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  1. #1
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    Receiver Shopping 101

    I'm feeling extremely frustrated. I'm looking for a receiver in the $800-900 price range. That's retail Canadian $$. These receivers would be between $500-$700 in the U.S.

    I'm completely new to this scene and don't know on what basis to make my selection. So far I have considered the Onkyo TX-SR604, the HK-AVR245, the Denon AVR-887, and a couple of Yamaha Models. I'm honestly baffled. How do you choose one over another? They all seem like reliable brands with a good feature set (HDMI switching except the Yamaha) with 7.1 inputs and some decent current. I've leaned in all directions and don't know which way to comit. What should I be looking for?

    I listen to a lot of easy-listening, vocal-oriented music like Michael Buble, Josh Groban, Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, John Mayer. I like to hear the details in their voices. That said, I also watch a lot of movies.

    PS - I realize that at this price point I can't be all that picky.

  2. #2
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    You have some nice choices picked out. Have you listened to them to see if you hear a difference? Try to use same brand speakers and CD player if possible. Check the remote, the menu, etc. to see if either is more user friendly. I believe that Onkyo offers a pretty safisticated auto set up feature in that unit, if you are a novis. I like the amp section of the Onkyo, but if you like Easy Listening you may enjoy the warmth of the Yamaha. Preamp outputs are a good feature for future expansion. Just take your time and get familiar with your choices, something will sway you.

    Do you have any other equipment yet, like speakers or sources?
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  3. #3
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I like the high current amp in the onkyo. Check web prices on the onkyo 704 and 804 models. I've seen the onkyo 804 for $699. I've also seen the Denon 3806 for $799. That would be my top choice for under $1000. Its an audiophile quality receiver , check the reviews on it. But all the receivers your looking at are good. Check out www.butterflyphoto.com they have the denon avr 3806 for $792 the onkyo SR804 for $629 and the 604 for $321. I'm not a fan of HK. I'm sure their products are good, but if you look at the weight of a HK receiver compared to other high end receivers the HK's feel flimsy. Heavier receivers = larger power supplies, transformers and heat sinks in general.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    I'm not a fan of HK. I'm sure their products are good, but if you look at the weight of a HK receiver compared to other high end receivers the HK's feel flimsy. Heavier receivers = larger power supplies, transformers and heat sinks in general.
    I like the features and cosmetic appeal of the HK but you're right, sound quality is much more important to me than anything else. I always knew HK was rated for lower wattage than the others but I just figured it was an HK marketing thing. That's good to know about their power supplies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    You have some nice choices picked out. Have you listened to them to see if you hear a difference?
    I heard both the Onkyo and the Denon powering Klipsche speakers (though not the exact same ones). The Denon seemed to have a little more detail for sound effects and those intricate treble tones. It just seemed really 3 dimensional to me and I liked that. Especially since I'm going to be mating my receiver to four mission 780's with silk-domes for the next six months until I can afford my Paradigm Monitors (metal domes). To me the Onkyo had a warmer kind of noise and it seemed to tame the harsh Klipsche RF-62 horns it was powering. Sound processing for movies didn't seem to be quite as dramatic. The intricate details were there, but seemed to be more part of the rest of the noise, where as the Denon seemed to extend those details to be more noticeable.

    As you can probably tell I liked the sound of the Denon a little better than the Onkyo, but I can get a way better price on the Onkyo for still a great receiver. Plus I've never heard the Denon drive anything besides Klipsche synergy crap. I've never heard the Onkyo power anything but horns and Jamo silks. My parents had a Denon AVR-4806 so I'm both used to the sound, and probably biased towards it too.

    I've heard a couple of Yamahas in this price range but only powering Polk Audio soft-dome stuff that I really wasn't impressed with. I know for a fact it wasn't the receiver though. There was a flaw in the set-up, not to mention quite average speakers.

    I've never heard the HK.

    Do the receiver companies have a kind of trade-mark noise to them? If so what general characteristics can expect from their output driving say Paradigm Monitor 7's or 9's, or another metal-dome tweater?

  5. #5
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    I'm not a fan of HK receivers at all - but that's a personal preference thing. However - they aren't poorly built at all, use quality parts and definitely have beefy power supplies. I don't find they feel any more flimsy than other comparable models.

    You'll find Denon, Yamaha, and Onkyo offer very similar sound presentation with features separating the 3 these days. Yamaha use to sound a bit brighter, but they redesigned their platforms a few years back and have a more neutral/flat presentation.

