"Mighty Little Monster"4.5 starson by vikramk18
Pros: Excellent Sound
Ability to Bi-Amp speaker A
Well implemented built-in DAC
Slim form factor
Cons: No pre-amp out
Nit Pick on Speaker A vs Speaker B (see details below)
Summary: This receiver has proved to be a surprise with its clear, warm sound. It powers a pair of Paradigm Reference Studio 20s bi-amped. Sources include Mac Mini, DVD player, Apple TV and DVR. 50 wpc is more than adequate for my speakers running in a 17'x14' room. I have Dynamic EQ turned on which does a really good job of enhancing the low frequencies at lower volumes. Dynamic Volume is turned off. The bass is punchy and music sounds alive. The midrange is clear and full. The iPod-USB input works well too, though initial connection takes a few seconds to establish. I compared the built-in DAC over optical with an Arcam rDac over USB and a Peachtree iDac over USB and optical with the source being lossless files on the Mac Mini. The built-in DAC sounds as good as the Arcam rDAC. The Peachtree iDac seems marginally better with 3D sound imaging and a slightly wider soundstage. Given that the iDac sells for almost twice the price of this receiver that's a steal.
My only nit-pick: Speaker A is setup as bi-amped. Speaker B can only be amped normally. When switching from A to B, 2 amps are directed towards speaker B, while the other 2 remain on speaker A. So, while listening to music on the patio I can hear the tweeters in A. The workaround is to turn off the bi-amp mode.
In summary, this receiver handles music really well, while supporting movies just fine. It has tons of power, excellent sound, a well implemented DAC, ample connectivity, iPod integration and bi-amp capability.