I received my new R-972 a week ago. I emailed Jeff complaining that the low bass seemed weak and he emailed me a link to the latest fw upgrade.
I had no problems upgrading the firmware. I had to move my desktop PC to the receiver( simpler than moving the receiver to the PC; I don't own a laptop ). I upgraded both the main micom( microcomputer ) and the sub micom.
Here is the result of the firmware upgrade:
FW COMPONENT DELIVERED VERSION UPGRADED VERSION
SysMicom 1.31 1.34
DSP Part 09/09/23 10/01/25
HDMI Part 1.05 1.07
M? 50 kHz 100 kHz
XM Part 2.16 same
DSP Flash 090318/090415 same
DVP Part 09/08/19 same
Here is the Result of the Trinnov calibration/computation( done after the firmware upgrade ) that I am using:
Channel H ANGLE V ANGLE DIST -6 dB POINT LEVEL DELAY
FRONT L : 23 deg 92 deg 2.66 m 157 Hz -20 dB 7 ms
CENTER : 0 deg 103 deg 2.62 m 157 Hz -19 dB 7 ms
FRONT R : -21 deg 93 deg 2.66 m 157 Hz -20 dB 7 ms
SURR R : -109 deg 95 deg 1.47 m 80 Hz -18 dB 4 ms
SURR L : 111 deg 94 deg 1.48 m 80 Hz -17 dB 4 ms
SUBW : 90 deg 0 deg 6.25 m 21 Hz 1 dB 18 ms
The front L/R and surround L/R are the same speakers, Paradigm Reference Signature S1s; the center is the matching C1, and the subwoofer is a Paradigm DSP-3400( 14 inch active driver ). The speakers were positioned using string when I got my Denon/ Audyssey MultEQ XT, about a year and a half ago and have not been touched since. As you can see, I lucked into an almost perfect SMPTE 5.1 configuration. The center channel is below the TV screen, and the satellites all have their tweeters at approximately ear height from the sweet spot, so the V ANGLES all make sense( except for the subw ).
The only subw number that makes literal sense to me is the -6 dB point. I have no idea what the H and V ANGLE, DIST, LEVEL, or DELAY numbers mean for my subw. The Audyssey also produced a funny number for the subw distance, but they explained it away as having to do with delays introduced by the internal electronics of the powered subw. The Audyssey produced subjectively stronger and better low bass than the Trinnov.
I am convinced the Trinnov remapping works, but the mic setup is VERY touchy. Getting the mic pointed exactly right is not simple and can take 15-30 min of tweaking to get right. If the center is off by just a few degrees horizontally, the Trinnov will skew the acoustic image to the left or right to compensate: an error of 4 degrees is enough to really make it unlistenable( noticeably off center ). This receiver is not for the casual user.
The low bass is still a bit weak, even with +6 dB target installed and using Natural EQ( which is supposed to boost the upper bass ), compared with the Audyssey. I am thinking of turning off Trinnov Room EQ and using a separate SVS/Audyssey box to equalize the bass. The -6 dB point is inconsistent, too high for the fronts( 157 dB ); all of the satellites are the same make and model and should have similar crossover points. The Trinnov seemingly confused a room response dip with the anechoic -6 dB point for the fronts. The Audyssey set the satellite crossover at 60 Hz for all of them. The S1s have been measured at the NRC of Canada as being anechoically flat to below 100 Hz.
I think the problem with the Trinnov Room EQ is that there is only one measurement point. Audyssey MultiQ XT uses the average of 8 different points to compute the EQ filters, so they are less likely to confuse a room-related dip or peak with the anechoic -6 dB point( crossover point ). Obviously, a single measurement point is needed to get the geometry( remapping ) correct, but, according to Floyd Toole( the NRC Canada speaker wizard now working for Harman ), Room EQ always needs more than one data point, and that seems to agree with my experience.
Also, look at the channel-level numbers in the Results above. After the firmware upgrade, the numbers make no sense when comparing the subwoofer level to the satellites. The relative levels between the satellites is believable, but the subw is more like 20dB less than the satellites than 20 dB above them as in the Results display of the Trinnov calibration/calculation( Having the subw at that high a level would be totally unlistenable ). But this is a problem with the values displayed, not the actual values applied by the receiver. Before the upgrade the numbers corresponded to what you would hear( the subw was about 25-30 dB down from the satellites in the Results display and subjectively ).
Another( minor? ) issue is that the front R-972 display doesn't distinguish between lossy Dolby and DTS input and lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio. The receiver only displays "Dolby Digital" or "DTS" and there is no way of knowing which of the codecs is D-to-A converted and output to the speakers. The Denon receiver always displayed "Dolby TrueHD" or DTS HD MSTR" if it was decoding the lossless data. If I had a 7.1 config, I guess I could tell, but I don't, and I'm not getting one.
Also, even though I have set the video upconversion to "Bypass", the front display always says "v.upscale" and the red "video scaling" light is always on, even if I am running the video directly to the TV without going through the receiver.
So far, I have had no other problems with the R-972( but I am not, and will not, be using any of its video processing ).
On the whole, right now, I prefer the Sherwood/Trinnov to the Denon/Audyssey because subjectively the audio imaging and detail seem better with the Trinnov( probably a result of the Trinnov remapping ), even though the bass response of the Audyssey is subjectively better( deeper but without boominess or excessive bass ). Bass EQ can be applied the line-level subw out of the receiver, but if you want re-mapping and you want it now, the R-972 is the only place to get it.