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AVR recommendation for home theatre full of compromises


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Long story short, I'm moving to a house where my HT setup is going to have to be (for now) a total compromise.

It's in an open plan combined living dining kitchen space which is tiled and with large glass doors along one wall. Totally sub optimal room but that's all I have to work with.

I want to do a 5.1 setup (with surrounds mounted on the ceiling due to open plan) and was looking for a recommendation for a receiver with decent power, support for lossless formats and 4K HDR passthru (Dolby Vision would be nice but not a dealbreaker).

I don't want to pay for things I can't use such as extra channels or atmos, and I figure room correction is not really going to help my circumstances either (and no, I can't put up absorption panels either, a rug is it).

Should I be looking at something like the Denon X550BT https://www.denon.com/en-au/shop/avreceiver/avrx550bt or are there better AVRs with similar features in the $500-600 range?

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The Denon X550BT delivers about 50W per channel (see my guide) and you will have to find very efficient speakers in your large room.  And in a shared environment, good room correction is even more important. My setup is an open plan family room and Dirac Live helps a lot.

 

Given your budget restrictions, suggest you get a used one from the Classifieds.  Unfortunately for owners, AVRs are one of the faster depreciating products. For people who are patient and do not need the latest features, a used AVR will deliver outstanding value.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for this and your guide is super helpful. So I'm clear, you estimate it's 50w RMS per or peak per channel?

 

Despite the big room, my MLP will only be 2.6 metres from the front sound stage. Why do you think I will need very efficient speakers? I am intending on using KEF Q350s for my front soundstage with matching center.

Edited by Stotchy
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With an open plan family room, sound will bleed to the open spaces and you will need to increase the volume.  The KEF Q350 sensitivity is not bad, but you may struggle with the Denon X550BT.  Also, get 2 subs if you can (and yes, I know your budget is limited).  It will help reduce the bass holes in a large room.

 

My suggestion is to forget the Denon X550BT and look for a used AVR, then add a second sub later.

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Thanks for this. It's not that my budget is limited, I just don't want to go all out on a receiver with features I won't use in my not ideal space like 7 channels and Atmos for example.

 

I figured the below the room crossover point is where the size of the room will negatively impact the sound. Only way to fix that is with more subs. :)

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You can assume the worst and not bother to do things properly, put in mediocre gear.  Or you can put in some effort and be surprised what you can achieve in an open plan family room.   No, my movie setup will not be up to the standards of a dedicated HT room.  But instead of locking away in a separate room, I prefer watching movies and listening to music where the family is.

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Posted (edited)

Maybe a secondhand x3300w then? Should be around the same price? Going by your guide this should give me around 72 watts a channel.

 

Only thing it doesn't have that I was after is Dolby Vision passthru which is fine. Comes with Audyssey XT32 too.

 

 

Edited by Stotchy
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I have a dedicated room for HT and trust me when I say this, it is a pain watching any TV/movies.

 

I only get to watch it mostly at night after everyone is asleep and mostly alone, and my family thinks I am psycho despite only getting like an hour of screen time in whole day. Because it is not in living room where the family is, I am watching lot less TV and still feel like an outcast.

 

I now wish, I had spend all that effort in my living room setup, so I could enjoy it more.

 

As for the living room setup, take a look this link for Dr Floyd Toole's own setup. There is much more can be had and more importantly can be enjoyed with family. 

https://www.thescreeningroomav.com/single-post/2019/03/06/the-ultimate-real-world-home-theater-and-listening-room

 

Personally, I have been very happy with Anthem receivers and their room EQ is top notch. Another one is NAD T758 Dirac live (Another great room EQ). Room EQ does help and will be more important in non-optimal room.

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5 minutes ago, Stotchy said:

Maybe a secondhand x3300w then? Should be around the same price? Going by your guide this should give me around 72 watts a channel.

 

Only thing it doesn't have that I was after is Dolby Vision passthru which is fine. Comes with Audyssey XT32 too.

Definitely a step in the right direction. XT32 is excellent for movies, and can be tuned with a target curve for better music. 

 

Write down a list of mandatory and nice to have features and be patient.  Sometimes, nothing in Classifieds for weeks, then a few bargains of top end models turn up...

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41 minutes ago, :) Go Away (: said:

As for the living room setup, take a look this link for Dr Floyd Toole's own setup. There is much more can be had and more importantly can be enjoyed with family. 

https://www.thescreeningroomav.com/single-post/2019/03/06/the-ultimate-real-world-home-theater-and-listening-room

 

Some really great ideas in this article! Thanks for sharing.

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