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Reciever survey

 

survey
Unregistered guest
I have heard a lot on this post about Pioneer's 1014 and Yamaha's 5760. Both are averaged priced at ~350-450. Both are warm recievers that can tame even klipsch speakers. So I was just wondering which you guys feel is better and why. Also both come with remote mics for easy surround set-up.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sinkdrain

Post Number: 31
Registered: Aug-04
...I've been lurking around here for awhile soaking in as much information as I can so that I can really make my audio kit sing...

I can tell you that I have NOT seen the words "warm" and "yamaha" in the same sentence.
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 461
Registered: Dec-03
Yes, Yamaha definately is not warm, at least not to my ears. To me, it is the exact opposite. Yamaha receivers are some of the brightest out there. Paired with Klipsch, I would think glass would be shattering.
 

Silver Member
Username: Elitefan1

Post Number: 830
Registered: Dec-03
Yamaha and Klipsch together are a very poor combination IMO. The newer Yamaha's are not as bright as in the past but are still on the thin side. Elite, Marantz and H/K are much better matches. The original poster is obviously talking about Best Buy products and therein lies the problem. Best Buy and the other superstores are selling these products based on name recognition without regard to how they work togehter. Everyone know Yamaha and Klipsch so lets throw them together for some easy sales. If you are set on buying from Best Buy the Pioneer is a far better match with Klipsch. I would highly suggest you take the time and go to a real audio store and look at some real quality products.
 

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 164
Registered: Sep-04
survey

The remote mic thing is a nice feature, but generally it's not as accurate as one could wish. Using an SPL meter will get you better results.

Regards,
Frank.
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 463
Registered: Dec-03
Best Buy is horrible to buy audio equipment at. A washer or refrigerator...ok. But defiantely not audio equipment. I was in there the other day, and I found something very odd. I went into their speaker "room" (really just a small area within the store surrounded by waist high walls). Guess what they had powering the speakers in the speaker room? No...not one of the POS receivers they sell there. They were using separate amplifiers to power everything. 3 two channel amps. People go in there and say "man, these speakers sound good"...and maybe they do, but you definately can't get that kind of sound from any product they have in that store. Forget about listening to a reciever that they actually sell there. I don't even know if they have the receivers hooked up to anything. This means the only thing people have to go by is the little card that gives specs (for whatever that is worth) and the word of some idiot salesman.

As much as it pains me to say it, if one insists on buying at a big chain store, Circuit City is much better for audio equipment. They sell HK, Onkyo, Polk, and Infinity as well as the standard Sony, Panasonic, etc. Get a decent HK receiver paired with some decent Polks...it doesn't sound half bad.
 

Silver Member
Username: Elitefan1

Post Number: 833
Registered: Dec-03
Johnny,
You are totally correct. The bad thing about CC is they don't have a clue how to demo anything and their prices are very high. They do sell some good products like you say and your H/K and Polks would be very nice. They also have a great return policy.
 

tony1250
Unregistered guest
the new yamaha's can tame the klipsch speakers...depending on which klipsch they are. The synergy quintet series II is not that bright and the yamaha does fine with it. If the klipsch are floor standing then the pioneer is a better bet
 

Silver Member
Username: Elitefan1

Post Number: 835
Registered: Dec-03
The point is or should be that there are better choices for Klipsch than Yamaha regardless of which models you are looking at. Why settle for ok when you can do better? Understand that I generally like the newer Yamaha's but not in this case. Get out of Best Buy and go to a real store.
 

New member
Username: Sause

Post Number: 9
Registered: Oct-04
Well it really depends on which store you go to some will have guys there that know what they are talking about and some will have a guy who was hired for the holidays. But when talking about the klipsch tony1250 is correct the size of the horn in the speaker does make a big difference, but talking about the two receivers, yes, the pioneer is not as bright as the yamaha, but I find it does not have the bass that the yamaha has. Some people like the klipsch-yamaha combo (I am not one) because they like the high end(hrz not quality) sound. If you like the sound of one better than the other go with that. I like the yamaha with the quintet and smaller bookshelfs but with one of the larger klipsch it would suggest that you get the pioneer. By the way they do have there receivers being used as pre-amps, they do this so people can control one area of speakers while other people look at a different speakers, while I will give you that it isn't the best listening enviroment it does let people listen to what they want to listen to.
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 467
Registered: Dec-03
How does using a receiver simply as a preamp let people listen to "what they want to"? It seems like they should be letting people listen to an actual receiver from their store paired with actual speakers from their store. This is what people will buy. Using separate power amps that can not even be bought in their store does nothing. It simply gives people a false impression of what something they buy will sound like when they get it home.

The best setup I have seen at a mass market store in terms of auditioning was at Ultimate Electronics. They have a pretty sophisticated switching system that allows you to listen to any receiver with any speakers. They have some pretty good stuff too...Pioneer Elite, Denon, upper end Yamaha, Def Tech, KEF (I think).
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sause

Post Number: 12
Registered: Oct-04
To answer your question Johnny, there are actualy 4 receivers (in my store) each one hooked up to a amp, they use the amp because that way they can have a volume control hooked up so that the customers can control the speaker volume with out help from a employee, the room also involves a network that allows people to push a button and have a certain set of speakers play, this setup allows people to listen to the speakers against each other with out the help of an employee. Sure, a way to let people listen to their speakers though the receiver you are going to get would be nice, but in fact that only one person would be able to listen to any speakers at one time would be a tremendous injustice to anyone else who wants to listen to something, and if that person whose is tring to listen to the speakers does not know how to work the controls a person could be there for a very long time.

You also have to think of what kind of people shop at Best Buy, people who are looking for resonable priced electronics yes best buy doesn't carry the extreme high end of yamaha, but a little info for those people who think that there is a big difference between the RX-V and the htr series and basicly the difference is the face plate. The only receiver that doesn't have a twin is the 2400.
 

Silver Member
Username: Bleustar

Pensacola, Florida

Post Number: 180
Registered: Jul-04
The Best Buy store where I live powers their speaker displays with a Yamaha HTR5760. This of course is perfect for hearing an example of what a harsh, thin receiver sounds like. The HTR5790 is slightly better. The Pioneer 1014 has the worst faceplate and knobs I have seen for the price, but is built like a tank. It sure helps to see these receivers in all of their visual glory, but it would be nice to be able to demo each system.

Unfortunately, Best Buy is not a good place to receive much expertise with respect to home audio.
 

tony1250
Unregistered guest
I went and heard the yamaha 5760 with the klipsch quintet today...i have to say it was the best yamaha-klipsch combo ive seen to date, it wasnt as bright as i thought it would be...I guess the klipsch are small enough that you dont get the peircing glass shattering i was expecting. Overall Pioneer is probably still the best bet. Yes BEST BUY does have some morons...but I happend to get help from a guy that worked at tweeter for 10 years before coming to best buy...he agreed that the only speakers worth looking at were the klipsch and jbls....on the other end of the spectrum i saw a poor guy testing out the KLH's and the salesman telling him it was a great product...wow thats mean!!!

anyone bought anything online from one of the cheaper websites off of here??? I looked at the authorized dealers and their prices sucked...the other dealers are cheap...real cheap but not authorized...are they legit??
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 468
Registered: Dec-03
fallsin,

Yes, but do the people at your Best Buy tell the unknowing customer that what they are listening to is in fact NOT the receiver they think it is but rather a power amp that is light years better than anything they could ever buy in the store? In the Best Buy in my area, there is only one receiver used...not 4 as you say. I guess what you are describing would help as many people as possible audition speakers, but what about the receivers? How does one go about doing that? How many people have been duped into buying substandard products because an ignorant employee has told them it was good. I mean seriously, photography is another of my hobbies, and I actually overheard a Best Buy employee telling a customer that a $300 Sony digital camera would take better pictures than a $1500 Canon SLR would. Probably because they know that there is virtually no chance that anyone shopping in Best Buy for a camera will buck up $1500 for a Camera, but there is a good chance that they will pay $300 for one. I can understand the need to make the sale, but don't lie to people for gods sake...and it they really are that stupid then they need to learn the products that they are selling a bit better.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sause

Post Number: 13
Registered: Oct-04
your right there are some people in the store just like any store for that matter that will lie to get the sale, have youy ever been clothes shopping with your wife or girlfriend and she asks a employee at the shop if it looks good? But to your first question yes I and everybody in my deptment do tell people that in fact they are not listening to any receiver that we have. I seen the power amp it is not that good either ok. But in this way the signal going to all the speakers are the same so you can compare. And if asked I will hook up any receiver to any speaker combo they would like. All of our receivers are hooked up to the same speakers at my store, they are hooked up to jbl bookshelfs. So you can hear them side by side using the same signal and speaker to make their desision. and since when did this thread turn into a bash Best Buy thread instead of a receiver survey thread? But I stand by my statement that a mid-range yamaha and the quintet would make most people happy.
 

