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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I know these type of posts drive many nuts but I really do need help upgrading to a new AVR. The unit will be used mainly for Home theater use and the feature I am most interested in is 3d ready with multiple HDMI inputs. An added bonus features would be networking.

I am upgrading from a Marantz Sr-5003 (currently listed for sale on here) and have narrowed down my choices 3 units all within the $1100-$1200 range;
Yamaha RXA-1000
Pioneer Elite VSX33
DENON AVR-3311

Where I need help is in terms of selections performance vs features vs quality?

With Denon I heard the audio is not as warm compared to most other receivers

With Yamaha unit and concerned with the only concern is it is on the lower end of what they offer?

With the pioneer Elite my concern is this is their lower end model and I have always been under the impression the Elite was just a marketing badge vs regular pioneer.

so my question to any of you is, With the 3 provided AVR's if you were int he market which one would you go with and does one stand out with extra features or performance over another.

thanks
 

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The Pioneer has vastly superior video processing than the Denon. If you were looking at the RX-A2000, it uses the HQV Vida which is pretty close to on par with the Marvell QDEO used by the VSX-33 (although I am partial to the Marvell, the Vida is excellent). The RX-A1000 doesn't use the Vida but appears to use proprietary Yamaha technology. It will still outperform Denon's proprietary video scaler (they used ABT in the 3310, but have stepped back in spec in the 3311), but not in the league of the Pioneer. Not relevant for a 1080p source like BD, but for lesser source material may be important depending on the rest of your gear.

In other words, for video processing the Pioneer is hands down the best of the three, followed by Yamaha.

If network connectivity is important, I would avoid the Denon. xx10 units had a very high network card failure rate. There are enough reports of similar failures with the 3311 to make me wary that Denon has not resolved this issue.

The only non-Elite version of the 33 is the 1325 (FutureShop exclusive). I wouldn't get hung up on that because Denon does the same thing (the 991 is the 3311ci). Similarly Onkyo and Integra have crossover models that are virtually identical. Yamaha has historically done the same thing with RX-V and HTR lines (not sure there's as of yet a big box version of the RX-A series, but I'm sure we'll see a FS/BB "exclusive" of the A1000 sometime soon).
 

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Just to piggy-back, and hopefully not be considered thread-jacking, but could you please comment on how the Onkyo TX-NR1008 compares to those three?
(assuming they are in a similar price range)

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited by Moderator)
LOL, I was actualy considering that also but after calling a few stores that sold Onkyo and one or more of the other brands I mentioned every store told me to go with the other brand over Onkyo.

What the sales people told me is that the new Onkyo's cut back on features that were included on the previous models. 2 sales people also mentioned how hot they run
 

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Decide what's important ... the Onkyo uses DCDi video scaling which is, by today's standards, dreadful. If you video processing is important to you, than the Onkyo should trail any of your other three receivers in terms of preference.

OTOH, if networking features are at the top of your list, the Onkyo and Yamaha should be as well, followed by the Pionner and lastly the Denon.

For audio quality, that's pretty subjective. I've always liked Pioneer and Yamaha in that regard. I've also like Onkyo, but the units I've liked for audio performance have all generated ridiculous amounts of heat so that cabinet factors need to be carefully considered.

If none of the above are the specific deciding factor than which units give good to excellent performance across the board and those are likely the VSX-33 and the RX-A1000.
 

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I've always been a fan of Yamaha receivers however, I agree JohnnyCanuck that Yamaha are not in the same league as Pioneer Elite (not all Pioneers are equal) (If I had the budget, I wouldn't hesitate to move away from Yamaha in favor of Pioneer Elite) and if money is no object the Pioneer Elite would be your best bet as Pioneer Elites are very well regarded/spoken for from audiophile/videophile and high end fans.
 

