4000? From what I've seen the "CI" models of AVRs (23xx, 33xx at least) are still made in Japan. Granted those are the high end of their non-esoteric stuff, but still, those modes are still Japan as of last year I believe and they feel every bit of it. There's a lot of noise out there disliking those units and the RMA process, but most of the issues seem to be with people trying to flash the firmware over the network feature. The more "network" support these AVRs get the worse they behave. A few years ago common wisdom was HK & Marantz sounded good but would fail fast, Onkyo, Denon, Yamaha didn't sound as good but lasted longer. HK &Onkyo ran hot, the others did not. I think it rotates.
I've always viewed Onkyo as one of the solid, reliable ones. Never had an Onkyo truly fail. One did, sometimes it wouldn't turn on, but it was their bottom of the barrel unit and saw a *LOT* of use at the time....it was a fair lifespan for it and technically it still works. I do have a Denon sitting around for when my other Onkyo dies, but it's given no indication of death other than a sometimes buggy HDMI switch that was always buggy. HDCP related abnomralities but it was the first generation of HDMI on Onkyo AVRs, so it's good considering. That after a tempered glass TV stand shattered onto it, scraping some paint off the chassis. I still find kibbles of glass every time I move it around. I have no complaints about onkyo durability, the only shortcoming is they burn hotter than a binary pulsar embedded in a supergiant.
I can't speak for their equipment in the last 4 years though which seem to be newer designs and cram a lot more toys into them at ever lower pricepoints, so maybe it's not the same Onkyo that was a few years ago. I could never get into Yamaha for some reason. I liked their SACD players, but I had one that after 1.5 years stopped reading discs a few months ago. I don't trust their reliability much better anymore.
So now I'm on Denon. When they let me down I guess I'll have to get into Rotel :P
So far they seem solid though. Pricy, but maybe that's the price of getting 95% of the features working 75% of the time versus the others :P
Not sure who's replacing those big three these days. Pioneer's out, Yamaha...can't even figure out what they're doing. Sony hasn't produced something real in the audio world in years. D&M is ok but the consolidation is scary. Onkyo...they're holding stable but have rarely been TRULY high end. I've heard NAD is these days one of the least reliable things around. Short of Ray Samuels what else is there? :P
See, from years of experience, Onkyos are just timebombs. There's a reason you don't see vintage Onkyo gear, and all that.
Denon, Yamaha, Sony (especially ES and older stuff), etc will all last, but there's varying degrees of quality. Pioneer IME is all over the place - some of them are road warriors, others are trash. Never honestly heard of Marantz being unreliable - never even seen one die. Then again, as you said, the more DSP crap you stack up, and the hotter you run, the worse you are (there's a metric in IT that you can roughly halve usage life with every 10*C you gain in operating temperatures over ambient - and some of the newer Pioneer and Onkyo units I've seen run hot enough to fry meat on the faceplate).
Seriously though, Yeah JBL pushes out GARBAGE in waves. But they also push out the good stuff. I don't mean Synthesis, but the Studio series, and even the ES series. It's not hi-fi, it's more mid-fi (real mid-fi) than anything but for the price point it does a good job at what it should be expected to do. I have the old Stadium series which has been replaced by ES and two ES rears on the big HT. For "big theater sound" it's a great bargain. It's not a music system by any stretch, but for an HT setup it's good value. The Studio series is more into the hi-fi realm and priced reasonably. There's a lot worse value out there, and not a whole lot better value, IMO. Better gear...but for a lot more money. The price points Q70x is running is just silly cheap. I'm still not seeing the complaint. They sell waves of garbage to the masses and still seem to provide good value to those in the know. Yeah the really high-end stuff is a rip-off, but is there an example where it isn't? (HD700 anyone?) I think anyone writing off Harman as a whole isn't looking at the whole product catalog, just the most visible stuff. It's a "v shaped product catalog" :P HK receivers on the other hand I wouldn't touch if I had to build a receiver myself otherwise. I know they sound fantastic, but they might as well be paper transistors in a dunk tank. You get an hour out of them before they fall apart
+1 on this. I agree especially on the 701 point - they really outshine a lot of competitors when you consider the $200-$300 pricetag (or even $400 retail), and that they're celebrifones, and all that jazz. Of course since the Germans started playing Price It Right, they're no longer "high end," but c'est la vie. Was there an original thesis to this thread, because I feel like we've diverged?