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Receiver/Speaker advice

 

John McA
Unregistered guest
My antique Technics receiver has finally blown a channel (after 25 years!) and I am in the market for a new system.

I have a Sony 400 cd carousel which I would like to keep.

I intend to build a decent HT system with a second zone capability. Even though I want HT capability, the system will mostly be used for music (jazz and rock). I have no other components worth keeping. I want to ultimately spend about $1500 total on the system, but now need to buy a receiver. A bad receiver on one channel is close to unlistenable.

My initial inclination was an Onkyo (600 or 700) on a value for money basis, but it does not seem to be a popular choice in here.

What receiver or receivers should I start with? and where should I go from there?
 

Silver Member
Username: Petergalbraith

Rimouski, Quebec Canada

Post Number: 805
Registered: Feb-04
There are lots to choose from, but I think h/k are good for HT and music. You can get cheap refurbished units directly from h/k on ebay. They have second zone capability fairly early on in their line-up.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Jorge59

Rio de JaneiroBrasil

Post Number: 19
Registered: May-05
This forum has many experts who can fill you with rich insights and technical info but, as I've been in the same situation, I give a newbie suggestion for about $1.800, based on my recent research:

Receivers: Denon 2105 at $464 or Yamaha RXV-1500 at $521 (audioexcellence.com) or Marantz 4500 (MRSP $429).

Speakers (audiophile quality): web direct at ascendacoustics.com: S23-12 package: CMT 340 center, HTM-170 fronts, HTM-200 rears and STF-2 sub at $1271 shipped.

To fit the budget: Once I saw the "honest" Yamaha RXV-750 on sale at $349 (sorry don't remember where). Also downgrade center speaker CMT-340 by HTM-200 will save some cash and might be acceptable.

Just another subjective generic feeling: Keep away from Onkyo, Sony and Bose.

Good Luck
 

John McA
Unregistered guest
Thanks for the input Peter and Jorge. Even for a non-audiophile like me, I knew that Sony and Bose were overrated and overpriced, but I am surprised by Onkyo.
 

Silver Member
Username: Petergalbraith

Rimouski, Quebec Canada

Post Number: 807
Registered: Feb-04
Onkyo is generally well-regarded, but I don't like that they have specs for the same model numbers sold in Asia vs europe vs the Americas.

A friend was sold a fairly expensive Onkyo years ago along with 4 ohms speakers. They sounded too thin without dynamics on the Onkyo. It was clear they could handle the load. We tried my h/k and got great sound and he switched to a NAD and never looked back.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Jet2001

Post Number: 52
Registered: Mar-05
H/K 335 is going for $468 at J&R.com. It is the lowest level H/K that offers the 2nd Zone feature.

The Denon 2105 is another quality receiver that give you that option.

I'm in the same boat you are, looking for a good receiver with the 2nd zone capabilities. I'm about 95% sure that the H/K AVR 335 is the one for me. I'm going to audition both the H/K 335 and the Denon 2105 soon...if you're still looking for opinions, I'll give you my .02 then.
 

John McA
Unregistered guest
Jet (or anyone) -- is the only difference between the H/K 335 and 635 the 55w v. 75w? How much difference will that make?

 

Bronze Member
Username: Jet2001

Post Number: 53
Registered: Mar-05
Here's a link on the H/K website comparing the two:

http://www.harmankardon.com/compare4.aspx?mainprod=AVR+635&selectprod=AVR+335&Su bmit=Compare

as for db difference in 20w per channel gain with the 635? I don't have an answer for that...hopefully someone here can help us with the more technical questions.
 

Silver Member
Username: Petergalbraith

Rimouski, Quebec Canada

Post Number: 808
Registered: Feb-04
The 635 also has a fancier remote (learning, lcd DISPLAY) and EzSet/EQ instead of EzSet+. There are also differences in the second zone stuff (A-bus).

