Replacing my Sony Receiver with ???


New member
Username: Mkah

Redding, CA

Post Number: 2
Registered: May-04
I currently have a Sony STR-DE995 rated at 100 Watts per channel, that I wish to replace with a unit that has up-converting HDMI with a decent amp. My current remote control has been destroyed by a dog we were watching for some friends (we don't watch that dog anymore).

Using one remote to control switching of audio / video is one of my primary reasons for replacing the Sony (to make it easier for my wife).

Quality up converting and clean sound is very high on my list.
The Sony seemed weak on power considering it is a 100 WPC amp.

I would like to spend about $500 to $650 for a replacement receiver. Any suggestions would be great.

My other components are as follows:
TV, Sony E50A10 (about five years old)
DVD, Sony Blue Ray player
Box,Motorola High Def cable box (Charter cable)

Front: Klipsch KG4
Center: Klipsch SC-5
Rear: Klipsch R5800
Sub: Velodyne DLS 3500 8"
Garage speakers: Infinity's

Gold Member
Username: Magfan


Post Number: 2015
Registered: Oct-07
That '100 watts' fall flat on its face when demand is high. with all 5 channels being driven to normal levels and higher, you'll be lucky to get much over half that, per channel.

Somebody from the HT department will be around in a few to make a recommendation for an upgrade.

I'd add that I use a Logitech Harmony remote for 5 different components and 4 different combinations. ONE button turns on the right gear and sets all the inputs / outputs as appropriate.
With minimal instruction, these are pretty 'wife friendly' but NOT dog proof.

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1274
Registered: Oct-10
Mark, how much are you looking to spend? How loud do you and your wife watch movies?

Gold Member
Username: Magfan


Post Number: 2029
Registered: Oct-07
OP already answered at 650$ Maximum. A pretty competitive price point.
The HDMI upsampling requirement tells me this is a multi-use system doing TV/HT duties as well as music.

What are the good receivers these days? Onkyo or HK? What are some other choices.
Super, you are more intouch with HT than I......
And I know several others here are WAY more in touch than I with current HT practice.

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1275
Registered: Oct-10
Oops missed that price!

In addition to those you mentioned Leo, Denon and Pioneer also make some popular HT receivers. I guess it depends on what Mark and his wife agree sounds good with the speakers they have. I personally find Denon has a very clean accurate sound especially when used with Mirage speakers and this combo can get significantly louder than the levels I like and still sound good. However, if you like to drive the amp at high volumes, HK with perhaps Klipsch would do well. Since there is no mention of speaker replacement, pairing a receiver with the existing speakers would be the first thing to try. Since Mark has Klipsch, auditioning HK would be my first suggestion. However, don't be afraid to try some others. Most of the brands mentioned have something in that price range.

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15770
Registered: May-04

"I currently have a Sony STR-DE995 rated at 100 Watts per channel, that I wish to replace with a unit that has up-converting HDMI with a decent amp."

That would appear to place up-conversion above the quality of the amplifier itself. Personally, I would disagree with that order of importance. The amplifier section of any AVR is relatively stable in its construction and has been for years despite the advertising claims of Sony, Pioneer or most other mass market merchants. You could replace virtually any AVR amplifier with any other AVR amplifier of similar quality from the past twenty years and you wouldn't notice any significant difference in quality assuming you stayed within the same manufacturer. People have known how to build good amplifiers and how to build cheap amplifiers (not the same thing) for decades. However, video scalers are constantly changing and becoming less expensive with higher quality at lower prices with each successive model release. Depending upon how you see this trend you could interpret this as any video circuitry you buy today is likely to be outdated within two years time while the amplifier section will be stable. Better to put your money into a better amplifier, ignore the video processing and focus on individual source players and components which feature the video processing you desire in each piece. You'll spend a bit more in the long run but you'll have better quality over time and the ability to upgrade your video performance while holding onto a high quality AVR for years.

When looking for a high quality AVR you should realize that any unit in a competitive price range will have "X" amount of money to expend on either features or amplifier performance. This almost always amounts to an either/or situation and if there are numerous features, then the amplifier section has probably suffered within that price range. A more bare bones unit claiming lower wattage probably has each section built to a higher overall quality - that's the unit I would buy. A good average guide to buying a "better" amplifier is to buy the heaviest amplifier for the amount of watts claimed. The money will have gone into the power supply of the amplifier which is the most important part and the part most likely to fail on cheap junk.

