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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

In short, I'm looking for a bare-bones receiver with 7 high power amplified outputs and as high audio quality as I can get without spending four figures.


Here are what my exact parameters are:

-Oppo BDP-93, Epson UB6500 Projector, Speakers TBD 7.1

-Was planning to spend no more than $500, but could go higher given good reason

-Needs to provide adequate power for whatever speakers I may get next. I know i may be putting the cart before the horse here, but I'm selling my old Onkyo amp along with my Klispch Synergy setup since the sound is too harsh/bright for me and I will be using some old HTIB speakers until I figure out what I want.

-Thanks to the Oppo, I can send one HDMI direct to the projector for video and another to the receiver for audio, so HDMI 1.4 is not necessarily a must have

-I couldn't care less about any fancy networking capabilities since I use Sonos for audio and the Oppo already supports Netflix

-Other than the Oppo, the only other thing I plan to connect to it is a Sonos bridge for music. In fact, now that I think about it, if it weren't for the need to use Sonos I probably wouldn't need an A/V receiver at all...just a 7-channel amp. :scratch:

Thanks for looking... Any advice is appreciated!
 

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Unfortunately, manufacturers are much quicker to add the features that you don't need (networking, Netflix) than the features you want (oodles of power). I'd recommend that you start with the least expensive AVR that you can get with preamp outputs, something like the onkyo 700 series refurbed from accessories4less. It will probably have enough power for your needs, but if not, you could easily add an emotiva amp.
 

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Yeah, one of my biggest pet peeve's. I'd love a high end receiver with lots of power and none of the frilly foo foo.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the input so far; I've been doing a lot of looking. The Marantz receivers seem interesting.
What do you guys think of this NAD receiver?

NAD T 747 Receiver

Seems right up my alley...focused on audio performance without all the bells & whistles that I don't care about. The power rating seemed low, but reading reviews around the web they say NADs put out a lot more than the numbers would indicate, especially when all 7 channels are driven. I have an Onkyo right now and the real-world power to 7 channels is embarassing...about a third of the claimed power.
 

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The power rating seemed low, but reading reviews around the web they say NADs put out a lot more than the numbers would indicate, especially when all 7 channels are driven.
I think for starters, ask yourself how often in real world application all "7 channels are driven" equally. I do believe in an adequate power supply to deal with all chanels driven, but I find that the front three (or two) speakers are much more power hungry. They're probably further away, and their average DB level is something like 30db louder. Whereas a surround might occasionally have an ear piercing 80-85db peak in an action movies, it's mostly just relegated to 55-60db type ambience effets.... on average you may not even use a watt of surround power. So who cares if all seven channels can do 70wpc? Give me a front stage that can do 500wpc, and give my surround 30wpc, and I think the results will be more likely towards success.

HOwever good ACD performance does indicate a robust power supply. So i'm not saying it's a totally useless measurement. It's important, but it's not what I look at. To me 2 channels driven, 4 ohms with a 45+ degree phase angle, is the most important measurement.

A main speaker on the other hand has potential to have dynamic peaks in the upper 90dbs or even lower 100s depending on the source content and listening preferences - in other words it's the fronts that might want anywhere from 100w to 500w of power.

Second you need to examine the impedance profile (z-chart) of your speaker to determine how much power you need.

Finally, I believe you want something with a reliable preamp out with plenty of headroom. The most reliable choice would be a dedicated processor like the Marantz AV8003, which has been measured close to 14vRMS. You can pick on up at accessories4less. The more recent AV7005 should also be a good choice, although I haven't seen measurements.

The average receiver might have preouts in the .7v to 2v range which is "close for comfort" in terms of headroom. They tend to be a throw-in feature.

One receiver that does have useful preouts is the Marantz SR6004. It's been measured close to 7vRMS. Again, I have not seen any measurements of the SR6005 preouts.

But if you really want a great processor, my gut would tell me to go with the Denon 4311. I haven't seen measurements so it truly is just a gut purchase but one thing that really sets it apart is that it has SubEQ and XT32.

However, whether you're using receiver amps or not to power your surrounds, i feel that chances are, your mains are hungry for a bit more power than what even the finer receivers can feed them. There are some mains that can be driven by receivers, but the average ones want two to four times as much power. A separate amp imo might be well worth it, as long as you have preout headroom to drive it.

