Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Topic Author
AnonJohn
Posts: 291
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2015 2:45 pm

Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by AnonJohn »

Hi — I'm a wanna-be audiophile. I like having a nice stereo, but don't want to go off the deep end on cost and quality. So bogleheads seemed to be the place to ask for recommendations on receiver, subwoofer, and a center speaker!

My 1992 Onkyo is failing, so I want a receiver that is good for music and also comes with modern home theater capabilities (eARC, ATMOS,etc). I have a phonograph, a collection of FLAC-ripped CDs, and occasionally do some streaming though that is a second tier. To calibrate you on how I think about being an audiophile: I like vinyl but my setup is poor to mediocre. If I want quality I'll use a CD / FLAC (would hookup a HTPC but could also do over NAS if interface was good enough).

I'm going to keep my old Mission bookshelf speakers but add a wireless subwoofer and center channel. In my next house (or when I commit to not moving) I'll at least 2 rear channels, if not a 7.1 setup. My room is fairly small, nothing special on acoustics.

Based on wirecutter, I have been looking at the Denon AVR-S750H. It seems to check all the boxes, with nice EQ adjustments. It does not have toslink in, which concerns me for connecting to some TVs (my current TV does not have ARC and I do watch OTA TV; I know that 5.1 channel out is a black art but want to anticipate ATSC3). I'm also unclear as to whether there is a future / utility of HEOS.

Similarly, the Speedwoofer 10s looks like about my speed for a subwoofer, and I appreciate the relatively affordable wireless connectivity option.

Don't know on center channel. Recs welcome! I'm intrigued by the new Sony TVs where they vibrate the screen itself to serve as a center channel.

Looking forward to some boglehead wisdom! I've been wanting a new receiver since 2002 (for home theater), but needed to wait for my Onkyo to die. It had very clear power.
Wanderingwheelz
Posts: 898
Joined: Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:52 am

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by Wanderingwheelz »

If I was in the market for an AV receiver I’d start my search at accessories4less.com by looking at any factory refurbished models to see if any met my needs.

The refurbished Onkyo that’s in my AV room was bought there and I haven’t had any trouble with it.
Topic Author
AnonJohn
Posts: 291
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2015 2:45 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by AnonJohn »

Wanderingwheelz wrote: Thu Dec 17, 2020 11:59 am If I was in the market for an AV receiver I’d start my search at accessories4less.com by looking at any factory refurbished models to see if any met my needs.

The refurbished Onkyo that’s in my AV room was bought there and I haven’t had any trouble with it.
Thanks Wanderingwheelz! I have found a refurbished version of that Denon there, and it's absolutely my leading contender. Good to know that you've had good experiences with them. My nearly 30 year old Onkyo was refurbished, so I have no concerns about going that way. I used savings from my first summer job, found an ad in a newspaper with the refurb models, and drove to the Lechmere in Portsmouth New Hampshire. Nostalgia!
eucalyptus
Posts: 718
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:24 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by eucalyptus »

You're probably already aware of audiogon.com, a fun site.

You're a wise man. I know this because you protect "audiophile" from "pragmatic" with scare quotes.

Good luck!
Tom0026
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:00 am

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by Tom0026 »

The Denon AVR-S750H does support one Optical Audio input. It's not called TOSLINK, but it does support the standard digital audio format. I use it to connect my TV to my AVR-S750H and it works fine.
sully45
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 1:11 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by sully45 »

Admittedly I can't contribute much to surround sound discussion as I converted back to 2ch in 2011 and found I preferred having two extra nice LR speakers to 5 semi-nice speakers in terms of sound, space, cost and ease of setup. (95% of my content is 2ch. 70% music, 20% Gaming, 10% TV)

However, I will plug a couple things. AVSforum is spectacular for DIY speakers if that is of any interest at all. A forum member started diysoundgroup to sell the collaborative speaker designs near cost. I cannot comment on AVSforum's receivers section as I do not browse there.

Collective wisdom for sound quality from those guys tends to be: Room Treatment > Speakers > Processors > Cables.

