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  1. #1
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    Are Pioneer, Panasonic Recievers Crap?

    Okay, I'm just asking. Pioneer & Panasonic av receivers are looked down upon by the "audiophile" community. My question is- why? I see great consumer recommendations (on the audioreview site), and sites like CNET, Sound & Vision, Consumer Reports, etc. Equipment like the Panny SAHE 100, 200, Pioneer VSX-D811, 912, 914, 1014. So what gives? I hear the lower end Onkyo and Yamaha (some of their HTR series are made in CHINA with a 1 as opposed to 2 year warranty on their rxv stuff) is not made as well as it used to be. Even HK is using China to manufacture their stuff. I thought that meant low quality. Most everyone else (below $1000) makes their stuff in Malaysia or Indonesia. I've had a Pioneer VSX-D411 for almost three years with no problems. As I've said before, I use it to mostly watch movies, not for music. That's probably because I work in radio and am pretty much sick of music by the end of the day. So, someone please tell me why anything other than Onkyo, Yamaha, Denon, etc. sucks! I know it's subjective, Outlaw and NAD fans hate Yam & Onk. Are people just stuck on name recognition? I just want some serious insight on this matter. Are audiophiles experts, or just snobs?

  2. #2
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Pioneer is right there with Yamaha,Denon, Onkyo and the rest of the.. Panasonic,imo is a step below. Nobody says the others suck as much as the first three i listed are the ones most bought i think. I think Kenwood,Panasonic,JVC to name a few would be a step down but for maybe the top reciever in each of those lines but i'm not sure on that. There's nothing wrong with the lower ones,its just the others are better just like there are higher end lines better the the first few i listed and would be a step down from those. Now if i'm full of it,i'm sure somebody will let you know as this is just mo.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    Pioneer is right there with Yamaha,Denon, Onkyo and the rest of the.. Panasonic,imo is a step below. Nobody says the others suck as much as the first three i listed are the ones most bought i think. I think Kenwood,Panasonic,JVC to name a few would be a step down but for maybe the top reciever in each of those lines but i'm not sure on that. There's nothing wrong with the lower ones,its just the others are better just like there are higher end lines better the the first few i listed and would be a step down from those. Now if i'm full of it,i'm sure somebody will let you know as this is just mo.
    Thanks for your opinion. I know Pioneer may not be as "warm" as others, but when listening to different HT systems at reasonably loud volumes, I honestly hear very little difference during movie watching. Maybe my ears are just too "pedestrian" taste-wise to be a true audiophile! Heck, I'm not sure I would replace my Sony speakers (also highly rated) if I could afford it. Thanks again for your input.

  4. #4
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Defshep
    I hear the lower end Onkyo and Yamaha (some of their HTR series are made in CHINA with a 1 as opposed to 2 year warranty on their rxv stuff) is not made as well as it used to be.
    Well, I don't know where the stuff is made exactly, but the HTR/RX-V lines run parallel models, exact same parts used, same warranties, etc...There should be no difference between the equivalent HTR and RX-V models.

    I think too much negative hype is placed on stuff from China...Their quality has improved immensely in just the last few years. Yeah they make crap too, but so does every other country...I don't care where it comes from as long as satisfies my needs.

    As for product quality...Some manufacturers have hit and miss products. I don't think anything is wrong with Panasonic necessarily, but they seem to sell one of everything for cheap, so compromises are probably made somewhere. You get what you pay for.

    A year ago when I was receiver shopping I actually talked to several local shops' repairmen/technicians. All said the exact same thing to me: in the sub $1000 receiver market, Yamaha has always been 2nd to none in terms of quality. Though they aren't perfect themselves. (funny thing is my 1st yamaha receiver did have an issue with static/noise coming through a rear channel). But they all qualified these statements with something to the effect that Denon, Onkyo, H/K etc aren't really that much lower in quality, and 98% of the time there's no issue. How much is quality a real concern then? I wouldn't pay too much of a premium for quality, or base my purchase decision on it at all among these brands.

