A/V Receiver Recommendations

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by GarrettL1979, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2012
    We currently have a 10+ year old Sony receiver that I'm hoping to replace at some point. Our budget is around $200. We have a 55" LG LCD, Sony blu ray player, ATV 3, and Directv box. Running 5.1. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 22, 2010
    Hanover MD
    I just bought an onkyo for my basement, I got the tx nr414, amazon has it for 279, its got 5 HDMI in and one HDMI out which was the main reason I got it as my TV only had 4 HDMI inputs and I needed 5.

    plus the onkyo can be controlled with an iDevice thru the onkyo app, which sucks, or oRemote which is pretty sweet.

    also has pandora and other net radio stations built into it.
  3. macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Look for a model that has at least 3 HDMI port in (ATV, BR, DTV) and 1 out for the TV. This is the modern and best way to set up HT these days.

    On screen display is nice.

    One with a microphone method for setting up the speakers is a good idea.

    Don't sweat over watts or magical sound unless you have a great big and perfect listening room. In the average rather terrible room the speaker set up is most important.

    No need for expensive cables, but get flexible ones. Some fancier cables are way too stiff so that they look impressive, but are hard to hook up sometimes.

    Really, really consider a universal remote like a Harmony One. Soooooo much better.

    My advice is to spend what you have to in order to get these features. You will be living with them for a long time. My set-up is the same as yours and I ended up with a Denon 1612, but undoubtedly there are other models out there now.
  4. Frosties, Jul 24, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2012

    macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2009
  5. donrsd, Jul 24, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2012

    macrumors 6502


    Dec 16, 2011
    South Florida
    make sure to get something that decodes DOLBY TRUE HD & DTS MASTER AUDIO.

    without those 2 audio codecs, youre not really upgrading from your current 10 year old model.

    HERE is a 5.1 receiver for $179.

    for a few more bucks, youll get almost double the power & 7.1 (link above is 5.1 only)

    its not that you need 'more power' as youre going to listen to it louder. its that when you turn it up you wont distort @ 50 watts a channel. with the 2nd like, youll be able to get 80-85 watts a channel CLEAN before it distorts.

    if it were me, id go a touch over budget and get the better receiver. try to 'future proof' yourself as much as possible.

    they have a lot of refurbished receivers there. i can personally vouch for one as a very good friend bought his onkyo rc-180 (basically an onkyo 807 - 20watts per channel) for only $325.
    came boxed like new.
    hasnt failed him in almost 3 years.

    me: i have a pioneer elite sc 27 in the living room.
    thats my baby. i HAD an onkyo 807 and upgraded to the sc-27. the difference in the seperation/spacing from each of my klipsch rf series speakers was night and day.

    for my bedroom i have an older onkyo 605. the wife likes it. only 2 hdmi inputs.
    i only hook up the bluray to the 605. the directv goes directly into the tv as the directv doesnt do lossless audio.
    then i run an coaxial cable from the directv to the 605

    when i want to watch tv the radio doesnt have to always be on :)

    im a pro at this stuff.
    look me up
    go to forums
    DonRSD = my username.
    just put me down as a referral.
    there is loads of information there. pm me if you have any questions or concerns :)
  6. macrumors 68020

    Mar 15, 2012
    Checked out the Onkyo. This series seems to be having an HDMI out issue and Onkyo has been slow to fix it (still not fixed as far as I could find info).
  7. macrumors 6502

    Oct 7, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    Most hdmi issues only apply to plasmas, such as my kuro.
  8. mic j, Jul 24, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2012

    macrumors 68020

    Mar 15, 2012
    It has a problem that when the receiver goes into standby for a length of time, then wakes up, only audio is sent out. No video. Turning the power on/off seems to temporarily fix the problem. They have issued a couple of fw releases to fix the problem but they do not seem to fix the problem. Many owners are impatient, threatening a return, many others have already returned it.

    I did not see any reference to the issue only being plasma tv related, but if you have additional info on that, I would be interested to hear it because I would be interested in getting it to replace my Sony AVR

    Edit: Here is a link to the Onkyo website forum discussing the issue: http://onkyoproductsupport.forumotion.com/t750p30-tx-nr515-monitor-out-issues-no-picture

    Not trying to trash a whole maker of good AVR's (I have always though that I would get an Onkyo as my next AVR due to them being a good value) but I would hesitate buying this model line (not necessarily all Onykos) until I see the issue address. Or unless you purchase from someone with a good return policy.
  9. macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2010
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 22, 2010
    Hanover MD
    Never had issues with either of my onkyo's. I have the tx nr709 as well as the 414.
  11. macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2011
    Onkyo and Denon are widely considered the mid-price leaders.

