My Favorite Home Theater Receivers of ALL Time

gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Ratings
4,135 20 8
#1
Lately I've been reminiscing about my favorite AV receivers I've either owned, reviewed or had personal experiences with throughout the years. This includes some of the super receivers back in the golden age long gone never to be seen again. From a technology standpoint, these products are now obsolete, but the fidelity they offered is still notable, and in some models, absolutely legendary. Warning, reading this article may create a sudden urge for you to pick up one of these models second hand and bypass the video section to enjoy a modern home theater with old school quality audio.

yamaha-gold.jpg


Read: My Favorite Home Theater Receivers of ALL Time
 
B

burntcore1

Audiophyte
#2
I still have my Pioneer VSX DIS I bought in 1990. I use it everyday mostly in stereo mode and it sounds just as good as when new
 
Irvrobinson

Irvrobinson

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
2,210 5 1
#3
The Denon 5805 is a truly impressive piece of kit. I wonder what the R&D budget was for that thing; it must have been huge.

Your review of the Denon was equally impressive. It looks like several weeks of work.
 
TechHDS

TechHDS

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
181 1 12
#4
Lately I've been reminiscing about my favorite AV receivers I've either owned, reviewed or had personal experiences with throughout the years. This includes some of the super receivers back in the golden age long gone never to be seen again. From a technology standpoint, these products are now obsolete, but the fidelity they offered is still notable, and in some models, absolutely legendary. Warning, reading this article may create a sudden urge for you to pick up one of these models second hand and bypass the video section to enjoy a modern home theater with old school quality audio.

View attachment 24076

Read: My Favorite Home Theater Receivers of ALL Time
@ Gene, I see now why your website is so beloved and known Worldwide. Your analysis of gear, testing, posting up, photo's, specs and so forth with an unbiased opinion on most and calling out BS when it's appropriate on the BS in the audio/video Market. Umm, Thank You for posting up on some old school gear. Now if You do have an article going back even further on older gear AVR's, Amps, and speaker's cause when you where with the Defence department. I was spinning LP's and hooking up gear before Your time that would be sometime huh? If You could get your hands on a old Bob Carver amp, or pre- 5.1 AVR say umm around 94 to 96 or even before the 90's late 80's would luv your thoughts on some of that vintage gear.
 
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TechHDS

TechHDS

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
181 1 12
#5
I will say this, getting the choice of black or silver units be it a AVR or separates is like Henry Ford you could have any color you wanted as long as it was black. That unit in Genes post is quite nice and aesthetically looking.
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
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4,135 20 8
#6
The Denon 5805 is a truly impressive piece of kit. I wonder what the R&D budget was for that thing; it must have been huge.

Your review of the Denon was equally impressive. It looks like several weeks of work.
Yea that was one of my biggest undertakenings. Saddest day in my audio careere was when I finally sold that masterpiece and realized Denon would never make a receiver like that again :(
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
2,193 7 3
#7
Yea that was one of my biggest undertakenings. Saddest day in my audio careere was when I finally sold that masterpiece and realized Denon would never make a receiver like that again :(
Many of us will take old gear like that and set it up for a 2nd or 3rd system, or even just take it to stereo duty in the garage or workshop.

I had an old Yammy that I sold to a friend for like $40. He still uses it to this day, sometimes I see it and regret selling it.
 
2

20Glove

Audioholic
Ratings
9
#8
Denon 3805 was probably my favorite of all time. The sound was so good. Close second when it worked was the NAD T775, sound was sweet on that too. So I guess 1a and 1b.
 
mtrycrafts

mtrycrafts

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
1,776 5 3
#9
I guess I should have kept my first processor, the Shur Brothers piece. While it wasn't advertised as prologic
it did have a center channel and the front light for the 5 channels were sweet. Upside down rhombic with the corners rounded where the 4 light were and of course the center light where it belonged to.
The company even had an Convention AES paper, no 2300 on the processing back in 1985
 
M Code

M Code

Audioholic Chief
Ratings
334
#10
Yea that was one of my biggest undertakenings. Saddest day in my audio careere was when I finally sold that masterpiece and realized Denon would never make a receiver like that again :(
Gene..
U are absolutely correct...
The 5805 was 1 killer AVR...
Many years back I was at the Lucas THX testing labs in San Refael, CA getting THX-Ultra certification for another major audio brand's AVR.. And the Denon AVR 5805 development team from Japan was there, I spent several hours with them discussing high-end AVRs and THX. I was totally blown away on how knowledgeable and innovative they were. In those days the THX team (Holman, Dahl, Mansfield) were laying out specs and features that few other AVR guys were even talking about.
IMHO @ that time the 5805 was clearly leading the industry...