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]I never been a fan of Onkyo and personally, I would go for any other receiver brand before Onkyo. This is very subjective but it is what it is my simple opinion; IMO Onkyo's receivers are the prime example of low end created for the masses. I much prefer going with lower end Yamaha for my humble need and budget than any other receiver brands. Like I ponted out, not all Pioneers are equal and this applies also to both Denon and Marrantz receivers. Whe you buy, don't get caught paying for the name, make sure that the name can deliver quality, reliability along with good SQ and hopefully at the best price possible in accordance to your own budget.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks so much for the replies everyone.

I have taken Denon out of the equation and as things always go changed my mind altogether.

I did not really look at the new Marantz Sr-6005 but just found a local shop selling it for 850. Yes it is missing network ability but I do have a media player in my current setup to stream all my video and music on the network. At 850 it is a few hundred less then then any of my other chioces.

If I can't get to the shop in time to get the Sr 6005 I am just goign to go with the Yamaha.
 

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Hey Chrish8! Don't give up on the Denon yet!

I went from a very Marantz-like HK AVR230 to a Denon, and yes, out of the box, their sound is very forward (borderline harsh) in the mids.

However, the fully Audyssey suite make the sound quite adjustable, and I have been very pleased with my 591/1611, even though it was a "step down" from the H/K. I'm more pleased with it than I would have been with similar priced offerings from Pio or Yamaha.

Really, it depends on what's most important to you. Me, I'm a sound quality kind of guy, and am very happy with the Denon. If you need video upscaling (because your TV does a bad job of upscaling SD content, or you are using a progressive scan DVD player), or you need network connectivity, then by all means, get the AVR that meets these needs best. Personally, I'm like T-K - It's all about the sound quality.

IMHO, I actually wouldn't touch the new low-end Yamaha stuff - not sure why others pick on low end Onkyo and Denon stuff. In regards to power supplies and clean power, I think the Yamaha has fallen to a "Sony-type" level.
 

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The RX-A line is not "low end" Yamaha.

As for Denon sound quality, I went from a 3310ci with network card issues and inexcusably poor service response from Denon to a Pioneer VSX-32. Admittedly my front soundstage is powered by a standalone amp so I am not commenting on the amplifier sections of the two AVRs, but I prefer the sound from the Pioneer (MCACC) to the 3310 (Audyssey) or the 2809 (Audyssey XT) that I previously had. When watching TV or Blu-ray the sound from each channel seems less discrete and is more enveloping. Channel separation on two channel audio for music is about equal so I would attribute it to MCACC.
 

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When watching TV or Blu-ray the sound from each channel seems less discrete and is more enveloping
A couple of comments on this. If you're listening to say an identical DD5.1 source (or multi-channel HD audio), then the "less discrete" comment would be worrisome since it should be as "discrete" as the source.

If, on the other hand, you're talking about 2 channel sources listened to in surround sound - say something like DPLII-Music, then the "soundstage" can be changed sometimes in the AVR settings themselves or by default settings in the AVR. For example, on my Denon 4310Ci, I can change the "width" of the DPL-II Music soundstage (how much spill there is from the center channel to the LF & RF in several stages (more focused, less focused). This is an "advantage" as I see it and I'm not sure if the Pioneer has this option, but just wanted to point out that the default position of various AVRs can be different which would explain the differences in "discreteness" or "soundstage".
 

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Fair comment, and not clear on my part. Yes, discrete channel remain discrete. I was actually commenting on two different things and being distracted as I was typing so I merged my thoughts (and poorly).

One, the performance of sound processing such as DPLII Movie. That's the less discrete and more enveloping comment. I don't recall the ability to adjust soundstage width on the 3310 (it is simple Audyssey, not XT). Pioneer's MCACC is exceptionally flexible in that regard.

The second area I meant to comment on is that (in my purely subjective opinion) MCACC does a better job of adjusting for room dynamics than Audyssey implementations on Denon. That requires some qualification. The 2809CI had Audyssey XT which allows for a great deal of manual manipulation as does MCACC. The 3310 did not have XT and provided for limited adjustment. I know the 3311 reintroduces XT. However, I had to do a fair bit more manual manipulation in XT to get results I liked than I have had to do with MCACC. That said, it's not A/B as I lived in a different home when I had the 2809 and I cannot rule out some contribution from room dynamics to that observation.
 

