HK AVR230 Vs. Onkyo TXSR-601


So, which is the better choice for features and sound quality? This will be a system for a relative, replacing an old JVC pro-logic receiver I gave them. The current speakers are a 10-year old pair of small Infinity bookshelves in the front, and some crap outdoor bose's as surrounds. They will be getting replaced soon after the new receiver is set up. (That's a whole new discussion...:) )The current system is:

Above Receiver & Speakers
Toshiba 57HDX82 HDTV
Panasonic CP72 DVD changer.
TimeWarner Cable HDTV set-top box.
MX500 remote

The system is primarily used for HT, with a little music listening thrown in. The relative in question is not at all a critical listener, but I still want her to get quality components so that she will become more critical. (And for when I'm over there.:) )

For whatever reason, the AVR230 specs are no longer up at HK's site. I guess they were, since others have linked to them, but not any more. Seems odd since it's in stock at several resellers.

Pricewise, they're both $500 (MSRP), but the HK is available at JandR for $379, I haven't checked on the Onkyo, I'm assuming they're pretty close. Another option is the AVR325 at for $449. Costco's main advantage is the forever return policy. Since HK's site doesn't have the 230 listed, I cant tell what features the 230 has over the 325 or vice-versa. Power-wise, they seem to be nearly identical.

Are there any features that the 230 has over the 325? The 230 at $379 appears to be the better deal? (Except for not supporting 7 channels, which is unnecessary for this application)

When I reasearched this several months back, the Onkyo was my first pick, cause it had the features that the HK's in it's price range lacked. Since then, HK semms to have added the features at the same price point, and they seem to get rave reviews by so many sites and owners. But, so does the Onkyo. (Except for some problems with the SR500 model?)

Any comments would be appreciated...

After reading in the speaker board a bit, I should probably add that I'll be considering Paradigm or PSB speakers (among others) with this receiver. Given that, is the Onkyo or the HK a better choice? (I haven't heard the Paradigm's or PSB's, so don't know if that's what we'll go with.)

I personally have Klipsch (KG4.5), and while I like them, they are a bit bright at times. (My personal receiver is a Sony STR-DB930.)

I think the main differences between the 230 and 325 are these.

1. Color, 325 is black, 230 is silver
2. Amps, 325 had 7 powered channels, 230 has 6
3. Multizone, 325 has it, 230 doesn't
4. Weight, 325 weighs 40lbs, 230 weighs 28lbs
5. Fan, 325 has cooling fan, 230 doesn't.
6. MSRP, 325 is $799, 230 is $549 or $499.
7. 325 has A-bus and RS-232 ports. 230 doesn't. If that really means anything, I dunno.

My guess is that the 325 has the Dual Independent power supplies for front and rear channels and the 230 doesn't. The 230 weighs about the same as the 225 which didn't have the dual power supplies either. 12lbs is a big difference and my best guess is the power supplies.

Other than that the feature set is pretty close.

The 325 for $449 is a good deal at Costco if you're a member. While not authorized you can return it any time for a full refund. That includes because a new better model is available, such as the 430 & 630 when it hits the market.

Since it's for a relative, you might as well go with the cheaper 230, since they'll never use the feature differences. If it was for you, I'd recommend the 325.

I would strongly recommend you upgrade your receiver also. The H/K receivers would be a much better match with Klipsch than a Sony as both your receiver and speakers are very bright. As the above post said there are some good H/K deals right now. I would also recommend Marantz, Elite and NAD with Klipsch. As far a your original question I don't think you could go wrong either way. I like both H/K and Onkyo alot.

K Mac

I am also interested in the HK 325 but was unaware of the Costco option. I've never shopped at costco as there isn't one locally, so I'm also in the dark about their "forever return policy". Does this policy apply to electronics? This is probably critical since they do disclose on the website that they are not an authorized HK dealer and the manufacturers warranty "may" not apply. If the forever return policy applies to the HK, that should relieve any warranty concerns, and what a great way to demo the receiver in your own home with your own speakers and sources.

Mark, if you email HK support they will send you a manual for the AVR230. I agree with GT that because of the extra weight the 325 probably has better power supplies. Although, according to the following link the 230 (and even the 130) does have two power supplies.

Interestingly the AVR330 (7.1 version & multi-room) is only slightly heavier than the 325 but has about the same feature set. I would say the AVR325 falls somewhere between the 330 and 430. Then again, they probably improved the DACs in the newer models.

I know somebody that returned a two year old HK 520 to Costco, got a full refund and then bought the 525 online. It definitely works.

