Always great to get your feedback and experiences ronwils
, so please keep em coming!
I'm a bit concerned with the latest firmware too (that I finally managed to install with the right USB-cable) and what it does to the EQ function. Before the firmware I ran the Auto EQ twice, each time with decent results. I have not been tinkering with manual EQ though, but when switching between the results of 'Flat' to 'Auto EQ' there was a big difference in sound, with the latter sounding the best. After the latest firmware I re-ran the Auto EQ calibration procedure. Now when I toggle between the same 'Flat' to 'Auto EQ' there is no difference in sound between them (!). Very odd. Seems like some kind of bug to me.
Glad you are experiencing a three dimensional sound that is natural, warm and inviting with music through your AVP-18. I'm not quite there yet. It's a bit anemic and stale in character, with some of that sibilance you've mentioned before. Not all too enjoyable. My AVP-18 is connected to the NuForce MCH-300SEC7 amp, Supra HDMI and EFF-ISl analogue cables with Monitor Audio Apex speakers. Film soundtracks feel more balanced. Thanks for the tip on the NETGEAR. My Naim UnitiServe is a high end music server with very good component quality, but it too (like the NuForce) is new and still needs to be broken in. How many hours total do you have on your AVP-18 to date? I am around 200 hours or so, so I'd like to think it should be fully broken-in by now and can't see many radical improvements happening (?) unless I were to switch speakers, cables etc... but that's not an option at the moment.
Don't get me wrong though - enjoying HD multichannel blu-ray movies is a treat. It's a very honest, transparent sound in an expansive bubble with bags of detail presented by the NuForce duo. Effects steering is impressive also. Perhaps a bit weak of that "explosive dynamics" claim in their marketing, at least in my case, and also a bit of warmth and body is lacking to my ears. But coming from a Denon receiver with Audyssey and Dynamic EQ that basically colored the sound with loudness I'm probably just not use to this 'clean' sound. Also, I live in an apartment building so I cannot turn volume up to reference level, which might be holding the NuForce back a bit?
I am going to compose a more thorough personal review of the two NuForce units once I'm over 400 hours of break in and have ran the Auto EQ again.