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All new system: Receiver Recommendations (HDMI?)

 

New member
Username: David_nguyen

Boston, MA USA

Post Number: 1
Registered: Apr-05
I'm in the process of completely overhauling my home theater. I just got rid of my 40" Sony Wega XBR tube, and have decided on the 50" Panasonic TH-50PHD7UY plasma monitor. I'm now looking at receivers. Any thoughts on whether to go HDMI? Thoughts on receiver brands/models? I'd like to keep it <$2,000 but could stretch it if necessary. Additional thoughts on DVD (<$1,000) would be appreciated as well!

Thanks,

David
 

Bronze Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 32
Registered: Mar-05
I would first try the $330 Panasonic sa-xr70 all-digital receiver which does have HDMI connections even though (funny!) it has spring clips instead of binding posts for all except the front mains.

Go to the avsforum.com for a huge huge thread on it, some people are raving that it sounds better than even their own thousand-dollar separates.

I'd try out that receiver first, then if it doesn't satisfy you go into more expensive receivers and/or separates.
 

New member
Username: David_nguyen

Boston, MA USA

Post Number: 2
Registered: Apr-05
Thanks Edster922. $330 sounds a lot better than $2000 any day.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 34
Registered: Mar-05
> $330 sounds a lot better than $2000 any day.

Yeah, the fewer zeros the better! : )

With normal analog receivers, I wouldn't go over $600 (Marantz 5500), in fact the Pioneer 1014 which also has a massive glowing thread at hometheaterforum.com is going for about $350 right now since it's being discontinued. Unless you watch a lot of movies with soaring classical or jazz soundtracks, HT is nowhere as musically demanding as music. These two receivers both have preouts so you can add separate amps to them later on if you want even better sound.

As for the DVD player, check out the Toshiba 3960 at referenceaudiomods.com---again I'd experiment by starting out cheap, buy the OEM model for $50 at jandr.com shipped, then if you really feel the need to upgrade you can have them do the mods for an extra $400 or so.

You'll hear the biggest difference if the bulk of your money is spent on the front 3 speakers ($600-900 Ascend Acoustics 170s or 340s) and subwoofer ($400-700 for a Hsu or SVS), with the surround speakers you can go cheap with $100/pair small speakers like Polk R15s.

Browse local shops and listen to everything you can so you have a good idea of what you like and don't like, but order online---you'll get much better quality for less money in most cases. Good luck!
 

New member
Username: David_nguyen

Boston, MA USA

Post Number: 3
Registered: Apr-05
I'm actually looking to get rid of my Marantz receiver (SR7200) and Marantz DVD player (DV6200). No complaints but I'm just looking to upgrade to the newests technologies, namely HDMI. As for the speakers, I was originally thinking of the B&W VM1; I've never heard of the Ascend (they're not like the "Theater Innovations" brand, are they :-).

Thanks again for your input.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 35
Registered: Mar-05
Wow, sounds like you have money to burn...sure wish I had that problem! : )

Look at ascendacoustics.com and also do a Google search for them, you'll find that they are extremely reputable and very well-reviewed by an amazingly wide cross-section of professionals and consumers.

I wouldn't claim that they are the absolute best on the face of the planet, but from my own experience I found their $560 CMT-340s to be equal to speakers costing over twice the price. So for a cost-conscious person like me they are very attractive indeed.

 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 650
Registered: Dec-03
Problem with the Panny HDMI is it has first generation HDMI and can only pass 2 channel audio. Probably fine to be used as a video switcher, as long as the receiver has good upconversion. I have an upstairs and downstairs system at home and currently connect my HDMI Pioneer Elite 59avi universal DVD player directly to my Pioneer Elite Plasma and then connect the dvd'd firewire to my Pioneer Elite 49Txi firewire input for all surround audio (from SACD, DVD-A, DVD-V, etc)which keeps the original digital signals from the player in digital form for the receiver to use in bass management and any other DSP's.

An interesting compromise from HDMI to DVI would be the soon to be released Outlaw Audio 990 preamplifier. It will have 2 DVI input/1 DVI output. I can't think of another pre-amp at any price with that. So for those with HDMI equipment they can purchase HDMI/DVI converters to take advantage. But there are quite a few DVI HDTV's and of course the Bravo DVI dvd player, which means you wouldn't need HDMI at all.

For $1100 and looks that are far better than anything they have done before (very classy looking from pics I have seen--much better looking than anything they or NAD has done before)it is an incredible bargain. It has tuner, phono, Dolby Headphone jack, Multi-zone, Auto calibration (very nice plus), 2 balanced audio outputs (unheard of in products below 2K), 2 DVI inputs and 1 DVI output (No other pre-amp has this or HDMI), upconverting of all video to component at 100 mhz(hence, great using the DVI output), 7.1 analog inputs, 2 coax digitial inputs, 5 optical digital inputs, 1 coax digital output, 1 optical digital output, Balanced Pre-amp out, RS-232, USB (for streaming PC radio, MP3's/iPods, or connecting to digital cameras), --sadly no firewire--

It isn't THX-but most pre-amps at any price aren't, but has pretty much everything else (other than HDCD for cd's): Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby EX. Prologic 11 and Prologic 11x, Dolby Headphone, DTS, DTS ES, DTS NEO:6, DTS 96/24, 6.1/7.1 surround, analog bypass, DACS: 192/24, 4 adjustable crossovers for 4 different pairs of speakers (or for 3 pairs and one center channel-or for 4 different speakers--very extensive).


It certainly will be the bargain high performance pre-amp when released in a month or two, particularly with all the features and quality "looks" at $1100. It will probably beat most pre-amps at 3 times the price on features and performance.

I can't wait until it is officially released and all specs are out for public view--and of course reviewed by individuals and periodicals (most of which I take with a grain of salt, as the high end periodicals generally go by the adage: if it costs a lot more it has to be a lot better).
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