer has some feature called 'Dual Mono'. This feature is used when two languages need to be sent to separate channels. And there are 3 options! WTF?

  2. #2
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Night Listening -- renders the soundtrack completely unlistenable.
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  3. #3
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    I use the odd DSP, once in a blue moon...but really, could live without and would trade it for higher quality something else...
    I like auto-setup/parametric EQ, because when they work right they do make a significant improvement in sound quality for home theater. Just wish they weren't so darn fussy.
    Ipod connectivity, meh.

    I think a lot of features apply to only small numbers, but there's probably something everybody likes on their receiver that most others are indifferent to.
    I'm more concerned about the high cost HDMI, XM satellite, and Ipod connectivity seem to be leaving these things with - but I suppose they are relatively new technology/features...

  4. #4
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    our yammie's effects (like rock concert, or jazz club, or everything else) the surround presets, like the dts and the dolby ones are useful because dvd's use them, but all the rest is just pure crap.

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  5. #5
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel_
    with the discussion i started on the Pioneer 1016 receiver, the terrible sound was mainly produced by enabling speaker EQ. This feature turned my 7.1 setup into a horrible mess.

    So, i'm wondering why do companies even introduce features many of us probably don't use.
    Well, there is a difference between useful features and useless ones, as well as properly implemented and poorly implemented features. The auto EQ feature can be very useful if done right, but I can also easily see how it would ruin the sound if not done right, as in your case. I think that the value of a feature depends on the consumer. What you might regard as useless, someone else might use all the time.

    Because entry level receivers like that Pioneer target the mass market, they basically have to appeal to as many consumers as possible. If they choose to exclude a feature that everybody else includes, then they might be perceived as behind the curve. I remember that 3 years ago, Pioneer and Yamaha were the only receiver manufacturers that included an auto calibration feature. One year later, you couldn't find a manufacturer that did not have auto calibration.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel_
    my current Pioneer has some feature called 'Dual Mono'. This feature is used when two languages need to be sent to separate channels. And there are 3 options! WTF?
    Actually that would be a VERY convenient feature for people in some overseas markets. In those markets, VCDs are commonly used. Since the VCD format is limited to two-channels and cannot support multiple audio tracks, those discs would have one language in the L channel and another language in the R channel. VCD players sold in those markets usually had some form of dual mono audio output already included, but it's not as common with DVD players which makes the dual mono feature a nice convenience on the receiver.

    Plus, this is not really a new feature. My parents' 30-year old Marantz receiver has the exact same feature -- two buttons for mono, one L and one R, push both if you want mono that blends both channels together.
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  6. #6
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    simply put, features sell receivers.

    the more featyres, the nore perceived value there. So what if most people don't know what they are or how to use 'em. The fact they have 'em to look at on the spec sheets and the ad hype can toot 'em is all that matters.

    I don't use any DSP modes on my Denon 2802 and I rarely engage DPL or Neo. I do, however, use the 5 channel stereo mode when I'm having people over because it allows me to disperse music throughout the room fairly evenly.

  7. #7
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    Man, your all missing the most obvious, least used and/or useful feature on any of the AVRs that any of us are using.

    Ask yourself: When was the last time I listened to AM radio through a SOTA AVR.
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  8. #8
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Oh gawd, I almost forgot the reverb! Yes, change my answer to the reverb. Only useful in an anechoic setting.
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  9. #9
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlumpBuster
    Man, your all missing the most obvious, least used and/or useful feature on any of the AVRs that any of us are using.

    Ask yourself: When was the last time I listened to AM radio through a SOTA AVR.
    Quite often, considering that I don't have another radio in my living room. Sometimes I'll use the AM tuner if I'm watching sports and prefer listening to the radio call (like with Monday Night Football, so I don't have to put up with idiotic ramblings of Theismann and Kornheiser, or anytime there's a TV game with Barry Tompkins behind the mic). Other times, I just want to take a break from music or movies and listen to other stuff like local news/weather. Can't get that on FM.
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  10. #10
    Oldest join date recoveryone's Avatar
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    Hey woo, sounds like you would enjoy a squeeze box, its able to stream talk raido, sports....etc in much better sound quality than AM. But AM does give you that old school feel/sound. Baseball is the only sport to me that benefits from radio. They make sound so exciting, but on TV its right up there with golf. And I love to play both sports, just not a watching fan.
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  11. #11
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    so I don't have to put up with idiotic ramblings of Theismann and Kornheiser,
    ..one of the cons of living in Canada - you're dependent on the TV audio feed.

