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Home Theater Receivers

By Vehementi · 80 replies
Dec 25, 2002
  1. Hello,

    I am of the mind to buy a receiver. I currently have two Pioneer home theater speakers, model unknown, but lemme tell ya...they're excellent speakers.

    What I need is a receiver for them, with most of these features:

    -6-channel output
    -3+ inputs
    -Digital input (?)
    -Very cheap
    -Very high quality ;)

    Anything else I want? I'm a total newcomer to the home theater biz, and really don't know what I'm looking for...Most likely all this stuff comes standard ;)

    I'm looking around buy.com, overstock.com, Circuit City, and Best Buy.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks. And Merry Christmas :D
  2. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 2,704

    The Pioneer speakers are CS-R570's. Max rated power is 150W per channel. I suppose Pioneer wanted to forget about them, since I can't seem to find anything on their website about them.

    So I would need a 300W receiver. Digital input is a wish, not a must...it really would be nice though.

    I've been looking at this receiver. It has pretty much everything I need, short 150W per channel. Is 100W for 150W speakers that bad? :(
  3. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 2,704

    Actually this receiver looks alot better...oi
  4. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +419

    The first link looks specialized to you, cause it said that my session had timed out. The second one, that kenwood looks pretty good.
    What you should be looking for (and it looks like the kenwood has most of this covered) is:
    Ability to decode DTS, and Dolby Surrond 5.1 or better. (most do now but some older ones that supported surround didnt' decode, it needed it decoded first).
    Probably shouldn't go below 80w rated per channel for those speakers, 80 will work, 100 will be better, 150 I'd be scared of. You might blow one.
    You'll want to (to a lesser extent) see what the thing looks like, you'll be looking at it for several years and you want one that is going to look good where you'll have it set up.
    Look at what all it will do - my parents just bought a Yahama surround system, its very nice for what they need. If you really want a home theater sometime in the future you'll want VCR input, aux input, cd, dvd, and then possibly some others like minidisc or tape or phono. You get the point, just make sure it will be able to handle your future purchases.
    One thing I haven't seen on many (if any now that I think about it) remotes is the ability to increase bass and treble settings from the remote, many you have to go to the reciever physically to do so, and sometimes you want to hear how the bass sounds where you are sitting, not where the reciever is (where you are standing when you adjust it).

    Basically think of everything you will ever consider doing with it and see if you can find something in your price range for it. These things aren't like computers, they don't need an upgrade to keep up with the times, mine's about 3 or 4 years old now and the only thing I don't have that I wish I did is surround decoding, it only has the option to output to a 5.1 setup.
    I think you'll be happy with that Kenwood one, but if you aren't best buy is good about returns if you do it within 30 days, after that they become a pain to work with (even though they advertise how easy it is to get problems taken care of).
    One thing that has always concerned me and it does on this particular kenwood is if you look at its specs it says "500 watts of total system power (100 watts x 5, 40Hz - 20kHz, 0.7% THD @ 8 ohms)" - well that frequency of 40Hz, does that mean it will only output to your speakers that low? Its argued on how low humans can hear (from somewhere around 15 or 20 to 40), but anyway nearly all CDs have a frequency range of 20Hz-20kHz, so you are losing some frequencies there. Now I may be wrong on that (this model only going to 40Hz), thats something you might want to ask one of thier reps in their audio department, or probably someone here knows for sure.

    I'd talk to you about it in the IRC channel but the bastards that run starchat have "K-lined" me for 3 days, saying "Chat Manners Needed". Now I dont' know wtf happened there because I only go to #3dspotlight, and I havne't even said more than a few lines in there the past few days, and they weren't in the least bit offensive.
  5. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 2,704

    SNGX -> the guys in #starchat said to email kline@StarChat.net for more information. They won't give me anything more.

    Anyway, thanks alot for the reply.

    The speakers have their frequency response on them as well -> it's 32Hz to 20kHz. So it's actually not that bad. Will it really be noticeable, or should I not worry? Is the 32-40Hz freq. used alot in anything?

    I'm going to have this receiver just on my desk, next to my monitor. It looks like it would go well next to my computer, which is also black. Then, in 2 years, when I go to college, it shouldn't pose a problem, since my TV is black as well. It's pretty plain and not at all aesthetically displeasing.

    Yeah, 150W is the max power output, so I don't think I can go wrong with a 100W amplifier. This receiver has decoders galore - unlike the first one I posted - it has Dolby Digital, DTS, Dolby Prologic, and Simulated Surround. It eliminates the need for the Z680's, that's for sure. I doubt I'll be using any more than 5 of the inputs - one for my computer which triples as DVD, music, and my regular sounds, VCR, TV, maybe a 3 disc CD changer/tape deck. Plus another for my portable CD player. And it has plenty.

