Easiest receiver


Bronze Member
Username: Khcpopi

Post Number: 15
Registered: Apr-06
The Onkyo (tx-sr500) receiver has many buttons that my mother sometimes has problem figuring out. It developed volume control problems early (same for mine) and needs dvd and video 1-2-3 functions manually changed for different kinds of machines.
She listens to music and plays movie on a dvd player. She watches tv on its own. She does not need power. Looking to spend $3-400?
She needs a receiver that can recognize different machines and play them without pushing more than a power button.
Thank you in advance, and I hope there is such a receiver.

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16900
Registered: May-04

I know of no stereo receiver which has the signal sensing feature you ask about. Possibly another member can come up with a suggestion. Such features tend to be included in a few more expensive home theater receivers. However, in addition to the expense, the complexity and repitition of inputs would not serve your mother well IMO. Additionally the receiver would have to be set up to play two channel information which could become a problem should the wrong button get pushed or a power outage take the receiver back to a default reset.

You might consider two alternatives; 1) a self contained system or, B) a far simpler amplifier. Most "bookshelf" systems will automatically switch between component sources but typically only those sources which are within the unit. In other words, if the FM radio is playing and a CD is inserted, the unit will automatically switch to "CD". But most shelf units are further divided into either stereo or home theater units. The stereo components have no DVD player included, which would then still require manually switching to another source. And the HT units which include DVD players would be far more complicated and still have to be set to only reproduce stereo programming.

The other option would be to look at a very simple "integrated amplifier". And integrated includes the same pieces as any receiver but without the radio functions. Meant typically for a more audio purist market, most integarteds have fewer BS buttons and features and concentrate instead on simple audio performance. A NAD integrated might be a starting point; The unit and its remote are rather simple and controls are fairly well marked. Audio Advisor also offers other brands, some with radio functions and some without, which are similarly plain and straight forward.

Should you prefer something even less complicated, try Parts Express for a Topping amplifier; This will reduce the number of controls to "power", "volume" and either "in 1" or "in 2". No remote though.

Neither unit includes a working input for LP's though one could be added.

Hope that helps.


Bronze Member
Username: Khcpopi

Post Number: 16
Registered: Apr-06
Thank you very much! The integrated system sounds promising. And we did have a power out around here. It is not that my mother has problem with too many buttons, actually. She just can't deal with solving problems with buttons, lol. She'd be perfectly happy with 2 speakers and dial controls, but.
Again, thank you.

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4495
Registered: May-05
Have you considered a Logitec Harmony remote? You can set it up where you push one button, and it sets the correct input on the TV, receiver settings, etc.

For example, you can have a button that says 'Watch a DVD.' It'll turn on the DVD player, turn on the TV, switch to the proper TV input, turn on the receiver, switch to it's proper input, and let you adjust volume, play the DVD, etc. All done by pushing one button (after you initially set it up). Then it'll turn everything off with one button too.

Just throwing it out there. I bought one for about $50 a few years ago. It would have been worth 4 times that. Not sure about prices these days, as I think they've changed the entire lineup.

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