  12. #12
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlumpBuster
    Man, your all missing the most obvious, least used and/or useful feature on any of the AVRs that any of us are using.

    Ask yourself: When was the last time I listened to AM radio through a SOTA AVR.

    well since I live in Belgium, which is noticably smaller than the USA, all the radio stations here are in FM (hooray!) the only stations in AM are some news channels, for those people who are on vacation in let's say Germany or maybe Austria and want to know what's going on in their country, and some dumb french posts where that didn't invent FM yet...

    so the last time I tried listening to AM radio was a few months ago, trying to receive BBC radio 1, I failed, and now I don't use it anymore...


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  13. #13
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markw
    I don't use any DSP modes on my Denon 2802 and I rarely engage DPL or Neo. I do, however, use the 5 channel stereo mode when I'm having people over because it allows me to disperse music throughout the room fairly evenly.
    I hear ya mark...my former Denon 2801 had a fantastic 5 channel stereo...i would use this for hockey games and when friends gathered. Since that receiver, no 5 or 7 channel stereo mode has come close. Not sure why? Processing i guess.

    On the Dual Mono, i understand this option now, but don't see the benefit in the US or Canada. If this receiver is rolled out internationally, i can see it's benefit. Cheaper to add it to all then to select which markets to add.

    AM radio is a good one, never think about it. They all have the antenna included.

    Another one is the DSP...'HALL' mode....seems like this is included on most receivers and it never sounds 'real'...more like sitting in a train station with music pumping.

  14. #14
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recoveryone
    Hey woo, sounds like you would enjoy a squeeze box, its able to stream talk raido, sports....etc in much better sound quality than AM. But AM does give you that old school feel/sound. Baseball is the only sport to me that benefits from radio. They make sound so exciting, but on TV its right up there with golf. And I love to play both sports, just not a watching fan.
    Problem with streaming feeds is that they are usually so far behind the action that they're useless for simulcasting with what I watch on TV (sometimes the online audio is almost a minute behind the live TV broadcast). Plus, a lot of radio game broadcasts are contractually blacked out on local stations' internet feeds.

    I'll agree with you that baseball benefits from radio, but often I much prefer the play-by-play guys on the radio over the windbags on the TV side, no matter what the sport I'm watching. For example, with Monday Night Football, I'll gladly take Westwood One/CBS Radio's syndicated radio broadcast with Marv Albert and Boomer Esiason over the ESPN guys anyday.

    I might wind up getting a Squeezebox anyway, but it would be for other reasons.
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  15. #15
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel_
    On the Dual Mono, i understand this option now, but don't see the benefit in the US or Canada. If this receiver is rolled out internationally, i can see it's benefit. Cheaper to add it to all then to select which markets to add.
    Features can be disabled and/or modified for different markets. For example, FM tuners for the North American market step up or down in 0.2 MHz increments and always end on an odd number (e.g., 92.1 or 106.7), while the tuners in the U.K. and some other countries will end in an even number (e.g., 93.4 or 105.8).

    The dual mono feature is actually very old school -- somewhat handy for listening to old recordings where the different instruments are totally segregated into one channel or the other, and you want to focus your listening on one channel. I also have some Hong Kong films on VCD, and it's bizarre hearing two different languages coming out of the L and R speakers.
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  16. #16
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    AM-FM tuner,don't use it,don't evem know if it works.My Cambridge is,pretty bare feature wise and thats just how i like it.It has a few dsp modes,that i never use so they could go.Were i in the market for a new reciever my wish list would be,dual multichannel inputs,no video switching,no on screen display,no auto set up,DTs-neo6 i would like.Soend all the money on the sound not on features that seldom get used and are just for convienence.

    bill

  17. #17
    nightflier
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    On the list of features that are not well implemented:

    - OSD that only works with Composite/SVideo (Outlaw)
    - Remotes with features not accessible on the front of the receiver (many)
    - Individual cross-over setting for each of 7-channels, but no indication that this is so (HK)
    - HD through DVI but no HDMI (Outlaw)
    - 6.1 SACD/DVD-A inputs that are not seperate from the DVD inputs (Onkyo)
    - Proprietary communications between components (DaVid, U-Bus, etc.)
    - Wattage ratings that are inflated (Yamaha, Pioneer, Sony)
    - Only one HD/Cable radio option, i.e. XM but no Sirius (Yamaha)
    - Proprietary remote buttons that can't be programmed into a universal remote (many)

    I suppose this is becoming a list of gripes, so I'll stop with that.

