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post #17 of (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 11:33 AM
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Denon, Pioneer, Onkyo, Yamaha. All are good and have their pluses and minuses.

Onkyo = Good all around sound, features, price. Uses Audessey for auto setup. Not as tweakable as other brands. I would say best all around, I love mine! Onkyo is usually rated closer to the reported watts per channel than other brands when tested using equipment. Known to have a lively but neutral sound, so will work better with the widest amount of speaker choices.

Denon = Some prefer Denon sound to other brands. Pricier per comparative unit. More tweak-able but much more difficult user interface to navigate and figure out. Controller is usually the biggest complaint. Very close to Onkyo as far as specs compared to actual output. Also uses Audessey for auto setup.

Pioneer = Good but more front-orientated sound (usually, the front channels are cleaner than the surrounds) , pricier for the Elite line, lower lines usually do not compare to other brands in features or sound quality. Notorious for exaggerated specs for watts per channels. Uses custom MCACC auto setup.

Yamaha = Most amount of DSP (surround modes), known to produce a bright sound (Klipsch speakers plus Yamaha is usually a big no-no. Bright speakers plus bright sound = too bright, listening fatigue possible). YPAO auto setup (custom, not as standardized as Audessey.) Again, notorious exaggerated watts per channel specs.

A good unit from any of the above will serve you for a long time, go with the brand that has the features you want in the price range you want. All have strengths and minuses. Choose your poison!
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