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Hey JC,

I was more responding to TKs comment about the low end Yamaha. I have to worry that the precipitous drop in quality of their low-end receivers represents an overall philosophy change from previous days when everything Yamaha was good. I still use a Yammy CD player to this day as I love its D/A converters.

My concern was that we have a purchaser eliminating an item based on nothing other than the opinion of others. It's too bad that you had a bad experience with Denon - I've now owned two different Denon pieces and have been quite pleased with them. Point is, that YMMV, and it would be a shame if Chrish didn't at least listen to one Denon receiver.
 

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I would certainly agree that listening tests would be very helpful, but they are harder and harder to pull off in A/B environments. I misread your comment as referring to the RX-A series, so I certainly think it's fairer than I thought it was.

As for my Denon experience, that's a factor relating to networking features. I always qualify my comments to reflect that it should only be a consideration in terms of that feature set.

I do prefer MCACC to Audyssey (that's not limited to Denon, I've used Audyssey in other implementations including Onkyo and Marantz). I have no experience with YPAO so cannot comment on Yamaha's implementation.

I also should repeat my original qualifier that I am not really factoring in the amp stage of any of these AVRs. I use pre-outs to an Audio Refinement three-channel amp to power my front stage and the amp section of an AVR is not really all that material for powering a pair of surrounds.
 

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I have no experience with YPAO so cannot comment on Yamaha's implementation.
I've optimized a few of the recent RX-A units (800) and the YPAO is still the simple distance and volume setting - no equalization, etc like Audyssey or MCACC.

I had Yamahas for 33 years and this was one of (but not the only) reason that I went with Denon, having seen almost everything on the market in hundreds of optimizations. I have no personal experience with the networking problems mentioned regarding Denon.

I also came across many HDMI issues with the Pioneers (a huge variety of models).
 

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I've optimized a few of the recent RX-A units (800) and the YPAO is still the simple distance and volume setting - no equalization, etc like Audyssey or MCACC.
same applies to my HTR6190. YPAO with "reflected sound control" is a feature on the RXA2000/3000 (only). i suppose this behaves similar to EQ of Audyssey and MCACC ... ?

YPAO-Reflected Sound Control sound optimization with angle measurement and multi-point measurement

* -DSP Effect Normalization
* -Room Acoustic Echo
* -Controlling reflection and echo
 

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First off I want to thank everyone here for your advice and input. For someone like me it is very informative and eye opening.
I too am looking at upgrading my reciever (Denon avr 988) I am leaning towards the Yamaha RXA 2000 but I wanted to know what any of your opinions are on the Harman Kardon AVR 7550HD? Is the Faroudja DCDi Cinema™ that is listed in this receiver better or inferior to that of the Yamaha VHD1900?
Also two other recievers I am also looking at are the Pioneer SC-35 and the NAD T785HD (Used) how do these two measure up.
In your best opinions out of the four which would be considered the leader in Video up conversion and of course best quality audio output?
 

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DCDi is vastly inferior to the Vida processor in the Yamaha and the QDEO in the Pioneer. I prefer the Marvell processor so the Pioneer is the better choice for me. You will get an argument from some that the Vida is equal to or superior to the Marvell so there is an element of personal bias/taste in my perspective. But both are excellent video scalers.

Sound quality is likely to be the best from the NAD followed by the Pioneer. However, I can't find any info on what video scaler the NAD uses so it's hard to say whether it will perform at the level of either the Yamaha or the Pioneer. It is also only HDMI 1.3a where the Yamaha and Pioneer are HDMI 1.4 so there's an element of future proofing involved.
 

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Thank you JohnnyCanuck your insight is very much appreciated, you have helped narrow down my search. Also I was looking at the Denon AVR3311CI do you feel they have improved on their video scaler from past years or am I to expect the same with this model? Once again thanks for your advice
 
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