Originally Posted by John Clark
I've heard great things about the soundfield the Trinnov processor creates. Do you own one, and have the truly resolved the HDMI, and other, bugs, as reported?
FWIW, I went on an AVR buying/replacing spree after my old Denon AVR-4308ci/A crapped its digital board after less than three years of use - literally on Christmas morning last year! - and Denon's customer support basically said, "sucks to be you. It'll cost you $550-650 to fix, assuming we have the part. Which we won't bother to find out until you actually send the thing to our nearest authorized service center on your dime." I had all Denon boxes on December 24, 2011, within a quarter I had purged all the Denon boxes from my homes because of their risible after-sales support. (Note: Denon and Marantz share customer support resources.)
After surveying the field fairly extensively, now I own two MRX 300's and an R-972. I looked at Onkyo, but ultimately didn't see that they offered anything reasonably priced that would allow me to use Audyssey Pro to delete-option Audyssey's crappy speakers midrange compensation notch. I didn't look at Yamaha or Pioneer except cursorily, and that simply to determine that their room correction system are still too primitive. Marantz...not considered for the reason mentioned above.
I use the MRX 300 in the main system, and the R-972 in my office nearfield system, though I also plugged it into the main system. The second MRX 300 was driving the nearfield system, but it's currently in its box to be moved to a vacation home.
-I didn't get any HDMI bugs on the R-972 in the main system. (HDMI sources: AppleTV3, Oppo BDP-83.) However, I also don't have cable, and didn't watch any movies, because movies are not important to me. (I did, however, listen to both an SACD and a DVD-A, without issue.)
-The value of Anthem's QuickMeasure in helping set up a system in the first place (speaker placement, toe-in, etc.) cannot be overstated. At least for those who aren't already familiar with a good swept-sine based measurement program, such as FuzzMeasure, and have a calibrated mike, etc. (It's the only
way to get a good measurement of the surround placement, absent a custom-authored multichannel disk with swept sine test tones for each channels.) It's easy to use, and accurate enough to give a good picture without being so detailed that the novice user ends up chasing inconsequentially narrow FR errors. If every
receiver with a built-in calibrated measurement system doesn't implement a QuickMeasure copy in their next generation of AVR's, then they're simply negligent. It's that useful.
-In three different systems, Trinnov did a markedly
better job of sub-mains integration than ARC or Audyssey MultEQ XT. With both ARC and Audyssey, I've needed to do some post-RC tweaking on my subwoofer processor, because the measurements the system takes don't properly account for the interaction of the mains and subs in the room. Trinnov, at least in my n=3 sample, got it right every time.
-Trinnov's remapping function is not needed in my setup, so I don't use it and wouldn't expect it to do anything. (Though I am interested in the "wide W" front setup that is mentioned in the Trinnov notes thread. Might be fun to try.) Outside of Trinnov's superiority in mains/sub integration, I find both systems do an excellent job. Both my main system and nearfield system, like any competently-designed multichannel system, uses three identical speakers, at the same height, and in the same orientation. Accordingly a great job of creating an immersive sound field without the need for band-aids. Both Trinnov and ARC solved the primary issue in my main system, which was lower mids/upper bass bloat due to the front mains being practically against the wall behind them.
-Overall, the Anthem's user interface is way, way better to actually use.
-No loudness compensation on the R-972, whereas MRX has Dolby Volume's volume modeler. I find loudness compensation, especially in the modern forms (DV modeler, Audyssey Dynamic EQ) very useful for lower-level listening.
-Hopefully Anthem will add impulse-response based distance settings to future iterations of the MRX. The tape-measure method is crude for mains, and utterly ineffective for systems that properly employ multiple subwoofers to smooth out the modal region response. For my multisub system in the main system, I plugged in the Trinnov-generated vector sum "distance" of the subs into my MRX, replacing an iteratively-derived value, and found I was able to reduce the amount of EQ required for ±2 dB response from 16-200Hz. (For now on, I'm always going to set distances based on impulse response measurements.)
