Sony and Pioneer receivers edge out the competition in CNET shootout

CNET compares the five best midpriced AV receivers of 2008--and looks forward to new models in 2009.

Sony STR-DG920
Top of the (midpriced) heap: Sony STR-DG920 Sarah Tew/CNET Networks

Back in November, I asked the question, " What's the best midpriced AV receiver? "--but had to confess that we hadn't reviewed as many as we would've liked. Since then, Senior Associate Editor Matt Moskovciak and resident Audiophiliac Steve Guttenberg sequestered themselves in the CNET listening room and put several models to the test.

When the smoke cleared, the Sony STR-DG920 was at the top of the heap, with the Pioneer VSX-1018AH and Onkyo TX-SR606 impressing us as well. The Denon AVR-1909 sounded great and was packed with features, but that model's confusing remote control and Sisyphean setup duties relegates it to advanced AV nerds with plenty of patience. Rounding things out was the Yamaha RX-V663, with only two HDMI inputs and subpar video conversion. We recommend avoiding the Panasonic SA-BX500 altogether--even selling at a discounted price, it's far too underfeatured compared to the other receivers listed here. (We tried to get our hands on the Harman Kardon AVR 254, but a review sample wasn't available.) Check out our full comparison for the head-to-head ratings, links to the reviews, and hands-on videos.

All of the receivers tested were 2008 models. For 2009, Pioneer is the only major name that's announced its product lineup, but we're expecting news from Yamaha and Sony in the very near future. That should be followed up in the spring by new model announcements from Onkyo, HK, and Denon. Receivers will be a priority in 2009, so we're looking forward to reviewing the next crop of models as soon as we can. In the meantime, let us know what you think of the current reviews, and what you're looking forward to in the AV receiver realm for 2009.

About the author

John P. Falcone is the executive editor of CNET Reviews, where he coordinates a group of more than 20 editors and writers based in New York and San Francisco as they cover the latest and greatest products in consumer technology. He's been a CNET editor since 2003.

 

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