: Upgrade time to PIONEER ELITE?
2009-11-11, 06:04 PM
I am actively researching upgrading my Pioneer AVR (VSX-816).. I am powering 2 paradigm Titan as FL/FR and matching center/rear l and r and SB for a 6.1 setup. This AVR doesn't do the speakers justice, so I was advised once to look at the ELITE series....I am looking at the VSX-21TXH.....
I see it's suggested retail is 999.00 CAD, but eBay has it for MUCH less, new,from the US. I can save a few hundred for sure....
I have seen conflicting reviews....I do not need the following....
2) multi room a/v stuff (it has it anyways)
4)THX stuff..it seems to be a marketing thing more than anything...
I just want a really good AVR for $500 bucks or so,for movies and TV,not really music at all.....and something that will do my speakers more justice..Any thoughts here? I can't get this kind of feedback from a salesperson.......
I believe your current AVR has a set of pre-outs and if you're happy with what it does other than amp power, then purchase a separate high quality two channel amp for the front speakers. Simply swapping AVRs is unlikely to get you much, while a good amp might.
It's not as though your existing AVR is "bad" either....
2009-11-11, 08:17 PM
Interesting...I guess I'm not overly familiar with my options here...I'm not unhappy with the receiver,its has some issues with "buzzing" when turned on,but it's OK.I just thought that being a low end AVR, it should be swapped out...What would you look at for a separate amp? I've also never done this,so I would just be powering the front speakers? I'll look through the manual again..
I find the sound to be mostly good,but not very exciting, especially the processing of the surround channels, which seem lifeless except in extreme circumstances.I've played with all the levels,and they're OK,but I want more life to my soundtracks!
Any more advice? Thanks a million..
With an AVR, you don't usually need additional amplification for the surround speakers - the AVR can handle those, so, yes, you'd be powering just the fronts.
"playing" with the levels is not usually recommended, what is recommended is proper optimization - say using test tones and an SPL meter, or good ears, or using the built in automatic speaker setups that many AVRs have, etc.
Not all programming has a lot of surround sound material, it's quite variable, with some programming actually having too much, drowning out the dialogue...
I'm sure others will be along shortly with more suggestions - in the meantime, check out the following link if you haven't already.
2009-11-11, 09:53 PM
Good info, 57,thanks.
My Auto MCACC never does a good job setting up the sound.It screws up the SW ( not recognizing it for some reason), and only doing it manually ever gets me any results. I have used the test tones in the setup for the all the speakers,and I think it's as "tuned" as it gets....plus, now that I got a BD player, wouldn't a new AVR's codecs help a bunch here, ie True HD,etc? Is it a big deal?
2009-11-12, 09:47 AM
Yes, go for the elite. I wish i had one. And the BD sound is definately worth it.
I have an Old Elite from '96, still working, powering my subs.
2009-11-14, 09:22 AM
your reciever should have enough ommph to power the titian's. I have had several sets over the years and they are not difficult to drive to full output. Having said that have you looked at a more efficient speaker pair or a larger speakers to get more low end if that's what your looking for?
2009-11-14, 11:45 AM
I would suggest going with a step-up receiver and maybe a decent sub. If you like Pioneer, there is the 919 and the 1019, and there is also the Denon 790, all of which are close to your price range. With a little haggling you might get a better deal.
The reason I am suggesting a new receiver is that it looks like your 816 does not decode the new lossless audio formats. I have found that the processor in my Marantz 6003 did a much better job than the processors in my PS3 and HD-A35 (yes I still have an hd-dvd player. It totally rocks too much to get rid of it), and I would think the Pioneer's or Denon's processing would be better than most players processing.
If this does not fulfill your need for upgraditis (this is the worst disease ever by the way. Very hard to beat), then see if a sub does the job.
2009-11-15, 12:53 PM
Get yourself a dumbed down receiver without all the bells and whistles and add 1 power amp for your mains. The power amp connects to front pre outs. Which reminds me make sure if you go this route your pre-amp(receiver has preouts).
There is nothing like having headroom for your main speakers.
Negatives would be more cables(2 more), another unit to have to plug in.
Positives would be headroom, and 9x out of 10 a much improved lower end on your mains.
2009-11-15, 03:21 PM
Auto MCACC in the new lineup is far more accurate even compared to last year's model and includes 3-band parametric + 9-band graphic EQ. Your 816 doesn't have standing wave and reverb control for the room, an Elite, any Elite will have those two additional room correction capabilities.
