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How much of a difference does a receiver REALLY make?


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I currently have 2 RF-62's, RC-52 center, RW-12d subwoofer, and some bipolar definitive technology rears.

I am powering this with a Yamaha rx-v 663. I am looking to possibly upgrade the receiver. I have a chance to get a Yamaha rx-v 1900 for a good price, and I am wondering if I would notice any better sound quality. I work at a home theater shop, and we always listen to music on receivers at or around this quality. My vocals at home (for 2 channel) seem muffled and unclear. It is never like this in the show rooms at work, but how much of this has to do with the receiver, as opposed to the properly set up room? I would say I do 80% movies, 20% music, however music is what I am really displeased with on the 663.

BOTTOM LINE - If I upgrade from the Yamaha rx-v 663 to the rx-1900 would there big a noticable difference for music and movies?

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smcilwaine,

Quick answer, no, IMO. One would not expect a big noticeable difference for music and movies.

You have already got excellent speakers, and speakers are by far, the most system defining elements for excellence.

The 1900 is considered (in Yamaha marketing) to be a higher end receiver, but still not really top of the line.

Unless there additional features that would be exciting for you, the difference in sound alone could be hard to discern, IMO.

The increased wpc in the 1900 would not make much difference with speakers already as efficient as Klipsch RF series.

If you've got a chance to put the 1900 in your system for audition purposes, or otherwise have some head to head comparison, it wold be interesting enough to see if you could hear a difference. Otherwise, it would be an iffy proposition to drop the new receiver in your system expecting substantial improvement.

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+1 Fish, I hooked up a more powerful amp to my 62's and there was a noticeful difference from my 100watts(ya right) per ch. Yamaha receiver. This was a 250 watt (for sure) amp, and they rocked. So now I have my eye on a Marantz high end model, at least then I know it'll be a true wattage.

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It is not so much the receiver itself but the DAC and the Amplifier contained within the receiver that makes the huge difference. Everyones tastes are different I myself prefer solid state amps for woofers because the punchy bass it provides and tube amps for the amazing clarity and natural sound it puts out of the mids and highs. The question is does it make a difference to you? I suggest going to multiple a/v stores (not best buy) and listen to each of the different receivers to find out if your missing out on something.

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If I upgrade from the Yamaha rx-v 663 to the rx-1900 would there big a noticable difference for music and movies?


There should be a noticeable difference if you upgrade your receiver, but it's hard to say how big it would be. When I upgraded from a bottom-of-the-line 1998 Yamaha RX-V392 to an upper-mid 2004/2005 model, the RX-V750, it was easy to notice the improved clarity and power, along with going from Dolby Pro Logic to Dolby PLIIx and DTS.

The better receiver will have more features (which may or may not be important to you) and could have a phono preamp, which matters a lot if you like to spin vinyl.

If possible, as Daddy Dee suggested, it would be best if you were able to try the 1900 in your system for a weekend.

Here's one review: http://hometheaterreview.com/yamaha-rx-v1900-seven-channel-home-theater-receiver-reviewed/

Another: http://www.electronicsme.com/product_review.php?pid=3991

Another: http://reviews.cnet.com/av-receivers/yamaha-rx-v1900/4505-6466_7-33255645.html

One more: http://www.avrev.com/home-theater-av-receivers/av-receivers/yamaha-rx-v1900-av-receiver.html

Any receiver that gets lots of good reviews must be highly thought, especially if it's getting this much attention.

Keep in mind, though, that small differences in power output will not make a big difference in the sound, since doubling the power only raises the volume 3dB. Going from 125Wpc to 500Wpc only increases the volume 6dB. It's not like horsepower...

