Onkyo, H/K, and Denon oh my...Which receiver will satisfy me the most?? Please Help


My home is under construction, due to be done in October or so. I am building a surround system for the living room (over 400) sq feet. and I need a receiver to support the speakers I will have with many features and great long lasting quality. My speakers are all Polk Audio...Lsi15s or 9s for fronts, LSiC for center, LsiFX or FXi50 for surrounds and PSW650 for sub. Which receiver will deliver the power for very loud music playing and deliver quality and many formats for movies.. My budget is around $1100-$1200 for the receiver and I would like to stay with either Onkyo, H/K or Denon if possible. Thank you

i went with a Onkyo tx sr800. i am very very happy with it but i need to upgrade my speakers. i can't comment on a HK or Denon because i've haven't owned one. but a lot of people here and other forums seem to recommend a HK or Denon, first then Onkyo, everything else behind those 3.

I also have an Onkyo tx-sr800. It easily fits within your bugdet as I found mine online for about $749 (MSRP is $999). I love it personally and I think it is the best reciever that I could have brought for that price range. But let's be serious. I have a much smaller space than you do and I am using satellite speakers. For a room your size, speakers do matter and I hope you have floor standing speakers with a sub in order to even particially fill your room with sound. Honestly, the Denon 3803 (MSRP $1199) might be best of the 3 you named. although it is more expensive than the Onkyo, you will get 110wpc as opposed to the Onkyo's 100wpc. It's easily the most powerful of the 3 and sounds slightly better with music sources than the Onkyo. The HK has a nice warm sound, but I won't recommend their reciever for your situation. Their reciever in your price range (the 525) is listed as only having 70wpc. It is not an aggressive reciever at all and for a room that size, you may want more power. I suggest listening to the Onk 800 and Denon 3803 for yourself and seeing which one you like better. The Onk is cheaper, but the Denon is more powerful. I love my 800 and hoenstly you can't go wrong either way. Hope this helps.

To whiteusmc75,

Please please please look carefully about all those Polk speakers! They are really nice speakers, but with 4 ohm! i.e. you need to pay extra attention on selecting your receiver.

If you are only looking for Denon, Onkyo and HK, as far as I know only HK (AVR525?) can handle all these speakers. For Denon and Onkyo, they can only handle 6-8 ohm speakers and you will damage the receiver when playing loud music with 4 ohm speakers.

Actually, for your budget, I may suggest you to look for the NAD T762. It should fits your needs and provides very good sound quality.

Another way of thinking is to buy whichever receiver you want (get the one fits your needs in terms of "functions") but make sure they have pre-out, than get some Power Amp for your speakers. i.e. your receiver just acts as a Pre-Amp.

The third way of thinking is that if you really wants good music, go for the Pre-Amp and Power Amp from Adcom, they may cost you around $2000 though......

Anyway, if you really just want to choose from Denon, Onkyo and HK, there isn't too much choices. Go get a HK for your 4 ohm speakers.

TWN makes a good point about the resistance of your speakers. But, I'd like to point out that all three recievers (onk 800, Denon 3803, and HK525) are high current recievers. I am sure that the 800 can support 4 ohm speakers, although that is it's minimum. There is a warning on the reciever that says not to use lower than 4 ohm speakers with the reciever or it will be damaged. I would assume that this applies with the Denon too, but I'm not 100% sure since I don't own one. So, all of your listed recievers should be safe with your 4 ohm Polks.

the onkyo website states the 800 can handle 6 ohm speakers all the way around, and up to 3 ohm for the front channels. i can't comment tho, i have 8 ohm speakers.

I have to agree with TWN--you have 4 ohm speakers all around, so you need a real high current receiver. I have a big Denon and it isn't a high current receiver no matter what Denon's marketing department has to say (they don't specify their receiver at 4 ohms nor do they show a spec for dynamic headroom). I know H/K specifies their high current capablity as the "available current" (something like 45 amps, which neither the Onkyo nor the Denon can hope to compete). Please note--the fact that neither Denon nor Onkyo has this capability is not a bad thing, it is just a difference in philosophy. But their choice limits their application to difficult loads like 4 ohm speakers. Since you have already chosen the 4 ohm speakers, you should get a receiver that can comfortably handle such a load.

For 4 ohm speakers all around, there are really only two receiver lines to consider--NAD and Harman/Kardon (well, McIntosh, too, but it cost $4K which is out of most people's price range). NAD and H/K are the only ones who will specify their product's power output at 4 ohms (NAD will even specify their products down to 2 ohms!). If you are only looking at those three makers (Onkyo, Denon and H/K), get the H/K. Besides, I also happen to think that its sound best matches the sound of your Polks.

Good luck . . .
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