I really like what i'm seeing about the Crown XLS 1500 amp.
the Emotiva XPA-3 is a popular choice.
Outlaw and ATI B-Stocks are also a good choice.
Used Parasound gear is tough to beat too.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think for starters, ask yourself how often in real world application all "7 channels are driven" equally. I do believe in an adequate power supply to deal with all chanels driven, but I find that the front three (or two) speakers are much more power hungry. They're probably further away, and their average DB level is something like 30db louder. Whereas a surround might occasionally have an ear piercing 80-85db peak in an action movies, it's mostly just relegated to 55-60db type ambience effets.... on average you may not even use a watt of surround power. So who cares if all seven channels can do 70wpc? Give me a front stage that can do 500wpc, and give my surround 30wpc, and I think the results will be more likely towards success......
Wow, thanks for that detailed response! :bigsmile: I know pitifully little about pro audio gear, so it is great to get the perspective of someone who is well versed. You make a great point about the mains needing more power; in thinking about eventual use of an amp, I was thinking I would need a 7-channel one, but it never occurred to me that I could use a receiver to run the surrounds and then use a 2-channel amp to power the mains if need be. Interesting you should mention the SR6004...that's the receiver I was leaning towards in my research before I found the NAD. Apparently it has a higher quality than the 6005 though the 6005 is much more reliable. I'll have to do a little more research and look at pre-out performance for the eventuality that I might need an amp. Finding speakers will be my next problem, and a more critical one I fear. I bought my Klipsch without listening to them and had to live with that.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm probably going to pull the trigger on the NAD T747 in a couple of days unless I hear a compelling reason not to. The real-world 60w/ch should be more than adequate to power my surrounds and possibly the mains as well depending on what speakers I get and how sensitive they are. I might go for bookshelves on stands this time around...still got to research that side. I've got a massive MFW-15 sub, so having 12 or 10-inch woofers in the mains is probably redundant/unnecessary. If I do get something power hungry, I can always use the pre-outs on the NAD and power the mains off a separate amp as GranteedEV suggested.
 

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I'm probably going to pull the trigger on the NAD T747 in a couple of days unless I hear a compelling reason not to.
...How much are you paying?

I've got a massive MFW-15 sub, so having 12 or 10-inch woofers in the mains is probably redundant/unnecessary.
eh? Not at all.

Subs are subs, but woofers are woofers. A sub handles the region from 10hz to 90hz roughly, maybe a bit higher depending on your setup and room acoustics. A woofer handles the region from 70z to 300hz roughly. They operate in different regions so I don't see it as being redundant at all.. it keeps you from compromised dynamics.

Do you really think a single 6.5" driver can keep up with the dynamics of a 15" driver at 80hz? It's going to run out of steam. I consider the region from 60hz to 300hz or so to be the most power hungry region in music and probably movies too, not including the LFE channel. Most speakers compress this region instead of play it back effortlessly.

There's a reason i'm always recommending people pick up a pair of JTR Triple 8HT-LP - you want mains that can handle the lower midrange and upper bass with aplomb, just like you want multiple subs that can handle the lower and mid bass effortlessly. below 300hz most smaller drivers really begin to lose composure, and more quickly than you'd imagine. A 10" (or triple 6.5"), 12" (or dual 8" drivers), imo, are very desirable as woofers.

I don't believe main speakers need extension to 40hz - that's redundant. But extension to ~70hz + effortlessness in the upper bass + lower midrange - is not!
 

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...How much are you paying?
Spearitsound (as linked above) has the T747 for $599 shipped. I was looking at the SR6004 as well, which can be had refurbished for a bit cheaper, but the NAD is highly praised for sound quality that approaches, if not exceeds, receivers costing over twice as much. I really like the audio-centric focus of the NAD, and at the end of the day sound quality and amp output are criteria for my decision since my projector and the Oppo BD player are more than capable of handling all the video processing between themselves. Plus, the SR6004 has reliability issues (aka "Pop of Death") that I'd rather not have to deal with.

eh? Not at all.

Subs are subs, but woofers are woofers. A sub handles the region from 10hz to 90hz roughly, maybe a bit higher depending on your setup and room acoustics. A woofer handles the region from 70z to 300hz roughly. They operate in different regions so I don't see it as being redundant at all.. it keeps you from compromised dynamics.

Do you really think a single 6.5" driver can keep up with the dynamics of a 15" driver at 80hz? It's going to run out of steam. I consider the region from 60hz to 300hz or so to be the most power hungry region in music and probably movies too, not including the LFE channel. Most speakers compress this region instead of play it back effortlessly.

