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Sherwood Newcastle R-972 Home Theater Receiver With The Trinnov Audio Optimizer

Sherwood Newcastle R-972 Home Theater Receiver With The Trinnov Audio Optimizer

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Sherwood Newcastle R-972 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver - Front View With Accessories

Sherwood Newcastle R-972 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver - Front View With Accessories

Photo (C) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
The Sherwood Newcastle R-972 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver is an affordable high-end home theater receiver. This receiver delivers a strong power output, and features Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD audio processing. This receiver also has 4 HDMI inputs and multi-zone operation with two remote controls. The R-972 also includes the innovative Trinnov Optimizer Room Correction System. On the other hand, the R-972 isn't designed for the novice as it is not the easiest receiver to use. It also has problems with video performance.

Complete specifications and close-up photos of the R-972 are available at my Photo Gallery.

Sherwood Newcastle R-972 - Trinnov Optimizer Overview

In addition to the standard features you find on this class of home theater receiver, the Sherwood R-972 also incorporates the Trinnov Optimizer Room Correction System in its stable of features.

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

Sherwood Newcastle R-972 - Trinnov Optimizer Microphone

Sherwood Newcastle R-972 - Trinnov Optimizer Microphone

Photo (C) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
Home Theater Receivers: Onkyo TX-SR705, Harman Kardon AVR147,

DVD player: Oppo Digital DV-980H and Helios H4000.

Blu-ray Disc Players: OPPO Digital BDP-83 and Sony BDP-S350

CD-Only Players: Denon DCM-370 and Technics SL-PD888 5-Disc Changers.

Loudspeaker System 1 (7.1 Channels): 2 Klipsch F-2's, 2 Klipsch B-3s, Klipsch C-2 Center , 2 Polk R300s.

Loudspeaker System 2 (5.1 Channels): EMP Tek E5Ci Center Channel and 4 E5Bi Satellite Speakers (On review loan from EMP Tek).

Powered Subwoofers used: Klipsch Synergy Sub10 - used with Systems 1. and Polk Audio PSW10 - System 2, EMP Tek ES10i - System 3.

TV/Monitor: A Westinghouse Digital LVM-37w3 1080p LCD Monitor, Hannspree HF-237HPB HDMI-equipped 1080p PC monitor, and Samsung T-260HD 1080p LCD Monitor/TV.

Audio/Video connections were made with Accell, and Cobalt cables.

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.

For audio only, various CDs included: HEART - Dreamboat Annie, Nora Jones - Come Away With Me, Lisa Loeb - Firecracker, Blue Man Group - The Complex, Eric Kunzel - 1812 Overture, Joshua Bell - Bernstein - West Side Story Suite.

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.

Audio Performance

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.

Sherwood Newcastle R-972 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver - Speaker Connections

Sherwood Newcastle R-972 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver - Speaker Connections

Photo (C) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
There were no perceivable audio dips as sounds moved from rear to the front speakers in movie surround sound tracks. Also, with music-only listening, the Trinnov revealed more sonic detail in the mix and very effectively allowed the Pro Logic IIx mode to perform its job better in creating a multi-channel music listening experience from two channel source material.

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

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