AVR upgrade advice!

I think I've finally completed my speaker set-up: POLK TSx 550t's in the front, TSx 250c center, and TSx 110b's for rear surround and front heighth channel. Now it's time to upgrade my avr and I think I've narrowed it down to these two- the SONY STR-ZA3100 ES, and the INTEGRA DRX-5.2. Now I've been told that the ES is much better built, and sonically superior to the INTEGRA. BUT the ES doesn't have bluetooth or wifi, which is how I attain all of my music. Both around the same price range. My understanding is that avr's like the ES and INTEGRA focus much more on build quality and performance, than loading up on features. Can anyone help me out here? Are there BETTER avr's out there, in that price range, that are superior to either of those?
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Comments

  • rooftop59rooftop59 Posts: 4,780
    At that price point I would go for a marantz, denon or Yamaha. Denon x series or Yamaha aventage series.
    HT Rig:
    Denon AVR-X4200w; Peachtree Audio Nova Integrated; Bryson BPD-1; Mains: Dynaudio Emit 10 + MartinLogan Dynamo (original) sub; Center - Polk cs400i; Heights, Center Surround - Klipsch KHC - 6 In-Ceiling; Surrounds - Monoprice in-ceiling; Sub - SVS PB10-ISD; LG UP870 4K BDP

    Master Bedroom
    Marantz SR-5007; Peachtree Audio NovaPre; Audiosource Amp Two, PSB Imagine B, Boston VR-10 center, NHT Super One CI surrounds, ACI Titan subwoofer, Squeezebox Touch
  • polkerfanpolkerfan Posts: 110
    Please expand on that. What are your thoughts? Price point of $1300-$1700 is about where I'm at. Magnolia salesman I deal with says to stay away from those brands, claiming they all only use one DAC for all channels, where INTEGRA and ES, and of course ARCAM use individual days for each channel providing MUCH more accurate and detailed sound. Help.
  • rpf65rpf65 Posts: 1,836
    Magnolia dude is incorrect.
  • polkerfanpolkerfan Posts: 110
    Please expand on that.
  • Plenty options in that price range. Marantz is my recommendation. SR6013 is really nice and within your budget. Regarding the DAC - Magnolia dude is mistaken.

    Here's a cut and paste from Crutchfield:

    "Advanced 32-Bit D/A Conversion On All Channels: For optimum fidelity and the widest dynamic range with lowest distortion, the SR6013 features advanced reference-class 32-bit AKM D/A converters (AK4458) on all channels. This ensures consistent high fidelity and precise channel matching across all channels for the ultimate listening experience. In addition, the receiver utilizes a Hybrid PLL Clock Jitter Reducer to eliminate distortion caused by jitter errors for a more accurate reproduction of the recording the way the artist intended."
  • polkerfanpolkerfan Posts: 110
    This information is really good to know. Am I being misinformed? What about Denon? Do particular receivers have clear differences in build quality and sonic qualities?
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 10,257
    edited November 17
    Nothing fancy here. You get what you pay for. Within the same price range pretty much all brands are the same with mostly minor differences.
    Post edited by BlueFox on
    Bud - Silicon Valley

    Lumin S1
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-22 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on source, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • polkerfanpolkerfan Posts: 110
    Are there other receivers that have individual dacs on all channels?
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,987
    Yes. But I'd be less concerned with the number of DACs and more concerned with finding an AVR that actually has some amperage/balls inside of it.
  • polkerfanpolkerfan Posts: 110
    Don’t they go hand in hand? More power doesn’t always mean better quality sound, right?
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,987
    edited November 17
    Speaking strictly in the context of the AVRs that you're looking at, I would say more power reserves, amperage, and current would always mean better quality sound.
  • rpf65rpf65 Posts: 1,836
    Both of these AVR’s use multiple, just not one for each channel. The front left/right share one, the surrounds use a separate one, and zones 2/3 use a third.

    Just because an AVR utilizes one DAC, instead of multiple, doesn’t make it an inferior product. Nor does it mean that it can produce more accurate or better sound, there are other considerations.

    The Integra, for example uses AccuEQ as a calibration program, the same as its sister Onkyo. The biggest draw back is that this particular program doesn’t calibrate the front main speakers. There is a white paper available on line if you want more information.

    This approach may work perfectly well, but it has made Integra/Onkyo a brand that I would tend to avoid. Not saying that there approach wouldn’t work, but I’m a little uncomfortable with it, so I’ll pass on them.