There's a reason i'm always recommending people pick up a pair of JTR Triple 8HT-LP - you want mains that can handle the lower midrange and upper bass with aplomb, just like you want multiple subs that can handle the lower and mid bass effortlessly. below 300hz most smaller drivers really begin to lose composure, and more quickly than you'd imagine. A 10" (or triple 6.5"), 12" (or dual 8" drivers), imo, are very desirable as woofers.

I don't believe main speakers need extension to 40hz - that's redundant. But extension to ~70hz + effortlessness in the upper bass + lower midrange - is not!
Your point is well taken, and I was probably speaking too generally, but my point was that you don't need massive woofers in your mains if you have a sub. Bass being non-directional, I've always heard that the CW is to cross over your powered sub to handle at least 80hz and below to free up the mains to concentrate on efficiently putting out high quality sound. I listen to a lot of bass-heavy electronic music. Apples to oranges, perhaps, but the biggest gripe I have with my Logic7 system in my car is that even though it has two dedicated subs, it still sends bass to the little 4" speakers, which makes it impossible for the system to effectively articulate the lower midrange when the same speakers are trying to reproduce a pounding or pulsing bassline.

All that being said, my current HT setup that I'm junking cost me over $2500 from a big box store and it sounds like doo-doo, so I'm definitely inclined to listen to your advice, but I just wanted to give you the perspective I'm coming from...limited and erroneous as it may be :D
 

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Finally, I believe you want something with a reliable preamp out with plenty of headroom. The most reliable choice would be a dedicated processor like the Marantz AV8003, which has been measured close to 14vRMS.
Where did you get this spec, any info on other marantz models? Im curious what my SR8002 and the AV7005 measured. Obviously both the 8003 and 7005 are good recommendations but given their used price is about equal the 7005 seems like a no-brainer.
 

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I am a firm believer that the over all weight of the receiver is a strong indication of what is can do. Onkyo produces in general have decent sized power supplies and have been rated much better than other manufacturers. If it weighs less than 35lbs do not expect it to output even half of its rated all channels driven specifications.
 

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add lead to receiver casings...:)
LOL

A great example of what a receiver should be built like. Three years ago Onkyo had the 805, 875 and 905, I personally have the 805. It weighs 54lbs and was benched tested by Secrets and did 110 watts per channel all 7 channels driven. Its sticker specs are 135watts per channel. Thats unheard of for a receiver that originally sold for just over $1000.
I all boils down to the power supply, if its got a small PS it cant drive the internal amps, its just that simple.

With regards to the NAD T747 They do make decent receivers but dont offer THX processing and there proprietary auto room setup is very basic unlike Audyssey MultEQ XT. I highly recommend the Onkyo 709 as it does output 80watts per channel all channels driven (bench tested) has Audyssey, THX certification and uses the Qdeo video processing (mush better than Faroudja DCDi in the NAD)
 

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Your point is well taken, and I was probably speaking too generally, but my point was that you don't need massive woofers in your mains if you have a sub.
As a person who just ordered a pair of 15" midwoofers to use in his mains, I have to say I disagree. You don't need heavy woofers that plumb the depths, but you do want lots of surface area and high sensitivity. The more surface area and the higher the sensitivity, the less magnetic flux and current induced heat causing distortion, as well as less excursion induced distortion. :innocent:

Bass being non-directional, I've always heard that the CW is to cross over your powered sub to handle at least 80hz and below to free up the mains to concentrate on efficiently putting out high quality sound. I listen to a lot of bass-heavy electronic music. Apples to oranges, perhaps, but the biggest gripe I have with my Logic7 system in my car is that even though it has two dedicated subs, it still sends bass to the little 4" speakers, which makes it impossible for the system to effectively articulate the lower midrange when the same speakers are trying to reproduce a pounding or pulsing bassline.
In my opinion (and take it as just that), mains want to be capable of about 112-115db @ 1m @ 120hz. This lets it hit reference levels (105db peaks @ listening position) without too much distortion (which causes things to sound "too loud" even if we don't recognize it as distortion)

The average speaker's woofer (which is often a 6.5" midwoofer :rolleyesno: )

1) runs out of steam mechanically way before than
2) is inefficient and needs hundreds of watts to even attempt those SPLs... which means more heat and thus more distortion

