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Hello all, I am new to these forums so here goes,

I currently have a budget $200 Yamaha receiver that I bought about 4 years ago. I have it hooked up to my computer via optical and I only use it for 75% music and 25% gaming. I do not watch movies often.

I am looking to upgrade my receiver to a mid-range, and I am stuck between the Harman Kardon AVR 1600 and Pioneer VSX 1019ah-k. They both are $400-500 depending on where I purchase from, but I need at least 5.1 (for games) so stereo is out of the question. I do not need thousands of inputs as I am only going to use it for computer so all I really need now is at least an optical.

The Pioneer has thousands of great reviews, but I've heard good things about H/K. I am just looking for the receiver that produces better sound quality. My Yamaha feels like it is lacking in that way since I have tried my father's 13 year old stereo H/K and it was ten times better than my Yamaha, which is why I am leaning towards the H/K AVR 1600, but I do not see as many reviews on that compared to the Pioneer.

Again, I do not watch movies, mostly music and gaming so I am looking for best sound quality, and pretend that my speakers are high end speakers. If anyone has other suggestions for a 400-500$ receiver please do tell!

I am going to work now, so I don't have time to search through all the pages and thanks for the help in advance!
 

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First off, Welcome to the Shack.

Second, I really don't think you will hear any sound quality difference in any receiver in your budget range. Some people may argue that point but to "me", a solid state receiver built with comparable components will sound just like the next. I'd suggest you shop for the features you need. As long as you are looking at Yamaha, Onkyo, H/K, Denon, or Pioneer you'll do fine to shop features rather than specs. Unless your speakers present a difficult load for the receiver to drive.

For the last couple of years the Onkyo's have been providing the best bang for the buck.
 

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First of all Welcome aboard the Shack!

Personally I think that looking at a b-stock or refurbished units gets you into a much better receiver than if buying new particularly in your price range. Even though your not needing lots of bells and whistles you would be surprised how much you would use if you had them.

For $400-500 I highly suggest looking at this Onkyo 707 for $450 This is more than half off the regular price and you still get the full Onkyo warranty.
 

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with the given choices... I would suggest go for Harman Kardon ...
- for build quality
- reliability
- decoding options
- power
 

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I have an HK I'd sell for 200 bucks, because I hate the thing so much. It's the worst receiver I've ever owned. I never have been a big fan of Pioneer either, but given the choice I'd almost go back to the low tech system I had before.

It works great for stereo stuff, but for movies it just plain stinks. I'd sell it if I wouldn't feel bad for doing it.
 

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You should really go on audiogon.com and check out a used AVR. You will get a lot more receiver for your dollar going used. For example there is a Dennon 3805 on there right now for $450. Thats a $1200 receiver that has been lightly used. I have bought many pieces of equipment on audiogon without a problem over the last 4 years.
 

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First of all Welcome aboard the Shack!

Personally I think that looking at a b-stock or refurbished units gets you into a much better receiver than if buying new particularly in your price range. Even though your not needing lots of bells and whistles you would be surprised how much you would use if you had them.

For $400-500 I highly suggest looking at this Onkyo 707 for $450 This is more than half off the regular price and you still get the full Onkyo warranty.
Tony, I second that with the Onkyo 707, you get get it new right now for $479 @ Newegg. hope this helps.
 

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I own the Harman Kardon AVR1600 and it's great for my small setup. It does have its limitations though. This particular model is rated at a modest 50-watts per channel which depending on what speakers you own may be a little underpowered. It delivers clean, undistorted sound at high volume levels and distinguishable dialog at low volume levels (that one may be a feature of my speakers.) The first round of AVR1600, 2600 & 3600 receivers were very buggy having issues ranging from compatibility to random audio & video dropouts. This was largely fixed by a software update issues a while back.

The first unit I bought was defective and H/K promptly sent me a replacement. Despite the trouble I have encountered with this receiver, I have yet to find a more attractive amp. This thing is just gorgeous. It's descent set of features and fair asking price make the AVR1600 a good mid/entry level receiver.
 

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Out of your choices I would go with the Pioneer. I have owned one for 5 years now and it has performed flawlessly and their customer service is very helpfull.
 
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