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Discussion Starter #1
I posted earlier about getting a surround system for hubbie for Christmas and everyone was a huge help. I toddled off and did more research which included posting in the home theatre section on this board and have narrowed down the speakers .... now I need to find a decent receiver for the system for about $500. Now, I don't want to buy this online. I'm hoping I can get it at BB if possible.

The speakers I've pretty much decided on (assuming they sound ok in store) are Infinity speakers. For now I'm planning to get the 2 primus series tower speakers, 2 primus series bookshelf speakers, primus series dual centre channel speaker and the 10" 300W primus subwoofer. These will be placed on our rec room to be used with a new tv (50in plasma), PS3, Wii and HD digital box. DVDs and Bluray will be played on the PS3.

Looking for a decent quality receiver so basically looking for an over $500 priced receiver that I can get a price match/sale for to bring it lower than that. I wouldn't mind getting a 7.1 since hubbie could add more later if he wants but if its better to get a better quality 5.1 than a lower quality 7.1 I'll do that instead.

Which brand and model would you recommend based on the above? (and again, I'd love to get it at BB if possible because I'm getting the tv and speakers there so I'm thinking I have more bargaining power for price on the receiver than buying it on its own elsewhere).

Thanks!
 

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i did a bunch of research and ended up with the Denon 1911, BB has the 791 which is virtually identical to the 1911 for just over $500 (it was on sale back in Oct for $499).

i love the sound quality of this unit, if you read the reviews such as cnet they consider it a notch above other AVR receivers in its price range

again just one guys opinion.
 

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Again this is a subjective choice and require auditionning on your part. Now that you have narrowed down your speaker choices, I would suggest the same as previously. Bring your favorite CD and DVD and try your options of receivers with the specific speakers you have selected and choose the one that sounds best with those speakers.

Quite a variety of receivers available;

* Onkyo, On average good comments on the brand by many users however, they tend to generate lots of heat compared to many brands ans some had issues in the past.

* Denon, Marrantz and Pioneer are good brands but IMHO I would select them only you had a higher budget however, this is my opinion some may say different.

* Yamaha are also have good comments. This is tricky as I might be a little biais here as I own Yamaha and am very satisfied with it. My main reason for opting for Yamaha over the other brands is that I wanted to make sure it would perform adequately for both music and Home Theater and afterall, Yamaha has been in the industry for many years in both amateur and professional sector. As I pointed out, this is a subjective choice.

* Harmon Kardon, overall good receivers however, I am not familiar with this year's line up...

* Sony, I use to be a big fan of their products but for the last few years I avoid their products like plague. IMHO, not a good bang for the buck.

In all cases, I would avoid any home brands (unless you know 100% which company is actually making the receiver for the store). As I pointed out, go to the store armed with your favorite CD and DVD and audition to find what please your ears.

On a last note, I would check for packages which includes the speakers you want along with a receiver. Stores often provide much better deals when selecting a full package from them (could be receiver + speakers and could even be Plasma + receiver + speakers. I don"t remeber if you have you bought your Plasma yet?).

Another thing, make sure you do not fall in the trap of buying any cables and insurance from them, that would really decrease your deal as they usually try to push those high profit margins items down your throath and believe me, that is a deal killer! If possible, lead them to believe you might consider but right now your main concern is the actual gear.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys. Technokid, we don't have the tv yet. I plan to buy it all (tv, speakers, reciever, as well as two webcams (christmas gifts) at the same time in hope of getting a better deal).

So I went to BB yesterday with print outs in hand of models that I was interested in. Listened to the speakers I'm interested in (Infinity). I think I should be able to get a good deal on them. Although they don't have a pkg deal in place right now, I have a print out of one of their old flyers so I'm hoping they may work with getting me something close to that price. He also showed me Boston Acoustics. They're more expensive than the ones I was considering and quite honestly, they all sound the same to me. Tell me though, won't the sound of the speakers change based on the receiver? They had them hooked up to a Pioneer.

