Big River shipped my 1909 two days ago and it arrived today at 5:45 PM, double boxed, in fine shape. For some unknown reason, BR listed the 1909 as a pre-buy from about July 12 – July 16 and then withdrew it. They still have not re-listed it. I placed a pre-order on July 14 at MSRP, with free 2-day shipping, no sales tax and the BR 30-day price guarantee. I also know from experience that BR has a no-hassle, no-cost return policy that makes a purchase like this a little less risky.
Set-up went reasonably smoothly, with two glitches, one Denon’s and the other mine. I use banana plugs for my speakers, but the speaker terminals on the 1909 are not the same spacing as my plugs. Fortunately, I had a spare set of individual bananas, and it was a quick swap-out. The second glitch came during Audyssey set-up. Here’s a tip: pay attention to the menu icons. Sometimes you select a menu item by pressing “Enter” and sometimes by pressing “Left Arrow”. I bogged down at “Start Set Up” because I didn’t notice this.
After I figured out which button to press, the Audyssey set-up took about 15 minutes. I have a 5.1 system and it set all my speakers to “small”, with a crossover of 150 HZ. All the calculated distances were reasonably accurate and the level corrections were +9.5 dB and +9.0 dB for the fronts, +7.0 dB for the center, +5.5 dB and +7.0 dB for the surrounds and +3.5 dB for the sub. The sound quality and balance seem great to my ears, but then, my hearing is not especially acute. I will probably play with the settings to see the effects, but I doubt I’ll be able to improve on the sound quality.
The rest of my system consists of a Sansung LN-52A750, a Sony PS3 and a Directv HR21 DVR. I played a couple of BD’s and sampled some Directv HD-lite. The Audyssey Dynamic Volume seems very good, with 3 settings that apply progressively more correction: Day, Evening and Midnight. The effect is very noticeable and it’s quite effective at leveling the volume range, including during ridiculously loud commercials. The dialog is very easy to hear over a wide range of volume.
I owned an Onkyo TX-SR606 for about 3 weeks, but returned it primarily because of a very audible 60 HZ hum at normal-to-loud volumes with my PS3 and secondarily because it got very hot and I was concerned about the long term effects of the heat on the electronics. Naturally, I wanted to check out these issues with the 1909.
The displayed volume range on the 1909 is -80 dB to +17.5 dB. I tend to listen at levels from -40 dB to -20 dB, depending on the source. By the time you crank it to 0.0 db, the room is shaking…it’s just plain loud. I paused a BD on the PS3 and increased the volume to the maximum volume of +17.5 dB. At this level, there is a soft hiss in the speakers that is audible to me at about 8’ away. My normal seating position is about 12’ from the TV. When I decrease the volume to +5dB, the hiss is inaudible, even with my ear on the speaker. The hiss is a random, static sound, definitely not 60 HZ or a multiple. As far as I’m concerned, the 1909 is much better on this point than the 606 and it’s acceptable to me. I will be trying similar tests on other equipment to verify that the 1909 is free of the problem that plagued my 606.
After running the 606 in a room with an ambient temperature of 78 F for an hour or two, the temperature of the case reached 130 F. I ran the 1909 for a similar length of time and the maximum temperature I found was 105 F. A difference of 25 F might just make the electronics last longer. At a minimum, it’ll reduce the AC bills.
EDIT: One thing I noticed about the 1909 compared to the 606 is that the dialog seems crisper, clearer and easier to isolate from the other sounds. This is true whether the Dynamic Volume is on or off. Disclaimer: since I no longer have the 606, I'm relying on memory for this comparison, so I don't know how accurate it is.
So far, the 1909 is meeting my expectations. Unless I find something unexpected in the next couple of weeks, it’s definitely a keeper.
On another subject, but one related to the benefit that Audyssey Dynamic Volume brings to domestic tranquility, the Harmony One remote that I picked up with the new A/V equipment is just wonderful. I also got an IR2BT dongle so that the Harmony will control the PS3. My wife is very happy with the simplicity of the operation, and when she’s happy, all is right with the world.