    Here is the Sherwood receiver I was talking about, and if that doesn't work just search for the SHE RD6108 on Circuit City. It as well is 40-20kHz, and is actually worse...for the same price too.
  6. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,345   +13

    Open to argument, but I think you can burn up your speakers just as easy with to small an amp as you can with to big. If you have low power amp and play at high volume your amp will clip, and you'll probably be going to buy new speakers. As far as to much power, you won't find a 150 surround reciever in the price range you are looking for, I'd guess you would pay well over a $1000 for that. I have a Denon at 170 watts times 7 and it was almost $4000. Also .7 distortion seems kind of high but looking at others in that price range it seems about normal. The reciever you are looking at will probably go below 40 HZ but the response will drop off rapidly. It's like you guys say about computers, if they aren't proud of it they won't show it. The frequency response should show 40 to 20,000 + or - , maybe 1, 2 ,or 3 DB. If it said 20 to 20,000, it probably would read - 10 ( or something like that) at 20HZ. Most speakers need a subwoofer to down to 20 HZ anyway.
  7. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 2,704

    I'm running these speakers through a pretty low-powered "receiver" right now. It's actually the main part of my Aiwa boombox, with former speakers that couldn't have been more than 50W per channel. I have it turned up about 25/30 right now...and it's doing fine. Speakers aren't performing as well as they should be, because this unit is about 3-4 years old I think. It's not that bad, actually. I don't think I can go wrong with 100W per channel.

    Thanks for the info olefarte :D
  8. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,345   +13

    I think for most people, me included, 100 watts is probably enough, but if you can afford a little bit more I would go for something that gives specs of 20 to 20,000. It should get down lower and probably have a little less distortion, .7 is probably not hearable, but I'd like to see it a lot less. I'm not familiar with your speakers but you will probably want to upgrade sometime in the future and you'll be glad you spent the extra money. Your speakers may not get down to 20 HZ, but if you have the reciever to get there you could always get a small subwoofer later.
  9. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 2,704

    I'm really on a tight budget, and I really don't want to spend above $150. None of the other receivers in this price range go down that low, 20Hz.

    I think the only other component I will buy for this current system is a center channel. Any reccomendations for those? As usual, I am on a budget ;)
  10. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,345   +13

    I'd go to Best Buy and shop for the price you can afford on the center channel. KLH are probably the cheapest that Best Buy has, and if you don't play them to loud, they are not to bad for the price. If you are only planning on three channels, be sure that the reciever has provisions for only three. Some only have Stereo and Surround. Also forgot to mention, as far as bass and treble controls from the remote, it will probably only have a control for the subwoofer volume, if you have or get one.
  11. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 2,704

    If you had a choice between these two center speakers, which would you get? Keep price in mind.

    Yamaha - $75

    KLH - $55

  12. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 2,704

    And I'm also wondering if I can use these old speakers with the receiver - they're Cambridge Soundworks FPS2000's. The speakers are rated at 7W...:haha:...so could I use them with a 100W receiver? Does it have to output 100W, or can it adjust to 7W? They really would be helpful as rear speakers. I have 4 of them.

    And that KLH center speaker is rated at a max of 100W. Does the receiver output 100W always, or is it 100W peak as well?
  13. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,345   +13

    I'd go with the Yamaha's, just for quality's sake if nothing else. They get down a little lower, but 180 watts max? I personally wouldn't try that much, even if the amp would do it. The amp you are looking at is rated at 100 watts per channel. It is not a high current amp and will probably not ever hit peaks over a 100 watts. A high current amp might hit peaks of maybe 200 watts for a milisecond, then you might have problem. So if your speakers are rated at 150 or 180 Watts, you should never get that much output. If you turn the volume to loud, as I said the amp will clip, and hopefully the breaker on the amp will kick out before the speakers blow. As far as the rears you are talking about, they sure must be small if they are only rated at 7 watts. They'll work if you keep the volume down. Most everything we have talked about is all relative to volume. You said you played the volume at 25-30. At that same setting, if you have very efficient speakers they will play at lot louder at the same setting, so 25-30 is only a general measure of volume.

    On my system I have main speakers that cost $4500, center,$1000 and side and back channels that only cost $150 a pair. The cheap speakers have worked just fine at any volume that I can stand to listen to. Someday maybe I can afford better. So, do like me, try those 7 watt speakers and if they blow, go to Best Buy and get a pair of KLH's for $40. You really need to figure on at least a cheap subwoofer. If you plan on a home theater you won't be happy without one. Believe me.
  14. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 2,704

    4³" to be exact :D

    About the 25/30 I was talking about - 30 is the max volume value, and 25 was the current setting. So I was at 5/6 of the normal volume. If you didn't know that...

    How would I hook up a sub? The receiver only supports down to 40Hz, and that's all covered by my main speakers.

