No PLIIz, can't disable HDMI passthrough, no 1080i component in to HDMI out
Bought this on a recommendation from the sales clerk at the store I was buying my TV from. He said a lot of manufacturers are cramming too much stuff in their receivers and that sound quality suffers as a result, so his recommendations were Denon, or Yamaha. PLIIz was number one on my feature list, and he said "Yep, they have it, they call it Presence".
Got it home and got it all set up. Right off the bat the OSD felt really cheap compared to the Onkyo TX-NR1009 I owned previously, but it did the job so it wasn't a big deal.
HDMI passthrough is on by default and can't be disabled. That one irked me. I know that the people who will be using this setup will be very inconsistent in turning things off, and won't even have the patience to hold the remote up for a few seconds after hitting "All off" (Logitech 650), so there's a good chance some stuff is going to be left on. If the receiver goes off but the TV stays on, they will just walk away from it (dealing with unsupervised children here), so I'd much rather have a black screen sitting there for ~3 hours before TV auto-offs than something that may have a logo and cause burn-in (plasma).
But whatever - it's one small thing, I'll just stress the importance of making sure everything is off, and life will be fine ...
Strike number two came when I hooked up a first gen Xbox 360 via component which is all it had available, and the video didn't show up over HDMI. Pulled out the manual and low and behold, it'll output a 480i component source over the HDMI, but nothing with higher resolution than that. Hooked up component cables from the receiver, reprogrammed the remote, sighed, and moved on.
Strike number three came when I got the shelving for the high speakers, and finally hooked up these "Presence" speakers I've been waiting for so long to hear. They only work while DSP modes are active? Are you kidding me? I hate DSP modes. Ok, I'll give it a try anyway. So I throw on a few things that should engage those speakers - rain scenes, stuff with helicopters, sports games - and cycle through the DSP modes, and absolutely nothing is impressing me at all.
I go online and do some reading and discover that Presence is great for music, but so-so, at best, for movies.
I did try out some opera and classical with some of the hall modes and such, and yeah, it sounded good, but I bought this for a home theatre, not to listen to opera and classical all day. The reviews I've read about PLIIz lead me to believe these high speakers would be very impressive, and I wasn't impressed, so I called the store and asked how much restocking would be - thankfully they told me there would be no restocking fee. I packed it all back up, brought it back, and brought one of the brands he recommended against home instead - the brand doesn't matter as I'm pretty sure the straight PLIIz implementation should sound the same from any receiver that does actual PLIIz. Hooked it all up with the speakers exactly where they were with the A730, and popped in V for V and skipped to the rain scene.
Blew me away.
Night and day difference between DSP + Presence, and straight 7.1 + PLIIz ... and the fact that I'm not forced to use a DSP mode is the icing on the cake, the ice cream on the side, and the cherry on top. I really hate DSP modes, especially for 7.1 sources when I have a 7.1 setup.
I will not buy another Yamaha receiver until they put in actual PLIIz support, or whatever the matrix/extrapolate-of-the-month is when it comes time to upgrade, and I'm going to warn everyone I know away from these if they're thinking of upgrading - unless all they plan on doing with it is listening to classical and opera - then they've got a really good receiver here for that.