I am trying to decide between a few mid range receivers. I currently have a old Technics Dolby Pro that has lasted me over 12 years. I'm pretty happy with it, but in the last year many of the inputs are breaking (loosing right or left channels, etc). This may be from running a little too hot as it has been in a partially enclosed cabinet for the last 2 years. I think I have it down to the three below, but I'm open to any suggestions on others.
1. Harman Kardon AVR325 - This is my most expensive choice. It has just about all the features, but offers less rated watts/channel and is not THX select. I have also read reviews about some people having quality problems with components. I do like the extra features like 7 channels, A-Bus, etc URL http://www.harmankardon.com/product_detail.asp?cat=REC&prod=AVR%20325&sType=C
2. Yamaha HTR-5560 - I like everything about this but I can't seem to find out if it has a discrete 6 or not. It is lacking in the additional features of the H/K, but is also much cheaper. A concern that I have (that I can't get an answer on) is if my current DVD with a coaxial digital out can work with it. The back of the unit has the single coax in listed as a CD audio. Is there a way to select this port for DVD? URL http://www.yamaha.com/cgi-win/webcgi.exe/DsplyModel/?gAVR00010HTR-5560
3. Kenwood VR-6070 - This unit has more watts/channel over the other 2, THX certification. It is lacking in some of the newer features that the H/K has (A-Bus, and a serial port). The specs also don't state that it uses a high current amplifier that the 2 do. I'm also not sure if I like the brand name as much. They also mention a second zone video? How is this different from the multiple video outs the others have? URL http://www.kenwoodusa.com/product/redirectFeature.jsp?goToUrl=product.jsp%3FproductId%3D2452
This leads me to my question. I understand the idea of a higher current amplifier but how much of a difference will this make? The Kenwood has something they call a K-STAT Discrete Audio Amplifier. Anyone care to explain the difference between these two? Am I correct to assume this is not a high current amp?
Also if you could rate and/or give me comments on the above 3 choices I would appreciate it.
Excellent post. So good in fact that I think it will open quite a can-o-worms on this board. So you know, all three of these were on my list and at times it was neck and neck based on specs alone.
Funny that you listed the receivers in the order that you did, as it would have been my choices, top to bottom in order of preference. First let me state my bias (or at least the choice I made), I own an HK AVR525 and positively love it. I suggest you search through the archives for my name (h1pst3r) to get a a sense of where I'm coming from and what I think about the 525. If not for the lack of digital bass management in the 325 I would have purchased that--it was my front-runner for quite a while until I decided I couldn't live without the DBM.
I should also say that for weeks the Yam 5590 was neck and neck with the HK until I listened to them and really fell in love with the HK (also, the feature set of the HK was much more what *I* was looking for--hdcd, MP3, a-bus, bass mgmt, front i/o, pure audio paths, and those wonderful triple crossovers!)
Now, the 6070 was ALSO on my list for a while and at one point I had actually ordered it before cancelling at the last minute. While the 6070 has a very loyal following here and I don't doubt for a second that it is quite a box for theatre it was the less than stellar performance on 2-channel stereo that made me pass. And yes, I agree with you, I had just a tiny bit less faith in the brand. I recall years ago Kenwood being a quality company, but I don't know what ever happened. I think the 6070 is there new stake in the sand, so I give them credit.
another bias of mine is that I think THX is a gimmick. There are some amazing manufacturers that simply don't care to bow to Mr. Lucas, and given that "select" is the lowest of the THX certifications, I think its value should be taken with a grain of salt. But, for primarily theater use, things like Re-eq and timbre matching may actually be of benefit. For me it wasn't and whenI listen to movies on my 7.1 525 I ain't missing a thing...beleive me!
With regard to watts per channel, DO NOT let the lower spec of the HK scare you off. It's there in spades and it's crystal clear all the way up to danger levels. HK is known for under-rating there amps and I will personally attest to the power on tap from my 525.
Now, the 6070 has been confirmed to produce 92 watts/channel with all channels driven which is very commendable, but the clarity simply wasn't there when I demo'd it.
As for the Yam, I think the only abiding reason to get it is if a) the Yam sound appeals to you and b) you really appreciate digging in and tweaking DSP modes. Yamaha is probably the industry leader in DSP development. But after playing that game with an earlier receiver, I was ready to simply enjoy great sound with a stellar sound-field that was tweaked once and left happily alone. The HK gives me that and the EX/ES formats with the additional 7 speaker outputs simply must be experienced.
But don't take comments about the Yamaha to be disparaging. I own a Yam DVC-6480 which I think for the money is simply the best DVDa/v player on the market. I use its on-board burr-brown decoders all the time and I simply love it (and highly recommend it to anyone).
You have identified some really good choices and I think the best thing for you to do is to get out and listen. Better yet, try some in-home demos and watch the same movies and listen to a lot of music.
Good luck and let us know how you make out!!!
*oh, as for the QA issues that HK had last year with the x20 models and the 8000, it seems to have been fixed. No shutdowns for me, no humming, nothing but wonderful sound--and I haven't read a single thing to the contrary about the x25 models nor the 7200.