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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've got a dilemma I am hoping you can help me work through. I have an older Integra DTR 5.9 receiver. Its only got 4 HDMI inputs (HDMI 1.3). It also only has Audyssey 2EQ. I am driving a 5 channel set of Polk LSi speakers, which are 4 ohm and require dedicated amps, which I am using a Carver AV-705x for my Center (LSiC) & Surrounds (LSi F/X) and a Carver M1.0 thats been hot rodded for my Left & Right (LSi 15's).

I have run out of HDMI inputs, and am in need of more. I also am wanting a better room correction software. I also am hoping to have the ability to add heights as my setup is not conducive for a 7.1 setup, but would work with 5.1 + heights. So I am looking at moving to a new AVR.

Before we get to my questions, here is the breakdown of my HT setup.

Sources:
Xbox 360 (video games/hulu/netflix streaming) - HDMI
Uverse DVR (Tv) - HDMI
Pioneer Elite 51FD bluray (blu-ray/dvd playback) - HDMI
Pioneer Laserdisc (laserdisc playback) - Composite & S-video
WD Live TV w/ 3 TB external Hard drive (MKV rips of blu-ray movies) - HDMI
Squeezebox Classic (FLAC + Spotify + Pandora) - optical​
Amplification:
Carver AV-705x 5 channel amp - rated 125 x 5 @ 8 ohm all channels driven - has no 4 ohm rating I can find
Carver M1.0t 2 channel amp - hot rodded to have 510 wpc @ 4 ohm​
TV:
60" Panasonic TCP-60ST30 Plasma​
Speaker Cables:
Center channel: 5 foot Kimber Kable 8VS internally bi-wired with standard bananas
Left/Right: 6 foot Kimber Kable 8VS internally bi-wired with standard bananas
Surrounds: 14 gauge Monoprice speaker wire terminated in Monster Quick Connect bananas​
Innerconnects:
Center & Surrounds: .5m Kimber Kable Hero w Ultraplates
Left/Right: 1.5m Kimber Kable Hero w Ultraplates

My room is 18 x 16 x 8 = ~2300 cubic feet. It is also open in the back to the kitchen which throws the space up to about 3500 cubic square feet if not more. Here are some pics of my setup.

**Note** We just bought this house so some the layout is pretty much the same, but the speakers are kicked out a bit wider. I also included some pics from the listing so you can get an idea of the layout.

Here is what it looks like fisheye style (this is our layout before I dialed in the speaker and got a new entertainment center)


This pic shows what it looks like from the eat in area looking into the living room (pics from listing):



Here is what the living room looks like (pics from listing)






Here is where I am stuck/needing thoughts. I am working through which option is the best for me both now and in the future as if I buy this I probably will try to not upgrade for another 5 years like I have managed to do with my Integra. I got lucky with this however as the 3 year warranty saved my rear as I had 3 HDMI boards go out on me and all were replaced under warranty by Onkyo.

Onkyo 818
Pros:
-Great Room Correction - Audyssey XT32
-More than enough HDMI inputs for what I have now and in the future.
-It will allow me to shoot the Laserdisc out via HDMI to the TV as well.
-Low investment cost (~650)​

Cons:
-Possible HDMI board problems (have cooling fans to put on top if needed)
-this has me VERY HESITANT as my Integra had 3 HDMI boards go out on me over its lifespan and I have my gear in an open rack and wasn't even using the built in amps on the unit to power my speakers​
-Requires dedicated amps for my LSi speakers
-1 year warranty by default (can buy squaretrade warranty for more)​

Pioneer SC-75/SC-77

Pros:
-Enough power to drive my Polk LSi speaker off the receiver
-SC-75 = 760 Simultaneous
-SC-77 = 810 Simultaneous
-This allows me to consolidate into one unit and sell my 5 channel carver and the interconnects I have and move the other carver to my 2 channel system​
-Great Room Correction - MCACC
-More than enough HDMI inputs for what I have now and in the future.
-It will allow me to shoot the Laserdisc out via HDMI to the TV as well.
-2 year warranty when purchased from authorized dealer​

Cons:
-Cost (~1100 using connections from authorized dealer)
-No EQ below 63 hz so for a sub I would possibly need a SMS-1 or Mini DSP (I plan to build a sub and use a iNuke 3000 w DSP so that shouldn't be as big a deal)​

So basically I am trying to work through if MCACC or XT32 is the best option for me. As far as convenience the SC models will allow be as good if not better than my separates, saving me money in the long term as if I add more speakers, I simply need speaker wire for them, rather than ensuring I have enough dedicated amp channels and interconnects for each one.

But the buy-in cost of the Pioneer is high, whereas the 818 gives me the feature-set I need but requires me to keep the amps and interconnects I have now and in the future if I buy more speakers, I will have to buy more interconnects and possibly amps.

Thoughts/Suggestions/Help would be much appreciated.
 

