1) I first confirmed the channel gains with the internal noise. Then I did my EQ settings, and rechecked the gains. They read exactly the same. Turns out the internal noise is not passing through the EQ, so the only way to get the channels calibrated (manually) when EQ is used, is to play an external test disc. No problem, except while it’s playing you cannot trim the gains, as that menu activates the internal noise. I believe others have already commented on this. It was easy to work around it.
2) Some “digi-buzz” was heard from the speakers. It was not a ground loop, as it was not mains hum, and also hitting Mute totally silenced it. The same is buzz heard from the headphone jack. It is much lower when the digital source is not detected, as then there’s some other muting happening, but as soon as some playback starts, even silent audio, the buzz starts, and if you pause the source, the buzz hangs on for a second before it mutes.
3) I like these new HDMI chips. No wild flashing when switching between sources. The screen just goes black, then the new source comes up. But I did have a handful of occasions over the day where the screen went blue while switching from one area on a Blu-ray to another, like from the trailers to the main menu. Switching to another source went to the other source, but back to the BD was still blue. A Stand-by recycle cleared it each time. This was with an Oppo 93, connected with AudioQuest Chocolate that works fine with the other gear.
4) Even though I have a 7.1 setup, I was playing some 5.1 content and noticed that (except for Dolby D), there is no way to hear the basic 5.1 track with the EQ turned on. The surround modes do not offer a basic 5.1 mode other than Direct, and Direct bypasses the EQ.
5) When I played a DVD with DDEX content, I was not able to select PLIIz for a better 7.1 experience as I can with other units. If I changed the player from bitstream to PCM, of course then I could do so.
6) I noticed that when I switched from PLIIz Movie mode to Music mode, the overall volume dropped by 3 dB. Seems odd and unnecessary. BTW, is there a menu for the Music settings (center width, etc)? I did not find it.
7) I was playing a Phil Collins track, “That’s just the way it is” which starts off with a series of single percussion taps. I felt like I was hearing an echo from the surrounds in PLIIz Music. When I switched to Direct, it disappeared. I never hear any such echo from other units. I tried adding some extra distance to the rear speakers, and when I got another 19 feet on top of what was already there, the taps were in perfect sync. That means there's about 17 ms of delay in those rear speakers that should not be there, as it’s not part of the PLIIz process.
8) Switched over to try the headphone output. At first I wondered why it sounded so weird. Took me a while to realize that the headphone jack presents a stereo downmix of whatever surround mode is selected for the main outputs. So I switched to Direct mode and that was much cleaner, but it had no deep bass. So I ran a response sweep and found it rolling off <80 Hz (red curve), which happened to be where I set the main L/R speaker crossover. When I switched the L/R speakers to Large, the response became full range (violet). The Stereo mode was the same. All good. But when I checked to see if the Small setting also affected the Stereo mode, I got a rather wild response (green). Dunno what that’s about.
Anyway, if you are using headphones, you have to remember to choose the Stereo or Direct mode, make sure the L/R speakers are set to large, then either turn off the EQ or choose an EQ setting you made for the headphones. You can't just "plug and play" the headphones without changing a lot of stuff – then remember to change it back when you use speakers again.
I am certain none of these issues are isolated to this one unit. Kinda makes me wonder if anyone really tests this stuff. I found it all in one day without really trying.
This is what Audioholics gave its 'Product of the Year' award to?