    I've owned plenty of NAD stuff over the years. My 23 year old NAD integrateds are a lot tougher than the "newer" pieces I've owned...and from all the negative feedback I keep hearing about the 320Bee, I think it's safe to say everyone goes through some bad times.

    Pioneer receivers are usually pretty solid, and from what I hear when something does go wrong there's little hassle in getting the situation resolved.

    Audiophiles are too often a snobby elitist bunch that like to drop a ton of money on feel-good self-gratifying equipment for reasons beyond me. Everyone's equipment is better than everyone else's etc. There are those that would raise their noses in disgust at people who own Outlaw, NAD, Parasound, etc. They get a kick out of visiting web forums and bad mouthing inexpensive, mass-marketed brands as being inferior crap, junk, sounding like this, that, and the other...they're favorite brands sound sooo much better... I just ignore them.

    I'm not surprised you hear little differences between HT receivers...I don't either. In truth I find them all to be very similar sounding until you start adding processing etc, into the mix. Most are rather neutral. H/K to me sounds a bit warm. Not my cup of tea anymore as I find myself listening at lower volumes these days, but my H/K stereo amps took lots of punishment for years while I was in college and only died because of my abuse, I think.

    Speakers however are as different as night and day. Quality is generally good, as less goes wrong other than tolerance matching. But they sound so different from one model to the next that you really have to spend some time in this area. I've never heard of a pair of speakers that, if driven properly and looked after accordingly, wouldn't last for years.

  5. #5
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    Great (& entertaining) assessment! You put into words what I've always suspected. If it sounds good to you, then you should feel good about it. Like many things in life, we get so into impressing others that we're not even sure if WE like it. I guess we're all sheep, just different flocks!

  6. #6
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    I think that genuine differences in sound quality boil down to power supply and parts quality, and advanced features carry a premium in price. Receivers seem to have gained a lot more respect from the big shots over the last ten years or so, and those at lower price points have much more dignity than they once did--especially those from the majors who can afford to load them up. Decent DACs are certainly much less expensive than they used to be. To my mind, power supply, however, is crux of the matter. Low- to mid-level receivers don't have a lot of room, or need, to provide the kind of transformer(s) that would allow them to drive 5 or 6 channels with authority and finesse under every condition, including speakers with 4 ohm loads--let alone traditional stereo to satisfy golden ears. And, though it's been said many times, the more receivers concentrate on bells and whistles (in the form of DSPs, etc.), the less commitment they will have for basic issues of sound quality, which frankly aren't very sexy to non-audiophiles.

    In the end, the typical consumer will come home with something that plays music and soundtracks competently and does a lot of extra things to make him happy without breaking the bank. Everybody else will either pony up for a receiver that costs upward of $5,000 or separate components that may be able to do the job for even less money. Other variables and priorities certainly enter into the picture--such as room size, multi-zones, bass management, types of input/output, curb appeal, etc.--but, to me, power supply and chipset are the deciding factors, and they are all about sound quality. The fact remains, however, that people can do a lot better with a budget receiver/speakers these days than ever before, whatever their level of involvement in this game.

    Ed

  7. #7
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Well put, Ed...I agree with the power supply assessment especially.

    Though, today's speakers are seemingly more and more efficient than those of even a few years back. Even cheap Sony receivers with 180 watt psu's shouldn't have a hard time driving 5 speakers to a 100 dB level in an average room...That's what, maybe a 20 watt load demand total for 8 ohm nominal, 89-90 dB sensitive speakers? Pretty loud for most people.

    The quality of the pre-amp stages in general seems to me to be where receivers make the biggest compromises that affect sound quality. But the newer digital amps seem to be getting rave reviews from traditional audiophiles, maybe the world is changing?

  8. #8
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    Exactly: sheep in different flocks

    My basic answer: snobs, and proud of it.