    Palmz - where in Canada are you - I highly recommend you consider buying from the US if you can - for some reason speakers are cheaper here (after conversion) and receivers cheaper in the USA. If you're close to the border, a trip south could be worthwhile just for the duty-free exemption. I saved about $250-$300 cdn buying my Yamaha in the US last year. Even if you have to ship it, it could still be worthwhile. I've recommended Jr.com to several of my friends - not a problem yet. Though if you look for a price quote, you're better off to phone the sales dept than to use the web prices - for some reason they quote even better prices on receivers (or have in our cases).
    I like the Pioneer VSX-1016 as a value leader, in addition to models from the brands you've already mentioned. It's built on Pioneer's "Elite" model line platform, and not outclassed by any of these receivers at all.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Palmz - where in Canada are you - I highly recommend you consider buying from the US if you can - for some reason speakers are cheaper here (after conversion) and receivers cheaper in the USA. If you're close to the border, a trip south could be worthwhile just for the duty-free exemption. I saved about $250-$300 cdn buying my Yamaha in the US last year. Even if you have to ship it, it could still be worthwhile. I've recommended Jr.com to several of my friends - not a problem yet. Though if you look for a price quote, you're better off to phone the sales dept than to use the web prices - for some reason they quote even better prices on receivers (or have in our cases).
    I like the Pioneer VSX-1016 as a value leader, in addition to models from the brands you've already mentioned. It's built on Pioneer's "Elite" model line platform, and not outclassed by any of these receivers at all.
    I'm in Calgary, and I travel to Las Vegas about once a month. My plan is to pick up my entire set-up south of the border. You are bang-on about savin cash that way. If I buy the Denon 887 I'll save about $400 by buying it down there. As long as the Canadian dollar stays strong its very worth while to do it that way.

    The bonus about the US is circuit city. A Best-Buy-like major distributor that carries some good names including Denon, Onkyo, Yamaha, and a couple HK models. I think Jr.com usually beats their prices but then you factor in shipping, circuit city might be the best way to go.

    The 1016 is another one I've considered. I've heard it's great value, and I could pick it up in Vegas for a song.

  7. #7
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    My hope is that I can hear the Denon and Onkyo side by side in Vegas this weekend. I know that CC won't be able to have a good room to show them in accoustically, but at least I'll get a feel for their differences.

  8. #8
    Oldest join date recoveryone's Avatar
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    better get your passport in order, The US will be cracking down on all things going in and out of the US starting next month.
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  9. #9
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    I haven't heard HK receivers since A/V started going strong but their stereo receivers were some of the best, all discrete circuitry and high current output. The low power ratings may have been marketing but what ever rating they gave could easily keep up with other receivers with twice the power rating. I'd hope they kept their integrity. But seeing how Harmon Inc has let some of their other lines go down hill, I wouldn't be surprised.
    Mark Levinson #512
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by recoveryone
    better get your passport in order, The US will be cracking down on all things going in and out of the US starting next month.
    Oh, I'm an American at heart. My wife and her family are all Americans and over half of my extended family live in the southwest of the country. It's about time the border became more stringent on their policies, not that they need to be as concerned about smuggling from Canada. I guess terrorist penetration can be an issue from the north, but it's illegal immigration from the South, not to mention drug traffic. I just want to bring my new audio toy home. Thank goodness for free trade.


    Hey, how do you guys feel about Ebay shopping for receivers? Like after I've heard them all and have decided on what I want should I consider it? What about refurbs? You see my wallet says Onkyo, but I think my heart is saying Denon. Does THIS look risky?


    They are LISTED as an authorized refurb dealer.

    http://www.usa.denon.com/OnlineETailers.asp

  11. #11
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I bought a B stock Adcom receiver and saved $800. It came with a 3 yr manufacturer warranty instead of the 5yr. It was worth the savings. As long as you get a manufacturers warranty go for it. Check out www.spearitsound.com
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
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  12. #12
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Hey palmz,

    Right now is a pretty confusing time to buy a receiver. There's a lot to consider. I don't know if you are considering moving into Hd formats anytime soon but with hdmi 1.3 on the horizon and no promise of backwards compatability, video switching capabilities may be something of a mixed-bag. That is to say what works optimally today may be yesterday's news pretty quickly.

    I can confirm Mr. P's assertion about Onkyo's user-friendly atributes. I own a Yammy and an Onkyo and recently jetissoned a Denon. The Onkyo has been by far the most user friendly of the bunch. IMO you should make it a point to mess around with some display models (and the remotes) as whatever you choose should be easy for you to operate.

    At this price point you can't go too terribly wrong so good luck with whatever you choose. Let us know how it works out.


    Cheers

  13. #13
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    Lightbulb

    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    Right now is a pretty confusing time to buy a receiver. There's a lot to consider. I don't know if you are considering moving into Hd formats anytime soon but with hdmi 1.3 on the horizon and no promise of backwards compatability, video switching capabilities may be something of a mixed-bag. That is to say what works optimally today may be yesterday's news pretty quickly.
    And that is a very pressing issue as well. I mentioned that in another thread...how it seems we're kind of in a technology junction right now. DVD stepping aside for High-def formats and even DD and DTS evolving into Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD. New decoders are obviously in the coming generation of receivers, as well as HDMI 1.3. I know if I get an AVR-887 that I'll want to keep it for at least a few years before upgrading. My wife actually thinks that I should get an entry-level receiver for under $500 and then upgrade to something really nice in about a year or so.