    And as for a sub - I don't have the money for one now, but I probably will later. Especially when all of the subs @ Best Buy are over $100.
  15. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,345   +13

    I haven't had any experience hooking a boom box up to speakers, so I can't comment much on the 5/6 volume setting. But as my name implies, I'm not a young man anymore and I have had many recievers, even went to seperates for a while, and very seldom have I ever had the volume over 50 % of the dial, even with very inefficent speakers. Of course you may play a lot louder than me, but when I watch a Dolby Digital Surround movie I play it very loud, at theater levels or louder.

    As far a how to hook up a sub, if it's a 5.1 system, it will have a subwoofer out jack, on the back of the reciever. That's what the .1 of 5.1 is, the sub.
  16. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 2,704

    Hehehe I noticed the subwoofer output after I posted that...the receiver has one.

    This is my first and only experience with home theater systems, that's why I'm so stupid on the subject. Hell, I'm only 15.

    Anyway, should I go ahead and order the receiver/center combo? Anything else I need to know? Man, I cannot wait!

    And, if I get the Yamaha, it won't reach it's full potential. Don't you think the KLH would be better suited for this system, since both the receiver and the center speaker have maxes of 100W?

    Here's more info on the Kenwood A/V receiver.
  17. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,345   +13

    You are probably right about the center channels. One thing I really like about the reciever that I don't have on mine is the "Adjustable Analog Input Sensitivity", in the audio features. I don't have this on mine. What this does is let you adjust the sensitivity on various components that you hook up to the reciever, like a VCR or CD player. I have Direct TV and Digital Cable, and the Sat. is much louder than the cable. When I switch from cable to sat., I have be sure and turn the volume down before switching. With the sensitivity feature you can preadjust this and you won't have the problem that I do.

    Get in line with 100's of other's at Best Buy in the morning when they open and go for it.

    I wish I was as smart as you and lot of others in this forum are about computers. I just bought a new Gateway 700XL and then I read the next day here where someone said that you shouldn't ever buy a prebuilt computer, you should build it yourself. Wish I new as much about that as I do about audio equipment.
  18. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 2,704

    Actually I'm gonna order it off their site. Free shipping...might as well. Besides, Best Buy is a long way from my house :dead: I am going their next Thursday, however.

    Buying a pre-built PC is fine, IMHO, if you really don't know what you're doing and don't care to learn :stickout: But otherwise, yeah it was probably me that said that :p

    I also like the Bass control feature, as the 7W speakers of mine surely aren't equipped to handle much, since they're only 3" woofers.
  19. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,345   +13

    I take "don't care to learn" is a put down to me? Thanks a lot. I don't have someone to look over my shoulder if I tried such a project and I don't want to make a mistake and have maybe a couple $1000 go up in smoke. I'd love to be able to build my own pc, maybe next time I will, but don't care to learn doesn't describe me at all.
  20. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 2,704

    No no no - it's not an insult. Even though I don't know you very well, there are some people who just want a PC that works. Like other people I've built a computer for. Learning everything about a PC, like how to build it and stuff - it can really be an exhausting process. I was like that once. Not caring to learn isn't bad at all, I meant it as resigned retreat, not ignorant dismissal.
  21. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,345   +13

    Enough said.
  22. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 2,704

    Anyway, now that I ('m going to) own a receiver, are there other tools of the trade that go well along with this? Any advice anyone might have?

    Could I somehow get my monitor to hook up on the video part of the receiver, and get input from my VCR to my monitor? :D

    /me doesn't think so
  23. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +419

    I believe you are right olefarte on destroying your speakers even on a smaller amp. But I think that it would have to be on account of the user doing something stupid. example - cranking the volume way up without any input and then suddenly hitting play on a cd track that has a very explosive intro, or just generally turning it up to where it sounds bad. I know on my system I've never ever had the volume beyond half way on a cd or something, for 1 its too friggin loud, and 2 I imagine I might hurt my precious Cerwin Vega speakers.
    Veh - Did you use the "compare" feature on best buy's site? I compared that kenwood one to my parents Yahama one (out of your anticipated price range) along with one of those Pioneer recievers just to see what the differences were. You might want to do that if you haven't already just to see exactly how they compare side by side rather than trying to remember what features and numbers each one had individually.
  24. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 2,704

    Thanks for the tip SNGX.

    Any idea why the KLH is 7 pounds heavier than the Kenwood?! They're roughly the same size...

    I'm still sticking with the Kenwood, after reviewing them all (w/ Compare :D)
  25. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +419

    Could be a couple reasons...
    Kenwood might have less bulky components.
    Casing may be thicker, or have heavier foot rests.
    Maybe KLM has shielding? I know when my reciever was right up against my old monitor (the one before my Philips) it would cause some picture problems (not really color, possibly flickering or something? I forget, but I know it wasn't color distortion).
    Maybe a combination of all of these.

    Wait... I overlooked the obvious.... maybe they are different deminsions?
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