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Discussion Starter #1
Which features do you suggest in a receiver?

I have a pretty short list including:
* pre outs on all channels
* component video inputs
* component video upconversion
* 4 ohm stable preferred

I'm sure many of you could suggest a lot of features I haven't considered. Which features matter to you? And in particular, which do you consider to be indispensible?
 

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Elite Shackster , HTS Moderator Emeritus
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hdmi switching and upconversion if necessary. It really is nice having one cable go from receiver to projector/TV and not have to change inputs.

that's pretty much my must-have.

2nd zone audio, room EQ, and the latest and greatest codecs/formats are high up there too.
 

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Hello,
Definitely agree that transcoding (multiple sources with one HDMI cable out) is huge. Audyssey Room EQ is also huge to me in addition to the above as well.
Cheers,
JJ
 

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Are you looking at getting a receiver paulspencer? do you have a budget?
 

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Most of the new AV receivers are really quite fully loaded with all the latest and newest features, and now Networking ability has also been added to most of them, either wireless or hard wired, I do actually stream music from my PC to my Arcam and more so lately.

One thing I would point out though, having all the latest gizmo's does not necessary mean that the SQ is going to be the best, and I would rather have superb SQ over multiple feature counts.

Just to add, one important feature which I do feel is probably one of the most important to have is a good EQ system and the majority have opted for Audyssey which IMO is probably one of the best.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Budget? Well, it's hard to talk budget from here in Australia! You guys get things so unbelievably cheap! (Yes, I'm jealous). I've found that receivers that retail here for $1k tend to have what I'm looking for and end up going for $900. (AUD) and quite a bit less in the US. However, I saw a Marantz going on ebay that was around this price point for $150 second hand. Maybe 5 years old. I would have jumped at that price but it only had s video.

My plan is to turn my diy mains into surrounds and upgrade the mains - probably active speakers. I already have EQ - Behringer Ultracurve and digital active xo (Ultradrive), so I'm not really concerned with the built in EQ features, but I do need preouts. I use separate power amps but will probably just use the receiver amps for the surrounds - either 2 or 4 (undecided). That would be 2 x 4 ohm or 4 x 8 ohm.

SQ wise I'm not overly concerned. When the mains have their own power amps, I don't think it's going to be an issue. I'll be using phantom centre, which makes sense in my particular setup.

What I'm most interested in are the important and handy and useful features. The kinds of things you find out after using a number of different receivers over time. I've been running 2 channel for a long time, yes even for movies!

So what are the other features I might have missed? Maybe ones I might not think of ...

Recruit,
So with networking ability, would this mean storing music on your PC then sending a digital signal to the receiver which is then handled by the receiver DAC? This is a nice feature! ... or is it a little different? I'll have to look into this.
 

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Recruit,
So with networking ability, would this mean storing music on your PC then sending a digital signal to the receiver which is then handled by the receiver DAC? This is a nice feature! ... or is it a little different? I'll have to look into this.
Yep, that is more or less correct, dependant on the audio codecs that the receiver can recognise ie mp3/Flac/WMA...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm going to add networking ability to the list! It's appealing to be able to access all my music without having to get cds out! Add on a remote to the PC and remote extender and it would work nicely!
 

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1. Big main power transformer (the bigger the better).

2. Quality output transistors (and more the better).

3. Big solid aluminum heatsink(s) (the more and the bigger the better).

4. Big block capacitors (the more uFarads the better).

5. Additional auxiliary transformers for the audio and video sections.

6. Quality Dacs (and more the better: differential configuration).

7. Quality DSPs (and more the better, faster and larger CPU resources & processing power).

8. Minimum 5 HDMI inputs and 2 HDMI outputs (the more the better).

9. Automatic Room EQ, with capability for manual calibration adjustments (example: Pioneer Advanced MCACC, Yamaha YPAO, Audyssey MultEQ XT Pro).

10. Solid build with clean interior, and circuit's isolation (no messy wirings), and heavy weight.

))) All of this with great implementation, of course.

__________________________________________


11. Maybe Audyssey DSX ( Dynamic Surround Expansion).

12. Maybe Audyssey Dynamic EQ, and Audyssey Dynamic Volume, or Dolby Volume*.

13. Maybe ABT2010 ot HQV Reon Video Processor, with ISF certification, and individual input's adjustments.

14. Maybe Yamaha DSP audio programs for Music & Movies.

15. Maybe a good Phono* input, and a full illuminated remote control.

17. Maybe an Ethernet port.

18. Maybe i-Pod ready and music & video streaming.

19. Maybe one or two USB ports (front & rear).

20. Maybe THX certified (Ultra2* Plus preferably), with THX Loudness Volume.

))) The last 10 are only extra non-necessary features, only for people that demands it (* I like those ones).