    Sony, and in particular, their ES line has a loyal following, I personally think that Denon, Marantz, Pioneer, and Yamaha offer better products at similar price ranges.
    I don’t think the build quality is better for Sony or Integra than the other four, so again I’ll have to disagree with the Magnolia guy.

    It’s probably a safe bet that most Denon, Marantz, Pioneer, and Yamaha AVR’s are retired, sold, or donated because they became obsolete. No telling how many 10 year old flag ship Yamaha’s are in garages, playing the local radio stations on speakers from Goodwill are out there. Again, the number of DAC’s will have very little to do with that.

    Getting back to more accurate, or better sound, every manufacturer has a house sound or two. For example, Yamaha’s lower end, X series, and higher end, A series, AVR’s sound completely different. Of course each brand sounds different from the others. This is a good thing, because not everybody likes the same sound. I personally don’t like Sony’s house sound, so once mor disagreeing with Magnolia dude.

  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,987
    edited November 17
    That's strange that the Integra would use a lesser calibration program that doesn't touch the main L and R speakers. Even my inexpensive Onkyo HT-RC360 has Audyssey 2EQ which calibrates all of the speakers (except the sub).
  • mrlorenmrloren Posts: 1,601
    The Magnolia dud is trying to sell you, nothing more.

    I would go for Denon, Marantz or Yamaha way before Sony or an Onkyo product.

    There are still deals on "last years" model

    https://www.amazon.com/Denon-AVRX4400H-Channel-Network-Receiver/dp/B072Z6VT1C/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1542443653&sr=8-2-spons&keywords=denon+avr-x4400h&psc=1&smid=A21759W3TJTNCB

    https://www.amazon.com/Marantz-SR6012-Channel-Surround-Receiver/dp/B072Z9ZGT1/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1542443818&sr=8-1&keywords=sr6012

    Fry's Electronics also does in store promo codes for the Denon save a few more $$$

    Take the money you save and get a nice SVS PB2000 or HSU VTF-3 MK5
    Clipdat wrote: »
    That's strange that the Integra would use a lesser calibration program that doesn't touch the main L and R speakers. Even my inexpensive Onkyo HT-RC360 has Audyssey 2EQ which calibrates all of the speakers (except the sub).

    Integra uses a lot of Onkyo software now that they are in house with the calibration. They should have stuck with Audyssey XT32.
    When I was a kid my parents told me to turn it down. Now I'm an adult and my kids tell me to turn it down.

    Family Room:
    Samsung UN60H,
    Denon AVR-X4400H, Emotiva XPA3 GEN3
    Oppo BDP-93,Sony UBP-X800BM, Sony DVP-NS3100ES, WD Live HUB.
    Main: Polk Signature S60
    Center: Polk CSi-A6
    Front High/Rear High In-Ceiling Polk 80F/X RT
    Surrounds: Polk S15
    Sub: HSU VTF3-MK5

    Bed Room;
    Sony KDF-E42A10,
    Marantz SR5010, BDP-S270
    Main: Polk Signature S20
    Center: Polk Signature S35
    Rear: Polk R15
    Sub: HSU STF-2

    Working Warehouse;
    Sony 2100ES
    Polk RTi4 about 15' up the wall
    Old sony 12" Sub
    Mini tower PC with 400GB of music
  • mpitogompitogo Posts: 292
    edited November 17
    I’ve owned (or still do) Sony, Denon, Marantz and Onkyo AVRs. I would agree you look at the Denon or Marantz offerings. In your price range they are selling the Marantz SR7012 for $1199 (orig $2199) which was a 2017 model. There are some changes in 7013 but save the money.