    My extended answer (with underlying snobbery): Your question is not so much about objective quality across brands and price ranges, but about marketing and how markets are divided up and how brands and price ranges demarcate separate but still overlapping markets. For instance, Consumer reports targets a mass market, so yeah, Panasonic will emerge a victor, but not necessarily king. Sound and Vision has less of a mass market appeal, yet I would argue some overlapp with Consumer Reports. But when you open up Stereophile, obviously we are not in Kansas anymore. So, what you are hearing is the rhetoric of market-coding which acts similar to class coding. (Cars would be a good analogy here). I wrote in a previous thread about Best Buy vs. Magnolia Audio that it seemed given Magnolia's stock, they were trying to appeal to a different market than BB, but given my experience of crappy and uninformed customer service and their suspect inclusion of Bose, that their attempt to appeal to a different market ultimately fails. I set up a friend of mine with a basic surround package, including a lower end of the line Yamaha receiver that I started out with and he's happy with it. I told him I just bought some new speakers and he said I was crazy and there would be no difference in sound. Of course, there's a difference in sound, but the point is that our exchange arises because we're in two different makets for audio equipment. In our highly commericialized and consumer culture, all us of are susceptible to desire a self-image that comes with buying certain brands in certain price ranges. I would argue that it is impossible to set aside concerns of image and which market you wish to belong to in the process of analyzing receiver quality differences. One can only be aware of this factor and limit its power in the decision making process.

  9. #9
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul_pci
    My basic answer: snobs, and proud of it.

    My extended answer (with underlying snobbery): Your question is not so much about objective quality across brands and price ranges, but about marketing and how markets are divided up and how brands and price ranges demarcate separate but still overlapping markets. For instance, Consumer reports targets a mass market, so yeah, Panasonic will emerge a victor, but not necessarily king. Sound and Vision has less of a mass market appeal, yet I would argue some overlapp with Consumer Reports. But when you open up Stereophile, obviously we are not in Kansas anymore. So, what you are hearing is the rhetoric of market-coding which acts similar to class coding. (Cars would be a good analogy here). I wrote in a previous thread about Best Buy vs. Magnolia Audio that it seemed given Magnolia's stock, they were trying to appeal to a different market than BB, but given my experience of crappy and uninformed customer service and their suspect inclusion of Bose, that their attempt to appeal to a different market ultimately fails. I set up a friend of mine with a basic surround package, including a lower end of the line Yamaha receiver that I started out with and he's happy with it. I told him I just bought some new speakers and he said I was crazy and there would be no difference in sound. Of course, there's a difference in sound, but the point is that our exchange arises because we're in two different makets for audio equipment. In our highly commericialized and consumer culture, all us of are susceptible to desire a self-image that comes with buying certain brands in certain price ranges. I would argue that it is impossible to set aside concerns of image and which market you wish to belong to in the process of analyzing receiver quality differences. One can only be aware of this factor and limit its power in the decision making process.
    Ugghh...freshman marketing revisted

    Great post, paul_pci, though I would respectfully submit that you can further subdivide the population into 2 groups...those that do care about which "class" they belong too, and those that really don't (and probably a third: those that aren't even aware there are separate classes or markets for this stuff).

    Then there's those that spend more time reading about, talking about, arguing about, shopping for, and preaching about than actually using the equipment they have....

  10. #10
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    CR is more for general public and the real A/V mags are for the more,in the know public. There are people that can care less about cars,bicycle and A/V and others that care alot more.You can divide them into class or just caring more about something then rewg joe blow.
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  11. #11
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    I would not be too quick to categorize people.

    Or. if you do, go by THEIR needs, not OUR expectations.

    I think is where this thred has been heading but just wanted to firm up that direction.

    I've got a lady friend who is a traveling missionary. She doesn't have much money (she has to do her own fund raising), travels extensively (from those funds) but does love music when she's home. Likewise, she does some serious entertaining as well.

