Viewing Review: A great performer with plenty of guts - AVS Forum
A great performer with plenty of guts Edit
by videologist Combined Rating: 4.7
My primary desire was to have an AV receiver is to have a unit that delivers clear picture and audio quality, plenty of HDMI inputs ( HDMI (4 Inputs / 1 Output) with 48-bit Deep Color and...
Pros Cons
  • Powerful, plenty of HDMI inputs, SPDIF input and component inputs, excellent Burr Brown DAC and excellent picture quality
  • Remote harder to use than its predecessors, iPod/iPhone interface kludgy (but it works), AM/FM radio stations hard to program and recall
My primary desire was to have an AV receiver is to have a unit that delivers clear picture and audio quality, plenty of HDMI inputs ( HDMI (4 Inputs / 1 Output) with 48-bit Deep Color and x.v.Color) and can still take component, S-Cideo and SPDIF inputs, This unit does all that and more. Its the first unit that I moved to HDMI with and its so good that I still have it and have no desire to replace it at all. It offers 7.1 channels of thunderous power, more than enough to shake the walls in my medium sized living room for action and science fiction movies. Its never failed to decode the various surround sound formats of any DVD or Blu-Ray disc that I have tried. I donut even fuss with looking at what formats are offered any more, I just pop the disc in and it always sounds great, the Wolfson DAC delivers clear, smooth, detailed audio with very good voice reproduction, and reasonably realistic and enjoyable music reproduction.

The automatic room correction works effortlessly well, seems to equalize that room so well that I do not notice any obvious peaks or throughs in the THX Select2 Plus certified design certified audio output. I just plugged i the mic, placed it at my listening position, started the process fro the remote and listened to the test tines and the unit calibrated itself, Its was smile and sounds effective to me. My room is a bit odd shaped and always had odd peaks and valleys in audio response which are now completely gone. Its crystal clear natural sounding audio with room shaking bass when needed. No muddiness, just clean realistic sound.

110 watts per channel into 7 channels is enough to shake my walls and make my wife surrender to my theatrical needs. Analog to Digital Conversion by Burr Brown (192 kHz / 24-bit) and Wolfson WM8728 192 kHz / 24-bit DAC deliver the audio goodness.

The Deep Color feature provides rich very well saturated colors on my Deep Color enabled HDTV set, I especially enjoy how purples are finally rendered properly and easily visible (I have friends in the film industry and they always lamented how DVDs and pre-HDTV sets could never reproduce purples except early by accident). I donut think it offers HDMI Audio Return Channel but its not a feature that is meaningful to me right now.

Certified for iPhone input is convenient when I donut want visitors connection to my Apple AirPlay (Airport Express) which feeds digitally via fiber optic SPDIF cable. I use this almost daily to send pure digital sour material from my iPhone or MacBook Pro and it always sounds excellent (as excellent as the source material can be).

I don't recall the video processing chip manufacturer but its does such a clean job that I always have all input devices just pass the native/raw signal to the Pioneer Elite and let it do the processing. We never notice any artifacts or oddities at our normal viewing distances (nor when I sit very close to the screen when I'm intrigued by an interesting video detail). Well mastered Blu-Ray movies always look great and my DVDs never looked better. No one can ever tell that they have been scaled and of course animated DVD movies look spectacularly good as expected.

The regular setup was effortless, just plug in and go. Use MCACC to set the audio equalization and I was off and running.

My only area of any any disappointment was the user interface/remote. Its the typical jumbled mess of excessive buttons that is so very typical of these units. I can't say that its any worse than anyone else but I sure wish it was better. The reality is that I purchased the unit for its no nonsense delivery of consistently good audio and video quality and it always does just that. Switching inputs is easy for my family is easy because all the input buttons are at he top of the remote but if they need to do anything else, I get handed the remote because their eyes glaze over and they get this pitiful, help me, look in their eyes. This is extremely rare and so I donut consider it an issue and its certainly no worse than any other manufacturer with remote stat have a zillion buttons on them.

It would be nice it the while remote had lit buttons but only a few buttons in the center light up and its hard to find the button to turn the light on in the dark, so that could be better.

The bottom line is that this unit always sounds and looks great to us. We watch mostly science fiction, Star Trek, etc, plus action and Pixar and I just can't pick one movie out over the others to refer to because they all look good and enjoyable to the family and that this the bottom, line. If we delve into the movie and not get distracted by artifacts and anomalies then the unit has does its job this unit does exactly that for us. We find it highly enjoyable and allows us to appreciate all our high definition content as it was meant to be.
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