Archive for category AV Receivers
But extensive features aside, what really impresses us is how articulate, rhythmically precise and musical this AV receiver sounds. It’s punchy enough and fully exciting, but we love how it gives importance to the subtler aspects of sound quality.
While the mid-range priced receiver market is the most competitive and sought out range for purchase by consumers, the Onkyo TX-NR676 stands out in the crowd due to the emphasis on sound quality. It took everything I could throw at it and kept asking for more, with the Music Optimizer feature cleaning up not only compressed audio tracks but my vinyl as well. Onkyos’ Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry (VLSC), which takes the signal and completely removes pulse noise generated by the digital to analog conversion, made a noticeable difference in sound when comparing to high end external DAC’s I had on hand, allowing music played through the USB input to sound closer to pure analog such as high end tape or vinyl. The few times it didn’t satisfy me musically was due to comparison with products costing 10x as much, or pushing it far past what the general consumer would likely not push to. I highly recommend this unit and I will be sad to see it
There’s no denying that Rotel’s RAP-1580 is a bit of an anachronism, but it’s a charming one, for sure. Its 1990s-era setup menus (and configuration capabilities) are sure to be infuriating to some and welcome to others, as is the lack of room correction capabilities or any other form of auto calibration. More troubling are the limitations in terms of amp distribution. I can imagine there are a number of people for whom this would be their ideal receiver (or surround amplified processor, “”
It took some time for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X to arrive on a Sony mid-range amp, but it was worth the wait. The Sony STR-DN1080 is among the best we’ve listened to this year. Combine this with its solid feature set and you have a receiver that’s the total package.”
“Sony endows the STR-DN1080 with a range of different “audio optimizing” DSP functions, headlined by a DSEE (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine) HX mode that, according to the company, “restores signals in the micro region of compressed sources, upsampling and expanding bit depth to the equivalent of a maximum of 192 kilohertz/24 bits for expressive sound quality closer to the original.” I have always been deeply skeptical of these algorithms, which nearly every receiver maker seems to include in some form. You can upsample and reformat digital audio all you want, but you’re not going to magically conjure data that isn’t there: A 160-kilobit-per-second MP3 upsampled to 96/24 is still a 160kbps MP3—and still sounds like it. That said, Sony’s DSEE HX didn’t do any harm perceptible to my ears, so if other listeners find it euphonic, so much the better. And I don’t suppose writing or licensing a few lines of code—more likely a few hundred or even a thousand lines—will raise a receiver’s cost very much.”