    Sony was meh but worked, Denon was a beast but sadly aged out due to features and codecs, Marantz is still the heart of my 7.2.2HT and Onkyo is running the office 5.1HT.
    Living Room Music-2.0 Polk LSiM 707 | McIntosh C47 | Macintosh MC452 | Denon DP-2500A | Oppo BDP-103 | MacMini
    Family Room Home Theater-7.2.2 (Atmos) Polk LSi25, Martin Logan Motion 50xt, Dual DSW microPRO 3000, fx500, T15, RC65i | Marantz SR7009 | McIntosh MA5200 HT-passthrough & independent 2.0 | Sony UBP-X800 4K | Xbox One S 4K | AppleTV | HTPC | Sony 75” XBR X850D 4K
    Office Home Theater-5.1 Polk RT55, CS400, PSW450, T15 | Onkyo TX-SR705 | Xbox 360 MCE | AppleTV | Samsung 55”
    Office Music-2.0 KEF Q100 | Sansui AU-6900 | Sansui FR-1080
    Master Bedroom Music-2.0 Totem Hawk | Rotel RA-1570
    Patio Music-2.0 Polk Atrium8 | AMC 2445 bridged
    Airplay zones: Family Room (HDMI), Master Bedroom (Optical), Office (HDMI), Living Room (Optical), MA5200 (Optical), SR7009 (AVR direct) and Patio (analog). MacMini iTunes multi-stream to any, combo or all.
    Spares: Polk LSiC, CS300, T15, Martin Logan Motion 40, Dynamo 500, Rotel RB-1590, Denon AVR-4802R, Onkyo DX-C540, Nelson Pass ACA v1.6 Monoblocks, Sony CDP-491, STR DE715, DVP-S500D, PS HX-500
    Maintenance: Pro-Ject VC-S Record Cleaning Machine
  • polkerfanpolkerfan Posts: 110
    in your opinions, guys, what makes those units better than high end SONY ES or INTEGRA avrs? Personally, I don't need all the bells and whistles, like separate zones, etc. Will never use it. Just incredible sound and rock solid performance.
  • rooftop59rooftop59 Posts: 4,780
    1. The integra/Onkyo avrs are prone to be unreliable. Look at the return prices on accessories4less. No other brand is discounted nearly as much.
    2. Both Sony and integra, in my experience, are flat sounding. The bass, dynamics, punch is all missing.
    3. I have recently owned a Yamaha RX-A1010, and now own a Marantz avr5007 and a denon avr-x4200w. The denon is onviously the highest end and the new version would be closer to your price range. All three are punchy and dynamic. However, i find be denon the best overall. The denon is powering all but my two mains, and in my largish room movies sound incredibly immmersive and dynamic.

    Basically out of those three pick the one that has the features you want and I think you’ll be happy!
    HT Rig:
    Denon AVR-X4200w; Peachtree Audio Nova Integrated; Bryson BPD-1; Mains: Dynaudio Emit 10 + MartinLogan Dynamo (original) sub; Center - Polk cs400i; Heights, Center Surround - Klipsch KHC - 6 In-Ceiling; Surrounds - Monoprice in-ceiling; Sub - SVS PB10-ISD; LG UP870 4K BDP

    Master Bedroom
    Marantz SR-5007; Peachtree Audio NovaPre; Audiosource Amp Two, PSB Imagine B, Boston VR-10 center, NHT Super One CI surrounds, ACI Titan subwoofer, Squeezebox Touch
  • SIHABSIHAB Posts: 315
    I like my old Denon AVR-4520CI. No desire for me to upgrade. The only thing I would have like to have is XLR inputs. (minor nit)

    If it was me and I was doing it again, I'd do it again. TOTL or there abouts
    with the features you need/desire.
  • I will not purchase another Onkyo AVR. Had a 705 and then a 717, the 705 had issues early on and would get blazing hot. I didn’t have any heat issues with the 717 but it was weird on occasion, when I owned it. I will say their integrateds are pretty sweet for the money. I liked the 9050 a lot.

    If it were my money I’d go with the Yamaha AVENTAGE, or Marantz. I’ve owned nice versions of each and they both are very good, although quite different.
    Oh, Listen here mister. We got no way of understandin' this world. But we got as much sense of this bird flyin in the sky. Now there is a lot that bird don't know, but it don't change the fact that the world is happening to him all the same. What I am tryin to say is, is that the course of your life, well its changing, and you don't even see it- Forest Bondurant
  • polkerfanpolkerfan Posts: 110
    Thanks, Jeremy. What sets Yamaha or Marantz apart from Denon, Pioneer, etc? If I’m spending a large amount of money, it needs to be a noticeable difference over my Denon X2100. Also, isn’t Onkyo different than Integra? I realize it’s the same company, but Integra is supposedly much higher end.
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 15,148
    Pioneer is owned by onkyo now so not sure how that stands. Denon is good too and shares a lot with the Marantz units. Denon focuses more on bells and whistles where Marantz is more about solid quality. They will usually have more balls in the amp section than the comparably priced Denon.

