AV Receiver Reviews

Yamaha DSP-A1

It’s time to retire the old girl.  Our Yamaha DSP-A1 has given stirling service for over nine years now.  In use every day powering our home cinema setup, there are very few electronic components we can think of that have given such long service.

So why are we looking for a replacement?  HDMI of course.  The S-Video switching of the Yamaha no longer cuts the mustard in a world of HD games consoles, satellite receivers and media centre extenders.  And so the hunt is on and we’re trawling through the AV Receiver reviews at testfreaks.com looking for an answer that will take us through the next decade.

We need an amp that will provide at least 4 HDMI inputs (PS3, AppleTV, SkyHD & Media Centre PC) and preferably two HDMI outputs – one to send to the TV and the other for the projector (our aging CRT projector will be next on the list for replacement).

The DSP-A1 was Yamaha’s flagship a decade ago and we paid around £1,300 for a demonstrator unit at a hifi show.  It looks like our budget is going to have to be similar this time of we want one with dual HDMI out.  We may compromise on that feature, however we’ve certainly seen the value in buying a quality product last time.

AV Room
Our Aging Seleco CRT Projector Still Providing Great (SD) Pictures

Looking at testfreaks.com I’m considering Onkyo TX-NR905 and the Denon AVR-4308.  But what else should I be looking at?  Leave your recomendations in our comments below…

Yamaha : Sony : Pioneer : Onkyo

8 Comments on "AV Receiver Reviews"

  1. Philip Downer | June 26, 2008 at 9:12 am |

    Have you considered the control aspect? I’ve been looking at AV receivers for a while and the best one I’ve found is the Cambridge Azur 650R, whilst I don’t *think* it will have enough HDMI sockets for you Cambridge Audio are the *only* company I’ve come across that publish the entire specification for controlling their AV receivers over the serial port which is a killer feature for me.

  2. The Onkyo’s serial control is very well documented. So are a lot of AV receivers e.g. Lexicon, Primare, Krell…and they’re just the ones we use.

    Actually the Onkyo is really nice but why the 905? I’d bet you’ve a heap of stuff that gives you the media control over the network so do you need the 905’s feature set? We use the 875 a lot. Save you a few quid unless there’s a must have feature in the 905

  3. I’m in the same dilemma, having to replace my wonderful DSP-A1. It’s served me many happy years and I just hope receivers aound the £1500 mark can sound equally good. Maybe somebody out there has recently replaced their A1 with something new?

  4. Denon publishes the API also, and it can be used over 20th century IP instead of last century RS-232.
    Onkyo tries to please pros with the Integra line and does not publish the spec, but it can be found online nevertheless.

  5. mng70 – I was in a home cinema dealer lately (demoing a panasonic projector) and the told me amps under £1,000 will blow the A1 away these days. Not listened to anything yet though.

  6. I replaced my DSP-A1 with a Denon AVR-4308 about 6 months ago. The new amp has some amazing features and is completely controllable.

    The auto audio setup with the same speakers as before has definetely made an audible difference to the sound of the DSP-A1, but for my ears it is not a huge leap up in sound quality on regular DVD. Of course with HD sound from my HD-DVD (yes the leading edge is the bleeding edge!) there is more of an advantage.

    For me the video switching was a big deal and the fact that the AVR-4308 has two HDMI outputs that can be used to drive my HD-TV and HD-PJ at the same time is very useful. I have not seen this feature on other comparable products.

    So, overall I am pleased with the change!

  7. Not a long list with 4 in/2 out HDMI requirements. You have the Denon 4308, the Yamaha RX-Z11 (expensive), the Onkyo NR905, the Pioneer SC-09TX (expensive), and the Integra
    DTR-8.8. I don’t think there’s anything else out there with 4 in/2 out v1.3 HDMI.

  8. Missed the fact that the Onkyo 875 only has the one HDMI output.

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