What is the best AVR?

Discussion in 'Amps, Pre-Pros & Receivers' started by mjcmt, May 20, 2012.

  1. mjcmt Audioholic

    mjcmt
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    I'm interested to know what is the best very AVR on the market currently, without venturing into separate pre/pros and amps?
  2. racquetman Audioholic Chief

    racquetman
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    If there was a consensus right answer to your question (or any question about anything that starts with "what is the best . . .") the world would be a simpler place, wouldn't it?

    The right answer for you is the receiver that meets all of your processing and amplification needs, fits your budget, has a GUI you find intuitive, has the aesthetics you find desirable, and a dozen other things I haven't mentioned.

    Many of these things are personal preferences and therefore there is no right answer to your question.
  3. FirstReflection AV Rant Co-Host

    FirstReflection
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    Yes, AVRs do so many things, there's no way to pick one and call it "the best". And considering the price tag of some of the most expensive AVRs out there, it's also a bit odd to eliminate separates from the equation.

    If you're looking for a new AVR, you should start with a budget, tell us your room size and your speakers, and let us know any features that are important to you. We can work with that and recommend AVRs that will fit your needs.

    If this is just a hypothetical, then there is no single answer. It's like asking, "what's the best car?" There are just too many variables and too broad a selection to come up with just one answer ;)
  4. LAB3 Senior Audioholic

    LAB3
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    This has been debated many times, Denon, Yamaha and many others seem to be the most popular right now. If my Yamaha fried tomorrow I would be looking for a new Denon 4311. Or a new Yamaha RX-A 2010.There are other more expensive one's that I can't afford but these two are very stable, well made untis. That I can afford and they like my current RX-V1900 does everything I neeed in my small HT room. My two Yamaha have been a plug and play for years now. My 1900 replaced a Onkyo TX-SR 805 that was in the shop 3 times in 18 months... I guess I got a lemon on that one. Good hunting as there are so many makes and models to look at and everyone has a favorite like I do.
    LAB3,
  5. mjcmt Audioholic

    mjcmt
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    I'm curious which is the best. Here are a few of the totl models.
    Denon avr5308
    Anthem mrx700
    NAD t787
    HK avr3650
    Yamaha rxa3010
    Marantz sr7005
    Onkyo txnr818
  6. AcuDefTechGuy Audioholic Slumlord

    AcuDefTechGuy
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    The best AVRs on the market right now would be the Denon AVR-5308CI and the Yamaha RX-A3010, both are 150 Watts per Channel.
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  7. Adam Audioholic Jedi

    Adam
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    To paraphrase my drinking buddies - my favorite AVR is an installed one.

    :D
    Adam,
  8. DS-21 Full Audioholic

    DS-21
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    Not really. There are just four variables that matter here: sound (which is to say, room correction, because elsewhere they're all commodity parts. Often the same commodity parts), power, after-sales support, usability, and features. (And price.)There are many, many more with a car.

    To my mind, the "best" receiver is the one with the best room correction features that is adequate everywhere else. Since the best room correction available in a current-production AVR is Anthem's ARC (Audyssey imposes a "crappy speaker compensation" notch in the midrange, Trinnov is not available in a current production AVR, and the other systems are third tier at best), that leads pretty much inevitably for someone who's primary focus is sound quality to one of the Anthem MRX boxes.

    Since there's so little material difference between the three Anthem models in the things that matter (the more expensive ones get a tiny bit more power and IMO rather half-baked streaming features), and the price spread is rather wide, the base-model MRX 300 strikes me as the "best" AVR on the market right now. Best room correction, adequate power, few ergonomic flaws, excellent after-sales support (as opposed to Denon, who simply don't know how to treat high end customers), and adequate feature-set for most people (loudness compensation, dynamic compression, 2d zone, etc.).
  9. racquetman Audioholic Chief

    racquetman
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    Sound - all receivers don't have the same "sound". Do you think a receiver with A/B amplification sounds the same as one with D amplification? Or consumes the same amount of energy? Or has the same efficiency? Well look at that, I just came up with some more variables you haven't considered. They may not be important to you, but could be at the top of the list for somebody else.

    Yes, to YOUR mind.

    You write this like it is an undisputed fact. Can you point me to the article where every audio engineering expert in the world agrees with you? Do you think the Audyssey engineers sit around thinking to themselves, "Gee, if we could only figure out how Anthem has managed to master the science of room correction"? There is hardly a consensus here and I think you know that.