    The least used feature in my home is dual-zones, because it requires compromizing the rear channels and too many steps in the OSD that I CAN'T SEE ANYHOW!!!

    Sorry, I just had to get that out...

  18. #18
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    On the list of features that are not well implemented:

    - OSD that only works with Composite/SVideo (Outlaw)
    - Remotes with features not accessible on the front of the receiver (many)
    - Individual cross-over setting for each of 7-channels, but no indication that this is so (HK)
    - HD through DVI but no HDMI (Outlaw)
    - 6.1 SACD/DVD-A inputs that are not seperate from the DVD inputs (Onkyo)
    - Proprietary communications between components (DaVid, U-Bus, etc.)
    - Wattage ratings that are inflated (Yamaha, Pioneer, Sony)
    - Only one HD/Cable radio option, i.e. XM but no Sirius (Yamaha)
    - Proprietary remote buttons that can't be programmed into a universal remote (many)

    I suppose this is becoming a list of gripes, so I'll stop with that.

    The least used feature in my home is dual-zones, because it requires compromizing the rear channels and too many steps in the OSD that I CAN'T SEE ANYHOW!!!

    Sorry, I just had to get that out...
    I feel your pain. A lot of those shortcomings are indeed on my receiver as well. But, I would add that many of these shortcomings get remedied on later model updates. Ultimately, it's a matter of whether you're willing to wait things out until these issues get resolved, or if these issues are significant enough that you will buy a new receiver that addresses these issues. For example, my receiver does not support any type of video conversion -- it's all straight pass-through on the composite, S-vid, and component video links. Yes, it's an inconvenience, but at that time nearly all of the receivers on the market were designed with a straight pass-through on the video switching. Five years later, you can hardly find any receivers introduced in the past year that lack any kind video conversion.

    Same thing with the OSD. Right now, nearly all receivers introduced in the last year with OSD will display it with the component video output. The current issue with a lot of receivers is that they don't output the OSD with the HDMI output. But, as with other issues, I would expect this situation to change a lot by this time next year.

    A lot of the gripes you have with proprietary formats and limited interoperability I think will soon go by the wayside as more components implement HDMI 1.3. Proprietary digital outputs like the iLink connections were a necessary evil when SACD and DVD-A saddled those formats with copy protection/digital output restrictions. Now that those formats are included in the HDMI spec, the proprietary copy protection workarounds are no longer needed.

    Another less oft-mentioned feature with HDMI 1.3 is the ability to interoperably control multiple components. For example, if a receiver and a compatible DVD player are connected together with a HDMI cable, then the receiver remote can also be used to control the DVD player and vice versa. Until the first HDMI 1.3 receivers start arriving in stores, I have no idea if this feature will be implemented. Again, proprietary IR remote codes were needed to keep different devices from interfering with one another, hence the need for the hundreds of ID codes that need to be programmed into universal remotes. But, the HDMI control function would eliminate this bottleneck.

    The XM/Sirius split I think is another issue that will resolve itself fairly soon. Pioneer just announced a receiver with a dual XM/Sirius tuner, but that happens to be the ONLY component on the market with a dual tuner. This will become more commonplace, just not yet.

    As far as inflated wattage ratings go, that's partly true. If you're talking about a 7 x 100 watts receiver being able to output 700 watts on an all-channels driven test, that's definitely true. Then again, nearly all multichannel receivers short of the flagship models don't even come close on the all-channels driven test.

    It's not just an issue with Yamaha, Sony, and Pioneer -- it's the vast majority of multichannel components. The catch here is that multichannel components are not legally required to output 700 watts if the output specs say "7 x 100 watts." Each individual channel IS required to output 100 watts, but there's no requirement that they all do so simultaneously. Even the Outlaw 1070 claims 7 x 80 watts even though the all-channels driven output is 65 watts/channel (which to their credit, they do publish as well). You could say that's deceptive, but it's a loophole that most manufacturers have taken advantage of to some degree. Closing the loophole and implementing an output reporting standard similar to the FTC spec used with mono and stereo amps/receivers is the only way to resolve this.