Providing a single recommendation of which specific unit to buy is pretty much an impossibility. You really need to do the research for yourself to determine which feature set best suits your needs.

"Using one remote to control switching of audio / video is one of my primary reasons for replacing the Sony (to make it easier for my wife)."

You've got a lot of needs to sift through. Looks like you might also want something in the way of second zone operation to run the garage speakers. I would certainly agree that buying an aftermarket universal remote with macro settings and possibly a learning facility for out of the ordinary commands would be the easier route to satisfy your need for convenience rather that making that another prioritiy in your AVR selection. Check the Logitech line of remotes for ideas.

"Quality up converting and clean sound is very high on my list.
The Sony seemed weak on power considering it is a 100 WPC amp."

Yep, the Sony amplifiers are rather pitiful in the real world. But your speakers are high sensitivity units that should play fairly loudly with any decent amplifier. I would not make the total wattage of the receiver my priority but rather make the highest quality wattage what you're after. All watts are not created equal as the Sony - and most mass market products - has proved. I would encourage you to forget the average run of the mill, found-it-in-yet-another-big-box-store AVR's and focus on the lines that tend to also produce higher quality two channel components. That's not to say you can't find what you're looking for in an Onkyo or HK but that you'll normally find the companies that are changing their line up every six months are not building receivers for the long run. The way they stay in business is to have you replacing your AVR every few years due to failure of your existing receiver or a new set of features you think you can't live without. If that's how you prefer to go about your HT system, have at it with the upper end of the mass market lines and you'll find lots of features and a remote that's impossibe to comprehend. Otherwise, concentrate on the less well known but generally higher quality products from NAD, Rotel, Cambridge and so forth. These AVR's will probably have fewer features and watts for the dollar but each feature will probably be of better overal quality than will the same feature on a mass market Sony, Pioneer, etc. Your choice of how to buy something.

Here are a few links to the "audiophile" magazines that also have AV sections;

Be aware these are reviewers who are not uncomfortable telling you a $15,000 CD player is a good value. They are not likely to be very kind to the run of the mill junk that pervades the average mass market manufactuer's line up. IMO, you would be wise to take their advice at least on the overall quality of buying the junk most AVR manufacturers can find to put on a shelf. For the most part a mass market $500 AVR today will be a $500 paper weight in about three years time. I don't know about you but I really hated the last time I threw away $500.


Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10


Post Number: 3425
Registered: Jun-07
I agree with Jan.

Spearit Sound is offering the Cambridge 540R right now for around your price point. Its has a nice hefty power supply, and nice Crystal DAC and is usually around 1000 with taxes. Just throwing it out there.

I like Jan's recommendations. I would also add to the list a slightly used Arcam 250. They usually can be had for around your budget and is a nice sounding AVR. If you need all the bells and whistles then at your price range you will give up sound quality and quality. If I personally had to stick to a 600 dollar budget and needed HD HDMI switching and HD audio passthrough then I would look into the entry level Marantz units. Just what I would do. Actually what I would do is buy a gigantic Arcam or NAD.

Gold Member
Username: Magfan


Post Number: 2034
Registered: Oct-07
External HDMI switches are inexpensive and available. If you have a single input on the TV, you can 'clone' it easily. I don't know about that particular Sony. My set has 2 such inputs so it is only a matter of time before I get such a switch.
Since it is a 3LCD rear projector, keep an eye on it. Sony has settled at least one class action lawsuit.

Look into the Logitech remote and budget for it. I don't know about the WII, but the other gear on your list can be controlled from a single remote, with good legibility.

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4613
Registered: Feb-07
I agree with Nick and Jan :-)

I have the 540R. Very solid, well built AVR. Doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the big-box dreck like Sony or Yamaha, but it does have some nice features like 6.1 direct so you can connect your blu-ray player and get the HD sound formats. It also sounds very good playing music in 2 channel stereo. It puts of 100 watts stereo (real watts, I'm sure - not Sony watts), and 80 watts in surround mode.

Oh yeah, the Cambridge remotes are the nicest I've ever used.

Can you tell I'm a Cambridge fan?

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1302
Registered: Oct-10
No David, we thought you were a JVC fan! Just kidding!
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