NOTE: I edited this post in July 07 to update my components/links and to let you know that the 702B does NOT support 1080p, so if that's important to you look elsewhere.
NOTE: I edited this post in April 06 to clarify some points and provide more specific information about the 702B. Enjoy
I've noticed several threads on the RX-D702B, but now that it's shipping I thought I'd start a thread specifically for owners. I received mine about 2 weeks ago and have been testing various features since then.
My home theater consists of the following
My house has a great room with a 15' alcove inset 29 that allows me to have all three televisions side by side. I'm a big news and football junkie and with this setup, which I call Dolphin-Vision
, I can watch four DirecTV Sunday Ticket games at once. Two in HD, two on the 50" (one being in the PIP window of the UTV). I use the CRT's to watch news and sports channels without having to turn on the 61 (quieter and saves bulb life). The URC-200 remote transmits via RF to MRF-100 IR Expander so the remote can be used from anywhere in the house.
Enough on the theater components, now for my RX-D702B reviewInputs:
On the rear of the receiver there are 2 HDMI inputs, 2 HD component inputs, and 3 assignable digital audio inputs (2 optical, 1 coaxial). On the front there's a composite/s-video video input and a 4th digital audio input, both hard-coded to the AUX source.
Only 3 of the 4 HD video inputs can be directly assigned to a source because the first HDMI and component input are hard coded to the DVD source. The second HDMI and component input can be assigned to either the VCR or DBS sources. Some have said that only 3 sources for 4 inputs is a deal breaker, but you can use the 4th input in a roundabout way. Each source can be switched to all of its available inputs (i.e. the DVD source can toggle between its composite, s-video, component, and HDMI inputs). So if you have a 4th HD device, you can plug it in to the other HD DVD input and use the video input button to switch to it when necessary. Similarly, you'll need to use the audio input button to switch the DVD to another audio input. If you use HDMI as one of the digital audio inputs for the DVD, this is not a big deal. Just assign one of the 3 rear digital audio inputs to the DVD and the other 2 to the VCR and DBS. Now you can directly switch to 3 of the 4 HD sources by pressing the DVD, VCR, or DBS buttons. You can indirectly choose the 4th HD source by pressing the DVD button, then pressing the video and audio input buttons. To switch back to the other HD device, press the video and audio input buttons a couple more times. If your universal remote has a macro function, you can accomplish this with a single press on the remote.Addendum:
Since writing this review, I found a way to switch to the component DVD input using the TV source button (allowing direct access to both DVD video inputs), although the input resolution cannot exceed 480i. You can find more information here...
4 Month Update: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...51#post7333151
Instructions to use the TV source to switch to the 2nd DVD input: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...76#post7358576
I use this trick to access the DVD player via the TV source and my HTPC via the DVD source.Input Setup:
Here's how I decided to use the inputs
- The DVD/VCR/DVD Recorder is connected to the DVD component input. I know this will sound weird, but since I am using the "TV source trick", the coax digital audio output of the DVD is actually assigned to the TV source, with the optical digital audio output of my shuttle HTPC assigned to the DVD source.
- My Shuttle HTPC connected is connected via a DVI/HDMI cable connected to the DVD HDMI input. See the "4 month update" post to see how I can switch between this input and the component input connected to my DVD player.
- The XBOX 360 is connected to the only assignable component input, which I've assigned to the VCR source. I've assigned one of the 2 optical digital audio inputs to this source.
- One HD Satellite Receiver is connected to the only assignable HDMI input, which I've assigned to the DBS source. I'm using the same HDMI input for audio, with no other digital audio input assigned.
- Since I used the HDMI cable for the audio input of the satellite receiver, I was able to assign the third rear digital audio input to the TV source, which is the only audio source on the receiver. I'm going to connect this input to a digital audio switch connected to the outputs of my F38310, Ultimate TV, CD and/or other audio sources. This is important to me because I often want hear audio from these sources without switching the main TV to a different video source.