The 55W to 75W increase is a very small 1.3 dB increase.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Jet2001

Post Number: 54
Registered: Mar-05
FYI-that link I gave does not go anywhere, I appologize. Here is a link to H/K home:

http://www.harmankardon.com/default.aspx?Region=USA&Country=US&Language=ENG

and through there you can find the receiver page and run the comparisons.

Or you can read what Peter said, becuase he sums it up nicely.
 

John McA
Unregistered guest
Thank you again, Jet. It does appear from the comparison that the only major difference is the power. I am not sure that would make much difference to me so I would probably also lean towards the 335.

I guess we can put it to the pros in here -- how much difference does 20w per channel make?

 

John McA
Unregistered guest
Peter --

Is the 1.3 db increase a quality of sound issue or just a volume issue. I am not really interested in making the windows rattle anymore. I just want a decent system that will sound good and not break the bank.
 

Tavares
Unregistered guest
You should give The Pioneer Elite line a chance; in spite that not many people on this forum recommend these receivers IMHO they are great value for the money. Nice power supply, great warm detailed sound for both music and movies and very reliable, in addition, they look great like piano finish(if that's of any importance).

Just my two cents
 

Bronze Member
Username: Vgtvidz

Post Number: 66
Registered: Jul-04
John McA, the 1.3db is only a volume issue and seriously, I would'nt really care about gaining 1.3db, I don't know which speakers you have, but from what I know, the HK 335 is enough for most speakers.
 

Silver Member
Username: Petergalbraith

Rimouski, Quebec Canada

Post Number: 809
Registered: Feb-04
John,

I'm sorry about the imcomplete answer. VGT Vidz is right. 1.3 dB is a very small increase and I should have mentionned that. I think the smallest perceptible increase is 1 dB, a doubling of power leads to 3 dB increase, and it's said that to perceive a doubling of loudness one needs a 10 dB increase (and 10 times the power). I wouldn't woory about such a small difference. Even between 50W and 100W, there's only 3 dB.
 

John McA
Unregistered guest
Thank you again, Peter. As I said, I am not looking to scare the neighbors, just get the best sound for reasonable money.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Vgtvidz

Post Number: 67
Registered: Jul-04
Hey John, if you'd like to, someone from another forum, or maybe this one, gave me a link with a test sound, it had a 3dB drop between each "beep" and seriously, you can't hear the difference. Tell me if you'd like it, I'll post it here if you want to.
 

John McA
Unregistered guest
Thank you for asking, VGT, but I don't think I need the link. If the issue is purely volume, I really don't care what the difference is. The Technics was only 20w per channel (on two channels) and I have never had any difficulty getting it to play loudly enough.

Thanks again for the advice everyone.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Jet2001

Post Number: 55
Registered: Mar-05
Ok, I auditioned both receivers tonight:

H/K AVR 335 and Denon 2105

I must say that right now I can't make a decision which one is better for me. I went to fry's to listen to the H/K and Tweeter to listen to the Denon. Both have my speakers which really made for a nice audition.

The H/K had a great sound that filled the room nicely. It has all the features I'm looking for right now. It's an all around a great receiver. It's cons were that it does not upconvert to component, only to s-video, and the remote wasn't anything to write home about.

The Denon's sound was more neutral (the sound was very comparable to the Sony that I'm running now). The biggest pro about the Denon was that it upconverts everything to component. I do not have hdtv, but with the market moving in that direction, the Denon could be a long term investment.

I don't know which one to buy. I realize that both are quality receivers in my price range. My problem is; do I buy something that I like now and have to upgrade in a couple of years or buys something that has a sound that I'm used to and keep it as a long term investment.

bah! too many decisions...I need to win the lottery ;).
 

John McA
Unregistered guest
Thanks for the input, Jet. You are right, too many variables. Its hard to get a handle on where to start or what is crucial.
 

Silver Member
Username: Petergalbraith

Rimouski, Quebec Canada

Post Number: 815
Registered: Feb-04
HDTV uses DVI rather than component right?

I'm affraid we'll all be switching sometime in the future...

Not an obvious choice...