All that being said, my current HT setup that I'm junking cost me over $2500 from a big box store and it sounds like doo-doo, so I'm definitely inclined to listen to your advice, but I just wanted to give you the perspective I'm coming from...limited and erroneous as it may be :D
:T We're only here to help you get what YOU feel is an AWESOME HT :bigsmile:

the JTRs I recommended are one speaker you might want to put some serious thought into.. neutral, effortless, and very fdetailed.

http://jtrspeakers.com/home-audio/triple-8ht-lp/

Consider a pair for now, no center channel as that would get pricey without a world of benefit. Your surround speakers don't need to be as capable or even the same brand as your mains FWIW. With two high sensitivity 8" woofers, they'll handle the lower midrange and upper bass the way you expect from main speakers, without any redundant extension that won't be used. They are sealed so they will have no issue crossing seamlessly to your subwoofer at that 80hz point.

As for the NAD, I'm sure it's a good choice. That said, I haven't personally seen anyone get the marantz "pop of death" even once the last year, and I am someone that prefers to buy products that have been actually measured rather than marketing rhetoric reviews about sound quality differences. the marantz was recommended because it's been measured to do 210wpc into 4 ohms and has powerful 7vRMS preouts - the two biggest signs of excellent perceived sound quality.

Where did you get this spec, any info on other marantz models? Im curious what my SR8002 and the AV7005 measured. Obviously both the 8003 and 7005 are good recommendations but given their used price is about equal the 7005 seems like a no-brainer.
I don't know. the AV7005 has never been measured to my knowledge. TLS Guy over at audioholics boards measured his AV8003 and gave that particular number. If you want to measure your AV7005... :innocent:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
With regards to the NAD T747 They do make decent receivers but dont offer THX processing and there proprietary auto room setup is very basic unlike Audyssey MultEQ XT. I highly recommend the Onkyo 709 as it does output 80watts per channel all channels driven (bench tested) has Audyssey, THX certification and uses the Qdeo video processing (mush better than Faroudja DCDi in the NAD)
The number one selling point for me is going to be the sound quality, followed by output. I'm not even going to run a video signal into the receiver. Maybe there's an older receiver out there with excellent audio circuitry that can be picked up used for dirt cheap because it doesn't have the video capabilities that people expect nowadays. That's essentially what attracts me to the NAD. I guess the Audyssey is a positive though, especially since I'd be at a loss at how to "tune" my own system even if I had the necessary equipment.

Is the THX really worth it? I've heard it's mostly a marketing thing where the company has to pay a lot of money to get their product tested and have that logo on their AVR.
 

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The number one selling point for me is going to be the sound quality, followed by output. I'm not even going to run a video signal into the receiver. Maybe there's an older receiver out there with excellent audio circuitry that can be picked up used for dirt cheap because it doesn't have the video capabilities that people expect nowadays.
If your using HDMI you need to run it through the receiver if you want the uncompressed audio formats from BluRay movies as you cant get that through Optical or coax.
If you can find a Onkyo TX SR805 snap it up as it used top of the line Burr Brown DACs and like I pointed out very large transformer.

Is the THX really worth it? I've heard it's mostly a marketing thing where the company has to pay a lot of money to get their product tested and have that logo on their AVR.
If you watch alot of movies the THX processing is a huge bonus as it gives you some very useful surround modes (I use them almost exclusively)
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
In my opinion (and take it as just that), mains want to be capable of about 112-115db @ 1m @ 120hz. This lets it hit reference levels (105db peaks @ listening position) without too much distortion (which causes things to sound "too loud" even if we don't recognize it as distortion)
:
I can't argue with you there...mostly because I don't know enough about those specs to appreciate them :doh: After my experience with the Klipsch Synergys I'm kind of afraid to buy speakers without auditioning them. Maybe I can find some place that has some of the options, including the triple-8ht-lp to listen to.... $1099 a speaker is more than I was planning on spending, though I wouldn't be absolutely opposed if it would pay off in sonic sweetness. :D

Right now, I'm focused on the AVR decision though. I've already got a buyer for my Klipsch and the Onkyo AVR that I got from a HTIB; he's picking them up before the end of the month and I will need something to drive my old JBL Northridges just to be able to still watch movies while I make up my mind on the rest.


