Brainfailure: Need help picking a 2-channel receiver. - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

Thread Tools
post #1 of 5 Old 03-29-12, 08:26 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Payette in Idaho
Posts: 28
Brainfailure: Need help picking a 2-channel receiver.

Well, I have been reading and watching and clicking and comparing... I think my eyes are going to fall out.

History: I not-long-ago built the infamous DIY speakers, Natalie P, in full tower form. I have been driving them off a DIY tripath amp. They sound great, but I really want something with more inputs, remote, etc. I was going to add a pre-amp, but think I just want a dedicated receiver and find another use for this amp. I also got a Musichall mmf-2.2. I also have the TCC TC-750 for the phono preamp. Max volume on my current amp, on some records, just doesn't get it to the level I would want it to be at. Just a low-end Pioneer blu-ray for CD audio playback. TV has Pandora built in (2nd year buying their service for the high quality audio stream). Have a small amp to some dining room ceiling speakers that a B channel pre-out would be great for porting in music and such into there.

OK, given that, here is what I'm after (in order-ish):
-High output at a demanding 4 ohm (100+watts as a given, higher the better) with great low-end response (no dedicated subwoofer here)
-Customizable input naming and pre-set volumes would be excellent.
-A phono preamp that could seemlessly replace the TTC preamp (not a big deal, but would be nice)
-Budget target is $300
-TV ins/outs would be nice to hook up that old-school NES, but not necessary as I can run it through my TV.
-Crossovers would be nice, but seems to be a rare find on stereo models (never know, maybe I want a sub one day)
-Black and sexy with a remote not from the 80s. (lol, might as well throw that in there)

Given that, I have looked at several models...
Onkyo TX-8050
Harman/Kardon HK3490
Yamaha R-S500BL

-It seems to me that the Onkyo has the most bang/buck for features (just over $250 these days). I like the network features... especially the Pandora (wouldn't have to turn on my TV for it). Although some of those features are great, they really aren't necessary and I would quickly trade them for more/cleaner output. Also saw mention of not-so-great phono input.
-The HK3490 seems to be well regarded. The price goes up a little and seems to have a tad more output. Looks are definitely a big winner on this model. Haven't heard much if any on the phono input. Price heads up a bit though, as the lowest in stock price is around $330.
-I haven't seen much on the Yamaha... I have dealt with some Yamaha electronics in the past and had nothing but good experiences with them, though, so they earned a spot on this comparison.

I'm sure there are many other models that could be thrown in there. I'm all ears for more suggestions... perhaps I'm looking too hard, but I definitely don't like throwing money out the window.
NoDestiny is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 5 Old 03-29-12, 10:14 AM
Elite Shackster
wgmontgomery's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,492
My System
Re: Brainfailure: Need help picking a 2-channel receiver.

The HK may have a bit more power; they are usually "under rated" and actually swing some real current. Real power usually costs a bit more money, and power rating alone doesn't really tell you a lot. Every 100 watt receiver is NOT created the same.

Just a thought, but if you really need a high current amp in a $300 package you may want to look into a used integrated amp. You're using Pandora and could always pick-up a tuner for super cheap; I see them (tuners) at pawn shops for $5-$10.

I'm assuming that since you posted this in the 2-channel forum that surround is not part of the picture??
wgmontgomery is offline  
post #3 of 5 Old 03-29-12, 10:26 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Payette in Idaho
Posts: 28
Re: Brainfailure: Need help picking a 2-channel receiver.

Yeah, just two towers. This is primarily for music and standard TV watching. I got my home theater w/ 7.1 for the "wow" effect .

I realize not all power is rated equally.... even then, 100 to 120 watts is very little real world difference. Definitely nothing I'll notice. I dont know how honest their distortion ratings are, though. I think that would lead to better overall loudness with similar output levels.
NoDestiny is offline  
post #4 of 5 Old 03-29-12, 10:38 AM
Elite Shackster
wgmontgomery's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,492
My System
Re: Brainfailure: Need help picking a 2-channel receiver.

Power ratings are not standardized, so you really don't know what you are getting. Also, to double the SPL (loudness) you need a 10X increase in power! In other words, to make a speaker play twice as loud as a 50 watt amp, you will need a 500 watt amp (all things being equal). Doubling the power (from 50 to 100 watts) only increases you SPL by ~3dB. Strange, isn't it?
wgmontgomery is offline  
post #5 of 5 Old 03-31-12, 10:56 AM
HTS Senior Moderator
HTS Reviewer
tesseract's Avatar
2 channel view
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Lincoln, NE
Posts: 3,688
My System
Re: Brainfailure: Need help picking a 2-channel receiver.

I'm a big fan of HK, and have owned much of their gear over the years. The stuff is built to last and sounds great.

I steered my neighbor toward the HK 3490, he loves it. You can find pretty decent prices on these with a little searching.

"I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit." - Bill Hicks
tesseract is offline  


2channel , brainfailure , picking , receiver

Quick Reply

Register Now



Confirm Password
Email Address
Confirm Email Address
Random Question
Random Question #2

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address



Activation requires you reply to an email we will send you after you register... if you do not reply to this email, you will not be able to view certain areas of the forum or certain images... nor will you be able download software.


See our banned email list here: Banned Email List

We DO NOT respond to spamcop, boxtrapper and spamblocker emails... please add @hometheatershack DOT com to your whitelist prior to registering or you will get nowhere on your registration.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML is not allowed!
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome