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A/V receiver recommendations

 

New member
Username: Ducst2

Post Number: 1
Registered: 02-2004
Hi. I am making the (slow) transition from two-channel stereo to HT. I am looking to replace my Rotel 50w integrated amp with an A/V receiver. Use will be about 50/50 HT/audio. Speaks for now are Siefert Research Maxim IIIh for audio, and cheapo Cambridge Soundworks sub/sat for HT.

I'd go with Rotel (been very happy with mine), but I'm balking at the price. (Nevermind that I paid $500 for the integrated 15 years ago.)

So, what represents a good value at the $500ish price point these days? I don't care (or I'm too naive to care) about multiple features/bells and whistles in terms of processing capabilities, room settings (Jazz Club, Stadium, etc..). I want good, clean power and reliability first; a clean user interface (a la NAD or ROTEL).

Deciding is a fun process, but the number of choices is a little overwhelming. Any opinions or ideas on places to start looking are appreciated.

David
 

Silver Member
Username: Elitefan1

Post Number: 168
Registered: 12-2003
At that price you are pretty limited but I would check out the Marantz 4400 and 5400 and the H/K 320. You will probably have to buy either one mail order however.
 

New member
Username: Ducst2

Post Number: 2
Registered: 02-2004
Ok, let's change the question: how much do I need to spend for a good quality mid-fi A/V receiver? $700?

I really don't have a feel for this. (In 1989, when I purchased this gear, I joked, $10 per watt.)

I'm kind of averse to going the mail order route for items like this. I like, when possible, to support the local merchant. I'm in the Boston area, so there's no shortage of small and independent vendors. Today, anyway.

Thanks!
David
 

New member
Username: Meecha

Post Number: 6
Registered: 01-2004
I don't know if this is good enough for you but you can get the yamaha rx-v640 for about $599 cdn, I have it and love it, but Im also not an audiophile.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawk

Post Number: 166
Registered: 12-2003
David:

You can get an excellent NAD T743 for under $600, and you would be hard pressed to equal it for under $1K, much less get something better. Here is a link for a boston area dealer with good deals on NAD equipment:

http://www.spearitsound.com/home.htm

Good luck!
 

New member
Username: E1kad2

Post Number: 8
Registered: 12-2003
David,
Since your into 50/50 ht/audio, I suggest that you try Yamaha models. NAD are well known for audio but not on home theater. That's where Yamaha rose above the others. They are well known in the field of DSP's as they built their own chipsets for seamless integration. Just a cent of advice.
 

New member
Username: Stelch

Post Number: 11
Registered: 12-2003
Have you seen the Sony STR-DA1000ES (STR-DB790)?
Excellent value for money.
 

jonk
Unregistered guest
If you can swing $700 or so, you'll get a well-built, full featured, excellent-sounding receiver in the Denon AVR-3803. Just replaced my old Marantz SR8000 with one and I couldn't be happier. I compared it too higher-priced Pioneer Elite, NAD, Marantz and Integra models, and none of them were as well-rounded a product and cost much more to boot.
 

New member
Username: Ducst2

Post Number: 3
Registered: 02-2004
Just wanted to say thanks for the comments/replies I've received. Spearit, which Hawk mentioned, is where I bought the Rotel all those years ago, when it was Goodwins in Harvard Square. Good people. I'll be by there and The Audio Lab to see what they have. I'm also looking for replacement speakers and might pull the trigger on both purchases at once. (Thinking of PSB, Paradigm, NHT, and Monitor Audio....)

Thanks again!
David
 

Unregistered guest
DAVID...I RECENTLY PURCHASED A MARANTZ SR5400 FOR $500 AT AN AUTHORIZED DEALER. I ALSO ADDED A SET OF PARADIGM MONITOR 7'S AND A CC370 CENTER TO MY OLD PARADIGM 3SE'S. THIS GROUPING SOUNDS GREAT. THE 5400 WITH 90W/CHANNEL HOLDS ITS OWN EITHER PLAYING MUSIC OR MOVIES. DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND CHECK IT OUT. I OWN A SMALL PLACE SO IT FIT MY NEEDS. IF YOU HAVE A BIGGER NEED YOU CAN STEP UP TO THE 6400 OR 7400.GOOD LUCK..STEVE
 

Silver Member
Username: Elitefan1

Post Number: 181
Registered: 12-2003
Hawk's suggestion on the NAD 743 is a very good one and matching it with a Paradigm Monitor series system would give you a very nice mid priced system. PSB would also be a good match with the NAD. While I recommended Marantz and H/K I would not pair either with Paradigm or PSB. Monitor would be perfect with either Marantz or H/K. I would not recommend either Sony or Denon and Yamaha only as a secondary choice for only Paradigm or PSB. My experience with the Denon 3803 was the worst in my 30 years of audio experience and I would stay away from it. There are some good choices here but the combination of NAB and Paradigm beats them all IMO.
 

