I'm with you Bob...I think so too.
I don't work for HK, so I probably shouldn't care if people are trying to avoid them; but on some prideful level it does bother me. If I had perceived a single flaw thus far I wouldn't feel this way, but honestly this receiver is the sickness! It has done everything I have asked of it perfectly.
To compare, I spent a few hours at a friend's house last night with his new Pioneer 1019. Now, this receiver seems to be the darling of general consumer reviews and magazines. The cost is significantly close to the 2600 when purchased online. Here was my experience:
1. The remote control sucks, as it does not have shortcuts for anything. So much so, that when we decided to change the surround output type, the owner opted to go to the machine itself and push a button since "I can never find it on the remote"
2. Many people who buy receivers truly do not know, nor ever learn, how they actually work or how to properly set them. My friend was no exception. We were watching the UFC event last night and when I walked in he was outputting stereo sound. After about 45 minutes he was really frustrated that his surround speakers and woofer were not working and asked me for input. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and asked if he was certain that the settings on his DirectTV system were properly set to output digital sound. We checked, and they were. So, i then asked if his receiver was set to auto-detect the best audio output and he said it was...but we checked, and no -- he had overridden the output to a setting he said was called "sports" which (if so) must be a stereo mode intended to optimize sporting events when no digital sound is present...??? while I cannot confirm exactly how factual that is (or that the "sports" setting effects audio), it was his contention that he was therefore listening to the best sound for this sporting event. Once we changed it to auto--the receiver then selected Dolby Digital, and all the speakers kicked in -- he was happy.
3. He was happy, but I was not!! Once the digital signal was flowing, we got a TRUE audio drop out approximately ever 10 minutes! It was not on a fixed timer, but that is an approximate average time. I can reasonably assume that the problem was not from the DirectTV dish system as 1) it was not happening during the stereo sound output and 2) the video was never effected (it wasn't lost signal). HOLY CRAP was it annoying to keep losing the sound! Now...with sports, you don't really need to hear everything (but it would be nice)...but what about movies, tv, or music? The lost words or notes would be the end of me!
So what is the point to the HK? Well, I hope that the info above will do two things. 1) it will possibly explain my cynicism when people say that their receiver's (of any brand) don't work properly -- as I am certain that people similar to my friend, who don't really understand the product, might write a post all about how the receiver falsely claims it can do Dolby Digital when in fact it can only do stereo (or maybe how the receiver works sometimes but not others)!! 2) it will support my contention that what the HK suffers from is only losing sound when changing audio decoding-type, but not a TRUE drop out in the middle of the action -- a problem that is still far too prevalent across many competing devices (even the current darlings of the consumer review world).
On a somewhat related note -- I would like to give some props to HK in regard to 2 things which I think would have helped my friend last night. 1) although I hate the look and feel of the HK remote, it does some things very well and wisely has shortcut buttons for both "video modes", "audio effects", and "surround modes". Even if he could not have self diagnosed his problem...I think that purely by looking at the remote and seeing these options he likely would have started button mashing and eventually resolved his concern. 2) the visual GUI is worth every penny even for ME, and I didn't mind the older, non-user-friendly OSD (or rather, i didn't use it, I did things via menus on the receiver). For a novice user, the GUI is so clear, simple, and easy -- that I feel very comfortable betting that my friend would have solved his issue by navigating the GUI.
I do also want to say that I do not totally
discount all of you that are having problems, particularly those explained by the 1600 owners. I am certain that the HK has flaws that I have been lucky enough not to witness due to a strong compatibility with the other components in my system. On this topic, who knows what my story will be in the weeks ahead as I sold my 2006 DLP yesterday for a not-yet-purchased replacement (probably an LCD). I hope to have as much perfection with the new component as with the old.
Anyway...I am going to fall back upon this once again and hopefully people will take solace in it. If you buy your HK from an even half-reputable retailer, you really have nothing to worry over. If the device is defective (or even if you just don't like it), either HK or the retailer will take care of it. So, trust in your own level of confidence and understanding with what a receiver is and how they are used -- try it for yourself, see what you think...then you'll never wonder, you'll always know; and, if you have a bad experience...or a good one...please tell us here! I'd love to get a better understanding of how great or how flawed these things are...because I am still firmly
on the side of great!