What features should i look for, in an AVR 5.1?

vkalia

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So i have a whole bunch of different things going on right now, sound-wise, hence the various unrelated questions popping up here. (Tl;DR version - have finally moved to a place where i can set up my sound system the way i want, and so am trying to put together a bedroom system, main system and HT system).

I moved my Marantz PM6007 and Wharfedale 225s/Taga something subwoofer to my TV once I got my NAD/Sonus Faber/PSB system up and running. Neither my wife or I am big TV buffs - I mainly watch some sports on it and we occasionally binge on some shows and perhaps one movie a week. But i liked the sound with the PM6007 enough to consider getting a decent HT setup for the TV for those few times we do watch movies or TV show. So here we are.

I dont like/care enough about movies to invest the time some of you guys do in getting your HT system up and running. Want something that gives me a decent immersive experience, isnt bright/shrill and can be enjoyed at normal volumes (no reference quality stuff). And most importantly, something that is easy to set up. Receiver power is not an issue - even 50WPC should be more than enough to drive the system to the levels I will be listening (70-75dB).

Our TV is also a little unusually located - it isnt in the main living room, but in a 10' x 11' alcove off it, and the TV is off to one side, to make room for a hallway opening. So the speakers are going to be a litte off center - as such, I assume some room correction/analysis built into the receiver would be good to have.

What other features should i be looking for? Some other points to consider:
- I dont have a very complicated setup - Apple TV source (I have no idea if it is a 4k unit or not - it is about 3 years old), 58" TV (HD only, not 4k), maybe a PS4 - or a PS5 if i upgrade, although i am not a hard core gamer. I dont see this changing or increasing
- I dont mind paying a little more for something which is not functionally compromised and i dont see myself upgrading for atleast 2-3 years, if at all.
- Streaming capabilities arent essential but nice to have
- I am undecided on the Atmos/7 channel capabilities - part of me says "why not get them if it is only going to cost a little more" and the other part goes "meh, you wont use it and if you do, you can always change the receiver)
- I dont know what emerging technologies i should try to get - eArc, HDMI 2.1, etc

I was looking at the Denon BT250/550 series but the lack of room correction was an issue. So now thinking of the Yamaha RX-4VA, which has room correction. Given my needs above, does this sound right to you?

Alternatively, how much more would it be to pony up for an Atmos-capable receiver which meets my other requirements
 
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Phani24

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So i have a whole bunch of different things going on right now, sound-wise, hence the various unrelated questions popping up here. (Tl;DR version - have finally moved to a place where i can set up my sound system the way i want, and so am trying to put together a bedroom system, main system and HT system).

I moved my Marantz PM6007 and Wharfedale 225s/Taga something subwoofer to my TV once I got my NAD/Sonus Faber/PSB system up and running. Neither my wife or I am big TV buffs - I mainly watch some sports on it and we occasionally binge on some shows and perhaps one movie a week. But i liked the sound with the PM6007 enough to consider getting a decent HT setup for the TV for those few times we do watch movies or TV show. So here we are.

I dont like/care enough about movies to invest the time some of you guys do in getting your HT system up and running. Want something that gives me a decent immersive experience, isnt bright/shrill and can be enjoyed at normal volumes (no reference quality stuff). And most importantly, something that is easy to set up. Receiver power is not an issue - even 50WPC should be more than enough to drive the system to the levels I will be listening (70-75dB).

Our TV is also a little unusually located - it isnt in the main living room, but in a 10' x 11' alcove off it, and the TV is off to one side, to make room for a hallway opening. So the speakers are going to be a litte off center - as such, I assume some room correction/analysis built into the receiver would be good to have.

What other features should i be looking for? Some other points to consider:
- I dont have a very complicated setup - Apple TV source (I have no idea if it is a 4k unit or not - it is about 3 years old), 58" TV (HD only, not 4k), maybe a PS4 - or a PS5 if i upgrade, although i am not a hard core gamer. I dont see this changing or increasing
- I dont mind paying a little more for something which is not functionally compromised and i dont see myself upgrading for atleast 2-3 years, if at all.
- Streaming capabilities arent essential but nice to have
- I am undecided on the Atmos/7 channel capabilities - part of me says "why not get them if it is only going to cost a little more" and the other part goes "meh, you wont use it and if you do, you can always change the receiver)
- I dont know what emerging technologies i should try to get - eArc, HDMI 2.1, etc

I was looking at the Denon BT250/550 series but the lack of room correction was an issue. So now thinking of the Yamaha RX-4VA, which has room correction. Given my needs above, does this sound right to you?

Alternatively, how much more would it be to pony up for an Atmos-capable receiver which meets my other requirements
What is your budget.
 

