View Poll Results: What receiver feature is most important to you when buying? (Select 2 options)

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  • Stereo power

    4 23.53%
  • Maximum power with "All-Channels Driven"

    4 23.53%
  • Maximum power available to all channels (ie: 100 watts X 7)

    4 23.53%
  • Decoding (PLIIx, DTS ES), DSP's (Concert Halls, Theater modes, etc), 5/6/7 channel stereo

    9 52.94%
  • Inputs/outputs/pre-outs/multi-zone - including # of, type of - how well a receiver controls all your gear...

    6 35.29%
  • Component Video "upconversion", HDMI, etc - Seems to be more emphasis on Video abilities these days...

    3 17.65%
  • Auto-Setup/Parametric EQ (like YPAO, MCACC), general ease of use and setup

    1 5.88%
  • 5.1 vs 6.1 vs 7.1....X.1 - is this critical for you?

    2 11.76%
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  1. #1
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    What do you look for when buying a receiver?

    Okay, so what 1 item is most important to you (right now).

    Your opinion of perceived sound quality is NOT an option here. Everybody believes they have found the best sounding receiver. Maybe everyone has. Let's just assume nobody knowingly buys the 2nd best sounding receiver they can afford...if it sounds the best, there should be a reason for it.

    There's more to it than a subjective opinion of sound quality...let's identify it. What is important to you? What do you look for when choosing a new receiver? What are you looking at now as the most important aspect of your new a/v receiver?

    Is it power? Input/output connection flexibility? Video conversion/HDMI? Something else?

    I think these results will show the different reasons people buy receivers for.

    I'm asking everyone to pick 2 options only...on your honor, just to make this somewhat useful...

    If there's something I've omitted, well, vote anyway, then add it.
    Last edited by kexodusc; 10-27-2005 at 05:41 AM.

  2. #2
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Interesting Kex. We cann't choose the one thing that most everyone will claim is their reason. That makes it tough. OK here goes:

    1 Dependability (I don't want a receiver that will break down, EVER)
    2 Warranty, no Ebay specials for me.
    3 I wanted something more powerful to drive the speakers I had just built. (then I bought new speakers anyhow)
    4 Wanted all the latest HT proccessing. My old stereo hooked up to the VCR wasn't cutting it anymore.
    5 It's got to look good in the rack too. I love the clean look Denon has, but the Yammie looks good too.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  3. #3
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Dammit...Not even finished typing the poll, and Warranty/Reliability is missing from the list already..
    Thanks, GM.

    I think for the most part nobody believes their unit will crap out, and nobody has any guarantee beyond the standard 1 or 2 year warranty....If all brands are created equal in this department (I honestly believe most of the popular brand name receivers will survive their useful life) what else is there...

  4. #4
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Too many companies these days (Sony, Fisher, ...) are living off their name. Meaning that they built good products for a while and built up a reputation of being a quality company. Then they started cutting corners. Less for more. Anything for a profit today, screw tomorrow & the customer. Most of my research went into finding a company that was making a solid product now. Not a few years ago. It seems that almost everyone is offering the same or similar products at any given price point. When one comes out with something new they all follow. Sound quality is all close as well. Power, 120wpc or 130wpc? not much to worry about. 7 channels driven? Don't like the center or rear channels on. They seem to diminish the stereo separation. 4 or 6 channels are fine. (another point for the Yammie for having the extra 2 presence channels up front) 2 main, 2 surround (cut to 50% power) and 2 presence (cut to 33%) seem to give a very good sound to me for 2 channel music.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  5. #5
    Da Dragonball Kid L.J.'s Avatar
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    All the listed options are important, but since you asked to list only 2 I voted for lots of in/outs and video swtching/upconversion. Gotta have some sort of future flexibility. My JVC only has 1 DVI and 2 Component inputs so video switching/upconversion is a huge plus. I could always add a DVD Recorder or another game counsel and have plenty of room for it. I also got a second pair of fronts I like to blast in a separate room so a 2nd zone or A/B speaker selection is a must for me.

  6. #6
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Dammit, Kex! That's a hard freakin' poll!

    I think auto-eq is the most important feature any new avr should have...and yet I didn't vote for it because I'm used to utilizing the good 'ol meter and disc method

    I think decoding is very important because DAC's do indeed sound different...and yet I didn't vote for it because not everyone uses the on-board DAC's for processing.

    Watts are more marketing than anything else so power wasn't even a consideration. Besides, most avr's pale in comparison to separates anyway.

