Okay guys, I guess that I am the first one to get this beast setup (well sort of...), so I thought that I would try and answer a few questions if I can. I am not an AV Professional, just a home enthusiast.
I have the 4308ci connected to: (I attached an picture of my setup below)
Display - NEC PX-61XR4A Plasma
Running 7.1 Speaker Setup
- Front - Atlantic Technology 8200e LR
- Center - Atlantic Technology 6200e C
- Side L/R Surrounds - Atlantic Technology 8200e SR
- Rear L/R Surrounds - Atlantic Technology 8200e SR
- Subwoofer - JL Audio Fathom 113 (Absolutely SCARY Sub, BTW
- Toshiba XA2 (Connected via HDMI)
- DirecTV H20 (Connected via Component Vidio + Optical)
- DIY MCE PC - MonCaso Chassis
- ReplayTV DVR (Connected via Composite Video + Optical)
- DLink DSM-320RD Streaming DVD Player (Connected via Composite Video + Analog Audio)
- DLO Homedock Deluxe (Connected via S-Video + Analog Audio)
- Cheapo Insignia VCR/DVD Recorder (Connected via Composite Video + Optical)
Audio Only Inputs
- Elite CD Changer (Connected via Coax Digital)
I am by no means close to going through all of the menus to complete the setup of this thing. I'll dig into that tonight since I think that I finally have everything connected the way I want now.
So far, here are my *very* quick first impressions:
- The GUI is excellent. It takes a bit of getting used to to navigate around, but they have done a fantastic job of presenting the information logically. It seems to "auto-sense" Video and Audio connection types, so setup progresses very easily. Much of my late night was spent testing this ability to auto sense an input connection. I need to experiment further, but if this ability works out, I can connect multiple devices to the same set of inputs (eg. Two DVD Players to the "DVD" Input - one using HDMI, and the other using Component+Optical). I just need to program my MX-950 to ensure that the two DVD Players are never on a the same time. This will allow me to connect more than the standard number devices to the 4308ci.
- Audyssey setup is very easy. When you plug in the (included) mic, the Auto Setup menu pops-up on the screen, and asks you to place the mic at ear level in your prime listening position. It uses this position to calculate the speaker distances. After that, it proceeds to cycle a "Star Trek" zap gun type test tone around all of your speakers. It determines what speakers you have conected, and checks the phase (it reported that my right-rear was out of phase). After it completes this first pass, it prompts you to move the mic to a second listening position, then a third and so on up to eight positions. You can stop after five positions. After that you select the "Calculate" menu pick and it shows a bar with incremental progress until the calcs are completed. Then you have the choice to Review and/or Store the setup. Here is where I have a curiosity. Audyssey sets independent Level/Distance/Crossover Frequency for Mains/Center/Surrounds/Sub. It reported my crossover frequency for my mains at 150Hz, and I know that my Dunlaveys are -3db at 60Hz. It also reported the crossover frequency of my surrounds at 40Hz, and I know that the NHT Two's are probably -3db at 75Hz. I need to play with this a bit more, or set the crossover freqs manually. Everything else (Level and Distance) were perfect.
- Main Remote control. I need to work with this a bit more. The UI does not seem that intuitive to me yet. (Could be that it was 3AM or so when I was working with it
- HD Picture quality through HDMI is outstanding. I haven't spent enough time with this yet, so the 4308ci might have just been passing through the HD signal from my XA2. HD Channels through my DirecTV receiver look great.
- SD Picture quality. This is probably where everyone has questions. When playing an SD DVD through my XA2, I'mcertain that the Reon in the XA2 is doing the scaling and the 4308ci just passes the signal through. As everyone has mentioned, the XA2 does a remarkable job with SD DVDs. As a test, I played an SD DVD on my cheapo Insignia, and it looked pretty good. I might connect the Insignia via Component tonight, to see if there is a difference in quality. SD Channels through my DirecTV receiver look *good*. I need to play a bit more to remove the H20 scaler from the equation and let the 4308ci do the scaling. I'll work on that tonight. SD picture quality from my ReplayTV looks very good (maybe a touch soft). This is clearly the 4308ci doing the scaling. In my brief time of watching a few channels, I don't see any significant scaler artifacts on my 61" Plasma. I'll get a few more SD hours when I catch up on all of the shows that I missed while setting up the 4308 last night.
- Music played through the 4308ci is also fantastic. To *my* ears, very neutral and articulate. My old receiver was a Denon AVR-5600, which also sounded great, and the 4308ci is as good or better. I need to take more time listening. If you like the "Denon" sound, you will not be disappointed with the 4308ci.
SD Audio. Dolby Digital and DTS sound great for the brief test that listened to last night. I couldn't do much though, because I'm sure that my neighbors would not appreciate me firing up the JL Fathom at 3 in the morning
- HD Audio. Not certain about this one yet. No matter what Audio Language (Dolby TrueHD, etc) I chose on the HD-DVD, the 4308ci sees it as "Multi-Channel Input). The 4308ci has displays for "Dolby TrueHD", "DTS-HD", etc so I believe that this is more of a Toshiba XA2/HDMI 1.3 issue. I might have read somewhere that the XA2 will not yet pass the native high-def bitstream, so the receiver can do the decoding. I did not connect the multi channel Analog outs of the XA2 to the 4308. I will test more this evening when I can Crank'er UP
No wierd quirks to speak of yet (except the wierd UI in the Remote). The receiver seems rock solid. Okay, thats it for now. Fire away with questions, and I will try and respond.
Setup and tested all of the following functions of the 4308ci. All work great with no significant issues to speak of:
- Networking: Wired and Wireless
- Control of the 4308 via the built-in Web Server
- Audyssey 8-position
- Composite, Component, S-Video, HDMI Video In to HDMI Out
- Analog, Coax, Optical, HDMI Audio In to HDMI Out
- Upconversion/Upscaling of SD and HD
- DD, DTS, PLII and a few of the other non-HD Surround modes
- Streaming Audio: WMA, AAC, MP3, FLAC (non-DRM)
- Picture Serving: JPEG
- Audio and Picture serving through TwonkyVision on a NAS Server
- Restorer for compressed Audio
- HD Radio
- Internet Radio
- iPOD connection Audio and Video (not Denon's)
- USB Stick with Music and Picture files