I've had the HTR-5960 for a bit more than a week now. I am very pleased. I have been using it primarily for movies / SD and HD TV programs, but also spent a bit of time with music via DVD-A and CD. My speaker set-up, severely constrained by room limitations and WAF, is just the Athena Micra in a 6.1 configuration, so not exactly full range, high-end performers
, but sufficient for most of our use. The room is roughly 15 x 15 with one wall completely open to a dining room.
The 5960 replaced a Panasonic XR-55 in the same set-up. I enjoyed the XR-55, but, whether the model itself or some problem with my specific unit, I couldn't drive sufficient volume levels in some instances - particularly with some specific broadcast movie channels whose broadcast volume is always much lower than other channels (i.e., same volume setting generates quite different perceived volumes from different channels). My XR-55 was going into overload protection mode at volume levels that simply weren't sufficient for some circumstances (this was true even in movie scenes comprising mostly dialogue - i.e., without huge dynamic range spikes). I hoped the 5960 could correct this for us in our circumstance, and thankfully, it does so in spades. I do miss the smaller profile of the XR-55, but it's certainly a trade-off I'm happy to take
· Power. Addresses an issue that we had and can reach and sustain volume levels without distortion above any we will regularly use.
· Sound Field Programs: I'm having a lot of fun playing with Yamaha's various DSP options. With the XR-55, I pretty much just used various Dolby / DTS decoders and didn't ever use any of the proprietary sound field options, but I have been using Yamaha's built-in sound fields for some content and enjoying them.
· YPAO set-up. I know this is reported to have its problems and quirks, but I actually was pretty pleased with the calibration it offered up (with the little Micra satellites, it didn't choose to set my mains as large as I have seen others report). I haven't calibrated with an SPL, but, for example, checked the distances setting to see how close it compared to actuals and it was very close. I'm pleased with the output results of the various EQ and speaker level settings, but based solely on general listening.
· OSD. Helpful in set-up and configuration, though probably won't get much regular use.
· I wish the extended surround setting, useful with 5-channel sources, would be retained after the unit is turned off. I generally use Dolby EX / DTS ES to matrix a 5.1-channel input source into 6.1 output. The extended surround function resets to Auto if the unit is set to standby, and the unit won't automatically convert 5.1 inputs into 6.1 without changing Auto to EX/ES. (2-channel sources retain the setting to matrix to 6.1 channel).
· Flashy promotional stickers on front of unit that I worry will damage finish if I remove (waiting to hear from Yamaha on this).
· Tuning. I listen to a few FM stations every so often, and for the most part use the digital signals from my cable provider for local stations. But, where reception isn't an issue, I'd be happy to use the receiver alone rather than the cable box and TV (which I then turn off since my Harmony universal remote automatically powers it on when watching TV). Using the remote (or a universal remote) to tune stations is cumbersome since they have to be preset (and you have to remember the presets) - I would've liked a direct tune feature available from the remote.
We don't use (or intend to use) XM radio, so I could have done without. We don't use iPods for home listening and I prefer to use CDs or the occasional DVD-A when choosing to listen, but I anticipate that when the kids get a bit older, the iPod dock may come in handy. HDMI would be a nice to have for us - I use component through the unit from my HD STB (though it has HDMI out) and use my display's one HDMI input for direct connection to our DVD player. If and when we get a game console or something similar that has HDMI outs, I may look into a HDMI switch, but obviously the lack of HDMI on this receiver was not something that concerned me.
I know there is a wide range of opinion on brightness of various components, varied as they may be, and that Athena is often described as being bright, and Yamaha has also occasionally been described as being bright. Either I'm personally not sensitive to it, or its not an issue - I wouldn't describe my system as harsh or fatigue-inducing at all.
So overall, it suits our needs very well, we've eliminated a source of irritation from our previous receiver, and also added some additional features that are useful but not gotta have it sorts of things. Very pleased, and would recommend this receiver to anyone for whom it's stated features make a good fit.