    So we're left with "how well a reciver controlls your gear" and video upconversion. An avr is, more than anything else, a controller. It's what makes life easy enough for your wife to watch Desperate Housewives without pulling you away from American Chopper. Ease of use is key for an avr for "us married guys" and ties directly into the video upconversion. My tv only has one HDMI input. This forced me to choose between plugging the dvd player into it or the HD stb. I shouldn't have to make this choice nor should I have no less than 8(!) cables coming out of my dvd player, not including the power cord. It's a jungle back there. Imagine a world where you chould have one hdmi cable coming out each source feeding into your avr, which in turn has but one hdmi cable routed to your monitor/projector. Now THAT's a clean install .

  7. #7
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) should also have been added to the poll since that will show the accuracy of amplified sound (which is indirectly related to power).

    Having said that, for me power and quality of DAC probably matter most

  8. #8
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    Definately most important is quality build from a company with a good reputation, the rest should fall into place after that.

  9. #9
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    This got the wheels turnin'

    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) should also have been added to the poll since that will show the accuracy of amplified sound (which is indirectly related to power).

    Having said that, for me power and quality of DAC probably matter most
    Interesting...I dont' find THD figures to be very useful at all when I'm evaluating equipment. It's right up there with the "all channels driven" power figure everyone likes to see these days.

    Not that it's not important, but I've seen studies say that humans can't detect THD at 1%, 2% and even 5%. Tube amp lovers will certainly vouch for that.
    At 1%, we're being conservative. Most receivers can deliver a good chunk of power with nowhere near 0.5% THD, in fact I usually see the cheap ones around 0.09% THD. So it's inaudible, and effectively 0 for all intents and purposes, within the receiver's power limitations.

    So now I have to ask Mr. Smokeless, what about THD do you look for specifically? Is there really much difference between 0.09% and 0.06% THD? What am I missing here?

  10. #10
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Actually, I think the number one consideration is the price point, and all of the other factors follow from there.

    When I bought my receiver, I went with the build quality as my primary consideration because I did not notice huge differences in the sound quality when I was comparing the comparably priced Yamaha, Denon, Onkyo, and Marantz models. I knew a little bit about the build quality because a friend of mine worked at an audio store and they kept track of which brands got returned most often with defects. He liked the Yamahas and Denons, but told me to steer clear of the Sonys because of their high failure rate.

    Another factor that I ultimately weighted in my decision was the ergonomics -- i.e. the remote, the OSD, the simplicity of operation.

    But, ultimately for me the deciding factor was actually brand loyalty. I'd owned other Yamaha components that operated flawlessly through heavy usage. It was up to the other receiver manufacturers to give me a compelling reason not to buy another Yamaha. Other people happy with their receivers might take a similar approach at upgrade time.

    Among the items on your list, I think that most comparably priced receivers will be fairly close on most of them except for the auto calibration and video processing functions. Those seem to be the only areas where I still see a lot of differences between different receiver manufacturers. But, the way that the receiver market goes, the feature lists will eventually look almost identical, until one manufacturer introduces a new approach that forces everybody else to adapt.

  11. #11
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    Easy Answer for Me

    Something that I get great CD, DVD & television sound on that I consider powerful (700 true watts) that I can get at an excellent reduced price from the retail price that is 5.1 sound & gives me excellent all natural all channel sound & will at least play DVD-A. If it's new, something that comes with a warranty which I can extend from the manufacturer and/or the store selling it, an insturction book & a remote. Product name is a major factor. It also has to look cosmetically good & be uncomplicated to use.

    If the receiver is used which I will consider also if it is a name brand being sold by a reputable dealer, i.e., someone on Ebay with say 20 feedback or more with at most 1 negative feedback over a minor matter, price including shipping must be 1/3 or less the cost of what it sold for new, total cost to me can not exceed $450 in case it somehow is a lemon which has never happened to me, it must be described as very good quality or better and include the original instruction book & remote & must be shipped to me UPS ground within 4 days of purchase.

    What is totally unimportant to me is: if (and I have 2 denon 3801 7.1 receivers for which I use as 5.1) it is 7.1, has auto eq/db levels as I have no faith in this & trust my ears more, if you can connect another system to it, any video controls whatsoever as I use it dtrictly for audio & any DSP controls (I do not consider being able to listen to a CD or TV Show through 5 speakers & a sub in the natural mode a DSP).

  12. #12
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Wow, interesting answers so far.

    Decoding and inputs/outputs were key for me. Funny thing is, my last 3 receiver purchases were never influenced by this because for the most part, at any given price point, competitors are extremely close in this regard.

    Reliability is up there. I was pretty brand loyal to Marantz as soon as Dolby Digital hit the scene. But 2 failed units put me in a bad spot, so I bought a used Yamaha. Liked that one, so I bought another. So far so good. But I'm naive and assume most receivers won't fail, so I don't give it too much though.

    I actually like DSP's. My old Marantz had terrible DSP's that were just destructive, but when I bought the RX-V795a, I was impressed with the movie DSP's (the music ones suck IMO, but oh well). I actually really enjoy these, and find myself testing out a few scenes on almost every movie I play. I almost always use one. Except the very first time I watch a DVD that I know has good effects, then I give DTS or DD the benefit of the doubt. Of the 4 receivers I demoed in my home before buying, Denon was the only other brand that had DSP's I liked.