THX is not just marketing, it's a post processing and a quality assurance that the receiver will be able to handle lower impedance at a prolonged time (any company can claim to have high current amp, but can they deliver?... Future Shop just found out that a manufacturer that's touting High Current Amplification can't even run their cheapest Martin Logan for more than 20 minutes). Another THX feature you'll need is THX Loudness Plus, an active volume level control when listening to soundtracks below reference level.
there is no point in getting an Elite online when you're only getting the 21 AND losing its 3-year warranty.
2009-11-16, 11:24 AM
I was like the others believe a good power amp + an AVR as a switching is more money well spent than get a good AVR. Now I know I am wrong! 2 of my friends and I dump our old set up (regular AVR + pwerful power amp) after seeing 1 of our friend got the Elite SC25 to replace his Yamaha 6160 + Acram. The Elite AVR is like their Kuro plasma! once experience it, you can't go back!
2009-11-16, 08:36 PM
Just thought I'd clarify one thing, I do have a Sub, a Paradigm PW-1000 (or something like that) I know its mediocre,but I have lots of bass (thats low end,right?) Sorry I didn't include it in my first post.
Yes I dislike my receiver for its MCACC shortcomings,the buzzing noise,lack of new codecs,etc etc.I likes the 21 online for price,wasn't aware of losing the warranty? hmmm..
So where does this leave me if low end from Titans is not the issue. A low end receiver with bells/whistles is still atleast $300,plus an amp,another$200? That VSX-21 still looks cheaper,even without a warranty?..I dunno...
2009-11-16, 09:16 PM
if you can push for VSX-23, the built quality seems to be better. Aluminum front panel plus front HDMI and 2 HDMI outputs too!
I know it'll be out of your budget but this way at least you'll have enough room to grow and if you ever want to use a projector, you'll have a parallel output for a small LCD in your control room to cue to movie you want to watch. Plus the front HDMI is handy for camcorders, point and shoot cameras, and gaming.
2009-11-16, 10:07 PM
Good points here.I do run a projector now,albeit an older one without HDMI..but that will be replaced in 2010 as well...The aluminum front panel is nice,is this at all for cooling,or just an added touch? The front HDMI is nice,as I do have a Sony HDV camcorder.....
Beyond that the guts are the same,are they not? I'll do a comparison again..
Re: warranties of online Elites..I thought about this and heres what I feel about it:
I have never needed a warranty on any goods before to be truthful.
If I spend $500 online,I might be saving close to $300 from retail...which pays for at least of few years of warranty...
I will definitely check on a good deal at the retailer here in town first though,perhaps they can get the price in the ball park....
2009-11-16, 10:42 PM
Aluminum front panel, to me, is very important. Not because of the ability to deflect more RF interference (they are, but I can't hear the difference), but plastic is more staticky which leads to more dust sticking to it. Yet when you dust plastic, you'll end up with more static (if you dust it lightly) or scratch (if you press on even slightly too hard to avoid adding more static).
Just because of that reason alone I prefer aluminum faceplate over plastic. OCD, I know :)
2009-11-16, 11:01 PM
I hear ya.
After comparing the two units,that really is the only difference,that with the HDMI on the front,and 2 outputs.....I cant see myself spending the extra here.I can plug the camcorder cord in the back and have it dangling and ready..and for two HD outputs,I'll just use component if ever I want a second display in my HT room,which..never say never..is not likely going to happen...
I built a nice solid cherry AV cabinet this year for all my stuff,and the only drawback is that the electronics are behind metal grate style doors.No problems at all with IR,but you don't get to see the nice finishes on any of the units.Oh well....its not what you're they to look at anyways,right?
Thanks for the feedback,its invaluable.
2009-11-17, 12:21 AM
You might also wish to compare the specifications of the Elite Models 21 & 23 to the Pioneer Models 9040 and 9140 sold by FS which have a 2 yr warranty.
2009-11-17, 07:41 AM
if your input is HDMI you can't output it via component. It's a copyright thing.
2009-11-17, 12:08 PM
if you're not needing the "elite" badge on the front, look at the vsx9140. same price as the elite 21 but with the same hookups as the elite 23.
2009-11-17, 03:43 PM
I pay less on my 23 than the 9140 from FS. The price I paid for the 23 after tax was still less than FS selling the 9140 before tax. And the difference between 21 & 23 is only $200 after tax. That dual hdmi output and front hdmi in are so handy! Just go give the dealer an offer. The elite has huge markup. Or I can sell you my 1 mth old 23 and then I can go for SC25 instead! I am kind of regert cheap out that few hundred!