All experts - Yamaha, HK or Onkyo (or other)?


I'm looking for a new upgrade to my receiver so i'm getting different opinions about the above three, any suggestions from experts...

i haven't owned them so i can't comment on yamaha or hk, but i've been really happy with my onkyo tx sr800. one thing i have learned tho is don't buy low end. you're never happy with it. save up and spend the extra $ to go up a notch or two


Hard to suggest a receiver without knowing your budget. However, I did have the opportunity to hear a great demonstration a couple of months back done by a local dealer. It compared a H/K 525, a Denon 2802/3, an Onkyo 700 and an NAD 742. The dealer was great, suggesting that everyone has their preferences and he wasn't going to sell me on anything, but would allow me to listen to each of them and I could determine which one I liked the best. He used the same source material and the same speakers as everything was in the same room. We compared both music CDs and DVD source material.

In short, the hands down winner was the NAD, the cheapest and "least powerful" of the bunch (when comparing "continuous wpc" ratings. The NAD simply sounded more lifelike and powerful in the quick transients that are so common in today's recorded material. The sound seemed ultra-clean and lifelike. I was sold. When I told the dealer my choice, remarked that this is usually what happens when the NAD is included in the demo.

My second choice was also clear--H/K. It was warmer sounding than the NAD, but didn't have the NAD's stunning detail. I liked the H/K a lot and I regularly recommend it to friends, particularly if they have really bright sounding speakers (i.e., Klipsch, Monitor Audio, etc.).

Denon came in third and the Onkyo last. However, they are all very good receivers and I strongly recommend that you go listen to them. You have to decide what sound you really like. Take your speakers to the dealer and plug them in (if they are not too big!). Get the sound you like.

I have also heard Marantz and I liked their sound very much. The only receiver brand I do not care for is Yamaha. Yamaha was not in the big showdown described above, but I did get to compare them at another dealer head to head with the Marantz. To me, the Yamahas are very bright sounding and they can get your attention when the dealer initially plays them. But, as listened more and compared their sound to some other brands, I realized that the Yamaha is not as realistic sounding nor do they sound particularly good when compared to some other brands (I was personally disappointed by this as I bought my first stereo receiver in the late 70s and it is a fine sounding Yamaha that still plays in my garage when I work outside).

These are my preferences from listening for the past six months to what was available for $1K and under. My preferences may not be the same as yours, but I offer my opinion as a place to start. Therefore, I recommend the following brands in order of preference: NAD, Harman/Kardon, Marantz, Denon, and Onkyo.

Good luck in your search, and have some fun with it!

Thanks, all for your detailed comments. I'm a bit budget conscious now but could be compromised for the RIGHT piece. Hawk, your comments were excellent. Thanks again,
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