    So, what did I recommend for her? An $80 Sherwood two channel unit from Best Buy. It's not the latest tech but it does have a buncha FM presets (if ya can figger out how to set 'em!), a remote control and enough extra inputs so she can play her DVD/VCR through it when she's doing presentations and simply entertaining friends. I got her some closeout Advent Jade tower speakers about 5 years ago and they sound quite nice.

    A few years ago she went out and bought (without asking) their $80 KLH stereo receiver forthesame price as the Sherwood. Wotta POS. It stopped working a few months ago. Enterthe Sherwood.

    Not an impressive hi buck system, but for it's intended audience it's more than enough to satisfy. ...and it's dirt cheap as well.

    My stepson has two kids in a tiny apartment in the city. HE picked up a Panasonic HE-100 (?) receivertwo yearsago and it's more than keeping him happy. HE's got a set of tiny Panasonic speakers (and a small powered sub) running off of it and, you know what? In that room, it sounds pret-ty durn nice. Anything more in that room would be a waste.

    So, I'd say some prodicts hit smack dab in the middle oft their intended market. To try to "talk up" someone to someone else's standards (mine, for instance) is something that I've always tried to stay away from. Find their needs and work within those constraints.

    To spend more of a friend's money than you need to for them to achieve happiness and satisfaction is abusing a friendship.

    And, you know what? Whenever I'm at their places and listen to music or watch a movie I don't analyze their sytems. They are both more than adequate sound wise so I can simply relax and enjoy the show.

  12. #12
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    WOW! Information overload! I gotta tell you, this is definitely the place for lively discussion. This has all been very helpful, and everyone makes some pretty good points. I think I can safetly say that as long I have to double my family room as my HT room, Pioneer will probably suit my needs. But when I'm rich (no longer in radio), I'll have my dream system. I can be happy with a mid level setup for now, though. Can I still hang with you guys? Can't we all just get along?

  13. #13
    Forum Regular Weister42's Avatar
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    Technics!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Defshep
    WOW! Information overload! I gotta tell you, this is definitely the place for lively discussion. This has all been very helpful, and everyone makes some pretty good points. I think I can safetly say that as long I have to double my family room as my HT room, Pioneer will probably suit my needs. But when I'm rich (no longer in radio), I'll have my dream system. I can be happy with a mid level setup for now, though. Can I still hang with you guys? Can't we all just get along?
    I own two Technics amplifier and I have never had a problem with it, the silver one is about 25 years old and running at 2 ohm stereo for my subs! Technics is a subdivision of Panasonic and their products are excellent for the price, the new receivers all carry the Panasonic badge even though Technics and Panny are made by the same company. IMO Technics and Panasonic are great deals with real world power, and they look great!

    Ya just go out and try to find a gold and a silver aluminum-faced receivers...goooooood luck

  14. #14
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by Weister42
    I own two Technics amplifier and I have never had a problem with it, the silver one is about 25 years old and running at 2 ohm stereo for my subs! Technics is a subdivision of Panasonic and their products are excellent for the price, the new receivers all carry the Panasonic badge even though Technics and Panny are made by the same company. IMO Technics and Panasonic are great deals with real world power, and they look great!

    Ya just go out and try to find a gold and a silver aluminum-faced receivers...goooooood luck
    What is real world power?
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  15. #15
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    What is real world power?
    I'm assuming that it is the opposite of impotence in the fake world.

