Other than raw features, i would look at how much power the units do at both 8 and 4 ohms. I recently looked at a bunch of AV receivers and the amplifier / power supply sections were PATHETIC. Many of them did WAY less power at 4 ohms than they did at 8 ohms. As you may know, power should noticeably increase as impedance is lowered, NOT reduce as impedance is lowered. This will give you further insight into the build quality of the unit as power supplies are expensive. If they skimped there, they skimped everywhere else. Sean
Yeah, I like the sound of the Onkyo's for receivers at various price ranges overall(with most speaker chioces). But for the money, the Outlaw probably wins out over the ONkyo SR600. The SR600 is a bit "lightweight" compared to the model above it in the Onkyo Line. The 800 has a better power supply. And in response to "Sean's" commment regarding PATHETIC power from your receiver, may I suggest you are going to be running ANY SPEAkER with your receiver as "Small" anyway! You shoud be letting a dedicated powered sub handle the demanding bass. So, this will make youre receiver sound more powerful with your speakers. Unless you're using powered speakers, this is DEFINITELY the best way. Still the better receivers will have better power, obviously, than the lesser models, and likely better sound, depending on brand to brand. That said, I still like the OUtlaw better than the SR600. Good luck
I agree that running the speakers on the "small" setting may help things out, but in order to do so, you would pretty much HAVE to have a powered sub. Some people might not have a sub to start off with and may not be able to afford a decent one after making what many might consider to be a considerable investment in the receiver alone.
Besides that, if you had 4 ohm speakers or speakers with wavering impedances across the band, you would still be stuck with the potential for a LOT less power delivery than if you had 8 ohm models with some specific receivers. As such, building a system with a receiver REALLY requires one to look at the entire package as a whole and not just throw "good", "brand name" or "recommended" components together.
While you may think i'm exagerating about the loss of power at lower impedances, take a look at these measurements ( not manufacturers spec's but actual measurements ):
Onkyo TX-DS696: 131 watts @ 8 ohms / 63 watts @ 4 ohms
Technics SA-DX1050: 126 @ 8 / 42 @ 4
Harman Kardon AVR 110: 79 @ 8 / shutdown @ 4
Denon AVR-1801: 97 @ 8 / shutdown @ 4
Pioneer VSX-D510: 138 @ 8 / shutdown @ 4
JVC RX-6010BVK: 100 @ 8 / shutdown @ 6 & 4 ohms !!!
Some Sony ( !!! ) and Yamaha models seemed to hold up the best. Quite honestly, i've always thought of Denon, Onkyo and Yamaha making the best "mass market" receivers. Obviously, not every product in a manufacturer's line will be built to the same level, so don't take these as "blanket endorsements" or "blanket castrations" of these specific brands.
Sony STR-DE675: 131 @ 8 / 108 @ 4
Yamaha RX-V620: 87 @ 8 / 98 @ 4
As such, one can see that one can buy what most would consider a "powerful" so-called "120 watt" ( Onkyo, Technics, Pioneer, etc.. )receiver and have it "pounded" by an 80 - 85 watt ( Yamaha in this case ) receiver if running at lower impedances.
Not only would the lack of power at low impedances result in lower sustainable spl levels, it could result in clipping, tweeter damage and an overall lack of "power on demand" dynamics when called upon to deliver. This lack of "oomph" could take place anywhere in the audio pass-band at low impedances, not just in the low frequency ranges.
This is NOT to say that a more "powerful" unit will always sound better, but it does have the potential to do so since it can more easily deliver the power to the speakers in a more linear fashion with less potential for distortion or dynamic compression & smearing.
As i've mentioned before, specs CAN be useful if you know how to interpret them and what they mean. Sean
I don't believe that the values pressented by "sean" are correct on these receivers! When a rating of 8ohms is given as, say, 100w/ch, then you'll always tend to find a 4ohm rating for the same receiver(or amp) as AT LEAST a little higher into lower impedences(such as 4 ohms)!!! For example: you'd find 100w/ch @8ohms and maybe 125w/ch @4ohms for the same receiver! But to display 100w @8ohms and 63w @ 4ohms doesn't seem to make sense! I've never seen a wattage rating that was lower for 4 ohms than 8 ohms!!!!!...NEVER!
