Thought I'd post a review for anyone not already steeped deeply in the world of AVRs. I've had mine for a few weeks now, and I remain convinced that it hits a nice sweet spot in price/performance. Not sure if terms like mid-fi mean much anymore, but I'm happy with the purchase of the 1712, which I might otherwise categorize as an entry level mid-fi A/V receiver.
My sources are Apple TV, Blu-ray player with Wi-Fi, and HD cable service. Speakers are PSB Alpha B1s in front, an Alpha C1 center, Dayton HSU10 subwoofer, and unknown built-in surround speakers. The 5.1 setup is in a medium-to-large main room, and there's an additional pair of built-in speakers in another room. With Apple TV and Wi-Fi Blu-ray, I didn't require networking in the receiver, but I could use second-zone functionality, even though that wasn't a priority. I just wanted to upgrade from a pre-HDMI receiver and retain as much audio quality with as few extraneous features as possible for the money.
I wanted to spend enough to get me out of the cheap tier, but not so much as to incur excessive bells and whistles or capability beyond my modest needs. I appreciate serious listening to a well-produced CD of a performance, but the reality is I rarely do that, and the bulk of my A/V receiver duty is for cable HDTV and streaming compressed rock music (at most 320 kbps), often with five-channel output for music while doing other things, which is not exactly the audiophile standard. Nevertheless, for the incremental dollar spent, my priority was quality audio, while being realistic about how good I need my components to be.
I narrowed down my search to the 1712 and the Marantz NR1402, which were the most compelling local offerings at $400, which seemed like a prudent price point. Other brands had less favorable mixes of features at the price, and stepping up to the entry level of the next tier of performance brands (NAD, Rotel) would double the investment. Yamaha seemed more apt to load up features for the price, Onkyo skipped the price point, Harmon Kardon seemed to have lost its luster, and I just didn't like the look of the Pioneer.
Marantz and Denon have the same parent company, so there's nothing to distinguish them at the corporate level. The Marantz probably fit my profile better with simplicity and proportionally greater audio quality with fewer features at the price point (at least in theory). I even listened to both in the showroom before buying, not that I expected to hear much distinction between them, particularly in that environment. So, with no discernable audio disadvantage and with the upgraded Audyssey version and multi-room capability in the 1712 for the same price, I bought the Denon.
One edge both the 1712 and 1402 have over alternatives is the Audyssey automatic audio calibration. I buy into this because I figure that the real-world room acoustics start to limit high fidelity quicker than expenditure on equipment will, and automatic calibration addresses that. Audyssey seemed superior to that of other makes, particularly at the price point, and particularly for the 1712, which has a more sophisticated version than the 1402.
It takes a while to get comfortable with the menus, and the manual can be vague, but everything you need is ultimately there, and you can maneuver around adeptly once you get used to it. There's good support in AVSforum for both the receiver itself and for the Audyssey software. Switching sources is much easier than it was with the pre-HDMI receiver, but still a bit fiddly. My wife is much more amenable to the new setup, although it remains complicated enough to completely discourage her mother.
As with many receivers, the second zone function only accepts analog signals, so you have to use parallel analog audio outputs (along with the primary HDMI connections) with your sources that you want to play in the second zone. Apple TV does not have analog output, so you might consider an Airport Express for iTunes audio streaming, or buy a simple converter for the optical digital audio output of the Apple TV. I opt to switch the speaker setup settings from zone 2 operation to front speaker B, which means the front left/right channels will play in the second room. But this setting still won't play multichannel in the main room and full stereo in the second roomit'll only duplicate the front left/right channels from the main room to the second room, which won't be full stereo if the main room is playing a multichannel format. So I just make sure I use stereo playback when using the front B arrangement. It's a hassle, but a minor hassle for how often I actually use it. I could have stepped up to a networking receiver that included Apple's Airplay, but for the extra $150 that would entail, I'm content to endure some inconvenience and get most of the same thing (not to mention that getting a $99 Express would still be cheaper).
It's odd to write a home theater component review that doesn't say much about sound, but, ironically, sound quality really isn't a primary distinguishing decision factor, especially for receivers within a close price range. Like I said, it was impossible to pick the 1712 and 1402 apart in a listening test in the showroom. That said, the 1712 sounds great, and is certainly not the limiting factor in my rig. I find that the high end of the frequency range sounds harsh when I push it hard (up to -10 db), but that's most likely due to the modest speakersthey're among the best bookshelf units available, but they're still bookshelf speakers. There's just going to be limits on the extent to which you can rock out on them. But at normal listening levels, detail in either music or video soundtrack is impressive. Instruments sound like instruments, not like abstract noises that sound like instruments. And there's plenty of boom and crash in movie soundtracks.
Soon Denon will be rolling out new products, so the 1712 will likely become discounted from the $400. That's a great value for sure. I managed to get $50 knocked off at the local big box store just for asking, although I was also buying an entry-level Blu-ray player in the same transaction, and it was a weekday afternoon.