  16. #16
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Your making a large assumption

    Quote Originally Posted by Defshep
    Okay, I'm just asking. Pioneer & Panasonic av receivers are looked down upon by the "audiophile" community. My question is- why? I see great consumer recommendations (on the audioreview site), and sites like CNET, Sound & Vision, Consumer Reports, etc. Equipment like the Panny SAHE 100, 200, Pioneer VSX-D811, 912, 914, 1014. So what gives? I hear the lower end Onkyo and Yamaha (some of their HTR series are made in CHINA with a 1 as opposed to 2 year warranty on their rxv stuff) is not made as well as it used to be. Even HK is using China to manufacture their stuff. I thought that meant low quality. Most everyone else (below $1000) makes their stuff in Malaysia or Indonesia. I've had a Pioneer VSX-D411 for almost three years with no problems. As I've said before, I use it to mostly watch movies, not for music. That's probably because I work in radio and am pretty much sick of music by the end of the day. So, someone please tell me why anything other than Onkyo, Yamaha, Denon, etc. sucks! I know it's subjective, Outlaw and NAD fans hate Yam & Onk. Are people just stuck on name recognition? I just want some serious insight on this matter. Are audiophiles experts, or just snobs?
    There's really no "audiophile community" consensus on anything. I might be what you consider and "audiophile", and in addition to my STEREO, and HT main setup, I own a low-end receiver too. A lot of the audiophile zines are geared toward STEREO, as opposed to HT, and so you will not find much recommendation from the likes of Stereophile, and The Absolute Sound about HT.

    In today's market, pretty much if you build a receiver that sucks your out of business quick. Even the lower models of Panny, and Pioneer are very serviceable units. I've yet to be able to damage my Pioneer VSX811s, and I'm notorious for toasting equipment. (I once cooked a SX-1280!) No, today's low-end receivers are much better than the old days, and continue to get better.

    Name & brand loyalty plays a big part in people's recommendations. If you have a Yammie, and you like it, your most likely to stick with it and recommend it to others. Same with H/K and the rest. I stuck with Pioneer, and have been happy. Nothing wrong with that.

  17. #17
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    A simple answer to the org question is,i dont see anywhere that Pionner is looked down upon,dont know where that came from. Panasonic just isnt known for there recievers. Thake a poll of 100 people on here and i bet less then 10 or maybe 5 have a panasonic reciever. Having said that,i had one from 73 to 99 and it worked without ever a problem and in 72 it was a nice one but they just went to other stuff and stayed pretty basic with there recievers. I think they only make 7 or 8 recievers and the highest price one is 5 or 600 bucks. Most are under 300 when i see them.
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  18. #18
    Forum Regular Weister42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul_pci
    I'm assuming that it is the opposite of impotence in the fake world.
    I've used Sony, Pioneer, Kenwood, Fsher, RCA and Mitsubishi a/v receivers and none came close to my Technics in terms of the ability to drive low impedance speakers, I guess none of these receivers are considered "hi-end" but these receivers are within the same price range as my Technics. With the same pair of big AAL towers, Sony & Kenwood lacked deep bass, Pioneer went into overload , Mitsubishi couldn't juice out enough power to reach the same dB, and surprisingly the old Fisher did the job all night long but was very noisy.

    I listen to hiphop and action movies everyday and I like it very loud(well at least whenever none of my roommates are home), I mean loud as breaking 110dB constantly according to my Radioshack SPL meter...I lean towards my Technics b/c it looks good and has never failed a job on me since I bought it

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    Yeah, I was really leaning toward the Panny SAHE 200 or the Pioneer VSX-D912. I really like the connection options on both. Since I have a PIO and have had no problems with it, it would be easy to stick with the name. The 912 has the same features as the 914, for $100 less because it's an older model. Panasonic's model LOOKS awesome, and I hear the sound is considerably warmer, but mostly for music. I'm only ever gonna run 8ohm speakers in either, so overloading will probably not be a problem. Just a recommendation, Sony has a pretty good line of cheap speakers. I'm using the mb, mf, cn series for my home theater without a sub. My tower mf650h's have considerable bass during the opening sequence of LOTR Fellowship of the Ring. The scene where the ring wipes the armies out actually sounds as deep as a sub with these! I'm just sayin...
    The deal is, until all my kids grow up, it's much easier to have a few hundred bucks invested in a system as opposed to a couple of grand. Everyone knows how to use the Pioneer, so simplicity may be the way to go for now. Thanks again to everyone in here being so cool!

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