Silver Member
Username: Elitefan1

Post Number: 840
Registered: Dec-03
You are probably right and that's a real sad commentary on the average customer. No person who is really interested in quality audio reproduction is going to buy their equipment at Best Buy because they don't sell anything but lower level products. This became a discussion about Best Buy because the original question was about two receivers and the speaker package sold there. My point is that the questioner and anyone else interested in spending their money wisely would be better off looking at a real audio store and not a mass market retailer no matter who it is. Best Buy is a good place to buy cd's, dvd's and blank discs etc but as far a quality audio products it's a joke. BTW I have been a very frequent BB customer over the years and bought a HDTV from them a few months ago. And, I feel sorry for anyone trying to deal with them on returns. A real pain in the butt.
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 469
Registered: Dec-03
fallsin,

I didn't mean to offend you, I am just sharing my experiences of Best Buy. If your store is run as you say it is, then I must say that it is much better than the Best Buy in my area. As far as I could tell, the receivers in the main display area were not hooked up to speakrs at all. They were plugged in so you could see how they light up, and that was about it. To tell you the truth, I didn't ask if it was possible to listen to any other receivers. If that was to be done, one would have to physically move the receiver to a speaker room and hook it up...which would likely take awhile.

I don't know the brand or quality of the amps used at Best Buy, but I do know that generally, almost ANY separate power amp will sound better than a lower level receiver.

BTW, I too am a frequent Best Buy customer. I had a Sirius radio installed there a couple of months ago (another story in itself--the installers did $2500 worth of damage to my car). But, as elitefan said, I wouldn't touch the audio equipment from there with a 10 foot pole.
 

dave9999
Unregistered guest
The Best Buy near my place has all their Recievers hooked up to the same set of speakers...and I have to say I didnt hear any differnce between the yamaha 5760 and the pioneer 1014. But the question was what goes better with the Klipsch quintet...I havent heard either hooked up to them but I'd have to say that with the small speakers in the quintet you wouldnt hear much difference between the two. So if I had to pick I'd say the Pioneer...anyone else agree???

And for all you people saying that they wouldnt buy anything from Best buy....where do you expect to go and buy a 7.1 reciever and a surround package for less that 1500??? If you have a good option let me know...i'm looking to buy.

Has anyone on here bought anything from a non-authorized internet dealer?? I found some stuff dirt cheap and they claim its new...do they lie?
Anyone know if the warranty is good if you buy from a non-authorized place?

 

dave9999
Unregistered guest
The Best Buy near my place has all their Recievers hooked up to the same set of speakers...and I have to say I didnt hear any differnce between the yamaha 5760 and the pioneer 1014. But the question was what goes better with the Klipsch quintet...I havent heard either hooked up to them but I'd have to say that with the small speakers in the quintet you wouldnt hear much difference between the two. So if I had to pick I'd say the Pioneer...anyone else agree???

And for all you people saying that they wouldnt buy anything from Best buy....where do you expect to go and buy a 7.1 reciever and a surround package for less that 1500??? If you have a good option let me know...i'm looking to buy.

Has anyone on here bought anything from a non-authorized internet dealer?? I found some stuff dirt cheap and they claim its new...do they lie?
Anyone know if the warranty is good if you buy from a non-authorized place?

 

Bronze Member
Username: Sinkdrain

Post Number: 37
Registered: Aug-04
Believe it or not the majority of people do not care about what the equipment sounds like. They buy their plasma TV and decide to put some speakers to it. Best Buy is perfect because you can wash your hands of it and let someone else select it with at lest average pefrormance. The average customer's priority will be ease of use and quality control.

Being an audiophile or even someone who must have nice sounding equipment is a curse. And I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Most will be happy with a cheap but nice looking setup- It will stilll sound better than a standard boom box or tv speaker. Best Buy does a good job working with the average customer. And the audiophile should not feel sorry for a customer who ends up with a super bright system. That customer could care less even if you did do a side by side comparision.

**If you do care about sound quality- remember that in a noisy store with lots of high fequencies bouncing around hard floors etc..- a bright system will sound very nice and clear because it cuts through the noise. One may be disappointed when that same system is played in your home.
 

Silver Member
Username: Elitefan1

Post Number: 844
Registered: Dec-03
If you really believe that having a nice sounding system is a curse I suggest you find another forum because that's what this one is all about. As the old saying goes "ignorance is bliss".
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 471
Registered: Dec-03
dave9999,

You can find much better stuff for a $1500 budget. At the very least, try Circuit City. They have HK receivers and Polk speakers, both of which are very nice. Try the HK AVR-235 or AVR-330. Put them with some decent Polks that will fit in your budget, and you will have a very nice system. Also, check out some of the websites that sell refurbished receivers. You can get really nice stuff for a great deal. Either of these two avenues will give you a MUCH better end product than buying the junk at Best Buy. See what you can find and let us know, we can help you some more.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sinkdrain

Post Number: 38
Registered: Aug-04
therealelitefan,
I meant no disrespect to you. I am new to this forum and I have enjoyed reading your posts- you taught me a lot. Let me explain better what I meant to say:

I play the saxophone in various professional settings. I, like many musicians care a whole lot about my tone. I spend huge amounts of cash trying reeds, mouthpieces, and ligatures looking for that "perfect tone." I swear I hear a huge difference even when those listening to me can not. I am just getting into this "audiophile" stuff and I see the same pattern...that never-ending search for that "perfect" sound. So, when I say "curse"- I mean the curse of never being satisfied with what you have and spending a lot of cash, time, and frustration searching for the sound that no one else hears- yet we know (or think) we do.

...so to respond to your suggestion of me leaving this forum- I say NO WAY! I enjoy learning from experienced audiophiles like yourself. I don't want to miss a thing. ...and as for the cash, frustration, and time...I am loving it! ...Well my wife isn't all that happy with the cash spending...i guess : )
 

Silver Member
Username: Elitefan1

Post Number: 846
Registered: Dec-03
Sorry for the misunderstanding. Sometimes it's hard to fiqure out someone's true intent when not talking face to face. Your point about never being satisfied is what we are trying to avoid here, I hope. It is certainly my intent when I recommend a product to hopefully recommend something that will satisfy for years to come. Some people are always looking for the Holy Grail and it does not exist so buy the best you can afford and be happy. That's why buying at the mass market stores should be avoided as just a little effort at a real audio store yealds far better results. Welcome to the forum.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sause

Post Number: 14
Registered: Oct-04
Don't get me started on CC but if the question is about receiver and surrond sound speakers and are going to be used for surrond sound I would definatly go with a yamaha receiver, and when you listen to the combo together and you like it buy it. I am a very satisfied user of a yamaha receiver, and look at the poll ran by this web site when asked what is the best receiver, 22% said yamaha the next closest is 14%. People who have yamaha's like yamaha's. But elitefan you are correct if you go with a yamaha then go get some speakers that will match like Paradigm or Asceno.
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 472
Registered: Dec-03
I am obviously not privied to the selling practicies of CC, but in terms of brands that they carry, IMO, CC is much better. And, like elitefan said, their CC's return policy is also much better than BB's.

You also have to keep in mind that Yamaha also has a huge market share. It makes sense then that it did so well the poll you are referring to. Not nearly as many people own NAD, Rotel, Arcam, Elite, Marantz, etc. Many people probably haven't even heard of them. No one will list that as their "favorite" receiver if they have never heard of it. Yes, people who have Yamaha's like Yamaha's, but have they heard anything better?

As far as Yamaha the brand, I have mixed feelings. I really do like the upper end stuff...the RX-V1400 and up. However, the lower end stuff is extremely bright to my ears. That is what I hear, and personally, I don't like it at all.

fallsinquestion,

If you work at a BB, then I have a question for you. By your estimations, what percentage of the people who buy receivers at BB actually listen to them before they buy (listen to the actual receiver...not the receiver used as a preamp), and what percentage of them buy simply because a salesman tells them that it is good?
 

dave9999
Unregistered guest
Okay I left best buy and went to a couple of "real stores" or semi real i guess....tweeter, ultimate electronics and circuit city. Tweeter was damn expensive and didnt really want to help me much...ultimate electronis seems to have the most ignorant sales staff..or at least at this location...the guy actually was reading off the cards telling me that this reciever was better than that one cause it carried 20 watts of more power...which he said would blow the other one out of the water...out of principle I walked out...not to mention he couldnt figure out how to turn on the reciever using the user friendly set-up. Anyways...I did find a lot of good help at CC. The guy was talking like all you audiofiles in here! It was great! He recommended to go with Yamaha...but said harmon Kardon would be great if you could spend a little more...he also showed me some paradigm speakers...they sounded pretty good...but they are sort of weird looking and I dont think they would fit in my room properly. I need something really small!!! like cubes on stands. He did have a set of polks...but said they are not that great...and the infinities were more expensive and sounded worse. Okay so I found the yamaha 5760 for like $370...so I have another 800 or so for speakers...so what should i get??? or should I buy the HK instead even though its 5.1???
 