New member
Username: Bigfan

Post Number: 7
Registered: 01-2004
realelitefan: (others' comments welcomed also)
could you please explain why you "would not pair marantz or hk w/paradigm"? i am considering paradigm reference studio series v3 (probably 60s), but have not had the opportunity to listen to them w/HK (and am considering the 7200).
 

Silver Member
Username: Elitefan1

Post Number: 184
Registered: 12-2003
In a word, "boring". IMO the laid back sound of the Paradigms is just not dynamic enough with a mellow Marantz or H/K or Elite. All are fine products, just not together.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawk

Post Number: 178
Registered: 12-2003
I would agree with elitefan--NAD is a far better combo with Paradigms than H/K. H/K 7200 is a very fine receiver (one of the best), but not a good match with Paradigms for most people.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Paul_t

Post Number: 56
Registered: 12-2003
As a person who did many hours of research (listening and opinions) Hawk and elite are on the money here, I found NAD/Paradigm and great match.. H/K was a little to laid back.. If I had money to burn I'd go Paradigm Studios with Rotel or Outlaw separates but have absolutely no regrets with NAD/Paradigm.. Excellent combo..
 

New member
Username: Ducst2

Post Number: 4
Registered: 02-2004
I found a Marantz SR5300 (last year's model) at Cambridge SoundWorks for $399 (current selling price is $569). I had considered just buying a "good" AV receiver (and this one seemed good enough), and getting speakers down the road. But the more posts I read the more it seems like I shouldn't be getting one without the other. So, two questions:

1. $399 seems like an excellent price on a pretty good piece of gear. Am I really going to notice/realize half again as much cost ($600 or so) for, say, an NAD? I'm skeptical. (As good as the SR5300 might be, it still seems like a lightweight, literally, compared to my old Rotel integrated. Pity I can't swing Rotels AV receivers.) I'm tempted to jump at this deal, but I haven't really done my homework, haven't had time to psych myself into thinking that if I'm not spending $600 then I'm just not going to get a good enough box, and....

2. How important is system synergy? I.e., is it foolish to shop for a receiver without also shopping for speakers (or vice versa)? I know electronics are important, I'm just wondering how important.

Thanks!
David
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawk

Post Number: 187
Registered: 12-2003
David:

Excellent questions! I hope I can help.

1. I think the Marantz 5300 is a very fine receiver and $399 is a very good price. Now, the only thing close, both in terms of sound quality and price, is an NAD 742 available for $449 from Saturday Audio or Spearit Sound. I really like the NAD, as well, and believe it sounds a bit better for only an additional $50, but I must admit that it can be a little quirky--clumsy to program (unlike the other NADs). The Marantz is much more conventional in its programming. For many people, such as my wife, if the thing doesn't operate the way they expect it to, it has a very detrimental effect on their view of the product. Now the NAD's 50 wpc x 5 is just as powerful as the Marantz's 90 wpc x 6, so they are about even there. Both are excellent in the digital processing, which is usually not the case for under $800. However, I think you would be surprised by either as they both have a warmth and spaciousness that I think surpasses even Rotel (I am currently home testing a Rotel RX-1050, so I understand its strengths and weaknesses). Other than these two receivers, I would agree that you would have to get near $600 (NAD 743) to match or surpass either the 5300 or the 742. So, I think you would not only find that it would be "good enough," you probably would find it was a good bit more. I would recommend you buy it at that price.

2, Synergy is critical IMHO. I have had systems in the past where even if I got pieces that were very highly regarded, if they didn't mesh, I was left with a mess, sound-wise. However, having said that, I do not think it is necessary to go shopping and buy the speakers at the same time as the receiver. The good news is that the Marantz will mesh nicely with a pretty wide range of products. The important thing is that you know and understand the sound charecteristics of the receiver and thus know what kind of speakers to stay away from. For example, given the warmth and very slightly laid back quality of the Marantz, I would not bother with Paradigms or PSBs. Both are excellent speakers, but you don't want to exaggerate the laid back quality of the Marantz. Instead, something just a little more forward sounding, like NHT, KEF, or Krix, which also has nice detail, is a better match. So I wouldn't fear buying your system in steps--just understand what you need when you go looking at a later time.

Good luck!
 

Roger B
Unregistered guest
Hawk: What do you think of pairing the Marantz with either Boston Acoustic or B&W?
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawk

Post Number: 196
Registered: 12-2003
Roger:

My experience with Boston Acoustics lately is quite limited, but I do know their VR line (with the Lynnfield tweeter) has a pretty aggressive sound--highly detailed. Thus, the Marantz is probably a good match with its warm and smooth sound which would provide a nice balance to the system.

