AVR power output S&V test bench - Would the results affect your decision on you next AVR purchase?

Do bench test measurements influence your purchase decision?

  • Yes

    Votes: 22 84.6%
  • No

    Votes: 1 3.8%
  • Not sure

    Votes: 3 11.5%

  • Total voters
    26
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,486 7 1
#1
Would your purchase decision on your next AVR be influenced by past test bench measurements?
 
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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,028 16 36
#3
It's good to have more than just information provided by the manufacturer/seller...

I like that this poll can accommodate even the most indecisive by allowing multiple votes! :)
 
Johnny2Bad

Johnny2Bad

Audioholic Chief
Ratings
307 6 4
#6
Test Bench summaries have limited value except in one significant area ... those that test poorly in one criteria or another. Also, because bench measuring takes a non-trivial amount of time, and is limited somewhat by the tools available and the skill of the operator, in many cases the Device Under Test (DUT) may have shortcomings that measurements do not reveal.

I'm not talking about subjective results per se, just things like amps who have very good numbers at maximum power / threshold of clipping, and poor numbers at, say 0.1 watt output, which might not have been part of the test regimen or might not have been sufficiently explored if a suspicious result is simply reported verbatim rather than going deeper into the result.

The entity actually paying for the test results might be reluctant to pony up for another hour or three of bench work, or may want to only test certain parameters to be consistent with other results it published in the past.

The example I used above is a real-world situation and such amplifiers have been sold by known brands. You can't assess what isn't tested.

Lab Testing is expensive. I was just exploring the National Research Council's (NRC-Canada) fees for use of their Anechoic Chamber* in Ottawa. Not hundreds, but thousands, and not a few thousands either.

* Built in the early 1970's, and not originally intended for consumer audio measurement, it allowed the Canadian loudspeaker industry to grow. Floyd Toole ran it for a couple of decades and virtually all of his research derives from it (his recent book is a must-read for serious audiophiles). It is also widely used by foreign loudspeaker companies from all over the world due to it's capabilities. I won't go into much details about the primary AC (there are five at the facility) but one specification stands out ... noise is "less than 0 dB". 0dB is the minimum threshold of human hearing and there is measurable noise below that level, typically noises made by the Earth itself.
 
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M Code

M Code

Audioholic Chief
Ratings
464 1
#7
Today few valid test reports/reviews are done....
If they are done, minimal measurements are done to save time..
But test reports/reviews can sell a lot of product if positive....
Since most audio magazines require advertising..:rolleyes:
When was the last time U saw a bad test report/review??

However by far...
IMHO the biggest testing publication that drives & influences the consumers to purchase is Consumer Reports..
I do like Gene's test reviews, he does a thorough job.. :cool:

Just my $0.02... ;)
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,486 7 1
#8
I'm not talking about subjective results per se, just things like amps who have very good numbers at maximum power / threshold of clipping, and poor numbers at, say 0.1 watt output, which might not have been part of the test regimen or might not have been sufficiently explored if a suspicious result is simply reported verbatim rather than going deeper into the result.
That is a good point, but in many cases, both Gene's and S&V's test do show distortion numbers at very low output level.

Below are two examples:

Note that it says "The distortion level remained at or below 0.002% across all power levels until it reached about 165 watts."

Read more at https://www.soundandvision.com/content/denon-avr-4308ci-av-receiver-measurements#tZGKX051SIrqwsbb.99



https://www.audioholics.com/av-receiver-reviews/denon-avr-x3300w-1/measurements

 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,486 7 1
#9
I tabulated the measurements of almost 50 AVRs done by S&V in Excel format for my own reference. Below are some of my observations:

If ranked by 2 channel driven, 4 ohms, at 0.1% THD, in the top 15 (need at least 14 in order to include 1 Marantz) in order to group, there are:

5 Denon, 3 Onkyo, 2 Integra, 2 Yamaha, 1 Marantz, 1 Pioneer and 1 Rotel.

If ranked by their 5 channel driven into 8 ohm figures, then again in the top 15 group, there are:

5 Denon, 3 Onkyo, 2 Integra, 2 Pioneer, 1 Rotel, 1 Marantz, and 1 Arcam. As expected, no Yamaha made it to the top 15 if ranked this way.

In order to include Yamaha, Anthem and NAD, even when ranked by 5 channel driven outputs, I have to expand the list to top 22.