New member
Username: Jesse_r

Post Number: 6
Registered: Nov-04
When did CC start selling Paradigm's?? I've never heard of that.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sinkdrain

Post Number: 40
Registered: Aug-04
Dave9999- I just went through this. I went into my search expecting to buy a yamaha. The yamaha just was too "small" sounding. I absolutely loved the Harman Kardon. It was "fatter" when I auditioned it. After auditioning lots of combinations- I liked the warm receivers paired with bright speakers better than the bright receivers paired with warm speakers. But really it all comes down to what sound your looking for, of course
 

dave9999
Unregistered guest
hmm maybe I screwed that up...all these names are making me crazy...anyways it was velodyne. As far as recievers go is it better to get a HK AVR 235 or the yamaha 5670..they are around the same price but the HK only has 50 watts/channel. Also would the polk 6800 surround system go well with these?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sinkdrain

Post Number: 41
Registered: Aug-04
BTW you can find great prices of the harman kardon avr 330 at pricegrabber.com I think i remember one place selling it for around $415
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 473
Registered: Dec-03
Since when did they start carrying Paradigms at Circuit City? Are you sure you weren't mistaken? Paradigm definately isn't sold at Circuit City. So the guy at Circuit City recommended that you buy Yamaha? That is pretty odd that he would recommend a brand that they don't even carry.

Did you listen to the Polks, or did you just take his word for it that "they weren't that great"? Of everything that you have listed, in my opinion, the HK/Polk combination sounds the best, at least to my ears. I just don't think that the Yamaha would sound good with any of the speakers sold at either BB or CC. Yamaha receivers need a warm speaker, like Paradigm or PSB. Neither of which you will find in either BB or CC.

Also, if you still want to look at the mass market stores (and CC and Ultimate Electronics are mass market stores), also look at the Athena Micra 6 speaker system (sold at BB). I think those speakers paired with an HK receiver (sold at CC) would sound nice. I have never heard the two together because they aren't sold at the same stores, but based on their unique sonic characteristics, and your requirement for small speakers, I think it would fit your bill nicely.

Finally, as I said earlier, those stores you visited certainly aren't "real stores". Do yourself a favor, if for no other reason than to compare, go check out an audio specialty store (i.e. one that doesn't sell washers, cameras, or computers). Typically, these stores are of the "mom and pop" variety. The salesman at these stores will almost certainly know tons more than the ones at CC and BB. Also, the products at those stores will be of a much higher quality. I think you will be surprised. What you thought you liked at the mass market stores suddenly won't sound so good any more. And don't think that just because it is a specialty store that you won't be able to afford anything. Most "real" audio stores will have products to fit all budgets.
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 474
Registered: Dec-03
I guess I need to keep up.

Don't be concerned that the HK is rated only at 50 watts per channel. This is somemthing that the salesman won't tell you. HK and Yamaha rate their receivers in very different ways. Yamaha rates their receivers with only one or two channels being driven. HK rates their receivers with all channels driven. Therefore, the Yamaha number is actually inflated when compared to the HK. In reality, if both receivers were rated in the same way, the HK will likely provide just as much, if not more real power than the Yamaha.

I would think that the HK paired with the Polk speaker system you mentioned would sound wonderful.

But like I said, before you drop the hammer on all of this, go to a specialty store...if for nothing else to give you the piece of mind that you got exactly what you wanted.

 

dave9999
Unregistered guest
thanks for all the help guys...I saw a great deal on the Polk RM 6800, with the 10 inch sub...so I'm leaning toward that. I will go search for a specialty store...the one concern I have is that I will not know any of the brands that they carry...which ones should I look out for? So straight up between the HK and the yamaha...without taking speakers into conisideration the HK is better...even if its got less juice?

and ya I was wrong it was called Velodyne. And the guy at circuit city said he liked yamaha and HK, and that he had a yamaha at home and he preffered it....like me he is only using it for movies.
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 475
Registered: Dec-03
Personally, I like the HK better overall...and as I said in another posting, it really doesn't have less juice.

Don't worry about not knowing what brands to look for at a specialty store. That is what the salesman are there for. In all actuality, your posistion is maybe enviable. You don't have any preconceived notions about what you like and don't like. Therefore, you can go there and truly listen with a clean slate. Just see what you like and form your own opinions about "what you should look out for".
 

Unregistered guest
When I shop for a receiver, I'm looking at two things: power and features.

Auditioning makes perfect sense for speakers, but I'm amazed that so many people think they can hear differences between two level-matched receivers.
 

Unregistered guest
When I shop for a receiver, I'm looking at two things: power and features.

Auditioning makes perfect sense for speakers, but I'm amazed that so many people think they can hear differences between two level-matched receivers.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sinkdrain

Post Number: 43
Registered: Aug-04
Combinations are so personal but I say Harman Kardon. The warmth from that receiver sound astounding with the Athena's at Best buy (I had to bring my speakers to CC to try it). The polks paired with the H/K also sounded nice. I loved the H/K reciever, Athena speakers, and velodyn sub combination. Diana Krall's voice sounded crisp and detailed and I heard the most amount of "wood" in the upright bass from this combo. The fact that my wife approved of the H/K's appearance was an added bonus.
 

Silver Member
Username: Elitefan1

Post Number: 861
Registered: Dec-03
Nathan,
So many people say they hear differences between receivers because there are huge differences in the way they sound. If you say there aren't you are wrong. You say you look for power and features. Whose power specs do you believe? What the manufacturer says or someone in a store or do you do any reading and research? Power and features are very important but take a backseat to sonic characteristics and proper matching of the receiver and speakers. Every receiver has it's own sound and understanding this basic point is a must if you are going to put together a good sounding system.
 

Unregistered guest
To tell you the truth, power isn't a deal-breaker for me. My receiver is rated at 110W/channel (20 Hz - 20 kHz) for stereo and 110W/channel (1 kHz) with all channels driven.

I have a modest-sized room, my speakers are fairly sensitive, and I don't listen to my movies anywhere near reference level, so 50 WPC would probably be plenty for me.

Few people can detect the tonal differences between receivers, and I'm happy to be one of those people. If you find your receiver to be too "warm" or "bright", why not adjust the tone controls and be done with it?

And what function of the receiver changes the sonic characteristics of the source material? Is it the dolby digital decoder? Is it in the amplification?
 

Unregistered guest
"So many people say they hear differences between receivers because there are huge differences in the way they sound."

By the way, this logic is flawed. Many people believe in lots of things, but that doesn't mean they are true. Some people also believe that speaker wires have sonic qualities...
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 479
Registered: Dec-03
I would tend to agree with you about the whole speaker wire issue, but definately NOT on the issue of receiver differences. You obviously have not spent much time listening to receivers, at least decent ones. If you had, then you would know that there are some pretty big differences. As there are so many things that go into making a receiver, it leads to very different sonic characteristics. You have the DAC and the power supply just to name two. Even the location of these components within the receiver can affect the sound quality. There are many different variables that affect the sound that comes out of your speakers.

By your logic then, there should be no dicernable difference between any receivers at all, regardless of price or make. Go listen to a cheap $100 HTIB at Wal-Mart and then go listen to a $2000 NAD or Arcam. You will see just how different receivers can sound.
 

Unregistered guest
I just think that it's useless to characterize a receiver as "warm" or "bright". I often see that a receiver is called "warm" by one person and "bright" by another, so is it possible that this characterization has more to do with room acoustics, speakers, tone settings, etc. than the receiver itself?

As I said earlier, there are other things to consider. I wouldn't buy a $100 HTIB from Wal-Mart because it probably wouldn't accept 14-guage wire, it probably only has the power to drive the cheap speakers it comes with, it probably won't handle the inputs/outputs I require, and it may not last very long.

If it weren't for issues like this, I would have no problem buying a receiver just because it cost $100. In fact, my first receiver was a Technics I bought from my friend for $100, and it did me well for about 3 years as a stereo receiver before I upgraded to a receiver that did Dolby Digital and DTS (the Technics only did Pro Logic).
 

edster922
Unregistered guest
Johnny,

> Go listen to a cheap $100 HTIB at Wal-Mart and then go listen to a $2000 NAD or Arcam.

Well, that's like comparing a Yugo and a Mercedes, isn't it?

However, if you compare a Lexus and a Mercedes...then the qualitative differences become much smaller despite the considerable difference in price.

So my question is, in the world of receivers, what would be the equivalent of a Lexus? Or even a Toyota Camry, for that matter?

Just curious, I'm too poor to be a real audiophile, LOL.
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 481
Registered: Dec-03
I agree, it is not right to compare a $100 receiver and a $2000 receiver. This was in response to the earlier posting that suggested that it was impossible to hear differences in receivers. By listening to a $100 receiver and a $2000 receiver, one can easily hear that there in fact can be some pretty significant differences in sound quality and sonic characteristics. That was my point. It was just a comparison to help me make my point.

Sticking with the automobile examples. Lexus and Mercedes are two top of the line cars, yet based on which model you choose, there can be extreme differences. If you drove a sports car oriented Lexus and a luxury sedan Mercedes, I am sure you could tell differences in suspension, handling, acceleration, interior room, etc. Each car has its own characteristcs that make it unique. So yes, the overall features, price, etc. may be the same between a Lexus and Mercedes, but there are other considerations that have just as much if not more to do with overall driver satisfaction...just like in receivers. To suggest that all cars drive the same regardless of make/model sounds preposterous...just like the claim that all receivers sound alike.