    At $200 and under, it's a little murkier. I'd take a look at the entry level Onkyo and Denon and also the entry level Yamaha. Go with the one that has the most extras built in that you would use (Pandora, satellite radio, rhapsody, good DLNA support, whatever...)

    Truthfully, at $200, you aren't likely going to be powering multi-thousand dollar speakers at earsplitting volumes, so they should all be about equal on powering your audio channels.

    Oh, and you can ignore the power ratings the manufacturers list. The measurements are not uniformly done... not to mention that even if they were, twice the power only gets you an extra 3 dB of volume. And to be honest, most listeners probably don't even go over 1 watt/channel except when they turn their system up quite loud and/or are listening to an action movie and something like an airplane landing or explosion is happening.
  12. JAT
    macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    Without new speakers for thousands of bucks, you're not really upgrading from your current 10 year old model. Even with HD decoding. I wouldn't worry about that as a priority.
  13. macrumors 6502


    Dec 16, 2011
    South Florida
    i have 3 panasonic plasmas in my house and have NEVER had an issue with hdmi link.
    its the KURO LINK on your model.
    beautiful picture, but take that KURO LINK OFF.
    my pioneer elite sc 27 receiver has the same issue. the KURO LINK only works when connected to certain other pioneer elite devices.
    sc 27 = KURO LINK OFF.
    that was one of the 1st things i did when i bought the receiver.

    hope this helps

    what the heck are you talking about!!??

    it makes a difference for any speaker.
    youre going from compressed audio (dts & dolby digital) to uncompressed audio (dts hd & dolby true hd)

    even when i got my 1st hd receiver, i still had HTiB speakers. what a world of difference.
    i since went to a set of polks and now klipsch.
    ive also upgraded my receivers, as mentioned earlier, from an onkyo 806 to a pioneer elite sc 27.

    OP - the new receiver with the lossless codecs will make a difference right out of the box.
  14. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2012
    Thanks for all of the suggestions! I might go with one of the Denons you posted links to, Don. Any thoughts on Sony's receivers? Like this one for example:


    Also, we mostly use our ATV3, which I know only supports DD. Will I notice any difference using a newer receiver? Our sony speakers are by no means high end.

    The old receiver we have does not have HDMI inputs, so I have the TV's optical audio out connected to it instead. Sometimes the audio is out of sync with the video when running surround (via ATV), and I was curious if this was due to the fact the the ATV is connected by HDMI to the TV which then sends audio to the receiver through a digital optical cable. Could this be causing problems?

    Lastly, for whatever reason, our receiver will only output Pro Logic from our Directv box and blu ray player. Both should be DD or DTS, right?

    All of these issues make me think it's time to upgrade receivers.
  15. JAT, Jul 24, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2012

    macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    You just rattled off far more dollars than the OP is willing to spend. Which is all I said. If you can hear a difference between DD and DD-TrueHD from the same bluray, of a movie, on a $300 receiver/speaker system, volume-matched, I'll eat my $1500 receiver. With a spoon! (I'll bet I could sneak DPL into the test and you wouldn't catch it on such a system)

    I'm not a fan of Sony receivers. I classify them as "junk". That may be a bit more than some like to hear, but all the discussion of Yamaha, Denon, Onkyo is on the mark. They make superior products, even at the lower price ranges.

    Sorry, ignored your questions.
    Are the DTV and bluray using digital audio? There may be settings in both those boxes to turn on DD/DTS, and yes, it should be able to handle that. Sync is a big issue with all the heavy processing that goes on with HDTV. Much of it will be from the source itself, whether Apple or DirecTV. Some receivers will have adjustments to re-sync audio and video, but I don't know if they do in the price range you are discussing.
  16. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2012
    Thanks! Good to know.

    So do you think the combination of HDMI and optical cable could be causing problems? I have DD turned on for both, but they both only output Pro Logic. I can't figure it out!
  17. JAT
    macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    That should work. I would think if the HDMI cancelled out the optical you would get nothing at all. What about in the receiver? All these Dolby/DTS codecs have automatic downmixing, so you need both sides to agree. Or it could be a downmix setting to stereo in the BDp, which your receiver would read or convert to ProLogic.

