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Older Onkyo vs new Onkyo or other receiver - sound quality

Flak

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Isn’t Onkyo bankrupt? See other thread. Or did they sell their AVR division and keep the brand alive under different ownership?
Onkyo/Pioneer/Integra as well as Denon/Marantz brands are alive and well under different new ownerships...
 
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Jimmi

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Get the Denon 3700 and get back to enjoying your music and movies .

While the Denon 3700 looks great, I'm thinking the Onkyo NR1700 might suit my needs, $500 cheaper. Seems to get ok reviews, also upscales for a future projector upgrade

 

Head_Unit

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Another question: if power amp for mains, the receiver would send most watts to center, surrounds, and height speakers? For example, something like this paired with a power amp? https://www.crutchfield.com/p_642NR1711/Marantz-NR1711.html
Does that even have preouts? I see "Front" and "Sub 1 Sub 2"-maybe those are front L/R? You need preouts to run a power amp from a receiver. But if you had enough volume with your current receiver, you're likely to be fine with that Marantz. And if not, Crutchfield will surely take it back for a reasonable fee or yes you can add a power amp.

Just don't expect miracles from adding two channels. For one, I do not believe the assertion that the surrounds use less power (surely true for long term average power, but I highly doubt it for peaks which is what counts, based on what a sound mixer had posted once). For another, certainly the center won't use less power; adding a L/R amp will then be limited by the AVR power to the center. And from years looking at measurements back when magazines actually did that, relieving the L/R load on the AVR might gain you 2-3 decibels before clipping, not bad but not "OMG!!" transformative.
 
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Jimmi

Jimmi

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Does that even have preouts? I see "Front" and "Sub 1 Sub 2"-maybe those are front L/R? You need preouts to run a power amp from a receiver. But if you had enough volume with your current receiver, you're likely to be fine with that Marantz. And if not, Crutchfield will surely take it back for a reasonable fee or yes you can add a power amp.

Just don't expect miracles from adding two channels. For one, I do not believe the assertion that the surrounds use less power (surely true for long term average power, but I highly doubt it for peaks which is what counts, based on what a sound mixer had posted once). For another, certainly the center won't use less power; adding a L/R amp will then be limited by the AVR power to the center. And from years looking at measurements back when magazines actually did that, relieving the L/R load on the AVR might gain you 2-3 decibels before clipping, not bad but not "OMG!!" transformative.
Thanks, great info! Maybe I will get something similar to what I have now, even a used 7.1 as my current 5.1 works for me with A and B together. I know some purists will be shocked at using two pairs silmultaneously, but in my set up, it sounds great and the speakers compliment each other.
 

Head_Unit

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a used 7.1
Yeah sometimes there are really great deals, depending what you need. I saved $1000 getting something off Craigslist. The seller needed/wanted 4k switching but I wired direct to the display. Just be sure to get Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio, and a good room correction (Audyssey, ARC, Dirac are the more sophisticated. Audyssey is better with the App which implies not too old a Denon or Marantz). Good luck!
 

Beershaun

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What is your budget?

You would be very happy with the modern Denon X3700. Audyssey X32 allows you to modify the target curves to get the nice gentle downward sloping in-room "Harman Curve" response. eARC is game changing for convenience. You can use one remote to turn everything on/off! Also the modern streaming capabilities like Spotify connect are super nice for just using your phone to "cast" music to your home stereo. The future is pretty great. Atmos is a nice improvement regardless of how many speakers you have set up as it splits the signals by channel at decoding time so if you have 2 or 30 speakers it will decide how to split up the sound and send it to the speakers you have.

Also, If you plan to have a subwoofer or external amplifiers there is definitely a difference in sound quality and performance having a clean pre-amp section that can send sufficient voltage out to the pre-outs to ensure your external amps reach full power.

A couple comparisions to your current unit based on Amir's measurements:
Peak power of Onkyo at 4ohms=155w
Peak power of Denon at 4 ohms =242w
continuous power of Onkyo at 8ohms =75w
continuous power of Denon at 8ohms =114w

That and a Signal to Noise+Distortion ratio for the pre-amp section of -97db is a pretty big improvement.

You'll definitely enjoy the improvement over your current unit.:)
 
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Jimmi

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So I found a used Onkyo TX-RZ620, hooked up my extra speakers for height and it sounds great. Still experimenting with crossover settings but it's nice to actually see the settings on the screen. Vinyl is sounding good, but I need to experiment more. One thing that I was used to with the old receiver was having volume control A/B together. Now with Zone 2, I have to select Zone 2 separately to control the volume.
 

dlaloum

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Like the others above said your Sound Quality should be the same or perhaps a little better. Denon appears on the top of the best SINAD AVRs tested on this website with kudos for “good engineering hygiene too.”

And yes Onkyo is going through an uncomfortable bad financial path now. If I worked for them I would likely start looking for my next job.
Onkyo Japan - cut loose some of their subsidiaries that were loss making - and left them to go broke.

Onkyo the Audio brand (along with Integra and Pioneer) were sold (or rather licenced) to Permium Audio Co., which is jointly owned by Voxx and Sharp.

As part of the deal, the engineers/designers went over to PAC, Sharp was already the manufacturer for Onkyo - so it took 23% ownership as part of the deal, and continues to run the manufacturing.

