Challenge: A/V receiver on the cheap.


fileunderFound in Home
Sort by: Oldest  •  Newest  •  User
admin
view 
avatar

...or "Can I buy a receiver for $100?"

dialupinternetuser asked me to help choose a cheap receiver and/or amplifier for around $100. It's not the first time I've been asked to do this, and I'm sure it won't be the last. I decided to post my answer in more general thread. While it's possible to find a receiver at just a little over that price by looking on eBay (try this search for example), new receivers basically start at $200. I've don some digging around for dialup and come up with a few options in one of three broad classes:

Option 1. Next-gen, 5.1 surround receivers (bottom of the line)

1st choice: Yamaha HTR-6130 ($200 - $230)

2nd choice: Sony STR-DG520 ($200)

Wildcard: Onkyo TX-SRxx6 (???) - My spidey sense tells me that Onkyo might be coming out with a competitor at this price point some time this year. Coming in below the Onkyo TX-SR506 ($379). My guess is that it will be called the Onkyo TX-SR306 and will sell for $200.

This is probably the area that I would recommend buying a receiver. It'll cost you a firm $200, but you're getting quite a bit of future proofing and technology at this price point. These new 5.1 receivers have 2 x HDMI pass-through inputs (for Blu-ray and other new HD sources) and several component video inputs (Sony has 2, and Yamaha has 3) to support things like DVD players and game consoles. They also have 3 digital audio inputs. I would've like to have seen 4 digital audio inputs, and a 3rd component input on the Sony. They are rated for 100 W / channel, but I would have to seen them in action to believe it. FYI: You will not get transcoding of the component video inputs to the HDMI output on these models. You have to pay a little more for that feature.

Option 2. Previous-gen, 5.1 surround receivers

1st choice: Yamaha RX-V361 ($100 - $200) (aka Yamaha HTR-6030)

2nd choice: Onkyo TX-SR304 ($100 - $200)

Both of these receivers are previous generation 5.1 receivers with 3 x component video inputs and 3 x digital audio inputs (S/PDIF or co-axial) with around 5 analog stereo inputs. These are a good choice if you've a few sources with component video and digital like a DVD player, Xbox 360, and a cable box and you want a clean way to hook them up to your TV. These receivers have a $200 list price, or so but I'm sure you could find them for a little over a $100 refurbished, used, or on ebay/craig's list. The audio power in these receivers may leave some to be desired. They are rated for around 65 - 100 W per channel, but I doubt that they can deliver that.

Option 3. Analog, stereo integrated amplifiers

1st choice: Onkyo TX-8222 ($100 - $150)

2nd choice (but not really): Sony STR-DE197 ($100 - $200)

These are basically old school stereo integrated amplifiers (amp + AM/FM tuner = integrated amp) with analog RCA stereo inputs (you know, the red and white thingies) and hookup for 2 sets of stereo speakers. Simple. Clean. Obsolete. You don't get any digital goodness..or video for that matter. It's what used to be called a "stereo" before all this 1080p/HDTV/HDMI/Blu-ray/dts/dolby/surround sound mess began. The Onkyo is by far and away the better choice between these two receivers. Onkyo has a refurbished one in stock online for $120. I'd say consider Yamaha RX-397 (or other older Yamaha amps) as well if you can find one on the cheap.

This post was edited by Erik on 4/07/2008 4:14 PM
admin
view 
avatar

I have the Yamaha RX-V361 receiver and I'm extremely happy with it. I'm not an audiophile so the only thing I care about is the inputs and all of that, and in that regard with a cable box and Xbox 360 I'm totally fine. Both run through component video and digital audio and it's siiiiiiick. I don't care too much about HDMI, but I could see it being an issue in the future. But I figure if I get the money to buy something that warrants HDMI then I'll have the money to upgrade the receiver, or enoguh time will pass that I can sell my current receiver and get a new one for an extra $100.

moderator
view 
avatar

Interesting. I'll have to check these out and take a look around. Thanks for all the help Eric. I'm not that concerned about the Watt outage at the moment b/c my current speakers are only 50 watt, so they all reach high enough. I'll just have to be sure I don't blow them out.

admin
view 
avatar

From monitoring recent changes and spotting a comment by raygendreau, I would have to add the Sony STR-DG720 to this list, even though it comes in at $300. This would be a potential upgrade to the Yamaha HTR-6130 I suggested earlier. By paying $70 - $100 more you upgrade to a 7.1 receiver that is capable of decoding LPCM from Blu-ray players like the PS3. No other company currently has a receiver at this price point that can do that.

Just an after-thought..

moderator
view 
avatar

You wouldn't need to have something that can decode LPCM to play a Blu-Ray disc though, would you? It'd still work with the other ones right?

admin
view 
avatar

The 5.1 receivers will work with the "old school" 5.1 digital surround, and analog RCA outputs from a Blu-ray player. All, I was pointing out was that the STR-DG720 is functional with 7.1 audio output over HDMI from Blu-ray for $70 more. I'm not a crazy fan of 7.1 or surround in general, as I prefer a fantastic stereo setup to muliple lower grade speakers in a surround setup.

Perhaps, I just confused the issue..hehe..

moderator
view 
avatar

I'm not that crazy into 7.1 either, it seems kind of excessive. Surround would be cool, but even just a couple average to good speakers are fine for me. It's not like I've got my own home theater.

admin
view 
avatar

I just spotted a freakin' great deal. It's An Onkyo TX-SR605 for $255:

http://www.redflagdeals.com/forums/showthread.php?t=580026

7.1 receiver + video transcoding to HDMI/component + HD audio decoding

admin
view 
avatar

Actually, eCost has got a ton of great deals on the previous gen Onkyo's:

Onkyo TX-SR304 - $99

http://www.ecost.com/detail.aspx?edp=40236464

Onkyo TX-8222 - $87.99

http://www.ecost.com/detail.aspx?edp=36617660

Post Reply:

File Under: