Originally Posted by jholko
I will jump in here.. and say that I literally just upgraded from a Marantz AV8802A to an Acurus Muse and the difference in sound quality is night and day. Ill preface this by adding that I spent 20 years in the AV industry in home cinema design. So I do know more than enough to be a little dangerous....
Lets get the bad / niggles out of the way first:
1. Throw the remote in the bin. It’s rubbish. Probably a cold war relic from the 70’s… ok.. most people wont use it, so its ok, but my wife likes a remote (she hates universal remotes - go figure, and a web interface to her is what a star trek teleport is to a cave man - unintelligible). You can argue the remote does what its supposed to, but for a processor that costs around $6k USD I think a better remote would have been nice. Heck, even if I had to pay extra for it I would likely buy it. All of that said.. for me I really like the web interface for control.
2. Where is the Mic Calibration Kit?
3. The manual is almost as useless as the remote. Now thankfully set up is really VERY intuitive and anyone with basic Home Cinema experience can probably do it without a manual (I did). But I did look to the manual for details regarding PEQ setup - but there is ZERO information in the manual on how to do this outside of very basic information on what the PEQ 'is'.. so I haven’t touched it. See point 2 - Where is the Mic Kit? Id also like to understand what the high and low frequency cut offs in the set up menu are supposed to do (not covered in the manual at all)….Are these roll offs to emulate a THX curve for example?
4. Whats with the volume control running from 0 to 95? Where is reference level? Nothing in the manual at all about this… so I had to guess that the unit has around 10-15DB headroom over reference and reference was therefore somewhere around ’80’. So thats what I used to calibrate it to 75DBC weighted with pink noise. I couldn’t take it any further than this (other than setting the obvious like cross overs) since I have no mic kit.. see point 2 - Where is the Mic Kit? Yes, you could calibrate it with REW, but I don't have that at present.
5. I could not set time delays accurately (I did it by ear) since I have no Mic Kit….. are we seeing a theme here?
6. Lastly on the ‘bad, or rather room for improvement front’ the web interface for control is very nice (love it actually) - but why cant I access the setup screen from the HTML interface? Its a pain to have to keep getting up to the touch panel on the muse in the rack every time you want to make a set up change. Also, the HTML interface needs a ‘Home’ button, so you can navigate off the setup screen on the unit back to the main screen when playing content. Id also like the ability to custom name the various inputs since my wife does not understand that i/o1 = Blue Ray (no matter how many times I will tell her this).
Ok.. thats out of the way lets talk about the good (because its very, very good).
1. Sound Quality is really beautiful. Even right out of the box at defaults this things sounds gorgeous. Its very neutral, very smooth, and detail is extremely well articulated (really startlingly so). I wouldn’t describe it as forward, or reserved, but rather just very neutral with a soundstage that is neither in my face nor hidden behind a veil. It reminds me of the Cary Cinema 12 sound or a Theta Casablanca, but its even better for multi-channel than the Cary Cinema 12 (noticeably) - but im not yet sure on high rez analog audio. It might just edge out the Cary in this area as well. I cant remember the Theta well enough, but its similar. Perhaps the biggest thing I noticed after how smooth it is (by comparison the Marantz 8802A is grainy and thin sounding by comparison), was how well it renders subtle detail in movies. It does just a much better job than the Marantz 8802A (which is no slouch for the money) and renders fine detail sound that I was not previously hearing - not only that, but it presents the sounds hanging in space so beautifully and realistically that I was left a bit gob smacked and ended up watching scene after scene from my favourite movies after set up and tweaking. I really am very impressed at just how well it does this. Im not sure if its the inky black noise floor or the chipset, or both - but Wow. Its beautiful. Frankly, its STUNNING. Well done!
2. Set up - PEQ’s, poor manual and lack of mic kit aside - its EXCELLENT. Intuitive, easy and frankly an absolute joy. More manufacturers should check this out as I think its the best I have ever seen (by a long way). Slaughters the Marantz 8802A for setup, and that is not a difficult unit to set up.
3. Build Quality. Stunning. Love it. Touch screen is just gorgeous. With that gorgeous full color touch screen its one of those audio boxes you just want to sit and look at.
4. HDMI switching is quick and seamless. Better even than the Marantz 8802A. Again I am extremely impressed. No issues with Standard Def, Blue Ray, 4K DVD or Apple TV. All worked out of the box. Using Fibre cable to the BenQ W11000H 4k Projector.
5. Loved the capability to set Trigger 1 and Trigger 2 on different delays since turning on two big Cary Cinema 5 power amps will occasionally throw the safety switch in my house. Someone really thought this one through and I really appreciate it.
6. Inclusion of a customisable Night mode was good thinking. This will work well for my family.
Overall - Im VERY impressed. If the mic kit and calibration matches up its going to be pretty unbeatable for the money. Im told late June for a mic kit.. we shall see...
BenQ W11000H 4 Projector
Screen Research 4K Screen
Acurus Muse 16 Channel Processor
2 x Cary Cinema 5 Power Amplifiers
M&K S300 MKII THX Speaker System with 2 X12 Subwooers
4 x Triad In ceiling Bronze Dolby Atmos speakers
Wired with AudioQuest King Cobra and CV-4 PSC+ Speaker Cable
A Bunch of power conditioners etc.
Room was custom designed, dedicated and acoustically treated with absorption, diffusion and multiple bass traps.
Another problem/bug: audio drop after approx. 90 min. of playback of older DVDs or BR disks.
Regarding manual: PEQ is omitted in hard copy included in the box but it is briefly described in manual avalable on their website.
Remote: I am using Harmony remote. I just used ACT4 codes using MyHarmony app - Logitech has full list of RS232 commands but correction for different number of inputs need to be made. Rest is the same. In fact Muse acts as ACT4 clone: when you reconfigure HDMI inputs (2.0/1.4) Muse will reset itself even displaying "ACT4 needs to...". You can also rename inputs in your remote. That was 6 weeks ago so by now Muse can be also listed (have not checked recently).
I am thinnking about some other things I would like to see like support for ARC, DSD decoding or maybe simple player. Unfortunately it looks like this is very minimalistic desing as far as features are concerned (they want it to be true HI-END and distinguish Acurus from Marantz and Emotiva likes). But SQ compensates