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Some say that there is less of a difference between properly working, adequately powered solid state electronics than between different models/ brands of any other component (except cables). Some of the biggest differences are between individual CD disks, and between rooms.
"My vocals at home (for 2 channel) seem muffled and unclear." This is mysterious. It sounds like something is actually malfunctioning, somewhere, and in need of repair.
Have you taken your most dissatisfying 2 channel sources (disks or records, and perhaps even your player) into work to see if they are any clearer there?
Is there a chance that your room is over damped? Have you tried more diffusion and less absorption? The showroom/home theater set ups may be a lot bigger than yours, no? Even though many home theater environments are over damped, IMO (for the sake of the dialog), the place you happen to work might have richer reverberation characteristics, which can trick the brain into interpreting the dryer sound from the front speakers as clearer and more separate, particularly for people seated close to the front speakers.
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I hooked up a more powerful amp to my 62's and there was a noticeful difference from my 100watts(ya right) per ch. Yamaha receiver. This was a 160 watt (for sure) amp, and they rocked. So now I have my eye on a Marantz high end model, at least then I know it'll be a true wattage.


The actual output of most AV receivers depends on how many channels they're driving, because the power supply is usually the limiting factor. In a review comparing several AV receivers, the "7 x 100 watts" Yamaha put out only 55Wpc when driving 5 channels, but 132Wpc when driving only 2 channels, so for stereo use, the power output was all that was promised and more.

This is typical with mid-range AV receivers of all brands, since many buyers just look at the specs and think that tells them all they need to know, not realizing that a few watts difference one way or the other is inaudible in many systems. In that market, even with great sound quality, if a receiver's power rating is a little lower than the competition's, the unit is seen as inferior, so all the companies pretend that the power output is 100 (or whatever) watts per channel, no matter how many channels are being driven.
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That shows that specs aren't everything. So your receiver is low end. What about the amp you tried? Would you call it mid-fi or more toward high-end? Two amps can have similar specs, but one can sound better in every way. The better ones usually cost a lot more, of course...

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This is a Yorkville Sound Pro Amplifier.

http://www.yorkville.com/products.asp?type=30&cat=8&id=22


Great specs, and it's hard to beat pro sound gear on a watts per dollar comparison. Pro amps are designed to be run at or near full power reliably, and sound good doing it, but they may not sound their best at typical home listening levels. Bryston are a notable exception to that rule, with pro gear that sounds great in a home system, and is reliable enough to come with a 20-year warranty.
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also what Fish said that the Brands is where the HUGE difference in sound is noticed when upgrading AVR.. Ive had a Sony and Yamaha Digital Amp and the Yamaha stayed..

Big AVR names around here are Yamaha, Onkyo, Marants, Pioneer, Denon and I know I have left one out but I cant think of it at the moment..

Also your 663 has preouts, therefor like mentioned you can connect to external power amp.. you should notice more clarity in your speakers and like mentioned if power amp says 120wpc then it is or very close to 120wpc.

I've got my Yammy connected to power amp and i LOVE it. I am just blown away with the sound I now get from my reference speakers.

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can't really do a seperate amp because of the WAF. wish I could.

Well what should I do, marantz? denon? pioneer? yamaha? hard to say.

With the caveat that sound can be a personal preference, I can tell you that I had a Yamaha 5790 running my home theater before I got my Denon 3808CI. I loved my Yamaha but the Denon simply blew it out of the water for sound. I really believe that the huge difference between receivers has more to do with set up and equalization than the differences in the amps themselves.

Like others I run a separate high end power amp off the from pre-outs to power my La Scalas. This frees up the Denon to run only the surrounds and center channel. And it does sound better than running everything off the Denon, even with La Scalas as efficient as they are.

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Receivers can make good pre-amps. I'm running a setup that's similar to RichinLR's and it works very well, using high-end power amps to drive the main speakers, while the receiver's amp drives only the centre and surround speakers. Really good for movies and surround music, great for stereo music.

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I agree that receivers are a low-priced, but feature-rich pre-amp for movies. How else can you spend under $500 to get a 7.1 separate receiver.

However, I wouldn't use a receiver as my primary amp for stereo listening because I'm a tube guy.

The volume I can get out of my 2-watt per channel flea powered amp and a pair of high-efficiency speakers is VERY loud. But, more important to me, the music is vastly better.

So, I'd have to spend a lot of money on a recveiver if I wanted to get a receiver to serve as both a high-end stereo amp for listening to music and a 7.1 surrround sound processor for watching movies.

I hope my post does not read that I'm against receivers because I appreciate them for their role in entertaining my family.

Dave

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