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Entry-level AVR Recommendation for HIFI Noob?

schmoo

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Feb 2, 2022
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Hi all,

I'm looking to upgrade my system with a new stereo receiver that is a little more reliable and future-proofed. At the moment my gear is the following (inherited the AVR and turntable from a family member):
  • AVR: Sony STR-VX350
  • Speakers: Edifier P12
  • Turntable: Pioneer PL-518
In general I've been quite happy with this set-up, but the STR-VX350 has been less and less reliable, and every shop I've contacted to fix it has told me the cost of fixing far surpasses its value. Figured it'd be time for an upgrade. So far I've solely used my system for music, but I'm also interested in potentially hooking up my TV/gaming consoles through the sound system too. I don't really think I'm interested in going down the surround sound route, so I've mainly been looking around at stereo options with HDMI. I'm still in the budget end of things, so I've been aiming for 400-600$ CAD (but would be willing to go a bit higher if justifiable).

At this point, I think I've now narrowed my choice down to either the Denon AVR-S650H or the Denon DRA-800H (saw that both of these were on sale refurbished on Denon's website). After reading through the comments on the review of the DRA-800H on this forum, I'm tempted to go with the S-650H since it's about 250$ cheaper, although I'm still not clear on what the real difference between these two are (beyond one being 5.2 and the other 2.2, and the DRA-800H having Bass/Treble/Balance knobs on the front...).

Any more insights about these two Denons, or other recommendations would be much appreciated!
 

EdTice

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Aug 18, 2020
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Hi all,

I'm looking to upgrade my system with a new stereo receiver that is a little more reliable and future-proofed. At the moment my gear is the following (inherited the AVR and turntable from a family member):
  • AVR: Sony STR-VX350
  • Speakers: Edifier P12
  • Turntable: Pioneer PL-518
In general I've been quite happy with this set-up, but the STR-VX350 has been less and less reliable, and every shop I've contacted to fix it has told me the cost of fixing far surpasses its value. Figured it'd be time for an upgrade. So far I've solely used my system for music, but I'm also interested in potentially hooking up my TV/gaming consoles through the sound system too. I don't really think I'm interested in going down the surround sound route, so I've mainly been looking around at stereo options with HDMI. I'm still in the budget end of things, so I've been aiming for 400-600$ CAD (but would be willing to go a bit higher if justifiable).

At this point, I think I've now narrowed my choice down to either the Denon AVR-S650H or the Denon DRA-800H (saw that both of these were on sale refurbished on Denon's website). After reading through the comments on the review of the DRA-800H on this forum, I'm tempted to go with the S-650H since it's about 250$ cheaper, although I'm still not clear on what the real difference between these two are (beyond one being 5.2 and the other 2.2, and the DRA-800H having Bass/Treble/Balance knobs on the front...).

Any more insights about these two Denons, or other recommendations would be much appreciated!
I just recommended the S650H refurbished to somebody else today. It hasn't been measured on ASR but the specs are impressive and the price is unbeatable.

I am not familiar with the DRA-800H but it has been measured here so at least you know exactly what you are getting.

Keep in mind that most of the older Denons performed fairly poorly at 2V pre-out but did much better at lower volumes. I imagine that you'll be happy with either one but if it were me, I'd be happiest having the extra money in my pocket!
 

JeffS7444

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Big difference that I see is that AVR-S650H incorporates Audyssey room correction! If similar to my Marantz (most likely) you ought to be able to configure it to work fine with just two speakers and still take advantage of room correction.

Downside: Doesn't appear to support Audyssey MultiEQ Editor app, would need to step up to at least S750H to get it.
 

EdTice

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Aug 18, 2020
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Big difference that I see is that AVR-S650H incorporates Audyssey room correction! If similar to my Marantz (most likely) you ought to be able to configure it to work fine with just two speakers and still take advantage of room correction.

Downside: Doesn't appear to support Audyssey MultiEQ Editor app, would need to step up to at least S750H to get it.
Yeah, $250 cheaper 8and* supports Audyssey room correction. Guess we all have to look elsewhere for lively debate! :)
 

jcarys

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Aug 24, 2020
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Location
Minneapolis, MN
Well Denon would say if all you want is stereo then go with the 800H. It has more power to the two channels since there's no need for the surrounds. I agree that the review here is not too pretty, so you might want to look at other options, if you can find anything in stock.
 

EdTice

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Aug 18, 2020
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Well Denon would say if all you want is stereo then go with the 800H. It has more power to the two channels since there's no need for the surrounds. I agree that the review here is not too pretty, so you might want to look at other options, if you can find anything in stock.
There are actual specs for the S650H.
  • 75 watts per channel into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.08% THD with 2 channels driven
That's not exactly stellar but a significant improvement over the 0.5% @ 35watts of the Sony STR-VX350 it's replacing. Plus it has room correction.

You can clearly do better than this but not much better for US$329!
 
OP
S

schmoo

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Thanks for the inputs! Seems like the S650H is the obvious choice here :)
 
OP
S

schmoo

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There are actual specs for the S650H.
  • 75 watts per channel into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.08% THD with 2 channels driven
That's not exactly stellar but a significant improvement over the 0.5% @ 35watts of the Sony STR-VX350 it's replacing. Plus it has room correction.

You can clearly do better than this but not much better for US$329!
(by the way - what is the room correction, is that Audyssey? what does it actually do?)
 

DonR

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(by the way - what is the room correction, is that Audyssey? what does it actually do?)
Basically, it is like an automated equalizer. Using a microphone placed at the listening positions, it sends out various tones to each speaker and then makes adjustments for volume level, room reflections and frequency response.
 

ThatM1key

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I would recommend the Sony STR-DN1080. Top of its series/class. Your lucky to find one around your budget but they are out there.
 

LilSizzle

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Feb 6, 2022
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Hi all,

I'm looking to upgrade my system with a new stereo receiver that is a little more reliable and future-proofed. At the moment my gear is the following (inherited the AVR and turntable from a family member):
  • AVR: Sony STR-VX350
  • Speakers: Edifier P12
  • Turntable: Pioneer PL-518
In general I've been quite happy with this set-up, but the STR-VX350 has been less and less reliable, and every shop I've contacted to fix it has told me the cost of fixing far surpasses its value. Figured it'd be time for an upgrade. So far I've solely used my system for music, but I'm also interested in potentially hooking up my TV/gaming consoles through the sound system too. I don't really think I'm interested in going down the surround sound route, so I've mainly been looking around at stereo options with HDMI. I'm still in the budget end of things, so I've been aiming for 400-600$ CAD (but would be willing to go a bit higher if justifiable).

At this point, I think I've now narrowed my choice down to either the Denon AVR-S650H or the Denon DRA-800H (saw that both of these were on sale refurbished on Denon's website). After reading through the comments on the review of the DRA-800H on this forum, I'm tempted to go with the S-650H since it's about 250$ cheaper, although I'm still not clear on what the real difference between these two are (beyond one being 5.2 and the other 2.2, and the DRA-800H having Bass/Treble/Balance knobs on the front...).

Any more insights about these two Denons, or other recommendations would be much appreciated!
If you don't need the HDMI I found second hand Harmon Kardon 3490 is pretty good. Lots of power in there with a sub out if you need.

https://www.audioholics.com/av-receiver-reviews/hk-3490
 
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