Which surround receiver to buy?

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G'day all
I'm looking at buying a surround reciever and I'm after for a little advice
as this is my first
surround reciever purchase and I frankly don't trust the shop sales guys to
know much.. The two
models I'm tossing up between is the Pioneer VSX-516 and VSX-816.
The 816 is substantially more expensive but I might be able to stretch it if
it's worthwhile.
I know that they're 6.1 and 7.1 but I'm only runnning stereo and will be for
a while. The 816 had component
in/outs (RGB) that the 516 lacked and also a whole bunch of svideo inputs
wheras the 516  only has a few.
I thought the idea was that the receiver became the central point of the
system but the 516 seemed to lack
the features to do this adequately.
Money and time are tight in our household but I will spend more to make sure
that I'm happy. If anyone has uggestions on another model from another
manufacturer if someone thinks it has better value/features.
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Thanks
Mark




Re: Which surround receiver to buy?


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Hi Mark,

If money and time were tight in my household, and I had an OK stereo
setup, I wouldn't be considering a surround amp at all - particularly as
you seem to say your not going to use it as a surround amp anyway.

This aside, your observations are correct ... the VSX516 is what you
would consider if your main priority is surround sound ... the 816 you
pay extra for so that it can be the switching center of your AV setup.

If you were going to by and connect multiple equipment that had RGB
capability (and this is the lowest connect for good/OK big screen
stuff)then it is worthwhile .... but based on what you write I am not
sure this is of any real interest to you.

MORE importantly: If you are buying this as the beginning of a many year
setup that you slowly add to .... I would be buying an amp that has
multiple HDMI inputs as this is where the vast majority of good home
theater stuff will head.

Some stuff to think about and if your lucky someone will disagree with
me and give you some more ideas.

Cheers

Chops

Re: Which surround receiver to buy?


Darn why does every one want surround sound?
A reasonable stereo system sounds quite good, with my neighbours
coming from far and wide to complain.
The simulated 3 D sound on DVD players in stereo is far out.
Thats only using two speakers.
If you want surround sound, a good cheap 2nd computer with 5.1 or 7.1
  capabilities is far smarter. Not only that but with a proper
creative labs or 7.1 speaker setup they sound pretty fabulous to me.
Then you can network the whole system and install the windows media
pack. And if you want to do better, then go El huge $10,000 speakers.
They will deafen you with time and stop this dreadful waste of money.
Anyone want to disagree?
Of course if you have a large entertainment area, you may need more,
but for most there's better ways to have you money invested. For more
benefit. The Joneses are not worth keeping up with here.

Chops wrote:
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Re: Which surround receiver to buy?


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Maybe because the majority of DVDs you can buy have DD and/or DTS
surround sound encoded on it.

Dave :)


Re: Which surround receiver to buy?



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No, not the Windows media pack! The open source MythTV
<http://www.mythtv.org/modules.php?name=MythFeatures is the way to go
although it is not (yet) plug and play.

Re: Which surround receiver to buy?


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OK if its better. Anything is usually better than Microsoft's canned
goods.

Re: Which surround receiver to buy?


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Problem its LINUX based.
OK for some who know this stuff. But no time, ah, well I'll have to
make some time. Linux or the antidote to Microsoft. It will hurt but
you will get better.

Re: Which surround receiver to buy?



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Well, the old Kenwood amp I've got I managed to get going this morning
and it sounds fine with the Welling's I bought a couple of years
ago (wish I'd bought the Dali's though).
Stereo is fine for us as our house doesn't really lend itself to a surround
setup anyway.

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Man I'd completely forgotten HDMI. Now I've got the amp working we're a
couple of years away from Big Screen Surround etc so ?I'll look at HDMI
being a priority then.
Thanks for your opinion/viewpoint as it's been invaluable.
Mark








Re: Which surround receiver to buy?


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Yep, that's how it normally works.
Ideally no sound at all comes through the TV, the video and audio from
every source (DVD, STB/PVR, Xbox/PS etc) goes into the receiver and it
switches everything for you. That way you can throw away the remote
for the TV.

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to some responses.
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The #1 requirement is to make sure you get one with the right number
and type of audio/video input connectors to suit all your system
components, both now and in the future.
You'll regret getting anything else.
They all sound the same, so don't buy hype in that area.

Dave :)


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to some responses.
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Umm Dave - I agree *mostly* with you, and yes *mostly* they all do sound
the same ..... but not if you're contemplating the strathfield/XMS level
.... better of to go JVC (if they still exist), Yamaha, Pioneer, ... yes
THEY all sound the same.

An there *is* a noticeable difference when you goet into the reference
level amps .... even in surround amps.

IMHO that is.

Chops

Re: Which surround receiver to buy?


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I did a bunch of research on these a little while back and went with an
Onkyo TX-SR604B (US model?).  It has all the typical bells and whistles,
lots of connectivity and two HDMI inputs.  It doesn't up-convert the analog
inputs to HDMI, but it's bigger brother the TX-SR674B does.  I'm really
happy with it so far.



Re: Which surround receiver to buy?


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How much out of interest?

Chops
If you don't mind telling us.

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Cost?  Around $300 US for the 604.  Here's some happy people, well excet for
one that couldn't read:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)




Re: Which surround receiver to buy?


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read:(Amazon.com product link shortened)...



Onkyo TX-SR504S 7.1 Channel A/V Receiver  is also a good deal if you
do not
need HDMI. Unless you have a 1080P wide screen you probably do not
need HDMI and all the HDMI receivers will be obsolete in a few months
anyway
when HDMI 1.3 becomes available...


(Amazon.com product link shortened)










.


Re: Which surround receiver to buy?


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read:(Amazon.com product link shortened)...
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Are you saying that a reciever with a HDMI passthough wont be able to
passthough a 1.3 signal?

How come I can smell bullshit?

Chops

Re: Which surround receiver to buy?


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   I did not say that nor did I mean to imply it.

   As I understand it, ( I am not an expert, I just read up a bit
since I just bought one )
all a pass through does is "pass through". It is a glorified switch
and the HDMI signal
is not actually accessed by the receiver. You have to hook up the
sound inputs back
to the receiver from whatever generated or used the HDMI signal.

   Since you could just directly connect the hdmi to the TV and since
the original poster
indicated that he was trying to save money it seems like something he
does not have to buy now.

   When HDMI 1.3 does come out in a few months and after a year or
more when it is
debugged then pass through will be obsolete because the receiver
should be able
to directly access the audio from the HDMI and you will not have video/
audio synchronization issues.

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   I cannot think of a tactful response.

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.


Re: Which surround receiver to buy?


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My receiver has no problem pulling audio out of the HDMI cable.  My Linux
MythTV box clearly identifies the Onkyo when X windows starts up and not my
display device.  So passthru must be a little more complex than a litteral
wire.  It's a layered series of negotiations and handshaking to get HDMI
material from a source to the screen.  When I put my receiver between the
satellite box and the display, simply changing channels started taking
longer with the increased handshaking.  Fortunately, I've been lucky and all
my HDMI stuff works together.

Outside of the convenience of having one cable for picture and sound, HDMI
is a PITA.

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