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Panasonic SA-XR55S
9 Reviews
rating  3.89 of 5
MSRP  224.00
Description: <ul> <li>100 Watts per channel</li> <li>Digitally-tuned AM/FM Tuner</li> <li>Convenient terminals</li> <li>Rear Audio Inputs</li> <li>Rear Video Inputs</li> <li>Selectable DSP modes</li> </ul>


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Reviews 1 - 5 (9 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by stimuli a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 22, 2006

Bottom Line:   
I strongly suspect the reviewers below who are disastisfied with the "shrill, thin" sound of the XR55 had the speakers set to "small" (default) and/or subwoofer set to "on." Either one will set the speakers to small and cut off all frequencies below ~120hz, robbing the system of bass.

The bass on these digital Panny amps is immense, vice-like, and deep. The highs are very detailed, and the mids are neutral and transparent. Unnervingly so.

I've had the pleasure of hearing these amps though both Polk floorstanders and more recently, Ascend CBM-170s and can say without a doubt the previous paragraph is true. I recommend to anyone looking for an amp in the $200-2000 price bracket to give these Panny amps a listen... all the hype in the audio world about the Equibit amps is not for nothing.

And please, set the speakers to "large" before doing any listening. And make sure after doing this that subwoofer is set to "off." I've also had luck replacing the power cord (Audioquest NRG-1), and have found powerbars with EMI/RFI filtering tighten the sound up further as well. YMMV.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2005

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   online

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:2
Submitted by donpablo a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: April 5, 2006

Bottom Line:   
Just terrible in stereo.
Didn’t try in home theater
Based on the review from edster on this site I decided to pick up one of these units from J and R.
My babe and I took a day trip down to J and R music world located at 2 park row in NYC. The whole area was surprisingly crowded for a Saturday afternoon with many tourists. My babe was only too happy to go along because I promised her that I would spend the equivalent amount of money on her clothes shopping that I spent on stereo.
Hence the search for inexpensive but good components!
The audio department is located on the second floor. A salesman greeted us and I told him what I wanted to see. He asked me if I had heard digital amps before and I told him no. He suggested something else but I wanted to see and hear the Panasonic sa-xr55.
The room it's located in has rows of receivers on one-side and speakers pairs on the opposite side of the room.
I asked him if we could listen to a couple of homemade burned cds we had brought along for the occasion. On them was some salsa for my babe and my collection of rock and pop from the seventies eighties and nineties.
First up was a new pair of JBL speakers played through the Panasonic.
Holy cow the sound was terrible. Really bad. Shrill with no bass and thin.
I thought it was the speakers and asked the salesman if we could hear it through some Polk speakers that were on display. Same results
The salesman then had us listen to the same jbls and Polks through some analog receivers from hl, denon, onkyo and Sony. All of them made the speakers sing in comparison to the Panasonic.
I didn’t buy it.
I went home and did a goggle on this unit and staring reading the reviews.
All, well not all but a majority of them state exactly what I heard at J and R.
That this unit is terrible in stereo.
All the reviews except the ones from this guy EDSTER.
He’s posting a very similar review throughout the Internet. Stating how good this unit is and making the innuendo that every other review is from a hater.
This guy is or must be a hack for Panasonic.
Go listen for yourself.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2005

Price Paid:    $1.00

Purchased At:   j and r

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Edster922 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: March 29, 2006

Bottom Line:   
(The following is from my review on the ecoustics.com forum but you can also do a search for this model at the much bigger avsforum.com to read the massively positive feedback this receiver has won.)

Initial impressions:

1. I'd be lying if I said the Panny were as warm as my Marantz 5400 or NAD separates, but on the other hand I didn't find it "harsh," "cold," "flat," "lifelessly analytical" etc. as many anti-pure-digital audio folk have claimed. "Precise" and "neutral" would be how I'd describe it.

2. Yes, the pure-digital fans are correct about the amazing lack of noise/distortion and the jaw-dropping detail of the mids and highs. Yes, I noticed many more subtle background sounds and textures than I ever did with analog equipment.

I haven't hooked up my DVD player to it since I bought it strictly for 2-channel music but this kind of meticulous detail should be ideal for HT, one would think.

