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AV RECEIVER REVIEWS

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Feb 09, 2009 0 comments
Price: $800 At A Glance: New rounded front panel is borrowed from higher-end gear • Audyssey MultEQ auto setup and room EQ • Audio circuits on separate circuit board

The Middle Kid Syndrome

As the third child in a series of four, I know what it’s like to be in between. My older siblings arrived a decade before I did and towered over me with their adult-like achievements. They had summer jobs, bought Volkswagen Beetles, headed off to college, and—most fatefully, I now recognize—turned me on to rock ’n’ roll. I was the pampered baby for a few years until my younger sibling arrived and, predictably, absorbed more of my mother’s time. This made me terribly jealous.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Feb 02, 2009 0 comments
Price: $1,099 At A Glance: Onkyo’s first THX Ultra2 Plus–certified AVR • New THX and Audyssey algorithms • Five HDMI 1.3 inputs • Faroudja DCDi video

With Two Secret Sauces

When I compare the Onkyo TX-SR806 receiver with last year’s Onkyo crop, I see incremental but significant improvements. The most notable ones are licensed technologies from THX and Audyssey (more on them soon). But when I compare this product with the earliest A/V receivers (and in the process, look back on myself as I was then), I actually get dizzy.

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Posted: Nov 10, 2008 0 comments

If you're like me, you've seen your net worth take a significant hit in 2008. Not only has my house's value dropped nearly 30 percent, but my retirement fund dropped that much the first week of October! Consequently, I don't feel as wealthy as I did in 2007—although no one would ever confuse me with Daddy Warbucks in any event.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 03, 2008 0 comments
Price: $7,000 Highlights: Superb sound for both movies and music • 10 channels of powerful Class D amplification • Sets a steep learning curve but rewards with immense flexibility • Video processing has limitations, including no upconversion of HDMI sources

And the Kitchen Sink

Sometimes I get nostalgic for the early days of home theater. For example, I fondly remember the Proceed AVP processor I reviewed for Stereophile Guide to Home Theater in 1997. Conventional Dolby Digital and DTS were its most exotic operating modes, the remote had fewer than a dozen buttons, and it didn’t provide room equalization, extra surround modes, or onboard video processing. In fact, it didn’t have any video switching beyond S-video. We didn’t need no stinkin’ component, and no one had even heard of HDMI. Laserdisc was the most established source, DVD was brand new, and consumer high definition was still a mote in the FCC’s eye.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Oct 27, 2008 0 comments
Price: $350 Highlights: Five channels times 105 watts • HDMI with high-resolution PCM • Includes Yamaha’s YPAO auto setup

Home Theater Out of the Box

Why would anyone buy a budget receiver and satellite/subwoofer speakers instead of a simpler home theater in a box system? To the uninitiated, the HTIB seems like a no-brainer. It spares the consumer the rigors of equipment matching and sometimes even throws in a disc drive.

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David Vaughn Posted: Sep 12, 2008 0 comments

What separates a good A/V receiver from a great one? The line has certainly blurred over the past few years, and you can find phenomenal values for under $2000 that offer many of the features once included only in the flagship models, minus a few bells and whistles.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Aug 25, 2008 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Denon redefines the surround receiver.
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Kim Wilson Posted: Aug 18, 2008 0 comments
If you want bang for your buck, look no further.

The great thing about technol-ogy is that everything eventually becomes affordable. The latest generation of A/V receivers certainly demonstrates this, and the Onkyo TX-SR606 exemplifies the extraordinary features and performance capabilities of AVRs under $600.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 18, 2008 0 comments
Happy with what you have to be happy with.
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Fred Manteghian Posted: Aug 11, 2008 0 comments
More canals than Venice.
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Joshua Zyber Posted: Jul 27, 2008 0 comments
Denon sound quality lives on in the next generation.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 21, 2008 0 comments
Making receivers easy. Well, easier.

The Consumer Electronics Association recently kicked off a “Convert Your Mom” campaign to advance the transition to digital television. One thing your mom will probably never want is a surround receiver. Sure, no home theater buff in her right mind would relegate audio functions to TV speakers. But, although the receiver is the nerve center for many systems, it’s also a stumbling block to many potential users. Receivers just do too many good things—entailing setup and adjustment hassles along the way. Make them simpler, and you lose capabilities. Make them full featured, and you get an instruction manual that’s like War and Peace (minus the literary merit).

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Wes Phillips Posted: Jul 14, 2008 0 comments

When I answered the door and saw the UPS man standing there with a massive box, I knew that Denon's AVR-5308CI had finally arrived after a series of misadventures. (Don't ask.)

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 18, 2008 0 comments

Product positioning in today's consumer world generally falls into three categories: budget, mid-tier, and premium. For example, BMW offers the 3-series, 5-series, and 7-series. All are nice automobiles, but with each step up in class, additional features and performance add value for the end user with a concomitant increase in price.

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Kris Deering Posted: Jun 16, 2008 0 comments
HT examines the video processing in today’s top AVRs to find out which solutions make the grade.

While many new technologies have been incorporated into A/V receivers over the last few years, perhaps the biggest change we’ve seen in these traditionally audio-based components is the inclusion of advanced video processing. Just a few years ago, video processing was reserved for high-priced standalone machines that almost required a doctorate to employ. But now we’re seeing high-quality solutions incorporated into even midline AVRs, and video processing is being used to differentiate and market these products against one another in a hotly competitive market.

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