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Thread: Low, or lower-end audio. Or middle. But not high.

  1. #181
    FaF, I'd say it's still worth getting a surround receiver and hooking it up, main reason being the sound quality and tonal range should be a lot better than a soundbar (and certainly a TV's built in speakers). Unless the built-in wall speakers are terrible - but why would they be if someone went to all the trouble to do that?

    -

    As for me, I Cyber Monday'd an Onkyo 2ch receiver (TX-8260) with networking capabilities including Tidal, Spotify, etc and Chromecast Built-in. It arrived yesterday and I put it in the garage in place of the vintage Yamaha. The usability of the new Onkyo is good - one reason I selected it is for the programmable memory buttons on the face of it, that allow instant tuning in to a radio station (FM or Internet).

    The sound is dull and lifeless though. I'm really disappointed in that so far. I didn't expect it to be on the same level as the old Yamaha (built in the heyday of 70s Hi-Fi!) but I expected it to be close enough what with modern technology and understanding. You don't need 50+ lbs of Class A/B amplification to provide decent or even good sound to a pair of bookshelves. But the Onkyo is really a letdown. I don't know if I can bring myself to keep it. It doesn't matter what I do with the tone controls, or what source I'm playing, it always sounds bland, thin, and bright (not in a good way). No part of the frequency range sounds good really. And it lacks bottom end. Turning up the bass control exaggerates a midbass frequency range but doesn't help the low end. It's mildly infuriating.

    The vintage receiver sounded so much more alive. Often, 70s receivers are said to have an overly warm presentation to them, and a bit of distortion (enough to sound pleasing, like tubes do), but my Yamaha if anything is described as one of the more flat, clean, accurate sounds of the era. By the spec sheet the distortion is very low even by today's standards.

    I dunno what to do. Sell the Onkyo at a small loss and hunt for a cheaper vintage receiver? I don't need a ton of watts, I only had the volume at 2-3 (out of 10) on my Yamaha most of the time. I bought the Onkyo for the convenience of not having to get up and turn a tune wheel to change radio stations, or go to my plugged-in phone to change Tidal tracks/playlist.

    I sure do like the smaller size of the Onkyo though!
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    Last edited by CudaMan; December 4th, 2023 at 09:42 AM.

  2. #182
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    Can you return the Onkyo? Or is it too late to do so?

  3. #183
    I mean it's used now, and there's nothing wrong with it technically. I just don't like it. Not a good enough reason to return. There's also the fact this is my 2nd time buying from A4L and it would be my 2nd return... the first was a refurb Marantz AVR years ago that broke after a few days, so that one was justified, but still.

  4. #184
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    Here I wouldn't be able to return it. I was under the impression that most place in the US and the UK offer free returns, if not no questions asked then subject to "not taking the piss".

  5. #185
    Turns out there is something wrong with it, so maybe? Chromecast implementation is buggy. It cuts out from time to time and doesn't do gapless playback (where a real Chromecast does, with the same apps). I'll have to check if the Onkyo is on the latest firmware and if it is, perhaps I can return it.

  6. #186
    Member Member 21Kid's Avatar
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    I just use a Google Nest speaker in the garage. : shrug :

  7. #187
    Bit of an update.

    I returned the boring-sounding Onkyo on the grounds of the hopelessly buggy Chromecast implementation. Had to pay return shipping and a restocking fee, lesson learned I suppose.

    In its place now is an older (early 90s?) Denon DRA-635R that I picked up off Mercari. It sounds way better! About 80-90% as good as my vintage Yamaha did. And the Denon cleaned up real nice too!

    Click to embiggen.


    ​Spiderwebs, weird stains on the heat sinks and some PCBs too.


    Much better!

    I couldn't stop there, of course. "While I'm at it..." kicked in...


    A little PlastX application on the display, being careful to avoid the lettering.

    After further cleaning of the face and knobs, and touching up some of the scratches on the case, this thing turned out pretty good.




    I enjoy the sound. It's very clean and has pleeeenty of juice. The tuner is really really good, it pulls in more stations than I knew we had. The sound slightly lacks in the real bottom end foundational bass, at least with these speakers, compared to the CR-2020. I'm thinking it's <60hz stuff, and I'd guess this is mostly to do with the tone control shaping decisions engineered into the two different receivers.

    However, I made a critical error in overlooking a UX detail. The FM preset memory recall is based on expecting up to a 2-digit number and pressing Enter (kind of like an old TV remote), instead of having A-B-C-etc preset "banks" and instantly switching stations at the press of a single button. Long term this will not do because it takes too long.

    Foiled.

    I'll hunt for something else in my spare time. Even after I find something else, I might keep this Denon around for a while as a spare. Maybe try it out in my living room sometime (a much better listening environment with more full range speakers) and see how it sounds. I do like the aesthetic of 80s to early 90s audio gear - reminds me of my childhood. And this appears to be a quality piece.​

  8. #188
    High Plains Luddite George's Avatar
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    Do you keep it covered to keep dust out of it?

    We have an old boom box in our garage and something even more low-end that I've always been meaning to post pictures of, but I'd hesitate to put good audio gear in my garage.

  9. #189
    Ask me about my bottom br FaultyMario's Avatar
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    Nice work, B!
    acket.

  10. #190
    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    Do you keep it covered to keep dust out of it?

    We have an old boom box in our garage and something even more low-end that I've always been meaning to post pictures of, but I'd hesitate to put good audio gear in my garage.
    This replaced an old boom box and was $75 so I'm not too concerned about it, but your reasoning is exactly why I didn't keep my real vintage piece in the garage and instead replaced it with this "not quite vintage yet" unit.

    Ultimately I'd like to have a shelf or something a couple inches above it, to reduce dust but still have plenty of ventilation. For now though, no cover. Maybe in summer when it's dry and dusty?

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