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Please guys, recommend me the best sounding $500 receiver...i am desperate!

 

Unregistered guest
Hi!
My head is going to blow off trying to figure out which receiver is the best sounding in the $500 more or less price range. Please recommend me the one with BEST SOUND QUALITY with the DPL2, Thx stuff. Video conversion and other bells and whistles are secondary to me.
Some of the ones Ive been studying are:
HK230
Onkyo 601
Panasonic XR45
Yamaha RX-V1400
Denon 2803
Marantz ( no model as it came last to my list but I guess the sr6400 or any other in the $500 area).
I was almost going for the yamaha but I read that for music is not really good and that the Marantz are the best for HT AND Music.
Please help me friends.
My speakers are 5 Home Theater Direct Level 3 towers.
Regards
 

New member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 142
Registered: 12-2003
from what i've heard, i think that the HK230 will match well with your HTD L3s
cheers
 

Luis Gabriel Gerena
Unregistered guest
Can you tell me why please? Mine are the towers not the bookshelves
Regards
 

New member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 146
Registered: 12-2003
well, I just haven't heard the Onkyo 601 with the HTDs so I really couldn't make a good judgement on that. The Panasonic XR45 is not a proven factor, there is still much to be developed with this type of technology and i'll wait until then. The Yamaha is too harsh for my taste and the Denon 2803 is a little too bland and sterile when combined with the HTDs. As for the Marantz, they don't have anything that I like under the $500 mark.
cheers
 

New member
Username: Shaolin95

Post Number: 2
Registered: 01-2004
The marantz model I was looking at was either the SR5400 or even the SR6400 (higher priced but may be reachable).
Regards
 

New member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 150
Registered: 12-2003
well, then, I would venture on the Marantz SR6400
cheers
 

New member
Username: Iamcanadian

Post Number: 8
Registered: 01-2004
I have to throw my hat into this one, as I had a similar dilemma setting out to buy my upgrade receiver. There is a wealth of information in this forum that can greatly help in your decision making process, unfortunately, it can be a little scattered, so I am going to sum up some of it to help you and other first-timers in what can be a fun process. Before I begin, I must apologize for the length of this post, but I feel that it's worth it.
First things first, I cannot stress how important it is for you to go out and LISTEN to EACH of the models you are interested in. Each one has a characteristic sound that sets each unit apart from the other. It is sooooo important that you have a listen to them for yourself. I was amazed at just how different the sounds are on each receiver when I went and tried them out. Take your own source material and listen to the same scenes on each receiver. I used the opening battle scene in Gladiator (DTS&DD) and some scene's from LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring. Give yourself some time to listening to the scenes, don't feel hurried and cut yourself short, but don't pick too many scenes, as you may find yourself less able to accurately compare. Take a CD or two with one or two tracks on each that you like. I brought along a Frank Sinatra compilation that had some female accompanied tracks. I also think Jazz/classical can help test receivers, but if you don't like a genre, you won't listen to it at home, so be sure to bring something YOU like. Listen to the tracks in three or four of the modes available on each receiver. Compare them, but take your time, listen to the whole song.
Also, it's important that you should have one of your DVD scenes designated as your 'Loud as I can stand it' selection which you use to compare the Watts Per Channel of each receiver. True some manufacturers underestimate, while others overestimate (the majority), but what it boils down to is that YOU want a receiver that can go as loud as YOU want it with the least distortion. So listen to your 'Loud' scene on all the receivers you are looking at and be sure you set the volume control and prevent the dealer from sitting beside the receiver, allowing him to adjust the volume without your knowledge throughout. Note that this whole thing will not be a quick an easy procedure, but you can do it in one or two weekends. Remember, you are not obligated to buy any receiver that you listen to, so take your time and do it right. And keep in mind that you're not dismantling a bomb, so relax, enjoy the big screens they usually supply.
Now that brings me to a question you may be thinking, "What then, is this site good for?" Well, this site is good for a lot of things, and here are some examples. Say if you have narrowed down your choices to two or three different receivers. You like all of their sound pretty much equally (which is really hard to do once you get into four or more different brands) and need help deciding. You could give the forum your situation and ask, say, what one receiver has that the others don't, allowing you to differentiate them more for your final choice.
You can search and ask about the service/repair/problem histories of each receiver, allowing you to take that into consideration. Additionally, specific/universal features can be discussed and explained in this forum, and you may get a clearer/whole picture regarding the receivers you like for the situation you need (the much quoted Home Theater/Music ratio ie. 60/40).
You can also get VERY valuable information in here about the tricks of the trade that salesmen often use to get you to buy their brand, or spend more money, and therefore be on MUCH better footing when shopping. In fact, I must insist that any first timer use this forum to look up all these tricks and gimicks that salesman use to upsell, or make you buy expensive accessories. For instance, after listening to a receiver, don't feel guilty if you tell a salesman that you have others to listen to before you make your final selection. If he's honest he will encourage you to do so know there are sonic differences between receivers and personal tastes that differ from his own. Or, he may do the opposite, and get defensive, putting down other lines and even insulting your intelligence/listening judgment, and that's just poor sportsmanship that you don't need.
Matching speakers to a receiver is a much more complicated procedure, and for the sake of not making this post three times longer than it is now, I will sidestep the issue with this caveat. Look at the speakers that the receiver is being tested on, ask about them, get their price, and then keep that knowledge with you as you compare receivers so that you can kinda keep some semblance of order. Home testing with your own speakers would be ideal, but not always available.
The point being made here is that YOU are the one who must ultimately like the sound that comes out of your receiver. Take, for instance, the Onkyo 701. It has a VERY DIFFERENT sound than a Yamaha v2400, and a test audition will probably sort out which you like better relatively quickly. When people post their choice of brand and model it is often, it is often with the caveat (hidden or explicit) that this is their PREFERENCE, the type of sound reproduction THEY like. We are not going to be in your living room any time soon, nor should we. I personally was turned off by Yamaha's sound, BUT that is MY preference. I am by no means saying that Yamaha is an inferior product because I do not like its sound, and those posting in here rarely make that mistake either. Note that posting problems with a receiver is another story, and are valid considerations.
So to start shopping for your new receiver, listen to all the brands you can find at a similar price point. To find out what these models are, check out the brands mentioned on this site and others, go to their webpages, and hit the dealers with the knowledge obtained above. After listening to them all, pick out the receiver you like the sound of the most. If there is more than one, post your dilemma in this forum and let us help make the choice more distinct for you, and possibly make the decision easier through clarity. I wish you all the best of luck on your adventure; I honestly had a good time with mine. Because of the posts from this site, I was armed with a lot of useful information, and was able to more easily spot shifty salesmen and their snake oils. Remember, don't be pushed into buying ANYTIHNG until you have heard EVERYTHING, and even then, come here and post/search for any problem histories regarding the unit before you buy. Again, good luck to you, and we wish you all the best.
 