    Integra is mostly an Onkyo with longer warranty. That's about it.
    audiothesis.com/

    Speakers: Harbeth: 30.2, SHL5+; Usher: Be-10, T-515; Rosso Fiorentino: Elba, Pienza, Certaldo, Fiesole, Volterra; Polk: T50, Signature S15, RTA 15tl, RTi12; Sonner Audio Allegro Unum, Legato Unum, Legato Semis, Legato Duo; Emerald Physics CS-2.8; Klipsch KLF-20
    Preamps: Shuguang S200MK, Dayens Ampino, Parasound P5
    Amps: Shuguang S845MK, Dayens Ampino Monoblocks, Parasound A23
    Integrateds: Triode Corporation TRV-88SER, MastersounD: BoX, Dueventi, Compact 845, Evolution 845; North Star Design Blue Diamond
    Sources: AURALiC Aries, Denon HEOS Link, North Star Design: Magnifico, Supremo, Incanto, Intenso, Venti
    Cabling: Wireworld
    TV: Sony XBR-75X940C
  • rpf65rpf65 Posts: 1,836
    With your speaker I would go with Marantz. Think that would be the best match, sound quality wise.

    You should really listen to them and get what sounds best to you.
  • jeremymarcinkojeremymarcinko Posts: 3,264
    edited November 17
    Integra would be nice, but like Onkyo they are plagued with reliability issues.

    Pioneer is just inconsistent, they may be fine, some love them. The Elite brand used to be nice, with the ICE amps but they seem to change their philosophy frequently. Their lightweight used to be justified by the use of the ICE amps, but they don’t use them anymore, I don’t think. Although most have shed pounds over the years. Denon IDK, just ugly I guess.

    Yamaha have been using a proven design for a long time. With AVRs it’s all about the latest greatest feature and the actual amps fall behind, but Yamaha and Marantz continue to use a well designed AB concept and don’t often try to reinvent the wheel. Onkyo always has the latest doodads and wiz bangs, but maybe they should have taken their time implementing them.

    Marantz and Yamaha, for me, are more like Honda and Toyota. You can trust them to perform admirably over time, although they might not have all the trinkets and they cost a bit more.
    Oh, Listen here mister. We got no way of understandin' this world. But we got as much sense of this bird flyin in the sky. Now there is a lot that bird don't know, but it don't change the fact that the world is happening to him all the same. What I am tryin to say is, is that the course of your life, well its changing, and you don't even see it- Forest Bondurant
  • mrlorenmrloren Posts: 1,601
    Like I said in you're other thread http://forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/184046/tsx-550ts#latest
    Get a Denon/Marantz or maybe even Yamaha and get a good SUB

    http://hsuresearch.com/subwoofers.html
    https://www.svsound.com/pages/subwoofers

    Sounds to me that the BB guy is trying to sell what he has in stock. If you have a Fry's near grab the Denon AVR-X4400H for $779 with promo code.

    When I was a kid my parents told me to turn it down. Now I'm an adult and my kids tell me to turn it down.

    Family Room:
    Samsung UN60H,
    Denon AVR-X4400H, Emotiva XPA3 GEN3
    Oppo BDP-93,Sony UBP-X800BM, Sony DVP-NS3100ES, WD Live HUB.
    Main: Polk Signature S60
    Center: Polk CSi-A6
    Front High/Rear High In-Ceiling Polk 80F/X RT
    Surrounds: Polk S15
    Sub: HSU VTF3-MK5

    Bed Room;
    Sony KDF-E42A10,
    Marantz SR5010, BDP-S270
    Main: Polk Signature S20
    Center: Polk Signature S35
    Rear: Polk R15
    Sub: HSU STF-2

    Working Warehouse;
    Sony 2100ES
    Polk RTi4 about 15' up the wall
    Old sony 12" Sub
    Mini tower PC with 400GB of music
  • polkerfanpolkerfan Posts: 110
    I’m liking the 4400h- I’m assuming it has that Audyssey xt32. Not sure I can get it here. I’m looking into Yamaha too. Stay away from Integra then?
  • polkerfanpolkerfan Posts: 110
    So, I’m on my way right now to narrow down my receiver choice- leaning towards Denon 4400 or even the 4500- just need to know if it’s enough of a difference over my X2100 to be worth the money. Will look at Yamaha as well- maybe the AVENTAGE 2070-2080 I think?
  • mrlorenmrloren Posts: 1,601
    edited November 17
    You can also check A4L https://www.accessories4less.com/ They sell referb but I've never had a problem.

    Here is my breakdown on AVR's I've owned the last 5 years

    Current Denon AVR-X4400H, Great sound quality with all the whistles and bells setup was easy with audyssey XT32. equals Sony on music

    Marantz SR5010; Great sound quality with all the whistles and bells. Just could not get use to the port hole display (If I could have I would have gotten the SR6012 over the 4400H). Audyssey XT takes some tweaking to get right. I still use one in my bedroom HT. equals Sony on music

    Onkyo TX-NR626: Flat out sucked on music no matter what I tried. Movies rocked. It did run egg cooking hot.