Have fun, totally agree with your assessment of 'Audiophiles', some of them are unhinged.
lazydavid
Posts: 3555
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:37 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by lazydavid »

Tom0026 wrote: Thu Dec 17, 2020 12:44 pm The Denon AVR-S750H does support one Optical Audio input. It's not called TOSLINK, but it does support the standard digital audio format. I use it to connect my TV to my AVR-S750H and it works fine.
The back panel picture actually looks like it has two (labeled "TV Sound" and "Media Player"), plus a Coaxial (labelled "CBL/SAT").
anonenigma
Posts: 822
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2011 11:58 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by anonenigma »

On the web, check the budget section of Stereophile’s Recommended Components list.

https://www.stereophile.com/content/rec ... -receivers
Last edited by anonenigma on Thu Dec 17, 2020 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Teague
Posts: 2135
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:15 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by Teague »

Some claim that amplifiers have progressed to the point that modern amplifiers are audibly indistinguishable, Siegfried Linkwitz (of Linkwitz-Riley crossover fame) among them. If true, perhaps best to not expect the receiver's amplifier section to make an appreciable sonic difference. Features, signal processing, and so on of course are different.
Semper Augustus
halfisglassfull
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2015 3:22 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by halfisglassfull »

I wouldn't worry about the lack of Toslink. A digital signal is only corrupted if the receiver can't distinguish between the "high" state and the "low" state. It takes an enormous amount of electromagnetic interference for that to become a problem over a digital coaxial connection. As long as your TV and the receiver you buy have any compatible digital connection, they're equivalent.
alfaspider
Posts: 3215
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:44 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by alfaspider »

Teague wrote: Thu Dec 17, 2020 12:56 pm Some claim that amplifiers have progressed to the point that modern amplifiers are audibly indistinguishable, Siegfried Linkwitz (of Linkwitz-Riley crossover fame) among them. If true, perhaps best to not expect the receiver's amplifier section to make an appreciable sonic difference. Features, signal processing, and so on of course are different.
I think solid state amplifiers have long been at the point where audible distortion is not really a factor. However, the amount of power output does seem to make a difference, and some speakers demand quite a bit of power. A lot of consumer grade power ratings are inflated. Really cheap units may not reliable playing at higher volumes for longer periods of times- especially if they live in an enclosed place. For a receiver, you'll want to make sure it also has the correct in/outputs for your TV setup.

Long story short, best money in sound systems is spent on your speakers. Amplifier mostly just needs to be "good enough" to drive them reliably.
User avatar
Doom&Gloom
Posts: 3685
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by Doom&Gloom »

I would think that some reading (and posting questions) on the AVS Forums would yield some great information. I'm a huge Denon fan and have three of their AVRs but the newest is several years old. If you are going to be doing home theater as well as music, I suspect that you will be disappointed with a 10" subwoofer. I wouldn't worry about TOSLINK unless you absolutely must use it for one of your devices; I have found optical connections to be a royal PITA.

Good luck!
sully45
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 1:11 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by sully45 »

alfaspider wrote: Thu Dec 17, 2020 1:11 pm I think solid state amplifiers have long been at the point where audible distortion is not really a factor. However, the amount of power output does seem to make a difference, and some speakers demand quite a bit of power. A lot of consumer grade power ratings are inflated. Really cheap units may not reliable playing at higher volumes for longer periods of times- especially if they live in an enclosed place. For a receiver, you'll want to make sure it also has the correct in/outputs for your TV setup.

Long story short, best money in sound systems is spent on your speakers. Amplifier mostly just needs to be "good enough" to drive them reliably.
Even Class-D has progressed this far, which is great. Hypex makes a class D amp that measures better than Class AB these days. Hope to see those turn up in more consumer receivers soon.
Broken Man 1999
Posts: 5660
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:31 am
Location: West coast of Florida, inland on high ground!

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Alas, my audio system did not survive DW's living room furniture redo. The hulking entertainment furniture did need to go, for sure.

No more Onkyo TX-SR805 7.1 receiver, driving 6 surround speakers, a center speaker, and a subwoofer from HSU Research. The speakers are beautiful, real birdseye maple. Now I have a sound bar and a wireless subwoofer in the living room for the television. :(

I suppose the only saving grace is my hearing probably isn't what it used to be years ago.

The old speakers are in an upstairs bedroom closet, the receiver in my garage. My old Onkyo 777 was recently taken to the recycling drop-off point, it finally died. It had been doing duty in my garage, after residing in the living room prior to me buying the Onkyo TX-SR805 7.1 receiver.

I have always liked my Onkyo receivers, in fact I have a new Onkyo 5.1 TX NR535 in my closet I might set up in my bedroom one day. I bought it in a Groupon deal.

Before my Onkyo receivers I had a Rotel receiver. It wasn't half bad in the 1970ties.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go. " -Mark Twain
Topic Author
AnonJohn
Posts: 291
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2015 2:45 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by AnonJohn »

Wow. Thank you all for this great info. I am so looking forward to studying this thread on my staycation next week! Will be chiming in with questions as I do.

