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AV RECEIVER REVIEWS

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Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Oct 02, 2013 3 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Nine amp channels
Audyssey MultEQ XT32
Excellent sound quality
Minus
No direct USB input for PC/Mac playback

THE VERDICT
Reference-worthy A/V receiver that offers great bang for the buck.

When I review speakers, I have dozens of major and minor brands to choose from. When I review audio/video receivers, the same names come up time and again. There just aren’t that many of them. You might think reviewing the same AVR brands repeatedly would leave me jaded. But it doesn’t. Every one of those heavy black boxes is a new quest. Every manufacturer has to prove itself all over again—and prove it to me, someone with a frame of reference that goes back decades. My method is pretty simple. I act as a surrogate for the consumer: I am you. I pull the product out of the box, lift it onto my rack, punch through the interface, turn it up loud, and consider both what I hear and how I feel about it.

Filed under
Shane Buettner Posted: Apr 07, 2007 0 comments
  • $1,999
  • 125-Watts x 7 into 8 ohms
  • Processing Modes: DD, DD-EX, ProLogicIIx, DTS, DTS-ES/Discrete/Matrix/Neo: 6, DTS 24/96, SRS Circle Surround II, HDCD decoding
Features We Like: THX Select2-Certified, Four HDMI 1.2 inputs and two outputs with video upconversion and cross-conversion, four component inputs, Audyssey auto calibration and room EQ, three coaxial and four toslink optical digital audio inputs, one 7.1-channel analog audio input, XM Ready, 7.1-channel preamp outs, AV sync delay, multi-source/multi-zone
Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Apr 14, 2008 1 comments
Connected where it counts.

Marantz is a brand name. It was once an individual as well. What would Saul Marantz have made of the SR8002 A/V receiver? It bears little resemblance to the hi-fi products he hand-built in his home in Kew Gardens, New York, during the 1950s—or to the Japanese-made receivers that popularized component audio systems in the 1970s. Saul lived until 1997, so he was not unfamiliar with the concept of surround sound by the time he passed away—but his younger self would have been astonished to see 11 pairs of binding posts on the back of the SR8002. Not to mention some unfamiliar jacks labeled HDMI. What are those for?

Filed under
Fred Manteghian Posted: Feb 10, 2008 0 comments

In <I>Donny Darko</I>, Drew Barrymore's character, Ms. Pomery, says that a famous linguist once proclaimed "cellar door" to be the most beautiful phrase in the English language. I'm here to recommend we consider "Marantz" for that title, because it reproduces the most beautiful sounds in <I>any</I> language. Be it Zoot Sims on JVC XRCD, Claudio Arrau playing Beethoven sonatas from a Philips CD, or that gawd-awful good <I>Transformers</I> movie on HD DVD, the Marantz is beauty personified!

Filed under
Shane Buettner Posted: Jan 18, 2007 Published: Jan 19, 2007 0 comments
  • $1,999
  • 125-Watts x 7 into 8 ohms
  • Processing Modes: DD, DD-EX, ProLogicIIx, DTS, DTS-ES/Discrete/Matrix/Neo: 6, DTS 24/96, SRS Circle Surround II, HDCD decoding
Features We Like: THX Select2-Certified, Four HDMI 1.2 inputs and two outputs with video upconversion and cross-conversion, four component inputs, Audyssey auto calibration and room EQ, three coaxial and four toslink optical digital audio inputs, one 7.1-channel analog audio input, XM Ready, 7.1-channel preamp outs, AV sync delay, multi-source/multi-zone
Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Oct 22, 2007 0 comments
High-end audio goes green.

There is a link in the public mind between scale and quality, a notion that, if you want something better, you also want something bigger. After all, top-of-the-line surround receivers are expected to have more powerful amplifiers and more features. Bigger speakers come with a tacit implication of better bass response. And who doesn't dream of buying a bigger plasma or LCD?

Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 03, 2010 0 comments
Price: $1,299 At A Glance: An A/V receiver for the audiophile on a budget • Faroudja DCDi video processing • Essential features only, no fad features

Ready for Takeoff

Paring life down to the essentials is a fine art. You should aim to reduce the quantity of stuff in your life and increase the quality of what remains. This may take some work. You may need to sit down with the entire contents of your sock drawer and discard all the ones with rather large holes. But then you experience the joy of buying (and wearing) beautiful new socks. And the daily need to find two good ones that match will become less onerous.

Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 18, 2005 Published: Jan 19, 2005 0 comments
Practicality trumps mystique.

Years ago, I crossed swords with the editor-in-chief of a magazine that covered tech only in passing. His deputy editor took me aside, and a reflective look came into his eyes as he explained why his distinguished boss hated my work: "There's a kind of hardheaded practicality to him, and the whizbang stuff you write just leaves him cold. High-end cars he understands, but not high-end audio, and he wants you to convince him that this stuff is really worth paying good money for." Ever since then, I've tried to recognize that hardheaded practicality when I run across it—especially in readers.

Filed under
Fred Manteghian Posted: Nov 14, 2011 5 comments
Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,600 At A Glance: Future-proof modular construction • Great ergonomics • Trades features for performance

Oh, it’s coming, all right. Are you ready for it? That’s right, Smell-O-Vision! I’m not talking about old-school scratch-n-sniff cards, but the real, electrified olfactory emitters specified in the HDMI 1.5 standard. OK, I’m clearly exaggerating the contents of the next HDMI version, but even if that travesty comes to pass, NAD’s Modular Design Construction topology means the T 757 can be upgraded by your dealer, instead of a forklift.

Filed under
Barry Willis Posted: Nov 05, 2004 0 comments

New Acoustic Dimensions, aka NAD, has been building reliable, affordable, good-sounding audio equipment for well over a quarter of a century. Anecdotal evidence: My NAD 7225PE receiver, 20+ years old, is still working perfectly as the heart of my garage workshop audio system.

Filed under
Michael Fremer Posted: Aug 02, 2012 9 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $4,000 At A Glance: Seven powerful amplifiers • Complexity simplified • Future-proof modular design

For good reason, grizzled veterans of the audio/video hardware wars eagerly anticipate reviewing NAD gear. The company’s distinguished history began in the 1970s with the invention of the business model that was adopted years later by Apple, among others. Rather than building a factory to produce its products, NAD contracted with existing manufacturing facilities, thus avoiding high capitalization costs.

Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 23, 2006 0 comments
Chairman of the boards.

A receiver that doesn't handle the latest video and surround formats is a doorstop. A similarly outmoded high-end receiver is a very expensive doorstop. And that's a problem for anyone who bought one during the 20th century. Most DVDs have Dolby Digital and/or DTS soundtracks—those are must-haves. Stereo material usually sounds much better to me in Dolby Pro Logic II than in DPLI or stereo. And, for the largest rooms, Surround EX and DTS ES have added the back channels some people deem necessary. HDMI is on its way in, component video is on its way out, XM and HD radio are knocking at AM/FM's door, and, in a few years, surround receivers will be called on to do things that we can barely begin to imagine today.

Filed under
David Vaughn Posted: Jan 27, 2012 0 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,399 At A Glance: Fabulous video processing • Outstanding audio performance • Nine channels of amplification

When one looks to upgrade an AVR, one must take much into consideration: features, number of inputs and outputs, multizone capability, channels of amplification, power rating, and, of course, cost. The sub-$1,000 market is loaded with AVRs that offer a terrific value but lack many of the bells and whistles that are found once you cross the $1,000 barrier, such as multizone, nine channels of amplification, and more HDMI inputs than the average person will ever need.

Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 07, 2012 4 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $2,299 At A Glance: Audyssey’s best room correction • ISF, THX certifications • Nine amp channels

Onkyo is the quintessential feature-conscious audio/video receiver maker. The company is the champion of the mid-priced receiver, providing things like THX certification, Audyssey room correction, and other goodies at a poor man’s price point. The upper reaches of Onkyo’s line get a bit less attention in the press, however. So today we swing the spotlight onto the Onkyo TX-NR3010, second from the top of the line. At $2,299, it has a few logo-tattoos you may not have heard of before. It also has a lot more power and more ambitious build quality than its slightly less tattooed siblings.

Filed under
David Vaughn Posted: Aug 24, 2012 0 comments
Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $499 At A Glance: Internet radio with a plethora of cloud streaming services • PiP source input preview • iDevice and Android Onkyo Remote app

Last year I had the pleasure of reviewing the Onkyo TX-NR609 AVR (Home Theater, August 2011), which offered a boatload of features, including seven channels of amplification, firstrate video processing, THX-Select certification, and many of the goodies found on the flagship products for the attractive price of $599. When I was done with my audition, I gladly gave the product Top Pick status and recommended it for anyone looking for near-flagship performance on a tight budget.

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