Cheap HT receiver suggestions


College Student
Hey, so I'm looking to buy a new suround receiver. I'm not much of an audiophile, just a teenager who'll use it to watch The Matrix and listen to Eminem. I want something with DTS and DD decoding, volume knob as opposed to buttons, and descent wattage. I've got less than $200 to spend, so any suggestions would be really appriciated, thanks.

Sherwood makes Dolby Digital receivers starting at just $90. Pioneers start at $150.

Hope this helps.

Better still, go to One Call ( where you can get a clsoeout on an Onkyo TX-SR500 for $149.96. Much better than the Sherwoods or the low end Pioneers. It was widely considered to be a great value at its original price of $299.

College Student
Hmm, I've been looking at the Yamaha HTR-5540

I found it for 150 including shipping, and it seems to have more features than the Onkyo (simulated 6.1 etc). Would the Onkyo sound better? Thanks again for the help.

Well, Yamaha makes a cheap receiver and that is what it is--cheap. I have compared a number of Yamaha receivers over the past year, including the 5540, and they have an exaggerated high end--makes them very bright and annoying to listen to over time. It has a lousy power supply (I think it is rated at 75 wpc, but tests done by a number of reviewers show that when pushing five speakers, it can only hit 50% of its rated power--38 wpc), and it has only a single amplifier to drive all six channels, not a separate amplifier for each channel. If you want to buy based upon features, then Yamaha is your receiver because that is what Yamaha is all about, good quality sound is secondary to all of their special effects (soundfields).

More channels are not necessarily better, especially if you buy lesser speakers in order to be able to buy six speakers instead of five. After all, the sixth channel is matrixed (not discrete) and it adds nothing to the sound.

However, the Onkyo will definitely sound better, even if only five channels. It is warmer and definitely more life-like.

What about JVC, Sony and Denon budget receivers? Are budget Pioneers receivers out of question? Pioneer VSX-D812K is cheap...

College Student
Hmm I've looked around and the Onkyo seems pretty good. Is that the final decision here?

i had the Onkyo tx sr500 for a month or so and i was happy with it. i took it back because i got a really good deal on a tx sr800. but if you're looking for 6.1, look at the tx sr501.

I definitely agree with Hawk on this one. If you want bells and whistles go with Yamaha. If you want good power supplies and better build quality go with the Onkyo.

L to the H
Bells and whistles keep you entertained for the first 15 minutes you are setting it up. After that the euphoria wears off and you are left with less than satisfying sound.

So Onkyo's audio/HT is laid back and musical as Yamaha is non-musical and underpowered?

I thought I read somewhere that Onkyo's power ratings were inflated just as much as Yamaha's and Denon. I must be seeing things!>!>!>!

Pioneer VSX-D912K seems a good choice...

One general rule to see how the amplifier section performs is to see the ratio between watts per channel with all channels being driven at 8 ohms and all channels being driven at 4 ohms. Generally (but not always), the closer to double that 4 ohms is to 8 ohms in the power envelope, the better performance the amplifier.
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