Addendum: Since writing this post, I've had several frustrating experiences with the TV source. It's supposedly an audio only source, but I've discovered an issue that could be considered a "bug" or a "feature" depending on what you're trying to accomplish. In the above case, I had to scrap my plan to put a digital audio switch in front of the TV source because sometimes the video can change when you press TV (see my post a little further down this thread for the details). That is the bug However, if you want to use TV to switch to the component DVD input, then this is a "feature" See my "4 month update" post for the specifics. I now use TV as a 2nd DVD digital audio input.
- The Laserdisc player is connected via composite video cable to the AUX input on the front of receiver. This may sound strange as an s-video input is available, but the native output of any LD player is an NTSC composite signal. If I were to use the s-video, I'd be relying on the LD players comb filter to produce the s-video output from the composite source. Since the receiver has an undoubtedly superior Faroudja video processor, sending the unprocessed composite signal to the receiver is the way to go. I'm using the 4th front digital audio input for this source.
- These last connections effectively create a 2nd video zone, but have nothing to do with the 702B . By connecting the s-video outputs of the HD satellite receiver and X-Box to the DR-MV1, I not only get a DVD Player/Recorder via component output to the 702B, but also get a 2nd video zone via its s-video output to the 50 TV in the main room, and RF modulated output via coax cable to another TV in the bedroom.
Since this is not dual-zone receiver, I didn't attempt to connect the video output of the 702B to anything other than the 61Z585, which has one HDMI input. A single HDMI cable connects the receiver to the TV.Video Performance:NTSC Analog SD (composite, s-video, and interlaced component video)
The receiver converts all signals to HDMI as advertised, but does not change the output resolution. I've confirmed this by using the service menu on my television to display the source resolution as I switched to each source on the 702B. However, the receiver does deinterlace all analog 480i inputs into 480p. The manual states that the Faroudja DCDi eliminates jagged edges generated in progressive scan conversion and that this function is only applied only when NTSC analog video signals are used (page 1). Laserdiscs look as good as you could hope for, considering the NTSC source. To get a comparison of the video with and without the receiver's processing, I ran a second composite video output from the player directly to a video input on the TV. Then I switched between the two inputs while watching an A-B roll of a segment of the disc. The receiver's DCDi'd video had substantially less digital artifacting than the unprocessed video feed. This was even more clear when I used my HD Tivo via s-video or component outputs. When the Tivo is set to 480i, the output is MUCH better for SD material than when it is set to 720P. If you want the best SD satellite/cable picture quality, I highly suggest connecting your STB via component outputs and setting the STB to 'native' video output mode. This will allow the 702B's DCDI to kick in for any 480i material, providing the best picture, although there will be a pause when changing channels between SD and HD channels as your television syncs to the new video resolution.Component and HDMI HD
High definition component sources are converted to HDMI and look great. 1080p IS NOT
supported by this receiver, but other than that, the source resolution is passed through to the HDMI port. My XBox 360 at 720p looks better via HDMI from the 702B than it did directly connected to the monitor via component cables. This means that the receiver has better conversion to digital than my monitor does, but you may get different results with your equipment. HD video via HDMI from the satellite receiver looks identical to when it was directly connected to the monitor. There is a slight pause when selecting HDMI inputs, but that's to be expected due to the HDCP encryption handshake on these sources.Speaker Setup:
My speakers are 5.1, so that's how I configured the receiver. There are speaker posts with banana plug sockets for all 7 speakers, but you cannot use dual-banana plugs due to the spacing between the posts. The Smart Surround setup function didn't work with my speakers so I used the receiver's pink noise test in conjunction with my trusty Radio Shack sound pressure meter to calibrate. The subwoofer is included in the test, which is a nice touch. Each speaker can be adjusted individually for distance, which affects the delay, and for volume. Most settings can be adjusted with either the on screen menu and remote, or at the receiver with the source/jog dials and display window. There are exceptions such as the audio input label can only be changed from TV to Sirius at the receiver, while changing the video and audio input used for each source can only be accomplished via the remote.