Have only been familiar with about half the sites offered. Thanks so much. Thanks as well for the thoughts on TOSLINK and the direct experience with that Denon.

Cheers! John
Harri88
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2020 8:15 pm
Location: Indiana

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by Harri88 »

I second AVSForum, it is a great resource for researching AV equipment and Home theater. I like Denon they make a great AV receiver, I have 2 newer ones. I have also owned Marantz and I liked them as well. Most of the Denons have optical in for digital signals, not sure if that could replace your toslink requirement.

What is your budget? How big is your room you will set this up in? When I set up my HT it was recommended to have your speakers across the front to match for balance. I would try to match your fronts, and you could move your missions to be rear speakers, or see if mission has a matching center.

For Subwoofers there are a lot of good choices. I'm do not know if any of these are wireless, but SV Subs, Rythmik, and HSU subs would be great for any HT or stereo listening.

If you have a BestBuy with a Magnolia AV or local stereo shop, I would visit them and that would get you going in the right direction. From there you could do your research to help with your decisions.
djeayzonne
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:14 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by djeayzonne »

I second the SVS recommendation for a sub.

I also recommend getting at least a 12" if you care about anything below 60 Hz.

Also, bass traps are really quite necessary for smaller rooms and still desired for larger ones (room treatment should definitely be a priority)
Afty
Posts: 1528
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:31 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by Afty »

Good room correction software can really improve sound quality. The Audyssey software in Denon and Marantz receivers is well regarded. I think Yamaha's is well regarded too. More info: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog ... orrection/
User avatar
rob
Posts: 3448
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:49 pm
Location: Here

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by rob »

All of this is incredibly subjective, so find a way to listen if at all possible.... and keep in mind that I'm at the point where I accept that music and movies cannot be done with the same setup - run before you get to that point. For movies... Denon is solid but some options...

* Have you looked at the Marantz sisters? I got an SR5007 some years ago (I assume it's got a replacement at this point and you can go up and down the range) to replace an old late 80's Marantz 2-channel and it has a lot of great features for movies, along with network connectivity etc.... While I could hear the loss of subtly from the old amp in direct music, movies are just great. I also love the minimal front compared to the back for 3.2 million connecting options - all configurable.
* You mention speakers... Interested in horns? IMO movies play great on something like a set of Klipsch's. I use them for centre and all surrounds although have some old fronts I cannot let go of - sentimality as K's would be better for movies.
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien
illumination
Posts: 1164
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:13 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by illumination »

I like the Marantz slim line, has a very "Apple" type setup that I found easier to navigate. Plenty of HDMI ports, and has an optical and coaxial line. A little over priced, but I think it's worth a few extra hundred for the features and form factor. Good at home theater and 2 channel listening. As someone that used to be something of an light audiophile, I'm really in the camp now that after about $600 on a receiver, it stops mattering unless you want to go crazy loud.

I think your going to have to ditch the optical cables for home theater if you want the latest sound codecs the streaming platforms use and get use to putting HDMI first into the receiver and then HDMI cable out from the receiver into the TV. That's sort of the way now versus before where the receiver never was in the video chain. On mine, if you use optical out on the TV for the sound, it downgrades it to stereo. ARC is another way, but it sounds like your TV doesn't have that.
Northern Flicker
Posts: 6876
Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:29 am

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by Northern Flicker »

Teague wrote: Thu Dec 17, 2020 12:56 pm Some claim that amplifiers have progressed to the point that modern amplifiers are audibly indistinguishable, Siegfried Linkwitz (of Linkwitz-Riley crossover fame) among them. If true, perhaps best to not expect the receiver's amplifier section to make an appreciable sonic difference. Features, signal processing, and so on of course are different.
This is true once you get to reasonable quality, which is a threshold well below "boutique audiophile". It was also true 30 years ago.
Risk is not a guarantor of return.
statman
Posts: 118
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2009 6:07 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by statman »

I would question the idea of a receiver, defined as a box that includes AM/FM along with an amp. Every radio station I have any interest in has online streaming, and there are many online-only stations that cater to special interests in music. I have a Cambridge CXN streamer, which also connects to streaming software on a PC to access my CD library, now ripped to high-quality FLAC audio files. I haven't turned on the tuner in my component system for years - over the air is over the hill.
User avatar
jabberwockOG
Posts: 2371
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 7:23 am

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by jabberwockOG »