As to your other question about what the "Lexus of the receiver world" would be, that is difficult to say. There are some brands that consistently perform above the others, but receivers can be good/bad depending on the needs and requirements of each individual user. For example, NAD is a wonderful receiver, yet it has relatively few inputs. Therefore, if you require 8 inputs to meet your needs, no matter how good NAD sounded, it wouldn't work for you. Also, take the example of Yamaha. Yamaha has tended to be a very bright sounding receiver. Paired with the wrong speakers, it sounds horrible...but paired with the right speakers, it can sound pretty good. See what I mean? What is my Lexus could be your Yugo.
 

Unregistered guest
Despite what you think, the characteristics of your amp/receiver are among the least important elements in the chain of sound reproduction. In order of importance are:

1) Your central nervous system
2) The characteristics of your listening space
3) Your speakers
4) The source material

Much further down the list are amplification, DACs, interconnects, speaker wire, etc. Shifting your listening position by a few inches would make a bigger difference in perceived sound than swapping out receivers.

My point is, if you base your purchasing decision on vague descriptions like "warm", "bright", "neutral", etc, you may very well end up with a receiver that doesn't meet your needs.

I don't think the car analogy quite works. A more appropriate analogy might be a comparison of the on board computers of a cheap car and an expensive car.
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 483
Registered: Dec-03
Nathan,

Well, I guess we just have to agree to disagree on this one. I have done some extensive listening to nearly every brand of receiver out there, paired with multiple speaker brands. No matter what you want to say or think, I DO hear a very big difference between receivers. It is not my imagination, it is not the "placebo effect", the differences are there, at least to my ears. When I listen to different receivers on the same speakers, in the same listening room, I hear major differences in some of them. Even my wife, whom is not into audio at all hears these differences. And trust me, she doesn't hear these differences just because I tell her they are there. We were at Best Buy over the weekend looking at CD's and we passed the home theater section and she commented, without my prompt, how bright and harsh the Sony receiver/Athena speaker combo they had running sounded. Her exact words I think were "man, all I can hear is the glass shattering, I can't hear any low sounds at all".

If what you say is correct, then I guess there have been thousands upon thousands of really dumb people out there that payed way too much for their receivers. Shouldn't we all just be happy with an "Audiovox" HTIB from Target? Why have a place to audition audio equipment anyway? Why not just buy off the shelf like a tube of toothpaste...if there is no difference between receivers?
 

Silver Member
Username: Petergalbraith

Rimouski, Quebec Canada

Post Number: 258
Registered: Feb-04
Johnny said:

We were at Best Buy over the weekend looking at CD's and we passed the home theater section and she commented, without my prompt, how bright and harsh the Sony receiver/Athena speaker combo they had running sounded. Her exact words I think were "man, all I can hear is the glass shattering, I can't hear any low sounds at all".

And you don't think most of the reason for that is the room? I would hope that receivers don't make that much of a difference, otherwise we're doomed.
 

Unregistered guest
Johnny,

First of all, I respect your opinion; you've probably got more experience than I do. I mentioned several reasons why I wouldn't buy a $100 HTiB from Wal-Mart. If you missed them, you can see my above post. Someone who is looking into buying a receiver should look for the features he's interested in before ever worrying whether some reviewer (who used his own listening area and speakers, by the way) described the receiver as "bright" or "laid-back".

I agree with you that power supply is a factor. Obviously, a 300 wpc receiver will outperform a 100 wpc receiver once the 100 wpc receiver is pushed to its limit.

If you can distinguish between Dolby Digital decoders in two different receivers and you have the means to buy a $2000 receiver, then more power to you. Other than decoders and DACs, I fail to see where else a receiver could add distortion to the source material (and things like "brightness" and "warmth" are distortion). So, if people say they like a "warm" receiver, then they like having their highs rolled off and missing some of the material. Now why someone would pay more for a receiver that distorts the source material, I have no clue.

As for the Sony/Athena combo you heard in Best Buy, did you try to adjust the bass/treble? Do you think a cavernous store like Best Buy is a good place to audition audio equipment? Did the setup include a capable subwoofer? Do you think the sound that your wife heard had more to do with the quality of the receiver or the quality of the speakers?

I guess my main point is that speaker selection and proper setup and calibration will make vastly greater differences in your listening experience than any distortion being introduced during amplification. Would you at least agree with that part?
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 484
Registered: Dec-03
Maybe some of it was the room, ok, maybe most of it was the room...how much of it is debatable. That doesn't change my opinion that there are dicernable differences between receivers. If you were to listen to this same setup in your living room, the results would be similar. Maybe not quite as bad, but you would still be able to detect quite a bit of the brightness I describe. Go listen to a cheaper Yamaha and a cheaper HK on the same set of speakers, and you will hear what I am talking about.

Why exactly are we "doomed" because receivers have different characteristics? It just takes a little more time and effort to get it right.
 

Unregistered guest
I think what he meant was that such night-and-day differences between systems are largely due to room conditions, speakers, etc. and are less likely due to differences in DACs between a cheap Sony and your receiver.

If the difference isn't in the DAC, I'm interested in knowing where the distortion is introduced.
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 485
Registered: Dec-03
Nathan,

I would wholeheartedly agree with you that speaker selection is one, if not THE most important thing to take into consideration when choosing a receiver. I think that is the point that is the point that elitefan and I have been trying to make this whole time. The reason that speaker selection IS so important is that each speaker and each receiver has different characteristics, thus making it VERY important to match receievers with speakers that compliment these unique characteristics. There are certain brands of receiver that, at least in my opinion, have a very warm sound...no matter which environment you listen to it in. Examples of this are Pioneer Elite and HK. There are also speakers which exhibit a warm sound. Examples of these are Paradigm and PSB. Now, if you mate a warm receiver with a warm speaker, the results won't be very good, in my opinion. Each piece is wonderful in its own right, but paired with the wrong match, it doesn't sound good. I have heard combos such as this many times, and the sound was very lifeless and it didn't please me at all. However, if you pair these same receivers with a brighter sounding speaker such as Monitor Audio or Klipsch, the warmness is lessened some and the result is a much more neutral, detailed, and open sound. That is the point I am trying to make. Then, when you add listening environment into the mix, it becomes even more important to get the right speaker/receiver match. That is the point I was trying to make all along.

No, I think Best Buy is a horrible place to audition and/or buy audio equipment. See my postings above. It was just an example I had on the top of my head, and Best Buy seems to specialize in receivers and speakers that are very bright sounding.

I would also agree with you that someone looking to buy a receiver should look at more than just whether someone else has described it as "warm" or "bright". That is for each individual to determine on their own. What is bright to me may be pleasing to another. That is why the audition process is so important. Any person who buys a receiver simply because someone else told them to has no place to gripe when the results are less than stellar.

No, I cannot distinguish between the Dolby Digital decoders in different receivers, but I CAN distinguish between the receivers as a whole. What exactly does a DD decoder sound like anyway? Listen to a CD...no Dolby Digital decoding going on there, but I can still hear the differences.

What if Wal-Mart sold a $100 receiver that did accept 14 gauge wire, did have enough inputs for you, and would drive a decent set of speakers. Would you buy one then?
 

Unregistered guest
"What if Wal-Mart sold a $100 receiver that did accept 14 gauge wire, did have enough inputs for you, and would drive a decent set of speakers. Would you buy one then?"

I've only mentioned a few of things I considered when picking out my receiver, but a receiver that meets all my requirements for $100 would be a steal -- of course I'd buy it!

"What exactly does a DD decoder sound like anyway?"

Exactly! You tell me. If you can't hear differences between DD decoders, then that must mean the amplifier is introducing the distortion that is allowing you to hear differences between receivers? Most modern amps have less than 1% THD (mine is rated at .2%, and it's not a high-end model by any means), so if you can hear the difference between an amp with .2% THD and .005%, then you are truly amazing.

I'm just trying to understand what makes receivers sound different. Are the high-end manufacturers using some technology to reduce distortion (or intentionally color the sound) that makes amps sound better? I would buy the argument that higher-quality amps introduce less distortion, but the distortion levels we're talking about are inaudible.
 

Elmosaurus
Unregistered guest
Nathan,

There's ALOT to receivers that isn't obvious on the surface.

As you get into seperates, you begin to understand what each of those 'in a box' receivers is really comprised of. (I'm not even talking about HTiB where the DVD player is included; this is JUST what you would normally call a 'receiver')

Inside a receiver, are three major components; the Power Supply, the Pre Amp, and the Amp.

To start, there has to be a power supply. This can vary from something that just 'creates the right voltage of household lines' to something that purifies and cleans the voltage so that it doesn't introduce wierd harmonics in the power feed. That interference or harmonic CAN affect the operation of ANY of the devices that feed off that power grid. Any EMI noise it generates in the process can also seep into neighboring components; not good.

