Slightly OT: info on multi-zone home receivers

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DrummerMan
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Slightly OT: info on multi-zone home receivers

Post by DrummerMan » Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:34 am

Hey all, I know this isn't studio related, but you all are pretty smart and might have dealt with this kind of situation before. I've wired our house to use a multi-zone audio system, with 5.1 in the room with the TV, plus another stereo zone in the living room. I'm trying to find a receiver/amp to bring it all together now (so essentially a 7.1 multizone system with an additional line-out for zone 2) and there are, like, a million of these things out there in the price range I'm looking at ($500-$800 preferably). Unfortunately, looking up reviews online hasn't turned up any current articles with the currently available models, and even in one brand (yamaha, for example) there are sometimes more than 10 different models with very similar features and it's hard to tell the lineage from older models to the newer ones.

And the few stores with possibly knowledgeable salespeople are so caught up in their own sales lines that they can't seem to look beyond the few models that they happen to have in stock, which of course are the best available, and vary from store to store, and of course I should buy Monster cables to get more extended lows.... :roll:

Anyway, I guess my question is if anyone knows if there is a good site or resource for finding current information on basic useable home audio equipment, that's not too audiophile and snobby. Likewise, if anyone here knows a lot about this stuff, I'd be curious of your opinion. Thanks!
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Post by dwelle » Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:54 pm

running a system very similar to yours in my house, and i have a yamaha rx-v 1800. it will actually do 3 zones at once, all using different inputs if desired. i've been REALLY happy with this unit. i have another yamaha integrated (a-s1000) amp with killer phono pre amp for my studios passive monitors (also to listen to vinyl) which is really sick. for the 5.1, home style thing, the 1800 rocks. yamaha is making good amps for the price. mine is about 4 years old, don't know what the comparable model is now...

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Post by llmonty » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:51 am

Spending too much time over the holidays researching AV options. It looks like the Pioneer 1021 does exactly what you are looking for and the cnet people love it. On sale for around $330-430. This is the model with airplay integrated (though not video). Looks like lesser versions without the airplay don't have the extra zone on it. The online info is a bit cryptic, but the manual clearly shows it. It says you can play 2 different things on the 2 zones as well, which is cool.
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Post by ckeene » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:12 am

I have a Rotel that does this. It's not a receiver, per se, but a preamp/processor. It does 5:1 with a L-R send to zone 2. It sounds very good but the menu system is a little tricky.

Anyway, point I'm getting at is I got this a year or two ago. It's an older model (1068). "Older" basically means mid 2000s, but pre-HDMI. If you don't need your receiver to switch HDMI, then you can save big $ going second-hand. For my system, I let the TV do the HDMI switching and let the receiver just do the audio (ie: optical out from tv to the Rotel).

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Post by DrummerMan » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:11 pm

Thanks for all your thoughts.

I've been definitely enticed by the Yamaha stuff. Seems to be well reviewed across the product line and I've had good experience with their component stuff in the past.

Hey dwelle, it's good that you mentioned the vinyl aspect and the fact that you like the phono input on your Yamaha. To you (or anyone else), do you know if there would be a big difference between getting a receiver with it's own Phono in vs. getting a decent external Phono pre and running into a regular line-in input? I only ask because very few of the receivers that I'm looking at have a Phono input, and the ones that do are a little more than what I'd hoped to spend. Not too much, but for someone who doesn't care aesthetically about how much of everything is in one box, I wonder if it's worth the price difference.
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Post by dwelle » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:21 pm

the yamaha stuff is totally bomber.

the phono pre in the a-s1000 is really nice, one of the reasons i bought it. didn't want to get a separate phono stage, and i have a nice turntable and B&W 501's with it in the studio, so i didn't want to skimp there.

the pre in the AV unit is totally passable for me. i just like the ability to play records in the house if i like, and it totally gets the job done. for what it's doing, i wouldn't think to upgrade it.

but if you end up dumping vinyl into the computer, the external pre (i looked at the radial one) is real handy. i almost went that route.

again, that yamaha shit is bomber. well built, sounds good, and totally tweakable if you get into that kind of thing...

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