A lot of electronics went down. Help me devise a cost effective strategy!

R

roll - gybe

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
3
#1
In the last week - my Onkyo receiver failed with the dreaded no audio and HDMI went kaput. My Audiosource 200 went out of balance. My Musical Fidelity A5 volume pot stopped working (eventually I will get the time to order the part and fix it, but right now it is the way it is).

Nothing works in my house except for an old Yamaha receiver in the garage that won't quit, and a $45 T-amp that has outlived all the expensive stuff.

This has me re-evaluating how I approach home theater. I have more great speakers than I need. I just want them to play noise with the least headaches possible in an easy to use system that doesn't break all the time. Maybe I don't consider this a hobby anymore, but I really hate it when my system is running 50%-0% functional. If I have to go to great effort to turn on a movie, we'll just look at our ipads instead.

So! I'd love to hear some suggestions about how to drive my HT for the least money possible. I don't care if you say buy 7 T-amps if it's legit!

I'm trying to accomplish 5.1 and 7.1 if I use PLII Height (I'm iffy on how much I love this). My sources these days are Roku playing Netflix and Amazon as well as a Squeezebox (either digital or RCA). I think I need Dolby Plus decoding. Most of my speakers are efficient enough except for center, which an ERA 4 LCR. (Others are Vandersteen and Aperion)

The electronics are going into a cabinent (ventilated) and I'm not going to dote over them. I'd buy off ebay if there are durable workhorses out there. I'm also open to digital amps. If the good stuff is going to break just like the cheap stuff, I just need good binding terminals to feel happy at this point.

I'm swearing off highly complex AVR menus that require I keep the manual handy!

Thoughts are greatly appreciated!!!
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,174 16 37
#2
Well if the Onkyo is from the right time period then the extended warranty should get yours repaired quickly enough and that's what I'd do. Mine has been better than new (runs cooler) since mine failed and was repaired. The nature of AVRs just requires you to be familiar with its operation, another reason to get yours fixed if its eligible for the program. Just because the cabinet is ventilated doesn't necessarily mean particularly the avr is well ventilated...maybe, maybe not.

DD+ is pretty common these days, all current avrs should have no problem with that. There might be slightly more durability for separates if you don't need all the latest/greatest 4k/immersive features that may come along, but initial setup will cost you and avrs used as pre-pro might be an option to keep internal heat down. Used avrs might come with more issues....

What digital amps? You mean class D amps?
 
rojo

rojo

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,838 8 4
#3
Did they all fail at the same time? Sounds like a lightning strike. Your homeowner's insurance ought to cover replacements, minus the cost of your deductible.

If insurance will cover, then replace with an Emotiva prepro and an array of cheap used amps (AudioSource AMP-100 or Niles SI-275 or similar). The Emotiva prepro has a 3 year warranty, and the amps ought to be cheap enough to replace as needed -- although I've been running the AudioSource and Niles amps for several years with nary a hiccup.

If it wasn't a lightning strike or you're looking for something cheaper than your deductible, just hit up craigslist for anything with the inputs you need.

I don't have a lot of confidence in the longevity of any popular avrs these days. They're all Chinese crap. The center channel went out on my Marantz some time ago, but I've been unable to find anyone locally who will service it. It seems replacement components are harder to come by now than they were a decade or two ago. Luckily I was able to kludge around the problem by attaching a spare amp to its center preamp out. But if any more channels fail there's a good chance I'll go the route I suggested above.
 
R

roll - gybe

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
3
#4
Well if the Onkyo is from the right time period then the extended warranty should get yours repaired quickly enough and that's what I'd do. Mine has been better than new (runs cooler) since mine failed and was repaired. The nature of AVRs just requires you to be familiar with its operation, another reason to get yours fixed if its eligible for the program. Just because the cabinet is ventilated doesn't necessarily mean particularly the avr is well ventilated...maybe, maybe not.

DD+ is pretty common these days, all current avrs should have no problem with that. There might be slightly more durability for separates if you don't need all the latest/greatest 4k/immersive features that may come along, but initial setup will cost you and avrs used as pre-pro might be an option to keep internal heat down. Used avrs might come with more issues....

What digital amps? You mean class D amps?
I guess I was trying to head off the question about whether I am familiar with the equipment, as I am so deep in this stuff I don't want people to think I'm a nerd. I think you take my word for it the cabinet was cool. There is a tremendous history of Onkyos failing due to silly engineering. The DTS chip melts it's own solder.

As for separates, well I also have a failed 2 channel amp on my hands!
 