Voxx owns a range of other brands (including Klipsch) - and will be distributing the products internationally.

So yeah - parts of Onkyo Japan are in strife... it has no influence on the Audio brand.
 

dlaloum

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I have owned 15 year old Onkyo AVR's - from their Flagship series TX-SR876 and Integra DTR 70.4

Unfortunately both of these ended up having issues - there were manufacturing problems in that period from around 2008 to 2015.... batches of bad capacitors, bad dsp chips, and these combined with designs that ran seriously hot were not a good combo.

When my DTR 70.4 failed about a year back, I started looking around... the DTR 70.4 was a flagship powerhouse of an AVR with 140W/ch @ 8ohm (170W into stereo!) - Audyssey XT32 etc...

In terms of sound it was excellent, and competitive with a number of audiophile external amps I tried... I was somewhat less satisfied with its capabilities as a preamp, where I would call it good but nowhere near tops....

The Audyssey XT32 was always a bit of a downer for me - results with Dynamic EQ/Loudness enabled were very good, and essential when listening with family, but when listening on my own to stereo, EQ switched out always sounded better. (probably due to the midrange dip)

So as a multichannel decoder, dac and (with some proviso's / constraints - for sub 4 ohm speakers) amp, I was very happy with the Onkyo family. - My top proviso, being that I am not willing to purchase another AVR that runs so hot, having experienced the longer term failure of two due to heat.
(Note, this heat problem was common to many/most brands from the same period, and relates to the processing chip generation in use at the time)

So within my price bracket, and the feature set that I was seeking, my shortlist ended up being:
Denon X3700 & Onkyo RZ50 / Integra DRX 3.4 (and various Onkyo siblings of the family)
(Yamaha was lacking in the Room EQ, Anthem, Arcam and others were pushing the budget...)

My requirements were for a good prepro with at least 9 channels, and good Room EQ - with the ability to tune the EQ in an app
Bonus points for a powerful amp that could run my difficult speakers... but not essential as I have external amps.

In the end I decided to go for the Integra DRX 3.4 because:
1) I could get it for a great price on pre order (30% cheaper than the Denon)
2) It has Dirac - and consistent reviews were telling me that the performance was SOTA - and most likely superior to the latest Audyssey XT32 (with app)
3) It has 7.1.2 / 5.1.4 pre outs - more than what I use currently - providing room for expansion

The DRX 3.4 is a 100W AVR, replacing substantially more powerful units - it also weighs around 10kg vs the 25kg of the old unit...
This difference in the amps was glaringly obvious as soon as I plugged it into my speakers.... 3 ohm woofers, 1.6 ohm tweeters - midrange nominally 8 ohm.... sure there were no obvious distortions - but it didn't sound great either....
Plugged my external amps in, and the new AVR sounded just like the old one... - which is to say, very good indeed.

After I ran Dirac, and adjusted things - the system now sounds better than it ever has -definitely superior to the previous Audyssey XT32 EQ. (Caveat- my old AVR's did not have the option of being tuned by an external app to remove the midrange dip, and otherwise tune it to ones preferences... so the comparison, is to default settings - some have stated, that with adjustments via the app, XT32 can match Dirac)

Right now, I am using the internal amps for my surround speakers, while powering the front L/C/R from external amps

If you need more power than the base Dirac models provide (100W) then the RZ50 (& DRX5.4 / LX505) provide 120W...

There should be a flagship range released late this year, possibly not available to purchase until next year? - which will most likely have Class D amps, 140W, and more sophisticated room EQ (according to rumours) - but as a flagship series they will also be substantially more $.

Good luck with your decision...
 
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Jimmi

Jimmi

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So some closing thoughts: the Onkyo RZ-620 is a great find for $250.
Plenty of power for me, Zone 2 is also powered, vinyl sounds great using my own phono preamp.
Much better bass management than my old Onkyo TX-DS595.
Atmos is a nice touch, I have front height speakers and really ads to the soundstage.
Center speaker enjoys the extra 25 watts. More clear than it used to be.
I set all crossovers at 100, even though the Onkyo wanted 40 for my front towers.
Working good and solid unit. Saved myself a grand. Still love Onkyo.
Thanks to all for your advice!
 

cbracer

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Only used their lower end models. Years back I purchased a used TX-NR609 which did eventually stop working, only to be fixed for free by Onkyo under warranty recall issues. So that was nice. Then when I decided to upgrade to the newer TX-NR656 model for built in airplay, better sleep functionality, and better hdmi integration with my TV..... (ran cooler too). Their iphone app worked well on both models so I was happy with that. But I had two problems with the newer model:
1) a bug existed where the unit would play at full volume when activating airplay from my phone. Not all the time but every now and then. I tried setting a "max volume" but it simply ignored that. As soon as I touched any volume setting it would drop back to normal. Imagine full blaring music with a 1 year old in the room,....
2) more importantly, listening to 2 channel audio it simply would never sound as good as the older model. I tried everything and every setting, but it never sounded as good. I though perhaps the DSP somehow was changing it, but even with that off it wasn't as good. I did an A-B check with the older model using the same apple wifi airplay out toslink connection into both units and clearly the older unit sounded better. Never figured out why.
 
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