• 7 x 100 watts
• 4 HDMI v1.3a inputs, 1 output
• Transcodes component-, composite-, and S-video input to HDMI
• Upconverts lower-rez video to 1080p format
• Decodes Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio
• Trinnov DSP auto-setup/ calibration, and room-EQ/ spatial processing with supplied multi-element microphone
• FM/AM tuner with 30 presets
• XM satellite radio-ready
• Assignable powered-zone 2 or front-biamp amplifier channels
• 8-component RF
• infrared pre-programmed/learning remote; supplied second-room card remote
• IR in/out, 12-v trigger, RS-232 serial port
• Dimensions + Weight 173⁄8 x 77⁄8 x 191⁄4 in; 41 lb
The Sherwood Newcastle R-972 A/V receiver is the most eagerly anticipated product of its kind to arrive in these parts in some time. Not because it’s the brand’s first new flagship receiver in 4 or 5 years. Not because it’s an all-new 7 x 100- watt, HDMI v1.3, Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio-decoding design. And not because it boasts top-shelf Reon video processing. But because the R-972 is the first A/V receiver — and first affordable consumer product of any sort, from Sherwood or anybody else — to incorporate the Trinnov Optimizer.
Never heard of that? You’re not alone. Trinnov is a French company that has parlayed some heavy fundamental research in room acoustics and digital signal processing for speaker and room correction into a family of powerful DSP processors. To date, these have appeared only in (expensive!) standalone processors, mostly for the pro audio world of recording studios and dubbing stages. Sherwood, which has been giving occasional sneak peeks at Trinnov and the R-972 at trade shows roughly since the Nixon administration, is the first company to license Trinnov technologies for a mainstream consumer product.
On the outside, the R-972 looks like most any other A/V receiver: big, black, heavy. The only hint of something different is the supplied auto-setup microphone, a scary-looking fourelement probe like something an abducting alien might carry in his (or her!) holster.
The actual routine proceeds much like that of any other auto-setup receiver, whether proprietary (Pioneer, Yamaha) or licensed from Audyssey (Onkyo, Denon, and others). You place the mike at the listening position and hit “go” via the onscreen display, and the receiver takes over, cycling noise bursts around the channels and collecting the data. The biggest difference is that the supplied mike, which in Sherwood’s case collects three-dimensional spatial data, doesn’t need to be moved to multiple positions to acquire a complete data set, though you can (and should) reposition it to tweak for one or two additional listening locations.
After completing the initial measurements, the Trinnov Optimizer “knows” where each speaker’s actual source point is in 3D space. This allows the system, if so commanded, to “reposition” each channel’s origin via both amplitude and time-domain processing to the ideal point, regardless of the speaker’s physical placement (within reasonable limits, of course).
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