R

roll - gybe

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
3
#5
Did they all fail at the same time? Sounds like a lightning strike. Your homeowner's insurance ought to cover replacements, minus the cost of your deductible.

If insurance will cover, then replace with an Emotiva prepro and an array of cheap used amps (AudioSource AMP-100 or Niles SI-275 or similar). The Emotiva prepro has a 3 year warranty, and the amps ought to be cheap enough to replace as needed -- although I've been running the AudioSource and Niles amps for several years with nary a hiccup.

If it wasn't a lightning strike or you're looking for something cheaper than your deductible, just hit up craigslist for anything with the inputs you need.

I don't have a lot of confidence in the longevity of any popular avrs these days. They're all Chinese crap. The center channel went out on my Marantz some time ago, but I've been unable to find anyone locally who will service it. It seems replacement components are harder to come by now than they were a decade or two ago. Luckily I was able to kludge around the problem by attaching a spare amp to its center preamp out. But if any more channels fail there's a good chance I'll go the route I suggested above.
Overthinking this a little. My HT went a few months without use due to some remodeling elsewhere in the house. The Onkyo had been crackling for a while and then no audio. (I should have researched it thoroughly earlier but I have been very busy with business and family.) The darn thing has maybe 40 hours on it.

Onkyo offered to sell me a new unit for the same price as it is listen on Crutchfield, which seems like salt in my wounds and a good money after bad double down.

I took the Audiosouce off outdoor speakers just to listen to some music inside and one channel was at 50%. Since this unit was powering outdoor speakers (from inside the air conditioned house) I had no way to discern the difference in output. It probably went down sometime earlier.

The Musical Fidelity is volume pot has been creeping up on me for a long time and went over the edge last night.

Half of my squeezeboxes have failed to connect to mysqueeze for a year.

The stuff has just piled up....

No lightening.

It is just super unfun not to have anything working right now except my Yammy 5490 and my Echo Dot. $1k here $500 there. Then the next bugger breaks.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,174 16 37
#6
I guess I was trying to head off the question about whether I am familiar with the equipment, as I am so deep in this stuff I don't want people to think I'm a nerd. I think you take my word for it the cabinet was cool. There is a tremendous history of Onkyos failing due to silly engineering. The DTS chip melts it's own solder.

As for separates, well I also have a failed 2 channel amp on my hands!
Consumer electronics, even the boutique ones that are contracted out, are what they are these days as Rojo indicated and probably isn't so much the basic engineering as the qc/assembly/parts used (bean counters/competition take their toll). Am familiar with the famous hdmi/network board Onkyo issue, even though mine only incurred the issue after 6 years of regular use, not so much the DTS melting solder issue you mention. One of our members recently had his state of the art $7500 Denon pre-pro die and without possibility of repair (the manufacturer tried and threw up its hands).

Reading your response to Rojo seems your Onkyo isn't of the same age as mine, so not suffering the same particular issue as the ones made between 2009-2012 (which by most reports is a solved issue with current avrs).

Good luck for a more durable solution...
 
O

OldSchool Days

Audiophyte
#7
I used to be a fan of Onkyo and Denon but now i like Yamaha high end amps , sound quality and durability beats other 2.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,606 7 1
#8
One of our members recently had his state of the art $7500 Denon pre-pro die and without possibility of repair (the manufacturer tried and threw up its hands).
And that's made in USA (Edit: As HD corrected me, of course it was made in Japan, it's a Denon after all..) so I think people have to accept the fact that electronics failure are not that uncommon, though in general they could last for many years without major trouble. It is like a probability distribution too, very few will fail much earlier while a few will last so long that seem forever, while the majority will do well for 8 to 10 years, just saying..
 
Last edited:
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
7,253 17 24
#9
8 to 10 years is not acceptable for the life span.

This post highlights the magnitude of the junk electronics problem.

There are now far too many features and therefore components in the gear pedaled to us. The more components the more likely the problems.

We do not need Atmos and all those channels. We do not need quality ruining auto Eq programs.

The time is long overdue for much simpler products made with aircraft grade components.

Forums like this share a good deal of the blame encouraging gear loaded up with features that you are better off without.

There needs to be a drive for simplicity and much higher basic quality. In my view things are now totally out of hand.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
2,672 9 4
#10
I took the Audiosouce off outdoor speakers just to listen to some music inside and one channel was at 50%. Since this unit was powering outdoor speakers (from inside the air conditioned house) I had no way to discern the difference in output. It probably went down sometime earlier.
If the amplifier's level controls have been in one position for a long time, I would start by cleaning them and see if the channel balance returns to normal.
 
