Best AV receivers review under Rs. 40000.00

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Best AV receivers reviews under Rs. 40000.00

Group test: Home cinema receivers up to 500
By Richard Arrowsmith

AV receivers are both the brains and brawn at the centre of any home cinema system. And midrange models between 400-500 now feature more advanced specifications and better performance than ever before.

Among the features you can afford are full seven-channel amplification, high-definition video switching, the latest processing modes and automatic calibration systems to ease you through the set-up. And performance has scaled new heights with film soundtracks, multichannel and stereo music alike. We've pitted four of the latest models from the biggest hitters in AV to find which is the multichannel master.

Denon AVR-1907
Denon's AVR-1907 is an excellent midrange receiver that carries a decent core specification for an affordable price - although the absence of HDMI video switching might distance some high-definition enthusiasts.

As ever, build quality is exceptional featuring a weighty design carrying upgraded components and a brushed aluminum front panel that's identical to more expensive Denon models. There are seven channels with each offering a reasonable 85 watts of amplification - and conventional 5.1 users can bi-amp the front channels to improve stereo performance. Typical integrated Dolby and DTS decoding is accompanied by advanced surround sound modes including DTS 96/24 and Pro logic II, which use full 96kHz processing. And extra curricular features include iPod integration using a separate ASD-1R dock.

As mentioned, the otherwise impressive array of connectivity is slighted by the omission of any HDMI digital connections. If you own a flat-screen display with only a single HDMI input then this is restrictive, especially if you have devices like a DVD player, HDTV receiver and games console with digital outputs. However, there is high bandwidth component video switching with digital conversion that will support high-definition signals.

The basic on-screen menu system isn't especially attractive but it's logical and very easy to use. Most users will take advantage of the Auto Set-Up feature that produces reasonably accurate results with virtually no effort. And, the new Ergo remote enhances usability by reserving the spacious front panel for intuitive key controls while the rest are concealed at the rear.

The sound is beautifully refined with subtle separation and intricate detail creating an insightful, cohesive presentation from stereo, multichannel music and film scores. This is ideal if you're listening to ambient or dialogue-heavy soundtracks but explosive special effects subsequently lack impact. Dynamics are limited compared to more powerful models and the sound field isn't as expansive but it's perfect if you prefer a refined sound - and at least you'll keep on good terms with the neighbours.

Verdict
Plus points
Outstanding build quality; ease of use; iPod integration; excellent remote; detailed and composed sound
Minus points
No HDMI video switching; limited dynamics

Pioneer VSX-1016E
Pioneer's VSX-1016E cannot be faulted for features and affords one of the most impressive specifications available at this price. But some brightness at the high end means you'll have to be more careful with your choice of surrounding speakers.

From the front, the substantial, brushed metal design appears almost identical to its rivals - albeit with a more elaborate assortment of controls. But the dimensions are noticeably deeper and not all AV racks are large enough to accommodate them. It's a 7.1 design that claims to offer 150 watts of amplification to each channel, although in reality this figure is probably closer to 110 watts.

The all-inclusive range of connections features more input options than any of the other models, including multiple optical (4) and coaxial (2) audio inputs and dual HDMI digital video inputs. This means you can route a variety of high-definition sources through the receiver to a compatible display for high quality performance and the convenience of a single cable. There's also a USB port that allows you to access digital music files. The range of surround modes is equally impressive and this is the only model that comes with THX certification, which corresponds to criteria developed by none other than George Lucas.

The overcrowded remote can be confusing and the MCACC automatic set-up system is more convoluted than most but it does produce extremely precise calibrations - even when compared to manual set-ups using a sound meter.

In action, the Pioneer delivers a detailed and energetic performance that enlivens film scores from start to finish by creating an enthusiastic and convincing sound stage. Excellent dynamics don't sound strained and seamless steering draws you into the action without noticing. As mentioned, however, Pioneer's upfront presentation can seem a touch bright at the high end. It's not too noticeable in film scores but music can occasionally sound sibilant, especially if you're listening to expressive female vocals - but paired with the right equipment this poses less of a problem.

