Well; shipments have arrived and I'm moderately pleased. It's interesting that the "Virtual Channel" idea was mentioned here. That is my main complaint with the NR1402 - it does not have Dolby Virtual Speaker mode. I also seemed to be unable to use Audyssey set-up as I'm running a 2.1 system and this seems to only work with 5.1 configurations. Audyssey runs, detects my 2.1 set-up, but doesn't ever advance to the "Next" stage (assumingly because it's waiting to find the rear and center?). I have to "exit" out.
I have my speakers in a fairly-equi-distant triangle of 8ft. The sub is slightly ahead of the left front speaker - against a side wall - appx 18" clear space behind the woofer (where the base of a floor standing lamp is). The fronts are about 4" away from the back wall; my stands are on back-order so I have them up on some old Advents from the 80's (pretty close to the same height as the stands on-order). Almost looks like my old dorm room; much to the dismay of my wife. But my stands will come and all will be well with the wife.
I have the speakers pointed in towards the "sweet spot" just a bit - but I don't have an angle measurement for ya!
I'm not sure how to simulate a "Virtual Center" without Dolby Virtual Speaker mode. However, the Audyssey detection did leave the center channel "on" although there is no physical speaker there. I'm not sure if that is it's version of a virtual center or not. I've left it that way. I'm strongly contemplating an upgrade to the Marantz NR1602 which will give me Dolby Virtual Speaker, and network via ethernet. From what I read, Virtual Speaker could give me that last "sound piece" I feel like I'm missing and (if it works) would make me more patient for my center and rear speakers. Network connectivity might have value here-or-there; like with a remote control iPad app.
Listening to music is very satisfying; excellent even. I'm putting it through some paces with live Phish music, complete with horn section. I've set my speakers as "small", and have manually adjusted some settings. The Klipsch rw-12d has plenty of kick in my space, I've actually adjusted its volume to -3db; that seems to take a bit of the thud out.
Listening to TV is just okay. I'm not sure if I'm imagining it, but at low volumes I seem to really miss the center channel. The sound is a bit "hollow" as if I'm missing some midrange and I can't help but think a center channel would make those voices seem more in-front of me. However a live music Blu-Ray DVD played quite well (Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds acoustic concert). I've not sat down for a true "movie" test yet. Although not completely "tiny" the sweet-spot for listening isn't exactly as wide my 3 cushion couch.
However, this is still leaps ahead of my Samsung HTiB in musical sound quality, volume, and pure listening pleasure. Here is a quick summary-review of my equipment:Marantz NR1402:
Fantastic sound. I know they have the same parent company as Denon, but I can't imagine the sound being better (at the under-$300 mark). How tempting those feature-filled Denons are, and they get great reviews too, but I wouldn't gamble on losing that "Marantz-Sound" (but maybe I have a brand-bias in me some where). I only regret the lack of Dolby Virtual Speaker surround mode.Panasonic dmp-bdt220 Blu-Ray Player
: I bought this soley on the reviews on CNET. I don't have a large CD or DVD collection so I'm not fussy here. This player was under $100 and does everything I need - including streaming pandora. Hooked straight into the Marantz through HDMI.Time Warner Cable Box
: Hooked up to the Marantz through HDMI with no errors.Apple TV
: It is what it is; $100 streaming device.. It works; is hooked up to the Marantz through HDMI. AirPlay works - the YouTube app sucks but that isn't Apple TV's fault - the YouTube API simply sucks. We have better luck mirroring the iPad to the TV and using iPad apps or Chrome to find/play videos. It's best feature for us is the iTunes integration.Wharfedale Diamond 10.2 speakers
: using them as Fronts. Still playing with placement and settings - but very happy with them. A damn "good looking" speaker for sure. Once I get them up on stands it'll be real nice.Klipsch RW-12D
: it's possible that coming from HTiB subwoofers, I simply don't know what a subwoofer can do. But this one seems awesome. It provides floor shaking rumbles, but can be tamed too. I have it in "Flat" mode. Tried "Depth", but that was too deep.
My next steps are to finalize my decision on the NR1402 vs the NR1602; tweak speaker placement and settings to try and get a better movie/TV viewing experience; and find a universal remote (or app) that will consolidate all these various functions! If Dolby Virtual Speaker does what it says it does, then it would seem to be a must-have for 2.1 start-up systems that will still maintain a good amount of use as a TV/movie center.
Advice, comments, suggestions and arguements are welcomed!