3. The Panny made me doubly appreciate the intuitive ease of use I enjoyed with my old Onkyo and current Marantz. Both setup and manual are rather convoluted. You cannot use the remote to change the setup, for one thing...argh!

4. The Panny certainly has no shortage of power...its volume goes from silent at -79 and maxes out at 0, I was easily hitting 80db at -40 and not the slightest hint of distortion. I am very curious to hear how it sounds when I get some extra speaker cable and bi-amp my Ascends, a very handy feature that I had only seen on the Pioneer Elite series in the $700 and up range.

5. The Panny doesn't provide quite the same heavy thumping bass of the NAD, nor the aggressive fullness that the NAD achieves at high volumes (+80db)...it seems to have more of an intricate and laid-back personality.

7. Cosmetics. I wasn't crazy about the small, crude-looking LED display which reminded me of my $65 Panasonic DVD player's display but oh well this is a $228 receiver after all. Otherwise the simple black faceplate is pretty tasteful. Should score some WAF (Wife Approval Factor) brownie points for any guy who decides to keep it. The remote is indeed a cheap POS but still a pretty minor gripe at this price.


After several days of listening only to the Panny, today I finally started doing some A/B listening with the Panny vs. my beloved NAD...and the "aha" moments are coming in spades right now.

Started with some Bach: a solo piano piece ("Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring") and the Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major (Allegro). The piano piece had both receivers pretty close at moderate volumes, though I could already hear a clarity advantage in favor of the Panny, which simply sounded more open and natural.

However at high volumes (90-95db) and particularly on the violin concerto, the Panny simply WIPED THE FLOOR with the NAD, which started to get thin on the highs and weak on the mids during musical peaks, with a layer of fuzz settling in around the edges. The Panny on the other hand calmly delivered the goods with perfect aplomb, didn't even get hot to the touch, stayed the same warmish temperature to the touch throughout.

Moved on to Norah Jones, "Don't Know Why" and "Seven Years"---didn't crank the volume above 80db this time, but again the Panny held a clear advantage. Wow, the midrange was just tremendous...Norah's voice seemed much fuller, her breaths more audible, when she held a note for a couple of seconds it all came through clear and effortlessly. In comparison the NAD seemd to favor certain parts of the frequency range over others, Norah's voice while still very pleasing did not have the same range.

Van Morrison, "Moondance"---a mediocre recording, but again the Panny did it with a bit more life and verve than the NAD.

Santana, "Put Your Lights On," "Maria Maria," and "Corazon Espinado." This is one of my favorite demo CDs because the songs have a variety of tempos and both simple and complex passages. There is also a lot of treble and midrange happening at the same time, all driven by a strong beat.

Once again, during complex passages (by which I mean lots of instruments, voices, percussion all happening at the same time) the Panny pulled ahead and never looked back. Separation of musical inputs was outstanding, bringing out many details that were muted on the NAD.

The NAD clearly does deliver more bass (I had my speakers set on large on the Panny, with the sub turned off) and on simpler compositions did have more of a laid back, warmish sound. However at about six times the price (an equivalent NAD amp + pre-pro today would run about $1300 compared to the Panny's $230) that's a lot of dough just for a particular sound characteristic with a particular type of musical compositions. In fact if I were buying my system from scratch today, I would choose the Panny without a second thought over both the NAD and the Marantz and spend the extra money on the speakers and sub...complete no-brainer.

What particularly surprised me was the fact that the slim featherweight Panny actually seems far more powerful than the behemoth NAD in both SPL and maintaining SQ at high SPL. It is rated at 100wpc at 6 ohms, but after today I would guesstimate that they could easily list it at 150wpc at 8ohms if they wanted to and they'd still be far more honest than 90% of their competition. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this receiver even as a party appliance.

Wow, wow, wow..a 230 lousy bucks suddenly goes a VERY long way, indeed!

This Panny is far from perfect in terms of componentry, features, remote, and ease of use no doubt---but the performance it delivers at this ridiculously low pricepoint is simply staggering. If Panny adds another say $200 to the price tag to give it higher grade features and components, it will be extremely hard to beat.