-> Mmm... that's about all of I can think right now.
 

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Thanks, Bob, that's quite a list! Still hoping for a few features that are the kind I'd regret not having but might not think of.
Hey Paul, I just go with what really matters for me: The Sound. :bigsmile:

* And beyond all those features, I will put these two as the most essential ones:

#1. Quality speakers with the exact proper frequency and power responses.

#2. Room acoustic treatments.

Cheers,
Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi Bob, I agree with you. This is why I've been running 2 channel for so long. But those two aren't features of a receiver!

I'm not overly concerned with the "sound quality" of a receiver. Why not? I'll only be using the power amps for the surrounds, but the main channels will run on separate power amps with a great deal more power and more substantial power supplies than you will find in affordable receivers. Used in this way, blind tests show that you can't tell the difference between affordable and high end receivers. I don't want to get into a debate here, but I consider any half decent receiver to be transparent enough to not worry about when used like this. There's a lot more to worry about with the speakers and room ... which comes back to why I'm interested in features - they are the basis of my choice here.
 

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But in a receiver, a good preamp section is important; and from the preouts, you want a good output impedance, so you can match it with various outboard amplifiers. Not all receivers do.
* This is an important aspect that many people omit, don't think about, or simply don't know about.
And you want a good RMS Voltage gain from the preamp outputs, so it can drive these external amps to full power capability with enough gain (say 3V RMS or more). No all receivers do.

Don't forget Paul, when using your receiver in that situation, the preamp section becomes even more important.

Cheers,
Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Good point. What output impedance and voltage gain do you suggest I should look for? I'm using Behringer Europower EP2500 for my main amp and will probably use Behringer A500 when I go active, or a pro amp.

I currently have a diy preamp where I can change the gain to various settings, but I would be able to do that with a receiver!
 

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Well, if you can adjust the gain, you're fine then. Just choose the one that gives you maximum volume over your preamp's volume control.

And no, you cannot do that with a receiver, but if the receiver has enough gain from its preouts to start with, then you're just fine also.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
When I get a receiver I won't be using the current diy preamp. So now I'm wondering if I'm going to be able to find the info I need in the specs, and what numbers I should be looking for.
 

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Which receiver are you thinking off?

* It is impossible to find this out just at looking at the specs, it has to be tested in the lab.

But most receivers above a certain price point range are usually up to it.

Denon is usually good about this, they make nice preamps. Not all Yamaha does. Onkyo, is OK I believe.
Marantz, not sure, higher range, probably.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I don't have a particular one in mind right now. I'm inclined to look at Denon, Marantz, NAD, Pioneer. I'd like to pick up something second hand - a receiver that would probably cost around $1k AUD (quite a bit less in USD) ... around the price point of Denon AVR1709
 

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I don't have a particular one in mind right now. I'm inclined to look at Denon, Marantz, NAD, Pioneer. I'd like to pick up something second hand - a receiver that would probably cost around $1k AUD (quite a bit less in USD) ... around the price point of Denon AVR1709
I see. Here in Canada, or USA, the Denon AVR-1709 does not have preouts. In the Denon line, preouts only start to appear with the 28XX (i.e., 2809) series (for the North American market only).
The Marantz line start much earlier (good). Nad & Pioneer, about in the mid line.
From what I learned over time, Denon receivers in general makes great preamps (i.e., the 28XX series and up). Also some Yamaha models (i.e., RX-V2600), but not all models. Some Yamaha models from some years are not up to the task, you have to be digilent & do some research. Marantz receivers seem to be fine, as well Onkyo receivers. NAD should also be fine. As for Pioneer, I believe that you have to be more vigilant. But like I already said before; usually the higher models in any brand should have the requisite preamp section, but not always, there are some exceptions, and it's up to us to find out.
Because a receiver has preouts does not mean necessarely that they are up to their task, right Paul?
A little care and money has to be put in that very important section of a receiver. Nowadays, quality is taking a hard dive, for the sake of more features. Buyer beware.

* Paul, to learn more about the preamp section on certain receivers, there are many reviews that mentioned these aspects from various sources (UltimateAvMag, Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity, Audioholics, ...). I suggest you check out at Audioholics, there are several reviews on receivers, and usually they do lab tests on the preamp section, where output impedance from the preouts are discussed, as well RMS voltage output gain, damping factor, THD+N, and others. There are even several good articles in these subjects.
[Just remember, not all receivers are created equal. And you can find some fabulous deals on the used market for one with an examplary preamp section, that could be matched with any power amplifiers on the market; and that Paul, it's something to look for.]

Cheers,
Bob
 

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I'd suggest you try to find a Yamaha RX-v2600 this is a top notch pre-amp section. They went all out on this. Another is the *05 series from Onkyo.

Beyond that I bid you luck in finding something.
 
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