    Sony STR-DA5700ES; This AVR had balls big heavy ones. Music would rock all night, a little bright in the upper end. I thought it was good on movies till it blew a heat sensor, I temp replaced it with the Onkyo which gave movies a new experience.

    You're other thread said you do not have a sub. Save on the AVR and get a good sub. If your doing mostly HT a sub is a must. If all you need is a 7 channel AVR get a Denon AVR-X3400/3500 and put the rest into the sub.


    When I was a kid my parents told me to turn it down. Now I'm an adult and my kids tell me to turn it down.

    Family Room:
    Samsung UN60H,
    Denon AVR-X4400H, Emotiva XPA3 GEN3
    Oppo BDP-93,Sony UBP-X800BM, Sony DVP-NS3100ES, WD Live HUB.
    Main: Polk Signature S60
    Center: Polk CSi-A6
    Front High/Rear High In-Ceiling Polk 80F/X RT
    Surrounds: Polk S15
    Sub: HSU VTF3-MK5

    Bed Room;
    Sony KDF-E42A10,
    Marantz SR5010, BDP-S270
    Main: Polk Signature S20
    Center: Polk Signature S35
    Rear: Polk R15
    Sub: HSU STF-2

    Working Warehouse;
    Sony 2100ES
    Polk RTi4 about 15' up the wall
    Old sony 12" Sub
    Mini tower PC with 400GB of music
  • polkerfanpolkerfan Posts: 110
    Ironically, I can get the Denon AVR X3500 today at BB for $800 on sale! Worth it? Also, has anyone ever had connectivity issues with the Denon? I know my 2100 occasionally won’t connect and I have to reset it. Salesman here says Denon 3500 or Marantz 6013 for my needs. Denon 4500 twice the cost of the 3500.
  • mrlorenmrloren Posts: 1,601
    If it was me I'd go with this https://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/denavrx3400h/denon-avr-x3400h-7.2-ch-x-105-watts-networking-a/v-receiver-w/heos/1.html

    take the funds saved and get
    http://hsuresearch.com/products/vtf-2mk5.html
    or
    https://www.svsound.com/collections/1000-series/products/pb-1000

    I'm hard wired to all my AV, my kids don't complain about the bluetooth not working from their phones

    The SR6013 is the better AVR of the two but $600 more. One thing to look at is cost per performance.

    Going from the 2100 to a bigger AVR is good but adding a good sub will give you better over sound.

    SR6013 is $1500
    AVR-X3500H is $800 + VTF2-MK5 is $600 your saving $100

    My friend that purchased my RTi-8 has the AVR-X3400 and loves it.
    See if BB will find a lower price for either.
    When I was a kid my parents told me to turn it down. Now I'm an adult and my kids tell me to turn it down.

    Family Room:
    Samsung UN60H,
    Denon AVR-X4400H, Emotiva XPA3 GEN3
    Oppo BDP-93,Sony UBP-X800BM, Sony DVP-NS3100ES, WD Live HUB.
    Main: Polk Signature S60
    Center: Polk CSi-A6
    Front High/Rear High In-Ceiling Polk 80F/X RT
    Surrounds: Polk S15
    Sub: HSU VTF3-MK5

    Bed Room;
    Sony KDF-E42A10,
    Marantz SR5010, BDP-S270
    Main: Polk Signature S20
    Center: Polk Signature S35
    Rear: Polk R15
    Sub: HSU STF-2

    Working Warehouse;
    Sony 2100ES
    Polk RTi4 about 15' up the wall
    Old sony 12" Sub
    Mini tower PC with 400GB of music
  • polkerfanpolkerfan Posts: 110
    Being a DENON guy for many, many years, it's hard to suddenly change directions. YAMAHA is definately an avr on my radar. I'd like to sacrifice alot of unnecessary features for bullet-proof amps and durability. Only feature I can't live without at this point is bluetooth and/or wifi. That's where I get all of my music. That being said, I believe Ive narrowed my choices down to the following:

    -MARANTZ SR 5013
    -DENON AVR-X3500H
    -SONY STR-ZA3100ES (no bluetooth/wifi)
    -YAMAHA RX-A2080bl

    So, not using price as any kind of factor, let me know what you all think of those choices. What is the BEST option here based off of actual performance. Everyone has opinions on what they believe is good- just provide me with facts so I can make the best decision. Thanks!!
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