    What if I have a 9.2 system? The Anthems top out at 7 amp channels. What if I need more than 4 HDMI inputs? What if I need XYZ? Don't aesthetics count? I (and I'm sure I'm not alone) think the Anthems are ugly, and would not buy one for that fact alone.
  10. DS-21 Full Audioholic

    DS-21
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    You're right - because their room correction systems have different target curves, etc. But exclude room correction or other processing (e.g. loudness compensation or dynamic compression software like Dolby Volume or Audyssey DynamicEQ/Dynamic Volume), and you're making an extraordinary claim that requires proof, in the form of positive identification of differences in controlled listening tests rather than just handwaving assertions.

    They should, yes. Sometimes they won't, because of simplistic output filter design combined with speakers designed without regard to their impedance curve.

    Energy efficiency (one thing you made into one two unjustifiably) would fall under my "features" rubric.

    Given that I started my sentence with "to my mind," what's your bloody point, except to be needlessly argumentative.


    Who cares?

    I know what the transfer curves of each system are. Bottom line is that ARC is high fidelity. Audyssey (except pro) is not, because they impose a notch at ~2kHz to compensate for the fact that most people have crappily-designed speakers that have big directivity changes in the midrange. For people with properly designed speakers, Audyssey is an inferior solution.

    I think they're very short-sighted in not making the crappy speakers compensation notch "feature" non-defeatable without buying their Pro license and calibration kit. With good speakers (perhaps you've yet to hear a pair) it's audibly deleterious.

    Then buy some other damn box. Seriously!

    Though your ".2" is just nonsense. No room correction system properly handles multisubs, except for arguably the Harman BassQ separate box and to some extent their 2k USD integrated amp. The rest are all just hacks in how they treat multisubs. (Yes, that includes Audyssey XT32.) Current best practices for the modal region and below is sum the bass to mono (as high as you can go without localization issues, say 120-150Hz) and use multiple subwoofers calibrated sequentially for smoothest response.

    See my blog later today or possibly tomorrow for two recent articles on bass in small rooms by Dr. Earl Geddes, a gentleman who literally wrote his dissertation on the problem of bass reproduction in a small room, which he as graciously allowed me to reprint.
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  11. racquetman Audioholic Chief

    racquetman
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    Or could it be that things aren't as simple as you believe they are?

    You said there were only 4 things that matter. "Features" is a rather large simplification if we are trying to figure out what the best is, especially considering the subjective nature of the argument.

    Touchy, aren't we? The "bloody" point is that everything you have written reads like you are stating fact. If they were facts we wouldn't have to discuss them in a forum, would we?

    Are you asking a question? I'm assuming you wanted an exclamation point.

    My Bose wave radio fills the room with sound!!! :mad:

    Thanks, I think I will.

    Having 2 subwoofers is nonsense? I was referring to needs as in amplification channels, outputs, etc. . . , not in the context of room correction which you are obviously WAAAAAY too hung up on.

    I'm certainly not surprised that you have your own blog . . . ;)

    You obviously believe in measurement above all else. Unfortunately people like you (not judging) forget about the last part of the audio chain - that being the ear and brain which can't be compensated for in your equations. The two things you can't measure and will never fully understand about the process. Everyone hears differently and everyone processes that auditory information differently. It doesn't matter how flat you make a response curve or how perfectly you think some software has corrected for room variation when that information changes the second it enters your flawed ears.

    And that, my friend, is why hearing is subjective. THE END . . .
  12. AcuDefTechGuy Audioholic Slumlord

    AcuDefTechGuy
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    I think they do have the same sound whether it's class A/B/D/H/X/Y/Z. :D

    As long as they are 1) volume level matched, 2) playing within normal capacity - not over driven/ clipping / distorting, and 3) in Direct or Pure Direct mode - bypassing any kind of Room EQ, Tone, or DSP.

    BTW, many Engineers, PhDs, and other audiophiles and scientists also believe this.
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  13. racquetman Audioholic Chief

    racquetman
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    Yes, and many don't. Do you think we'll have a consensus any time soon?

    I'm just going to continue to believe what my ears tells me because at the end of the day that's really all that matters.
  14. DS-21 Full Audioholic

    DS-21
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    Highly unlikely.