Nitin K

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So i have a whole bunch of different things going on right now, sound-wise, hence the various unrelated questions popping up here. (Tl;DR version - have finally moved to a place where i can set up my sound system the way i want, and so am trying to put together a bedroom system, main system and HT system).

I moved my Marantz PM6007 and Wharfedale 225s/Taga something subwoofer to my TV once I got my NAD/Sonus Faber/PSB system up and running. Neither my wife or I am big TV buffs - I mainly watch some sports on it and we occasionally binge on some shows and perhaps one movie a week. But i liked the sound with the PM6007 enough to consider getting a decent HT setup for the TV for those few times we do watch movies or TV show. So here we are.

I dont like/care enough about movies to invest the time some of you guys do in getting your HT system up and running. Want something that gives me a decent immersive experience, isnt bright/shrill and can be enjoyed at normal volumes (no reference quality stuff). And most importantly, something that is easy to set up. Receiver power is not an issue - even 50WPC should be more than enough to drive the system to the levels I will be listening (70-75dB).

Our TV is also a little unusually located - it isnt in the main living room, but in a 10' x 11' alcove off it, and the TV is off to one side, to make room for a hallway opening. So the speakers are going to be a litte off center - as such, I assume some room correction/analysis built into the receiver would be good to have.

What other features should i be looking for? Some other points to consider:
- I dont have a very complicated setup - Apple TV source (I have no idea if it is a 4k unit or not - it is about 3 years old), 58" TV (HD only, not 4k), maybe a PS4 - or a PS5 if i upgrade, although i am not a hard core gamer. I dont see this changing or increasing
- I dont mind paying a little more for something which is not functionally compromised and i dont see myself upgrading for atleast 2-3 years, if at all.
- Streaming capabilities arent essential but nice to have
- I am undecided on the Atmos/7 channel capabilities - part of me says "why not get them if it is only going to cost a little more" and the other part goes "meh, you wont use it and if you do, you can always change the receiver)
- I dont know what emerging technologies i should try to get - eArc, HDMI 2.1, etc

I was looking at the Denon BT250/550 series but the lack of room correction was an issue. So now thinking of the Yamaha RX-4VA, which has room correction. Given my needs above, does this sound right to you?

Alternatively, how much more would it be to pony up for an Atmos-capable receiver which meets my other requirements
Since you like the Marantz sound , you can go for Marantz SR 5xxx or 6xxx series or a Denon equivalent avr. The Audyssey room correction is quite simple, user-friendly and decent. In the 6xxx, you will get the higher version of Audyssey.

If you want to go for Atmos later, you can make the provision for the wiring and decide later.
But for movies you will need a decent subwoofer and decent ones are available at around approx 45k onwards.
 
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vkalia

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What is your budget.

Budget is fairly flexible.

I can spend more if there is a reason to - but i would prefer not to pay for feature sets that I do not need. I am not looking for the best possible system i can get for my budget, but the least expensive system that fits my requirements, if that makes sense. And whatever this costs, i will pay.
 

vkalia

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Since you like the Marantz sound , you can go for Marantz SR 5xxx or 6xxx series or a Denon equivalent avr. The Audyssey room correction is quite simple, user-friendly and decent. In the 6xxx, you will get the higher version of Audyssey.

If you want to go for Atmos later, you can make the provision for the wiring and decide later.
But for movies you will need a decent subwoofer and decent ones are available at around approx 45k onwards.

Thanks for that - more than a specific brand recommendation, i am trying to figure out what features I should consider. Because i am a casual HT fan and this is my first foray into multi-channel audio, i dont know what i dont know.... so dont want to get a receiver and find that it is missing some really convenient feature that results in it being very limited in its features.

So far, i have:
- Pre outs: dont care
- Room calibration: want
- HDMI 2.1: Do i need it?
- High throughput: I assume that is for 4k viewing - is there a lot of 4k content out there and is it worth getting this?

What are other feature sets of receivers that i should be considering? Do all of them allow individual adjustment of relative channel volume? What about ease of setup? Other things I should know?
 

Phani24

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Budget is fairly flexible.

I can spend more if there is a reason to - but i would prefer not to pay for feature sets that I do not need. I am not looking for the best possible system i can get for my budget, but the least expensive system that fits my requirements, if that makes sense. And whatever this costs
Budget is fairly flexible.