I then looked at the receivers. Didn't have these responses yet so went with a few based on brand name. I think hubbie would be happier with a 7.1 so he can add to it so I'm focused on trying to find a deal on a good set of 7.1. Brought planned to look at Yamaha, Onkyo and Denon. The guy told me Denon has had problems in the past and basically, didn't want to show me any. :confused: I think I've narrowed it down to the Yamaha HTR6063 which I think will be in my price range once I get a deal on it. Reg price states 549.99... any idea why this is a lower price than the 5063 which is 599? Doesn't make sense to me. Anyway, the other option is to pay a bit more for the 7063 which is reg 849 but on sale for $700 right now. Did a compare on the BB website and there really doesn't seem to be that big a difference between the 7063 and 6063 to warrant the price difference. What do you think?

Oh, one last question, how do you audition receivers? They're actually not hooked up to anything...will they hook them up so you can hear what they can produce? If so, can I ask them to be hooked up to the Infinity speakers so I can hear the package?
 

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I haven't had a chance to look at the Yamaha site yet (that is the place to find the full info) but basically all Yamaha models ending with xx63 should be pretty close. To my knowledge, 5063 would be older than 6063 while 6263 would be older than 7063 and so on. Newer models would typically be the same with the potential additon of updated technology (IE: upgraded HDMI revisions, say 1.2 to 1.3 or 1.3 to 1.4 and so on.).

You should never pay full pricing for an older model. As an example in 2007 my Yamaha had an MSRP of 899$ I believe and I paid 600$ for it on sale (usually because the company is trying to eliminate the model to provide room for the replacement model). I believe one should pay less than 600$ for this HTR6080 since the technology is now a few years old. The same applies with the HTR5063 and 6063 you have mentioned especially that the 6063 is a slight notch below the 6080. IMHO, a good deal on the should be in the area of 250 - 300 while the 6063 would be 300 - 350 and the newer model 7063 maybe in the area of 500 - 550. Hugh normally post MSRP's for the yearly newer receivers, have you taken a look at that as it can provide you with some good pointers (BTW, IMHO MSRP are boosted prices and NO one should ever pay that kind of pricing, more likely 25 - 30% lower than MSRP is a fair deal and below that can then be a good deal).

I am at work presently but later on, I will try to provide you with some differences between your above mentioned models. Then you can discuss the benefit/uselesness of the options offered.

BTW, Boston accoustic is not a bad brand either )or at least use to be good). Personally, if I had to choose between Infinity and Boston I would probably choose Boston. But again, this is subjective... I am not as familiar with Infinity products, their construction and finish does not appeal to me so I guess the main reason I am not attracted is because it is the unknown for me???

The negative about BB is that in most cases they do not have dedicated area for auditionning thus not providing you with the most adequate auditionning conditions. However, on the plus side their return policy plays for you as if you do not like the product you can easily return it and trade for some different.

Now, you have mentioned that audio systems all sound alike to you, how about your hubbie? Have you ever asked him about his preferred brands (speakers and/or receivers)? Can you do such questionning by mean of an intermediate (family member, friend)? IE: The person would say they are in the market for speakers and receiver and would ask him his opinion on the subject, if he had any experience, preference, advices. From there, that might give you a clue what you hubbie prefers/likes and thus help you making a sound choice that is actually tailored for his/your needs and likes.

BTW, yes different receivers sound different. Some may be brighter (higher frequency predominant) while some may be warmer and so on. Different receivers will act different with different speaker brands thus the importance to audition the entire package you are looking for, with your known content (CD / DVD) and in the best condition possible.

If a buyer is serious (which you are) a serious store should be more than happy to take the time to connect your selected package together for you to audition

Hopefully, I will get back to you later on today!
TK
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks! I haven't seen Hugh's post so I'm going to go look for it when I get a chance. Work is crazy today so not sure how much time I'm going to have.

