Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Western New York
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I have had a 1603 for almost a year now and am pretty happy with it, but there are a few things I'd like to mention.
For all of the bells and whistles, there is one major flaw, and it's my fault for not reading the fine print. I bought this receiver for my small living room to upgrade to HDMI and optical for a mostly digital setup, eventually add surround sound, and because it seemed capable of supporting my existing "zone 2" speakers in the kitchen.
The shocking limitation with the 1603 is that when set up in a 5.1 + 2 configuration, Zone 2 can only be sent analog content. That doesn't mean an analog version of the digital content. It means ONLY analog sources. In my current setup, that means Radio only. No pandora, no optical audio from my Mac Mini, no Airplay, and no HDMI audio from my TV.
My workaround for this--purists may throw up a little bit--was to loop the front pre-out signal back into the receiver via the CD analog input. I now leave the zone 2 source set as CD and my kitchen speakers always get whatever source zone 1 is playing. This works great for me as I'm not really interested in listening to two things at once, I just want to be able to turn the kitchen speakers or and off.
I'd like to know what others think about this or if there's something I'm missing. I also have a question about whether the front pre-out signal being sent to my kitchen is lacking bass and indeed getting only the front channel. If so, is there a way around this? I may have seen an answer in a comment and series of questions by jdsmoothie who mentioned using direct mode.
I should explain that I'm coming from an analog, 2.0 world with A/B speakers, RCA patch cables and tape outputs. It seems like I'm trying to achieve the impossible by combining whole/partial house audio with home theater. (Without spending a fortune)