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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Okay, so after much discussion in this thread and this poll I got my speakers ordered. So now it's time to discuss AVR's. The same guidelines still apply: Not looking to spend a ton, but I don't have very high expectations either, so that's okay.

I want to get an AVR that's sufficient to get the most out of my (lower-end) setup. The point is, I understand my speakers and projector aren't very high performance, so I don't want to waste money on a really great AVR that's not going make them sound/look any better than a somewhat cheaper one would. Does that make sense? Like if my projector maxes out at 720p, wouldn't it be a waste to pay extra for an AVR with 1080p video up-conversion? And is it really worth paying for extra audio performance with my small, lower-level speakers?

Here's my specs:
  • Speakers = (All Pioneer brand) SP-BS41 for front L/R, SP-BS21 for surrounds, and SP-C21 for center.
  • The sub is a Dayton SUB-1200.
  • My projector is a Panasonic PT-AE900U.
  • Then your basic Blu-ray and non-DVR HD cable box.
  • I also would like to have my desktop (located in the same room) hooked into it via HDMI. It's a Windows 7 Pro 64-bit PC with an NVIDIA GeForce GT-430 video card.
  • The room is a basement, technically 25 x 10.5 x 7' but only part of it is used for the theater area. This area is 14 x 10.5 x 7'. Carpet and drywall all around, but no padding and minimal insulation.
  • The projector screen is on the long wall (so you sit <10' from the screen and front speakers).
I'm not worried about having more than 3 or 4 HDMI inputs. I don't care about wi-fi or features. Just want reasonably good sound and video quality for a kind of low price. However, I'm not super knowledgeable about audio, so auto EQ's and things like that might help me with finding the ideal settings for my room. But at the same time, I'm pretty good with figuring out electronics, so it doesn't have to have an interface designed for an old woman to understand. By far, my main use will be movies; I'm not really worried about other uses. I don't mind some volume, but I'm really not going for booming sound. Just lower-mid volume level. Buying refurbished is fine with me.

My initial thought is to get an Onkyo TX-NR609 (IF my wife lets me spend that much - THAT'S A BIG IF), but I was wondering if there is a decent (for my basic needs), cheaper alternative. The refurb 609 for $288 is probably at the peak of my price range. I'm also considering the similar Onkyo HT-RC360 for $50 less. People have mentioned Denon AVRs as a good budget alternative as well. Saving some money would be nice, for sure.

I guess my real question is, is there a $150-$200ish AVR alternative that would be sufficient for my needs? My budget is extremely limited, to say the least.

Budget receiver suggestions please! Thanks in advance guys!
 

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CL's, look for a Yamaha Aventage 700 for about $250.00. I have one in storage with warranty left till next July :neener:. You can find AVR's cheap all day long, just look in the right places for pre loved. Shoot, I also have an Integra 20.3 in storage, warranty till next July, $300.00. Check out CL, as well as some of the sponsors of this site. You can find some great refurbished deals as well as discontinued equipment that is in perfect shape, just discontinued, still carries full warranties and such. Accesories for Less has some excellent deals at all times, check them out. If you are interested in anything I have, drop me a line! :bigsmile:
 

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Okay, so after much discussion in this thread and this poll I got my speakers ordered. So now it's time to discuss AVR's. The same guidelines still apply: Not looking to spend a ton, but I don't have very high expectations either, so that's okay.

I want to get an AVR that's sufficient to get the most out of my (lower-end) setup. The point is, I understand my speakers and projector aren't very high performance, so I don't want to waste money on a really great AVR that's not going make them sound/look any better than a somewhat cheaper one would. Does that make sense? Like if my projector maxes out at 720p, wouldn't it be a waste to pay extra for an AVR with 1080p video up-conversion? And is it really worth paying for extra audio performance with my small, lower-level speakers?

