How Can 30-Year-Old Receivers Sound Better than New Ones?

pioneer

(via C/net)

by Steve Guttenberg

It’s a strange turn of events, but mainstream manufacturers long ago gave up on the idea of selling receivers on the basis of superior sound quality. I’m not claiming today’s receivers sound “bad,” but since almost no one ever listens to a receiver before they buy one, selling sound quality is next to impossible.

Back in the days when brick-and-mortar stores ruled the retail market, audio companies took pride in their engineering skills and designed entire receivers in-house. Right up through the 1980s most of what was “under the hood” was designed and built by the company selling the receiver. That’s no longer true; the majority of today’s gotta-have features–auto-setup, GUI menus, AirPlay, iPod/iPhone/iPad compatibility, home networking, HD Radio, Bluetooth, HDMI switching, digital-to-analog converters, Dolby and DTS surround processors–are sourced and manufactured by other companies. Industry insiders refer to the practice of cramming as many features as possible into the box as “checklist design.” Sure, there are rare glimpses of original thinking going on–Pioneer’s proprietary MCACC (Multi Channel Acoustic Calibration) auto-setup system is excellent–it’s just that there’s precious little unique technology in most receivers…

Read more: http://www.cnet.com/news/how-can-30-year-old-receivers-sound-better-than-new-ones/

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