"Excellent sound kick-ass power supply good connectivity"4.5 starson by tptjr
Pros: Lots of current to drive low impedance speakers, Hi-def audio decoding, connectivity galore including phono and powered zone 2(but limits you to 5.1 in your main room), and it sounds excellent.
Cons: Runs hot, is quite heavy(over 50 lbs, although to me this is also a sign of a good power supply), mic'd auto eq feature made my sound worse.
Summary: Coming from a Musical Fidelity A5 integrated amp, this unit sounded great with all the surround goodies and drove my Infinity RS 2.5's with gusto...with value off the charts.
I come from an audio background having modified my speakers over the years with better crossovers, bi-wiring and utilizing high end Musical Fidelity and Krell components. This is my first "surround" receiver and I was a little hesitant coming from a high end integrated amp. I was pleasantly surprised with the units power capabilities, sound, and surround decoding. I was particularly choosy about a good power supply since many surround receivers skimp on the amp's ability to drive difficult lower impedance loads. This thing can produce 60 amps of current which is amazing for a receiver(hence it runs hot). I actually pull the outer case back exposing the heat sinks for better heat dissipation. I use the receiver in the "6 ohm" mode with 4 ohm speakers....I know, it's not recommended but it's really all about heat dissipation...
The unit sounds best in direct mode which bypasses tone controls and other circuitry. Generally the surround modes border on gimmicky because there are so many..but you don't have to use them. I found the Neural THX surround mode the most natural sounding surround with stereo sources.
I have a HD-DVD player that ouputs PCM instead of the bitstream Dolby TrueHD but these discs still sound significantly better than good ol' Dolby 5.1 on standard DVD. I'm interested in hearing the real thing when I purchase a Blu-Ray player because they actually output Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master HD in bitstream format instead of converting these to PCM.
All in all, I'm amazed at what a good receiver can do these days particularly with great sound quality and all the audio surround decoding options at a reasonable price.