As for asking Hubbie, I don't really want to because I want this to be a surprise. I know he doesn't have any preferences because he hasn't listened to any systems to know. That said, if I dragged him into the store, he definitely would have a prefernce but we're back to wanting this to be a surprise. That's the reason I really want to get it at a place I can return it if need be. No friends around with systems for him to check out or ask his opinion either so while its a great idea, won't really work. Hubbie likes toys but doesn't have much time to play with them unfortunately ... still likes to have them though. :) I'm just hoping to find something that I think he'll like which is why I don't want to go cheap, but I want to get a good deal. :cool:

Can't wait to hear your input on these models. I'd also like to hear more about your preference for Boston Acoustic speakers too.... how much would you be willing to pay for a set of BA speakers that BB sells? I figure I can get the 6 Infinity speakers for $1000 at BB... any chance of getting a better set of BA for around that price?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I've searched for Hugh's list of MSRPs (searched by name and topic) and can't find it. Can anyone provide a link?
 

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i had also heard that Denon had repair issues but the stereo store i purchased mine from sells both Yamaha and Denon and suggested this was a thing of the past.
 

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From the Yamaha link below, just about every HTR legacy (older) receivers you have mentioned above are listed there. Just click on the one of interest and take a look at the specs and options they offered and fire your questions away. The goal is to make sure you chose the ones that has the desired options for your specific needs and eliminate the ones that don't. The goal is to also eliminate the ones that has options you don't need as they cost you unjustified $$. That should help you understand a little more what they can do and help you choose what is best for you.

I tried to check for Hugh's receivers listing and only found ''2007 - 2008 AV receivers 1500$ and up but I know Hugh's has various listings for just about every years and for group 200 - 500, 501 - 1500, 1501 and so on (not exactly at the titles are but some of the sort).

Maybe someone (Mod maybe?) will kick in and provide clues how to search for such???

http://www.yamaha.ca/av/Receivers/Legacy_Models.jsp
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hmmm, ok, very strange. The HTR 6063, based on research I've done, is the equivalent to RXV 667. But neither the HTR 6063 or RXV 667 is on Yamaha's site... going to keep looking...

Ah, ok, found them. They aren't listed on this page but when you go to the 'receiver' page (not legacy), and click the RXV button on top or HTR button, they are in that list.
 

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Oh, one last question, how do you audition receivers?
This is difficult to do properly. In the audio/HT market you run into a lot of people with brand preferences that aren't based on a proper quantitative (or even qualitative) evaluation. As an example: when new video cards are reviewed there are plenty of high quality sources of information and repeatable tests are performed by the reviewer. You can't find the same information in the audio market.

I know this because I've tried to evaluate audio components this way, and I have a few comments about doing A/B testing/auditioning.

Here is what I've learned/discovered:

1. The difference between one solid state amp and another is minimal. You will find a much greater variation from signal processing/EQ levels between models than you will from the amplifier differences themselves. Even when you can detect a difference between one amp and another, you can't determine which amp is "correct". You may perfer the sound "coloring" from amp "A" in one situation/song and prefer amp "B" it in another. I need to underscore again that these differences are subtle.

2. Auditioning different systems in different environments/stores and comparing them is impossible. The variation in the environments is a massive difference. Here are a couple examples:
- Shape/size and acoustic properties of a room make a massive difference to the sound. Even speaker positioning differences are easy to notice.
- Louder sounds better. If I was an audio gear salesman and wanted to maximize my commission I would setup my A/B testing environment so that the component that has a higher margin will sound slightly louder than the lower margin component. It's easy to do, and it's been proven that humans respond better to louder when auditioning audio gear. Most customers don't carry a decibel meter with them.

I have yet to find a store that will allow you to do proper A/B testing. Most of them won't even have a room with the proper wiring required to quickly switch around the signal path, which is what you would need to do this testing. At most they have a room with a bunch of speakers with a single receiver and a switch that can quickly change what speaker you're listening to. They generally don't do the same thing for amps/receivers.

I could go on, but here I don't want this to turn into a TLDR post. I'd summarize my advice as: look for receiver components that meets your needs. It must have the right features and inputs/outputs. It should be well matched for the speakers you've selected (power output, etc). Once you have a list of receivers that meet your needs (of which there would probably be many), focus on getting the best price.
 

