Why receivers aren't worth the "competetive price"

With all the attention and interest (not to mention market share) that AV receivers get (even more so than speakers I presume), I have to wonder if anyone really cares about absolute sound quality for thier HT setup's!?!
I look at Bose, and how well they do, and tell myself "Marketing is everything!"...hummmmm.
Surely, if it's packaged well, reviewed heavily, advertised even more aggressively, etc, it's gunna be more succesful as a product, or in this case, a product line.
Let's face it, people like receivers! I've probably outsold receivers 20:1 over the years, over better separates based products in this business. And I mean, to be true, I'll conceed, that the allure of an all-in-on, "do-all" little sexy black box with nobs is a fun item to think about, tinker with, and have sitting in a rack. It's a strange pheonomina really. I've been there myself in the past,and have owned a few receivers personally...mostly, however, when I was just getting into all this stuff.
I mean, sure, don't get me wrong, receivers offer a lot of perceived value for what they offer, and for reasonable pricing on occasion. I'll grant that.
But truth be told, my experience over time has proven to me, time and again, that when it comes to absolute sound quality for today's HT/music multi-channel systems, separates still FAR OUTPERFORM receivers by a wide margin! Basically, a good separates system STOMPS the receiver in sound quality, even punishes it!...far more realistic, musical, pure, dynamic, resolved, better signal to noise, channel separtion, soundstaging, you name it! At least that's what I've found to be a "Biblical truth" in AV.
I've matched the biggest flagships from Denon, Yamaha, Marantz, Integra, B&K, even, yes, Arcam in the past with even modest power budget separates,(even drving receivers from their pre's is a step up!) and it's almost clockwork...the separates is just better. And to me, soundquality is EVERYTHING when it comes to the audio side of the equation. So to that end, I don't get it. Why aren't more people buying separates?! I mean, some of these receivers these days are more than $4500, even $6000!! Good night! Personally, I'd never pay even $1500 for ANY RECEIVER, cause I know the differnce, and I love audiophile grade sound. It's like Haggendas over store brand blue label ice cream, to me.
On more than a few occasion, just to check what the state of the current "receiver market" is doing, I've taken some of the hot market receiver pieces, and played with 'em, just for kicks and giggles, and my own edificaiton and knowledge. And every time, the receivers on their own have dissapointed...nothing special usually. Usually the amp sections are SEVERELY COMPROMISED, and the preamp section is lacking. And although the resolution has gotten better in these things lately, the overall sound qualiy still leaves it on the proverbial table! Personally, every time I play my system, I'm reminded of how good it is on the "non-receiver side of the fence!"
Anyone care to comment on "their receiver experience", possibly who've owned better separates, or separates based AV systems in the past? Otherwise, I'd like to know from you "receiver guys", what is it about owning an AV receiver, that does it for you!?!
with the advent of xm and sirrius radio, receivers will remain 'the thing' most people use in their homes. most a/v receivers are used for home theatre and casual radio listening. most a/v customers are not serious music collectors.
Let's establish a baseline to determine credibility of upcoming statements....

The reference system that was in my home:

Pass X1
Pass X600
Muse 9 gen IV sig
Magnum Dynalab MD102
Revel Salons
Revel Subs
Aural Symphonics PCs
Discovery SCs
Discovery ICs
Target equipment stand
various tweeks (Black Diamond, DH Labs, ect...)

Other stuff I've had AudioNote, Krell, Audio Research... get the drift... I won't go on.

Now, I got where I never enjoyed the "high-end" stuff becuase I expected too much. It always "could be better". So I decided to go home theater. No critical listening, no adjusting speaker placement (ok I did, but not the entire time I owned them, just a week or so) no balancing stuff on some exotice wire or cone.

I was shocked what you could get for your money (B&K AVR 307). Matched up with some Vienna Acoustic Beethovens the sound was extremely good!

Now I have a Pioneer Elite VSX-56TXi, DV-59AVi, PRO530HDi, Def Tech fronts, sides, backs and a center with a REL Stadium sub.

I'm so much happier. I have people over for football, movies, ect... It's great. I don't critic every little thing. I know it's not what I had, but it's way more than I expected. And WELL WORTH THE PRICE.

BTW, I still have two other two channel systems (one pretty decient one and another older one) and I still enjoy them too.

I guess my point is, you get what you pay for, it's just how far do you want to go into the law of dimenishing returns? Receivers are well worth the price consisdering how much more you have to spend to get an incremental increase in performance.
You can't buy separates in Circuit City or Best Buy. That's where a majority of people go to buy AV gear. People on this site know the differernce between quality gear, and mass market gear. (For the most part) They understand the idea of separates. With big chains moving in and knocking out the small hi fi shops, there is no one to inform the general public about quality gear. A receiver is a "do everything" unit for everyone that enjoys one stop shopping.
You'd be shocked how many people you could fool by sticking store brand ice cream in a Haagan-Daz container. The fact is you're still getting milk, cream and sugar, and the idea that they are eating a premium ice cream will be enough to convince them it's better. Even a lowly mass-market system bought at Best Buy will be able to produce 95% of what you could hear from the most exotic equipment. It's that last 5% that sets an audiophile apart from the mass market consumer. The trick is separating the great gear from snake oil. Just remeber to listen with your ears and not your eyes.
The letting go that JONT above discusses is a real good point.