Simply put, I cannot imagine there being too many solid-state analog receivers around 10 years from now, other than the real high end die-hard audiophile niche.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2005

Price Paid:    $230.00

Purchased At:   Amazon.com

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by changeling93305 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 8, 2006

Bottom Line:   
this is the third receiver that i have tried out in the last month, for many years i used a jvc 2-channel rx-309
which for the money was a nice little receiver, but of course the grass is greener on the other side so it was time to get somthing better. I am a big time music listener , home theatre would be a nice extra bonus for me, but not the focal point of me buying a receiver, i had heard about panasonic's "all digital amp" hyped as being the wave of the future a highly efficient ultra clear sonic experience, so i decided to give it a try
i hooked it up and the first thing i noticed was the power was modest but honest, it is listed at 100 watts and it sounds like 100 watts , there is a big problem with receivers lately boasting of high power and NOT delivering on it. Now onto the nature of it's sound, it sounds a bit bright and it sounds like it has a bit of "reverb" that echo'ish kinda quality which is nice in way , but as i listened to it more i found that there was somthing "lacking" in the sound , there is a richness a fullness that is absent from this amp that even cheap receivers like my JVC seem to have, i call it character music should have a "feel" to it, some character that extra it factor that makes it sound vital, and this amp clearly lacks that and i was warned from certain reviewers ( that i thought were just haters) that this receiver is guilty of those flaws, now onto it's mechanical problems, when i turned it off (stand by mode) it produced a fairly loud humming tone sound which i found highly offensive i unplugged it and plugged it in later and it went away for awhile then came back, later i tried some different speakers and as i was putting a wire in the think sparked and smoked and emmitted an acrid smell , all this within the first 4 hours of use, so needless to say i did not get it fixed i just returned it for a refund, however my rating is based on performance in working condition, this amp qualitfies for a 3 when it
(if) works

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2005

Price Paid:    $230.00

Purchased At:   amazon.com

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by pabx11 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 10, 2005

Bottom Line:   
I recently moved to a mini apartment in manhattan, so I sold my HK AVR7300 and auditioned some mini-receivers to match up with my athena .5 mk2 mini speakers system.
The contenders;
1- Onkyo TX-LR552 from Ubid
3- HK AVR135 from HK online via ebay

1-First up the Onkyo TX-LR552 purchased from UBID. It was a refurb with a 1 yr warranty and a rip of cost of $25 for s&h. It was defective out of the box. The volume control skiped up and down in unequal increments if used manually.
The sound was very good. The feature set very good and the remote excellent. The remote was the best of the three. The seller UBID was the WORST of the three, probably of all time. They wanted to charge me 15% to return the defective unit they had sent me.
What a rip off!
I wont be buying from them again.

2- Next up the PANASONIC SA-XR55S from J&R music world. Good price at $239.00.
100 % functional out of the box. Great feature set. The remote ok. The sound was the worse of the three units. Absolutely terrible. Thats my opinion, its a digital amp and to me it sounded very sharp and shrilly in all modes. Lifeless and flat, Definetly not what I want to listen to after a hard day at work.
3- The HK AVR135 refurb purchased from HK online via ebay w 2 yr warranty.
100 % functional out of the box.
The sound was great, number 1 in this group and far better then the other two. The feature set excellent but the remote dead last.
The remote was the worst in this group.
The seller is excellent and mantains an excellent rating on ebay.

Final rating
1-The HK AVR 135 is an awesome sounding little receiver for the money and the one I kept.

2- the technics sa xr55 wonderful feature set and easy to use and set up. Sounded good for home theater but terrible for listening to music.

3- Last was the Onkyo. Just a terrble experience with the seller, UBID, compounded the functionality problems. The Onkyo would have placed a close second but theres no forgiving a non working unit.
I work too hard for my money to throw it away.
The seller, UBID IS THE WORST.
Its like legalized robbery on the internet. I would not recomend them to anyone for anything. I now have to spend more money to send the unit in for repair.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2005

Price Paid:    $230.00

Purchased At:   J and R Music World

Reviews 1 - 5 (9 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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