I can spend more if there is a reason to - but i would prefer not to pay for feature sets that I do not need. I am not looking for the best possible system i can get for my budget, but the least expensive system that fits my requirements, if that makes sense. And whatever this costs, i will
Go with basic 4k 7.2 avr like Denon s 750 or pioneer . Which is 4k COMPATABLE as well as Atmos. Which is in between 50 to 60k. Then add speaker package like Taga 607 or Qaccoustics ,Klipsch reference.
 

vkalia

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Go with basic 4k 7.2 avr like Denon s 750 or pioneer . Which is 4k COMPATABLE as well as Atmos. Which is in between 50 to 60k. Then add speaker package like Taga 607 or Qaccoustics ,Klipsch reference.

So here is the thing - how many channels do i need to get a good Atmos set up?

If going from a 5.1 to 7.2 gets me there and is a small premium, why not..... OTOH, if i really need 9-11 channels, then that's a hard no for me: not because of cost but because there is no way i am putting up that many speakers in the small listening area.
 

OM_2K19

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I was looking at the Denon BT250/550 series but the lack of room correction was an issue. So now thinking of the Yamaha RX-4VA, which has room correction. Given my needs above, does this sound right to you?
I would also consider Denon X1600H; it's a decent 7.1 ATMOS (5.1.2) AVR and supports most modern features. My personal experience with YAPO was not good, and I find Audyssey's (MultEQ XT and MultEQ XT32) calibration way more mature than Yamaha's YAPO.
 

Nitin K

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So far, i have:
- Pre outs: dont care
- Room calibration: want
- HDMI 2.1: Do i need it?
- High throughput: I assume that is for 4k viewing - is there a lot of 4k content out there and is it worth getting this?

What are other feature sets of receivers that i should be considering? Do all of them allow individual adjustment of relative channel volume? What about ease of setup? Other things I should know?
Most welcome. I too was mostly a music person initially. But once I experienced what a decent avr can do then it became a 50:50 preference.
A decent and user friendly room calibration is important hence I suggested Audyssey which takes you step by step through the process.
Audyssey allows you to keep variable volume levels for the individual speakers. The XT 32 version which is a higher level of Audyssey allows to to calibrate 2 subwoofers which comes with the Marantz 6xxx and Denon 4xxx series. You can go with the lower version too and Audyssey will still be decent.
In the newer avr's hopefully the latest Hdmi version would be there.
I would suggest to go for a 4k compliant avr as most of the contents are in 4k though may be in a compressed version.
I am also using my avr in a basic 5.1 setup due to room limitations and I have no issues though my avr supports 9.2.
I would suggest you to visit a few showrooms just to get an idea what actually you may need and to experience Atmos and whether you need them.
All the best.
 
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ssf

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M friend has a an earlier version of the Denon X1600H and he is very happy with it. I have heard it too and it's quite nice for the price.

So, I too recommend the Denon 1600H.
 

vkalia

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Most welcome. I too was mostly a music person initially. But once I experienced what a decent avr can do then it became a 50:50 preference.
A decent and user friendly room calibration is important hence I suggested Audyssey which takes you step by step through the process.
Audyssey allows you to keep variable volume levels for the individual speakers. The XT 32 version which is a higher level of Audyssey allows to to calibrate 2 subwoofers which comes with the Marantz 6xxx and Denon 4xxx series. You can go with the lower version too and Adyssey will still be decent.
In the newer avr's hopefully the latest Hdmi version would be there.
I would suggest to go for a 4k compliant avr as most of the contents are in 4k though may be in a compressed version.
I am also using my avr in a basic 5.1 setup due to room limitations and I have no issues though my avr supports 9.2.
I would suggest you to visit a few showrooms just to get an idea what actually you may need and to experience Atmos and whether you need them.
All the best.

Good point to know - exactly the sort of info i wanted, thanks.

So 4k content is now commonplace, is it? Huh.... i didnt realize that. My TV is HD, I think, not 4k - I dont watch enough TV to warrant upgrading it and a 58" is too big to put into the gym room.
 

Nitin K

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Good point to know - exactly the sort of info i wanted, thanks.

So 4k content is now commonplace, is it? Huh.... i didnt realize that. My TV is HD, I think, not 4k - I dont watch enough TV to warrant upgrading it and a 58" is too big to put into the gym room.
Most welcome. I never watch TV at all except for movies occasionally. But still a 4K avr would be worth it as it will be the norm for the next few years . 4K content is increasing especially on Netflix, Disney, Amazon Prime etc. Hence the avr would be futureproof for the next few years atleast & there won't be any buyer's remorse for some time. If you are happy with your TV then you can always change it at a later date as a 4K avr can downsize the streaming resolution to HD.
All the best in your search.
 

vkalia

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Most welcome. I never watch TV at all except for movies occasionally. But still a 4K avr would be worth it as it will be the norm for the next few years . 4K content is increasing especially on Netflix, Disney, Amazon Prime etc. Hence the avr would be futureproof for the next few years atleast & there won't be any buyer's remorse for some time..
All the best in your search.