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Hands down XT32 is the way to go. The Onkyo would have no issues driving your Polk LSi's either. No more than the SC77 would. Both receivers driving a 4 Ohm load will get warm if you run them hard. Even though the CS 77 is class D it will still need to be monitored to see if it can under loud volumes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hands down XT32 is the way to go. The Onkyo would have no issues driving your Polk LSi's either. No more than the SC77 would. Both receivers driving a 4 Ohm load will get warm if you run them hard. Even though the CS 77 is class D it will still need to be monitored to see if it can under loud volumes.
The Onkyo's amp section isnt one I would trust with 4 ohm rated speakers, whereas the Pioneer is. IIRC the Onkyo's 4 ohm setting is simply current limiting, which isn't really helping anything. Plus the Onkyo's WPC drops quite a bit when all channels are driven. Pioneer at least lets you know what the max wattage draw is. Onkyo doesnt because they probably dont want to actually measure it.

As such I would not under any circumstances drive my 4 ohm 88 db efficient Polks with the Onkyo. No way I would NOT end up killing it.

I know of MANY folks running their SC models with LSi speakers and having no issues. On the other hand, anyone I know using Denon, Onkyo, Marantz, etc with LSi speakers is using a dedicated amp.
 

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Bench tested the Onkyo 828 (the replacement model) did 2 Channels Continuously Driven, 4 ohm loads 204.4 watts @ 0.1THD 20-20kHz
I have no doubt the 818 would do just as well.
 

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Using an $1,100.00 USD budget:

Refurbished Denon X4000.

New Denon X4000.

The difference, new has a three year warranty and refurbished has a one year warranty.



Disclosure; we have a Denon AVR4520CI, two subwoofers, a Marantz SR5007 for backup, I'm a fanboy of Denon/Marantz and Audyssey XT32 w/SubEQ HT to handle the two subwoofers. The 4520CI is 4ohm rated.



The point, since buying the 4520CI, nothing has turned my head and unless something inside the AVR fries and the 4520 is out of warranty, I expect to be future proof for the next five years. From all reports, the Denon X4000 is the next best thing. But if we had purchased the X4000, I'd always be wanting the 4520. The point, buy for your budget but in the end, buy to make yourself happy. I'm a happy camper.

Note this point at the bottom of the linked review regarding the 4520CI and dedicated Amps:

Summing It Up

In conclusion, I am thoroughly impressed with this unit. It has about all the features you could ask for in a receiver/processor and ample power to accommodate most any speaker system. I initially intended on reviewing it and then selling it, but instead I have already sold my Onkyo 5508, XPA-3 amp and XPA-1 monoblocks. I keep thinking to myself that the 4520 seems to be a little on the pricey side, but if you consider what any other processor with the same features would cost you and then add the expense of amplification, the 4520 price actually sounds like a bargain. I think the most surprising part of my experience with the 4520 has been its ability to drive my MartinLogan speakers effortlessly. I had almost given up on ever trying receiver power because I have always read and heard that the Prodigy’s pretty much needed at least 300 watts of good clean power to perform their best. I will have to disagree with the naysayers, as I find it hard to get any better than what it is right now with the 4520 the only power amp source in my system. Excellent job Denon!

Our mains dig down to <4ohm. To help pay for the 4520CI, sell your Amps and receiver.

...:devil:

(i have a solid position; "I am not the voice of reason.")

...:D
 

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Ok having both receivers ( Onkyo and Pioneer - 818 and 919 non elite - XT32 and MCACC ) and also having Polk speakers .

XT32 - improvement with 2 subs during calibration compared to MCACC but like anyone else we like to tweak around and you can do it after calibration on the MCACC ( Advanced MCACC) but it cant be done with Audyssey .

Sonically for me the LSi line sounds better with Pioneer than the Onkyo . This is just my personal opinion with both brands used at my place ( i also have a old pioneer stereo receiver for vinyl ) and i used before Sony , Marantz ( never used Denon ) but listened truth friends and hifi stores several brands many other brands .

The problems with Onkyo , as i read other owners truth the Onkyo Forums and other forums the problems seams bigger than the HDMI failure ( here i have to knock on wood since i have my 818 since November 2012 and no problems at all ) .

All the receivers will drive just fine the LSi but we all know that adding a amp you will take the load out of the receiver and you have a better response from the speakers so yes to green power :D

The 929 it's closer to the 818 since both models have XT32 the 828 only MultiEQ and like it was suggested the Denon X4000 it's a very reliable receiver with also all the bells and whistles + XT32 .

Sometimes ppl ask me if i like very much the way Polk speakers sound with Pioneer why i went with the Onkyo .. Comparing all the features from same equal receivers , 1- I really wanted to try XT32 , 2- Price . The same Pioneer receiver with the same features was at $1800 and i got the 818 at $790 .
 

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Also the Onkyo 818 uses the very best HQV vidia video processor. It gives you access to many ISF independent video adjustments for each input right in the receivers menu.

On a side note I would never use 4Ohm speakers on all channels (only on two) on ANY receiver ever. Way to much demand on the receivers amps and power supply. So if your planning to buy more 4Ohm speakers that are below 90db efficient your still going to want to use external amps.
 

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My last Pioneer Elite lasted over 10 years (VSX-43TX). I now have the SC-71. MCACC is great (if you work dialing it in) and as stated before tweak-able. I did add a MiniDSP for the sub and glad I did. I'm not sure, as I've never used it, but I don't think XT32 will accommodate a house curve on the sub. Having heard the improvement with one I'll never be without. The D3 amps are great. I have 4Ω speakers up front, 8Ω for centers and surrounds and all are being driven very nicely without complaint.

AVS has a LONG thread on MCACC that spells out the ins and outs of optimizing and tweaking. Worth a good look.
 
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