Drunkpenguin

Drunkpenguin

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
541 3
#11
8 to 10 years is not acceptable for the life span.

This post highlights the magnitude of the junk electronics problem.

There are now far too many features and therefore components in the gear pedaled to us. The more components the more likely the problems.

We do not need Atmos and all those channels. We do not need quality ruining auto Eq programs.

The time is long overdue for much simpler products made with aircraft grade components.

Forums like this share a good deal of the blame encouraging gear loaded up with features that you are better off without.

There needs to be a drive for simplicity and much higher basic quality. In my view things are now totally out of hand.
Thats not the world we live in any more and its never going back. All markets have become so competitive that companies need to constantly out do eachother to stay alive. While I agree that AVR's have more features than most people need, I'm still glad that we live in a society like this. If we didnt we would all still have mono fm radios in the house and semi round black and white 13" tvs.
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic General
Ratings
517 1 1
#12
Thats not the world we live in any more and its never going back. All markets have become so competitive that companies need to constantly out do eachother to stay alive. While I agree that AVR's have more features than most people need, I'm still glad that we live in a society like this. If we didnt we would all still have mono fm radios in the house and semi round black and white 13" tvs.
The hdmi blunders kept me on the sidelines for a few years. My 6.1 Yamaha RXV3300 from 2003 came out of my theater room last fall and a Yamaha RXA2060 replaced it. I was in desperate need of lip sync delay after buying a UHD TV. The sound needed about 43ms delay to sync up with the UHD picture. (40ms is the default on the newer Yamahas). I also had never experienced Dolby TrueHD or DTSHD MA or the Dolby DSU upmixer. Hoping by Christmas I can get 5.1.4 Atmos and DTSX setup too. I’m catching up on 15 years of improvements in Audio. :)
 
Drunkpenguin

Drunkpenguin

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
541 3
#13
Good point on the HDMI. THat standard is driving me bonkers. Everytime a new TV comes out it requires another version of an hdmi cable. When your cables run through walls and ceiling thats pretty annoying!
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic General
Ratings
517 1 1
#14
Good point on the HDMI. THat standard is driving me bonkers. Everytime a new TV comes out it requires another version of an hdmi cable. When your cables run through walls and ceiling thats pretty annoying!
I’m pretty happy with hdmi 2.0a and 4k UHD with HDR10. The only thing that may move me to upgrade is if Seattle gets the NHL expansion granted. Upgrading to an 80 inch display would be sweet for hockey! :)
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,174 16 37
#15
And that's made in USA, so I think people have to accept the fact that electronics failure are not that uncommon, though in general they could last for many years without major trouble. It is like a probability distribution too, very few will fail much earlier while a few will last so long that seem forever, while the majority will do well for 8 to 10 years, just saying..
Actually that was made in Japan (AcuDefTecGuy's Denon AVP-A1HD) and was Denon US (or rather their contracted repair facility) that couldn't arrange a fix. Life span is what it is, but kinda like complaining how long a pc lasts before it needs upgrading to keep up....
 
Drunkpenguin

Drunkpenguin

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
541 3
#16
Good point. It took me from 2009 to now to upgrade my receiver. I've probably had 12 computers in that period between home and work. I've had 5 cars since then! So I would say my AVR (which is now in another room still in use) has lasted as long as one could hope for.
 
R

roll - gybe

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
3
#17
If the amplifier's level controls have been in one position for a long time, I would start by cleaning them and see if the channel balance returns to normal.
Do you suggest opening it up and spraying contact cleaner? Thanks!
 
R

roll - gybe

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
3
#18
8 to 10 years is not acceptable for the life span.

This post highlights the magnitude of the junk electronics problem.

There are now far too many features and therefore components in the gear pedaled to us. The more components the more likely the problems.

We do not need Atmos and all those channels. We do not need quality ruining auto Eq programs.

The time is long overdue for much simpler products made with aircraft grade components.

Forums like this share a good deal of the blame encouraging gear loaded up with features that you are better off without.

There needs to be a drive for simplicity and much higher basic quality. In my view things are now totally out of hand.
I agree with TLS Guy.

I have a crummy 1999 Sony receiver as a spare that still works. It was low end when it came out, but it still functions. I'm not talking about slowing down innovation. I just want the stuff to work. For $1000 equipment, it's unacceptable that this stuff doesn't last. It's also unacceptable that an Onkyo engineering error would cause their entire line of AVRs to fail.

