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Thus far, my research in to finding a replacement for my Harmon Kardon home theater receiver has resulted in only one conclusion: This stuff is much too technical for this newby. So, I would like to ask those more in the know the following:

1) Faroudja DCDi video processing versus the HQV REON chip - What is the difference, and which is better?

2) Burr-Brown DAC's versus Others - Are these really that much better, and would I notice a difference in a side-by-side comparison?

3) THX Ultra 2 - I have read that this feature is designed for "large" rooms with the listening area 12 feet or more away. As I have THX certified speakers and a large room, I want to confirm this is accurate and understand exactly what this is?

4) Pass Through - I do not understand what this means. Can someone enlighten me? How important is this?

I have many other questions but these are my big ones right now. Thanks in advance!
 

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I am by no means an expert, but I'll toss out what I think and we'll both learn a little when the real experts post :bigsmile:

Reon or Faroudja, that's a tough one. I'd suspect the Reon to be better cause it's newer :coocoo: but I believe there are a number of newer versions of the Faroudja chip that use the latest and greatest processing algorithms.

Burr-Brown vs. the others,... I have always assumed the Burr-Brown DAC's to be better. Don't know why, probably some overblown hype I came across before purchasing my Denon w/Burr-Brown DAC's. I really don't think anyone could hear a difference but I could be wrong.

THX,... from the Shack Glossary: A certification standard controlled and operated by LucasFilm. It covers certification of both cinemas and home entertainment equipment to meet given minimum standards. Originally, on the home entertainment front, there was just one standard: 'THX Certified'. But in recent years this has been replaced by two standards: 'THX Ultra' certification, which is the highest level and is similar to the old standard, and 'THX Select' which is a lesser standard. Note that many brands and products which could easily achieve THX certification decline to seek it for reasons of brand self-respect, or to avoid the cost involved, so THX certification does not necessarily mean that a piece of equipment is superior.

Some folks think THX is a big deal, many of us don't. There are many high quality receivers out there that will easily pass a THX certification but are never certified for various reasons (mostly cost from what I gather, and that cost is passed on to the consumer).

Pass through is basically just like it sounds, the audio or video is allowed to pass through unmolested and allow the next component to do the processing.

Hope this helps, and I hope I have not passes on any erroneous info, but hopefully we will both learn a little something.
 

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Well I am far from being an audiophile, but I think I can somewhat answer your questions.

  1. The HQV REON chip is the latest to surface and is considered by most to be the superior chip in upconversion. HomeTheaterMag did a test here a while back on some of the upper end receivers from various manufacturers. The HQV chip passed all their tests. Whether this will be important to you or not may also depend on the Blu-ray player you own. It might have the chip you need and what your receiver has may not matter. My preference would be let the BD player to the work.
  2. See this thread... my take is that you will probably not notice a significant difference between any of them, if any difference at all. :huh:
  3. I am guessing you probably got that info from THX. You'll be able to find more info about this there than you will anywhere else. In summary, George Lucas created a minimum standard that equipment must meet in order to wear the THX badge. However, just because a particular product is not badged accordingly, does not mean is it not up to par.
  4. Pass-Through means that the receiver only passes the audio and video signal on to your video display, it does not process it or switch it in any way. It also means you would need a separate audio connection from your source (BD player, DVD player cable box, satellite receiver, etc.) to your receiver for audio processing. You would probably prefer to have HDMI Switching, which may not always be labeled as such, and it allows you to connect all your sources to your receiver (or up to the number of HDMI inputs your receiver has) and only requires one HDMI output to your video display. When you switch inputs on your receiver, the audio is processed from the source through your audio speaker system and the video displayed on your video display is switched to the selected source. This minimizes the number of connections needed.
 

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lol... and Mark beats me to the punch while it takes me forever to prepare my response, with all the interruptions. :sarcastic:
 

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I'm in the same boat as Mark, I'm not an expert too, but this are my thoughts:

1) Faroudja DCDi video processing versus the HQV REON chip - What is the difference, and which is better?
I don't know which one is better, but I think it doesn't matter if you'll be connecting all your sources directly to TV or if you'll passthrough the video signal to be processed by the TV instead of the AVR decoding the video, then send it to TV (which I'm sure it will decode it again) :yes:.

2) Burr-Brown DAC's versus Others - Are these really that much better, and would I notice a difference in a side-by-side comparison?
What I read is that most people think that Burr-Brown are the best, this is something that I didn't bother to investigate when I got my AVR (Yamaha RX-V2700); I have my HD DVD player and SD DVD connected to AVR for convenience, but I set up the AVR to passthrough the signal untoucehd to TV.

3) THX Ultra 2 - I have read that this feature is designed for "large" rooms with the listening area 12 feet or more away. As I have THX certified speakers and a large room, I want to confirm this is accurate and understand exactly what this is?
I read what Sonnie mentioned, if a component doesn't have the THX certification, doesn't mean if will not perform the same or better than those certified.