The average speaker's woofer (which is often a 6.5" midwoofer :rolleyesno: )

1) runs out of steam mechanically way before than
2) is inefficient and needs hundreds of watts to even attempt those SPLs... which means more heat and thus more distortion
:
You make a convincing argument, but I just wish I could take a setup with a powerful sub, run 6.5 mains and then 8s, 10s, or even 15s to see what kind of difference I could hear. I somehow doubt Best Buy would be able to accomodate that in a meaningful way. :sarcastic:


As for the NAD, I'm sure it's a good choice. That said, I haven't personally seen anyone get the marantz "pop of death" even once the last year, and I am someone that prefers to buy products that have been actually measured rather than marketing rhetoric reviews about sound quality differences. the marantz was recommended because it's been measured to do 210wpc into 4 ohms and has powerful 7vRMS preouts - the two biggest signs of excellent perceived sound quality.
Here is a test of the NAD T747. I have no idea what I'm looking at, but maybe you can tell me what you think? HT Labs Measurements

As I said before, I was considering the 6004 since there were very positive reviews on the audio performance, one stating that it made the 6005 sound bad in comparison since they started using Denon components in that model, ostensibly to make it more reliable. But in the reviews of the NAD, people talk about the sound quality like it's a religious experience or something. Guess it could be fanboyism or hyperbole though :dontknow:
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
If your using HDMI you need to run it through the receiver if you want the uncompressed audio formats from BluRay movies
The Oppo BDP-93 lets you run one HDMI to the receiver for audio and another directly to the projector for video :cool:

If you can find a Onkyo TX SR805 snap it up as it used top of the line Burr Brown DACs and like I pointed out very large transformer.
Hmm, I'll look at that as a possibiliy... there's a seller on Amazon that has one for $460 shipped


If you watch alot of movies the THX processing is a huge bonus as it gives you some very useful surround modes (I use them almost exclusively)
I'll have to research that a bit...not sure what a "surround mode" would do other than alter the intent of whomever mastered the mix
EDIT: OK, I see that it tries to compensate for limitations in the physical layout of your room. Interesting.
 

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Maybe there's an older receiver out there with excellent audio circuitry that can be picked up used for dirt cheap because it doesn't have the video capabilities that people expect nowadays. That's essentially what attracts me to the NAD.
You are definitely not alone on this general idea. I personally sacrificed a whole slew of really sweet features: Lower power (110 vs 140 (for what those published specs are worth)), fewer channels (7.1 vs 9.2), lower Audyssey version (multi vs DSX), video processing (none vs reon), networking (not even firmware vs firmware/streaming), OSD (none vs full function). Thats not all but you get the idea, some pretty substantial losses. For what? ALL of this sacrifice for just a lower noise floor, more musical performance and a more detailed and defined sound. Better hdmi stability and a cooler running unit was a bonus but ultimately it was just a matter of falling in love with the better quality sound.

Keep in mind that video processing can often be done at the display and is often redundant in a AVR. Network streaming was also redundant as a simple blu ray player can often do a better job (I know my cheap Samsung does really well for pandora and netflix) and obviously an external amp makes power ratings irrelevant.
 

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After my experience with the Klipsch Synergys I'm kind of afraid to buy speakers without auditioning them.
Klipsch speakers imo are pretty unbalanced and harsh. I can understand your apprehension but it`s got more to do with what you`re looking for than how you`re buying. If you just randomly search `good speakers for HT` or something you might get a lot of recommendations for klipsch - it`s popular and it`s got an instant appeal to a lot of people but not very smooth or accurate - I can definitely think of dozens of speakers I would be happy to buy unheard however. It`s all about knowing what to look for in the measurements. A lot of subjective user reviews can be full of misleading statements.

Here is a test of the NAD T747. I have no idea what I'm looking at, but maybe you can tell me what you think? HT Labs Measurements
Let's see:

(two channels driven) -
Into 4 ohms, the amplifier reaches 0.1 percent distortion at 137.4 watts and 1 percent distortion at 197.1 watts.
This is a good measurement for a mid level receiver and shows a decent amp section - the amp can be probably treated as a roughly 80 watt per channel amp for most speaker loads. For the price you`re paying it should be a nice deal and is really what a receiver should be able to do minimum IMO. Unfortunately there is no measurement given for the preamp section of this receiver. I would want to contact NAD and ask them what the preout voltage on this receiver is.

But in the reviews of the NAD, people talk about the sound quality like it's a religious experience or something. Guess it could be fanboyism or hyperbole though :dontknow:
There are electronics with transparent sound, and electronics that don't have that or are being driven outside of their limitations - and you`d be surprised how many people fit into the latter criteria. Beyond that everything else is hyperbole with respect to sound quality of electronics.
 
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