We have had mostly Denon receivers and other audio gear over the years. Typically very reliable with latest technology/features. If I have to replace our current AVR today I'd buy the Denon AVR-X2700H, or the Denon AVR-X3700H (only if I needed 9.2 system capability).
User avatar
patrick013
Posts: 3079
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:49 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by patrick013 »

Has anyone ever tried the Sherwood 100 watt receiver. Excellent
specs and rather cheap but if it sounds like my old Scott 125 watt
receiver I wouldn't complain, which wasn't cheap for 125 watts of
real RMS.
age in bonds, buy-and-hold, 10 year business cycle
User avatar
Kenkat
Posts: 6898
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by Kenkat »

Afty wrote: Thu Dec 17, 2020 4:19 pm Good room correction software can really improve sound quality. The Audyssey software in Denon and Marantz receivers is well regarded. I think Yamaha's is well regarded too. More info: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog ... orrection/
This made a big difference when I upgraded my AV receiver a few years ago (I have a Yamaha).

For movies/video, the center channel speaker is really important in my opinion and worth spending some decent money on. I have a Klipsch but there are many brands out there. Don’t cheap out here.

I feel like subs are a bit more of a commodity but if you’ve found one you think you like, go with it.

For music, I usually run 2 channel stereo to the front and rear speakers (I have 4 matched Paradigm in wall speakers) but 5 channel stereo is also an option. Here, the front and rear speakers are critical to get good sound.

I think the comment above - Room Treatment > Speakers > Processors > Cables - is a good one.
jay99
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2017 6:33 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by jay99 »

I recently upgraded speakers. My previous speakers were 30 year old Polk12 RTA. Was not sure upgrading would be worth it but, with Covid and not many other needs figured it was time for an upgrade. Been real happy with the change. Also added Amazon High Def music and You Tube Music. Love both, like having live concerts in the home with unlimited catalogue.

Purchased SVS 3000 Sub in piano black. It has phone app that is easy to use. It is better than getting up to adjust the volume. SVS sub rocks, it replaced a 5 year old Klipsch Reference Sub. The Klipsch Sub's amp died. It was not worth repairing the part was $250 and on backorder.

Looked and researched numerous new front speakers. Was willing to spend 2.5k but ended up with Klipsch piano black RF-8000 for $900 for pair. The tipping point for me was the efficiency of Klipsch speakers. You need less power to drive them. Was little leary of Klipsch with my Sub Woofer short life but for the price point figured why not. Center channel Polk S35 was bargain at $200. Had limited space for center channel so, S35 fit nicely. Just added rear speakers Klipsch RP-500SA Piano Black. If you ask Accoustic Sound Design they provided 15% coupon code by email. ASD provided fast shipping with nice packaging. Everything was double boxed....the RF-8000 were 130 lbs.

About 5 years ago purchased Yamaha Rx-785 AVR, its been great...90W a channel. My previous receiver was also Yamaha but was 30 years old without the latest connections. Have had nothing but success and longevity with Yamaha so stay loyal to their brand. Was experimenting this weekend actually like the sound of 5.1 over 7.1 for music. in the end the upgrade was worth it!
lazydavid
Posts: 3555
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:37 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by lazydavid »

statman wrote: Thu Dec 17, 2020 6:14 pm I would question the idea of a receiver, defined as a box that includes AM/FM along with an amp. Every radio station I have any interest in has online streaming, and there are many online-only stations that cater to special interests in music.
Then I guess it’s good that literally no one has defined “Reciever” that way for probably 3 decades at this point. The fact that my $2500 Denon Receiver happens to still contain an AM/FM radio that cost them less than $1 is irrelevant. That is not its purpose. Its purpose is to switch, process, upscale, playback, decode, and amplify digital content sources. The definition of a receiver has been something akin to “the combination of a preamp/processor and a integrated amplifier in a single chassis” for just about as long as I can remember.
Northern Flicker
Posts: 6876
Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:29 am

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by Northern Flicker »

KenKat wrote: I think the comment above - Room Treatment > Speakers > Processors > Cables - is a good one.
Audiophile-grade RCA cables can be as cheap as $5-10. Just get short ones, which will perform as well as or better than long, expensive cables. An added benefit is less tangles/wire mess.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/1FT-RCA-Audi ... /842457959

https://www.amazon.com/Seismic-Audio-Pr ... a_1_1_sspa
Risk is not a guarantor of return.
FireSekr
Posts: 1106
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:54 am

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by FireSekr »

Getting the room acoustics correct is certainly most important.

