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AV Receiver Selection

 

New member
Username: House

Post Number: 1
Registered: Dec-04
So having read many of the posts in the forum this topic is not new:

I'm looking to upgrade/replace (it was stolen) my AV receiver. I plan to use it 30% movies and 70% music. Models I'm considering are:

Yamaha RXV750/650
Denon 2105/1905
Marantz SR-4500
Harmon/Kardon AVR235

My current speaker setup is a bit lacking but next on the upgrade list. My main speakers are Cerwin Vega AT-8. Don't want to make a decision based on my current speakers.

I'm located in Canada which seems to mean the local retailers are all over priced. I've been looking at a variety of online retailers.

WWW.dakmart.com

Any reccomendations I do want some kind of warranty. Price Range is 350-500US ideally closer to the lower end so I can spend more on speakers. I like to listen to my music pretty loud.

I'm going around in circles reading reviews and would appreciate any advice or comments both on selection and retailers for Canadians.

Thanks!!!
 

Silver Member
Username: Kano

Post Number: 214
Registered: Oct-04
What are you replacing? What kind of sound are you seeking? What speakers are you leaning towards?

Sound is described from warm/laid back/soft to crisp/revealing/detailed/bright. Combining a "warm" receiver with a "bright" speaker can create a good neutral combination, examples of this would be Harman Kardon, Marantz, and Pioneer, paired with Monitor Audio, Cerwin Vega, Polk, Athena... etc.

Also vise versa - Yamaha/Denon paired with Ascend/Paradigm.

Then there are more neutral receivers like NAD/B&K which can lean the resulting sound in either direction.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Mb1

MontrealCanada

Post Number: 13
Registered: Dec-04
Kano, are there any floorstanding speakers that you feel would qualify as on the "neutral" side ?

Thanks
 

New member
Username: Dsecker

Post Number: 1
Registered: Dec-04
Gavin, I have just bought the AVR-1905 and it has a fantastic sound - especially for multichannel home theatre. The only problem I have is that I have had to use 6 channel split into this receiver rather than the optical in as the Denon doesnt seem to provide a secure connection (it spits out the cable end almost). Does any one know anything about this?

Dave
 

Silver Member
Username: Kano

Post Number: 216
Registered: Oct-04
Of the ones I've heard JM Labs, and Martin Logan Montauges (sp?) both seem to have the best of both worlds.
 

New member
Username: House

Post Number: 2
Registered: Dec-04
Thanks for the comments Kano.
I'm replacing a 10 year old Sherwood Amp that was stolen. I plan to keep the Cerwin Vega's but want to replace my rear and center speakers as I have some very cheap no name brands.

Of the Receiver models I listed which do you (or anyone else) feel has the best value. I was leaning towars the Denon 1905 or if I stretch the budget the 2105 but from the comments above it sounds like it might not be a good match for my existing Cerwin Vegas. The Denon seemed to have the most features for the $$$. What are the opinoins of the critical internal parts of these amps. I don't want to get sold on nice features at the sacrifice of amplifier performance. For example the video up conversion of the Denon is a nice feature but not crtical. I also liked the second zone option but again I could live without.
 

New member
Username: House

Post Number: 3
Registered: Dec-04
Just looking at pricing.

I can get a Denon AVR for $319US versus $350 for the H/K AVR235. From www.ecost.com.

Comments on how these two receivers compare?

Has anyone from Canada ordered from ecost?
 

New member
Username: House

Post Number: 4
Registered: Dec-04
Sorry meant to add Denon AVR1905 for $319 US
 

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 254
Registered: Sep-04
Gavin

The source is all important, then the amp and then the speakers. The speakers act as an open window to what the system is doing. If it's not very good and the speakers are very good, then they'll display the problems in all their finery. On the other hand, speakers which have a decent amp behind them will work as well as they can. It's a balancing act, but the source-first principle is rarely wrong.

For a truly musical result, you should be looking at Arcam and there's no way you'll get them for $500...