    Just watch though...I'll wait for a DTS-HD decoding receiver and then a year later DTS-HD ES will be all the rage!

    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    I can confirm Mr. P's assertion about Onkyo's user-friendly atributes. I own a Yammy and an Onkyo and recently jetissoned a Denon. The Onkyo has been by far the most user friendly of the bunch. IMO you should make it a point to mess around with some display models (and the remotes) as whatever you choose should be easy for you to operate
    A good buddy of mine installs HT's and gets contractor rates on Onkyo products. He's offered to get me a discounted price and help me get it all set up. That's one reason he loves them, their ease of use. The store he buys from has a much broader selection of speakers than the places I've demo'd them at. I'm going to try to team the 604 with something similar to what I'll be buying to see how it sounds.

    Do you guys think that when the new HD video formats and lossless audio formats are featured on the next-gen receivers that the current gen will just tank in resale? Just curious.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    jetissoned
    lol...I had to dictionary.com that one.

  14. #14
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    Well I'm off to Vegas guys. Business all day Thursday and pleasure all day Friday. I'm married so pleasure in Vegas just means dropping into Circuit City and visiting some friends and family. I'll be checking this thread again on Friday just in case anyone has any further wisdom for me. Maybe I'll buy something while I'm there.

  15. #15
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    Pioneer elite VSX-81txv got mine for $875 cad awesome!!!!

  16. #16
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    Palmz
    If buying in us make sure the warranty will travel north with you.Saving a couple of hundred bucks may not be worth bit if you have no warranty.

    bill

  17. #17
    AR Regular Registered Member evil__betty's Avatar
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    check your private messages! There should be one waiting for you.

  18. #18
    Crank it up, dude! huh? hydroman's Avatar
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    And much to my chagrin - Denon would not honor my warranty (my Denon AVR345 smoked - non repairable) - because i bought from an 'unauthorized vendor'.

    BUT - i paid with AMEX - and they will pay to replace - 'Purchase Protection' adds another year to the warranty - keep receipts and billing statement!

    So when does my Harmon kardon AVR645 arrive? [stamping foot impatiently]
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  19. #19
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    I'm still in Vegas, flying back to Calgary this afternoon. I stepped into a place called Frey's Electronics on Saturday. It was the perfect set-up! There were about 12 different types of speakers all set up with push-button selectors, as well as EACH of the receivers I'm considering. Here's what I found out:

    The Denon 887 and Onkyo 674, which both have VERY similar feature-sets were the same price at $699.99US. The HK 245 and the Onkyo 604, which both have VERY similar feature-sets were also the same price at $499.99US. I first compared the 887 and the 604 to see if it was worth spending 200US more for the receiver. I was surprised to find the 604 simpling blowing the 887 away in sound clarity and quality at high volume levels. That was kind of sad because I've been so impressed with Denon. I can only assume that the settings on the receivers were clearly different from one-another. the Denon must have been fiddled with because it wasn't just different in sound, it was completely inferior (it was the only Denon receiver running so I wasn't able to compare to verify). Either way, I know I won't be unhappy with the Onkyo 604. I then compared it to the HK 245. They sounded noticably different from one another. The HK seemed to seperate the sounds more, but wasn't quite as alive as the Onkyo. I'm not sure exactly which I liked better, so I'll be going in today for one last listen. I also tested a Yamaha in this price range and it sounded great but was playing a different source so I couldn't really compare apples to apples.

    I'm not sure if Frey's is a big chain but I've never been so pleased with service and selection. They have two rooms with a good 25-30 receivers in each, and with a push of a button you can compare anything you want. It's awesome!

  20. #20
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    Talk to you guys again in Calgary.

  21. #21
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    Frye's kick a$$ - I've been to their store in Scottsdale - it is amazing

    I can easily spend about 2 hrs there

    I have the Denon 2307Ci and highly recommend it

  22. #22
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    Well sadly I never was able to get back to Frey's. I spent most of my time thereafter visiting some old friends, one of whom was recently diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. I opted to visit with her instead of demo receivers as she sadly has less than six months to live.

    I DID learn something that I think is vitally important for anyone buying a receiver: they sound different from eachother. It really is worth taking time to shop and listen for what is right for YOU.

    I think at this point I'll either be going with the 604, or just abandoning the price point and getting something about $200-250 for now, and then getting something around $1000 a year from now.

  23. #23
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    Welcome to the elite who can actually hear a difference between components.

    Sorry, for your friend. I have a nephew who has cancer. An MD was going to send him home with 6 to 8 months to live but luckily the onocologist caught them before they left and told him he could give him a 70% chance. The MD gave him and his family several rough hours.
    Mark Levinson #512
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    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
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    PS Audio Quintet

  24. #24
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    Wow, that's insane Mr. Peabody! It just goes to show how much Doctors sometimes DON'T KNOW. Thank God for that Onocologist, and God bless your nephew in his battle.

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