    For me, dual zone output is pretty useless, but I know others who use the dual zones all the time.
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  19. #19
    nightflier
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    Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if Outlaw has an HDMI 1.3 pre/pro in the works? I sure would like to upgrade my setup to HDMI and can live with their other shortcomings, I think.

  20. #20
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    Maybe I have bad taste or we are just lucky in "Tha D" but I like the Fox Sports Net Detroit announcers on TV during regular season play (actually both the Detroit FSN playbyplay guys have won emmys). When the Tigers went to the series, I was totally bummed that they switched to national coverage and announcers. After any of the playoff or series games that were on the network, we would switch to FSN for the "real" coverage. The Tigers had been ignored and disregarded for so long that the national coverage was almost unwatchable because nobody knew what to say to fill time. .("Who are these F'ing guys?" to paraphrase Minor League.)

    ... I miss Ernie Harwell.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    It's not just an issue with Yamaha, Sony, and Pioneer -- it's the vast majority of multichannel components. The catch here is that multichannel components are not legally required to output 700 watts if the output specs say "7 x 100 watts." Each individual channel IS required to output 100 watts, but there's no requirement that they all do so simultaneously. Even the Outlaw 1070 claims 7 x 80 watts even though the all-channels driven output is 65 watts/channel (which to their credit, they do publish as well). You could say that's deceptive, but it's a loophole that most manufacturers have taken advantage of to some degree. Closing the loophole and implementing an output reporting standard similar to the FTC spec used with mono and stereo amps/receivers is the only way to resolve this.

    For me, dual zone output is pretty useless, but I know others who use the dual zones all the time.
    I gotta agree on Dual Zone. Never used it. Just get another stereo or minisystem. But, I guess if all your music is digitized on a hard drive it could make sense to use dual zone.

    As for watts, I understand the concern and frustration with published specs, but I think its alot of hand wringing over nothing. I don't think I've ever driven my amp past 30 watts (measured by meters on the amp, which I've cross referenced with db meter and published sensitivity specs FWIW). Sure, sub amps might be jumping into the hundreds of watts, but not my mains. If you really need 100 true watts coming from a rear surround, you're missing the point. For the life of me, I just can't figure out these cats that claim to be rockin' 1000 watt pro amps through high efficency speakers. What are they listening to?
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  22. #22
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    i used dual zone alot...had a 5.1 setup in my living room and a pair of speakers on my deck. I could listen to a CD changer on the deck and my wife could watch a movie in 5.1. Pretty easy with the supplied second zone remote.

    but as mentioned before, if you run 7.1, forget it unless you buy the big boy receivers.

    i hear ya on Sirius. I have a subcription, but can't use my new Pioneer cause of Xm only?

  23. #23
    nightflier
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    Slump,

    I'm not saying I need 1000W, but when you're driving full towers in the front, it sure helps to have the extra juice. Another example where the extra power would come in handy is with flat panel speakers. I've been playing with Magnepan's entry level wall mounts and I can say that they sound much better with more watts. I know that not too many people own these, but with their price-point so low and from what I've heard through these, I can't believe that more people aren't at least trying them out.

    Also, getting back to the dual-zone thing, I wholeheartily agree that a different system is the way to go. If you need to share your digital music collection, just connect a few of the many cheap wireless adapters to the inputs.

  24. #24
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    No, no, I didn't think you were. I was just kinda ribbing the power hounds and the companies that market to them. I was thinking more of the guys using the 1200 watt Pyles that they got for $200 at the flea market. From my recollection of your posts, you have tasty equipment.
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  25. #25
    nightflier
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    Slump,

    Thanks for the compliment. I actually have a Spectron 1 amp that can clean the clock of any of my other amps in terms of power. Unfortunately it's on the fritz and is going back to the factory for a tune-up. I've never had a chance to hook up larger panels, but I'm keeping that amp just in case I do get a pair some day.

    But yes, for everyday use, I doubt I really need more than 20-30W. Nowadays I rarely turn the volume past 1/4 turn anymore because of the kids (and a few letters from the HOA). I even caught myself complaining about the neighbor's music last summer. I must be getting old...

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