Here's my specs:
  • Speakers = (All Pioneer brand) SP-BS41 for front L/R, SP-BS21 for surrounds, and SP-C21 for center.
  • The sub is a Dayton SUB-1200.
  • My projector is a Panasonic PT-AE900U.
  • Then your basic Blu-ray and non-DVR HD cable box.
  • I also would like to have my desktop (located in the same room) hooked into it via HDMI. It's a Windows 7 Pro 64-bit PC with an NVIDIA GeForce GT-430 video card.
  • The room is a basement, technically 25 x 10.5 x 7' but only part of it is used for the theater area. This area is 14 x 10.5 x 7'. Carpet and drywall all around, but no padding and minimal insulation.
  • The projector screen is on the long wall (so you sit <10' from the screen and front speakers).
I'm not worried about having more than 3 or 4 HDMI inputs. I don't care about wi-fi or features. Just want reasonably good sound and video quality for a kind of low price. However, I'm not super knowledgeable about audio, so auto EQ's and things like that might help me with finding the ideal settings for my room. But at the same time, I'm pretty good with figuring out electronics, so it doesn't have to have an interface designed for an old woman to understand. By far, my main use will be movies; I'm not really worried about other uses. I don't mind some volume, but I'm really not going for booming sound. Just lower-mid volume level. Buying refurbished is fine with me.

My initial thought is to get an Onkyo TX-NR609 (IF my wife lets me spend that much - THAT'S A BIG IF), but I was wondering if there is a decent (for my basic needs), cheaper alternative. The refurb 609 for $288 is probably at the peak of my price range. I'm also considering the similar Onkyo HT-RC360 for $50 less. People have mentioned Denon AVRs as a good budget alternative as well. Saving some money would be nice, for sure.

I guess my real question is, is there a $150-$200ish AVR alternative that would be sufficient for my needs? My budget is extremely limited, to say the least.

Budget receiver suggestions please! Thanks in advance guys!
Hello,
Congrats on the HT. The biggest issue with most entry level AVR's is the Power Supply. While almost all are rated around 100 wattsx7, most of them output around 30-40 watts all channels driven. This is what makes the 609 such an exception to the rule.

When Home Theater Magazine Bench Tested the 609, it output around 90 watts into 5 channels which is utterly fantastic for this price range. These levels of power began with the TX-SR608 as it was the first 600 Series to offer THX Select2 Plus Certification and to meet the Certification Onkyo used the same Three Stage Inverted Darlington circuitry used in their upper level AVR's.

At $270, it really is an amazing value. Especially with it also offering Marvell Qdeo Video Processing, Networked Connectivity, THX Post Processing, and 6 HDMI Inputs.
Cheers,
JJ
 

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Hello,
Congrats on the HT. The biggest issue with most entry level AVR's is the Power Supply. While almost all are rated around 100 wattsx7, most of them output around 30-40 watts all channels driven. This is what makes the 609 such an exception to the rule.
As usual I agree with Jack, the 609 is a super bargain for what you get under the hood. in the end its power output that will make or break how the speakers sound as distortion caused by not enough amplification is a much bigger deal than many understand.
 

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Jon - my 2 pieces of advice:


(1) stop bashing your gear ;-). Everyone is at different life stages, economic stages, needs, wants, etc... i'd say everyone is aware and respectful of that. The most important factor has been the mere fact that you are making an effort and taking the time and interest to have some fun in this hobby. Oh, and by the way you've done your home work and you've made a wise choice with your speakers. You are going to get some nice full sound out of those puppies!!! Don't look now, but you CAN get a great finished product with a small budget!!! It's all good!!!!


(2) with the AVR. You obviously need to be mindful of your budget, but you also want to be aware of the price point of drastically diminished returns. In the $200 dollar range you aren't going to get much in the way of quality onboard calibration systems. So I would definitely be mindful of the power - sounds like these guys are pointing you in the direction of some quality bang for the buck with the Onkyo unit where as other comparable receivers are going to give you less power.
 