The Pre Amp has to do LOTS of switching. At the core, it has to select from a array of the included inputs on the back of the chassis. This switching is done electronically, so that means possibly induced interference from EMI (electro Magnetic interference; like the hummm or whine that comes off a flourscent light) or even dirty 'supposedly dead' signals coming from other unselected devices can pollute the pre amp. Even the BEST pre amps that ignore or dispose of foul signals being introduced still have to PROCESS the signal, (the switching at the least) and usually have POST processing that involves MORE circuits (which, btw, feed off the possibly dirty power supply). Decoding DSP's (DD and DTS, etc) are computer chips that have to literally process sound. If the input was not analog to begin with, it has to CONVERT the signal from digital to analog, so now DAC rendering comes into the foray; DAC quality varies TREMENDOUSLY. Either way, you are formating and post processing multi channel (from 2 to 6+) audio into distinct analog channels for the Pre amp to pass outbound for amplification.

So, as you somewhat alluded to, a Pre Amp has LOTS of control over what the source material will end up like when it enters the Amplification stage; it can get shrunk dynamically (lost high and low end), emptied out (midrange is dampened or shut out all together) or 'pushed' in any range (over emphasis on low, mid, or high) which makes the source seem 'dead' or 'flat'

NOW, an amplifier is a whole other beast. It's SOLE job is to take a low level signal (supposedly accurate) and add electricity to magnify it's amplitude (strength) hence, the name of the component.

It does this with yet another circuit, typically MOSFET or whatnot, since the days of tube amps are pretty much gone except for the most DIE HARD fans of audiophile legacy. But it is largely a wattage HUNGRY process; Class AB amps waste up to 3 times the amount of electricity magnifying a source to average listening level. Class A can dump up to 4x the amount. EG; a 100Watt Class A amplifier will waste almost 400+ watts of electricty continuously to get the source sound to 100 watts continuously.

In doing this, the amp NEEDS clean power. Moreso than you need air to be under water. If the Amp circuit isn't fed clean continuous power, it can't boost the signal properly, if at all. Period. This is why cheapo amps fall flat on their face and distort the source like crazy if you drive them continuously at all. (meaning, more than a split second)

For all you learning this for the first time, this is why inflated wattage ratings are possible; manufacturers spec the near instaneous 'peak' wattage their power supply can feed the amp circuit usually only on a SINGLE channel before falling flat on it's face. Trying to do it repeatedly, say, in a string of bass drum or loud chello hits, will starve the amp of power as the power supply has lost it's ability to feed the circuit AND KEEP UP. Do it on multiple channels, and that's 2, 3, or 6 times the current draw on that little power supply; a INSTANT recipe for power starvation, WHICH LEADS TO DISTORTION. Even if it HAS the power, if it is dirty power, or the amp is built poorly with amplification circuits too close to noise introducing EMI sources, (even internal to the chassis; sometimes the amp's OWN Power Supply CREATES the noise!!) the source can be muddied during the amplification process with a harmonic that will usually appear as a frequency shift in the amplified source; an off tone, as commonly known. All of this combined is what makes some amps 'character' different, VASTLY different than others.

In both cases, (amp and pre amp) clean power is therefore CRITICAL as you can see. ANY noise introduced will come out somehow in the end.

Also, as plainly obvious, any 'step' along the way that can allow dirt or noise to intrude into the signal, any noise that makes it in, FOLLOWS through the rest of the process, and can make matters worse as you keep going. It's a 'weakest link in the chain' problem.

In effect, someone once taught me that it isn't what an audiophile piece adds that makes it worth it's money, but rather, what it doesn't add to the music you ultimately hear and feel.

I hope that helps explain things a little. Ask if you'd like more.

E.
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 486
Registered: Dec-03
Nathan,

Maybe our problem lies in our vocabulary. When you say "distortion", I think of something entirely different. When I think of distortion, I think of missing sounds. The things I am describing are not "distortion", at least not in my vocabulary. The best way I can describe it is a different "color" or "flavor" to the sound. You keep mentioning turning up the treble or bass. When you do this, are you distorting the sound? By the way I define "distortion", absolutely not. You are adding a different "flavor" to the sound, but not distorting it. The sound is still the same, it is just that different frequencies in the sound spectrum are emphasized. Kind of like increasing the level of your center speaker in the surround setup. The sound coming out is still the same, the center channel is just being emphasized more because you changed the setting. It certainly isn't distortion...just a different sound. It isn't that certain sounds are missing, just that some are emphasized more than others. To me, that is what makes the sound different. I may be totally off with all of this, but this is how I think of it.

There are many other things that go into producing a sound other than the Dolby Digital Decoder and the amplifier.

To tell you the truth, I cannot explain exactly why there is a difference in sound between receivers...I just know that it is there. I am by no means an expert on the "innards" of a receiver, I probably wouldn't even be considered "educated" in this area. I know the basic parts and what they do, but that's it. I am afraid to take my receiver apart. So, maybe someone on here who does know more about the inner workings of a receiver can explain better, but unfortunately I cannot. The best I can come up with is that each receiver brands use a different combination of parts...DAC, power supply, etc. Some receivers use a Burr Brown DAC, while others use Cirrus DAC. Some use a torrodial transformer, while others do not. So, I guess when you put those different combinations together, the sound eminated is different. I guess if all receiver manufactureres used exactly the same parts, then they would all sound the same.
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 487
Registered: Dec-03
Elmo,

Wow, I feel like I just attended an electrical engeneering seminar. Thank you very much for that informative posting!! Welcome to the forum, you really seem like you know what you are talking about...and you obviously know how to choose a good receiver if you choose NAD? :-)
 

Elmosaurus
Unregistered guest
Thanks, Johnny. (I think. LOL. I don't know if the NAD comment was a crack at me or not... :-P )

I've been doing audio gear for over 15 years... spent way too much; more than I care to ever admit. LOL. I tend to ramble too, so yeah, it can sometimes end up as dissertations... The sad thing is I glossed over everything about bandwidth and dynamic range that goes IN and OUT of all of those interconnections throughout that whole process; which DRAMATICALLY can affect what you hear on the other end of a speaker.

As for the NAD, as I move towards a happier home with a wife, I have to be more sensible (read modest) in my hobby finances, so the T763 suited me beautifully in the 'price for performance' department.

There's much nicer pieces that I would spend a couple *cough*months worth*cough* of mortgage payments on, but that's not realistic for an average joe that just wants good quality unmolested music. :-)

Finding a good buy in the 'mid-fi' range is very difficult today given the proliferation of many retail in a box brands franchises. They seem to assume that people are 'ok' with crap for their money, and aren't willing to take time to investigate, learn, and determine what is really worthwhile for a hard earned dollar. Seemingly, many people sadly are 'ok' with it. :-(

E.
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 488
Registered: Dec-03
No, definately not a crack at you, I was being sarcastic. :-) I too am a happy NAD owner (T762), mostly for the same reasons you mentioned above. I wanted something that would give me a wonderful sound and not "break the bank"...I am living on a teacher's salary you know. :-) For me, NAD was the clear choice. I found a dealer that was absolutely wonderful to deal with, and I haven't looked back since.

I used to be one of those people who thought the stuff they had at Best Buy and Circuit City was "all that" and more. I truly didn't know any better. I was really close to buying a crappy Sony receiver that some idiot salesman sold me on at Circuit City when I happened across this forum, and the rest, as they say, is history. It certainly changed my outlook on the world of audio. There is was a whole new world of non-mass market audio out there that I didn't even know existed. I just laugh when I go into Circuit City or Best Buy and see all those people who buy the junk in there simply because they don't know any better. Sometimes, when I am eavesdropping, I feel like chiming in and telling those people that there is so much more out there...even at the risk of getting kicked out.
 

Elmosaurus
Unregistered guest
Ah, it makes sense now. :-)

Yah, trying to explain to the uninitiated can be a challenge. If the person isn't at least asking me, 'what's really the difference???' I know that I won't have the stamina to stay out the discussion and explain what it is they need to understand to really appreciate the worthwhile investment in better gear, let alone set up an audition so they can understand the difference with their ears.

As I alluded to, it's sad when people languish in their ability to just say, 'sure whatever' and buy whatever a near minimum wage franchise sales clerk offers them; all so they can be lazy'er and just put out cash under the assumption that, 'yah, this was the most expensive unit at the store so I got it' rather than taking the time to learn what their hard earned dollars are supposed to be doing when they spend them.

BTW, thanks for being an educator, there's too few that care about the role it plays in this country anymore.

E.
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 489
Registered: Dec-03
Thank you for noticing!! I truly love being a teacher...just wish the pay matched the importance and expectations. But, as they say, if you are in it for the money you are in it for the wrong reason...
 

Unregistered guest
Elmo,

Thanks for the explanation. That's kind of what I was looking for, rather than just "they sound different to me".

Johnny,

I'm glad to know that you laugh and look down your nose at people who buy some of their equipment at BB/CC. That's just the kind of attitude that turns people off of this hobby.

A few months ago, I bought a Pioneer VSX-D912 receiver at Circuit City, so without even hearing it, you know it's crap, right?

By the way, "distortion" to me is reproducing sound that varies from the original source. If one receiver sounds different than another in the way that you mentioned (certain frequencies are emphasized more than others), that is distortion.

From what I understand, THD is how much of the audio output is not like the image of the original material, so if two amps have .2% maximum THD, how can they sound different if distortion is barely audible (even with test tones!) when THD is less than .2% (and THD has to be 2 or 3 percent for us to hear it in most kinds of music)?