I think you're correct the 325 falls somewhere in between the 330 and 430. The 325 weighs 40lbs like the 430 and they both have the A-bus, RS 232 port and multizone features. The 330 has the 7.1, triple bass Xover and the cooling fan, but only weighs 31lbs. It doesn't have multizone though.

The 430 adds quadruple Xover and assignable component inputs. I wouldn't trade my 325 for a 330 but I might for a 430 if I liked the silver.

Did you ever buy a receiver or are you still looking?

Actually according to the manual I downloaded from the HK website last week, the 330 does have multi-zone capability.

I'm still waiting, I'm hoping to have a listen to the AVR230 when they show up locally. I figure I should be able to pick one up from that store you mentioned in Alberta( for the C$500-C$600 price range with a 1-year Cdn. warranty. I really don't want to spend more than that and it has 6.1 so I should be able to use it for quite some time. Plus, they've beefed up the HCC from the AVR225 to +-35 amps on it so it should be decent for stereo listening as well.

Wow, great response! Thanks everybody...
Yeah, Costco's return policy is great, I've got a DVD burner I'm going to take back next time I'm there, upgraded to a better one. :) The only products that are limited in the return policy is Desktop and Notebook PC's. They're limited to a 6 month return policy.

For my relative, I think the 230 is the way to go. But, have there been any hands-on reviews yet?

They seem to be adding features and cutting prices which I'm all for if they don't cut build quality. Can the fact that the 325 and the 230 have the same power specs, and one is 12Lbs lighter be just the difference between 6 and 7 amps? If I buy it at Onecall, I'm basically stuck with it, and I'd hate to find out it had some serious problem, like the Onkyo 500's had. And wasn't there some complaints of HK build quality on the boards a while back?

Onecall gave me a very good price on the 230 ($350), lower even than the TXSR601. ($380)

As for my system, when I get the new receiver for my relative, I'll have to test it for problems at home before I bring it over, right? :)

The Sony receiver I have is very highly thought of cause it uses the ES series amps, and actually slightly exceeds it's rated power, so I was thinking new speakers instead of new receiver, but new receiver is certainly less money. (And gets me the latest features.)

Hmm, maybe I'll have to go borrow a 325 from Cirucit city for a while to play. :) (They don't have the X30 series yet, and I'd have to eat the shipping cost to get one from Costco.)

Nope, the 12lb difference isn't the 7th amplified channel. The weight difference between the 230 and 330 is only 3lbs. The 330 has 7 powered channels while the 230 has 6.

The 325 is built differently from those models I'm guessing. It's weight is comparable to the 7 channel 430. 40lbs vs 39.

I doubt if there are any reviews this quickly. They've been in stores less than a week.

So, I went to my local CC to check out the 325. Looked at the demo unit a bit. Tried to pick it up, almost suffered a hernia. :) Sucker is HEAVY.

Find sales droid, ask if he has stock. Nope, but another store 10+ miles away does, would you like to pay for it here, and go pick it up there? Uh, no, thanks anyway.

So, while he's at the computer, I ask him to punch in the AVR230 figuring it should come back with an ETA. Turns out they had 2 in stock, just hadn't put any on display yet till they sell the old ones. So, I bought one to take home and play with. Charged me $499, but gave me a $50 gift card to use later.

I opened the box and took it out, but haven't connected it yet. It seems rather light. My Sony STR-DB930 is heavier than this. I hope weight doesn't make a huge difference in sound quality. I'll hook it up later tonight or tomorrow. If anybody wants to try one, check your local CC, they may have some.

Maybe the 325 had extra weight added to make it seem worth its high list price?



Maybe the 325 had extra weight added to make it seem worth its high list price?"

I'm sure enough people/repair men open these things up enough to notice things like "added wieght". I very much doubt any company, let alone HK would do something so desperate and obvious. Stranger things have happened, but I'd expect that from Kenwood or Pioneer, but not HK.

But I don't know the answer about the wieght thing either....and I'm concerned as well. I was about to buy one of the new models, so I'm interested in knowing.

Well, I got the 230 connected late last night. Didn't play with it a huge amount. Did the EZ-set process, mostly configured the speaker settings. One thing I noticed, is that when you mute the receiver, the OSD displays MUTE on the screen. There doesn't seem to be a way to make that disappear after a few seconds. You can turn off "Semi-OSD" in advanced setup, but for some dumb reason they designed it so that setting is lost each time it's powered off. I have a projection TV, and don't want the MUTE text on the screen for any period of time. (I tend to use mute quite a bit. While watching somthing, I get interrupted, sometimes for long periods so I hit mute.) I'll probably have to return it if I can't get this solved, I'm not risking burn-in for this thing. (The relative I'm testing this for has an RPTV also)

Also, the component switching uses Video2 for one of the inputs. I have one of my 2 VCR's connected there, and on component I have the Xbox, with a digital audio connection. Problem is, if I switch to VID2, the audio will be either analog (for the VCR) or digital (for the Xbox). I can't see (yet) if you can configure it to check for digital, then switch to analog if not found. It would have been much better if the Video3 selection switched the component input. (Since it doesn't have Video/audio IN & OUT connections.)

