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JerryR 10-23-2007 10:03 PM

Yet another receiver suggestion thread
I want to upgrade my receiver. Here are my requirements:

I want to spend $500-ish or less, maybe some flexibility though.

I'm not an audiophile, so I don't need creme de la creme, but it should be good enough for a decent home theater experience and decent CD listening of a wide range of music. I'd be happy to try to quantify this more precisely if necessary.

Inputs the receiver needs to support:

Slim squeezebox (spdif, could be either optical or RCA)
Set top box (hdmi or component video, spdif - I think both optical and RCA are available)
XM radio output (L/R analog)
Wii (NTSC video, L/R analog audio)
Homebrew DVR (DVI video, spdif - RCA)

Outputs it needs to support:

HDTV 720p, DVI input
5.1 speakers
multizone distribution amp in basement, needs analog L/R

I believe HDMI to DVI (and vice versa) converters are not a problem. However, the reason I'm upgrading my receiver is that my current receiver does not transcode digital inputs to the analog outputs. If the receiver is set to one of the spdif inputs, I get nothing from any of the L/R analog outputs. In other words, I can't use my multizone speakers for the digital inputs.

I've found it very hard to determine from looking at most receiver specs whether they transcode the digital inputs to analog outputs. Perhaps it is standard these days? If someone could enlighten me that would be helpful.

Finally, from reading this forum, it sounds like the Onkyo TX-SR605 is well-regarded. Would this do everything I need? Would it be a good choice?

Thanks for any input.


tigeraudio2007 10-24-2007 11:16 AM

Re: Yet another receiver suggestion thread
The Onkyo 605 would be great for what you need, and it has the ability to adapt to future upgrades. You will need an HDMI to DVI cable or an HDMI/DVI adapter. I use one of these when ouputting my Macbook Pro DVI to my receiver HDMI and it works great.

It has 2 digital coaxial inputs and 3 toslink input (2 rear, 1 front). The 605 has both XM and Sirius component connetions to an external XM/Sirius receiver. In any event, if you are just looking for a standard pair of analog connections, the 605 has a multitude of those.

The 605 has: 5.1 multi-channel analog input, VCR/DVR in/out analog, CBL/SAT in analog, Game/TV in analog, Tape in/out analog, and CD in analog. (Obviously, the labels are arbitrary and you can connect any stereo analog audio component to the inputs [with the exception of a turntable as there is no phono preamp])

Video wise the 605 has 3 component video ins, 1 out. It has 3 composite/S-Video inputs which correspond to the Game, CBL, and DVD inputs. It also has a Composite/S-Video in/out for the VCR/DVR source, and 1 Composite/S-Video Monitor output. There is also an AUX input on the front with S-Video/Composite, L/R analog, and 1 Toslink (not assignable) inputs. It has 2 HDMI in, 1 out. A big plus is the 605 has the capability of upconverting all video inputs (component, composite and S-Video) to output via HDMI.

Now the tricky part is your multizone. First the receiver is 7.1 channels (or the Surround Back channels can be used for Bi-Amping the front speakers). There is also a L/R speaker terminal output for Zone 2 speakers. This output will not work if you have anything connected to the Surr Back speaker terminals, just FYI. The 605 also has an analog L/R stereo line output for Zone 2. HOWEVER, what you are asking for with your multizone is not possible. I have yet to see a receiver that can output digital sources via the analog Zone 2 line out. Perhaps Andrew could chime in here and point one out because I'm not sure. If, say I had a CD playing my DVD player which was connected with HDMI audio or Toslink, it would not play into my zone 2. That is why I always have at least one of my players still connected with the analog audio connectors as well. I can assign zone 2 to read the analog input.

I do believe however that a digital source can be output via the Zone 2 speaker terminal connectors. I am not 100% positive on that as I have not tried it myself. The options with Onkyo receivers are extremely decent, and I think you will be amazed with the audio quality they put out. I have had the 674 and the 805 and love their products.

I actually looked at getting the 605 a while back, but my 2 criticisms (which are not really criticisms since it is a lighter model in their lineup) are that for me it lacked the 3rd HDMI input. But more importantly, it was a bit light on Watts/channel with only 90W whereas the 805 has 130W. Hope this helps. If you have any other questions feel free.

JerryR 10-24-2007 12:05 PM

Re: Yet another receiver suggestion thread
As far as the multizone, I was thinking of just connecting the distribution amp to the receiver's L/R tape out or VCR out. It seems crazy that it's not possible to record certain inputs. Can anyone tell me for sure? In the specs, it says it has a "Audio D/A Converter 24bit / 192kHz" - what is that used for?

Thanks for the good info on the 605. If it can in fact do the d/a, it sounds like a good choice.

tigeraudio2007 10-24-2007 12:41 PM

Re: Yet another receiver suggestion thread
The Onkyo has 24bit/192kHz DACs that convert Digital Audio inputted from HDMI, Digital Coaxial, and Toslink to the analog Speaker Terminal outputs and the analog L/R output of the Tape Out and VCR/DVR Out. The receiver can record any source out of those two outputs. The digital sources can also be output via the Zone 2 Speaker terminals. The digital sources however, CANNOT be output through the Zone 2 Line L/R output. That is a preamp out designed to be feed into another amp. If you would like connect a distribution amp to the receiver and be able to feed it digital-2-analog converted sources, you will have to go out of the Tape or VCR output. However this limits your use of your main receiver to the same source in both zones.

To sum up: the only way to get digital sources connected to the receiver over to zone 2 is through the Zone 2 speaker terminals (perserving the use of separate sources for zone 2 and the main zone) - OR - through the Tape or VCR out (making Zone 2 an expansion of the same source playing on the main zone).

The great thing about the 605 is the fact that it can be had at many places for $399.

JerryR 10-24-2007 01:02 PM

Re: Yet another receiver suggestion thread
Ahhhhhh. I am enlightened. I was totally missing the point that Zone 2 on the receiver could be set to a different source than the main outputs. I thought it was just a second set of outputs.

Well that is excellent news - sure it would be nice to have a different input going to secondary zones, but that is not a primary, or even a secondary requirement for me, just some extra shininess. No, the main thing was just that I be able to output _any_ input, digital or analog, to some analog output that could be used for secondary zones. My existing receiver (5+ year-old Pioneer VSX-D608) does not even transfer digital sources to tape out.

Thank you for that lucid explanation.

tigeraudio2007 10-24-2007 01:12 PM

Re: Yet another receiver suggestion thread
No problem.

It is understandable that your 5 year old receiver doesn't have DACs for L/R outputs. It was until the recent cew years that it became available. It was expected that digital audio from a DVD would be output to a multi-channel surround sound speaker system and not output to another room.

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