Need a new receiver, with some specific requirements
October 16, 2013 8:32 AM   Subscribe

Our 2.5 year old Onkyo receiver has died. Again. At this point, I'm looking for a replacement, with some requirements, some wishes, and some thoughts, and an awful lot of confusion. I'm hoping some of you might have thoughts.

So not to belabor the point, but our Onkyo 708 receiver has died for the second time, and it's now out of warranty. At this point, I am very disinclined to even consider another Onkyo. I've looked at the bewildering range of options, and could use any input the AskMe A/V Club can offer. My requirements aren't particularly tough:

- 4+ HDMI in
- Reasonable power for a somewhat large room. (I'm guessing I need >55W/channel, but I don't really know)
- Good sound (but then, I'm not exactly a high-end audiophile; the Onkyo sounded ok with some tuning. Still, I wouldn't mind slightly better....)
- 5.1 is sufficient, though I don't mind the future proofing of 7.X (or even 9.X, but I definitely don't need that)
- Good quality. I don't want to replace it again anytime soon, and I'm incredibly disappointed in the Onkyo. My now-previous model (and a few others) have a very interesting review profile: good reviews at first, that quickly turn to horrible.

- Something that looks better than the Onkyo, which my wife calls "that big ugly box." I don't think she's overly sad that it's being replaced. Especially after listening to me bitch about it and sending it back previously....
- Component video in (only 1 needed) would be great, but isn't at all critical.
- Bluetooth built-in would be nice, but I can always buy an external box.
- 1 or more optical audio in would be good if possible; our smartTV has Amazon, while our current Blu-ray player does not. It's not really essential, though.
- Assignable inputs. This was well-done on the Onkyo; I have no clue whether all receivers do a good job of this?

- A decent remote. The Onkyo's remote was actually very good (it was multi-brand and capable of learning), but I'm willing to buy a Harmony or something to improve this. (Suggestions on that front are also welcome!)
- Upscaling(?) so that component/composite video can be output on HDMI.
- Pandora on the Onkyo was never great, but it was kinda handy. I think most receivers have this now? We have ethernet nearby, so wireless isn't important.
- A decent Android control app would be a plus.

My speakers are a set of Jamo (2 mains, 2 surround, 1 center) plus a JBL amplified sub that I've had forever but still sounds good. I have no desire to replace these. They're 6ohm impedance.

Not firm. I'd prefer to spend less rather than more, but I'm somewhat flexible. I'd really prefer to be under ~$700, and I think that should be reasonable, but I'm willing to pay more if I get something better. Less (even much less!) is fine, too.

Models I've looked at and would welcome personal experiences with:
NAD T748
Yamaha X75 (where x >= 4?)
Marantz 1504, 1604, SR5007
Sony 840? 1040? Others?
Denon? Which models?

I'm open to other ideas/suggestions.

posted by JMOZ to Technology (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Several years ago I replaced my broken Onkyo with a Denon, and since then have added another Denon to the mix, and have been extremely happy with them. My specific model numbers won't really help you since they're not made any more, and the product line changes a bit from year to year (I have a 19XX and a 33XX, but I'm not sure they use that nomenclature any more). I'd probably just go to the Denon website and look at which model has the inputs and outputs you need at the lowest price. There's also a pretty good thread on AVS Forum.

As for looks, my solution to that problem is hiding the receivers away in places where you don't see them. If you need to shop based on looks, it's really going to limit your choices.
posted by primethyme at 8:40 AM on October 16, 2013

In almost the same boat as you, except our Onkyo that shat the bed was a 608 and we didn't care much about looks since it just goes in the stand, we got a Pioneer 1020 which has been fine. Looks like it's the 1023 now. MSRP about $500.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:56 AM on October 16, 2013

I also go through receivers, about one every 2-3 years. I have owned practically every major brand: Sony, Denon, Yamaha, Pioneer, doesn't make any difference, they all break soon enough. Sometimes they stop doing audio, sometimes they stop doing video, the Denon actually started randomly switching inputs every few hours. Sometimes they show plaid on the TV instead of what you want to watch, and if you turn them off for a few minutes eventually you'll hear a "clunk" and then if you turn it back on it'll be OK.

I bought that Yamaha linked above, it's OK, good enough I suppose.

If someone told me "If you buy this one for $1000 dollars it'll last 10 years" I would totally do it.
posted by RustyBrooks at 10:04 AM on October 16, 2013

Response by poster: Well, I decided to try the Marantz 1603. I'll let you know in a few years if it was a good choice....
posted by JMOZ at 5:51 PM on October 26, 2013

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