Originally Posted by Jason@C&C
I'm a noob at this, but I've been really happy with Panasonic. I have two CRT's that never gave a problem, I have a 5085u that is wonderful. I should be picking up a BD60 at the end of the month because of the outstanding reviews. So now I come across this receiver.... I'd like a new receiver, as mine does not do HDMI. Everything else Panasonic does is raved about, how come there is such little talk about this receiver? I've read this thread a few times, but can someone do a real world summary of this receiver? Pros, cons, why this over say an HK 247, or a Pio 918/1018, or a Yamaha 663? Thanks in advance for your help.
I think the lack of excitement was because up to a few months ago it cost $500-800, a price range at which many people felt it was lacking features it should have - RoomEQ, more HDMI inputs, analog upconversion, and an on-screen display. OTOH, the use of D-amps means it weighs 12 pounds, runs super cool even crammed into tight spaces, and only draws 150 watts of electricity at peak.
Even with those problems, however, this Panasonic and the previous generation of Panasonic receivers with Class D amps are felt by many to outperform the weak, traditional amps of competing receivers by Onkyo, Denon, Pioneer, Yamaha, etc. The sound itself is open, clear, fast, precise, beautiful, and easy on the ears.
Set up is easy as long as you read the manual. For me, I love the simplicity. I don't have any analog video devices in my signal chain, but even if I did I'd simply connect the video through the receiver and run another cable to the back of the TV (or just run video straight to TV) - no big deal for me. The lack of video processing is nice because it keeps its hands off the signal.
I've owned a HK 247 - stay away at this point. The Panasonic has an additional HDMI input. The video processing is terrible and a nightmare from the HK - anything below 720P is automatically upconverted and resent to the TV for reconversion - this leads to jaggies, noise, muted colors, etc. No fun. While the remote on the Panasonic is spartan, the HKs is overkill to the extreme. There are buttons which don't even do anything, and they're all tiny. Build quality is not so great either - I had three RCA connectors pull out when I disconnected it (and I pulled/twisted gently). It weighs a ton, which many people like, but since the Panasonic brings just as much power to the table (likely more, and likely cleaner) there's no reason to pay the same for a refurb from Harman as you can get this Panny new.
The Yamaha and Pioneer are both very nice units that have some of the features reviewers complain about the Panasonic lacking, but they both cost more. These Panasonic digital receivers are poorly understood by consumers and reviewers alike, and to those of us they appeal to they are simply the best deal around, even at higher prices.
For more information, you can consult the XR55/57 or XR70 owners threads. Those models are very similar to this one, just without/with fewer HDMI jacks, a smaller chassis, and less power.
Buy with confidence, Panasonic fan.