Receiver or Integrated Amp--Tech Nimrod

Discussion in 'Amps, Pre-Pros & Receivers' started by jalesi, Mar 29, 2014.

  1. jalesi Junior Audioholic

    jalesi
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    I have a set or two of speakers that I'm going to give to my dad, and for christmas I am going to get him a receiver or amp. I have time to shop, obviously, and I'm not sure which to get him. He loves music, and he won't use it if it's too complicated. He is a real technical nimrod...he struggles with a non-smart cell phone.
    I don't expect him to ever get into home theater, and if so, he'd probably be just as happy listening to it in stereo. I was thinking that an integrated amp might work since all he would need to do is push a button for whatever he wants to listen to. However, he might like the ability to listen to local FM radio stations, so that puts us back in the receiver zone.
    Budget would of course be cheap as possible, and with time to shop, I'm looking for suggestions...
  2. markw Audioholic Overlord

    markw
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    Several things to consider here. First would be are you looking for a two channel (stereo) unit of a multi-channel unit?

    Starting from the beginning, there are no multi-channel integrated amps, just receivers or separate preamp/processor pairs which can get costly and complex. Just stereo integrated amps.

    Now, as for stereo intergrated amps, they actually cost more than stereo receivers but are simplicity in themselves to operate.

    A good, inexlensive stereo receiver would be the Sherwood RX-4105 which I saw at my local Rat Shack, new in box with a 2 year guarantee for < $100. As simple as a receiver gets nowadays. There are others but they start somewhere higher than this one. Act fast though. I heard rumorsthey might stop making this one soon. Pity. I've got friends with these and they are great performers.

    What makes these things tricky for us old farts is the tuner. Gone is the simple ruler dial and tuning knob. Now, it's all a few push-buttons that take some getting used to and a digital display. But, this is the same for ALL modern receivers, not just this one.

    As for Multi-channel units, thereps;a plethora of than, starting from a bit over $200 and up. They work well considering their prices but by virtue of their multi-channel processing, they do add some complexity to their operation and enjoyment.

    As for some ideas asto what's out there at good prices. you can get great, factory authorized (amd guaranteed) refurbished units at Accessories4less. Poke around there and let us know what you think.
  3. bikemig Audioholic Chief

    bikemig
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    Maybe a little complicated for your dad but the Onkyo TX 8050 at $189 from accessories4less, Onkyo TX-8050 2-Channel Network Stereo Receiver | Accessories4less, would be near the top of my list. He can use it simply as a stereo receiver but it also does Pandora and you can hook up an iPod via the usb input. That is a lot of extra functionality for a stereo receiver.
  4. Pyrrho Audioholic Ninja

    Pyrrho
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    If you are wanting new, it is hard to beat the Sherwood deal mentioned by markw. Sherwood makes some other receivers in that price range, which you might find on Amazon, as well as other stores, like:

    Sherwood America Two Channel Stereo Receiver | RX-4105 (RX4105) | Sherwood America

    Sherwood America 100W X 2 Channels Stereo Receiver | RX-4109 (RX4109) | Sherwood America


    You might also want to look at Yamaha, which looks a little nicer, but starts at $150:

    Amazon.com: Yamaha Natural Sound Stereo Receiver (R-S201BL): Electronics

    And they look nicer as you go up the line.

    If you don't mind refurbished, you can go up a step for not much more:

    YAMAHA R-S300 Natural Sound Stereo Receiver


    On the other hand, your father might prefer a vintage receiver, with a "silver" look to it (brushed aluminum), which is easier to read the lettering than all of these stupid black things that everyone makes these days. For some samples of what I mean, see:

    Pioneer Receivers

    The downside is that it will be more trouble to find what you want, with condition being very important in a used product, and then you need to concern yourself with whether the thing should be serviced or not. But he may well prefer one of these old units, as with them, one control does one thing, and with the brushed aluminum face with black lettering, it is far easier to read what the controls do. I have an old Pioneer SX-1250 that I plan on keeping for life. A lower model will have fewer controls and therefore be easier to use, but even something with as many controls as the SX-1250 is a lot easier to deal with than a lot of things these days, as each control does exactly one thing, and it is easy to see how all of the controls are set.

    A few companies still make components with brushed aluminum fronts that are not painted black, but they typically are expensive. And they usually don't make receivers this way; only integrated amplifiers. Here is one of the less expensive models, which also happens to be very small:

    TEAC A-H01 (Silver) Stereo integrated amplifier with built-in DAC at Crutchfield.com


    What you should get also obviously depends on what your father will be hooking up to it. For example, if your father listens to LPs, he needs a phono input (unless he has a turntable with one built-in, which is more common now than it used to be). If he listens to CDs and not LPs, then he does not need such an input. And, of course, the amount of power needed depends on the speakers you are giving him, as well as how loud he likes his music.
  5. jalesi Junior Audioholic

    jalesi
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    Thanks for the input. I can't see him wanting to do anything surround, so a stereo receiver will be all that he needs. He's a guitar player as well, so I can see him putting a music CD into his player and playing along to something he's learning to play. My preference would be for one with a phono input, however, he won't be playing much vinyl since I have his collection at my house! And he doesn't currently own a turntable.

    My ultimate goal is to get him back into music. It's kind of a sin that he loves music, has a few guitars, and he has nothing to listen to it other than his computer and some ok computer speakers. Not to start an argument, but I like the physical interaction with vinyl and CD's, not to mention the cover art. Anyway, I need to keep it simple for now, that way he doesn't get frustrated and never use the equipment or enjoy it.

