The VR-506 combines standout performance and features, even S-video switching, at an attractive price. Kenwood's KAM-1 amplifiers (5 x 100 watts) bring out the best in Dolby Digital, DTS, Dolby Pro Logic, and CS Circle Surround encoded sources. Five additional DSP modes let you hear everything as you prefer. The full array of both analog and digital connections includes a phono input. A Kenwood system remote is included of course!
bought this thing for a replacement for an old pro-logic amp and this thing has many many features that blew me away for the price bass isnt bad if your using a sub but lookelsewhere for good rithmic bass for music. Pearl harbour in dts is good... but when listining to music i would look at a harman/kardon because the 506 cant reproduce music worth sh*t its gets all horrible sounding when trying to recreate a "soundstage image" (you'll notice it on pink floyd-comftorably numb)its going back and im gonna have to spend a bit more for a reciever you get what ya pay for..........DONT BUY IT(unless you like junk)
The VR-506 is a decent reciever for beginners, who cannot afford better quality. The sound sucks at high volume, and rear surround channels are not getting the juice they should, or at least it seems that way. The overall build is cheap as it is plastic, controls are weak, and the remote sucks altogether. Not enough digitals, or S-videos. Of course the display sucks too. My advice, if your short on cash, and want a reciver, just for movies, Kenwood will get you by. If money is not a problem, buy a high-end Yamaha, Sony, or even Pioneer 6.1, with Dolby Digital EX, Pro-Logic II, and DTS-ES. I'm going to buy one. Tommorrow!!
The sound is great for all kinds of music. I tested it out with some heavy bassed rap by the Wu-Tang and also some treble based songs by the likes of Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. All of the styles sounded great after adjusting the bass and treble to match them.
The bass is very crisp and clear. It produces a deep sound even without a separate sub-woofer. Instruments were clearly defined and the lyrics were also very clear and smooth.
DVD AUDIO (A) (but I have yet to get the surround speakers)
I didn't run my video through this receiver but I did make use of the audio capabilities using an optical connector from my DVD player. Even with just my two front speakers the receiver channeled the Digitally Decoded signal into a synthetic surround sound that felt very close to a theatre atmosphere.
Easy. The book is good with a diagram if you get stuck.
It can really boom. With the bass boost all the way up it can easily do -20dBs and probably even more. One reviewer mentioned that his "Pioneer VSX D510", which is in this price range, couldn't get past -40db without cutting out on him. He may have exaggerated but many others have said similar things about receivers in this range. That kind of thing won't be a problem with this one. Get a sub-woofer and this will shake your house down at high volumes.
6 RCA in, including "phono". 2 Coaxial and 1 optical for digital. It also has a good number of outputs and video in/outputs.
FEATURES & QUIRKS (A/A+ at this price)
I like the way it automatically detects which decoder to use, the Dolby Digital, DTS, or Pro Logic. It also reads the number of speakers you have hooked up and channels the surround to those automatically. That's good if you don't have a surround package.
It has the capability of using a 6-channel direct audio connection from a DVD player and is capapble of running 5 surround speakers and a sub-woofer each at 100Watts.
It has no background noise or hiss.
Spend the extra 50$ on the 507 for more inputs and Pro Logic II otherwise this is the best buy on the market in this range.
If you're picky and want a great sounding system that doesn't cost too much, this is perfect. Only in a $300 more unit will you hear a difference.
I think this receiver can easily beat any other A/V receiver in its value category (or "bang for the buck"). The amount of features is excellent, everything operates well, and the entire package costs a mere 200$. The good thing about this is that it delivers everything an average consumer would need from an A/V receiver with good quality throughout.
Here is a breakdown to categories:
Amplification - 100Watts RMS X 5. The amplification is quite good for this price range of receivers. It is not the best for stereo if this is your main use, but it does the job well for home theater. Anyways, unless you consider yourself an audiophile or a serious audio enthusiast, it will provide you good stereo imaging. The amplification is not very clean, and you will notice some hiss at high volume levels. But still its pretty decent. You can connect two sets of front speakers (A and B) and switch them electronically (though not from the remote).