Also, the THD is measured with software, so if the receiver was "coloring" the sound to roll off highs, emphasize the mid-range, etc., wouldn't that be reflected in the THD rating?
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 491
Registered: Dec-03
Sorry I couldn't give a better explaination...as I said, I don't know
too much about that stuff.



I really wish that you would read and ingest all of what I write, not just the bits and pieces that seem to feed your fire. I said, and I
quote "I just laugh when I go into Circuit City or Best Buy and see all those people who buy the junk in there SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY DON'T KNOW ANY
BETTER". I didn't say that I somehow think they are below me or something. If you did your homework by researching possible choices,
auditioned several of these possiblities, and THEN still choose to buy at Circuit City, then so be it. I have no problem with that. If that
receiver fit your needs and you liked it better than all of the other choices that you could afford, then I applaud you. However, if you would have read my comments, you would see that they were directed toward those who buy from there without knowing any better. Most of the salesman in there don't know anything, and you obviously (as you have admitted)cannot audition properly in those types of stores, so it just amazes me how many people will still buy, without doing any sort of research or
thorough audition. Whether you are spending $100 or $2000, I would want to know that I am getting the absolute best that I can afford. Maybe I am too obsessive with it, but I work hard for every dime I make, and I don't have enough of it to just throw it away, no matter how much, on the word of some salesman or based on a 3 minute audition in a loud store. Like Elmosaurus said, how many people have bought a receiver simply because it is the most expensive one at the store and thought that it was good, simply because of that fact. So no, I cannot say that just because you bought your receiver at CC that it is crap...no more than you can say that there are no sound differences between them without listening to some in a better environment than CC or BB. That is my point. I thought
I made it clear in the posting above. If I didn't, I apologize.

As for all of this talk about THD, I really don't know, as I said earlier. I think that Elmo did a pretty good job of explaining why there are different "colors" in receivers, I can't add any more to what he
said.
 

edster922
Unregistered guest
I guess I see Lexus as being about $30-40K and having pretty much all the quality and comfort of a $75K Mercedes, the difference being mainly in social prestige, intangible "road feel" and maybe a few uber-luxury features.

Kind of like the difference between a cheapo $10 dress shirt at Walmart versus the pretty good $40 dress shirt from Land's End versus some $150 dress shirt from some swank little place on Fifth Avenue. There's a HUGE jump in quality between the $10 and $40 dress shirts, but much less between the $40 and $150 dress shirt.

So, in the most generalized terms, which would be the receiver equivalent of a $40 dress shirt?
 

Silver Member
Username: Landroval

Post Number: 935
Registered: Feb-04
"So, in the most generalized terms, which would be the receiver equivalent of a $40 dress shirt?"

Marantz SR5400.
 

Elmosaurus
Unregistered guest
Nathan,

To elaborate, THD is a poor indicator of Amplifier clarity/character.

Yes, it is measured scientifically with scalar observation. No, it can't easily be heard or felt with the human ear.

But there is more to character than a singular percentage of distortion; bandwidth of a signal is the dynamic range it can vary, from low double digit hz frequencys to very high barely audible 20+khz signals. Within that bandwidth, as you began to allude, is a large range of signals, the source, that will vary in tempo, timing (duration), strength, and fluidity (tone to tone continuity).

How accurate an amplifier stage is will determine if the source arrives amplified unmolested to a high degree. Science uses THD to measure and place a quantifiable number to this, but there is an intangible audible difference that is not measureable.

ie; if a tone makes it from source to amplified signal, the THD is 0% (in an ideal world); even if the tone is not started quickly enough, cut shorter and drops off too soon, or lasts too long during playback. (first two being most common in under powered poorly isolated amplifier circuits)

ex: A note from a guitar that is meant to linger, can be cut short, and still be quantified as 0% THD (ideal) even if the resonance of the string acoustic is not present because the amplifier circuit dropped the sound. The note played, so it earns the register of 0% theoretically, but it may have started a millisecond too late, and may drop short possibly because a large tone (like a bass drum) from another frequency starts and 'hogs' the circuit's power and use.

Tones/Notes that last too long can sometimes muddy the musicality of a source, since they carry longer resonance in time than they should, intruding on other notes that are meant to play distinctly on their own; this produces 'dead' sounding music, as the source seems to be a cacophony of noise more than a series of distinct tones.

Worse yet, some amplifier circuits will 'push' or modulate certain bandwidth more than others inside that SAME source signal. eg, you have a perfect 0% THD amplification; except, you make the bass louder. (Pioneer) Or you make the midrange stronger than the low or high. (Sony) Or you warp the low/high curve and muddy the midrange. (Yamaha). Starting to see where character of an amp can easily affect what you hear? One would love to assume that an amplifier will raise the volume for the bandwidth across the board for the signal, but, that's rarely the case. Add in that a weak power supply can't fuel the needs for low end amplification, and many Amp circuits fall short.

As an aside, this bandwidth freq modulation can happen at the source even, and hence why some recordings are 'great' and some are 'flat' or 'dead'; they just don't seem lively no matter WHICH system you use. Conversely, some source are recorded with such care, that with the right gear, the performance literally comes alive during playback.

A well built amplifier as I mentioned prior, will harness clean continuous ample power to amplifiy a signal 'purely' without being late, early, carrying a resonant, or shifting the tone (the worst and most severe modulation; which is the only thing that measured THD DOES actually reflect). You CAN easily discern the behavior and character of two amplifier circuits if you audition them in exactly the same circumstances, same source, same speakers, same environment.

So, character of the amp is just a piece of the equation obviously, as I said, 'weakest link of the chain' issue.

So, please don't continue to reference THD as a 'measurable spec' that will help determine the difference between amplifiers; it's unfortunately not a good 'meter' of character.

I hope that makes it more clear now.

E.
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 493
Registered: Dec-03
E,

Thank you once again for your informative posting. That is what I was trying to say all along...I just didn't have the technical knowledge to back it up. It is nice to know exactly why those receivers sound the way that they do.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sinkdrain

Post Number: 47
Registered: Aug-04
E,

I am absolutely facinated with the info you provided in your posts.

thanks
 

Unregistered guest
"I hope that makes it more clear now."

It is clear that my hearing disability will save me money on audio receivers.

The fact that one person can call a receiver "bright" while someone else can call it "warm" (and I've seen this many times) confirms my belief that speakers and music contribute 100 times more to tonal differences than amps.

Thanks for all the information. I'm sure it has been frustrating to deal with me...
 

Elmosaurus
Unregistered guest
Not so much frustrating, just, intangible; we're trying to describe and illustrate differences in non-physical things, without a frame of reference. It'd be like discussing what pain feels like. Or more aptly, pain by electrocution versus pain by impact; until you've experienced it firsthand, it's hard for anyone to discuss it with you. Agree?

In effect, Speakers are the front line of audio delivery; they take a pure electrical signal and convert it through magnetic pulses into air vibration, and thus, sound. How effective and efficient it is at using those electrical pulses and waveforms is obviously the crux of it's job.

So yes, obviously the end result you feel and hear is largely determined by the choice in speaker.

BUT, once you have a speaker, the choice of what gear you use to drive them can also vary the final rendering of the source.

Assuming a decent source, (note: Metallica is not audiophile worthy source. I know, I have all of their albums from my youth ;) ) the end accuracy of what the speakers produce can be affected by the path the source takes to get to the speaker.

Characterizing the SAME unit with different tonal qualities based on the listener IS indeed unusual. That's obviously not the same as five of us all saying, 'yah, that Onkyo seems warm...' and then all five of us saying '..but that Yamaha feels bright' etc etc. This presumes the obvious that no EQ modulation is present, and that any tonal adjustments (treble/bass knobs) are zeroed, or outright 'defeated' if the unit is designed as such.

This 'weakest link of the chain' effect is what really complicates things, since it's entirely possible that one may have a very sharp set of speakers (not good at effectively recreating low end source) and pair them with an overly pushy low end focused amp. The resulting sound is a somewhat more neutral combo (albeit possibly at the loss of a little detail) that would otherwise be harsh and discomforting to listen to had the same speakers been paired with a equally bright amplifier, or a set of boomy speakers attached to the pushy amp.

And as you allude, yes, every listener DOES have certain physiological properties, such as cumulative hearing loss (tinitus; ringing in the ears) or higher body mass index (body fat, even at low 9% levels, does alter the way air induced vibrations flow around the skin of your body, including the skin that leads into your ear canal and such).

This is why time and time again, the most important illustrator of differences in pieces is an audition of many suitable candidates in the desired price range by the purchaser; it sucks that audio is one of the few hobbies where you really DO have to say, 'how much do I have to spend, and lets go from there'.

Putting all subjective feelings aside, I do hope one day you are able to set up a reputed 'cleaner' amp into your setup, changing nothing else, and listen for yourself if there are any differences; I'm quite sure you'd hear a dramatic difference, and as you may have read in another thread where I reviewed a NAD T763, sometimes, you do find surprising acheivement in even mid priced units.


E.
 

Unregistered guest
One more question. You indicated that Pioneer receivers are known to be warm.