New member
Username: Iamcanadian

Post Number: 9
Registered: 01-2004
PS: I put a lot of time and thought into this response so please don't flame me. I would hate to have to eat your babies.
 

New member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 152
Registered: 12-2003
hehe, well put
 

New member
Username: Geekboy

Post Number: 140
Registered: 12-2003
IAmCanadian: this is not a flame... but... I thought my posts were long. :-) Great summary!
 

New member
Username: Shaolin95

Post Number: 4
Registered: 01-2004
Excellent post buddy! I dont mind the lenght in fact I like it a lot that you take time to post a very complete opinion. Its very helpful indeed. Dont worry I always have one thing in my mind when I go shopping "I am the one buying, they are not selling to me". The thing about comparing receivers is that basically all will be conected to different speakers so the comparison will be very hard to do on equal terms. On the other hand I dont know if my Home THeater Direct Level 3 towers are bright or not. If anyone can tell me I will apreciate. You know, I think I am using the forum to do the complete opposite of what you stated in your post, now that I think about it. I am trying to narrow my choices by asking about the best SOUNDING receiver within my budget so I can then go out and try them at my place using the MoneyBack offer of most retail stores. Only by trying the receiver with my speakers I will be able to really pick the one I LIKE, cause as you said, I am the one that should like it. Thanks again. Keep recomendations coming specially with Model and Brands

Regards
 

New member
Username: Jonmoon

Post Number: 39
Registered: 12-2003
IAmCanadian:

Nice post. One question though, when you are first buying a receiver (assuming you don't have speakers) and you go to different stores/boutiques how do you evaluate different receivers when you are invariably using different speakers for listening?
 

New member
Username: Iamcanadian

Post Number: 10
Registered: 01-2004
I kinda side stepped the whole room/speaker type question as it is a very complex one. Ultimately listening to the recievers at home with your speakers would be the best. Hearing the receiver with speakers you want to buy would be good too, but you are left with the room problem. There is no easy answer to that, especially when you live in a city far removed from others, and can't find a single dealer who carries multiple brands, let alone a home-trial offer. The best you can do is match like sounding speakers at the different dealers. If you have laid back speakers at home, try to find a pair to test on that are laid back. I actually brought my speakers with me as I tested. I know that leaves the room characteristics a wildcard, but that was the best I was able to do considering I did not have the option of home testing, which is the ideal method.
 

New member
Username: Elitefan1

Post Number: 153
Registered: 12-2003
Good discussion and that brings up the point that we should never buy anything without knowing the return policy on any given component. I have to drive 40-50 miles usually and one of my dealers only has a 3 day returm policy on speakers. Just nuts. Two weeks would be much fairer. Room acousics are just so important and can't be understated.
 

Unregistered guest
I am in process of maybe upgrading my Onkyo TXDS575X 70 watts 5.1 per Channel to the TX-SR701 100 watts per 6.1 per Channel.
My room setup 14' Wide by 18' Deep
Receiver: Onkyo TXDS575X
Fronts- POLK RT800i
Center- POLK CSI400
Rears- POLK FXI50 Bi/Dipoles
Sub: POLK PSW450

Will it make that much difference to Spend the extra money to upgrade to the 100 watt vs 70 watt that I already have? I mainly only watch Directv and play DVD's and sometimes DVD-Audios.
About 10% I listen to music!

Any Thoughts or should I just stick with what I have?

Thanks
 

Bronze Member
Username: E1kad2

Post Number: 15
Registered: 12-2003
Hi Luis, never be intimidated with opinions. Lots of users here hates Yamaha for unfounded reason. Am a proud owner of a Yamaha 1400 and I tell you, its sounds great for music and even better for movies. Based on my audition, sound of Yamaha in music is comparable with NAD. Others may argue but its just me. I suggest that you try all the models you've mentioned and decide for urself. Happy hunting...
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