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10 Yr old Dolby receiver dying, replacement suggestions?

2095 Views 12 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Mike Bertelson
Well its finally happening, the 10 year old RCA Dolby AV receiver I bought at Circuit City as a out of box demo unit is dying. The center channel amp fades in an out randomly leading to quite a bit of trouble, imagine it fading 10 db while the tv is off, you come home turn it on, turn up the volume so you can hear it and then the amp cuts back in to normal power... wow!

So I am looking for suggestions, cheap suggestions as my living room is not 5.1 friendly. 2.1 is the best I can do in there(for now). In that room I have my DirecTV receiver (HR16-300), Panasonic DVD, and Nintendo Wii that will all need to be serviced.

Does anyone have any thoughts or recommendations?
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If you're looking for inexpensive quality,, you can't go wrong with Onkyo.
Just curious...why isn't your room "not 5.1 friendly"? Is it a speaker wire routing issue?
If you do decide to go with 5.1 surround. I am on my second Yamaha. The only reason I replaced the first one was because I need to upgrade to digital surround.

The old receiver was still working when I replaced it.
dmspen said:
Just curious...why isn't your room "not 5.1 friendly"? Is it a speaker wire routing issue?
No, architectural. Wiring would be easy if done through floor as there is a good stoop space under the house. Its just a small home, split level, lower level has vaulted ceiling and open arrangement that makes speaker placement a witch. 50% of lower level is Living room, 50% is kitchen/dinning. Split lengthwise down length of vaulted ceiling by flooring carpet/vinyl. Here is a drawing rough one too.

Blue lines are furniture
Triangle=Entertainment Center
Oval=Dining Table
Red line is peak of vaulted celing
Yellow lines outline closet and stairs down to garage.
Black lines show the only walls in the space

So as you can see its s huge open layout with a roughly C shaped wall that is only 11 foot tall(doesn't reach to any higher than outer walls so is sorta freestanding like a dressing/changing screen). Rear channels could possibly be put somewhere but it wouldn't be pretty. It is probably the most suboptimal room for surround imaginable.

On my agenda is closing in the garage and turning it into a theater/hobby room, but not this year.


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I would go with an inexpensive Onkyo capable of 7.1 surround for future usage. I have the 575 and I love it and it was under $300.
i haven't heard anything bad about onkyo, but never owned one. i have a harman kardon AVR146 and its perfect (5.1 w/ DTS decoder). I got it from harmanaudio.com and basically stole it at less than $130 including shipping. it was factory refurbished and comes with the original full factory warranty.
Years ago I bought a Sony Receiver and I thought it was the biggest piece of crap I ever touched. I was so disappointed with it and ended up going with a Yamaha 2070 which I was thrilled with. About a year ago I was looking to upgrade and did a lot of research and comparison and ended up with a Sony STR-DG1100. Believe me this was a very hard sell for me based on my previous experience.

If you are patient you can find some really great deals. I got mine from J&R for WAY below what anyone else was selling them for and got it the next day!

A buddy of mine bought an Onkyo and he liked it but ended up going with a similar Sony in the long run.

Of course this is very personal and subjective decision so only you can make the ultimate choice and as long as you are happy with your purchase that is all that matters isn't it :)
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I bought a high-end Onkyo many years ago. It worked great and is still going strong – I gave it to my daughter and her husband when I upgraded to my Denon. The only receiver I ever had an issue with was on old Sony Pro-Logic model. It lasted less than 3 years before it died. My nephew recently bought a Sony and I was very disappointed to discover its lack of ability to assign digital inputs and outputs. Maybe it was just that he bought a low-end model, but even my parents old super-cheap JVC allows input assignments! Honestly, I think you can’t go wrong with Onkyo. If you can spare a few extra bucks, I’d recommend Denon, too.
Personally, to avoid obsolescence, I'd go with either an Onkyo or Yamaha 6.1 or 7.1 receiver with HDMI switching and Dolby Digital Plus/Dolby True HD Decoders. Given your room arrangement, I wouldn't be inclined to invest in rear surround speakers until you do your home theater upgrade. With your furniture placement I wouldn't even recommend use of a soundbar speaker system, since they are highly directional in nature
I just picked up the Onkyo TX-SR606. It works great in my small living room. I use it in the DD5.1 mode. I ran the speaker wires under my floor.
Take a look at the new Denons also (check out the AVR-2809CI). You can get amazing technologies at great prices compared to 10 years ago in every brand. Many have room equalizers built in. You set up a microphone at your seating area and it runs through a series of sound tests to optimally adjust your sound. This would be great in a situation like yours with funky room dynamics. I have a similar issue although not as bad.

If you throw in a few more bucks, you can probably find a nice A/V receiver that is network capable. You could do music streaming from your PC. In fact, I've seen the Denon AVR-3808CI, which retails for $1699 on sale as low as $970 on line. As always, caveat emptor!
I reicently got a Yahama YHT-390 home theater system.

It has the HRT-6130 A/V receiver bundled with a set of speakers.

I got it for about $300 at BB.

Pretty versital. Multiple HD/digitial audio inputs.

However, HDMI is pass through only. It gets it's audio through digital coax or optical.

I love it. It does everything I wanted and handles two HR2x's and a Blu-Ray. I had to add a HDMI/toslink switch because I now try to run three HR2x's, Blu-Ray and I didn't want to use component for any of the HD inputs so that's an issue to consider.


My 2¢ FWIW. :)

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