Advice needed on an AV unit: makes and how much do I really need to pay?

Discussion in 'Home Theater & Video' started by Ontario Mike, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. Ontario Mike

    Ontario Mike New Member

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    14
    Backstory:
    I am currently using a Kenwood Royal Sovereign vr-5900 receiver. I have come to terms with the funky remote, and it works well, except for one problem. For some reason I cannot use the center channel and the subwoofer at the same time. I get a pulsing signal on the center speaker if the subwoofer channel is turned on.
    The problem is definitely inside the unit. So I have to turn off the center channel.
    Given that the unit weighs a ton, is not new, and I would have to ship it somewhere to get it fixed, I doubt it is cost-effective to repair.

    So, who makes a decent quality receiver at a fair price? I define decent as 1) good build quality; 2) decent range of connections (more on this later) and 3) decent output to drive 5 mid to small sized 8 ohm speakers. I do not want to buy from any firm that lists output as " 150 watts per channel at 10%THD".

    This is for DVD's, and satellite TV. It is NOT my audiophile system. I want good sound, not best sound.
    But, as an old school tube guy, I am out of my depth with modern offerings.

    I need enough inputs to get 2 dvd players and the satellite into it. I'd prefer not to have to upgrade my dvd player because it does not have the latest fiberoptic output connection (or some such)
    FM is nice but not necessary.
    The room is too small to require massive power, or, for that matter, more than 5.1 audio
    Easy to use is good, as my wife has a long-standing hate relationship with technology.

    So - Who makes decent gear these days? What kind of money am I looking at? Any recommendations?
     
  2. whoaru99

    whoaru99 Epic Member

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    38,199
    Location:
    LoTL
    All the usual brands (Denon, Yamaha, Onkyo, Marantz) have a wide range of prices from lower $xxx to mid or upper $xxxx. There are other brands too but these are the most common, generally speaking.

    By what type of cable(s)/method(s) do you connect your sources to the Kenwood now, both for audio and for video?
     
  3. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Super Member

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    4,166
    Location:
    NW Pennsylvania snow belt
    As posted above, defining your sources/connection types will help narrow the field, but just throwing this out there, I'd look at the new Yamaha units. You can probably get everything you need and maybe more for $1K or even far less, depending on your needs. They are available through sites like Amazon and Crutchfield, both of which offer fairly hassle-free returns should you not like what you get.
     
  4. Ontario Mike

    Ontario Mike New Member

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    14
    At this point I am using 2 optical digital in and 1 coax digital in. Right now I am bypassing the unit for the more legacy connections, so backward compatibility is not too much of an issue.
    Any suggestions as to how much output per channel would be good for the mid efficiency speakers I am using? I note that power output is usually given for two channels driven. What is the effect with 5 channels driven?
    I see that some of the Yamaha have 11 channels!
    The Rx-S600 does not look too bad, but I don't know about the power levels...
     
  5. KevinJS

    KevinJS Super Member

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    2,803
    Location:
    Canada
    I'd also suggest Yamaha, for several reasons.

    First, HT receiver remotes are universally horrible. This is alleviated by using Yamaha's excellent phone/tablet app to control the thing.

    Next, Yamaha's reliability is supposedly superior to the other players in the field. My sample study of one bears it out, but beyond that I have no data.

    I'd take a look at the RX-A850. It has the digital inputs you require, a vast array of analogue inputs, preouts for all output channels (which the 750 lacks), outputs for 2 subwoofers (actually a single split channel; to get left/right subs you need to go higher up the range) and is not horribly expensive.
     
    StimpyWan likes this.
  6. KevinJS

    KevinJS Super Member

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    2,803
    Location:
    Canada
    The 11 channel HT receivers, by the way, are for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, using ceiling speakers for height effects. The numbering convention is 7.1.4, where the 7 is the normal surround channels, the 1 is the sub, and the 4 is the height.

    Atmos and DTS:X systems start at 5.1.2 and go up from there.
     
  7. Ontario Mike

    Ontario Mike New Member

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    14
    That looks like a nice unit. A bit hard to find in Canada, but I will seriously consider it.
    I very much appreciate you taking the time to help out. Thanks again.
    Anyone else have any helpful suggestions?
     
  8. KevinJS

    KevinJS Super Member

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    2,803
    Location:
    Canada
    Check out Visions. They carry the Yamaha range and, in my experience, they will spend time going over the equipment with you. I can't sing their praises highly enough.
     
  9. Ontario Mike

    Ontario Mike New Member

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    14
    I will. I confess I have never heard of them.
    I should mention that the 850 is now discontinued....
     
  10. KevinJS

    KevinJS Super Member

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    2,803
    Location:
    Canada
    Yes, the model numbers indicate the year of manufacture. Mine is the 730. It was replaced by the 740, then the 750.

    The 850, which is the lowest I'd suggest because it's the cheapest with preouts, is probably the 860 or 870 now. I haven't checked the models in a while because my main interest now is 2 channel. The thing to look out for is RX-A (Aventage). They are higher quality than the RX-V, but it takes a practised eye to see the visual differences.