Note: Although my TV has a center channel line input so it's speakers can be used as the center channel, this receiver does not have a line output for the center channel, so I had to use a center channel speaker
. The receiver does have a center channel localization setting to make the sound appear to come from the center of the screen though.Audio Quality:Movies
It's nice to finally be able to switch to a high definition source and have the audio change with it. Besides that, the audio quality of the receiver is excellent to my untrained ears. There is no hiss at high volume levels during quiet movie passages, and I hear no distortion during very loud house rattling passages. The receiver automatically picks the best surround mode based on the input signal, but you can manually change it to what you want from the remote. For 2 channel material I recommend the PLII MOVIE mode.Music
Music on the receiver sounds great. I used the Eagle's Hell Freezes Over DVD in both PCM and DTS to test. One of my favorite tracks is Seven Bridges Road because each voice comes out of a different speaker. There is a 5 band digital EQ that can adjust + or - 8 db at 63, 250, 1k, 4k, and 16k Hz. Everything I played on the D702B sounded good to me. For stereo material I recommend the NEO:6 MUSIC mode because it outputs the unaltered stereo to the left and right speakers then creates material for the other speakers that give the music depth.USB and Wireless
The receiver has a USB input that can be used via direct connection to the receiver or via a wireless USB dongle. When either is plugged into a computer (Windows or Mac), plug and play automatically detects a PC Speaker device that reroutes all PC audio to the receiver. I tried the wireless dongle with my laptop and it worked well, but this source is 2 channel only.Conclusion:
While the RX-D702B is certainly not perfect, for the most part all I would do is add additional audio and video source buttons and make the 4 HD and digital audio inputs completely assignable. This shortcoming can be worked around and for my money the receiver is well worth the price and is a keeper. I'll be happy with it until receivers become available with mega-HDMI inputs and multi-zone outputs that, dare I say, not only output HDMI, but can also downconvert to NTSC if desired, allowing me to keep my SD TV's a little while longer ;-)Addendum:
The above is my original conclusion, which I still basically agree with, but I would like to add the following...
Discovering that there is no audio source on the 702B that can be switched to without changing the video (sometimes) disappointed me. I have three TV's in the main room and I wanted to switch to the audio of any of them without changing the video on the main TV. Since "normal" people don't have 3 TV's in their home theater, this is not likely to be an issue for you (and I've gotten around the problem by just turning up the volume on the other 2 TV's when I want to hear them
), but it still annoy's me.
On the other hand, most of us want to use both of the high quality DVD video inputs (component and HDMI). Discovering a way to do that with the TV source (albeit at 480i for the component input) makes the connectivity situation for the 702B a tad better than what I originally described.
Another point of clarification is that the 702B does not upscale video
. It deinterlaces 480i to 480p via Faroudja's DCDi, and passes everything else at it's original resolution via HDMI, that's it. If you want a receiver that increases the resolution of the source material then the 702B is not for you. That being said, why does it have to? Most HDTV monitors do a fairly good job converting 480p, 720p, or 1080i material to their native resolution, be that 720p, 1080i, or 1080p. It's the 480i sources that look terrible on these monitors, mostly because of their inexpensive 480i deinterlacers. Mine is no exception, so whenever I watch SD material, I've learned with the 702B to keep the resolution of the source at 480i, even if it is capable of higher resolutions. Now my monitor, which does a good job upconverting the DCDi deinterlaced 480p to higher resolutions, creates a much better image than it would have without the 702B.
Keep in mind that DCDi only processes video on the analog inputs of the 702B. All HDMI inputs bypass this processing. Be careful that any HDMI components you purchase that output 480i material have a good deinterlacer since you will not be able to take advantage of the one in the 702B
Lastly, HDMI is still on the bleeding edge and there are all kinds of player/display compatibility issues that can be introduced when you insert an HDMI receiver between them. After reading some of the threads of other higher end HDMI receivers that upconvert, the extra processing they perform can make them less compatible with some HDMI devices (which can be notoriously finicky due to their secure HDCP encryption handshake) than the 702B, which passes the original signals through unprocessed.