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Recent Shopping Tip Articles

2011 $600 A/V Receiver Comparison Guide

2011 $600 A/V Receiver Comparison Guide

It's that time of year again and we're taking a look at the new receivers. At the $600 price point we have offerings from Onkyo, Yamaha, Pioneer, Marantz, Denon, and Harman Kardon (the TX-NR609, RX-V671, VSX-50, NR1602, AVR-2112CI, and AVR 2650 respectively). Most of these are within $50 of the target price though we gave a slight edge to the Harman offering by choosing an $800 offering. Will they crush the comparison with their extra MSRP? Things to expect at this price point - 3D, Audio Return Channel, HDMI upconversion, networking, tons of power, and two zones of audio.

This comparison has offerings from Onkyo, Yamaha, Pioneer, Marantz, Denon, and Harman Kardon (the TX-NR609, RX-V671, VSX-50, NR1602, AVR-2112CI, and AVR 2650 respectively) at the $600 price point.

— July 13, 2011 04:50 in How to Shop

Loudspeaker Double Blind Test and Demo Flaws

Loudspeaker Double Blind Test and Demo Flaws

What is the point of a listening test? For the listener, the intent is easy to identify. They are (often) thinking of buying a product. But when a short demo isn't enough, what options do you have? The obvious solution is third party validation. Manufacturers will often try to sell you the line that their speakers are as good as speakers many times their price. They'll even run their own tests (often Single or Double Blind) to prove that the participants couldn't hear a difference between their and another speaker. But what are they really saying? We break it down for you and show how these claims prey on people's lack of statistical understanding.

We reveal flaws in loudspeaker demos and double blind tests so you can cut through the nonsense and make an educated purchasing decision. Not all "blind" tests are without bias as we explore herein.

— June 28, 2011 05:00 in How to Shop

iPhone 4 Case Roundup and Buying Guide

iPhone 4 Case Roundup and Buying Guide

With the announcement that the iPhone is likely coming to Verizon shortly, there is sure to be an influx of new iPhone 4 users in the next quarter. Those users will come from one of two places: either new users who are jumping ship from AT&T to experience iPhone use on the Verizon Network, or existing Verizon customers who are going to take advantage of renewing their contracts with an iPhone 4. In either case, there are going to be lots of new iPhone 4 consumers who will need to protect their new investment. We solicited cases from most of the major players and experienced a near-full array of what's available for the iPhone 4. Some cases really impressed us. Others came across as more or less standard fare and nothing short of what you'd expect for any new smart phone. To make this process simple, we'll list each case here and talk briefly about our experiences, giving an overall opinion as well as the general pros and cons of each product.

We solicited cases from most of the major players and experienced a near-full array of what's available for the iPhone 4. Some cases really impressed us. Others came across as more or less standard.

— December 10, 2010 01:00 in How to Shop

2010 $1000 A/V Receiver Comparison Guide

2010 $1000 A/V Receiver Comparison Guide

For many years now, you could say you weren't really playing with the big boys until you stepped up to a $1000 receiver. All of these receivers will have HDMI 1.4 inputs and outputs, all of which support 3D. You're going to get an onscreen display over HDMI standard and can expect video upconversion and scaling from analogue to HDMI 1080p. While your entry level receivers have to cut a lot of corners and at the $500 price point you find manufactures picking a focus, here, you get a lot more. Networking, multizone, THX certification, auto setup and calibration, and tons of extras. To help you out with your decision, we're taking a close look at offerings from Denon, Marantz, Yamaha, Onkyo, Pioneer, Sony, and Harman Kardon.

Looking for a receiver and got about a grand to spend? To help you out with your decision, we're taking a close look at offerings from Denon, Marantz, Yamaha, Onkyo, Pioneer, Sony, and Harman Kardon.

— December 01, 2010 12:50 in How to Shop

2010 Entry Level A/V Receiver Comparison Guide

2010 Entry Level A/V Receiver Comparison Guide

While we tend to think that the sweet spot in receivers is the $500 price point (hence the reason we started with that comparison article), the fact is, some people are just looking for something. Anything. Maybe it's for them and they are on a serious budget. Maybe it's for their parents or their kids or some other secondary use. The key is that it has to be cheap. While a few years ago, the entry level receivers had little more than stereo inputs and Dolby ProLogic, these days you can get 3D capable HDMI inputs, discrete amps, and onscreen displays. We've again hit all the major players (except for Harman Kardon, their "budget" surround receiver was in the $500 comparison) with Denon, Marantz, Yamaha, Onkyo, Pioneer, Sherwood, and Sony in the mix. Prices range from a low of $229 to a high of $399.

With this entry level receiver comparison we've hit all the major players with Denon, Marantz, Yamaha, Onkyo, Pioneer, Sherwood, and Sony in the mix. Prices range from a low of $229 to a high of $399.

— November 25, 2010 19:00 in How to Shop

2010 $500 A/V Receiver Comparison Guide

2010 $500 A/V Receiver Comparison Guide

We love a good comparison so you'll forgive us if we got a little exuberant with this one. The ~$500 price point is a popular one for A/V receivers and just about every manufacturer has a receiver around that price. Instead of leaving out manufacturers that had a receiver a little under or over the price point, we just included everyone's offerings.This year's models range in price from a low of $479 to a high of $599. While that's only a $120 variance, it's an over 20% difference. If you'd paid 20% more for your car, you'd expect a serious improvement. Hitting the ~$500 price point means that the convenience features are going to be key since manufacturers will have to pick and choose what is most important to them. Read on for our take on the receiver offerings around $500 from Denon, Pioneer, Onkyo, Harman Kardon, Sherwood, Marantz, Yamaha, and Sony.

