August 28, 2009 by Stephen Hopkins
They laugh alike, they walk alike, at times they even talk alike ... When cousins are two of a kind!
You might ask yourself “did he just pull out a Patty Duke Show metaphor for a pair of cheap AVRs”? The answer is yes. That just happened. And the reason for this little jaunt into TV Land? Well ... I’m odd like that… but more so because identical cousins can often offer tons of savings!
Onkyo has always produced near-identical AVRs in two lines, the SR/NR line along side the RC line. That said, in the past the RC line has always been comprised of clones of the very low-end, and mainly sold bundled within HTiBs. Onkyo’s changing things with this model year, offering mildly tweaked versions of it’s extremely popular SR607 and beefier network connected sibling the NR807.
The kissing cousins (though I don’t think Patty and Cathy did that) are the RC160 and RC180, and they don’t come with a British accent or demure upbringing. The difference? The RC line lacks the front HDMI input, as well as a spec-sheet fudge downward on th rated power (though the identical product weights tells the tale on these two).
Currently the RC160 is on sale from J&R Music World, a reputable authorized online dealer with B&M presence in NYC and New Jersey, for $349 with free shipping. This is a full $80 less than the lowest authorized SR607 price I could find, and the same price as the SR607 in refurbished form (which carries a shorter 1 year warranty and ~$15 in shipping charges). If you’re looking to save a little one an entry-level, yet full featured HDMI equipped AVR (that might just ship from Brooklyn Heights, no less), then this identical cousin might make you lose your mind!
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Stephen Hopkins is chief technology editor for EH Publishing. He writes product reviews, features, and focuses heavily on 3D TV, iPhone and iPad apps, and digital content.
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