Regards,
Frank.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sdc

Post Number: 24
Registered: Dec-04
I have always been told that the speakers are the most important and influential on sound although obviously the better everything is the better the overall presentation. I see advice suggestion to spend the most for the front stage in a home theater system, less on the rears if finances are tough, upgrade them later and also the receiver although important is less so than the speakers too.
 

Silver Member
Username: Smitty

Canada

Post Number: 154
Registered: Dec-03
Gavin,

Check out FS this week for good deals on H/K receivers. They're usually discounted pretty heavily on Boxing Day sales.

Marantz are priced pretty good in Canada. I'm pretty sure I've seen the 5400 in the C$700 price range.

If you can stretch your budget to C$900 there are a few more options available such as the NAD T743 and Cambridge Audio 540D.

As far as ordering from the US goes, I ordered a DVD changer recently from etronics, took about 2 weeks, I saved about $200 but of course don't have the 1 year warranty. So far so good.
 

JonD
Unregistered guest
i think with digital coax/optical that the source has become less important in the overall mix. before digital, the DACs in the CD/DVD mattered, but today it's just pure decode/transport. i find it hard to believe that one CD/DVD player's laser and ability to control jitter is *that* much better than someone else's.

put your money into your receiver and some good fronts. use your crappy leftovers for surrounds and upgrade them later.

i don't think anyone here has ever questioned spending that extra $100 or $200 years ago for whatever step-up in receiver it got them.

Frank, i think you should change your name should be Frank Arcamabela. kidding! relax...
 

Unregistered guest
I would heartily second the JM Labs Chorus recommendation above. The whole Chorus line are all excellent inexpensive speakers. A bit bright at first but let them break in (they take quite a while maybe 100+hrs or so) and they sound rich and fabulous. As for receivers I am sure all of the above mentioned are excellent choices. I would also look at the Pioneer VSX-1014. I just got mine yesterday and have not had a chance to play with it yet. Great amp section and excellent feature set all at a very good online price! Good luck -Rick
 

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 255
Registered: Sep-04
CB

The speakers-first argument has not been prevalent in HiFi circles for quite some time now. In fact speakers can wreak big changes in terms of presentation since they are the transducer that makes the sound you hear. However, in terms of how well it's heard, the electronics are all important since the speakers cannot 'un-break' a broken signal. Sources do sound very different. Just listen to any European model CD player and compare to almost any Japanese player and you'll get very big differences. The same is true of amps.

As to how much to spend on the system, with stereo systems I would always give a large percentage - anything up to 50% - on the source, followed by the amp and the rest on the speakers. Surround sound complicates matters since there are so many speakers to deal with. I tend to go with the balance of how the 'price' works out with the stereo pair (bearing in mind the capabilities of the stereo part of the amp) and then match up the rest of the speakers for surround. Another way of building the system is balance, where you spend 30% on each of the source, amp and speakers, with the extra 10% going on cabling. These numbers aren't set in stone since there are always exceptions to any rule, but they are a very good and safe starting point to get truly effective systems.

Regards,
Frank.
 

tlwone
Unregistered guest
Of the receivers you have mentioned, I like them all, but for primarily listening to music and keeping value in mind, I would rank them HK, Marantz, Denon and then the Yamaha (but this is ranking receivers based on the speakers I own and how they would match w/ them). But this is very subjective to how you like your music to sound but i dont think you can go wrong w/ any of these. With the budget you have, you dont have a lot of choices, especially if you want to stay at the low end of your budget.

If I was you, I would audition speakers as well and find a receiver that matches well w/ the type of speakers you will one day like to have. IMHO, your reciever/amp and speakers are equally important. I wouldnt skimp on either if I was purchasing equipment today, but if i was on a limited budget, I would concentrate on the speakers b/c speakers can last a lifetime. A receiver could be something you have to upgrade at some point as technology and needs change.
 

New member
Username: House

Post Number: 5
Registered: Dec-04
Thanks for all the great input!
I was planning on just ordering what seemed to be the best deal but after reading all the comments I'll be doing some listening first.

Also hoping to find some deals locally on boxing day. Still a bit nervous about problems with Warranty if I order online.

I'll be starting a new thread regarding speaker selection in the new year.

Happy Holidays!!!

Gavin
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