Pros Amazing sound quality. Great bang for the buck. Standard def upscaling.
Cons Hard to set up. only 3 HDMI inputs.
Summary I just upgraded from a 5 yr old Denon receiver to this one, and I can't beleive the difference. I'm not sure exactly what to attribute it to, but my old Denon was about 1 level below this one in price bracket and was very good, but this one blows it away.
I was able to hook up the receiver with a minimum of fuss, no more than any other receiver (and I've worked with a lot). However, setting the unit up using the on-screen display was not fun, even for an old hat at Denon. Just make sure you have the unit connected to a TV or some other monitor before you get into the menus as they are archaic and user-unfriendly as it is and the front-panel display makes it much worse.
That said, the included microphone does check the room acoustics (at a recommened 6 positions) and adjusts the timing and volume of each speaker present in your setup automatically focusing on the "main position" which, in my case, is to the right rather than dead center of the setup. I figure that this is the main reason that the setup works so much better than the old Denon, which had to be manually set up for such differences in distance, volume, etc.
The audio, even on TV sources, is immaculate. Movies on HDTV sound better than top end theaters. Everything is balanced across the soundstage and you don't find yourself noticing how well laid out the sound is until you think about it (i.e., it doesn't distract from, but rather compliments the video).
In addition to the initial setup, which is rather tedious and requires some skill interpreting menus (i.e., if you can't program a VCR, you might as well give up on this challenge as it's way beyond a VCR), it has at least one other short-coming in my book. It's limited to three HDMI inputs. That may be enough for some people, but I have at least 4 HDMI sources and may acquire more in the future (PS3, Xbox 360, TiVo Series 3, upscaling DVD). The Marantz SR7001 has 4 HDMI inputs and it's cheaper.
Overall, though, the unit is full of features and seems to be performing exceptionally well at this point, and a 5-into-1 HDMI switcher runs $60.
I do highly recommend this unit at it's MSRP, even though it's steep.
Pros For the price, great sound, phenominal connectivity options.
Cons Mediocre remote.
Summary I've only had the unit for a couple weeks, so I'm still learning, but so far I am impressed. This AVR-4306 is replacing an Onkyo TX-DS797 in my A/V system. I'm using the AVR-4306 as a pre-amp into a Parasound HCA-1205a 5ch amp and a Parasound HCA-1000a 2ch amp (for rear channels 6/7) and going to Atlantic Technology System 350 speakers.
Set-up for me was very easy. I found the set-up menus to be simple and intuitive. The Audyssey MultEQxt Room EQ autosetup did a nice job of setting up all the sound parameters, and I'm happy with the result. Much better than my old method of using a sound meter to manually make all the adjustments.
Some complain that this receiver runs hot. I find this is true, even when not using the built-in amps. The solution is simple. I have the receiver installed in a cabinet, so fans are a must. I purchased a 120V/12V converter, which I plug into the receptacle on the back of the receiver. The 12v converter has a selector switch to select several current settings. This is useful to adjust fan speed as required, to balance cooling and noise. Hook up a couple of 12v fans, one for intake, one for exhaust. And this keeps the receiver nice and cool.
My favorite feature so far is the ethernet connectivity to my home network. I'm using a wireless ethernet bridge (Linksys WET54G v3) to wirelessly tie into my cable gateway/router (Linksys WCG200) and it works great! I love being able to use my home computer as a media server! I've been looking for a couple years now for something like this at a reasonable price, and this is a great solution!
My next project is to dive into all the video features. Based on other reviews I've read, I fully expect to be pleased.
I find the remote a bit weird. So far, it seems to me to be limited in functionality, difficult to read, and not very intuitive, but hopefully as I get accustomed to it, some of that will works itself out.
Overall, I am very happy with this A/V receiver.Updated
After using the wireless ethernet bridge for a while to stream media from my networked PC, I found it to be unreliable. After 1/2 hour, the connection would be interrupted for 20 minutes or so, then would re-establish. I removed the wireless bridge and have instead run a CAT-5 ethernet line to the receiver, and have had no problems since. The wireless bridge seemed like a great idea to avoid having to run the wire up into the attic and across the house and down the wall, but the technology is not quite there yet, at least with this Linksys bridge.
Pros Web interface is great
Cons Manual configuration is a pain in the butt
Summary I've always heard good things about Denon and I'll admit the 4306 exceeded my expectations!! My only grip with Denon is the complex configuration. I found the web interface much easier at changing the settings. Other than that, the 4306 is a beast!
Pros sounds good, looks nice enough.
Cons hdmi switching is worthless
Summary why would cnet give an editors choice award to a device with such major flaws as non-working hdmi switching. makes me wonder why i even look to cnet for info. wasted a ton of money on this boat anchor.
"the real deal"on by skinfan31
Pros many features
Cons many features to keep track of
Summary I've had this unit for 8 months now and I'm still finding things out. This is a very good unit and I love all of the features. Take your time and read the manual before attempting to hook it up.
The only 2 complaints I have are the remote is a little cheesy, and I haven't figured out how to watch tv while listening to internet radio. It might be possible but I haven't figured it out.