I find when I get a new TV I am hyper for a week or so and then magically I see the good and ignore the flaw/s. Not so with my audiophilia nervosa!

The point about the big box retailers is also valid. So many people will buy $399 HTIB systems for Christmas this year and think they got a great buy without knowing what could be. Ignorance is bliss. Makes me crazy.

I too have heard the proud homeowner crank his Bose system while wearing the look of pride. Or the car salesman proudly reveal the premium Bose system. Aaaaarrrgh!

I've tried to argue the point. Don't know if it has done any good.

Bob Wood

"Even a lowly mass-market system bought at Best Buy will be able to produce 95% of what you could hear from the most exotic equipment. It's that last 5% that sets an audiophile apart from the mass market consumer."(Perkadin)

Really?!! 95% for best buy gear, ey? Hummmmm...guess I should reconsider things here...don't know what I was thinking evidently...
"It's like Haggendas over store brand blue label ice cream, to me."

Funny enough, they teach the Haagan-Daz story in markting classes in many University. It was regular old "milk sugar and water" and they weren't selling so well, so they made a fancy bucket for it, doubled the price, and marketed it as a "premium" ice-cream - with much success.

Gee, do you think there are any parallels in the HiFi industry?
Cool!...about the Haggendaz story that is.
Well, it may just be milk,sugur, and water. But it's the best combo of milk, sugar, and water I ever tasted! Maybe they put some "mojo" or something in it...you know, sprinkle it with some twice-blessed water, er something er other...lol
Whatever they do, it's better than the other store bought combo's of milk, sugar, and water. That I think many would agree.
Infact, the Haggen-daz ice-cream bar has won many a "face-off" with competetive bars from what I remember. Anyway, I likes it...
However, if Perkadin above is correct about Best Buy's stuff being 95% of the audiophile gear, I think everyone here should stop what they're doing here on the A-Gon, and just plunk down a few hundies for a complete HT in a box system from BB. Save a ton, get the same results...
Sounds good to me.
It's not the packaging, amongst other things it's the butter fat that makes it premium.
Ever hear different strokes for different folks?
Yesterday I go to a friends house to see his new plasma. He turns up his Sony receiver pushing his Bose speakers that are jammed up behind his hearth and tv stand. "Listen to that!" - with a big smile on his face. Is that a clue?
Yes, take a something like polk speakers and perhaps a sony reciever against something expensive like Levinson/Wilson gear, set at equal levels then take measurements, the graffs won't differ by much more then 5% in the same room playing the same material, however they will sound subjectivly night/day different. It seems odd, but like I said earlier we are all searching for that final 5%.
Here is a good test - what would be better seperates that meets the criteria, including needed interconnects for $1K?


Maineiac, regarding your post:

Yesterday I go to a friends house to see his new plasma. He turns up his Sony receiver pushing his Bose speakers that are jammed up behind his hearth and tv stand. "Listen to that!" - with a big smile on his face. Is that a clue?

You gave me a laugh with that vivid tale. All of us music lover-audiophiles have had that happen at one time or another.

Truth is, they are as happy as those of us that blew the bank account. Lucky for them :^).
Maineiac, what would be better separates that meets the criteria, including IC's for $k?...Um, a used (new $600, used $300) 6.1 Yamaha receiver, driving a used Outlaw 100x7 ($500-600 used), with 4 pair of Harmonic Tech Percision Link at $50/pr used...that's option A
Option B: 5.1 system, Acurus ACT 3 w/ABM for $450 used,Acurus 125x5 used at $550, 4pairs of Monster 550i IC's for $25/pr (INFINITELY MORE POTENT FOR MUSIC OR MOVIES THAN ANY RECEIVER AT $1K USED OR NEW!!!)
Option C: Acurus ACT 3 $350 used, CS3X Jr, 6.1 add-on processor, $100 used, Acurus 125x5 used, $500(B condition), Acurus A80 2x80watt, $100 used, IC's Monster $100 used.
Option D: Rotel DD/DTS pre pro 5.1 (forgot model) for $400-500 used, Rotel 995 5x100 watt, $400 used.
Option E: Used Outlaw 950, $400 range used, Outlaw 100x7, IC's, many options...all around $1k used.
There's more, give me a few to think about it.
ALL OF THE ABOVE DESTROYS THE SOUND from any $1k receiver on the market, HANDS DOWN!!!!...at least 100% improvment in sonics, and WELL WORTH THE MONEY compared to ANY $1K RECEIVER!!!!....IMO, of course
As for someone loving their Bose system, that's great!
It's all just "toys", "stuff", and things...it's to be enjoyed. One person loves eating at McDonnalds all the time, vs. a dinner at WolfGang Puks.
However, when you get into this stuff as a Hobby, and that's what you love, you can't help but want a "faster race car!!!" It's like anything else. you start with the "starter kit", and end up with the WAY TOO EXPENSIVE, tweaked to the hilt, exotic race car!!!!...that you spent a small fortune on!
Othewise, if you just want "something", HT in a box is perfect...no worries....