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I'll step in and add my 2 cents and also strongly recommend going with the 609. For that price you will not do better for yourself. I would also say that with a sensitivity rating of 85db the extra power the 609 will provide will really do well for those Pioneer speakers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Jon - my 2 pieces of advice:

(1) stop bashing your gear ;-). Everyone is at different life stages, economic stages, needs, wants, etc... i'd say everyone is aware and respectful of that. The most important factor has been the mere fact that you are making an effort and taking the time and interest to have some fun in this hobby. Oh, and by the way you've done your home work and you've made a wise choice with your speakers. You are going to get some nice full sound out of those puppies!!! Don't look now, but you CAN get a great finished product with a small budget!!! It's all good!!!!
Yeah, I know I will definitely be extremely pleased with how my gear sounds. I just "bash it" because I know the type of gear most of the guys here have, and the kind of expectations they have when shopping for a receiver. I was just trying to emphasize the fact that I'm not trying to get to that level. I'm happy with my decent, but budget stuff and am looking for an AVR in the same league. Thanks for the encouragement though. :T

Tony AND JJ both beat me to it! I completely agree with them - in this price range, the 609 is really the best choice IMO.

It is not just the bench tests for power that put it on top - it also offers as many extras as most $1000 AVRS.
That's exactly the recommendation I expected to get. I guess I was just wondering if there was a cheaper alternative that would be sufficient for my speakers...I guess not. Well I guess it's time to start trying to talk my wife into spending ~$300 on the 609. :spend:


My pitch to her::nerd:....:eek:lddude:...:bigsmile:....:huh:
Her response to me::unbelievable:...:yikes:....:coocoo:....:rofl:......:nono:.....:foottap:..:rant:....:boxer:
 

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Yeah, I know I will definitely be extremely pleased with how my gear sounds. I just "bash it" because I know the type of gear most of the guys here have, and the kind of expectations they have when shopping for a receiver. I was just trying to emphasize the fact that I'm not trying to get to that level. I'm happy with my decent, but budget stuff and am looking for an AVR in the same league.
Trust me, we ALL started where you are. Over time you will get to a place where YOU are happy and thats what is important not what we or anyone else tells you. Just enjoy it and be happy you did not buy a Bose system or any other high priced system that truly does not live up to expectations.:T
 

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Yeah, no reason to feel that way. I think it's great (what you are doing) and the fact that you are doing it within budget. This whole notion of high-end is only relative to the end user. You are going to to be smiling from ear to ear when you get your new gear all set up and let'er rip! Besides, we're talking about gear that is totally indulgent, right? Watching movies in our homes... Lots of fun but totally unnecessary for survival. ;-))

As for AVRs, if the Onkyo is out of budget, perhaps you could look at offerings from Denon, Pioneer and Yamaha. I would start by looking with in price points on the manufacturer websites... Then looking on the web for reviews and sales. I'm sure you'll find the MSRP's don't hold true... And you might catch a great sale through new egg or amazon.

Worst case scenario: you buy something, you find it deficient and you have to return it...
 

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The first stereo I bought for myself was a Panasonic all in one.
AM / FM tuner, and turntable, speakers that were detached (but not detachable), don't remember if it had a cassette or not... probably not.
We listened to it for three years and my brothers listened to it for a couple years after that.
As I recall we never once thought it was anything less than the best we could afford.
Everyone starts somewhere and those who pay their own way and try to keep debt under control usually have a more humble beginning.
I am confident you will really enjoy your new stuff.
 

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Hi, been following your thread. Congrat on the speaker and sub purchases. Like most, I don't think you could have done much better.

Not sure if it's been mentioned, but for your receiver, the used market is also a good place to look. You risk getting lots of receiver for your money like this. Generally, with electronics, if it didn't break down within the first few months, it wont.

I agree with everybody else, your gears will be fine and even if you would have double or tripple your speaker budget, I don't think you would be any further ahead. If you want to recomfort yourself, check in my sig (yoda's lair) and look what I started with, don't drink any liquid when your looking though....

cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Did you see this deal?

Only 4 hours left...

http://www.woot.com/offers/pioneer-7-1ch-3d-ready-a-v-receiver


I'm a big fan of the pioneer/elite receivers. This looks like a killer deal.
Yeah, looks pretty nice. Definitely has a ton of features. But my wife is working and I'm not gonna pull the trigger on an AVR without running it by her first. Also, I'm not an expert, but I get the feeling that the Onkyo would out-perform that one on SQ. I know it's at least THX certified anyway. For an extra $38 I think I would just get the Onkyo if I can. I really appreciate you looking out for me though. :clap:
 

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That is a killer deal.

