A/V receiver recommendations

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Old 01-24-15, 07:18 AM
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A/V receiver recommendations

Hi everyone...

I need a recommendation or suggestions of what features to look for for a new AV amp/receiver for my TV.

I have a wall mounted, Sony Bravia with 3 wall mounted external speakers (left, right and center). They are fairly high-end speakers. The old amp/receiver I inherited died.

I need a new amp/receiver to connect to the TV to drive the speakers. The built-in speakers on the TV aren't that great so I'm really looking to get the external speakers powered for movies, sports, etc. I have the other normal accessories (blueray, DVD, Wii, Xfininity box)

I'm not looking to spend a ton of money but really have no clue what features I should be looking for. There are so many options and I'm a rookie in this field.

Thank for the advice.

Scott
 
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Old 01-24-15, 07:34 AM
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I'm a Sony man from way back and I still have my 38" XBBR TV. Was the tops in it's days and has awesome sound.

I'm completely unimpressed with the sound from the Bravia TV's.

Most A/V receivers do the same thing. They can process HDMI if you want. In other words you can connect all your devices, blueray, DVD, Wii, Xfininity box, right to the receiver and it switches the audio and video. The video gets sent to the TV and the sound goes to your speakers.

You want power. Get something with lots of audio power. You will probably be getting an A/V receiver with 5.1 surround sound. That means you use five speaker. The three you already have and two rear surround speakers. You can always add the rear speakers in later if you aren't ready yet.

There are 7.1 surround receivers but for basic homes.... seven speakers can be a tough install. Most people, myself included, are satisfied with the five speaker setup.

You may be considering a sub-woofer. Try to get a receiver that has a line level (RCA type) subwoofer output and purchase a powered (plugs into AC power) subwoofer when you are ready.

Pioneer is a fairly well rounded and reliable brand to go with although there are many choices.
I may have missed some things. Everybody has their own wish list and I'm sure they'll add on to this.
 
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Old 01-24-15, 07:51 AM
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Ok.. thanks.. I see some receives say they are "pass-through".. What does this mean and do I want need it?

Scott
 
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Old 01-24-15, 07:56 AM
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Pioneer does have the pass thru feature. That means you can run just the TV without the A/V receiver being turned on. You can set it to automatically pass thru a certain input, like Xfinity, or to pass thru the last selected input.
 
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Old 01-24-15, 08:11 AM
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understood.. thank you...
 
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Old 01-24-15, 08:45 AM
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Have you considered chunking everything and getting a sound bar system? Many can do everything you want and without the separate amp/receiver taking up space. Most soundbar systems also wirelessly tether to their subwoofer so you can place it anywhere and not have to run wires.
 
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Old 01-24-15, 11:30 AM
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Budget vs Function considerations

Hi Scott,
Although I've been reading the DIY forums for years now, your question prompted me to sign up and register so I could help you out.

In addition to what Pete wrote, there are some other things to consider. If you don't mind answering these questions, we can expand this conversation a bit.

The other features you may be interested in depend on some scenarios.

You say you have two speakers now. Are you interested in surround sound?

Do you use music streaming services?

Do you have music stored on a computer at home?

What sort of budget are you considering?

Based on these answers, we can probably determine some good amp candidates for you to consider.

Thanks,
Woo
 
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Old 01-24-15, 03:47 PM
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Ok.. to answer your questions...

>You say you have two speakers now. Are you interested in surround sound?
Right now, I have 3.. right, left and center... yes.. surround sound at some point is in the cards.

>Do you use music streaming services?
Yes.. mostly via the computer, TV and phone app

>Do you have music stored on a computer at home?
Not generally... do more streaming

>What sort of budget are you considering?
That's a bit more complicated.. the Pioneer model I'm looking at is in the 400-500 range.. I'd probably stay in that range but it's up for discussion at this point.

Thanks for the help!
Scott
 
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Old 01-24-15, 05:55 PM
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Scott,
This works. Your budget is fine. Let me go through the list.

Surround:
Since you have bluray and are interested in surround sound at some point, you'll want to make sure the amp can decode the bluray high resolution codecs DTS-HD Master and Dolby TrueHD. Most will but some still exclude those.

I'd avoid paying extra for any Dolby Atmos features right now. You can upgrade later when the standard is more.... well, standard.

Online:
Consider an amp with the ability to directly connect you to your streaming service and play that music. Great for playing playlists or internet radio and you don't have to turn the TV on just to listen to some music while you are doing something else.

Most interfaces aren't nearly as friendly as the phone apps so building playlists and such can be a chore but playing back preconfigured lists works great.

Unless you plan on getting a UHD (4K) television soon I'd ignore that feature. Everyone is jumping on that bandwagon now but HDMI 2.0 isn't fully implemented yet.

With that said, here's what I'd recommend:

Onkyo TX-NR626. On sale now at a major online retailer. (I don't know if I'm allowed to post links.) It's going for 299 right now because the Atmos version (636) is out. Unless you plan on adding another 4 or 6 speakers in the short term, this is a nice deal. You can hook up your other components (even the Wii) and it will pass that through to the HDMI so you don't have to deal with more than one connection to your TV.
It uses the much lauded Audyessy room correction, has WiFi in case you don't have a network jack near your amp location. It has a native phono connection if the retro vinyl thing is your bag. Just for kicks they threw in the 4K thing.

Full disclaimer here... I'm a huge Onkyo fan but at one point I had to send my amp in to Onkyo for a warranty repair (about a year past the warranty but Onkyo repaired it for free) and when I had it in the shop, I picked up a Pioneer just to hold the family over and I was really pleased with how well the Pioneer compared.

If you love you some Pioneer action consider the Pioneer VSX-1024
Has the same basic feature set of the Onkyo but it doesn't translate the video inputs to the HDMI so you may have to connect more cables to your set depending on how they output video.

Both units can bi-amp a set of front speakers and do all the HD audio stuff.

If you have any questions or are thinking about another unit, let me know and we can go through it.


Regards,
Woo
 
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Old 01-29-15, 10:10 AM
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I just went through this due to a recent vacation home purchase. I wanted an A/V receiver that had wi-fi, bluetooth & apple airplay. I looked at Yamaha's, Denon, Onkyo & Sony's. Almost bought the Onkyo TX-NR636 due to Dolby Atmos (which I probably would use). But it didn't have Airplay and we have all Apple products. So went with a Denon S900W which came out last May or June, the W stands for wifi. Its also a 7.2 channel amp with 90 watts per channel into 8 Ohms so has some punch. I am using 5.1 set-up now. Best feature to me is all the wireless feature incl. Internet Radio (Pandora, Sirius & Spotify). Best of luck, I bought a refurb model direct for their factor Vendor for < $400... MSRP is $550 I think, Has all future 4K capability also
 
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