I would like to see this myself, and will go online and check out the specs "sean" listed.
While It might be possible he's right(I guess), I don't think so. Hummmmm....I'm going to look into this one and post back.
Yes, I do agree with the fact that, by themselves, receivers powersupplies are generally not up to what you get from a dedicated amp. And the lower line receivers should be run with 8 ohm speakers if you can. And you should ALWAYS run speakers as "small" from a receiver, and do a "powered sub"(which has been FOR YEARS NOW, RECOMMENDED AS A MUST HAVE FOR HT ANYWAY!!!) for the bass.
There's really no reason to do otherwise in my oppinion.
foreverhifi: All of the specs that i posted were from actual testing, not from the manufacturer's specs. All of the units mentioned DID go up in power ( by various amounts except for the JVC ) at 6 ohms but took a major nose-dive below that. Pick a receiver that i mentioned and i'll tell you what it did at 6 ohms.
As far as your comments go, i would basically agree with them from a "common sense" point of view and what i would expect. However, it appears that what we expect and think to be "normal" is NOT what many manufacturers are delivering to us. Once again, let the buyer beware and do their homework PRIOR to buying. Sean
Sean, I was just curious if you new how these tests were performed? Or did you perform them yourself.The reason I ask is because I have noticed that a few test labs have released bad info due to improper test procedures,like test equipment used doesn't have the proper frequency response or the labs were just plain biased toward one product.As for Jarujammer, If you can't actually listen to each with YOUR system,I would read as many reviews as you can and take from them what you can.I have heard more than one outstanding system with not so outstanding spec's.
Yeah, I'd like to look into the 4ohm rating thing! Still, experience suggests to me, that even with the BIG "MUSCLE RECEIVERS"(if there's such a thing), like the Denon 5800's and the likes, I've found from first hand experience that the power from them can't compete with even modest(often lesser wattage) dedicated power amps! But even if the power in these receivers was competetive with separate power amps, I still find that running power through a passive speaker usually has it's limitations, and the designs dictate cutting em off as "small" or at least "smaller"! Powered active subs have far more control over the bass drivers, and proper bass management offers TREMENDOUS dynamic advantages(unless using powered speakers that crossover internally to ACTIVE DRIVERS!).
So, for me, with most passive speakers, I'm going to always recommend people enlist the help of bass managment and powered woofers, etc...even if they're using dedicated separates.
Believe it or not, those figures were taken from a Consumer Reports buying guide that i ran across. They bought off the shelf units and put them through their paces. Since they don't have a clue about sound quality, they are only good for such things as measuring specs, which is what they primarily go by ( along with cost and features ).
Having said all of that, my brother bought a brand new "100 wpc" receiver a few years back. It was such a gutless wonder that i made him take it back. I found him an older used receiver that cost $30 more and sounded WAY better and had way more "balls". This was his first real introduction into just how different electronics could sound. He had already learned his lesson about speakers shortly before that. Sean
I had one recommendation for jarujammer.I recently purchased a used harmon kardon avr-510($400used$1100new:80w x 5) over the onkyo tx-797($1000:100w x 6) just because it had much cleaner,more powerful audio.before this I had convinced myself I needed component video switching(which the 510 has but not hdtv bandwith) which from a purist's point of view was just plain stupid;i.e.-more stuff = more artifacts.Also I didn't need the 6th channel... for that matter I don't use a center channel either because I feel that it is destructive to the stereo image,yes there's a few of us out there.Good luck with your search but make sure you only get what you really need and it doesn't hurt to look at good used gear that has dropped to your price level; this is particularly true with cables because they're already broke in for you.