Tis a sad day. My 4311ci has seemingly bit the dust. It was a somewhat slow death. About a year ago, all the speakers except for the rear surrounds stopped working. After a reset, recalibration and fiddling with the volume, it started working again. However, the volume, (using the remote) was always wonky afterwards, going up and down by random amounts when I was changing it. Very odd. Then one of the subwoofer outs died. I lived with it. But now all the outputs have died, speaker level and pre-out.
Tried multiple resets and power plug removals, but still nothing. Won't even create test tones or do the Audyssey calibration. She's dead, Jim.
Needing a replacement right away, I bought the best thing my local Best Buy had, (boy, their selection has got smaller in the past 10 years) a $500 Onkyo 5.1.4 receiver, the TX-NR787. I sort of laughed when I took it out of the box. So lightweight. The remote looks like a simple toy. But for literally a quarter of what the mighty 4311ci cost, what do you expect?
Anyway, I hooked it all up and ran the calibration with the included mic. The sounds reminded me of the MCACC calibration on my old Pioneer from 20 years ago. Makes sense, I guess considering Pioneer and Onkyo are one and the same these days. My Audyssey DSX heights were at the exact angle specified for Dolby Atmos (45deg) and the high-mounted rear surrounds were pretty close, so I just did a full 5.1.4 Atmos setup with minimal effort. I didn't even level-match the subs. I just wanted to hear something.
Not expecting much from this "temporary" cheapo thing, I played a few demos off the Xbox Atmos app. "Huh.....that sounds.... really good." But that's special demos... let me put in a demanding movie that will really test this thing out. In goes the 4K BluRay with Atmos, BladeRunner 2049. I sit down and....
….get BLOWN AWAY.
The bass at the beginning of this movie makes my couch levitate, yes. It feels like a 8.0 earthquakes has hit. But that's old hat. That's what happens when you have Infinite Baffle subwoofers capable of reproducing anything, even sub-10Hz infrasonics at reference levels. I've felt that before. What I had NEVER experienced before was the sound ENVELOPING ME. I could not tell which speaker the sounds were coming out of. It was like being in a bubble of sound. Like a binaural headphone demo cranked up to 11 and a hundred times bigger.
Atmos is a game changer, no doubt about it. The last time I heard a difference this big was probably when 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS came out. That's over 25 YEARS ago! I'm sad my 4311ci died, but I'm glad it's passing allowed me to hear what I've been missing.
Anyway, I have been impressed with this little Onkyo. It sounds great, even with music and that "toy" remote actually has a very nice button layout with all the buttons I actually need. I'm so impressed, I'm actually going to step up to the high-end Onkyo TX-RZ830, which adds 2 more channels for 7.1.4, eARC, much beefier amps and pre-outs... and even though the MSRP is $1300, it's available everywhere for $550.
It's been a fun ride with the 4311ci. Maybe I'll be back to Denon when I want to hook my front wides back up and go 9.2.4!!!