In the top 22 group, there are:

6 Denon, 3 Onkyo, 3 Marantz, 2 Integra, 2 Pioneer, 1 NAD, 1 Arcam, 1 Rotel, 1 Sony, 1 Anthem, and 1 Yamaha. The NAD T787 ranked 17 and the Anthem MRX-710 ranked 22.

Ranked by lowest THD up to the knee point, Denon seemed to be on top, followed by Arcam, Marantz, Anthem, and Yamaha.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,028 16 36
#10
I tabulated the measurements of almost 50 AVRs done by S&V in Excel format for my own reference. Below are some of my observations:

If ranked by 2 channel driven, 4 ohms, at 0.1% THD, in the top 15 (need at least 14 in order to include 1 Marantz) in order to group, there are:

5 Denon, 3 Onkyo, 2 Integra, 2 Yamaha, 1 Marantz, 1 Pioneer and 1 Rotel.

If ranked by their 5 channel driven into 8 ohm figures, then again in the top 15 group, there are:

5 Denon, 3 Onkyo, 2 Integra, 2 Pioneer, 1 Rotel, 1 Marantz, and 1 Arcam. As expected, no Yamaha made it to the top 15 if ranked this way.

In order to include Yamaha, Anthem and NAD, even when ranked by 5 channel driven outputs, I have to expand the list to top 22.

In the top 22 group, there are:

6 Denon, 3 Onkyo, 3 Marantz, 2 Integra, 2 Pioneer, 1 NAD, 1 Arcam, 1 Rotel, 1 Sony, 1 Anthem, and 1 Yamaha. The NAD T787 ranked 17 and the Anthem MRX-710 ranked 22.

Ranked by lowest THD up to the knee point, Denon seemed to be on top, followed by Arcam, Marantz, Anthem, and Yamaha.

Want to post that spreadsheet again? The last time I downloaded it you only had around 30 on it....
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
4,301 22 4
#11
When was the last time U saw a bad test report/review??
Just my $0.02... ;)
February of 2017:
I love all of the streaming features the Yamaha RX-A860 offers. In fact, I'd say as far as networking and streaming audio goes, this is likely the best option in AV receivers under $1k. However, I don't like how offering all of these features has caused compromises in the most important area, POWER. While the RX-A860 is fine driving small bass-managed 8 ohm speakers, this is the first time I'd actually caution people against using 4 ohm speakers or even running 8 ohm tower speakers on the “large” setting. I’ve never said this about a Yamaha before. It's sad that a $400 predecessor from the very same company offered a more robust amp and power section than this product, which has AVENTAGE moniker stamped on it. To pour further salt on the power wound, the preamp out section of this receiver is a bit weak, making it critical to match with a high gain amplifier to ensure the preamp itself doesn't clip while driving external amplification. I'd like to see Yamaha beef up the amp section so the current limiting could be a little less restrictive and for God's sake, please give us a clean 2Vrms output from the pre-outs of ALL your AV receivers!
https://www.audioholics.com/av-receiver-reviews/yamaha-rx-a860/conclusion

However, your point is still somewhat valid in that the power measurement for Continuous Full Power Bandwidth (CFP-BW) into 4 ohms was conspicuously absent despite it being listed as a fundamental part of the Audioholics' "Amplifier Measurement Protocol" in the text above the results table.
 
Alex2507

Alex2507

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
9,405 64 3
#12
Two Yamaha rec'rs 4 sale ... :D

I don't even need power and I care about power. I've been after Denon rec'rs but the Yammies fell in my lap AND they're older with solid amp sections but I still amped 'em up because whatever this disease is, it's likely terminal. One of my rec'rs is that 663 which Gene said had more power than it's successor, the 673. I tried to get my nephew to not buy the 673 based on the power ratings from the reviews.

Using the rec'r as a pre-pro would be the only way the output wouldn't matter, right?
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
4,301 22 4
#13
Would your purchase decision on your next AVR be influenced by past test bench measurements?
Not sure why you specify "past" here!

However, bench testing is very important, IMHO.

The actual power is generally a non-issue. I don't crank it hard and find my 50WPC Marantz NR1605 does fine on its own with most speakers I have had, and I have the extra external amps to use for any speakers which have abnormally high demands. So whether an AVR delivers 120 or 160 WPC X 2 or if it is at .1 or .002 THD is not directly critical to my decision.

