Bronze MemberUsername: Landlockedph
Post Number: 34
I'm running a 65" Hitachi projection HDTV, Klipsch RF-3 II mains, an RC-3 II center and four RS-35 surrounds. I am also using a Boston Acoustics PV700 sub.
Over the past couple of months, I've spent a considerable amount of time bringing home and auditioning the following receivers:
Denon AVR 3805
Harman Kardon AVR 430
Harman Kardon AVR 630
Pioneer Elite VSX-56TXi
I set out with a $500 budget to upgrade from a four year-old Yamaha 5.1 channel AVR and first went to Onkyo since I have had excellent results with their past products. Beginning with the TX-SR602, I immediately noticed an improvement in overall sound as the Onkyo was fuller in the low and mid range while being less "tiring" than the old Yamaha, which has now been relegated to my family room.
Since I hadn't looked at new receivers in some time, I decided to continue my research and went to a local dealer to extensively compare a Yamaha RX-V1500 with the Elite VSX-56TXi and the Denon AVR 3805. All three were located in the same room and the salesman left me alone for over two hours while I ran every type of A/B comparison I could (using essentially the same speakers that I have at home). Realizing that each 7.1 receiver has common home theater, surround sound functions, I decided to focus on music reproduction for these tests and found that the Yamaha and Denon were nearly identical in sound quality. When compared to either Yamaha or Denon, the Elite felt smoother in the low and mid range. Especially when played at lower volumes. However, what the Elite enjoyed in "smoothness" it lacked in "detail". Since I listen to allot of jazz and vocals... clarity of sound and the subtle nuances of a woodwind or female voice were lacking with the Elite. Out of these three... the Yamaha was the clear winner with its excellent sound definition and expanded home theater functionality.
While trying to get the smoothness of the Elite and the detail of the Yamaha, I decided next to spend a considerable amount of time researching and bringing home the Harman Kardon AVR430 and AVR630 receivers. The sound was excellent and clearly exceeded that of the Yamaha. Nice and smooth with great attention to detail and overall response. Both are 6.1 receivers and have now been replaced with the AVR435 and AVR635 respectively. I intended to step-up to the new receivers as soon as they became available... probably going with the AVR435 since it was closest (although still higher) to my original budget.
However, I continued to research the Harman Kardon lines (I had owned an HK receiver nearly 30 years ago), and I began to see several postings questioning the "build quality" of these receivers. A number of people had run into problems and returned or exchanged their initial units until they found one that worked. I also began to see how difficult they were to setup and "tweak" to achieve all of the benefits of their advanced technology.
Since my home theater is designed to be used by my wife and two children in addition to myself, I began to see how difficult HK would be for them to use when I wasn't around to set it up for them. In addition, HK's remote controls are large and unwieldy. Although backlit, the buttons were small and not well labeled for use in the darkness of a home theater application. I'm sure I would have enjoyed tweaking and playing with either of these receivers, however I value my marriage and family and could see where this would quickly become a problem that I wasn't interested in wrestling with.
All of this led me back to my first impressions of the Onkyo TX-SR602 so I decided to take a closer look at the next step up... the TX-SR702.
In addition to more inputs, more power and a lighted remote, the TX-SR702 is also a THX Select certified receiver. While not meaning a whole lot... it does give this receiver some credibility that it meets or exceeds all specifications required for THX Select certification.
The sound of this receiver met all of my requirements. It was smooth and full yet extremely transparent and detailed at all volume levels. DVD audio is a joy to listen to through this setup and never gets tiring. It provides all of the expected 7.1 surround modes and handles them well for home theater. And, it's easy to use with a well laid out (although large) backlit remote control.
And finally... buying this receiver online for just over $600 (shipped) from onecall.com got me everything I wanted in an upgraded system without exceeding my budget by very much. I'm happy AND my wife is happy. Good stuff!
A final word on onecall.com... this was my first experience with them and I'll go back for future purchases. First, they are an authorized Onkyo dealer. In addition to a well laid out website, the person I spoke with on the phone was friendly and helpful in answering all of my questions and I never felt pushed into making a decision. I received my shipment via FedEx in two days (I was promised three days) and the receiver was double boxed. The Onkyo box was in a box and was protected. I'd highly recommend them.
Hope this helps in your decision.
Bronze MemberUsername: Ibre34
Post Number: 11