Originally Posted by thrang
In the guided setup there is, though I believe it is just to help the uninitiated connect things...there is a relay click when you are done, but all outputs are active. According to marantz, it uses these settings to "check polarity"?
IMHO and after checking both 4520 and 8801 manuals, I think that what is missing in the 8801's menu is something of the kind of "amp assign" (page 141 of 4520's manual).
In fact the 4520 and 8801 having (probably) the same processing structure, in the 4520 the path to the outputs can be split either to RCAs' (pre-amp mode only), either to RCAs' and internal amps (all other cases excluding pre-amp).
Now in the 8801, the same architecture has been (probably) kept but with XLR outputs being considered as amplifiers/speakers outputs. And at setup some sort of "automatic" process - based on some kind of "polarity" checking? - should determine if it's only RCAs' which are connected (this being pre-amp mode of the 4520) or if only XLRs are connected (internal amps use in case of 4520).
But then in an 11.x context, if in an 4520 all of its' internal 9 amps are used, the user has to indicate in the menu (through "main pre-amp assign" menu item) which channels are externally amplified. This is where (IMHO) the "automatic" detection of the 8801 misses the menu if only XLRs are used for connecting the amps. And there should be no problem if only RCAs' are used...
Solving this problem shouldn't be too complicated (for Marantz) as they can impose all 11+2 XLR and RCA outputs to be active all the time (but with the risk of a slight increase in noise), or they can introduce some kind of "RCA/XLR output assign" new item in the menu.
An RCA & XLR outputs all active mode being probably what made the second unit "suddenly" operate adequately, as it should have "automaticaly" switched into this mode through your connection of a single RCA, all other outputs being XLRs.
... and please don't ask why this problem appears only in DTS-MA and/or Dolby THD...
Anyway when my 8801 arrives (hopefully today), for the initial setup, I'll make an RCA connection for 2 channels - 1 Height and 1 Wide - so there can't be any "doubt" for an eventual automated detection system.