Hehe, you know where this is going, right? If I am going to future-proof for 4k, then i may as future-proof by adding a few more channels.... and before you know it, i am going to end up with a 9.2.4 beast or something like that :)

Seriously though, what is a decent futureproof receiver for someone who just wants a little bit of pizzaz in TV watching? Would 5.1.2 be sufficient? Or do i need 4 Atmos channels to get the most out of it? You have convinced me on the 4k part and i am selling myself on the Atmos, as you can see....
 

Donivlapog

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You could look for those with lossless dts master hd or Dolby true HD. And go for those with dual sub outs. (5.2 can really work well in lossless content)
 

Silencer

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Hehe, you know where this is going, right? If I am going to future-proof for 4k, then i may as future-proof by adding a few more channels.... and before you know it, i am going to end up with a 9.2.4 beast or something like that :)

Seriously though, what is a decent futureproof receiver for someone who just wants a little bit of pizzaz in TV watching? Would 5.1.2 be sufficient? Or do i need 4 Atmos channels to get the most out of it? You have convinced me on the 4k part and i am selling myself on the Atmos, as you can see....

Since you're comfortable with any budget, I will suggest to get a used basic AVR. See if it can satisfy your needs for now. Hold on to it for some months. You will learn a lot during this period.

Note your learnings, and choose your next avr/ pre-pro ( :p )wisely with that added knowledge. You will appreciate it better since you know what you really "want" by then. It will be much more rewarding.

 

Nitin K

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Hehe, you know where this is going, right? If I am going to future-proof for 4k, then i may as future-proof by adding a few more channels.... and before you know it, i am going to end up with a 9.2.4 beast or something like that :)

Seriously though, what is a decent futureproof receiver for someone who just wants a little bit of pizzaz in TV watching? Would 5.1.2 be sufficient? Or do i need 4 Atmos channels to get the most out of it? You have convinced me on the 4k part and i am selling myself on the Atmos, as you can see....
It's true that one can go on & on along the upgrade path as things keep on changing. I guess depending on your room size a 5:1.2 would suffice for most of the small to mid size rooms or a 7.1.2 should cater to a slightly larger room. It all depends on room size , preference and budget. Hence it is better to visit and take a demo to get an idea of what exactly you want.
If you don't mind then you could go along the pre-owned route just to get a feel of what you would really want without spending much.
2 avr's down the line since 2006, I am pretty much satisfied with 5.1. But I have the headroom for atmos which I may try sometime later. There is no need to upgrade all at once. You can do it gradually when you feel like.
 

vkalia

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I think the idea of getting something that can do 5.1.2 makes sense, especially if the outlay isnt significantly more. Possibly dumb question - can all 7 channel receivers toggle between 7.1 (which i know i will not need) and 5.1.2 (which is what i could see myself going with, down the road)?

@Silencer - valid point about trying with a basic AVR. But in general, I have realized it works out more economical in the long run to try to get the purchase right in the first place (or as close to right as possible). Measure twice, cut once, so to speak. Obviously, nothing is ever sure, but one can try to stack the decks so the odds favor getting it right.
 

vkalia

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You could look for those with lossless dts master hd or Dolby true HD. And go for those with dual sub outs. (5.2 can really work well in lossless content)

That's a good point - so far, i have just been thinking of 5.1 surround and Atmos. Are there any other formats that are "essential"? What are most movies on Netflix, etc using? I assume most "higher" formats will automatically get reduced to 5.1 or something if the receiver cannot handle them.

(As an aside - isnt Dolby True HD a format for BlueRay players? Is there any streaming content that actually uses it)
 

Silencer

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That's a good point - so far, i have just been thinking of 5.1 surround and Atmos. Are there any other formats that are "essential"? What are most movies on Netflix, etc using? I assume most "higher" formats will automatically get reduced to 5.1 or something if the receiver cannot handle them.

(As an aside - isnt Dolby True HD a format for BlueRay players? Is there any streaming content that actually uses it)

Yes.

Streaming platforms use lossy audio streams. Mostly DD+ ( lossy Atmos, too ). On the other hand, Dolby TrueHD or DTS HD Master Audio stream found in Bluray discs and rips are lossless.

But nothing wrong in splurging at one go. Get the best you can now. A Denon 4xxx or Yamaha Aventage models. You won't go wrong with either of them.

A good Bluray rip will have lossless audio, but I don't endorse piracy anymore (except for the cult movies which we can't source anywhere ).

OTT platforms have "decent" sound. Quite enjoyable.
 
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