Complete specifications and close-up photos of the R-972 are available at my Photo Gallery.
Sherwood Newcastle R-972 - Trinnov Optimizer Overview
The Trinnov Optimizer is a built-in loudspeaker setup and room equalization program used in professional settings. The Sherwood R-972 uses a consumer version of this powerful audio reproduction tool.
The Trinnov Optimizer allows the user to set listening room parameters for up to three distinct seating positions.
A special microphone (see photo) is used to capture test tones generated by the Sherwood R-972. Unlike microphones used in other automatic speaker setup systems, instead of one element to pickup test tones, the microphone has four distinct elements (referred to as capsules by Sherwood). The user sets the microphone on a flat surface (or attached to a camera/camcorder tripod) and places it where the listening position is to be located.
According to the information provided by Sherwood, the four element microphone not only picks up the direct sound of the test tones, but more accurately picks up additional information, such as sound reflections off walls.
As a result of this process, the Trinnov Optimizer not only able to calculate the distance of each speaker position, but the speaker's location in three dimensional space. For more details on how the Trinnov Optimizer works, check out the last three photos in my Sherwood R-972 photo gallery: Trinnov Optimizer Main Menu, Trinnov Optimizer Start Page, Trinnov Optimizer Calculation Results
Additional Hardware Used For This Review
Loudspeaker System 2 (5.1 Channels): EMP Tek E5Ci Center Channel and 4 E5Bi Satellite Speakers (On review loan from EMP Tek).
16 Gauge Speaker Wire was used in all setups.
Level checks for speaker setups were done using a Radio Shack Sound Level Meter
Video Scaling Reference: DVDO EDGE
Additional Software Used For This Review
Standard DVDs used included scenes from the following: House of the Flying Daggers, The Cave, Kill Bill - Vol1/2, V For Vendetta, U571, Lord of Rings Trilogy, Master and Commander, and U571
Blu-ray Discs used included scenes from the following: 300, Across The Universe, Godzilla (1998), Hairspray, Iron Man, Night at the Museum, UP, Rush Hour 3, Shakira - Oral Fixation Tour, The Dark Knight, and Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen.
DVD-Audio discs included: Queen - Night At The Opera/The Game, Eagles - Hotel California, and Medeski, Martin, and Wood - Uninvisible, Sheila Nicholls - Wake.
SACD discs used included: Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon, Steely Dan - Gaucho, The Who - Tommy.
Content on CD-R/RWs was also used.
Using both analog and digital audio sources, the Sherwood Newcastle R-972, in both 5.1 and 7.1, channel setups, delivered an excellent surround image, bolstered especially by the effect of the Trinnov Optimizer.
The main thing I observed was the entire sound field seemed pushed a little more forward and was more enveloping than I had expected. The conclusion I drew is that the Trinnov Optimizer effectively repositioned the speakers virtually in three dimensional space to create a more effective sound field in such a way that it seemed like that the room was filled with continuous row of speakers on all sides. Another way you could describe is that the Trinnov replaced the room with an imaginary giant set of surround sound headphones.
Depending what Trinnov parameters you wish to set for each input source, the effects can be tailored for your listening preference. You also have the option of not using the Trinnov settings for any input you select.
Another aspect of the Sherwood Newcastle R-972 was its multi-zone capability, which is becoming more common in home theater receivers. Running the receiver in the 5.1 channel mode for the main room and using the two spare channels (normally devoted to the surround back speakers), I was able to run two separate systems.
I was able to access DVD and Blu-ray audio in the main 5.1 channel setup and easily access XM or CDs in the two channel setup in another room using the R-972 as the main control for both sources. Also, I could run the same music source in both rooms simultaneously, one using the 5.1 channel configuration and second using the 2 channel configuration.
The R-972 can perform second zone operation with its own amplifiers or using a separate external amplifier via Zone 2 preamp output. It is important to note that only analog audio sources are available in a 2nd Zone. Refer to the R-972 user manual for specifics on this feature.
Proceed to Page 2 - Video Performance - Final Take