AV RECEIVER REVIEWS

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Jan 31, 2001 Published: Feb 01, 2001 0 comments
Budget receivers can make anyone a home theater meister.

I'm a simple man. As I travel this great land of ours, for both business and pleasure, most of my conversations with others sooner or later lead to two topics: movies and their inevitable offshoot, home theater. I rarely discuss the specifics of what I'm packing at Rancho Chiarella; rather, I listen to the wide-eyed yearnings of the hard-working Everyman who dreams of experiencing all that a respectable A/V system can deliver. For so many of the folks I've talked with, an affordable home theater receiver is the key to their wish fulfillment.

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Chris Lewis Posted: Oct 28, 2000 Published: Oct 29, 2000 0 comments
No matter which side of the receivers-versus-separates debate you find yourself on, it's simple to understand why A/V receivers have the broad appeal among home theater buyers that they do—they're easy, period. A well-executed receiver is easy to purchase, easy to set up, and easy to use. These are commodities that go a long way in any market today, regardless of bottom-line performance. And let's face it, the performance of receivers has improved considerably in recent years. You're still not going to see dedicated theaters or music rooms built around a receiver, but you won't get laughed out of the room anymore when you start comparing its performance to that of comparably priced separates. Context is key in the receiver game. What do you really need, where do you need it, and how much are you willing to pay for it?
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Bruce Fordyce Posted: Sep 03, 2000 Published: Sep 04, 2000 0 comments
Denon's AVR-4800 receiver is the one-box key to home theater nirvana. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in your living room, the consumer electronics industry has come up with yet another home theater surround scheme: THX Surround EX. If excess truly is the path to the palace of wisdom, then it will be home theater products, not those retro hippie Gingko brain supplements, that make us all smart really quick. Wisdom will, however, probably have to take a back seat to confusion before all is said and done. Nonetheless, THX Surround EX is here, although its entrance was not celebrated with the carnival-like fanfare that heralded the entrance of Dolby Digital and DTS.
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Michael Trei Posted: Aug 27, 2000 Published: Aug 28, 2000 0 comments
Yamaha's flagship RX-V1 receiver has enough power and flexibility to float anyone's boat. Flagship is one of those words like ultimate and reference that just can't seem to get any respect these days. The next time we see last year's "ultimate" product superseded by this year's "improved" model, I think we should all complain to the manufacturer.
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Clint Walker Posted: May 26, 2000 Published: May 27, 2000 0 comments
The receiver that shagged me.

The details surrounding my technical background are really quite inconsequential. Summers in retail, winters in correctional facilities for the perfectly capable. Desperate for the dollar, I'd often drug customers and dress them up like French maids. When they'd awaken, my friends and I would thank them for shaving our backs and assure them we wouldn't tell anybody. This was the sort of activity that would keep food on the table and our young bodies healthy for the beach. In the springtime, we'd make capacitor helmets with heatsinks on them. Then, we'd test each other's knowledge of schematics while running downhill. It was really quite breathtaking . . . you should try it sometime.

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Joe Hageman Posted: Jan 25, 2000 Published: Jan 26, 2000 0 comments
Three bargain-basement receivers go head to head to see who's on top of the cheap heap.

Believe it or not, I wasn't always as tall and dashingly handsome as I am now (don't worry, guys, that comment was directed toward our female readers). I remember back in fifth grade when I was an awkward runt who got picked last in kickball. All the bigger guys would laugh at me. I'm not jaded, though—I now have the coolest job in the world, I'm a minor celebrity, and I've got the names and addresses of all my adolescent torturers (yeah, even you, Billy, in Colorado Springs).

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Daniel Kumin Posted: Aug 23, 2012 0 comments

For those who may harbor any doubt that Pioneer has thrown its lot wholly in with the Connected Generation, let me present Exhibit A: the VSX-60 A/V receiver. The new model’s design bears a close resemblance to those of its predecessors, and any updates in its functions and features are more incremental than otherwise. But when you add everything up, the verdict seems pretty clear.

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Daniel Kumin Posted: Sep 20, 2011 0 comments

Once, all you needed to enter the receiver business was audio-engineering chops, competence in packaging efficiency, and a sharp pencil over the bottom line. That was then before the digital audio/video revolution and the birth of the A/V receiver as we know it. Today, you need at least as much smartsin the computer, DSP, and software/firmware fieldsas you do in plain ol’ audio, a fact that has thinned,and continues to thin, the herd of receiver makers noticeably.

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Daniel Kumin Posted: Oct 16, 2012 0 comments

It's been a little while since I've had a Sony receiver up on the gear rack, so I was looking forward to renewing the acquaintance, especially?as our subject is a mid-market model, and Sony has always been fiercely competitive at the most popular price points. So it's not too surprising to find its new STR-DN1030 jammed with features that were strictly the stuff of high-end models perhaps 18 months ago: AirPlay compatibility, DLNA network audio streaming via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and an iPhone/Android control app, to name just some.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Sep 21, 2011 0 comments

For many years, the mantra in hi-fi design was "bigger is better." Your system didn't measure up unless you had a lofty stack of electronics and your speakers were tall enough to be called towers. Today, the reverse is true. It's a post-iPod world, where smaller is cooler. The iPod also advanced the notion that electronics don't have to be complicated; convenience is the new norm.

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Daniel Kumin Posted: Nov 20, 2012 0 comments

Most A/V receivers with any pretensions toward high performance — and most audio and video products in general, for that matter — are designed and marketed for hardcore hobbyists, not average consumers. What’s the difference? The hobbyist revels in scores of setup options, dozens of surround modes, and fistfuls of video-processing choices.

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Daniel Kumin Posted: Oct 19, 2011 0 comments

Each generation of A/V receivers brings at least a few new features — one of which will prove useful while others stick out as head-scratchers that nobody asked for. You could hardly find a better illustration of this natural law than Pioneer’s new VSX-52, the sub-penultimate model of its latest Elite A/V receiver range.

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Daniel Kumin Posted: Feb 13, 2013 0 comments

Sony's new flagship receiver is a brute. It's got as many or more features, channels, HDMI jacks, and control options as any competitor I can think of, along with a snazzy new rotation of onscreen menus. The STR-DA5800ES is also the latest to join the 4K brigade, being able to pass-through, and upscale to, the possible-future Ultra HD video format. More on this in a year. Or two.

Michael Berk Posted: Sep 26, 2011 0 comments

Lots of news on the soundbar front this week, so if you're looking to cram a surround experience into a tiny space you're in luck.

Michael Berk Posted: Aug 10, 2011 0 comments

There's a lot of action on the AVR front this week, with new models and upgrades from major manufacturers.

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