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Review and Measurements of Pioneer VSX-LX504 AVR

amirm

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#61
Amir, did you ever measure your SC-61 before it died? I am curious if it is better/worse than what this new model shows.
I did not. It still works if I let it warm up for a while. I will try to test it before it completely dies.

Note that the DSP error may hit the rest of the SC line as well. So I would not recommend purchasing them without checking first if they have the same problem.
 
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#62
IIRC, it was fixed in the 7x series, so 7s, 8s, and 9s should be fine. My 77 has been flawless. My brother has a 75 that also has been great.
 

JJB70

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#63
What are some examples you like to see tested?
Good question, I think that in general there is a lack of objective testing of wireless speakers and soundbars. The various JBL, Bose and Sonos models are very popular with companies like Bluesound, Devialet and Naim selling wireless speakers targeted at the audiophile segment. Bose generally don't publish any data, a policy also adopted by Samsung for some of their speakers. The power ratings of some of the Devialet speakers look very optimistic.

As a general comment I think that it would be nice to see more information on this segment which dominates modern audio. I must admit that I find some of these speakers sound very good now, it would be interesting to see some objective analysis.
 

LuckyLuke575

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#64
Lucky US citizens, I serioulsy doubt in Europe a mfr would have made you such a generous offer for a trade, if they had done any!
Agreed. Here they look down on consumers; except if you deal with Amazon, they have a decent return policy.
 

JJB70

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#65
I think that it depends on the shop, followed by the manufacturer or distributor, some are good, others aren't. In the UK principal responsibility is with the seller who will usually not be the manufacturer. And that's why I prefer buying at home unless it's a small purchase as over the years I have developed confidence in a few sellers who have demonstrated a good commitment to customer care. That's worth taking a hit up front compared to buying for less from Ali etc IMO. And if it does all go wrong there are pretty good consumer rights laws to use and mechanisms like the small claims process.
 

RichB

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#66
This time with Pure Direct and Direct modes compared:
At 1.5Vrsms:
S/N Direct: 78 dB
S/N Pure Direct: 96 dB

A whopping 18 dB drop with minimal processing engaged.
This is why I consider PEQ and REQ a cost benefit proposition.
All processors should include measurements of their Pure Direct and with DSP engaged!

- Rich
 

RichB

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#67
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#68
It would be great to see an Arcam (UK brand) AVR tested, but perhaps they don't sell many over there.
Lots of Arcam available in the US, at Best Buy, a huge electronics chain. Sounds pretty good to me, but nothing amazing. Also pretty expensive for what you get, I think.
 
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#69
They are sold here and classically, they have had much better performance (but at higher prices too). I have not kept track of them in the last few years though.

I have a high-end NAD AVR review to come soon. And someone just offered an Anthem.
I for one am really curious to see how Anthem measures. They want a premium but my fear is they rely on the ARC room correction to sound good. I almost considered one from Anthem but after your review of the Paradigm wireless power amp and how bad that was (Anthem being similar to Paradigm from what I know) I got nervous and said no. I recently spoke to a dealer who sells Paradigm/Anthem for years and he said you have to climb the Anthem line ^$2k to get good amplification.

Long story short I got a Yamaha Aventege receiver and I really like it way more than I thought I would. Than I got an Emotiva XPA Gen 3 for my main stereo and that unit is super clean for its price.
 

digicidal

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#70
Agreed. Here they look down on consumers; except if you deal with Amazon, they have a decent return policy.
That may be the case, but it's not really much better here. You guys have far more protections concerning outright fraud and/or dangerous products, additives, etc. You have slightly more privacy protections, and generally have more consumer protections prior to purchasing (i.e. against deceptive advertising claims, etc). Admittedly we do too, but yours seem to work at least slightly better than ours - or your corporate citizens are at least slightly more virtuous it seems.