After that, don't assume all receivers/amps are the same. Yes, distortion is very low even in the cheapest amps, but there is a noticeable difference when you cross a certain threshold. I would say I can still notice a significant difference in audio quality between having a receiver and having separates (i.e. separate amp, separate pre-amp). A big part of that is the quality of the power supply

When I upgraded to mono block amps (1 amp for each speaker) I noticed a significant improvement in staging. From what I understand, this is due to the higher quality of the power supply, and elimination of interference between right and left channel.

I am using Emotiva monoblock amps. The quality is excellent and I got the amps used for about $700 for both...they've been amazing for the 5 years I had them. If I were buying again, I would consider another brand, not because the Emotiva is bad quality, but I prefer not buying Chinese products for reasons unrelated to quality.
BBQ Nut
Posts: 177
Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:19 am

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by BBQ Nut »

AVRs and "audiophile"......I'm out. :sharebeer
User avatar
patrick013
Posts: 3079
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:49 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by patrick013 »

My old Scott 125 watt had the best specs you could find.
But, they don't make it anymore. FM sensitivity less
than 1/4 microvolt, capture ratio 2.0, S/N 90 db, and on
and on...stereo separation...all at or above audiophile
range. Sweet but robust sound.

The Sherwood 100 watt receivers I mentioned earlier are
similar. All specs at or above audiophile range. Very
rare. Better than Yamaha and some receivers that cost
thousands of dollars. Hard to find one locally to do a
sound check to see if the sweet and robust sound comes
along with those specs.
age in bonds, buy-and-hold, 10 year business cycle
cyclist
Posts: 159
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:04 am

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by cyclist »

Ok, so what are the modern equivalents to the Adcom GTP-500 tuner/preamp and GFA-535 60w amp I've been using for the last 30 years or so? Or the B&W DM110 bookshelf speakers that go with them?

I haven't been listening all that critically, but I can't imagine that time hasn't taken its toll on them one way or another...

Cyclist
sully45
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 1:11 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by sully45 »

I would argue the 'modern' approach isn't separates at all; but something like the Vanatoo T1 Encore https://audioxpress.com/article/fresh-f ... -speakers/.

What us millenials like about it:
  • Compact on a desk.
  • Good connectivity options
  • Digital amp, DSP, and monitors combine for very good, balanced sound
  • Combination of above components for 500 (b-stock) is cheaper than separates
bloom2708
Posts: 8391
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:08 pm
Location: Fargo, ND

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by bloom2708 »

I have a 2.1 system for music.

A smaller 5.1 system for tv/movies.

I find that I can leave the 5.1 system alone. Sounds great. No need to change.

I constantly tinker with the 2.1 trying different main speakers. KEF Q150 and a B&W Sub currently. Not high end. But hoping to keep upgrading over the years.
"We are here to provoke thoughtfulness, not agree with you." Unknown Boglehead
Audioarc
Posts: 36
Joined: Tue May 01, 2018 3:13 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by Audioarc »

I would suggest getting a 2020 model over a 2019 model. The one you listed is 2019. With any technology purchase the latest is better. Denon, Marantz and Onkyo are all good. Personally I would not buy a “refurb”. That means it broke and was repaired at least once. Dismantling a home theater setup to get an AVR repaired is a royal pain.
02nz
Posts: 6132
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:17 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by 02nz »

sully45 wrote: Fri Dec 18, 2020 4:52 pm I would argue the 'modern' approach isn't separates at all; but something like the Vanatoo T1 Encore https://audioxpress.com/article/fresh-f ... -speakers/.

What us millenials like about it:
  • Compact on a desk.
  • Good connectivity options
  • Digital amp, DSP, and monitors combine for very good, balanced sound
  • Combination of above components for 500 (b-stock) is cheaper than separates
Or - gasp - Sonos. Audiophiles will turn up their noses, but I've had speakers (passive, no amplification, no source) up to the $2500 range, and my pair of Sonos One SLs come remarkably close (amplification and source included) for a tenth that price.
User avatar
Doom&Gloom
Posts: 3685
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by Doom&Gloom »

Audioarc wrote: Fri Dec 18, 2020 5:50 pm I would suggest getting a 2020 model over a 2019 model. The one you listed is 2019. With any technology purchase the latest is better. Denon, Marantz and Onkyo are all good. Personally I would not buy a “refurb”. That means it broke and was repaired at least once. Dismantling a home theater setup to get an AVR repaired is a royal pain.
Agree on avoiding refurbs, but disagree (with conditions) about getting the latest model.

