The 'cure' for receiver feature glut: Stereo receivers

If you think home theater receivers are a hassle to install and use, consider the alternative: stereo receivers!

NAD stereo receiver's rear panel, just the basics. NAD Electronics

Judging by the Comments responding to my recent " Do receivers have too many features ?" blog post, a lot of folks think today's receivers are overstuffed with gizmos. Now sure, if you crave a full complement of the latest doodads--streaming Rhapsody-Napster-Pandora-Flickr, USB inputs, iPhone certification, Audyssey MultEQ XT Auto Calibration, Wi-Fi, Windows Vista, DLNA, HD Radio, Internet Radio, multiroom-multizone connectivity, Ethernet and RS-232C ports, or Bluetooth Wireless Audio Transmission Capability--rush out and buy a home theater receiver. Enjoy reading the 120-page operating manual and exploring layer after layer of setup options. Good times!

But if the goal is to simply enjoy music and a movie every now and then, do yourself a favor and consider a stereo receiver, or if you don't care about radio, an integrated amplifier (an integrated amp is essentially a receiver without a radio). Another plus for stereo home theater converts, they'll never have to deal with convoluted speaker setup menus, or risk an out-of-balance sound mix. Stereo is nearly impossible to get wrong.

A lot of people think stereo receivers are old hat and they "have to" buy a surround receiver. Wrong! And as I pointed out in the blog post the other day, home theater receiver features aren't "free"; manufacturers pay very significant licensing fees and royalties to the companies that developed those features. To bring a receiver in on budget, engineers and product planners make cost-saving decisions to cut back on other aspects of the design. The audio circuitry is probably the first to take a hit.

With stereo receivers the engineering budget is directed to the audio side and Denon, Marantz, NAD, Onkyo, Sony and Yamaha all make stereo receivers. Apparently, there's still a market for stereo components, and now that more and more folks are getting into LPs, most new stereo receivers have turntable inputs.

Stereo home theater setup is supereasy: hook up your DVD or Blu-ray player's stereo (left and right) analog outputs to the receiver. That's it! If your Blu-ray player internally decodes Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio lossless codecs (many do), you won't be missing out on high-resolution audio sound in stereo. My Oppo BD-83SE Blu-ray player does just that, and also plays SACD and DVD-Audio discs in my stereo home theater.

NAD Electronics' amps and receivers have always been budget-minded audiophile favorites, so their C-725BEE stereo receiver is an obvious starting point. It's rated for 50 watts per channel into 8-ohm speakers. Doesn't sound like enough power? Hold on, the C-725BEE is rated to deliver up to 220 watts "IHF Dynamic" power into 2-ohm speaker loads. That low impedance capability is a better indication of the NAD's true power, so it should play at least as loud as most 100-watt-per-channel home theater receivers. More important, it'll probably sound better than similarly priced home theater receivers.

If you're already into stereo home theater, share the news in the Comments section.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

HOT ON CNET

Point-and-shoot quality with your phone?

Upgrade your camera photo game with these great additions.