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Oh, one last question, how do you audition receivers?
As I pointed out, the way you want to audition your receiver is connected to the speakers you have selected and see if they are a good match. As pointed out big box stores are not the best environment to audition speakers but it gives you an idea if it is of any interest to you. Once you have a feeling of confort with a certain combination the rest of your auditionning will be in your own environment as with BB's return policy it is a no brainer, you like you keep you don't, you return, simple as that ;)
 

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As I pointed out, the way you want to audition your receiver is connected to the speakers you have selected and see if they are a good match. As pointed out big box stores are not the best environment to audition speakers but it gives you an idea if it is of any interest to you. Once you have a feeling of confort with a certain combination the rest of your auditionning will be in your own environment as with BB's return policy it is a no brainer, you like you keep you don't, you return, simple as that
This would be fine for someone to determine "does product X sound okay?" but would not enable you to compare product X to product Y, which I think most consumers want to do.
 

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but would not enable you to compare product X to product Y, which I think most consumers want to do.
Don't forget the OP is talking about BB here. The above is simply not feasible in todays big box stores. The only way you could do that, is in a serious small high end store which has dedicated threated rooms using A/B functions for their various offering which should reflect the home environment as much as possible.

when it comes to the average consumer electronics, the available products are quite comparable and the only thing that should be of importance is to make sure you select the specific options you need no more no less and make sure the AVR is a good match with your selected speakers and this is best achieved in your own environment. Don't forget, the average consumer's gear is neither high end or audiophile grade but at best acceptable.
 

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when it comes to the average consumer electronics, the available products are quite comparable and the only thing that should be of importance is to make sure you select the specific options you need
Nailed it! Casperjj, there's no real need to be auditioning receivers at this stage.
 

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The OP is actually buying speakers at the same time so might as well audition to the selected receiver at the same time with the selected speakers.

Even on this site their has been complaint about such and and such receiver brands beeing too bright with such and such speaker brands and as I pointed out this is somewhat subjective so might as well get it out of the way. In store audition of the selected gear just to make sure you don't take the package home to decide you want to return it after a few listen.

Once your home in your own environment is again a different story but you at least minimise the possibility of potential return. To me, I just can't imagine buying audio gear you will be stuck with for a few years without having listened to briefly to see if it please your ears ;)

My only beef is the big deal over "A/Bing" just about every piece of gear you buy against all brands. I can understand comparing speakers SQ but when it comes to receivers I usually prefer doing my home work through review readings and furthermore consulting with sites like DHC to get the feeling from actual owners. This is also tricky as reviewers and consumers are usually biaised. I prefer Yammy, "Joe" prefers Denon and let say you prefer HK while Hugh maybe a Marrantz fan. The only way around it is to weigh everyone's feedback and compare with your personal needs and preferences.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks guys. I'm going to try and head to BB tomorrow and speak with them again. Still haven't had a chance to review the specs on the receivers yet so i need to find time to do that first. Planned to get everything by the end of this week but work is too busy for me to do it ;).

I realize I'm on the receiver forum here but I'm wondering if I should try and get a lower price on the Boston speakers rather than go with the Infinity. I don't know much about either of them. The BA ones are a bit more expensive. Is this just a personal thing as to what one person likes over another or is there a reason to go with BA over Infinity? Quality better or is the name raising BA prices?
 

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Technokid pretty much nailed my opinions on AV receivers. Avoid low end Sony and Denon. Their high end models are good but you won't find any under $1000. At the low end, Yamaha is good. Onkyo is heavily discounted by some sellers (20%-40%) so don't pay anything close to full retail. You should be able to haggle at BB. In general, markups are low on electronics so expect to get about 10% off. 40% discounts are common with discontinued models so do your research on what is current and discontinued. Speakers have a large markup (especially domestic brands) so 25% discounts can be had. It might be worthwhile to check out other stores. Independent AV retailers will often bargain and might beat BBs prices or offer better services like trade-up plans or free installation.
 

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Avoid low end Sony and Denon. Their high end models are good but you won't find any under $1000. At the low end, Yamaha is good.
Those are pretty sweeping statements. In what way are low end Sony and Denon receivers worse than other receivers at the same price range, and how do you measure this difference? When I see lower-end Denon gear (like this) it is pretty comparable to Yamaha gear in the same price range (like this).
 
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