I have gotten some great deals on my Denon AVRs by buying the outgoing year's model--but ONLY after ensuring that the newer model did not have any additional or upgraded features that I might need.
marcwd
Posts: 415
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:15 am
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by marcwd »

lazydavid wrote: Thu Dec 17, 2020 10:18 pm
statman wrote: Thu Dec 17, 2020 6:14 pm I would question the idea of a receiver, defined as a box that includes AM/FM along with an amp. Every radio station I have any interest in has online streaming, and there are many online-only stations that cater to special interests in music.
Then I guess it’s good that literally no one has defined “Reciever” that way for probably 3 decades at this point. The fact that my $2500 Denon Receiver happens to still contain an AM/FM radio that cost them less than $1 is irrelevant. That is not its purpose. Its purpose is to switch, process, upscale, playback, decode, and amplify digital content sources. The definition of a receiver has been something akin to “the combination of a preamp/processor and a integrated amplifier in a single chassis” for just about as long as I can remember.
A receiver is more correctly described as “the combination of a preamp/processor, tuner, and a power amplifier integrated within a single chassis.” Without a tuner, the combination is an integrated amplifier.
phxjcc
Posts: 688
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:47 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by phxjcc »

Doom&Gloom wrote: Fri Dec 18, 2020 6:07 pm
Audioarc wrote: Fri Dec 18, 2020 5:50 pm I would suggest getting a 2020 model over a 2019 model. The one you listed is 2019. With any technology purchase the latest is better. Denon, Marantz and Onkyo are all good. Personally I would not buy a “refurb”. That means it broke and was repaired at least once. Dismantling a home theater setup to get an AVR repaired is a royal pain.
Agree on avoiding refurbs, but disagree (with conditions) about getting the latest model.

I have gotten some great deals on my Denon AVRs by buying the outgoing year's model--but ONLY after ensuring that the newer model did not have any additional or upgraded features that I might need.
CES in Las Vegas is usually in January and the time of major model changes.
My guess is that CES will not happen in 2021 and therefore Denon, et al, will have rolling calendar upgrades to their lines.
Still, I would wait until end of January to buy in order to not be immediately obsolete.

Personally, I have Denon and Klipsch and have been happy.
Audyssey is definitely worth it.
Moved house twice and it sounded completely different before using the tool.
Now, my Denon is ca. 2007, so keep that in mind.
I only do 2.1 for music, 7.1 for movies.

The only issue that I have with Klipsch is the center channel for movies seems too shrill.
Thinking of going Polk.
But, I am old and have to turn it up to hear everything.
abc...xyz
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2015 3:45 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by abc...xyz »

Check out the link below if you’re interested in in dept reviews of audio products…
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/foru ... p?reviews/

This website makes me reminisce about the good old days of Audio magazine and their in dept reviews.
The Denon receivers score very well.
Northern Flicker
Posts: 6876
Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:29 am

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by Northern Flicker »

FireSekr wrote: Fri Dec 18, 2020 2:54 pm Getting the room acoustics correct is certainly most important.

After that, don't assume all receivers/amps are the same. Yes, distortion is very low even in the cheapest amps, but there is a noticeable difference when you cross a certain threshold. I would say I can still notice a significant difference in audio quality between having a receiver and having separates (i.e. separate amp, separate pre-amp). A big part of that is the quality of the power supply

When I upgraded to mono block amps (1 amp for each speaker) I noticed a significant improvement in staging. From what I understand, this is due to the higher quality of the power supply, and elimination of interference between right and left channel.

I am using Emotiva monoblock amps. The quality is excellent and I got the amps used for about $700 for both...they've been amazing for the 5 years I had them. If I were buying again, I would consider another brand, not because the Emotiva is bad quality, but I prefer not buying Chinese products for reasons unrelated to quality.
When current flows through a wire, it induces an electromagnetic field around the wire. If you put an electromagnetic field around a wire in which current is flowing, it will induce changes in voltages, which will cause distortion of the signal. When the electromagnetic field induced by one circuit interferes with another circuit, it is called electromagnetic interference (EMI).

What matters is that EMI is controlled. That can be achieved with the power supplies and amp circuits in one case, though separating them can make the job easier. Toroidal power supplies induce a magnetic field over a smaller volume of space. Another technique is to put the power supply in one case and the amp circuits in a different case, an unheralded benefit of wall rats.

How you prevent the power supply from causing interference is not what makes the amp good, but the fact that the interference is controlled is what matters. A single big case with a single big generic E-I transformer for power supply, and all the amp circuits crammed in with the power supply can be crystal clean if it is engineered for EMI to be controlled.
Risk is not a guarantor of return.
User avatar
midareff
Posts: 7327
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:43 am
Location: Biscayne Bay, South Florida

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by midareff »

AnonJohn wrote: Thu Dec 17, 2020 11:55 am Hi — I'm a wanna-be audiophile. I like having a nice stereo, but don't want to go off the deep end on cost and quality. So bogleheads seemed to be the place to ask for recommendations on receiver, subwoofer, and a center speaker!

My 1992 Onkyo is failing, so I want a receiver that is good for music and also comes with modern home theater capabilities (eARC, ATMOS,etc). I have a phonograph, a collection of FLAC-ripped CDs, and occasionally do some streaming though that is a second tier. To calibrate you on how I think about being an audiophile: I like vinyl but my setup is poor to mediocre. If I want quality I'll use a CD / FLAC (would hookup a HTPC but could also do over NAS if interface was good enough).

I'm going to keep my old Mission bookshelf speakers but add a wireless subwoofer and center channel. In my next house (or when I commit to not moving) I'll at least 2 rear channels, if not a 7.1 setup. My room is fairly small, nothing special on acoustics.

Based on wirecutter, I have been looking at the Denon AVR-S750H. It seems to check all the boxes, with nice EQ adjustments. It does not have toslink in, which concerns me for connecting to some TVs (my current TV does not have ARC and I do watch OTA TV; I know that 5.1 channel out is a black art but want to anticipate ATSC3). I'm also unclear as to whether there is a future / utility of HEOS.

Similarly, the Speedwoofer 10s looks like about my speed for a subwoofer, and I appreciate the relatively affordable wireless connectivity option.

Don't know on center channel. Recs welcome! I'm intrigued by the new Sony TVs where they vibrate the screen itself to serve as a center channel.

Looking forward to some boglehead wisdom! I've been wanting a new receiver since 2002 (for home theater), but needed to wait for my Onkyo to die. It had very clear power.
Intentions are a wonderful thing but keep in mind your system will be no better than the weakest link regardless of the fidelity of the rest of the components. Bluetooth is a wonderful way to connect things but it simply isn't a high definition transmission method, wired is way better. Toslink is 24/96 as its theoretical design limit, which is also not high definition. Very high quality digital cable is also very inexpensive. If you want to be a "wanna be audiophile" don't include parts or components in your system building that prohibit those capabilities down the road.
WhyNotUs
Posts: 1819
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:38 am

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by WhyNotUs »

I have a Denon AVR-X1500H and am happy with it. Bought it on sale from Crutchfield. It would not make a stereophile list but has everything that I needed. HEOS has worked well for my uses. I most use it for listening to radio stations from around the world on Tune In.

I paired it with ELAC speakers (replacing old Polk 10s, which were workhorses and cost as much as my current complete system), which have been great for the room that I have them in. It is a three speaker set up with their center bar. I used the Audyssey (sp?) for setup and it made a noticeable difference. I feel like the Denon received and ELAC speakers paired very well.

Including the Sony cd player, I have less than $1,000 into the system and it sounds really good. Our living room is a modest size and if one had a 400 sf living room it could be underpowered.
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX
User avatar
sleepysurf
Posts: 440
Joined: Sat Nov 23, 2013 6:59 am
Location: Florida

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by sleepysurf »

OP hasn't responded re budget, which is the first critical decision. The Denon AVR-S750H is a mid-priced model, so I'm assuming he's on a limited budget.

I presume hes's talking about a typical "family room" setup, where decor and furnishings ("WAF" in audiophile parlance) must also be considered, along with ease of use (if spouse/SO/kids).

That being the case, I'd suggest a mid-price 2020 model Denon or Marantz receiver (same parent company), since Audyssey MultiEQ is more popular than Yamaha's proprietary YPAO room correction. At a (much) higher price point, he might consider Anthem receivers (newest models shipping ~Jan), which incorporates their highly-regarded Anthem Room Correction ("Genesis" is latest version). Also, if room size/WAF allow, utilizing two smaller subs would be acoustically better than a single large one.

Of note, there have been some concerns about Denon/Marantz HDMI 2.1 chipsets (see... https://www.audioholics.com/news/sound- ... 1-no-issue), but it looks like that is being worked out. The new Anthem receivers will supposedly be upgradable to HDMI 2.1, but ?? cost.

