The proof is in the number of amps the company sells all over the world.
Good play I say.
When I went to audition my first pair of Dali speakers (Helicon 400s) they were connected to tens of thousands of $ worth of special Anniv Mac tube electronics-a stereo preamp and two monoblock amps. Very impressive, especially considering this setup was in the owner's otherwise unassuming flooring business company office.
The sound was really quite refined- yet a bit too "warm" for me. I felt I had to make an effort to hear the high end; the detail up there was nice but seemed as if it'd been rolled off a few dBs too many. I didn't know for sure if it was the speakers or the Mac gear and I was pretty sure I wouldn't come to appreciate that degree of audiophile warmth and smoothness at home. So I revisited for another audition, hauling along a Denon AVR 4310 to listen to in Direct mode. Bottom line, it wasn't the speakers. I was happy to get great speakers at a great price, and to never have to suffer upgradosis for pricey Mac tube gear.
As I said, some will welcome it. I don't really understand why some people would want an amp that had been deliberately distorted to create a 'pleasant sound'. But then again, there are a lot of tube amp fans around - not to mention those who favour the distorted sound of vinyl over digital. I just want accuracy to the source so, for me, an amp used as a tone control is a big no-no.
Why not just buy the Denon - their objective is to create an amp that is transparent to the source. Then, if someone wants a little more warmth, á la Marantz, they can just use a tone control or a PEQ or whatever. There's absolutely no sense in 'hard wiring' distortion into an amp on purpose.
Don't get me wrong - I really like Pioneer gear in general. I had a Kuro for a long time and loved it. I still have a fabulous Pioneer BD player that is used in our living room system and I love that too. It just seemed so shortsighted of them to create an automated room EQ system that doesn't EQ the subs. If the new version corrects this, then that would be a huge advantage for them IMO.
That's a good point, Selden. Although it does seem a little perverse to have to use room EQ in order to 'dial out' distortions that have been deliberately introduced by the equipment maker.
I've had tube amps. Yes, their sound is very seductive and inviting. And so long as one realises that the sound is not really what is on the disc, there's no problem. The real issue is that eventually you have no idea what you're listening to. If the disc has a warm sound of its own, then you now have 'double warm'. If the disc is neutral you have 'warm' and if the disc has a cool sound of its own then you may have 'neutral'. But you never really know what you're listening to, other than it sounds 'pleasant'.
If they're using engineers to help with their marketing, I’d expect to see them go out of business soon LOL.
That's a reasonable expectation, as put forth in Seldon in his post above. The theory being that if there is some intentional "smoothing"/roll-off of the highs, for ex., at any stage (preamp or amp) in the AVP, it will be "heard" by Audyssey as it comes out of the speakers and will be at least potentially partially compensated for as Audyssey attempts to match its own target curve. But perhaps not completely...
and in addition, to the extent that with Marantz' HDAM, better analog stage, whatever, etc., MAY actually be more accurate, less distorted, "closer to the music" and hence more musical, there may be improved (not "distorted") SQ. That benefit will likely be most evident in Direct mode but potentially audible even with Audyssey applied. Many audiophiles shunned Audyssey because XT would often take a bit of a toll on fine detail and imaging. Now XT32 seems to be much improved in many areas over XT and doesn't really seem to have an audible deleterious effect on the high end to my ears.
I was able to hear a bit of that XT-related SQ loss with my AVRs 2809 and 4310 (XT) with Audyssey engaged and that prompted me to explore a dedicated HT bypass preamp for high quality stereo recording listening with no DSP RC. Problem was, it was not really enjoyable trying to "listen through" the room's bloated bass to hear those delicate cymbal decays, subtle room ambiance on vocals, etc. Not keeping a high-end audiophile preamp saved me $ which I promptly spent on an Audyssey Pro kit. Now that's best of both worlds IMO-a nice step up in detail AND accuracy.
They did. And many of them had totally untreated rooms too. So the +/- 20dB swings in FR didn't bother them at all, but hey, that toll on fine detail, well, that was just unacceptable. LOL.
As batpig suggested, using timbre-matched smaller less-capable bookshelf speakers from the same OEM is a great way to go for wides and htz. I used little Dalis (he-he) did this to complement my FR/L Dali towers and it sounds great. Capable subs and the excellent bass management and EQ of XT32 make using towers superfluous (though they can be really nice in FR/L if stereo music critical listening is a passion of yours). The Ascend folks should be helpful in designing your surround system.
Of course the subs draw no power from the 4520 amps so you can add subs with impunity. Like heads, two subs is better than one-especially if you subcrawl place them for smoothest bass. I am not familiar with the Hsu line but I'd contact them with your room dimensions as its quite likely two of their smaller subs would be less costly and more than sufficient to vibrate you right out of your seat.