The ~$500 price point is a popular one for receivers. Read on for our take on the receiver offerings from Denon, Pioneer, Onkyo, Harman Kardon, Sherwood, Marantz, Yamaha, and Sony.

— November 17, 2010 10:00 in How to Shop

How to Skew a Blind Listening Test

How to Skew a Blind Listening Test

Setting up a blind test is easy right? Or is it? While many people will take the most well known precautions, they often forget or don't know about some of the others than can seriously affect the outcome of the test. Here are some lesser known things to remember when you set up your listening test for comparing loudspeakers.

We've talked a lot about how to set up a listening test on this website. There has been a lot of buzz lately on the results of the Paradigm blind listening tests results. We break it down.

— September 08, 2009 12:15 in How to Shop

2009 $500 Receiver Comparison Guide

2009 $500 Receiver Comparison Guide

In a continuing effort to demystify your receiver choices, we come to a price point that is probably one of the most popular - around $500. In this comparison, we'll be looking at receivers from Denon, Onkyo, Pioneer, and Yamaha. At the near $500 price point, manufacturers have a bit more room to play with features and their design philosophies become pretty apparent.

In a continuing effort to demystify your receiver choices, we come to a price point that is probably one of the most popular - around $500. In this comparison, we'll be looking at receivers from

— July 30, 2009 05:00 in How to Shop

2009 $750 Receiver Comparison Guide

2009 $750 Receiver Comparison Guide

In this comparison article we look at receivers around the $750 price point. We have offerings from Yamaha and Harman Kardon at $649, Pioneer at $699, and Denon, Marantz, and Sherwood Newcastle at $799. While you'd think that the differences in receivers at this price point would be a matter of inches, you'd be wrong. Manufacturers are trying pretty hard to differentiate themselves. The question is - what do you need?

In this comparison article we look at receivers around the $750 price point. We have offerings from Yamaha and Harman Kardon at $649, Pioneer at $699, and Denon, Marantz, and Sherwood Newcastle at

— July 27, 2009 08:25 in How to Shop

2009 Entry Level Receivers Comparison Guide

2009 Entry Level Receivers Comparison Guide

In a budget receiver, you are looking for the most bang for your buck. What you will need to focus on is what you actually need. Many of the receivers are limited in their compatibility and functionality based on price point. The trick is to clearly know what you need so that you are getting it all in the receiver you choose. These units from Denon, Harman Kardon, Onyko, Pioneer, and Yamaha represent the first tier in their receiver lines.

In a budget receiver, you are looking for the most bang for your buck. What you will need to focus on is what you actually need. Many of the receivers are limited in their compatibility and

— July 21, 2009 03:40 in How to Shop

Digital Converter Box Comparison & Shootout

Digital Converter Box Comparison & Shootout

Looking for a digital TV converter box can be a daunting task as every store seems to have their own brands. And with a proliferation of boxes on the internet, which ones work with those $40 government coupons… If so, how well do they work? Features? Quality? Ease of use? Affordability? Audioholics compares five popular boxes to analyze the facts and details and help you make the best choice!

Looking for a digital TV converter box can be a daunting task as every store seems to have their own brands. And with a proliferation of boxes on the internet, which ones work with those $40

— May 03, 2009 18:00 in How to Shop

Rock Band & Guitar Hero Instrument Compatibility Guide

Rock Band & Guitar Hero Instrument Compatibility Guide

Rock Band and Guitar Hero are two games we enjoy very much at Audioholics. But there are four platforms for the game, a number of instruments, and now third party hardware. Add it up and you have a compatibility matrix worthy of the best mathematicians in the country. We wanted to know what instruments would work with what games... and on what platforms. Unlike the gaming industry, which thinks I actually care about the hardware or which brand of game I'm playing, I'm all about the MUSIC. If I am an Aerosmith fan I want to pick up my guitar and play Aerosmith. I don't care whether or not that band signed with Harmonix or Activision. I may care that they left off some of their greatest songs and that the game doesn't allow me to play drums or sing...

Rock Band and Guitar Hero are two games we enjoy very much at Audioholics. But there are four platforms for the game, a number of instruments, and now third party hardware. Add it up and you have a

— April 06, 2009 12:03 in How to Shop

Setting up a Speaker Shootout or Component Comparison the Right Way

Setting up a Speaker Shootout or Component Comparison the Right Way

In preparation for the forthcoming speaker shootout, we thought it'd be a good idea to explore the correct way to set one up. One of the most popular articles we ever write on Audioholics is speaker or cable shootouts. Shootouts are really just a comparison of two or more products. This sounds like a fairly straightforward process where you place two competing products in the same room and take a listen/look. But the reality is that it is much more complicated.

In preparation for the forthcoming speaker shootout, we thought it'd be a good idea to explore the correct way to set one up. One of the most popular articles we ever write on Audioholics is speaker

— February 25, 2009 02:30 in How to Shop

What Size Screen or Television Do I Need?

What Size Screen or Television Do I Need?

We get asked this question alot and we have, in fact, addressed it during the course of various projector and flat panel reviews. It is an important topic, however, and we feel that it is truly worthy of some personal attention - especially given these times of rapidly dropping flat panel display prices. While many believe that "bigger is always better," getting the right screen size means that you can truly optimize your home theater budget and allocate your money in teh best way possible to make sure you get the best visuals and sound possible. We'll take you through several ways to effectively determine the best screen size for your room, and give you some general guidelines for figuring out your own needs.

What size HDTV or screen do you need? This depends on how far you sit and what type of resolution you want to see. This article gives you screen size vs seated distance recommendations.

— February 21, 2008 07:45 in How to Shop