However, I do see measured power/distortion as a reflection of how much effort the manufacturer decided to put into overall design/build quality of that model! I make these associations without the statistics to back it up, but when you have limited data available, educated guesses become relevant.

More importantly, I look at these test results as a pulse check on the companies. For example, Gene has measured several Marantz AVR's and mentions their 70% rule which states they will produce 70% of their two channel power rating when driving 5 channels at once (IIRC). Marantz seems pretty consistent in effectively meeting this standard. I find that makes buying a Marantz AVR a safe choice. Similarly, Denon always seems to produce strong measurements (though I don't know that they have a self-imposed standard such as Marantz has with the 70% rule).
If we ignore their past HDMI failures, which I believe to be corrected in new models (God help Onkyo if they are not),Onkyo has the benefit of THX rating which is an assurance that the amp won't crap-out as soon as you ask it to pass significant current. Seeing this confirmed in the measurements is reassuring.

The relevance of these last two paragraphs is I'd feel comfortable buying a Marantz, Denon, or Onkyo which has not been measured because of the pattern established of meeting or beating their claimed ratings and decent 5 channel performance. If I was buying the budget models from any of these companies, then I would want model specific data, but for mid or higher models, I feel like they have established their capability.

In the case of Yamaha, I would really want specific data from the exact model I was considering. The mess with the A860 undermines my confidence in them. At $900, I consider it a mid-level unit and Yamaha has named it as among their prestigious:rolleyes: "Aventage" product line. This leaves me with a lot of concerns about how well any of their other products will perform! I know Yamaha is fully capable of having excellent amp sections in their AVRs and believe they still do in their better models, but knowing they are willing to cut corners in ways that won't show up in the specifications, but could in actual use, results in uncertainty on which models they would do this on... as well as whether power is the only metric they have chosen to "economize".

So, for me, there is some utility in specific model measurements, but more in using the data to reveal overall trends of the approaches the different manufacturers choose for design of their products!
 
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S

snakeeyes

Audioholic General
Ratings
428 1
#14
Not sure why you specify "past" here!

However, bench testing is very important, IMHO.

The actual power is generally a non-issue. I don't crank it hard and find my 50WPC Marantz NR1605 does fine on its own with most speakers I have had, and I have the extra external amps to use for any speakers which have abnormally high demands. So whether an AVR delivers 120 or 160 WPC X 2 or if it is at .1 or .002 THD is not directly critical to my decision.

However, I do see measured power/distortion as a reflection of how much effort the manufacturer decided to put into overall design/build quality of that model! I make these associations without the statistics to back it up, but when you have limited data available, educated guesses become relevant.

More importantly, I look at these test results as a pulse check on the companies. For example, Gene has measured several Marantz AVR's and mentions their 70% rule which states they will produce 70% of their two channel power rating when driving 5 channels at once (IIRC). Marantz seems pretty consistent in effectively meeting this standard. I find that makes buying a Marantz AVR a safe choice. Similarly, Denon always seems to produce strong measurements (though I don't know that they have a self-imposed standard such as Marantz has with the 70% rule).
If we ignore their past HDMI failures, which I believe to be corrected in new models (God help Onkyo if they are not),Onkyo has the benefit of THX rating which is an assurance that the amp won't crap-out as soon as you ask it to pass significant current. Seeing this confirmed in the measurements is reassuring.

The relevance of these last two paragraphs is I'd feel comfortable buying a Marantz, Denon, or Onkyo which has not been measured because of the pattern established of meeting or beating their claimed ratings and decent 5 channel performance. If I was buying the budget models from any of these companies, then I would want model specific data, but for mid or higher models, I feel like they have established their capability.

In the case of Yamaha, I would really want specific data from the exact model I was considering. The mess with the A860 undermines my confidence in them. At $900, I consider it a mid-level unit and Yamaha has named it as among their prestigious:rolleyes: "Aventage" product line. This leaves me with a lot of concerns about how well any of their other products will perform! I know Yamaha is fully capable of having excellent amp sections in their AVRs and believe they still do in their better models, but knowing they are willing to cut corners in ways that won't show up in the specifications, but could in actual use results in uncertainty on which models they would do this on... as well as whether power is the only metric they have chosen to "economize".

So, for me, there is some utility in specific model measurements, but more in using the data to reveal overall trends of the approachs the different manufacturers choose for design their products!
I definitely read the 860 review and got a 2060 and 681. I would guess the 681 is equal to the 860 no matter how many feet. :)

That said, the 2060 has been wonderful. I will probably add an Outlaw 5000 or a Monolith 3 or 5 at some point but that depends on what I do for new speakers. If I do a huge center and towers especially...