I personally would go for the Pioneer as the 609 only comes with Audyssey 2EQ. The 1122's MCACC version is better then the 2EQ. This will have the biggest effect on "sound" not the amplification itself. The 1122 would apply more filters to even out the frequency response from your room. If the Onkyo came with Audyssey MultEQ XT, I would go for that.

Either of the choices are fine, go for the features you want. Note that the 609 doesn't come with Airplay if you're an Apple fan.

Have fun:D

cheers
 

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Hello,
While I am quite fond of Pioneer. Especially the D3 and past ICEPowered Elite AVR's, there is a pretty big dropoff in power between the 609 and 1022. Especially in multichannel.

Here is the Bench Test of the 1021:
HT Labs Measures
Five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 46.1 watts
1% distortion at 56.7 watts

Seven channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 44.5 watts
1% distortion at 53.7 watts

This graph shows that the VSX-1021’s left channel, from CD input to speaker output with two channels driving 8-ohm loads, reaches 0.1 percent distortion at 106.3 watts and 1 percent distortion at 136.4 watts. Into 4 ohms, the amplifier reaches 0.1 percent distortion at 119 watts and 1 percent distortion at 168.1 watts.

And here is the 609:
Five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 81.0 watts
1% distortion at 95.1 watts

Seven channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 77.7 watts
1% distortion at 88.9 watts

This graph shows that the TX-NR609’s left channel, from CD input to speaker output with two channels driving 8-ohm loads, reaches 0.1 percent distortion at 105.6 watts and 1 percent distortion at 124.3 watts. Into 4 ohms, the amplifier reaches 0.1 percent distortion at 146.8 watts and 1 percent distortion at 188.6 watts.

Cheers,
JJ
 

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Other than the Onkyo, for a tight budget the Denon 1612 is a good choice.

Denon 1612
HT Labs Measures

Five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 71.5 watts
1% distortion at 79.8 watts

the AVR-1612's left channel, from DVD input to speaker output with two channels driving 8-ohm loads,
reaches 0.1% distortion at 103.9 watts and 1% distortion at 118.5 watts. Into 4 ohms, the amplifier
reaches 0.1% distortion at 73.4 watts and 1% distortion at 141.5 watts.
 

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Other than the Onkyo, for a tight budget the Denon 1612 is a good choice.

Denon 1612
HT Labs Measures

Five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 71.5 watts
1% distortion at 79.8 watts

the AVR-1612's left channel, from DVD input to speaker output with two channels driving 8-ohm loads,
reaches 0.1% distortion at 103.9 watts and 1% distortion at 118.5 watts. Into 4 ohms, the amplifier
reaches 0.1% distortion at 73.4 watts and 1% distortion at 141.5 watts.
Hello,
I really like Denon, but the 1612 is a 5 Channel AVR as opposed to 7 Channel AVR, does not offer Video Scaling, does not work with the Android or iPhone App, no Networked Capability, etc. Also, the 1612 does not offer Airplay. At least according to the Canadian Denon link a few posts back.

It does offer MultEQ as opposed to the 2EQ in the 609 and pretty close power ratings. However, the Onkyo to me offers so many more features. Including the ability to use 2 of the 7 Channels to power a 2nd Zone, and THX Post Processing in addition to the above.
Cheers,
JJ
 

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Hello,
I really like Denon, but the 1612 is a 5 Channel AVR as opposed to 7 Channel AVR, does not offer Video Scaling, does not work with the Android or iPhone App, no Networked Capability, etc. Also, the 1612 does not offer Airplay. At least according to the Canadian Denon link a few posts back.
I agree about the good options on the Onkyo. However, the Denon can do some
things like iPhone and Network Capability options.

With a built-in USB port, the AVR-1612 supports digital music playback from an iPod, iPhone, iPad, or USB drive. The receiver can also be used with the Denon Networked Control Dock (sold separately) for network streaming or docking your iPod/iPhone. A compressed audio restorer guarantees that standard MP3 playback is crisp and clear.
 
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