Just my $0.02... ;)
 
P

Paul Lane

Enthusiast
Ratings
1
#11
A bastard Audio Product with gobs of crosstalk.. And why would I want to pass a 4K Hdmi through them degrading the original..
No thanks, but they can be so darn cheap..
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Ratings
4,135 20 8
#12
Gene..
U are absolutely correct...
The 5805 was 1 killer AVR...
Many years back I was at the Lucas THX testing labs in San Refael, CA getting THX-Ultra certification for another major audio brand's AVR.. And the Denon AVR 5805 development team from Japan was there, I spent several hours with them discussing high-end AVRs and THX. I was totally blown away on how knowledgeable and innovative they were. In those days the THX team (Holman, Dahl, Mansfield) were laying out specs and features that few other AVR guys were even talking about.
IMHO @ that time the 5805 was clearly leading the industry...

Just my $0.02... ;)
No doubt my friend. The 5805 digital front end rivaled most expensive separates alternatives and the amp section was every bit as good as a dedicated multi-channel amp. They used that receiver as the basis for developing the AVP-A1HDCI 10CH Pre/Pro and POA-A1HDCI 10CH amplifier. God I miss those babies. I think I'm gonna cry now :(
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Ratings
4,135 20 8
#13
A bastard Audio Product with gobs of crosstalk.. And why would I want to pass a 4K Hdmi through them degrading the original..
No thanks, but they can be so darn cheap..
Not sure which products you're referring to but the crosstalk of the Denon AVR-5805 and Yamaha flagship products was excellent as you can see in my measurements.
 
S

shadyJ

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
3,144 28 15
#14
I would never have let go of an AVR like that Denon! I still use my old Pioneer VSX-47TX to power my desktop PC system. That thing weighs over 60 lbs. I had to double brace the original shelf it was on because it was bowing the shelf, and that shelf was pretty sturdy to begin with. It is THX Ultra2 certified and is a monster that has been staying strong since 2002. It has even been dropped, and that bent the chassis, but it still works like a charm (well, one of the optical SP/DIF output does not work). I am taking this sucker to the grave. The remote control is so heavy-duty you could beat a man to death with it pretty easy too.
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Ratings
4,135 20 8
#15
I would never have let go of an AVR like that Denon! I still use my old Pioneer VSX-47TX to power my desktop PC system. That thing weighs over 60 lbs. I had to double brace the original shelf it was on because it was bowing the shelf, and that shelf was pretty sturdy to begin with. It is THX Ultra2 certified and is a monster that has been staying strong since 2002. It has even been dropped, and that bent the chassis, but it still works like a charm (well, one of the optical SP/DIF output does not work). I am taking this sucker to the grave. The remote control is so heavy-duty you could beat a man to death with it pretty easy too.
I only did it b/c I got the Denon separates. But sadly, they weren't upgradeable to Atmos or UHD. If I wasn't doing this for a living, I probably wouldn't haven given a rats ass and just kept them. I only have so much space for all this stuff ;)
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
2,193 7 3
#16
I would never have let go of an AVR like that Denon! I still use my old Pioneer VSX-47TX to power my desktop PC system. That thing weighs over 60 lbs. I had to double brace the original shelf it was on because it was bowing the shelf, and that shelf was pretty sturdy to begin with. It is THX Ultra2 certified and is a monster that has been staying strong since 2002. It has even been dropped, and that bent the chassis, but it still works like a charm (well, one of the optical SP/DIF output does not work). I am taking this sucker to the grave. The remote control is so heavy-duty you could beat a man to death with it pretty easy too.
I have the bit newer, but likely a step down or so, VSX-82TX Pio Elite. Been in service in my primary system for over 10 years now.

Yeah, I'm getting about due for upgrades. But, then this system becomes my 2nd system.
 
Stanton

Stanton

Audioholics Contributing Writer
Ratings
39
#17
I also owned the Yamaha DSP-A3090...which I also traded for a DSP-A1. If you examine the equipment lists for many of the CD reviews I've done for Audioholics, you will most likely see one of these 2 models listed! In fact, the Yamaha "in store roadshow" conducted at a local stereo shop (long since gone) is still one of the most memorable audio demos I have ever attended; it basically launched my adventure into surround sound.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,094 18 29
#18
Can't say that I'm not very fond of my current Onkyo TX-SR805. Speaking of THX, it boasts Ultra certification is nice to have.
I also used own Yamaha HTR-some-number. It was right before Dolby Digital, ie it was DD "Ready". It had the funky flip cover (dual function keys) remote (see below) and analog 5.1 pre-outs. It was my 1st receiver and I loved it.
 
D

Danonano

Audiophyte
Ratings
1
#19
I'm able to pick up a 5805 for cheap...if only there was a way to use it as an external amp.
 

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