The 681 that I own has one weakness other than no preouts, which is the Bluetooth is weaker than the 2060 Bluetooth. Airplay is flawless on both units so not an issue for me.

Formerly I owned the RXV3300 and the RXV630. No issues on those 2003 units other than no hdmi etc. :)
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
4,301 22 4
#15
I definitely read the 860 review and got a 2060 and 681. I would guess the 681 is equal to the 860 no matter how many feet. :)

That said, the 2060 has been wonderful. I will probably add an Outlaw 5000 or a Monolith 3 or 5 at some point but that depends on what I do for new speakers. If I do a huge center and towers especially...

The 681 that I own has one weakness other than no preouts, which is the Bluetooth is weaker than the 2060 Bluetooth. Airplay is flawless on both units so not an issue for me.

Formerly I owned the RXV3300 and the RXV630. No issues on those 2003 units other than no hdmi etc. :)
I think the older models are safe, It is more recently that Yamaha chose to take these shortcuts.
Gene mentions an older $400 Yamaha AVR that outperformed the $900 A860, that would be the RX-V659 (FWIW),where the A860 is clearly outclassed by its competition (at least for power),the V659 seems to have clearly outclassed that competition:

https://www.audioholics.com/av-receiver-reviews/yamaha-rx-v659/rx-v659-measurements-analysis
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,486 7 1
#16
When was the last time U saw a bad test report/review??
That is true on the subjective reviews, but on test bench measurements, I remember seeing a few bad ones (relatively speaking) on audioholics.com, soundandvision.com, avtech, hometheaterfigi.com. You are not going to find too many because they typically measured output into 8 ohm/4ohm at 0.1% THD, or at clipping/1% THD, 1 kHz, SN, XT and most AVRs can do quite well in those tests. There are definitely no shortages of bad 5,7 channel driven output figures though, some of those were probably due to the use of more aggressive protective schemes.
 
M Code

M Code

Audioholic Chief
Ratings
464 1
#17
IMHO..
The majority of those test reports/reviews only test @ 1kHz...
The real voltage/current test is how does it do @ 20Hz & 20kHz... @ 4 Ohms.. And all channels driven..
They do provide a partial insight about its capabilities but limited.. :cool:

Just my $0.02... ;)
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,486 7 1
#18
IMHO..
The majority of those test reports/reviews only test @ 1kHz...
The real voltage/current test is how does it do @ 20Hz & 20kHz... @ 4 Ohms.. And all channels driven..
They do provide a partial insight about its capabilities but limited.. :cool:

Just my $0.02... ;)
That is also true (and agreed, limited..),but as long as we try to compare apple to apple we can still get a good idea of how they compare. Also, if you take the 1 kHz output and discount it by say 15 (for the higher end models to 30% (for the lower end such as the RX-A860) you should be closed to that if tested for 20-20,000 Hz and that's based on measurements I have seen in the past.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,486 7 1
#19
I think the older models are safe, It is more recently that Yamaha chose to take these shortcuts.
Gene mentions an older $400 Yamaha AVR that outperformed the $900 A860, that would be the RX-V659 (FWIW),where the A860 is clearly outclassed by its competition (at least for power),the V659 seems to have clearly outclassed that competition:

https://www.audioholics.com/av-receiver-reviews/yamaha-rx-v659/rx-v659-measurements-analysis
Funny you mentioned this one, it's the only Yamaha AVR I have ever owned. It is still working, though only lightly used for all those years.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,486 7 1
#20
I definitely read the 860 review and got a 2060 and 681. I would guess the 681 is equal to the 860 no matter how many feet. :)

That said, the 2060 has been wonderful. I will probably add an Outlaw 5000 or a Monolith 3 or 5 at some point but that depends on what I do for new speakers. If I do a huge center and towers especially...

The 681 that I own has one weakness other than no preouts, which is the Bluetooth is weaker than the 2060 Bluetooth. Airplay is flawless on both units so not an issue for me.

Formerly I owned the RXV3300 and the RXV630. No issues on those 2003 units other than no hdmi etc. :)
2060 is not on my spreadsheet but the 2050 is, and it's 2 channel driven into 4 ohm output is in the top 10, better than the 3060.
 

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