Verdict
Plus points
Full range of features; complete connectivity; USB hosting; accurate auto set-up; lively and dynamic sound
Minus points
Deep dimensions; bright high frequencies

Sony STR-DA1200E
Sony isn't renowned for its expertise in the AV receiver market, which makes the success of the STR-DA1200 even more surprising. A flawless unison of features and high quality performance cements the Sony's position as class leader at this price.

The 7.1 design offers 100 watts of amplification for each channel with bi-wiring options for the front channels if you prefer to enhance stereo performance in a more typical 5.1 set-up. There are all the integrated surround modes you're ever likely to use. And connections are entirely uncompromised with numerous inputs including 1080p HDMI video switching and component upconversion from standard AV inputs.

The set-up is eased by an instinctive remote and well presented on-screen menus while the DCAC automatic calibration system is by far the best here. It takes less time, doesn't necessitate the need for alarming white noise signals and is more accurate than any of the other models.

If we had to complain about anything then, despite exceptional build quality, the stepped front panel design appears slightly awkward. And there's no direct USB connectivity for your portable music player or a DAB tuner - surprising since less expensive Sony models do feature digital radio.

But this pales into insignificance when you hear the sound quality that this receiver is capable of, especially at this affordable price. Power is nothing without control and the Sony manages to present an expansive and authoritative sound field without losing any detailed subtlety. Dialogue is especially distinctive and superbly integrated while low frequencies are solidly defined and refuse to falter in the face of high volumes. The composed delivery and inconspicuous steering create an ultimately authentic experience that's simply enjoyable to listen to, whatever you're playing.

Verdict
Plus points
Terrific build quality; full list of features; outstanding automatic calibration; peerless performance with music and movies
Minus points
Uneven design; No USB hosting

Yamaha RX-V559DAB
Despite being the most expensively priced model, Yamaha's RX-V559DAB features a comparably compromised specification - although it is the only model that offers DAB digital radio reception.

This will appeal to radio enthusiasts who want the greater choice, information services, sound quality and stability provided by digital broadcasts. However, the 6.1 design sacrifices an additional centre rear channel that's used to improve the cohesiveness of ambient effects in sophisticated set-ups. As most people still use 5.1 configurations it's not a deal breaker but it does limit future upgrades.

Also missing is HDMI digital video switching - although you can use high-definition compatible component inputs (including upconversion from standard AV signals). And there is no automatic calibration system to ease the setting up process.

That said, the Yamaha is superbly constructed with a cleanly styled front panel and a comprehensive range of inputs - although only a single coaxial digital input is a bit miserly. There's a full range of Dolby and DTS surround modes supported by no less than 14 proprietary DSP modes that can be used for stereo or home cinema sources. And, like the Denon, you can integrate your iPod using an optional YDS-10 dock or connect portable music players to a mini-jack at the front - and the Compressed Music Enhancer improves MP3 playback using advanced processing.

The robust sound is immediately engaging with far-reaching dynamics that open up an expansive and involving sound stage. Ambient effects are efficiently steered and vocals in both movies and music are pronounced with plenty of natural expression. But, while timing is excellent elsewhere, low frequencies lack agility and can seem a step behind. Unless you partner this model with a pacy subwoofer you'll find the bass isn't defined enough to provide fast-moving scenes with the necessary punch and impact.

Verdict
Plus points
DAB radio; iPod integration; numerous surround modes; dynamic and expansive sound
Minus points
Only 6.1 channels; no HDMI switching; no auto calibration systems; clumsy low frequencies

Final verdict
If it isn't glaringly obvious yet, Sony's STR-DA1200E is the undisputed winner in this test between our AV receiver heavyweights. It's an unexpected result but the Sony's uncompromised specification and peerless performance for a relatively affordable price has set a new benchmark in the midrange receiver market.

Pioneer's VSX-1016E offers an equally impressive range of features and an enthusiastic performance but the mildly aggressive top end puts some restrictions on the accompanying equipment.

Both Denon's AVR-1907 and Yamaha's RX-V559DAB feature slighted specifications at this price point, especially if you're planning to run high-definition sources through your system. Nonetheless, the Denon's presentation is beautifully composed and cohesive even if it isn't going to shake any rooms. And if you can ignore an absent seventh speaker and lingering low frequencies then the Yamaha is a competent performer that also offers DAB radio.

Source http://www.avreview.co.uk/news/article/mps/UAN/1029/v/3/sp/
 
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