-I did a quick level-matched (actually
level-matched, i.e. matching voltage on the speaker terminals at 1kHz) sighted comparison, and based on that, at least in 2ch mode, I doubt anyone would ever hear the slightest difference between them.
-The R-972 is physically a much larger box.
-Not an issue unless you're using a separate amp, but the RCA shields on the R-972's preouts are actually built to stay on when you disconnect a cable. It seems the MRX's preout shields are designed to break away...
-Both seem to use the same binding posts, which are nice in part (clear covering so you can see the colored ring keyed to the CEA speaker color coding standard from above), and frustrating in part (collared, so really only bananas are practical). On my two units, the Sherwood's seem slightly better. The MRX's wobble a bit. But the inability to use spades (or easily use bare wire) is more of a demerit for the R-972 than the MRX, because R-972 is already so deep. The MRX plus even excessively long bananas posts is still going to be less deep than the R-972. Still, I don't get why all these AVR's don't just move to banana jacks instead of faux binding posts. Or, for that matter, Phoenix terminals for speaker output, as they are more compact and certainly cheaper. Or Speakons, as they're objectively the best loudspeaker connector around - inherently insulated, multipolar so as to be impossible to hook up in reverse polarity without intentionally rewiring the connector, and quick-disconnect, and positive locking without the need to screw in the plug as with Phoenix terminals. Obviously, sound-wise it is no different from any other connector - is perhaps a bit much, even though I bet a 2-pole Speakon terminal costs about the same as cheap faux binding posts and doesn't take up much more space.
I ended up deciding to keep the MRX 300 in the main system and use the R-972 in the nearfield system for five reasons:
(1) ARC didn't do a good job on my nearfield system, perhaps because it expects more variance in measurements due to different seating position. Trinnov's "4 mikes at 1 go" measurement system seems better suited to a nearfield setup.
(2) ARC, after I properly corrected the upper bass using sweeps through the mains and multisub system, rather than discrete measurements of each, does a fantastic job.
(3) I didn't want my fiancee to deal with an AVR in the main system that requires more of a, shall we say, expert touch. The MRX's only material usability flaws are the long turn-on delay (which means the Harmony One's "Help!" button often gets pushed to turn everything on right), and the lack of ability to set a Dolby Volume leveler setting independently for each source. (One can set a DV modeler setting for each source.) The R-972, to start, doesn't have an on-screen volume bar. Furthermore, its IR remote sensor is a lot more picky, even when the room is sprayed with IR by a Harmony One. (I don't keep my AVR front-and-center, because equipment racks between the speakers are deleterious to sound. It's off to the side and mostly hidden out of sight by a daybed. Also, I do think the user interface could be better thought-out.
(4) I was able to set up the R-972 as a 5.1/2.1 system in two rooms with Trinnov correction, all powered by the AVR, because my study is close enough to the master bedroom that running three wires (L/R speaker, RCA for sub) wasn't an eyesore. That let me pull the Meridian 551 integrated amp out of the bedroom. Less boxes is always a good thing.
(5) The R-972 didn't easily fit in my living room. Just a little too deep, with bananas. For reference, the Sherwood A-965 separate amp (a fantastic piece, for those who don't might an 80lb Class AB boat anchor) does fit and is used in my main system. But it has traditional multiway binding posts with no collar (keyed to the CEA standard as well, but solid-color rather than clear-with-a-ring-at-the-tip) and a cross-drilled center post, so I was able to use spade lugs and RCA's with short barrels to keep the gross depth down.
Originally Posted by Venomous
Yup and onkyos flat out suck, prematurely breakdown and onkyo is a warranty nightmare..you would think I learned my lesson after owning three of them...
Ditto Denon. These companies just haven't trained their customer support staffs to adequately meet the reasonably expectations of customers who plonk down four figures on an AVR. Anthem's after-sales support, from my limited experience - which I hope stays
limited because the box continues to work for quite a while! - seems much better.