I just got my new A/V receiver in the mail yesterday. I didn't really need a new one, but almost. My old Marantz SR7000 had served me well, but had four annoying quirks:
- It was so old it didn't even have component video switching, never mind HDMI
- The Monitor Out line was flaky, so if I wanted to use the On Screen Display adjustments, I usually had to fiddle around with the plug in back until it finally showed up.
- There was an intermittent failure with the audio. I could never narrow it down, but, especially with the DVD player, the sound would just cut out, again requiring fiddling around in back.
- It had 6 digital audio inputs, but 4 were coaxial and only 2 optical, which was a problem because 3 of my components needed optical.
It's actually slightly behind the tech curve, as Marantz recently came out with the SR7002. But the only real difference is the HDMI is v1.3, and not 1.2 like on the SR7001. Some quick web research showed that it just didn't matter, so I'm very happy to get a new A/V receiver. This one even has HDMI switching (4 in, 1 out). And I think it even upconverts the video to HDMI, which is real nice.
So I've begun the massive job of unhooking my old one and hooking up the new one. As you can see from this close up of the SR7001 back, it's no small job:
So far, I've hooked up the 6 speakers and the CD player. I still don't understand why speaker connections have to be so difficult. There should be a plug, not these "feed the bare speaker wire into the virtually impossible to reach screw plugs" inputs. So I cussed and cursed but finally got the speakers hooked up. At least the subwoofer is a simple RCA plug.
So I took a picture of my home theater setup:
A] These are Phase Technology Teatro 7.5 VDT main speakers. Phase Technology actually makes many "name brand" speakers, and the experience really shows. These are great sounding speakers. I see they don't make the Teatro series any more, but I'm sure their new ones are just as good.
B] My new Marantz SR7001. 110 watts per channel, lots of inputs, great FM tuner. It's a tad taller, but not as deep as the SR7000, which is good, because the old one didn't really fit on the top shelf, but this one fits perfect.
C] Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD player. The lowest of low end HD DVD players, but works well enough for my usage. Upconverts to 1080i and, in general, a pretty solid player. Slow, but sure.
D] A Kenwood dual cassette player. Yup, a cassette player. I think I'll probably not bother hooking it up this time around, as I haven't used it in years.
E] My Comcast HD DVR player. In general, I think the quality of the HD DVR players from Comcast has been pretty dismal. I got a new one upstairs, which is a different model, but both are slow to respond to commands, can get into bad states that require unplugging them and in general, just have poor software.
F] Sony SCD-CD775 6 disc SACD player. Does the job with one unfortunate drawback - the remote doesn't have a Power switch. Is that bizarre or what? The front buttons are also pretty incomprehensible. I don't have too many SACD discs, but the ones I have sound pretty spectacular.
G] My Monster HTS 1600 Power Center. When I bought my HDTV, I was talked into buying this, and I have to say, I'm really glad I did. We have flaky enough power, and this smooths out the ups and downs of the power, gives me a single turn off point for the entire system, and should protect very well. I think it was worth it.
H] The center speaker, which is the same as my two rear surround speakers, which are also Phase Technology Teatros, this time 6.5s. Again, fantastic speakers. I bought like four different speakers when trying out for the center speaker and this one blew the rest completely away. Far better than Boston Acoustics, Bose, and Cambridge Soundworks, for example.
I] My 50in Sony KDS-50A2000 SXRD HiDef TV. I'm really enamored with this. It is sort of Sony's version of the DLP, so it isn't a plasma or LCD. But it is still pretty small, at least compared to my old 36in tube behemoth. Really dark blacks, 1080p (if I ever get anything that does 1080p!) and just a great TV.
Hiding off to the right is my Cambridge Soundworks subwoofer. Suffice to say, my next speaker purchase will be an upgrade to this; probably a Hsu VTF-3 MK3 subwoofer.
And on the table in front is my collection of remotes. The big one on the left is my universal remote a Home Theater Master MX-500. It works pretty well, but I'm hoping the SR7002 remote (on the far right) will replace it. I've always wanted to upgrade to a computer programmable one, like the Harmony but just haven't made that move yet.