DOLBY DIGITAL PERFORMANCE All data were obtained from various test DVDs using 16-bit dithered test signals, which set limits on measured distortion and noise performance. Reference input level is -20 dBFS, and reference output is 1 watt into 8 ohms. Volume setting for reference level was -3.5.
For most people, flagship A/V receivers costing $4,000 to $6,000 are just too much: too much size, weight, complexity, and, for sure, money. But the cheapest models are too limited in connections and, more often than not, too flimsy. The result?
For decades, you could walk into most electronics stores and find speakers that were small and good, or small and cheap - but rarely all three. Times have changed. With advances in acoustics and the advent of computer-aided design for speaker drivers and enclosures, today you can get great sound from plenty of small, inexpensive speakers.
Pioneer sure packed an awful lot of stuff into its new A/V receiver, the Elite VSX-74TXVi, beginning with the mouthful of letters in its model name. Far more engaging is its iPod connectivity: this is the first receiver we've seen to offer fully integrated control for Apple's ubiquitous iPod music player.
Don't buy this receiver if you have a bad back, a rickety rack, or a bulging credit limit. Because Denon's latest flagship, the AVR-5805, is as tall as many receivers are deep, as deep as many are wide, as heavy as a pair of many other flagship models - and as expensive as a two-year-old Kia.
Santa squeezed an awful lot of flat-panel TVs down an awful lot of chimneys last year. (He bends the space-time continuum, that's how.) And as those lucky households recover from holiday bills, thoughts are turning to sleek on-wall speaker systems to finish the job.