Resources for AVR Reviews

We considered buying a subscription to Consumer Reports, but why start there when you can start on the web!

Any of these would be a good place to start.  Retrovo has tons of information presented in all sorts of interesting formatsC-NET Shopper shows similar itemsAudioholics gives a lot of information that’s easy to read and summarized with simple ratings at the end of each review.


The Search Continues

The folks at Circuit City showed us the Denon AVR-588 as a possible replacement for our 5.1-channel Harman-Kardon AVR 35.  It’s a 7.1-channel home theater receiver.  Those 5.1’s seem hard to find.

The Search for the Valentine AVR

Best Buy is now the Harman-Kardon dealer, but we have so many reasons for not liking to shop there.  Circuit City has been better to us in some ways.  We checked a few things and then we found some places to begin our search for a replacement for our Harman-Kardon 35.

I found this interesting post about the Onkyo 805.  Somehow, I don’t believe that’s the model number the Circuit City guy meant to give us, but it certainly is a nice system!  And a well written review!  Cool… THX!

How This Begins

This story really begins some years ago when my beloved spouse made the difficult decision to have some seriously needed back surgery.  Expecting a long and motion-limited recovery, we agreed that a dream home-theater system was an investment we could justify (scaled to our 1999 budget requirements, of course).

We purchased a Harmon-Kardon 35 AVR with a set of Polk Audio 5.1 Surround Sound speakers.  We had recently subscribed to DISH Network, plus we bought a DVD player to give our AVR more variety in delivering its “healing” entertainment.

My beloved’s back-surgery healed extremely well and we continued to enjoy our entry-level home entertainment system for quite some time.  That is, until one of the speaker channels went out.  Standard troubleshooting determined that it wasn’t a bad speaker or speaker cable.  The problem had to be in the AVR “box.”

The Fix-It Alternative

Shall I go into what it took to try to get our beloved AVR fixed?

I don’t think so.  Maybe later, if it might benefit someone else.

Suffice it to say that budget restrictions prevented many attempts to get it fixed until recently  We’ve heard a lot of advice that it’s often more cost-effective to just replace a crippled AVR.  Sales clerks seemed inclined to refer to that as “upgrading” our current system.

Maybe our definitions of “upgrade” differ.  We didn’t spare too much expense when we bought the first system.  We still have a perfectly well-functioning set of 5.1 Surround speakers from Polk Audio.  We see no reason to replace those as part of an “upgrade.”

Now it will soon be Valentine’s Day

My beloved was so downhearted when we found out the local shop couldn’t fix our Harmon-Kardon 35 AVR.  We both were.  We thought that local shop could fix anything.

Should we call the nearest authorized service location (1000 or so miles from here) to see if they could get the sealed part that would get the dead channel working again?

It’s no longer under warranty and it’s no longer manufactured, so it would take a long time to get it fixed (at best) or it might cost $40 plus shipping only to find out it’s unfixable (at worst).

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow!

 What Works for Us

We don’t have an HDTV and we have no immediate plans to invest in one.  We recently purchased a standard definition digital television that uses a CRT as the output, rather than an LCD or plasma display.

For what we paid, we’re EXTREMELY happy with the performance of our standard definition DTV.  We believe it will last awhile, until prices of quality HD televisions come further down from the stratosphere.  When that time comes, we’d like to be able to use our DTV as an “extra” television.

It’s true that the prices of HDTV’s have come down considerably over the past few years, but we’re just not ready yet.  If we lived in a high-density HD broadcast television market, we would have that factor to consider but we don’t.  Even if we did, we get our local stations via satellite too.