Digital Processing - It includes Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS, and Dolby Prologic. Everything you'd probably need. The decoding is decent, and you can control lots of its parameters, for example speaker types (large/small) for bass management, speaker delay (by setting the distance from the listening position), and speaker levels. There is also a Night Mode available for DD5.1 movies, that emphasizes the dynamic range for night listening. Another nice feature is the 'Cine EQ' mode which may be turned on at any time, but preferably for movies. What it does is activate a DSP circuit that should improve the sound of movies. From my experience it does a good job, and it should be always on when watching movies. I wouldn't recommended it for music listening though. There are several other gadgets here, including 5 DSP modes for improved listening from stereo sources through all 5.1 speakers. Those include: Arena, Jazz Club, Stadium, Theatre, and Disco. I don't know how useful they are as they don't necessarily improve the sound, but they provide a quite authentic listening experience. I still prefer plain stereo. Unfortunately all of the tone controls are DSPs, so that controlling the bass or treble levels means converting the sound to digital (if it is inputted in analog format). The good thing though is that there is a "direct mode" which bypasses all digital processing, and is used to listen to analog devices without converting the sound to digital. The bright side of this is that because all tone controls are DSPs, they can be done from the remote without having to "physically" move a button or switch, which is both more expensive and vulnerable to reliability issues. As far as I know, even the most expensive Kenwood receivers are just like this one in this sense.
D/A - The receiver uses 24-bit digital-to-analog converters. They mostly do a fine job, but if you're connecting some high quality devices, it is recommended to connect them in the traditional analog way (preferably with reasonable interconnects). The inner D/A converter (and A/D converter) that are used for the DSPs don't degrade the sound quality too noticably, but again - they could be bypassed. If you're connecting your gear digitally (for CD, DVD, etc) there is nothing to worry about anyway. The receiver is capable of 96KHz decoding for DVD movies that use it in DD or DTS.
Tuner - The build-in tuner is okay. There are 40 channel preset memories. You can't do direct tuning at all, which is quite a burden, but the automatic scanner does a fine job. Sound quality is okay (AM + FM).
Inputs/Outputs - Lots of them for this price range. You get around 6 analog stereo inputs, a 5.1ch analog input which is a must for future formats such as DVD-Audio or SACD, and 4 video inputs, half composite, half S-video! The outputs include 2 analog stereo outputs, 4 video outputs (half composite, half s-video) and a subwoofer pre-out. Video switching doesn't seem to degrade the video signal quality which is quite a big plus if you use it. There are also inputs/outputs for a special interface used to connecting kenwood devices to each other, so that they may be controlled altogether (not very useful if its your only kenwood device). There are also the usual antenna inputs and 2 AC-power outlets. Last but not least (absolutely not), there are 3 digital inputs for connecting digital equipment (CD, DVD, MD, computer): 2 coax and 1 TOSlink (optical). There are no digital outputs. Also, on the front panel there is a very convinient access to 1 analog RCA stereo input, and 2 video inputs (one of each type).
Controls - Not the best in the world, far from it. It takes some time to figure everything out, and even then some relatively simple tasks require quite a few button presses. In addition to that, the LCD screen doesn't always provide clear information. However, once you're used to that it will be okay. The tuner controls are not very good, as they need to be done from the remote (if you want to recall a preset from within the memory).
Remote - Small and hard to operate without light. It allows you to control most of the receiver features, and it can also control a wide range of CD's, DVD's, TV's, VCR's, and other equipment using pre-programmed codes. It is not programmable though. The buttons are too small as well, and it needs to be pointed pretty much at the receiver. Also, if you're using this remote to operate other equipement, it may be difficult to remember what each button does because the annotation is somewhat unclear. Aside from all of that, once you're used to it - it's not at all bad. There are a few features that can only be activated from the remote.
Other gadgets: In addition to what has been said, this receiver has a few other nice features. The first one is that it automatically detects what digital signal it gets from the digital input/s, whether its Dolby Digital, DTS or plain PCM. There is also, of course, an option to manually tell the receiver how to decode the digital data. Furthermore, the receiver remembers what attributes have been set to each source, such as DSP mode, etc. The LCD may also be dimmed (3-levels), and other options include muting from the remote, and a digital bass boost option.
Build: This is where Kenwood saved the money in order to give this receiver such a low price. The build is all plastic. While it looks nice, the front panel is made of cheap plastic, and I have a feeling the color of it may start to come off at some point under some conditions. The buttons on the unit seem cheap and whenever they are pressed you feel them 'ticking' a little. The source slider (which allows you to choose the sound/video source) also seems to be a little too rough. But I guess this is what you get for this price. Anyways, it's not bad, but it just looks cheap.
Overall: Despite the flaws this is an excellent bargain if it fits your needs. It has pretty much everything one might need. If you're looking for more advanced options such as 5.1ch preamp outputs or digital outs, look elsewhere. If you're not, this could be your best choice as it delivers mostly everything and provides good video, and most importantly - good audio. Excellent value, and pretty good performance.
This is a great receiver for the beginner to start a home theater with plenty of hook-ups.(optic,coax,s-vid).It only took me about 30 minutes to get everything up and running when I got it home(TV,DVD,speakers,EQ,CD player,and DVD audio player) Unit is easy to use.The remote is the worst part about the unit.To get DD/Dts for less than $200 is a great buy.If your thinking of getting into home theater this would be a great place to start.