Best receiver you ever had, best older receiver I can buy...

ZachD

Novice Member
I'm looking to buy an older AV receiver because I'm just going to be running LR and a subwoofer. I don't need atmos or heos or airplay. I mostly watch movies from plex on an apple TV 4 and also watch shows from netflix or prime via apple tv also. I'll also play vinyl and digital and music should sound amazing. I also have an old sansui tuner I plan to get in the mix also.

I had a pioneer elite receiver from circa 2005 and I loved it. It was heavy, and LOUD, and crystal clear. I've read that amps aren't the same these days with newer digital amps and also with the merger of onkyo and pioneer (and denon?).

I'm curious what you think some of the best receivers have been from years past as far as build quality / audio quality (not considering bells and whistles beyond the most necessary like passing through HDMI or decoding common formats (is DTS still pretty common, I don't even know any more!)

I plan to pick something up off craigslist or ebay. Any models or even brands and years where they were dominant would be helpful. Thanks for any suggestions!
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
All depends if you want 4k through the receiver. And your budget.
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
Cambridge Audio CXR 120 / 200 or Arcam.
 

ZachD

Novice Member
I have an optomahd37 projector, it will not do 4k. Don't need 4k, although I would be curious what year 4k started being implemented on receivers.
I"m looking to spend $150-$300.

Buying an older receiver def opens up options I wouldn't buy new like Arcam and I will look in to those. This will be used a lot for music so the more musical the better.
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
I have an optomahd37 projector, it will not do 4k. Don't need 4k, although I would be curious what year 4k started being implemented on receivers.
I"m looking to spend $150-$300.

Buying an older receiver def opens up options I wouldn't buy new like Arcam and I will look in to those. This will be used a lot for music so the more musical the better.
For that budget and for how you want to use it, you would be best to just buy a stereo amplifier, don't bother with an AV Receiver.
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
For that budget and for how you want to use it, you would be best to just buy a stereo amplifier, don't bother with an AV Receiver.
Don’t know about there but in the UK you’d easily get a ten-twelve year old top end AVR for that and be very much worth having.
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
Don’t know about there but in the UK you’d easily get a ten-twelve year old top end AVR for that and be very much worth having.
Not to use for music though.
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
Not to use for music though.
Yes for music. A top end AVR of that period will be better for music than a similar price stereo. Much, much greater depreciation on the AVR.
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
Yes for music. A top end AVR of that period will be better for music than a similar price stereo. Much, much greater depreciation on the AVR.
Okay. We'll agree to disagree then :)
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Regardless of when you bought an AV receiver or when it was brought to market, you'd get at least the same stereo music performance from a stereo integrated amplifier from that same period for half the price of that AV receiver.

AV receiver's and their musical abilities have never exceeded the abilities relative to stereo music performances associated with dedicated stereo integrated amps and or dedicated stereo setups.

An AV receiver is automatically compromised in this department due to its AV functionality and compromised topology. Even the AV receivers originating from those manufacturers who have long standing reputions for producubf good and high quality hifi do not make AV receivers that equal the stereo performance of their dedicated 2 channel stereo products they make.

Whebever the AV receiver was manufactured, you'd be compromising on the stereo music performance if using an AV receiver to portray stereo music sources. Even the manufacturers themselves would say as much.
 

goatlips

Well-known Member
Non 4k, my old pioneer lx83...good for stereo and amazing for films..👍
 

ZachD

Novice Member
That's good food for thought on just getting an integrated stereo amp... I did once have two setups one for AV and separate for stereo and yes the stereo setup was better (I bought an older B&K pre/power amp combo on ebay cheap it sounded great with XLR cables)

However - I am assuming that movies or tv shows will be or can be decoded in a way that I have a phantom center channel? Like a DTS or Dolby processed with an AV amp would be different as far as how the audio is sent to fronts compared to a stereo amp that doesn't know what to do with either? I don't know maybe there is no difference, but I know AV amps often have a setting for 'no center' so I assume there is a difference in LR - no center, and LR - stereo - I would hope the AV amp processes it to mix what would be in the center to LR to make it sound like it's in the center.

Also, if I had a stereo amp I'm not sure would that work with movies... Newer apple TV's only have HDMI out so I would need some sort of pass through like an AV amp has. Or some weird splitter that splits HDMI and audio - also trying to limit cables in my setup.

I was looking into the old NAD av receivers like the T 757 which seemed to be well thought of in its time.
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
Running a stereo set-up for films will be perfectly fine. You will need something to downmix any multi-channel audio tracks into stereo. That means that the dialogue will be spread across the two front speakers and the stereo image will make it appear as if it is coming from the screen. I have a stereo set up in a second room and if you get the stereo imaging correct, it is very effective for placing sounds around the room.

Having an Apple TV with only one HDMI out and a projector that doesn't process audio does make things tricky though. You need to break out the audio somehow, downmix it to stereo and send it to a stereo amp.

You could use an old AVR for that, as long as it has pre-outs, but that seems a bit cumbersome. Swapping the Apple TV for a different device with a separate audio output would be tidier. Or, there are many HDMI audio extractors on the market, I imagine some of the low cost ones must work okay, buy from somewhere with a good returns option, just in case.
 

DaveWillo

Member
Remember in the "olden days" you could get an "AV Processor" - surround processing and amplification for centre and rears only and your existing stereo integrated amp took care of the left/right channels? I think Yamaha were the main producer of these.
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
Remember in the "olden days" you could get an "AV Processor" - surround processing and amplification for centre and rears only and your existing stereo integrated amp took care of the left/right channels? I think Yamaha were the main producer of these.
That is still very much a thing. There are processors with no internal amps at all. There are also AVRs with some internal amps together with pre-out connections so you can add as much or as little external amplification as you want.

There are also stereo amps with Home Theatre bypass connections which are designed to power the front left and right speakers with an AVR, and then be used as a stand alone stereo amp for 2 channel music.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I’d go straight for one of the older Anthem MXRs.

Excellent music quality and even the first version of ARC deals with bass booming very well indeed.

So you’d have too class music and a properly sorted bottom end.

There’s nothing else at all I’d spend my money on for a stereo with a sub set up.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Reported HDMI 2.1 bugs, Audiolab Amp & LG LED Projector reviews + Best of the Month
Top Bottom