    I need to look at the Sherwood, that might be a great starting point. I will look at the aforementioned Yamaha and Onkyo suggestions as well. With one of the receivers, we might be able to start slow with showing him one function at a time one week, then add another function the next week. I can see him punching buttons trying to get it to work and then it takes me an hour to undo what he's done!
  6. markw Audioholic Overlord

    markw
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    For a few $$ more than that RX-4105 I mentioned earlier, the Sherwood RX-4109 has a built in phono preamp.
  7. jalesi Junior Audioholic

    jalesi
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    The 4109 may fit the bill. I appreciate all of the suggestions, it has given me plenty to research and shop for!
  8. AcuDefTechGuy Audioholic Slumlord

    AcuDefTechGuy
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    I would get a 5.1/7.1 Denon AVR for sure. :D

    Even if my ONLY objective is to listen to 2.0 music.
  9. Pyrrho Audioholic Ninja

    Pyrrho
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    If his father is really the technophobe he is represented as being, that is bad advice. A 5.1/7.1 receiver is much more complicated than a 2 channel receiver.
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  10. AcuDefTechGuy Audioholic Slumlord

    AcuDefTechGuy
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    We're not expecting his dad to manually configure the speakers, run Audyssey, change XO, Trims, EQs, etc.

    I am sure he can figure out the simple basics of Power, Source, & Volume even if his AVR is an 11.2 AVR.

    Press power button to turn on AVR. Press again to turn off.

    Turn left knob to select the source. Clockwise or counterclockwise .

    Turn right knob to change volume. Clockwise to increase volume. Counterclockwise to decrease volume.

    My 10 and 11 year old daughters use my Denon 3312 AVR (+ Panasonic BD + Mitsubishi TV + Roku) in my family room all the time.

    I'm sure his dad has at least the same brain capacity or more.

    1, 2, 3, A, B, C. Power. Source. Volume.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2014
  11. bikemig Audioholic Chief

    bikemig
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    Yes and no. Yes it's easy to figure out the basic functions but some people get put off by all the added complexity and then ignore the system entirely. People are different and there may be some where the simplicity of a 2 channel rig is a real plus.
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  12. jalesi Junior Audioholic

    jalesi
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    I can assure you, that brain capacity isn't an issue. What I can assure you is that he hits a wrong button or two and then the knobs don't work, the sound doesn't work or something like that. I've done it with my old Denon 3202 where it took me an hour to figure out, and it required reading the manual. If this happened, it would take me time to try to undo what he did, or worse, he just wouldn't use it. AVR manuals are not easy reads. I do think that he could figure out an AVR, but if it's too complicated or seems that way, it won't be used thus defeating the purpose.
  13. herbu Audioholic Field Marshall

    herbu
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    I understand completely. My mom is 88, lives alone and is still a firecracker. But since Dad died, their HT system has been silent. She doesn't even turn it on. She wanted a radio and CD player, even though the HT system had both. I got her a Bose for simplicity. On/Off, AM/FM/CD, Station tuner, volume, period. She loved it. After about a month, she told me the radio quit working. I went over, and the station had been changed. I put it back on the station and Bob's your uncle!

    During the time her radio was "broken", she figured out how to Google the station she likes on her computer, select live broadcast, and had been listening thru her computer. She's not stupid, but she knows nothing about "the stereo", and has no interest in learning.

    So while I understand and agree with, "1, 2, 3, A, B, C", I have seen the situation where it just doesn't work.
  14. AcuDefTechGuy Audioholic Slumlord

    AcuDefTechGuy
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    :eek: Oh.....No.....You....DIDN'T. :D
  15. herbu Audioholic Field Marshall

    herbu
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    Yep. :( Sorry!! :( It was a tough call, but ultimately the simplicity of the Bose Wave Radio controls, (1, 2, 3, period... no A, B, C), and Mama's satisfaction trumped whatever reputation I might accrue here. FWIW, even with her hearing aids she thinks it sounds GREAT!!! And except for inadvertently changing the station, she manages the controls well. Touch it to turn on... Touch it again to turn off. Easy Peazy. ;)
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  16. bikemig Audioholic Chief

    bikemig
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    You could be the first person on Audioholics to recommend Bose and see your reputation score go up, :). Simplicity is a big, big deal for some end users.
  17. AcuDefTechGuy Audioholic Slumlord

    AcuDefTechGuy
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    Anything for mommy. ;)

    Millions of people apparently think Bose sounds great. The NFL thinks Bose sounds great. Only us picky audiophiles disagree. :D
  18. herbu Audioholic Field Marshall

    herbu
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    Maybe they use the same hearing aids as Mama? :rolleyes:

    I guess it's true... God and AH look out for drunks and fools. :eek:
  19. RichB Audioholic General

    RichB
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    It works, she likes it, your done !

    My mother-in-law wants to listen to Pandora after hearing the Edith Piaf station I created for her.
    Senior proof solutions are not obvious, Perhaps Bose, Tivoli...

    She was unable to answer Facetime calls from the iPad we gave her.
    It had to be repurposed :)

    - Rich
  20. Pyrrho Audioholic Ninja

    Pyrrho
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    Simplicity is a virtue. I like a coffee maker with one and only one control on it: An on/off switch. I don't want to have to think before the coffee is made. And don't get me started on those idiotic coffee makers with clocks in them in which the instruction manual tells you to unplug it when not in use!

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