I like h/k because the amp section drives 4-ohms loads. More versatile and cleaner sounding on more difficult speakers.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 877
Registered: Mar-05
John,

If I were buying an AV receiver right now, I'd probably go to Harman Direct on eBay and buy a refurb HK 635 or the pure-digital HK 2005, they should go for around $600. Or any of the lower HK models, the 230/235, 330/335, or 430/435 if you want to save some money.

Or for about $675 shipped, you can go to ubid.com and get a brand new Marantz 8400 with full 3 year Marantz warranty. This receiver normally retailed for around $1300 so the ubid price is an awesome deal.

To be honest though, if I were starting over from scratch I probably wouldn't even bother with all this HT surround sound business and just stick to 2-channel.

I've come to the conclusion that with my taste in movies (I tend NOT to like all the wham-bam action flicks that really make use of Dolby Surround, mostly watch dramas, comedies, arthouse films, etc.) having a surround setup is a waste of money.

Like you I am primarily a music listener, and I'd rather spend my money on the best 2-channel setup I can afford: which I've discovered involves separates. In my case, that meant vintage NAD gear that easily blew my 6 month old Marantz 5400 AVR out of the water (and cost less money) and made my good but inexpensive Ascend speakers sound like a million bucks (not that I would PERSONALLY know what million dollar speakers really sound like, LOL).

If you prefer more up to date gear, the refurb NAD integrated amps could be a nice way to do it:

http://www.northamptonaudio.com/nad/C372.asp
http://www.northamptonaudio.com/nad/C352.asp
 

John McA
Unregistered guest
Thanks for the input, Ed, but I do want the HT. Has anyone had the opportunity to hear the HK 435? It appears to be a slightly less powerful 635 with the same bells and whistles.
 

John McA
Unregistered guest
Ed - The Marantz looks interesting. I guess I need to go hear some and make up my mind.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Brittho

Frisco, TX USA

Post Number: 24
Registered: May-05
John
Most will agree on this site that HK is the way to go for an inexpensive HT setup. Their power ratings are realistic and the sound is nice and full. Honestly out of everything that I heard at the local Circuit City the Harmon was the best. Although we had to crank it up to -15 to really hear everything over the noisy din of a bix box store. But then I went to go listen to NAD and Rotel...at a local HIFI shop. I am now leaning towards the NAD 720BEE which is not a HT setup because like Edster I listen to mostly music. And I own only a handful of action movies that would really use surround sound. So HT was a waste of money for me as well. I have listened to the C352 in Edsters post and IMO it was a monster. :-) I could only imagine what the C372 would do at my place. Can we say whoa mama! I mean for real I could probably cause nail pops in my sheetrock from using the C372 at half gain! My local HIFI shop does not sell the C372 because they don't sell a speaker pair that really demands that much power so they did not see the point. HAHA....Real raw power is addictive! :-)
 

John McA
Unregistered guest
I am going to go to a local hi-fi to listen to Marantz. I will try to stay away from the real high end stuff . . . too tempting.

Unlike Paul, my wife does have some input in this spending and is hardly an audiophile! She is not really sure that we couldn't live with the 25 year old Technics on one channel.

J.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 928
Registered: Mar-05
John,

if you decide to go Marantz, two good online shops to look at:

www.hifi.com
www.accessories4less.com (also very good for cables, interconnects & speaker stands)

A Marantz 5500 should run you around $600 local retail, you might be able to haggle maybe $50 off of it.
 

John McA
Unregistered guest
Haven't gotten to Marantz. I saw in the other thread that the UBID Marantz deal was over, sold out or disappeared. I think I am back to HK through the Harman Audio. Deals are good there and I am comfortable with the sound and features.

Now the speakers!
 

John McA
Unregistered guest
Thank you to everyone on this thread for the advice, especially Peter and Edster. I went with Harman Audio at Ebay. I got the 430. It was delivered last night. Sounds great, even on my old TDCs. I suppose speakers will be next, but not immediately.

Thank you everyone, this forum is very helpful.

 

Gold Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 1116
Registered: Mar-05
You're very welcome, John...happy listening!
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