trying to learn, on a small college budget

S

swimfast

Audiophyte
<font color='#000000'>Well, I am brand new here and I think this is the place that I was looking for. &nbsp;I currently have a technics reciever, about 10 years old, and i'm looking to upgrade. &nbsp;I am hoping to spend less than 300 dollars, and I want a reciever with all of the surround formats, dolby-digital, dts, dts-es...etc. &nbsp;

I don't want to buy something that I am going to regret, I am by no means an audiophile. My seaker setup consists of two front polk speakers, and old booze center, and two rca surrounds. &nbsp;I'm planning on buying another speaker for 6.1 surround, and there is a subwoofer in the near future.

I am currently looking at the pioneer vsx-812, and wanted to know what pioneer's current reputation is. &nbsp;Is yamaha much better? &nbsp;Once again, I'm not looking for high end but something that I will be happy with for the next few years. &nbsp;thanks in advance.</font>
 
G

Guest

Guest
<font color='#000000'>How about buying a used reciever? &nbsp;Amazon, E-Bay and classifieds have a tremendous selection at many price points. &nbsp;To really minimize risk, try a reputable a/v dealer in your area. You will find that many dealers,especially upscale ones, carry carefully selected used components. Try to establish a relationship with a knowledgeable sales pro. &nbsp;As your budget grows (i.e. graduation), so will your means...and his/her commision! &nbsp;
In terms of brands, for the most part, they are all pretty good. &nbsp;I happen to own several receivers. &nbsp;My Yamaha seems to be a bit more musical than my Pioneer, but that is my opinion and my opinion alone. One more idea-DEMOS! &nbsp;Many times you can get what you want and then some!
Good listening...Scumfrog</font>
 
Yamahaluver

Yamahaluver

Audioholic General
<font color='#0000FF'>Pioneer is good and so is Yamaha but in the end it is up to your ears to like their sonic signature, some speakers compliment Yamaha wheras others dont and make them sound really poor. Pioneer is way forgiving in that sense but over the years the amp section in the Pioneers have had a bad rep of shutting down with difficult speaker loads and Yamaha shines in that department. If you have speakers with anything less than 6ohms nominal rating, stick to Yamaha.</font>
 
Rip Van Woofer

Rip Van Woofer

Audioholic General
<font color='#000000'>A considerable and credible body of opinion (among electronics engineers and others) holds that the vast majority of purely electronic audio devices these days (amps, recievers, CD players etc., but NOT speakers, which are electromechanic/electroacoustic devices) have reached &quot;commodity levels&quot; in performance, regardless of price. That is to say that nearly all of them have distortion levels well below audibility, a flat frequency response without audible peaks or dips, and negligible noise. So your choice becomes a matter of price, reliability, features, and intangibles like how you like their looks and the feel/convenience of their controls.

Bottom line: Onkyo, Denon, Pioneer, Yamaha, whatever...pay your money and take your choice. Pick up a Consumer Reports and see what they have to say - they test more mass-market gear than any of the audio mags and while one may quibble about their methodology it's still better than the onanistic drivel in the likes of Stereophile.

Spend the bulk of your money and mental energy in choosing the best speakers you can afford. They are the one component where real variability still exists and there are both very good and truly awful ones to be had at entry level prices. Again, staff reviews and articles on this site are one good info source as is Consumer Reports. Verify their recommendations with your ears since your taste and expectations count. You have to live with them, after all.

Interconnects and cables: avoid thin wire and cheapo molded plastic plugs (like the ones often thrown in free with your receiver or CD player), but don't fall for the hype that expensive cables will work any sort of magic. Not that the &quot;gimme&quot; cables will necessarily degrade the sound but they might be a bit more vulnerable to noise from RF interference and they tend to break if you unplug/replug a lot. Get reasonably beefy shielded ones from Radio Shack with quality plugs and strain reliefs where the plug and wire meet. Gold plating is pretty and corrosion resistant (some call it &quot;audio jewelry&quot;) but otherwise does not have magical signal transmittal properties - at least not that you can hear. Also, check out the wide range of interconnects at partsexpress.com. You can get good quality short ones (12&quot; to 20&quot;) from various mfrs. there in addition to the usual 3 foot and 6 foot ones. I think the shorties are for car audio, but that doesn't matter. I like the short ones when components are stacked atop or right next to each other just to minimize the &quot;spaghetti jungle&quot; behind your gear.