B+W is a close call. Now B+W makes very accurate speakers, but they are just a bit laid back. For some people, they are a great match with Marantz because they like the smoothness that comes with the combo. Others don't like it because the entire system can be too laid back sounding for them, so the system has lost its excitement. Given, the fact that you are fond of your Rotel, I am guessing you might like the combo. In any event, it is easy enough to test for yourself when you are ready to buy.

Most good dealers will allow you to bring your Marantz in when they are not busy (I find Satuday mornings before 11:30 usually work great, but most weekday mornings also work well) and they will plug the Marantz into their board to allow you to demo a couple of speaker systems. I have done this myself on a number of occasions (I have also taken in a pair of stereo speaker to test receivers!). That is the way to find what works best for you.

In sum, I think both brands are good candidates and worthy of consideration.
 

Charles O
Unregistered guest
David Foster: CS says they no longer sell the 5300. Where/when did you find it for $399. Thanks.
 

Anonymous
 
Hawk , How about the monitor audio speakers for the 5300.thanks
 

New member
Username: Ducst2

Post Number: 5
Registered: 02-2004
Charles O -- at the store in the Solomon Pond Mall (west of Boston) last night. The sales dude said there were about 30 left on the east coast.

Good luck.

David
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawk

Post Number: 198
Registered: 12-2003
Anon:

I think Monitor Audio is a good match with Marantz, particularly the silver series.
 

Silver Member
Username: Elitefan1

Post Number: 187
Registered: 12-2003
Monitor and Marantz are a great combination.Like Hawk I would focus on the Silver Series, if you can afford them. I have a small room so I am using the Silver 2 for mains, the Silver center and the Silver 1 for rears. Paired with my Elite 45 it's a truely wonderful system. My Monitor dealer is also a Marantz dealer so I have heard them together and it would be hard to find anything better for the money. When you first hear the Monitors they might seem a bit bright as they need about 60 hours or so to break in so don't let that bother you. After the break in period they become very smooth and natural while still very dynamic when driven with the right receiver like a Marantz, Elite or H/K. I would highly recommend you give them a long audition.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Dave_h

Post Number: 15
Registered: 01-2004
I am looking to do a major upgrade of my entire A/V System. The items that I have picked so far for my new system include the new Samsung DVD-HD931, the new Hughes HNS-HTHD HD Satellite Receiver, and the sone-to-be-released-in-the-next-few-months Sansung HLP50 DLP HDTV Monitor.

All of these components have DVI (Digital Video Interface)connections which, because of the direct digital video transfer, are significantly superior to component or S-video connections.

My problem is as follows: to run the optimum video switching though the A/V receiver-amp, I will need a A/V receiver that performs DVI switching. Most current A/V receiver-amps have coax and S-video switching and a few have component switching. I have only been able to find one A/V receiver-amp with DVI switching, the top-of-the-line Sony STR-DA9000ES, which is very high priced (around $4K). Does anyone know of other (cheaper) A/V Receiver-Amps that have DVI switching? I understand that most of the new digital A/V receiver-amps coming out in the future will have DVI switching. I just may have to wait for 6 months or so.
 

New member
Username: Svarog

Post Number: 1
Registered: 02-2004
I as well need receiver advice. As a newbie and one who hasn't bought audio equipement since before most of you were born, I feel like a beer drinker in a wine drinking world. That said, the choices for building a system are to vast to contemplate they result in brain freeze. So I am seeking the sage wisdom of this community.
For the last month I have listened, studied, played with, read, meditated, commiserated on audio. The most important feature and new audio term I have learned is SAF (spousal acceptance factor) This has been the limiting factor in ALL decisions (also why I haven't bought audio in 26 years!) Alas she has relented to some degree, and I may buy if it passes SAF!
The speakers have been chosen: I'm going 7.1 figuring it will be implented. So I'm going with Gallo A'diva's. Heard them in the store vs. Monitors and Boston Acoustics. They filled the SAF factor well and they sounded equal to the Monitors and I preferred them to the BA speakers. For the Sub, I'm going with the new SVS PB1-plus.
So this leaves me with the receiver.
I am not adverse to spending money for what I need if that is what it takes. My initial gut reaction was to go with the Marantz 7400 or 8300. The other choices I've considered are the Yamaha RXV-2400, Denon 3803 or wait for the 3805. I've seen great pricing on the Denon AVR-4802R. The Onkyo Net Radio receivers (TX-NR801 and 901) are tempting, since we are a large computer using family that has it's entire collection of cd's on computer for ipod use.
I'm open to all suggestions. If you find my speaker selection to be "what the .... was that guy thinking" I'm open for suggestions there as well. Again the speakers have to be near invisible (the sub can be an "endtable") behind a couch. Be kind.
 

sarandon
Unregistered guest
either go with Marantz, Onkyo, or Yamaha nuff said!!!
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