Speakers are a whole 'nuther can of worms. Since OP already has Mission bookshelf speakers, I'd add a Mission center (to keep same overall tonality), and one or two subs, using whichever brand/model fits his budget (needn't be Mission).

If OP wants more opinions/suggestions, he should check out AVSForum or Audioholics. If he wants to join the audio lunatic fringe, he can surf over to Audiogon, Audio Science Review, etc. :D
Retired 2018 | ~50/45/5 (partially sliced and diced)
User avatar
tcassette
Posts: 208
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:20 pm
Location: Southeast Tennessee

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by tcassette »

A receiver from Denon, Marantz, or Yamaha (especially the Aventage line) should be fine for you. Obviously you need to ensure that the models you consider have phono inputs for your turntable. I have been well satisfied with SVS subwoofers. The center channel speaker in a 5.1 or 7.1 system is very critical for movies, so be willing to budget enough for that.
rebellovw
Posts: 683
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2016 4:30 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by rebellovw »

Check out Accessories4less - great prices - lots of refurb new products - no tax and free shipping.

I bought a Marantz HD-CD1 CD Player for 349 out the door - arrived mint and works perfectly. The same CD player is 500-600 everywhere else w/tax.

Since you are looking for an AVR - your odds are good at finding a nice Maranatz. You don't really need a built in phono should a unit not have one as phono preamps can be had at a very low cost.
Northern Flicker
Posts: 6876
Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:29 am

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by Northern Flicker »

midareff wrote: Intentions are a wonderful thing but keep in mind your system will be no better than the weakest link regardless of the fidelity of the rest of the components. Bluetooth is a wonderful way to connect things but it simply isn't a high definition transmission method, wired is way better. Toslink is 24/96 as its theoretical design limit, which is also not high definition. Very high quality digital cable is also very inexpensive. If you want to be a "wanna be audiophile" don't include parts or components in your system building that prohibit those capabilities down the road.
Human hearing has a dynamic range of 20 bits, from the faintest audible pin drop to having your ear say 3 feet from a jet engine at full throttle. 24 bits is plenty of resolution.

The Shannon-Nyquist limit for 44.1kHz is 22.05kHz. This means that all frequencies up to 22.05Hz are encoded. There is no additional encoding benefit for a 96kHz sample rate. It will enable encoding frequencies up to 48kHz, high enough to damage tweeters. When rendered, frequencies above 20kHz thus will need to be filtered out. Encoding at 44.1kHz just means that filtering is done by an anti-aliasing filter when the sampling is done, instead of when the sample is rendered.

There is no benefit to formats beyond 24/96, or for that matter, 20/44.1, were it to exist.
Last edited by Northern Flicker on Sat Dec 19, 2020 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Risk is not a guarantor of return.
MikeZ
Posts: 362
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:17 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by MikeZ »

So formerish audiophile here.

Main question: Do you want 2 channel for music or home theater 5.1/7.1or movie watching? If 2 channel, I would go the integrated DAC route like the Marantz HD-AMP1.
Teague
Posts: 2135
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:15 pm

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by Teague »

Northern Flicker wrote: Sat Dec 19, 2020 7:59 pm It will enable encoding frequencies up to 48kHz, high enough to damage tweeters.
Apologies for the brief digression, but how do these higher frequencies damage tweeters? I'd not heard of this before. Assuming of course we're not hitting them with a clipped waveform or other abuse, which will just as or more easily happen at lower frequencies.
Semper Augustus
Northern Flicker
Posts: 6876
Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:29 am

Re: Pragmatic "audiophile" receiver recommendations

Post by Northern Flicker »

Teague wrote: Sat Dec 19, 2020 10:34 pm
Northern Flicker wrote: Sat Dec 19, 2020 7:59 pm It will enable encoding frequencies up to 48kHz, high enough to damage tweeters.
Apologies for the brief digression, but how do these higher frequencies damage tweeters? I'd not heard of this before. Assuming of course we're not hitting them with a clipped waveform or other abuse, which will just as or more easily happen at lower frequencies.
The reason clipped waveforms damage tweeters is they incorporate square waves into the wave form, and square waves have very high frequency terms in their frequency domain. Tweeters, in fact all speaker drivers, but especially tweeters, have a supported frequency range, and content above the range can damage them.

In any case, the DAC will have a fairly steep low pass filter at or a bit above 20kHz whether the source was sampled at 44.1kHz or 96kHz or whatever.
Risk is not a guarantor of return.
Post Reply