Labor Day Shopping!

Did I mention I have two jobs? There is a reason…not just because I live in a place that does not have mice or cockroaches, the last apartment did, I like to shop.  I also like to research products and get the best one at the best price.  Which these days tends to lead to me to Amazon.com or another online retailer.

Best Price = Internet

Granted, I would gladly spend more to get a product from a local, independent store, but when your main options are chains, there is no loyalty there.

Ever since I entered the world of HD November 2007 with the purchase of a Samsung 1080i 32″ LCD TV, a Panasonic 1080i HD Home Theatre Projector, and a HD DVD player, now obsolete (tear), I have been looking to get an HDMI switching audio receiver.  

About 4 years ago I upgraded my Philips with a Harman/Kardon AVR 135 (6.1, 40 watts per channel, S-Video).  This was a big improvement!  Slowly I upgraded my speakers from the set that came with my Philips to Polk Audio.  I realized that bigger is better with speakers as they sound much fuller when there is a cabinet to resonate in.  

Hint: Don’t waste money on an expensive name or those tiny speakers that promise to be better.

Prices have continued to drop and there was both a sale and interest free financing for 36 months at Circuity City.  It was time!

I ended up getting a Onkyo TX-SR606 (7.1, 90 watts per channel, 4 HDMI Inputs) for just $399.  What a great receiver and deal!  Here are just a few of the cool features:

  • Full 7.1 channel surround with support for HD and Blu-Ray HD Audio.
  • 90 Watts per channel.
  • Satellite Radio and iPod ready.
  • 4 HDMI Inputs with switching and up-conversion to 1080i. (S-Video to HDMI is not impressive, thankfully all of my components have HDMI outputs)
  • Automatic speaker setup and equalization! 

Automatic Speaker Calibration

This was really cool…plug in the provided microphone and position as instructed in the 3 listening locations and after a series of test tones, the technology calculates the distance away and compensates for distortion to give the best surround sound experience.  I don’t know how to calibrate them myself, so even if it does not work, the idea is great.  After is was done, it sounded great!

Happy?

You bet!  Not only does it have 4 HDMI inputs where the competition has only 2 or 3 for the same price, I can finally use all 7 speakers and send HDMI signals from the components to the projector in best picture available!  (PS – I don’t even have to change inputs on my projector between S-Video and HDMI.)

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