Originally Posted by Boozehound21
... What's making the decision to buy the 80.3 difficult is the firmware not supporting the Audyssey Pro yet and the few reviews I've seen around various places bashing the unit for harsh treble and sibilance. The Denon/Marantz products seem to be at the other extreme with people describing them as laid back and dead in some cases.
I'd like to hear a subjective description of sound quality from anyone and especially Kal who's spent a lot of time with both the 7005 and the 80.3. Is the 7005 that laid back? Is the 80.3 too harsh?...
Yes, Kal is a great source of info. If the 80.3 is a special order item that you've never heard, I can understand your having some trepidation. The descriptor "harsh" suggests to me distortion, which I seriously doubt a functioning 80.3 would produce to an audible degree. Or perhaps simply too much treble? I'd be surprised if the 80.3 produced anything other than neutral and accurate sound once properly calibrated. Such a report is more likely due to the poster having messed up Audyssey/Autosetup or being too used to the way the system/room sounded before XT32.
I'm not aware of one credible report that would cause me to think there's really problematic coloration, or other significant SQ difference for that matter, between any of several very nice processors (i.e., 80.2/3 5008/9 and 4311/A100) frequently being comparison shopped. To the contrary, reports from sources I trust lead me to expect that they all have excellent, neutral SQ and sound far more alike than different. One such source who knows what to listen for and has actually had the chance to compare some of these models is FilmMixer. If I understand his posts, he indicates that the ones he's had, including the 5009 and 4311, sounded quite similar and quite good. See this post
, for ex.
I can assure you my A100 is indeed lively (dynamic, realistic) and in no way dull. The exc SQ from XT32 is further enhanced with Audyssey Pro which adds yet tighter/punchier bass and yet more detail, precise imaging, realism and envelopement to the surround bubble. What makes that particular model such a value purchase is that for around $2K, you can have the AVR from an authorized e-reseller, the Pro kit and a license and of course it comes with 9 quite decent amps (it's 11.2 capable with 2 ext amp channels). BTW, the Pro kit also allows you to tweak the curves to your preference.
edit: I now see Keith's post above and he is one of my "trusted sources".