    It was also the runner up. In the end it was that cool gimmicky YPAO that I thought I just had to have. I still like it, but now I'm of the opinion it's real world benefits are much less than we're lead to believe. Auto-setup is a godsend though. It does it as accurately as I can with 3 SPL meters, and a whole lot faster. Sure sounds cool bleeping and blooping too...My little pup doesn't care too much for it though.

  13. #13
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    Sounds sort of funny, but I just wanted a receiver better than the one I had previously. A couple things that made me want a new receiver was power and inputs/outputs. When I started shopping around, I learned about the YPAO option- very nice!

    I'm in the market for another receiver now and I'm looking to get another one just like what I have now (Yamaha 5760). The power, inputs/outputs, ypao and the rest are fine with me- more than enough I feel.

    Thanks for asking!
    Eric

  14. #14
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Z
    Sounds sort of funny, but I just wanted a receiver better than the one I had previously. A couple things that made me want a new receiver was power and inputs/outputs. When I started shopping around, I learned about the YPAO option- very nice!

    I'm in the market for another receiver now and I'm looking to get another one just like what I have now (Yamaha 5760). The power, inputs/outputs, ypao and the rest are fine with me- more than enough I feel.

    Thanks for asking!
    Eric
    Happy shopping. Here's a good starting point if you like your Yammie.
    http://www.yamaha.com/yec/products/r...eiver_main.htm
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  15. #15
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    So now I have to ask Mr. Smokeless, what about THD do you look for specifically? Is there really much difference between 0.09% and 0.06% THD? What am I missing here?
    Not yet smokeless , but try to answer your question.

    Usually, I whould look for THD% of less than 0.3% since what I have read indicate is threshhold for human hearibility of distortion. Of course lower THD would always be better, but anything below 0.3% is acceptable.

    Most of time THD is not a concern at low power output, and will only show its ugly face when amplifier is driven to near its capacity. Lower quality amps tend to have excessive THD when driven at its maximum power output (or near it), while better amps tend to keep THD in check even when driven hard. As they say, that is what separate men from boys

  16. #16
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    0.3% wow. That would make more sense, if it is in fact accurate. Though I have to admit to not hearing anything bad come out of THD as high as 1 or 2% in my experience. If it's harmonic, I think it blends in a bit with the music, tube lovers pay big money for that distortion.

    It can be destructive though, especially to tweeters, as a lot of power gets fed to them.

    Most receivers rate their power with a cap on distortion, I see 0.1% a lot sometimes it's lower. Above that they still have some room for good clean power, but not much, things start to muck up pretty quick.
    Then again, the power testing requirements FTC and gang use aren't very appropriate for gauging the real world ability of the receiver's amplifiers. Sustained, 80 watt sign waves are not indicative of music signals which are dynamic. I've read their developing a new testing format that Yamaha, NAD, and a few others like to use internally. Short dynamic tone bursts or something. The idea being amplifiers are capable of delivering good, clean power well beyond their specs as called upon by musical sources. Rating a 5.1 receiver at 30 watts with all-channels driven doesn't reflect the fact that that max power sustained for 5 minutes NEVER happens in 99.99999% of music or home theater sources. A lot of those receivers can 100 watts with all-channels driven for 1 minute, 20 seconds, whatever. More than sufficient IMO.

    We're long overdue for better rating rules.

  17. #17
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    I do remember back in the 70's, good receivers would show THD levels below 0.1 at 90% of full power. The, not so good, receivers would not mention at what power the THD was measured at. Typically it was 1/2 watt. So a unit rated at 0.5% THD would end up being over 5% at higher volumes. This doesn't seem to be the case now.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  18. #18
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    What good is decoding if you dont have the imputs and outputs to add equipment to decode what they do? Does trhat make sence?
    Look & Listen

  19. #19
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    What good is decoding if you dont have the imputs and outputs to add equipment to decode what they do? Does trhat make sence?
    Makes sense, except I doubt you'll find any receiver on the planet with out at least 3 inputs and 3 outputs. So you're guaranteed some options no matter what.

    A receiver without inputs would just be a glorified am/fm radio without the speakers.

  20. #20
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    a few of you had mentioned it but the included remote can ( or should ) be a major factor in choosing a receiver. For walk-in customers i make it a point to let them see and use the remote; granted the initial set-up maybe a one-time ordeal for some but afterwards simple operations and/or selections via the remote can be a pain in the ass. For bigger jobs we always include a Pronto with single button macros but i think most people are just willing to live with basic functions they have figured out. Anyway I purchased my receiver based upon a backlit, RF, learning remote control

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