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I have briefly looked around at receivers at the local big box stores for a 6.1 setup I have wired in the walls of our living room. The room is small and will not require a lot of power to fill it with sound. What bothers me about these receivers is how complicated they are with features, lights, displays and buttons. I made the mistake of buying my in laws a HT in a box (Yamaha) only to watch them disconnect it after a year because they couldn't figure out how to work it. I had enough trouble trying to get the settings correct on it only to have an in law press the wrong tiny remote control button and mess it up again.

I come from a simple CD listening audio background consisting of an integrated amplifier with a large volume knob, a treble knob, and bass knob. Is there anything like this for home theater that isn't boutique priced and power over kill? I don't want Jazz, Hall, Concert and other effects. I just want the proper studio mix for watching movies.

Possible?
 

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There are still stereo receivers and amps out there but once you get into Home Theatre they are more complicated because an HT receiver has much more functionality. Not only does it amplify sound but it has so many inputs and sound processing options.

Best advice is look to brands like Harmon Kardon or NAD which typically have more Spartan receivers.
 

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In regards to the Harmony Remote. Does this mean I could buy a Samsung TV and BluRay player with a Marantz NR1501 and control NetFlix streaming with the one ($40) remote?

My goal is a simple and clean HT system that requires one button on/off for all equipment and simple changes between disc/Netflix/antenna TV.

Can antenna TV sound run through a HT system or is this far to simple to grant?;)
 

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Harmony - These remotes are typically $50 to $300+ depending on model. These control anything IR, but will not (directly) control a PS3 which is Bluetooth - you'd require an IR4PS3 Dongle.

Antenna audio - if you're using the TV's internal tuner and the TV has an optical audio output, (most do), then yes, you can run that to the AVR. The audio from Netflix on the TV (or BD player, if applicable) would work the same way, assuming no Netflix issues (relatively new to Canada).

There are many discussions of Harmony remotes on this site. Most people are satisfied with the simplification provided by these remotes.
 

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regardless of the (seemingly at first) complexity .. what's most important (IMO) is that you like how the AVR sounds.
 

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integrated amplifier with a large volume knob, a treble knob, and bass knob. Is there anything like this for home theater that isn't boutique priced
First toss out the remote and buy one of those universal ones with colored POWER and VOLUME over-sized buttons. Nothing more is needed. They are about $15. The harmony will not get used. Trust me on that one! On the receiver tape over the buttons and lights except for the used INPUT selector and volume dial. That is it. Nothing to see or mess up.

I am joking soft of but it really sounds like your in-laws don't really care about sound quality. Any $100 receiver would suit them. They want to press POWER turn up the volume, turn down the volume and turn OFF the system.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I've given up on the in laws (in regards to their home theater). I'm thinking about my home.

I mentioned the Marantz brand and am wondering if the NR1501 or NR1601 is a good receiver. Is it missing that "must have" feature that I don't know enough about to be looking for? I like the concept of being able to run the disc player through the amp to the TV without having the amp on. Other than that I am not sure what else I'll need in a receiver.

I don't own speakers at the moment but plan to match them with the amp I purchase. The three rears will be ceiling mount and the three fronts I want to be small and unintrusive. A powered sub would be on the right side of the couch.
 

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I don't own speakers at the moment but plan to match them with the amp I purchase
many look to speakers for desired outcome, however electronics (ie: component) trait should be (i think) factored as well into desired outcome. you may not want something too brassy (than again, who knows what your tastes are in this matter) .. marantz is good.

lots of options re: speakers and sound preference. paradigm monitor series .. mehhh .. will be upfront sounding, bright - perhaps not ideal as i have found tend to be fatiguing after awhile.

if you like something more relaxing (particularly if you go stand mount) .. you may want to listen (short list) ..

B&W 685
Focal Chorus 706V

if your in GTA region, there are a couple of Focal dealers (one in particular) .. that has very good prices. Not sure re: B&W dealers, may be the same scenario re: pricing ... very competitive market. A close friend has 685, this is how i have come to understand their trait. I had Focal here @ my home ..

of course, there are others, maybe within your budget, that will be pleasing, smooth; this is where it can get a bit nagging re: choice. best to listen, but as a rule of thumb (generally speaking) .. you should listen to the above.

some guys here found excellent deals on Tannoy speakers @ London Drugs .. clearings i assume. I have heard them briefly @ another dealer .... they were smooth for sure, not bright @ all.

don't want to throw you off topic here ..as it appears your efforts for this thread is focusing on AVR, speaker discussion is reserved for home threatre corner discussion, under digital home hardware (some leeway may be granted regardless, the guys may split and move if it gets too out of boundary - speaker discussion only that is; no worries they'll re-direct as needed to keep you moving forward)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you pharsyde. I am more interested in discussing receiver's "must have" features and brand quality at this point. For instance, there seems to be Dolby-this and Dolby-that, but what exactly is necessary for proper conversion of a movie's audio tracks in a 5.1/6.1/7.1 mix?

I will never listen to music (disc/radio) through the HT system so it is not necessary for the amplifier to be musical. In this case I do not actually need a "receiver" in the sense that I don't require a tuner. If there was such a thing as an integrated amplifier that could properly separate the audio channels of a movie I would be interested in knowing about it. I suspect that something like this either doesn't exist or is in the several thousands of dollars price range.