Here people/companies can basically say whatever they want in their advertising (health and beauty is the biggest sector offender - as long as you exclude political ads). Because of that we have to have a ton of "after you've already been scammed" protections available - well that and we love suing everyone over anything, just 'cuz. Guaranteed any time you see a company provide US consumers with a buyback or trade-up plan... it's because some lawyers and accountants determined the costs would be less than the class action they were facing at the time. :mad:
 

audimus

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#71
$1200-$1500 (street price: discounted for mass-market brands, at or close to list for others) seems to be the sweet spot at the moment for the best QPR in multi-channel AVRs with good choices. Adequate power for most home theater uses, latest connectivity standards and pretty good SQ for music as well (not that all of them do equally well). Anthem seems relatively overpriced but relying on ARC to give an edge (though NAD with Dirac offers better value). Anything less than that seems seriously compromised in one or more dimensions. Often designed to be price leaders for low end market. So, measurements are likely to disappoint.

Not many compelling choices between $1500 and $2500 street price unless you want a few more bells and whistles.

Above that, it is a lot more difficult to justify the price with uniform criterion. Mass market brands give more bells and whistles with only a relatively small increase in power, separates geared towards specific usage become more compelling than all-in-ones do-it-alls at these higher prices.

These AVRs definitely should not be compared to 2-channel units for any meaningful inference.

All US $ prices.
 
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#72
$1200-$1500 (street price: discounted for mass-market brands, at or close to list for others) seems to be the sweet spot at the moment for the best QPR in multi-channel AVRs with good choices. Adequate power for most home theater uses, latest connectivity standards and pretty good SQ for music as well (not that all of them do equally well). Anthem seems relatively overpriced but relying on ARC to give an edge (though NAD with Dirac offers better value). Anything less than that seems seriously compromised in one or more dimensions. Often designed to be price leaders for low end market. So, measurements are likely to disappoint.

Not many compelling choices between $1500 and $2500 street price unless you want a few more bells and whistles.

Above that, it is a lot more difficult to justify the price with uniform criterion. Mass market brands give more bells and whistles with only a relatively small increase in power, separates geared towards specific usage become more compelling than all-in-ones do-it-alls at these higher prices.

These AVRs definitely should not be compared to 2-channel units for any meaningful inference.

All US $ prices.
No question I think Anthem is charging a premium for the ARC software. I bought a Paradigm 12 Inch Subwoofer Defiance series for like 1100 bucks and its sounds kinda cheap but when room correction is on its sounds amazing and controlled. Honestly I only kept it since the ARC software made a a huge difference. That being said anyone selling Anthem or Paradigm will wiggle a bit on price so I feel they can come back to earth with their pricing if you ask. Than being comparable in price to the big boys like Yamaha and their measurement software which I have also used I would choose ARC any day anytime.
 

restorer-john

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#73
Is that a fair comparison? 70s receivers (always more popular in the USA than in the UK but I don't know about Aus) were a combined stereo amp and FM tuner, and that's all. Having both in one box saved a lot of space and there was zero-to-minimal performance hit.
Yes, it is a fair comparison. The ranges of receivers in the 70s mirrors the ranges of AVRs sold now. They are the bread and butter of the audio companies and performance gains should be obvious as you go up the price scale.

Putting tuners, preamplifiers, phono stages and power amplifiers in the same boxes saved money and I would hardly say there was a "zero-to-minimal" performance hit. There was always savings in the power supplies and the PSU modulation issues when the power stages were operating at high powers compromised the single box approaches.

Clearly, the same issues are not just still present, but more pronounced, with retrograde steps being the order of the day it seems.

AVRs are something else. They have to include video (first analogue, then digital) and multiple amp channels (initially 5.1, then 7.1 and sometimes 9.1) along with processing to split the channels, and now all sorts of digital processing. Playing stereo music was never the main purpose,
I beg to differ. The AVR started its life as a pure stereo receiver with the addition of component video switching (and some basic video enhancement/gain to cover losses) in the late 80s. "AV" was plastered all over such receivers. Then along came Dolby surround. Initially standalone processors were sold, then the basic processors along with 15-25W mono rear channel amplifiers integrated on board. Then remote source and volume along with switchable surround functions. More power, a few more channels (Dolby prologic, DD etc) and the modern AVR had evolved.