The specs. for my receiver (VSX-D912) say that the frequency response (for all inputs) is within 3 dB (+0/-3 dB) for the range 5 Hz - 100 kHz. That seems too flat to be noticable. Or is this another useless specification?

Even my old Sony DE line receiver was within 2.5 dB for 10 Hz - 70 kHz.

Don't all modern solid-state receivers have a flat frequency response when listening in direct mode (bypassing all filters and equalization)?
 

Elmosaurus
Unregistered guest
I'd tend to personally label Pioneer units as more 'boomy' than warm; they seem to over emphasize the low end by default when tonal controls are at 'zero'. It's done like this due to marketing; common retail has sold the average joe on the idea that boomy and loud must equal strong and thus worth money. (NOT the case)

The spec you describe is about the same for ALL units; 5hz to 100Khz is the FULL range of any audio signal that could be generated; remember, most human ears can only hear around 20hz to 20 khz; some argue you can 'feel' anything lower than 20hz, and feel the tingle of anything higher than 20khz. That remains to be debated in another thread.

A side point, +0/-3db deviation spec is the MAX deviation. That's why they spec a 'range'. In truth, you may never deviate from the intended source frequency during amplification. Other times, you'll ALWAYS be -2.5 db for example off the intended source freq. And this happens with EACH and EVERY frequency throughout that range. (millions of sub frequencies no less in between!)

This is why some manufacturers will spec that WIDE range deviation, and also some narrow band deviation spec in the 20hz-20khz range, which is usually less. IE, they're target area of concern, that which you can hear, has to have less deviation to be more 'accurate'.

It becomes more clear how this can affect character if you just suppose that there is a possible 0 to -2db difference on each of 10 frequency segments of the audible segment of the source bandwidth. If say the bottom 3 freq segments are -2 db, and the middle 5 are 0db, and the top two are -2 again, that creates a 'push' in the midrange, right? the midrange will sound louder because of this. What if you had 0db at the low end, but there was -2 for the top 7 segments of the bandwidth; pushy bass, right?

And more important, to generalize a bit, a measured decibel is an extended logarithmic function, that grows quickly as the numbers are higher. Therefore, a 3db gain or loss is much more audibly dramatic at higher db than when the difference happens at low levels. ie, a 5db vs 8 db difference obviously wouldn't be too noticeable compared to a 65 vs 68 db signal disparity. This is how that difference can become noticable to a human ear at reasonable audio source audition levels.

So, putting the above together, the spec you are trusting (unfortunately) are poor real world meters as they essentially 'build in' enough variance to accommodate any strange character that results in the end product a manufacturer puts out. If ever argued with them, even if their unit colors the source dramatically, as long as it reproduces it within that variance, its 'ok' by their definition.

As I've said earlier, it's LARGELY a frame of reference. If all you heard was Sony hardware all your life, and 'programmed' your brain into 'knowing' that THAT is how that source is SUPPOSED to sound, any audition with other gear may produce something that is not desirable or unfamiliar to you, provided your original source wasn't uncomfortable to listen to.

This is how Bose makes so much money off an idea, BTW; they sell something that sounds just a 'tad' different, with slightly more lively mid-hi's, lots of bass, but nothing in the midbass region, and the average buyer all of a sudden 'hears' a totally different rendition of their memorized source, thinking it's the neatest thing since sliced bread. (...and consequently plops down the cash on a 100% retail mark up item that is already 300-400% overpriced at cost. Sorry any Bose owners out there, you overpaid for that equipment; it's been documented what Bose's distribution and pricing schema are like)

So, as we can see by now, ideally, yes, we'd want any amplification circuit to be flat across the board, amplify equally at all frequencys in the bandwidth range, and do it cleanly, without ever starving.

What we really get varies DRAMATICALLY from brand to brand, design to design even (inside a brand).

I hope no one objects to these long tirades....

E.

 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 494
Registered: Dec-03
I know I certainly don't object...it is nice to have some factual proof for all of these things we keep telling people on here (why "100 watts" doesn't always mean a true "100 watts", why some receivers sound differently, etc.). Keep up the good work!! Maybe you should write a book or something...and hand it out to people as they walk into Circuit City or Best Buy! :-)

Send me a an email sometime and we can discuss the current state of affairs.
 

edster922
Unregistered guest
> Marantz SR5400.

Damn, I was hoping not to hear that rec again...even at the supposedly "incredible" price of $450 from Cambridge Soundworks, it's still a bit more than the $260 I was hoping to get away with for a refurb Onkyo 601. : )
 

Unregistered guest
Elmo,

Thanks for all the information. I just don't understand why Pioneer would market a certain sound ("boomy") to the consumer and then include an auto-EQ with the receiver that will flatten the response.
 

Unregistered guest
It looks like Sony is even conservative when they publish their frequency response specs. Here's what I found in a Home Theater Magazine review for the STR-DE845 (surely a "lowly" receiver by your standards):

"The analog frequency response was +/-0.39 decibels from 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz...From the Dolby Digital input to the loudspeaker output, the left, center, and surround channels are all flat, +/-0.60 dB from 20 Hz to 20 kHz."

Is this the "Sony sound" you're referring to below? You can stretch be as wordy as you want in making that 1 dB range sound "unlistenable", but it's nothing at all like what Bose does with their speakers. If Sony really wanted to market their own sound, don't you think they'd vary the FR by a little more than this? It almost looks like they're striving for a neutral sound.

--------------

"As I've said earlier, it's LARGELY a frame of reference. If all you heard was Sony hardware all your life, and 'programmed' your brain into 'knowing' that THAT is how that source is SUPPOSED to sound, any audition with other gear may produce something that is not desirable or unfamiliar to you, provided your original source wasn't uncomfortable to listen to."

--------------

I agree that better-powered amps will sound better than a cheaper amp when the cheaper amp is driven beyond its limits -- just wanted to be clear about that.
 

Elmosaurus
Unregistered guest
Nathan,

The 'boomy' that I refer to is a marketing hype driven thing, but the EQ is there because Pioneer also recognizes that in order to capture a wider market, they have to allow the user to 'tweak' the tonal controls of the unit to suit their own taste, and moreso, the environment the unit is set up in.

Eg; most franchise in a box stores are cold, hard, linoleum floored monstrositys, with metal shelving and large cavernous ceilings; hardly good for acoustics. This is why highs travel better, since there is nothing to absorb them properly; they usually reflect off EVERYTHING and arrive back at your ears, whereas the bass is dissapated due to the larger volume of air. By compensating with the pushier low, a unit will sound more 'balanced' in a store, and will be more likely to be bought by the consumer.

As another aside, it's like TVs. You ever notice how many people sit and compare how 'bright' a tv is when shopping for one? The common person has been deluded into thinking 'bright' = long life. Even if it sacrifices picture quality, resolution and contrast. Manufacturers JACK the brightness default inside the unit up WAY above normal NTSC and ISO standards just so that that unit will seem to have a long life and bright picture. It's all about marketing. (NB: higher brightness settings contribute to SHORTER tube life spans; you're burning out the phosphors on the back of the glass)

I digress; When you get a new unit home, now, all of a sudden, it may sound too boomy. So the user just tweaks the tonal control until it approaches what sounds better to THEM again.

This is why ALL units usually have tonal controls; because even in your home, you may have lots of carpet and couches, tapestries on the walls, and heavy hardwood furniture; essentially absorbing too much of your high freq vibration, and the source sounds 'dull'. (so you give it a little nudge with the tonal control) Or, conversely, you have stark, empty walls, hardwood floors, glass topped furniture on metal frames, etc. And the highs are bouncing all over the room; so you need some lower end boost to even it out.

In regards to the Sony, I don't consider it lowly, just not to my taste 'detail-wise'. They HAVE been known use filters in their preamp circuit to dampen noise, which I do not like, since a filter is indiscrimnate in what it kills; it could very well be subtle source that I want amplified, that never makes it to the amp circuit, even though a good DAC source rendered it.

The spec you quoted as you can see, is the 'narrowband' spec; it's from 20hz to 20khz, the tighter target region where the human ear actually can hear. This indicates that the amp circuit SHOULD NOT vary too much from the supplied source during amplification; assuming constant, reliable clean power. Once you begin to raise the volume, you may endure power limitation problems, like you said, where the amp is now being driven beyond it's limits. Oh, and from an electrical engineer's perspective; ALOT of those specs are produced as per the ISOLATED CHIP. Meaning, often times, the chip is in clean, EMI free zone with a pure power source being fed to it; it is NOT necessarily the actual spec taken off the assembled and final unit. If one believes it to be, then they probably believe the wattage capabilities written on the box also. (which, we ALL have seen easy witness to being false)

The 'Sony Sound' comes more from the pre-amp circuits inside the unit as a whole, as I alluded to earlier; the signal processing will filter and process the analog sound during the switching before sending it off to the amp circuit. (this is WITHOUT any kind of DSP processing for surround or such; JUST switching) Because you're driving a high bandwidth signal through the switch, some manufacturers units are not built well enough to 'house' the signal properly. Think of it as a multi lane interchange on a highway with too many cars flowing through; some cars might rub into the side walls, and get 'damaged' along the way. In order to combat this distortion, a filter is put in place that enforces only so many cars can go at a certain time. So if a low or high end 'extreme' signal might get damaged, rather than it coming out distorted on the other end, the unit just filters it out entirely before it travels down the path. This produces a cleaner signal on the other end, albeit, without some of the source.