4) Pass Through - I do not understand what this means. Can someone enlighten me? How important is this?
Sonnie gave you a good explanation of this, I just want to add; be sure to get an AVR that will be able to decode HD audio (not just pass the signal to TV), specially if you'll use BluRay, if I recall correctly the only way to send HD audio to AVR is through HDMI, that's not possible when you use a coax/optical cable.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys!

Sonnie,

I read the link in your #2 response. This has created follow-up questions:

First, the following statement was made: "You are significantly more likely to hear a difference in the program algorithms and fx processing than you are dac performance." Again, not technically adept here. Can you ebriefly explain this statment?

Second, in simple terms, what do higher/lower SNR and THD numbers mean?

Thanks!
 

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Thanks guys!

Sonnie,

I read the link in your #2 response. This has created follow-up questions:

First, the following statement was made: "You are significantly more likely to hear a difference in the program algorithms and fx processing than you are dac performance." Again, not technically adept here. Can you ebriefly explain this statment?

Second, in simple terms, what do higher/lower SNR and THD numbers mean?

Thanks!
First, the statement: This means that the choice of DAC will likely have less audible impact than other factors such as Dolby Digital vs. Dolby True HD.

For the next two, I'll offer a simple explanation, but a google search will probably turn up something more detailed and accurate.

SNR, Signal Noise Ratio, is the difference in level between the electronic noise and your actual music/movie soundtrack. The greater the number, the louder you can get your program material before hearing digital noise.

THD, Total Harmonic Distortion, is the amount of harmonic distortion added by the components to the source material in the course of processing, decoding, and amplifying. Lower THD means your source will be more faithfully reproduced, for instance, a cymbal sounding like a cymbal and not a trash can lid.
 

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Thanks Marshall. Great and easy to understand explanations!

I also agree with Steven on updating the glossary as it does not address "THX Ultra 2," my original question, which I do not feel was specifically addressed in these posts.

Thanks to all for all the other info though!

The refinement of my AVR search goes on. Thanks again! Happy New Year! Go Ducks!
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Made my AVR choice - almost!

Considering my first priority is movies over music, and my set-up will include:

Panasonic 50" Plasma (1080p)
Panasonic Blu-Ray Player (BD-35)
Miller & Kriesel THX Certified Speakers

and that I also have a lesser all-in-one Onkyo HT sysytem (HT-SR800) that I am pleased with, and that Onkyo is THX Certified (I know, some of you think this is hooey!), I now just need to decide if I want to go with the Onkyo TX-SR805 ($549), TX-SR876 ($989), or the TX-NR906 ($1,399).

As an FYI to those interested, I was also considering the Denon AVR-3808CI but personally eliminated it for the following reasons:

July 2008 review (Joshua Zyber - sorry don't recall website) concluded, "Genesis/Faroudja FLI-2310 chipset - Strong at deinterlacing and scaling standard-definition content but not so good with high-definition. Also does not recognize the aspect-ratio flags in DVD video signals."

Not THX Certified.

So, besides the price, I am left to decide on the following feature differences:

TX-SR805: Faroudja DCDi video processing (Like the price, but leaning away from this unit as I have qualms about the Faroudja processor based on the above).

TX-SR876: Pretty much same features as the 805, except HQV Reon-VX video processor and 10-watts additional per channel. Are these features worth the extra $440?

TX-NR906: Same features as the 876, main difference is the torroidal power source. Also has HD radio, USB input for MP3 players, and networking capabilities for internet radio and WMA files (i.e., ethernet). Would be nice to have these, but not sure it is worth the extra $410 over the 876!

Well, in re-reading my thread before posting, kind of sounds like I have indeed made my decision, that being the TX-SR875/876. Anyone feel this is the wrong decision? If so, why? Thanks!
 

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The 875 will be an excellent choice, especially at that price. I would jump on it... :T

I also agree with Steven on updating the glossary as it does not address "THX Ultra 2," my original question, which I do not feel was specifically addressed in these posts.
I thought we did address this. :scratch: You even stated what Ultra 2 was all about and I confirmed it. :dontknow:

Nonetheless... you can differentiate between the various THX levels here. :nerd:

EDIT: Glossary updated!
 

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I agree with all that has be said here so far, the 875 if you have the cash is by far the best receiver available. I as well as Sonnie have the 805 and we really like them. The Raon HQV chip is regarded as being the best upconversion chip out there and also gives you alot of options including being able to adjust hue, saturation levels and brightness as well as other settings that you normally dont have access to directly in the receivers on screen menu.
THX Ultra2 simply means that the receiver is able to drive a 3.2 ohm load stable without shutting down. However this is not what you should care about more so that you get some great surround modes that are very useful and add alot to movies. The Denon would be very capable of also driving a 4 ohm load without a problem Denon just chooses to not spend the money on getting the receiver certified and thus may save you some coin. That said though the Onkyo is a better receiver for the money.
 
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