Best A/V Receivers (Denon,Yamaha or Sony)


Rick Mackie
I'm in the early stages of purchasing a new Home Theater system. Will use it for surround sound music and movies. My local dealer speced out the Denon AVR 1603 5-channel amp ($390) , Denon DVD1600 Progressive HD DVD ($250) and Jamo ADD330PDD Home Theater speaker system ($800).

Between Denon, Yamaha and Sony - given the same price range - which produces the best receivers and DVD players?

Anyone have any experience with Jamo speakers? Any speaker recommendations?


Try Harman Kardon sound before you bite on the Denon. I just replaced my Denon AVR1400 (Prologic), after one of the amps died. I tried everything in my receiver price range $600-1000 before buying a replacement: Yamaha 5590 (what, no pre-outs!), Onkyo SR600, 700, 800 (the 800 is THX), Kenwood 6070 (cheap THX if you care), and all the Denon's up to $1000.

The Harman Kardon AVR525 is a simply superior piece of gear for movies AND music at that price point. The amps are so musical: detailed yet full with great voicing and separation. I was almost sold on the Yamaha but it seemed to possess a love it or hate it sound on differing musical types. Plus, I ultimately didn't care for all the DSP which is the Yammy's strong suit. The Onkyo was compelling but I hate the tiny plasic buttons. With that said, it was a dead between the Onk and the HK.

As for the Denon, as a previous owner I was less than thrilled with all that "Denon" is supposed to be. The sound from my AVR1400 was always too muddy and muted for real soaring audio. And...what do you want, it died after 5 years of piddling use. And, it may have changed, but the Denon remote was horrid

Definitely try the H/K 225 or 325 in your price range it has received stunning reviews.

AS for the DVD player, try the Yamaha DVC6480. It is a 5 DVD changer with 192khz/24 Burr-Brown audio decoders on-board. It does amazing DVD video and Audio and is only $400 marked down at Crutchfied. I just got mine and I am truly amazed with the build and sound quality of this DVD player...20 pounds and a metal face...a beauty.

Haven't heard the Jamo's but they're a good speaker. I have recently been amazed by the sound quality of the new polks. The RM6700 and 7600 come to mind, as do the new RTi series (the 28's and 38's). Also, if money is water, give a listen to the Polk LSi series...buttah!

Good luck and let us know your decisions! Watch out for that Denon dealer ;).

*uh, right, Sony, if it's not ES then stay away...and even if it is, you're paying too much for inferior quality.

you should try to audition the receivers you are considering. Especially if you can try several in the same room with the same speakers. even better if it is with the speakers you are going to buy.

I secnd the sony comments, you're paying for a brand name first and audio gear second. I dont think they are inferior but not worth the price uplift.

You have probably heard this but you should start with the speakers. Get the best quality you can afford. Good speakers make lesser amps sound good. Poor speakers make everything sound bad. I wouldn't obsess over the receiver as much as the speakers. Jamos would be ok. In your price range some people like the JBLs. I confess I'm not a polk fan but you should consider your own ears first before listening to others. Audition the speakers first and foremost. take some source material (stuff you listen to). I acutally cut a CD of about 20 different things to play in the show rooms. it made selection a lot easier. I wound up with onix rockets but they are in the the 2000 range including sub. Also, carefully consider your actual usage. For music, focus on the fronts. for movies, the center.

Its unfortunate that the market has soooo many choices that it can be utterly bewildering.


Marantz sr-7300 Finaly the best model. PLUS Energy Encory speaker system!!!! It iz realy the best.!!!

The Harmon Kardon receivers have one important omission despite its good sound quality. It states in the manual that Speaker delay is only available for Dolby Digital and pro logic 1 + 2. There is no speaker delay applied to DTS or logic 7 which means that unless all speakers are exactly the same distance away from you the sound might sound a little 'off'.

The older Nad receivers had the same problem but I'm not sure about the newer models like the NAD 752T.

The marantz 5300 is a very good model with preouts so is the Onkyo TX600 but you'll have to go for the TX700 if you were after preouts.

I believe DTS specifications prevent you from applying delay settings.

I thought you could adjust the delay levels on dts-es?
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