Speaker wire: 16ga or heavier zip cord from Home Depot etc. Keep the speaker wire as short as possible and avoid coiling excess lengths of wire: it creates a slight but possibly deleterious inductance.

And if you want insight into what makes it all work, read the tech articles here. And maybe even buy or borrow a book on basic electronics written for the hobbyist rather than the EE student. Even if you're a non-techie and math makes you break out in a cold sweat (like me - I was a theater major) the basics are actually pretty easy to grasp and the knowledge gained thereby will help arm you against the misinformation, hype and fraud so rampant in audio. Warning: it may cause you to buy a soldering iron and try to build your own!  
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G

Guest

Guest
<font color='#000000'>Well said, Rip Van Woofer!

This is exactly why I sold my Bryston 4B-ST amp ($2500) because I simply can't hear any difference from my Yamaha receiver ($299) !   I knew Bryston is good, now I know Yamaha is good.  Maybe other brands like Denon,Sony,etc are good too, but there is no incentive for me to switch brand. So I will stay with Yamaha in my current upgrade.

Speaker is THE most critical component of an audio system.  One should definitely spend most of the budget on speakers.  I know I did and am doing.   I highly recommend Dynaudio if budget allows.  I have them and LOVE them!  As a matter of fact I will pick up a new Dynaudio Contour S Center channel speaker tomorrow!  can't wait!!!

check out   Dynaudio's website

Abe</font>
 
G

Guest

Guest
<font color='#000000'>p.s.

dump your B_O_S_E! &nbsp;they are junk!

This is personal. &nbsp;I am outraged because my good friends got ripped by them! &nbsp;They paid lots of money and I auditioned the system and it sound like CRAP!</font>
 
Yamahaluver

Yamahaluver

Audioholic General
<font color='#0000FF'>As an ex booze 901 series V owner I can only support the above statements, they are overpriced crap and even well made bookshelfs sound better. it was more of a sentimental issue for me when I bought the booze as he is a fellow countryman.</font>
 
S

swimfast

Audiophyte
<font color='#000000'>Hey guys, thanks a lot, this all helped quite a bit. &nbsp;I'll let you guys know what I end up with.</font>
 
A

av_phile

Senior Audioholic
<font color='#000000'>Hi Swinfast,

Hope this is not too late. &nbsp;Pls check out the technical specs on the VSX-D812s. &nbsp;I know Pioneer is an establkished name in Hi-Fi cricles, notably its Elite series. &nbsp;I am just amazed how it could blatantly (at least honestly) print on its specsheet for this model a 1% THD at 1Khz for each channel at full power. &nbsp;That is certainly not audiophile grade. &nbsp;It means the amp will give more THDs in more critical frequency ranges. I know THD is not everything, but it can be telling, especilly at this level, when all the others are stating their THD specs below a quarter of a percent at ALL frequencies. &nbsp;On the plus side, this model has excellent input flexibiity, formats supported and features. &nbsp;It has multi-channel pre-outs - a good upgrade feature in a receiver if you ask me. Some people I know use it as a preamp mated to a better multi-channel power amp. &nbsp;As a multi-channel pre-amp, nothing beats its price.

So maybe this model will work in the meantime if you plan to use better amps in the future. &nbsp;But if not, you can scout around for and audition other brands. &nbsp;I think there are Denons, Onkyos and Yamahas in the same price point and performance. &nbsp;Just my 2 cents.</font>
 
Rip Van Woofer

Rip Van Woofer

Audioholic General
<font color='#000000'><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tr><td>
av_phile : I am just amazed how it could blatantly (at least honestly) print on its specsheet for this model a 1% THD at 1Khz for each channel at full power.  That is certainly not audiophile grade.
Maybe they're trying for that &quot;tube sound&quot;.  
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A

av_phile

Senior Audioholic
<font color='#000000'>Only if they can generate EVEN order harmonic distortion which they don't.</font>
 
Yamahaluver

Yamahaluver

Audioholic General
<font color='#0000FF'>Or they are being extremely honest which is a rarity today in this world.</font>
 
A

av_phile

Senior Audioholic
<font color='#000000'>Honesty is indeed a rarity. &nbsp;And I commend them for that. &nbsp;They'll surely have my respect. &nbsp;But not my money. &nbsp;
</font>
 
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