Re: Looking to upgrade my Receiver
I'm trying to figure out what the Denon xx10 series has that the xx09CI series does (or higher end xx08CI for that matter). All I can seem to identify is height-based surround, and maybe a few other features migrating lower down the food chain in terms of receiver cost. I can't even figure out the hierarchy of the models, though Denon's website implies a hierarchy (but the tables aren't filled out completely, as far as I can tell, or I'm not sure they are, so an older, higher model might lack key features found in a newer, lower-end model.
Personally, although I use Yamaha pro music gear, I've never heard a Yamaha system that I liked- they always sounded tinny, overly strong in the bass and sucked out in the midrange. That may be more a reflection of the users's configuration and speakers than anything else, but I can't be sure.
I'm curious about the Pioneer models that use class D amps because they run cool and are much more energy efficient than the more common designs (class D mainly being used in subwoofers to my knowledge).
The Marantz 6003 seems like a good model, though the cost is high unless you buy from a gry market shop. The thing that has always bugged me about the Marantz A/V receivers is the video side- few connections, no upconversion/scaling until very recently, and this sort of thing. The sound is excellent. The 6003 does have the analog to HDMI capabilities one would want. But, from a reputable dealer, it is expensive- even the 5003 is expensive. The 6003 is a bit more than the Onkyo 706. The Marantz's don't network. So, they put money into good sound more than anything, which is great, but I can't find a stand-alone music server that I can afford (except for my network storage drive, ReadyNAS+, now owned by Netgear) and would love to be able to stream 40 GB of hi res music, if for no other reason that my CD collection is now completely disorganized (the good news is this means my kids listen to them).
The Onkyo's typically receive great reviews, except for the small % that are terrible. The bad reviews tend to address reliability and make it difficult for me to purchase via the web, in case mine burns up... the 706 is one of the models that runs pretty hot, I believe. But, this could be unfair: nobody has 100% reliable products.
Then there are the Pioneers. The models seem to come out fast and sometimes go away fast (as in become unavailable). There are Elite and non-Elite models. I'm skeptical but not completely incredulous of the good reviews. I am even more skeptical of Sony. They can make good equipment in the ES series, but it isn't a sure thing, especially with their amps and receivers IMHO as opposed to SACD players, and it is very hard to audition things these days- my favorite shops are all gone and the ones that are left don't cater to my lower-end A/V tastes or pocketbook (I have a separate audio system that is pseudo-high end).