I just listed speaker preference so as not to have someone think that the Marantz 50 watt / channel I mentioned previously is too little power.
 

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mr.steevo - many "integrated" amps or pre-amps are very expensive as you noted. What many people do is purchase an AVR that has the features they want - check out the first link in post 3 - get an AVR that has pre-outs and then add a dedicated amp for "sonic clarity" - say a 3 or 5 channel amp. Check out the section near the end of the FAQ on HD/HDMI audio. Most good AVRs these days handle HDMI audio/decoding.
 

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I am more interested in discussing receiver's "must have" features and brand quality at this point
noted, thank you.

i think all the offerings of AVR's today will have you covered re: latest audio codecs (ie: surround sound decoding). you may want to make sure the AVR will decode dolby digital plus, dolby trueHD, dts-hd ..and dts-hd master audio. dolby digital truehd and dts-hd master audio are uncompressed formats, meaning closest to studio master. other than these 2 .. all avr's should be able to decode older audio formats.

re: video processing .. like most things these days, you will get what you pay for ie: choice of video processing chip set. but most standard video i think will give an enjoyable viewing experience. i'm pretty sure denon's avr 1911/791 uses anchor bay's ABT1030 video chip. haven't seen anything to say otherwise. anchor bay are respected video processors.

in addition to your marantz option (i haven't looked into it ..but there are marantz users, followers here), i would consider denon avr 1910 if you can find one. i think there was one on canuck audio mart recently .. new in box. it was/is hard to beat @ this price point. the latest ..avr 1911 .. i'm sure would follow through with the same success (outside some tweaks ..ie: HDMI 1.4, 3D function .. i think they gave it a new remote too) ..

futureshops equivalent would be denon avr 791. it was on sale last week .. less $ 200. back to regular now. it will go on sale again.
 

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Actually, I don't think the Denon 1911/791 uses ABT video processing. The specs don't say it anywhere where the units that do feature ABT say it prominently on the web and in the literature.

In any event, I would suggest the Pioneer VSX-1120/1125 over the 1911 for a little more money. Marvell processing and a networked receiver.
 

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i'm pretty sure denon's avr 1911/791 uses anchor bay's ABT1030 video chip. haven't seen anything to say otherwise. anchor bay are respected video processors.
augh ! (that was embarrassing) .. my apologies. i was thinking the marantz SR5005 ... a machine i have been researching a lot recently (and the SR6005, using the ABT2015) *haven't looked closely at the OP's possible choice for slimline NR1501 or NR1601

.. *yes ...am thinking of changing it up a little (have recently bought new speakers too) ... sorry about that guys

i do have the question placed with denon support, be a good test to see if they have reasonable response times. otherwise, i will contact very knowledgeable source in my area.

thanks for checking that johnny (the system works !) .. i'll follow up to clarify as soon as i find out. * recently read in another thread here re: the mystery surrounding this.

EDIT*FOLLOW UP

second guessing myself on this one. appears it is the ABT1030 scaler on the AVR 1911/791. Hopefully I will be able to re-confirm this, however all indicates this to be true. much of my reading/reviewing as lead me to batpig releasing this information, although I have read it elsewhere. as you may realize (and those who know me here) ...i read, read (and read) ..and well yes, when i can audition items "hands on" of course. seems working 12 hours a day constant for the past month ..yet still pushing myself leisurely (ie: this damn hobby), am getting a little foggy/fatigued it would seem.

regardless, i guess a good video scaler is, well, only good IF it does a better job than your probably already 1080P LCD. anyways, sorry steeve, appears I have hi-jacked your thread .. unintentionally of course. : ) ... i'll bow out for now (of course, until I have re-confirmed ..if that happens)
 

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I have the Denon AVR 991, and before I purchased it I had it confirmed that it has the ABT 2015. However, I have since read elsewhere that although it does have the ABT 2015, it is not fully implemented; ie: no PrEP (Progressive ReProcessing), which apparently the Oppo BD-83 does have.
 

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regardless, i guess a good video scaler is, well, only good IF it does a better job than your probably already 1080P LCD
Very true - a garbage 480i SD signal will never look like 1080p, regardless of how good the scaler is. Garbage in = grabage out.

It was suggested that an H/K might be a good fit for you. I'd second this as it is superb for 2.1ch music, and usually has outboard bass and tone knobs. H/K also traditionally doesn't include a whole bunch of bells and whistles, and instead focuses on power supply and sound quality.

Plus, H/Ks are available via big box, which means you can at least take it home, hook it up, and try it out for a few days. Pricing has also been way better than when I bought mine 6 years ago.

One post said that both speakers and receivers can change the tone of the sound. Agreed 100% (my Denon was really harsh compared to the H/K out of the box), and this is the value of at least being able to try the equipment in your own room. What sounds good to me may not sound good to you, or may not sound good to me in your room.

Rumor also has it that London Drugs is clearing out some nice Tannoys. If you have one in the area, it may be worth checking out.

Yuo also mentioned Marantz - I have no issues with their gear. It is very similar to H/K in that there are less bells and whistles, and more quality sound.
 
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