Video 2 on the 325 had automatic polling. It checks for a coax1 signal first and if there is none will go to analog. Not sure if they included that on the 230 though.

The new models 430 and 630 have assignable component inputs. But I think the 230 and 330 are fixed to Video2 and DVD.

I talked to tech support at HK today about the 2 questions I had. He wasn't sure how the MUTE text was supposed to work, so he tried it with one of their 230's in the lab. It behaved the same way, so he talked to engineering and they confirmed it was designed to continously display the MUTE text on the TV while mute was enabled.

As for there not being an option to save the Semi-OSD settings permanently, he said support has been requesting that of engineering for a while, but it still hasn't been done.

He confirmed that the 325 does have auto polling on the coax digital, but wasn't sure if the 230 did it or not.

I'm very impressed that they even have a tech support line, let alone one that is actually helpful. Not common among home electronics companies in my experience. And, he even called back the same day after researching my questions.

Unfortunately, this puts me in the position of having to return it for the Onkyo. Using the HK for my relative is too much of a risk to her $2500 TV. The first time she MUTE's the receiver to answer the phone, and gets sidetracked for a couple hours could cause burn-in. She uses the component output of the cable box more often, which isn't subject to the problem since the OSD isn't output to the component ports. Still, there's a lot of VCR use, so too risky.

And, frankly, there's probably no way she'll hear a difference in quality between the HK and the Onk. I can't hear a difference (yet) between my Sony and the 230 with my Klipsch speakers.

I could be wrong, but I think you're taking the burn in thing a little too seriously. Unless she leaves it on for 15 hours a day, every day, for a year straight, I doubt she'll have any problems at all. I have a RPTV as well, and I have the mute text on my screen probably 4-5 hours a day(over the last 2 years) and have no burn whatsoever.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the new H/K's allow for software upgrade's? If you(and others) make a complaint about this then it could most likely be taken care of when new firmware is well as other things.

This just seems like a silly reason to choose a Onkyo over a H/K. Just my .02 cents.

Oh, and if you can't hear the difference between a Sony and H/K then somethings wrong. Maybe your hearing's giving up on you

You've been very lucky if you really have had the MUTE text on your TV for that long with no burn-in. The forums are filled with people who've suffered burn-in.

Even the HK's manual warns about leaving the OSD up for too long because of burn-in. I asked the HK rep about firwmare upgrades, he said it wasn't possible on the 230. (No RS232 port) And, they did it intentionally.

Just in general, the H/K seems a bit harder to use. For me, it's fine. For my sister, if I can't automate it with a macro on her remote, it's going to make things too complicated. I'm hoping the Onkyo will be better in that area.

As for the Sony vs. H/K, my Sony receiver is not the mass-market DE series they sell now. I have the DB-930, which has the hi-quality ES amps in it and is worlds apart from the mass-market Sony models. (Search for STR-DB930 here for the details.

In my case, I need a speaker upgrade way more than a receiver upgrade. I've always heard a bit of sibilance from my speakers, and assumed it was because the receiver and speakers were both "bright". Well, with the HK, the sibilance is still there. It may be reduced a bit, but I can't tell without a way to switch the 2 receivers in and out very quickly. :)

Ok, I did a little experiment this morning. I connected my Sony Receiver to only the Left Front speaker, and used the 2 channel analog out of the DVD player to connect to the sony. The HK is connected to the DVD's digital ouput, and other 4 speakers (center, FR, SL & SR) are connected to it. Used Avia to match the front levels with an SPL meter. Played various test-tones from the Avia disc, alternately muting each receiver, and I'm not hearing a difference in frequency respones/tone with either.

Configured the HK for stereo mode, turned off all processing. Same for the sony.

I then put in some CD's and listened, alternately muting each receiver. Again, no difference in quality. Can't tell about imaging cause my speakers suck at it. (Klipsch KG4.5)

Sibilance between the 2 receivers is the same. Picked a section of the CD with sibilance, and used the DVD players A-B feature to repeat it, while muting/unmuting either receiver.

So, I won't be upgrading my receiver any time soon. When I need PLII, I'll think about it. Though I do need component switching since I have 3 component devices and a TV with 2 inputs. But, it looks like new speakers have to come first.

Anybody wanna buy some Klipsch? :)
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