    Going further up the range adds many more features (and dollars)

    10x0
    20x0
    30x0

    To go beyond these models, you start looking at the separates which will cost you about $5000. They're very pretty but damned expensive. From memory they are MX5000 and CX5000.
     
  11. charles 1973

    charles 1973 Super Member

    Messages:
    2,889
    I recently went looking for a HT receiver too. I wanted one with good sound. The latest technology I could care less. As it turn out Yamaha has one that not only has good sound for about a $1,000, But just happens to have plenty of features. Like Audio cast to control wireless speakers any where in your house for about $1,000.

    In the past NAD also set SQ as a high priorety for their AVR's so they might be worth checking out too.
     
  12. KevinJS

    KevinJS Super Member

    Messages:
    2,803
    Location:
    Canada
    I'll just add this. Yamaha don't claim wild power for their HT receivers, which probably means they are simply more truthful than others. I've seen calculations (or guesses?) that indicate that the 7x0 and 8x0 are pushing around 30 watts per channel with 7 channels driven.

    In my experience, the 730 is fully capable of producing dramatic sound levels using conventional speakers; in my case, Martin Logan Motion series. However, attempts to use my Theos electrostats were less than satisfactory. The sound appeared to be concentrated on the floor in front of the speakers, and gave a very strange effect. Feeding those speakers with my Bryston power amp gives a vast improvement, which is why I make the point about getting a receiver with preouts. If you intend to develop your system further, the preouts will allow you to add, for example, an Emotiva 3 channel power amp to your front end, leaving the Yamaha to deal with surround and/or height.

    If I'd known then what I know now, I'd be sitting on an 830, not a 730. Using the Yamaha as a preamp would satisfy your HT requirements AND your audiophile tendencies.
     
  13. Ontario Mike

    Ontario Mike New Member

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    14
    My tv watching and audiophile listening don't happen in the same room (or floor for that matter), so I have different requirements. But I do have a good ear and hate distortion, so I won't even look at the lower end stuff. But I do have some clue as to what I don't know (which is a lot) - hence the question. It is too bad that I can't repair the Kenwood - it has otherwise worked very well.
     
    KevinJS likes this.
  14. charles 1973

    charles 1973 Super Member

    Messages:
    2,889
    This is the Yamaha I was lookin at. Looks like $1,100 CDN.

    https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiM0t_8zb3SAhVH8IMKHYKiDjkQFgggMAE&url=http://ca.yamaha.com/en/products/audio-visual/av-receivers-amps/rxa-series/rx-a860_u/?mode=model&usg=AFQjCNEbUal46DoTN0mQ3xedDlic_nfkcw

    I run a separate HT and stereo system too, including speakers in my rec room. So I don't need high end sound for music. But like Mike, I don't want crap either. It looks to me like this Yamaha, or perhaps competing models from other reputable brands in the $1,000 - $2,000 range should do it.

    My question to Yamaha, and the many other brands that don't rate their amps with all channel operating might be where is all this "tremendous power" when driving 7 channels from 20 - 20,000 hz at <.1% THD at 8 ohms and 4 ohms. Oh....I have to switch into low power mode for 4 ohms.That said, I think if we use a sub for the bass, It should be adequate. I probably won't use my sub, I don't have a convent place to put it, and the front tower speakers do pretty good in that department. I'm guessing it will still be enough.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2017
  15. KevinJS

    KevinJS Super Member

    Messages:
    2,803
    Location:
    Canada
    No. Don't switch to low power mode for 4 Ω speakers. There has been a lot of writing about this but essentially it boils down to the same as buying a V8 and pulling 4 spark plugs. I run 6 Ω speakers and have never had any issues.
     
  16. Ontario Mike

    Ontario Mike New Member

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    14
    The RX-A860 looks like a winner. And pricing it gives me a great idea of what it is going to cost me to get all my speakers working. Now I have to decide if it is worth the expense, since I am not made of money. (BS maybe, but not money :) )
     
  17. charles 1973

    charles 1973 Super Member

    Messages:
    2,889
    You might look at some recent used AVR's from any one of many reputable manufactures. Just check the reviews and perhaps the reliability on ones you like. You could probably get a really decent recent one, If you can manage without doly atmos for 1/2 or less then new, depending on how far back you go. I still use my old (2001 - remember S-video) Onkyo AVR that works great for both HT and music. But I might want the Yamaha for the rec room if I decide to use my Onkyo for DD.3.0 upstairs instead of a sound bar.
     
  18. Ontario Mike

    Ontario Mike New Member

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    14
    I will certainly look out of a used one. Or a sale on a new one.
     
  19. Putterman

    Putterman Super Member

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    1,172
    :thumbsup: There are many decent used AVR's out there for very little, esp as you've indicated you don't need HDMI, Blu Ray or Dolby True HD. In addition to the brands already mentioned (Denon, Yamaha, Onkyo, Marantz) I would add pre HDMI Harman Kardon and Sony ES.

    Also I'll mention if you haven't already tried it that you might try connecting the pre outs for center channel to an external amp as a workaround for your problem.
     
  20. KevinJS

    KevinJS Super Member

    Messages:
    2,803
    Location:
    Canada
    There's a place in Ontario that sells at good discounts. 2001audiovideo or something like that. Hopefully they are close to you.
     

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