Pros: Looks, ease of use, functionality
Cons: Lack of DTS decoding for music; future reliability?
Upgraded to the 818 from an HT-RC180 & can't really say if this sounds any better or not. After set up & running all 8 positions in Audyssey using a boom mic stand, listened to some of my fav cds/songs & since they were so familiar to me on the 180, not sure really what I expected but from all the glowing reviews etc, I guess I thought XT32 was going to make my speakers (Polk RTi A series) sound so much better than they do/did with the 180, & it just didn't happen. The music does sound a bit "cleaner", the sub is integrated a wee bit more for clarity of lows, & vocals are somewhat cleaner too, but I can't say it really justified the bump in price to achieve it. In the 180, Audyssesy could be used as an Equalizer, manual, or off; in the 818 it's either manual or off! I guess I could sit here with music playing & manipulate the EQ to my liking, much like I did with the EQ in my Trans Am, but it's such a subjective listening area to me. So guess I'll leave it on, but at 0 dB. The other thing I was so used to with the 180 was while listening to Sirius/XM on Dish, I had the listening mode always set to Orchestra & 2 ch audio to Neo:6 Music Audyssey DSX but the 818 has limited options for Neo/ DTS, one in THX mode which I don't care for. The up side to the 818 & listening to Dolby PLII Music Audyssey DSX mode is that it does activate the center channel & that was my main concern for using the Orchestra mode on the 180. But somehow, Orchestra mode on the 818 doesn't sound as pleasing as it did on the 180 so I'll give it some time, play with the buttons & eventually settle on what I like or don't. That's the name of the game! Overall, the 818 is a very competent machine, very heavy & looks great, much nicer than the 180. The fit & finish is better, seems to be a better quality of aluminum perhaps, nonetheless works. The 180 had a front panel that pulled down to open, the 818 you push the middle of the panel to open, looks nicer when closed. I did check the Onkyo website for any firmware updates & there was one from Oct '13, so downloaded that to a USB stick & plugged it into the 818 & took maybe an hour to install with no issues. Was a bit hesitant initially from all the things I've read, but really had nothing to fret over lol. Just want my unit to be as up to date as it needs to be & go from there! Hmm, 5 days into ownership, the 818 developed an audio issue. While watching satellite tv when the listening mode changed from program (Audyssey DSX) to commercial (PLII Movie DSX), my sub had a pronounced thump! Never had that prob with the 180, so turned off the sub, turned the A7s to Full Band & the thump was still evident with the A7s! So sent the avr back to OneCall for a replacement, arrives soon so am eagerly anticipating a trouble free listening experience for years to come! Update: After hooking up the replacement, some thump is still present when channel switching ugh. Bought new hdmi ferrite core cables & while that helped with pq & channel switching (old cables were 5 or 6 years old!), did notice the thump now & then, so must not be the avr. I have a Dish Network 722k DVR so went into the audio setup & played with the settings there, finally turning off volume levelling & the thump disappeared! Guess that is the fix?! Only downside to that is now the SD channels are way louder than the HD channels. All this troubleshooting gives me a headache lol. onkyo818001.JPG 177k .JPG file onkyo818002.JPG 168k .JPG file