Largely this is a byproduct of cleaning noise though, not intent of reducing the actual core signal; filters are put in place to remove intruding EMI noise, and an unfortunate byproduct is they can sometimes indiscriminantly kill some of the source signal.

On Sony retail products (NOT ES) that I audition, they tend to dampen the lows and highs just a tad, so that the midrange stands out more. You CAN tweak the tonal controls so there's more bass, and more treble, but then we're not comparing apples to apples anymore. Alot of people I know agree with me, so it's not some delusionary allusion my ears manifest.

And in fact, you're right. Striving for a neutral sound in the amplifier circuit IS the goal. That's what we've been discussing here all along. ALL components along the chain should ideally be PERFECTLY neutral; meaning, you don't even KNOW the component is THERE. In the end, you'll have just a louder version of the original true source.

This is what higher cost, reputed audiophile pieces are geared towards, when the sub 3% difference in sound is worth the usually 200-300% price increase. (or more for some crazy people! :-) )

I think you need to take a step back, and realize that a receiver can be flawed even if it's amplifier circuit DOES behave perfectly; I think that's where our communication breaks down. Remember, WEAKEST LINK IN THE CHAIN. The integrated receiver is actually THREE to FOUR pieces of the chain. (if you use the DAC inside the unit) There is the input switching circuit, a possible use of DAC/DSP, the amplifier circuit, and the power supply that feeds all of the above!

Obviously, if the amp circuit is not made well either, then you end up with an even more 'colored' output of the source.

In case anyone wonders, I type at over 85 wpm, so it's not like I sit here for 5 hours and compose these dissertations... LOL. It usually takes me under 20 minutes to respond, with an occassional fact check along the way.

E.
 

Elmosaurus
Unregistered guest
PS:

I fact checked your Home Theater review quote, and it looks like they did a genuine final product measurement on the unit as a whole to read the deviation for FR within the narrowband range; I'd give my nod BASED ON SPECS ALONE to a well built Amp circuit in that model, IN THIS CASE.

Home Theater Online Review of the 845

But, just to add a quote from the article:

"In the End...
Sony definitely made an impressive showing, delivering a well-featured, high-performing unit for under $500. With plenty of power and articulate reproduction from lows to highs, plus a slew of gee-whiz gewgaws, there's very little not to like here. My reluctance to make the tide unanimous comes from admittedly minor issues with the bass, plus a genuinely visceral response to the Onkyo that none of the other receivers could match on either movies or music."

Even the reviewer recognized that there was something amiss with the FR range, even though the spec for the single left channel test graphed perfectly, and so much that the Onkyo had a different character that was more appealing to him in all source mediums.

So, again, it comes back to the same theme; really, it has to be auditioned, as everyone has their own tastes, and different units WILL character differently in different environments.

E.

 

Unregistered guest
Ha...I was beginning to wonder how fast you could type. I can type fairly fast, but I spend a lot of time reviewing my post, making sure I don't have too many typos and grammatical errors.

Well, I think I have to admit defeat; I'm way overclassed here. I guess I'm just trying to defend the low- to mid-grade receivers that are available because I'm very impressed with some of them, and I think they're getting better all the time. As you alluded to, you sometimes have to spend 2 to 3 times more just to get that extra 1-2% of performance increase, and for most people, that is just not practical.

By the way, the Home Theater Magazine review I referred to says, "From the Dolby Digital input to the loudspeaker output" when specifying the frequency response. I assumed that meant they took the entire chain into account, not just a single chip.

Either way, the amount of variance in the frequency response is just not enough to sway my choice of receiver, and I think that's where we differ. If someone cared enough about the frequency response, they would already be EQ-ing their system to account for their speakers, and the variance in FR of speakers makes the variance in FR of receivers look negligible to me.
 

Unregistered guest
By the way, I realize I'm backtracking a little on my position. Just because I can't hear the subtle differences doesn't mean other people can't.

So I guess I've gone from "you can't hear a difference between two receivers" to "I can't hear a difference between two receivers, and if there is a difference, I don't care." :-)
 

Elmosaurus
Unregistered guest
Ahhh... that's kind of a shame. Lemme explain...

I never said that low-mid price retail units were garbage; the sub $300 units do a good job for the money, and offer entry into a hobby that might not otherwise be feasible. I get cranky when people defend the $500+ units, when there are better units out there, that they haven't auditioned, that's all; in the end it's really the buyers loss if he buys uninformed.

My end goal in this, as always, was to educate you so that you might want to 'see what the difference really is'; I knew from the get go that you probably didn't care... That's how most people approach this, simply because that price difference IS hard to justify for the small perceived benefit. (try explaining to an account that you paid 300% more for a product because it 'seemed better to you'. LOL)

Indeed, anyone that hears the source and cares that it may seem altered by the time it hears their ears (input, amp, speaker, et al.) will modulate the tonal controls until they're happy.

But as purists, (yes, you heard me say it. LOL) those in the audiophile hobby believe that we shouldn't be 'correcting an error', as that's TWO modulations to the source that we didn't want ANY on in the first place; that's why we're willing to pay a little more for 'accuracy'.

I digress; I hope at some point as I said, even if it costs you nothing, that you get to audition a side by side with a higher reputed unit, bringing your most favored source, and see if there isn't an obvious character difference.

One that actually MOVES you emotionally, viscerally, and possibly, ;) financially. :D

E.
 

Silver Member
Username: Johnny

Missouri

Post Number: 495
Registered: Dec-03
Nathan,

Something I want to add to what "E" said. If you are able to arrange an audition of the caliber E describes (and I highly suggest you do!), be sure to listen for some length of time. Most anyone can tolerate a "bright" receiver for only a few minutes...but as time goes on in your audition, I think the differences between receivers may become more evident.

Good luck!! And, if you ever do go audition some higher priced receivers, let us know what your impressions are.
 

Anonymous
 
Guys,

We are all here on a quest to better understand audio. We don't always agree, but never the less we will continue to strive. I am of the feeling that certain speakers and receivers have there own sonic characteristics. For instance listen to Klipsch speakers and than B& W speakers, If you don't here a difference sonically than maybe you need to see a doctor or better yet be content with a HTIB. The same goes for electronic equipment. For example back in the early eighties I had an HK receiver with a pair of Genesis tower speakers and a B&O turntable. Next I purchased an early Technics CD and even though the CD technology was exciting and new, I overall was dissapointed. The CD player sounded harsh, strident and overly sharp edged. It was exhausting to hear after some time. The B&O turntable on the other hand sounded warm, smooth, and easy to hear. My next upgrade was to replace the Technics CD player with a Pioneer (a few years later). Wow what a difference, much warmer. I currently have Polk Speakers, Def Tech Sub, and a Pioneer Elite Receiver. What a differnce! And it all had to do with PROPER MATCHING! It is not by chance, I put together this system by doing research. Let me know what you guys think.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Touche6784

Post Number: 15
Registered: Nov-04
this may have already been addressed but this thread is so long so excuse me if i ask something that has already been answered. I have a h/k stereo receiver which i am guessing the majority of you would consider a "warm" sounding reciever right? i think Elmosaurus talked about this but i am wondering if i buy an amp from a company that sells generally "bright" sounding components, that wouldnt affect the overall sound from the setup since the amp is changing the amplitude of the signal and the "sound" is from the pre-amp right? i just want to make sure that i have this right in my head. oh and Elmosaurus, thouse were some amazing explainations. i am new to the audio world and that cleared up alot of things.
 

Elmosaurus
Unregistered guest
Christopher,

Are you talking about replacing your H/K 2ch entirely? Or using it's Pre-amp outputs (if it has them) to drive an external amplifier?

It sounds like you want to do the latter, in which case, it COULD be that the preamp is what is determining the tonal curve of the sound you ultimately hear (speakers aside, nathan ;) ). But without an audition of the new seperate amp with a different character by you, there's no way to know for sure. It IS entirely possible for a cleaner 'seperates' power supply fed amplifier to change the amplitude of the signal differently than what the Amp internal to your H/K unit is doing now; remember, a seperate power supply dedicated to a 'seperates' amp, will generally give more available and reserve power with less EMI noise being introduced. This means that some resonant tones will have more clarity and strength whereas before, they might have been lost in a lower level amp circuit. (Because they were fed by an all in one powersupply, like the one inside your present H/K unit)


If you want to replace your entire unit, then yes, obviously a different integrated receiver (preamp, amp, et al.) would probably have a major impact on the final 'sound' as you've replaced many of the links in the chain at that point.

E.

 

Unregistered guest
Q i am shopping for a receiver first to eventually rebuild a home theater system. In the meantime I'm working with a pair of nuance 8" towers, yorkville ysm1's(8") and polk 8"sub. My question is what receiver around 7or8hundred should I be looking for and can any of these speakers have a future in my livingroom?
 

Silver Member
Username: Petergalbraith

Rimouski, Quebec Canada

Post Number: 265
Registered: Feb-04
Much better to begin a new thread Jody...
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