If the industry needs to build in obsolesce to stay alive, they will die. I can assemble electronics, and I'm willing to try to repair this. When the average Joe or Mary has a receiver that dies, they are just going to throw it out and get a bluetooth speaker. That will kill the industry... I will buy actual innovation like multiroom wifi connectivity or voice activated features, but I think it's a scam to create a product in 2014 that doesn't survive 5 years when a similar product was created in 1986 and still runs today.

I fail to see how an amplifier compares to a car or a computer, so I won't even argue that except to say that simple skills can keep a TV or PC going for long past it's first failure. I'm not a throw-away kind of guy.

Sorry, Rant #2 ended!

So... Is there a way I could reliably service the HDMI board and DTS chip? This is a big, heavy amp. I would love to save it.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,174 16 37
#19
I agree with TLS Guy.

I have a crummy 1999 Sony receiver as a spare that still works. It was low end when it came out, but it still functions. I'm not talking about slowing down innovation. I just want the stuff to work. For $1000 equipment, it's unacceptable that this stuff doesn't last. It's also unacceptable that an Onkyo engineering error would cause their entire line of AVRs to fail.

If the industry needs to build in obsolesce to stay alive, they will die. I can assemble electronics, and I'm willing to try to repair this. When the average Joe or Mary has a receiver that dies, they are just going to throw it out and get a bluetooth speaker. That will kill the industry... I will buy actual innovation like multiroom wifi connectivity or voice activated features, but I think it's a scam to create a product in 2014 that doesn't survive 5 years when a similar product was created in 1986 and still runs today.

I fail to see how an amplifier compares to a car or a computer, so I won't even argue that except to say that simple skills can keep a TV or PC going for long past it's first failure. I'm not a throw-away kind of guy.

Sorry, Rant #2 ended!

So... Is there a way I could reliably service the HDMI board and DTS chip? This is a big, heavy amp. I would love to save it.
Well the bluetooth speaker/portable hand held device sort of thing is already killing the industry in a way . Hard to compare a simple 2ch analog amplifier to an avr, too. I have audio gear from the 80s that works, sure, but its not as useful as my modern gear. Consumer electronics and cars both are often not attempted by the consumer for self-repair in any case; not saying it's a good thing to have a disposable mind-set, but that is an unfortunate by-product of the way our economy works.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
7,253 17 24
#20
I agree with TLS Guy.

I have a crummy 1999 Sony receiver as a spare that still works. It was low end when it came out, but it still functions. I'm not talking about slowing down innovation. I just want the stuff to work. For $1000 equipment, it's unacceptable that this stuff doesn't last. It's also unacceptable that an Onkyo engineering error would cause their entire line of AVRs to fail.

If the industry needs to build in obsolesce to stay alive, they will die. I can assemble electronics, and I'm willing to try to repair this. When the average Joe or Mary has a receiver that dies, they are just going to throw it out and get a bluetooth speaker. That will kill the industry... I will buy actual innovation like multiroom wifi connectivity or voice activated features, but I think it's a scam to create a product in 2014 that doesn't survive 5 years when a similar product was created in 1986 and still runs today.

I fail to see how an amplifier compares to a car or a computer, so I won't even argue that except to say that simple skills can keep a TV or PC going for long past it's first failure. I'm not a throw-away kind of guy.

Sorry, Rant #2 ended!

So... Is there a way I could reliably service the HDMI board and DTS chip? This is a big, heavy amp. I would love to save it.
Nothing to be sorry about. Your post is right on target. What is happening is a disgrace. I have said before the gear is now far too cheap to be worth buying. That will kill this business.

We do need a feature diet and a reliability drive. I have gear in my possession from the sixties functioning.
At that time I was heavily involved with the audio industry, especially Quad. Peter Walker the founder would never have considered debasing himself to the now current prevailing standards. Reliability was front and center of all his designs.

I know technology changes, but the answer to that is modular construction, just like Peter's last preamp the Quad 44. I know this would cost more initially but in the long run would be much cheaper.

At the moment this industry is heading into chaos. Initial equipment costs need to rise considerably, so that 20 year costs fall considerably.

The current trajectory is a disaster.

In answer to your last question, the answer is may be. I seem to remember posts about recapping those Onkyo HDMI boards. It seems they stuffed them with a boat load of cheap no good caps, that could not tolerate even small amounts of heating.

Generally though modern boards are not usually serviceable and so replacement of the board is usually the preferred route. But obviously if it had a junk board before repair, it will have a junk board after repair.
 

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