    Oh, and DirecTV...well, are you really sure the source is DD? HD television shows should be, but movies were hit and miss as I recall. Afraid I dropped them almost 2 years ago, though.
  18. macrumors P6


    Jan 23, 2005
    OP> You might check this site for some recommendations. He has pretty thorough reviews and seems knowledgeable.
  19. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2012
    Thanks for all of the suggestions. Much appreciated!
  20. macrumors 68030


    Oct 8, 2008
    Albany, NY
    I think Onkyo, Denon, and Pioneer are all good. If you go with the pioneers don't buy a low end model. Get a mid to high end of their normal models or any of their elite models.

    Make sure you have enough HDMI ports and that they carry audio as well.
  21. macrumors 6502

    Jun 19, 2010
    Oceanside, CA
    In another thread you mentioned that receiver does some type of volume level limiting? So the whispers are as loud as the explosions and the explosions are as quiet as the whispers?

    What is that called?

    I'm seriously considering the Pioneer VSS-1022-K. Is that a good receiver?
  22. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 16, 2009
    Northern, VA
    Go with a Harman Kardon AVR 1650, I have one hooked up to my Infinity Kappa series setup and love it.
  23. macrumors 6502


    Dec 16, 2011
    South Florida
    im NOT a fan of anything sony at all.
    for what you get in a sony (youre only paying for brand recgionition), you could get a higher end denon, pioneer elite etc for comparable price.

    how many optical cable inputs do you have & why connect from the tv to the receiver?
    you should connect the optical cables from the source (apple tv, directv, etc.) to the receiver.
    MOST tv's d NOT pass dolby digital/dts from the tv to the receiver.
    you have to connect from the source to the receiver.
    setting the apple tv or directv to dolby digital wont make a difference if the tv wont pass the dilby digital/dts signal to the receiver.
    even the best receiver on the market wont fix this issue.

    here is how yours should look
    apple tv hdmi out to tv hdmi in
    apple tv optical cable out to receiver hdmi in

    going even farther to the directv
    directv hdmi out to tv hdmi in
    directv optical OR coaxial cable out to receiver optical OR coaxial in.

    you wont need the hdmi to go from the apple tv or directv directly to the receiver because none of the sources (apple tv or directv) do lossless audio (dts hd or dolby true hd).....so you wont lose anything as far as sound quality.
    only benefit of doing it this way is you WONT have to have the receiver on whenever you have the directv or apple tv on. the hdmi is going directly to the tv with a 'secondary connection' going to the receiver :)

    screw your $1500 receiver, mine was $2200 :)
    YES you can hear a difference.
    uncompressed > compressed.
    can a cheap pair of iphone ear buds tell the difference from a compressed 192kb mp3 to an SACD uncompressed rip?......the answer is yes.

    on the pioneer's it is called ALC. Automatic Volume Control.
    pioneers also have a 'midnight listening' listening mode (does the same thing), except the midnight listening is aplied thru the menu, thus it will affect every listebning move.
    the ALC feature only works when you cycle thru the listening modes (auto surround, optimal surround, stereo) and then come upon ALC. it still plays lossless audio or stereo......yet it takes the dynamic range (loud = big KABOOM to a low end whisper) and makes them all the same volume.

    on an onkyo its called a 'dymanic equalizer'.
    i dont know what a yamaha or denon call it.
    make sure to look at the features and check it out.

    on an older onkyo 605 i have upstairs has a 'late night' feature.
    it works, but only for DOLBY sources. meaning that anything thats DTS (a lot of blurays are) it wont fix the volumes. thats not good when the kids are sleeping.
    my old onkyo 806 had the late night too, but no 'dynamic equalizer'
    in essence the late night & dynamic equalizer do the same thing, just a matter of what codecs they do it for.

    pioneer look for ALC
    onkyo look for dymanic equalizer

    hope this helps

    not to be a prick, but did you read his price range or you just want to try to 'show off' the midrange receiver you have?
  24. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2012
    Our receiver only has one optical in. The rest are just stereo inputs. That's why I thought running all of our players (blu ray, ATV, directv) to the TV through HDMI and letting it output the audio through optical would be the way to go. Strangely enough, the ATV3 outputs Dolby Digital just fine (when set to on, not auto). Nothing else works though-- just get stereo sound from our blu ray player and directv box.
  25. macrumors 6502

    Jun 19, 2010
    Oceanside, CA
    Awesome, thanks for the information.
    Do you have an opinion on the VSX-1022-K?

    Why do you need the optical audio as well as the HDMI to go to the receiver? Doesn't the HDMI transmit the audio as well?

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