Re: New high-end Denon processors
I finally got to try out the music streaming abilities. And I'm happy to report that it works great!! Sound quality is superb! I am using Windows Media Player 11, and it's integration to the Denon AVP was seamless. You go into network setup on the Denon and find out what the info is for your preamp (MAC Address, etc), and configure your router to accept the address. Then open up Windows Media Player 11, click the Library tab, then click in media sharing and turn sharing to on.
After this the Windows Media Player automatically recognizes the Denon and adds a Denon icon in it's sharing window. It then asks to allow or deny access, select allow and that's it! You're done!
WMA Player 11 will allow streaming of WMA Lossless, flac (with special download software), and .WAV. I have been comparing the sound quality on both flac and WMA Lossless and have found them both to sound virtually identical, which is to say they both sound excellent!. Just for kicks I compared flac and WMA Lossless to .WAV, and while flac and WMA Lossless sound amazing, the .WAV did edge them out just a bit. The sound with .WAV was a bit more detailed, and offered a deeper and a tad wider soundstage. It was also a bit smoother, especially in the upper midrange. I did all my comparisons using Direct mode.
In comparing flac, WMA Lossless, and .WAV to the original CD, I found .WAV to sound nearly identical. Flac and WMA Lossless were both tied and came in a close second to .WAV. But for most listening I believe that either WMA Lossless or flac will do a splendid job. So for most of my music I will use WMA Lossless, and for my reference CD's I'll use WAV.
I have found the sound quality to be so good that it may just replace my CD player for critical listening. I am very impressed.
For my listening tests I used the following albums:
Peter White- Confidential
Strunz & Farah- Stringweave
Johannes Linstead- Cafe' Tropical
Michael Buble'- It's Time
John Mayall and Friends- Along for the Ride
Another thing that really impressed me about streaming music, is that if a certain CD was HDCD encoded, that encoding is also in the ripped version. So when that music is streamed, the Denon decodes it automatically (a small HDCD logo shows up in the Denon's display window) and gives an even higher quality of sound. This is excellent as I own quite a few HDCD encoded CD's that I have ripped to my PC.
Also with the Denon, using Windows Media Player 11 on a PC, all cover art, album title, artist info, track listing, track time etc., is displayed on your TV. All album info is also displayed on the Denon's display window (except cover art). When using WMA Lossless and .WAV through Windows Media Player 11, all album info is automatically tagged. And through the Denon's GUI one can select artist, album, genres, and playlists.
So now I can totally say that the Denon AVP-A1HDCI more than lives up to it claims. It's one heck of an amazing performer for all things. Movie soundtracks, 2 channel music, multichannel music, streamed music, DVD upsampling using HQV Realta. And to top it all off, it is highly configurable to to satisfy the needs of pretty much anyone. I can't recommend this preamp highly enough. As you can tell I'm loving it!