WARNING: Brands You Should Stay Away From!

Aug 8, 2001

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The Bottom Line Here are some of the worst brands in the A/V receiver market.

Just like any other market, the A/V receiver market has its good brands, and it also has its bad brands. There are some brands that I feel very strongly about. Some in good ways, and some in bad ways. But, here are some brands that you shouldn't consider at all. Also, here are some that are good, but you have to research them well before you buy. Here they are:

*The ultimate worst in home audio. Wow, these receivers sure are cheap... You get what you pay for, or let me rephrase that as "you get less than what you pay for." The receivers that Aiwa builds have very cheap build quality, cheap sound, and the the stupid input tuner knob doesn't work properly on many of the receivers. Aiwa for instance rates many of their receivers at either 100 or 90 watts per channel. However, when you crank these pieces of junk up to maximum volume, you still get pretty quiet sound. These receivers can't get loud even if their lives depended on it. They sound more like they are rated at 20Watts per channel or less. So, if you want cheap slamming power, don't look at Aiwa. There is one other brand that makes very inexpensive receivers, but they sound very good. Sherwood Newcastle is the name. You can look them up on some websites, or I have seen Sherwood Newcastle receivers at Sam's Club. Don't settle for Aiwa. Their ads tell you that you gotta hear their sound. I turn it way up, and I still can't hear it! I've seen some low wattage Onkyo receivers, I turn the knob slightly, and they are LOUD. Well, they are high current amps. I don't think the Aiwa receivers deserve to exist. They look stupid, and sound just as stupid. If you want cheap good stuff, try brands like TEAC, Sherwood Newcastle, or even Philips!

*Technics is OK, I've heard a lot of their stuff. But there are some reasons why I don't like them. First of all, their low-range receivers that retail for less than $500 are just terrible quality... The sound can easily be outperformed by other receivers in the same price ranges from brands like Yamaha, Onkyo, Sony, Kenwood, Denon, and Marantz. Yes, Denon and Marantz have receivers in this price range, and they are clearly superior to anything that Technics can put out. Also, I don't like Panasonic. I hate their quality, I have had so many Panasonic products in the past, and they all had poor durability, and their quality was worse than Sony or any comparable brands. Panasonic makes Technics if you were wondering... However, don't let this bias stop you. Technics receivers have one problem that is often over-looked... Many of their receivers have cooling problems. They over-heat faster than you can sing Freebird. I have had some audio products that had poor cooling mechanisms... And I put them where they belonged... Into the box, and right back to the store. When a receiver over-heats, it shuts itself off. A real pain when you're having a party and listening to loud music. I have two Yamaha RX-V995 receivers, and they can go playing music at around 40-50Watts x 5 for hours on end!!! I can only dream of a Technics receiver pulling something like that off. If you do your research, you can find that other brands have much better receivers than Technics receivers in the same price range.

*Harmon/Kardon has one of the best reputations in the market. Why am I writing that it is a bad brand? Because I have heard a few of their receivers playing music and movie sound over some expensive speakers, and the sound quality was very dissapointing. I heard their low-range receivers, they were dissapointing. I heard their mid-range receivers, they were dissapointing. I heard their hifi receivers, they were good, but a far cry from Marantz and Denon. I was able to hear some of Sting's songs on a Harmon/Kardon AVR-510 hooked up to a pair of Infinity IL40 3-way front speakers.... The quality was quite bad. I was able to get much cleaner sound by using my grandparent's Yamaha RX-V596 hooked up with Sony SS-MF515 speakers. Just compare Harmon/Kardon receivers to receivers that are cheaper or in the same price range, from brands like Marantz, NAD, Denon, Yamaha, and Nakamichi. You will get much better sound. Harmon/Kardon does have some receivers that are in the $1,000 price range. Compare them to receivers such as the Marantz SR-7000, Marantz SR-19EX, or Denon AVR-3800, and you will be blown away at how bad Harmon/Kardon sounds compared to those receivers. So, don't buy Harmon/Kardon just based on their reputation. You have to first hear them out compared to other receivers in the same price range from other brands. It was strange that a $1,000 receiver playing music over $1,000 speakers couldn't get sound quality like a $500 receiver playing music over $269 speakers... It's sad... This is how I have grown to dislike Harmon/Kardon.

-In Conclusion-
*These are three brands which I consider to be pretty bad on the A/V receiver market. But don't take my word for it, get out there and try out receivers, and you will eventually find the one you like. But remember, if you should stay away from one brand, it should be Aiwa. The most evil name in audio other than Bose or Bang and Olufsen. So remember, always research before you buy, and hear out different receivers over the same speakers. You can't buy based on what other people say, it's for your ears to decide.

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