I like Marantz - when I bought my av reciever compared it to Yamaha etc. I found the marantz so much more musical with 2 channel or just listening to music. I did find some of the other recievers better if you just want to watch movies - dynamic and upfront - but didnt have the more refined sound of the marantz though.
I generally like your reviews but for high end feature crazy components such as a av amp I think I would like to see a more detailed review with easy to compare feature tables and so forth. its also worth noting that more than any other component the av amp is one that really needs to be lived with and the various AV forums really give a feel for how well each of the amps is doing... maybe a reference to the decent forums for these brands would also be worth while.
Cheers Paul - I know we've really only scratched the surface with these devices and each of them is worthy of a more in-depth look. I'm hoping to get some more standalone tests on the site later this year.
denon 4308a, installed last week and still getting to grips with the beast. Sky HD and PS3 are the only sources right now. Only using one of the hdmi outputs at the moment which is a panny plasma 50 inch.
Hard to get in depth reviews even from the magazines so I do have some sympathy for the task.
It's a big job, as our reviewer Martin Pipe pointed out with some force when I asked him to do it. I know he had each of them running in for a week or so though, rather than just spending a few hours with them. If you've any specific questions about any of them, I'm sure he'd be happy to respond.
I was initially waiting two months for a pioneer SC-LX81 and it was during this peroid that I really started to spend time on the various AV reciever forums and the number of issues being discovered during the first week of install across all the brands was quite worrying. As feature count and sophistication increases the level of testing of these products needs to dramatically increase and I got the sense that some of this kit is just coming to market way too soon. Non of the amp reviews seem to detect the thornier issues around hdmi control, dealing with Sky HD boxes and so forth. So its down to self discovery and often an embarrassing silence when the reseller tries to get back up from the vendor.
I cancelled the pioneer order and went for the denon 4308A, its not straight forward but thats okay from my standpoint and i've not found any problems yet (I seem to have survived the first week!).
This is not meant to be a vendor bashing response, there are alot of features and alot of kit permutations to take into account and reviews will not catch this stuff.
The reasons we didn't have a Marantz or a Denon is because, despite regular pestering, they didn't have anything suitable. At the time the review was commissioned, both brands were about to launch new ranges - and review samples of the new models weren't available.
As regards SkyHD, these boxes won't provide Dolby Digital via HDMI - you only get two-channel PCM sound. So feed the HDMI output directly to your display, and use and optical connection for multi-channel sound from your AVR. Hopefully, Sky will address this limitation with its next generation of set-top boxes.
I'm sorry that the Sony has given so much trouble to Gerald - me must have been unlucky (by the way, Eric Kingdon is rarely in the UK!). However, you're doing the riight thing - using the reviews as 'guidelines' and then arranging to hear/see them at a dealer. That is, and always has been, the best way to buy hi-fi and AV kit.
HDMI AV pass through is a feature that is needed on all of these devices whan the power is switched to standby, i like many others don't listen or watch all my video sources through an av amp all of the time and this feature is missing on 99% of devices available today. I would upgrade tommorrow if this was possible. Let me know if you think this is not correct.
Why not test the new DENON AVR-4310 or AVR-3310 or even a Marantz? Too bad, since these brands are maybe even better then the ones here...
Might be because these amps are not actually available! Just because they have been announced, does not mean the press have access to these new amps for review purposes. Denon UK themselves don't even have any yet!