    Unless you have statistically-signifcant identifications of sonic differences between AVR's under controlled conditions, you just don't have a leg to stand on here.


    A broad categorization was precisely my point.

    Please do not assume everyone else only comprehends written English on the level you've demonstrated in your replies to me.

    My God! Did you bother to actually read what you replied to? My sentence after the one you quoted specifically mentioned multisubs! I also specifically mentioned future posting of papers covering current best practices for multisub deployment!

    The hackish, kludgy manner in which current AVR's handle multisubs is, however, decidedly suboptimal.

    Now, if by "2 subwoofers" you mean "in stereo," rather than summed to mono, yes that is nonsense. There is basically no program material recorded out-of-phase (i.e. in stereo) down low, and even if there were one would need a room with dimensions far greater than the typical domestic living room to be able to resolve stereo bass. If your living room is the Musikverein, then perhaps stereo subwoofers are a good idea...

    Vacuous and irrelevant words of weasel, mostly used to sell nonsense to idiots.
  15. racquetman Audioholic Chief

    racquetman
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    Words hurt you know. At least I think they would if I understood what you were saying. ;)

    The more of your drivel I read the dumber I get, so no.

    You should really get to work on that serious problem - that's probably a Tuesday evening for you, right?

    "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

    Says it all, doesn't it?
  16. AcuDefTechGuy Audioholic Slumlord

    AcuDefTechGuy
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    I won't try to convince anyone, so that's cool.

    But in the spirit of friendly debate, I can tell you David Rich & Peter Aczel of The Audio Critic, Siegfried Linkwitz, Sean Olive of Harman International do not believe that all these amps sound differently.

    Can you give me some names of prominent people who believe that all these amps sound differently?

    Please don't tell me Stereophile, Home Theater Magazine, Sound & Vision magazine and the likes. :D
  17. racquetman Audioholic Chief

    racquetman
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    I don't feel like doing the research, but, off the top of my head, how about John Curl. Would you like to try and convince him that all amplifiers sound the same?

    Do you honestly believe that every single amplifier ever made in the history of the world sounds the same?! If so, then there has been a lot of R&D over many decades for absolutely nothing as far as sound quality goes. Imagine that - we got it exactly right the first time. Amazing!!

    You are also saying then that it is an all or nothing state. The circuit either works or it doesn't. There can be no state of malfunction that produces sound that is anything other than exactly like every other amplifier. Do you think THAT is true?

    Why? Because they don't believe what you believe? So that makes them all quacks??

    I'm a firm believer in trusting my own judgement. I have two ears just like everyone else (sans a few unfortunate people). That is the only qualification I need to listen to amplifiers and form an opinion. I have heard large, very audible differences between amplifiers. No one is going to convince me they all sound the same. If they all sound the same to you, great. I don't pretend to have "super-hearing". I regularly get into conversations with the local A/V store owner over things he supposedly hears that I don't. Again, I trust what I hear, not what he hears. I am confident enough in my own skin to go in with an open mind and let what I hear be the verdict.

    As a parallel, I don't believe in ghosts, but if I see one tomorrow I'll have no problem changing my stance on the subject. You can call me a quack, but if I see it with my own eyes that's good enough for me.

    No one fully understands the power of persuasion. Think about the effectiveness of placebos in medicine. You can literally heal people by trickery - fooling the mind. It is not hard to believe, then, that if someone you trust tells you that all amplifiers sound the same, that is exactly what you will hear.
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  18. DS-21 Full Audioholic

    DS-21
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    The best you can do is someone with a pecuniary interest in maintaining audio mythology?

    Sad.

    John Curl has also written that expensive power cords sound better than cheap ones. At this point he's just a cheap has-been hack.

    Nobody wrote that, nor is it relevant here.

    Yep, a worthless one. I note you didn't mention level matching, fast switching, blind listening, or anything else that would make your opinion worth a damn.

    We all have. Hell, I've even heard huge differences from the same amp! All it took was a spin of the volume control!

    A smarter person would not make judgments based on sighted, un-level matched "listening."

    PS: certainly don't look here. You'll learn things about how people who actually know things set up multiple subwoofers that will blow both your and your "local A/V store owner"'s minds.
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  19. PENG Audioholic Warlord

    PENG
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    I wouldn't say it is the whole problem, but I do think it is a major problem. And yes, I can see it in this very thread.:D
    PENG,
  20. M Code Full Audioholic

    M Code
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