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394 posts

Ultimate Geek

Topic # 43140 18-Oct-2009 14:51
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Hey team,

I'm on a budget here and I'm looking at my options for a decent home theater amp that will take my hdmi from my ps3 and deliever some good sound and picture. I'll also be unsing it with apple airtunes also to stream music with just requires a optical connection...

I'm told to go with an Onkyo but thats just what the salesmen tellls me. I know you pay for what you get. I've got a set of older wharefedales.. 8ohms at 150watts they go pretty well, plus a center and some rears at 100wat . So only wanting 5.1.

I dont know alot about home audio so I thought what better place to ask?


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  Reply # 264850 18-Oct-2009 16:18
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Onkyo vs Marantz is like Nvidia vs ATI. Each has benefits.

I got a Marantz SR5002 for more than $800 new from Soundline a few years ago (in chch) but got offered several VERY high end second hand amps for nice prices as they were leftovers after upgrades others had done before me. The only reason i didn't buy any of them was due to certain requirements, but you might have found them perfect.

Before going into Noelleeming or similar and being told which amp will give them the highest commission or whatever they get, ring around a few audio installers near you and see if they have any gear lying around and then figure out if it will work for you.

Could save you a LOT of money if it pans out nicely.

Now that i think of it though, are there many amps out there that will do hdmi passthrough for anywhere near $800? I'm a bit ignorant on prices for these things right now.

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  Reply # 264958 19-Oct-2009 07:41
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You could get hold of HiFi Online through Eastern Hi Fi, they have some very good pricing for new runout and ex demo receivers. I paid $720 for a brand new Onkyo TX-SR705 that came in it's original box with a Harvey Norman price sticker on it for $2399, with a full warranty.


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  Reply # 264963 19-Oct-2009 08:13
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I purchasd an Onkyo TX-SR507 when it was released about 3 months ago. I think retail at that stage was $899, I got mine for $820. It has 4 hdmi inputs and decodes the latest HD sound formats. I have my PS3 running in via hdmi and will soon have mysky as well.

I think the main thing between this model and the next one up was a powered second zone which I didn't want.

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  Reply # 264965 19-Oct-2009 08:20
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I purchased the Onkyo SR-576B for $499 on special, but that was when the recession wasa about to take over and I managed to find harveys having a massive stock clearance.

You could probably find a nice Yamaha 5.1 channel amp fro around the $600 mark or a Onkyo

Or yeah Eastern Hifi and Pauls Audio in CHCH have really good deals :) They usually have Denon gear ex clearance/demo models for round 600-800

I have moved across the ditch.  Now residing in Melbourne as a VOIP/Video Technical Trainer/Engineer. 

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  Reply # 264972 19-Oct-2009 08:43
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Be aware that Onkyos run quite hot. I was surprised just how much heat my 606 puts out. Not a problem if your installation is open air, but may be if there isn't much breathing space. Certainly part of the audition process for me these days is to run my hand over the top of the piece of AV equipment to see how much heat it is producing, and how efficiently it is carrying it away.
If you are going for run out models just be careful you don't get something without the appropriate decoding formats (I know the PS3 does the decoding but it might not be the only source connected) and enough hdmi inputs (I would suggest at least 3) to future proof a bit.
With the Yen at 67 and the USD at .75 at the moment there should be some good deals on this year's models.
I don't believe you can go too far wrong with any of the mainstream brands Yamaha, Onkyo, Denon, Pioneer or dare I say it the Sony ES range.

Areas of Geek interest: Home Theatre, HTPC, Android Tablets & Phones, iProducts.

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  Reply # 264996 19-Oct-2009 10:15
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JB Hifi have a 5.1 Onkyo on sale for $499. 3 x HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI output. Sorry chucked the catalog out otherwise would provide more specs. Look very good value IMO

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  Reply # 264999 19-Oct-2009 10:34
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The key here, as has been mentioned above, is that you pay less if the receiver can't internally decode the new HD audio/Bluray soundtracks. If you have a PS3 then this can decode these tracks for you and spit out raw LPCM.

So, it you're gonna go to the trouble of getting a new receiver, make sure it can at least receive LPCM signals over hdmi. That way you're sorted, but screwed if you ever use a different source which can't decode these soundtracks itself like the PS3 can.

The Onkyo 576 can accept LPCM. The 606 can accept LPCM as well plus it can decode these HD sound formats itself.

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  Reply # 265013 19-Oct-2009 11:32
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That was one of the factors when choosing mine, I actually have a 5.1 Yamaha at first, but it wasn't decoding the PS3 properly. Took it back, got the Onkyo, plus the 7.1 makes it perfect for Bi-amping the fronts :)

The Onkyo 5.1 is here:
Looks like a nice budget amp, I'm sure if you were able to wait for the Boxing day sales though, you could get something a lot nicer.

The model is the TX SR-307, it only supports HDMI passthrough/switching, but that's fine for most purposes

I have moved across the ditch.  Now residing in Melbourne as a VOIP/Video Technical Trainer/Engineer. 

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  Reply # 265022 19-Oct-2009 11:56
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Only problem with the TX SR-307 is if you want lossless audio from a bluray player/PS3. Optical/co-ax can't handle the bandwidth and the SR-307 doesn't support audio over HDMI.

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  Reply # 265029 19-Oct-2009 12:32
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Yes you can only get the bluray HD audio formats via hdmi, full stop. You therefore need a receiver that is capable of accepting audio over hdmi.

Then it's on to decide if you want a receiver that can decode this HD audio itself, or you're happy to get one that can't and pair it with a PS3 or similar that can do the decoding and pass the 'unzipped' LPCM info on to the receiver to play.

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