All that time the lower range 2 channel "Stereo only" receivers survived but the mid to upper range 2 channel receivers were long replaced by AVRs.

The trouble was, the phono stages disappeared or became token inclusions, the tuners became a sad joke, the amplification quality suffered and the overall build quality fell off a cliff. All in a race to the bottom, where previously, in the late 70s, it was a race to the top.
 

astr0b0y

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#75
Just finished testing the NAD T758 versions 3. Will post tomorrow.....
That could very interesting given the myriad problems users have reported on AVS forums. Also since the T758 has quite a low power rating compared to other AVRs of similar price they may more easily meet their spec.
 

Sal1950

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#76
The trouble was, the phono stages disappeared or became token inclusions, the tuners became a sad joke, the amplification quality suffered and the overall build quality fell off a cliff. All in a race to the bottom, where previously, in the late 70s, it was a race to the top.
All completely true John, but as always it's been a matter of holding build costs and MSRP. If a AVR was built today offering the same quality, etc of the top 70s units, what would the retail prices be like? Everything times about 5 and then figure in the cost of 4+ decades of inflation. OUCH.
Thank goodness for the build cost savings that modern IC's, class D amp designs, etc have brought to the table otherwise things could end up totally unaffordable for Joe Sixpack.
 

digicidal

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#77
Just finished testing the NAD T758 versions 3. Will post tomorrow.....
Despite not having any direct correlation, I'm excited to see this review. I still really want to see the C658 DAC/Pre reviewed... but the T758 should give a decent idea of how far from the listed specs the measurements are for this generation of components from NAD. Not that they couldn't lie about one product and remain completely honest for another - but IME that's rare.
 

Sal1950

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#78
That could very interesting given the myriad problems users have reported on AVS forums.
That does seem to be an issue with a few manufacturers. I've read a lot of issues with operational bugs with the NAD AV gear, Also the Emotiva AVP's seem particularly troublesome. :(
 

audimus

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#79
That could very interesting given the myriad problems users have reported on AVS forums.
I suspect most if not all of the reported problems will not be caught in the scope of these measurements as they have to do with various connectivity options and with ARC, CEC, etc. Or things like distortion when bass management is engaged, etc. The measurements here reduce the devices into the most basic of the input-output function.

Also since the T758 has quite a low power rating compared to other AVRs of similar price they may more easily meet their spec.
I think it would be more accurate to say ... “since NAD rates their power conservatively without playing marketing games with numbers...” not to imply that they are underpowered relative to others.

But NAD, Emotiva, Cambridge Audio, etc., all of these brands that focused on the sound primarily are finding out the hard way how complicated handling all the intricacies of the new connectivity technology protocols is to get it right without bugs. Granted, a lot of them are firmware issues rather than hardware issues, I think many of these these older “sound quality” companies under-estimate the amount of “OS” processing power needed, the number of different signal flows they need to handle with multiplicative combinations of features, etc. That places a lot of constraints on how much and how fast they can fix with firmware updates.

This is one area where the mass-market brands have done much better. I would even speculate that these latter companies allocate 10-20 times the resources to their system OS/Firmware implementation of the various technologies than their amp/preamp design teams.

This is why the people comparing these AVRs to older stereos are totally off the mark in pricing comparison. These are very different beasts and the amount of resources needed to develop, update and support the bells and whistles of these units also need to be taken into account. It is like comparing smartphones to flip-phones of the past.
 
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astr0b0y

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#80
I should have been more explicit regarding the issues I was referring to - noise (hissing, clicking, static etc) from Atmos channels as one of them. Maybe not going to be picked up by Amir as you said unless he really pushed the boat out on testing more than 2-channel performance.

Yes, I agree with your statement on NADs rating conservatism. I did mean it that way but wasn't good with my explanation.
 

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