Originally Posted by kennyt
Saw this monster, it's pretty loaded, and hopefully sounds good too. I am not sure if the HDMI allows two independent zones like the Integra DTC 9.8 does, and though only offering 4:2 HDMI 1.3, the Integra DTC 9.8 costs only $1,600! No kidding! I can see many folks buying this just to tide them over until the high end companies get their new gear out! I can't deal with the looks of the amp though, that thing is just butt ugly to me and those three vu meters for a 10 channel amp??
The AVP-A1HD will use even higher grade DAC's than the ones used in their flagship AVR-5308, so the sound quality should be really good. And a lot of people have forgotten that a decade ago Denon made some of the nicest and most expensive separates available (think $40k pr. monoblock amps).
But I think that many people have lost sight of the fact that Denon has its roots in high end. And after their departure from separates 10 years ago, Denon concentrated their focus on all in one AV receivers. And that has primarily been Denon's bread and butter, and now they are very well known for their high quality HT receivers. So much so that you mention Denon to most folks and they think "oh yeah the ones that make receivers". But many won't say "aren't they the company who made those killer separates?"
So now Denon is trying to re-establish themselves back into the separates game, but this time around instead of high end "audio only" gear, it's high end HT gear. And I think the time is just right for them to introduce the AVP-A1HD and POA-A1HD. Right now a lot of people are wanting to network their AV, they want to be able to stream music from their PC (iTunes, WMA player), have the latest and greatest audio decoding, and flexible connectivity options. This new AVP-A1HD offers just that (and more), at a price point that seems fair (in the high end realm anyway).
As for if the Denon will offer 2 independent zones for HDMI, I believe the answer to be yes it does. It does have 2 HDMI 1.3a outputs, most people only need one output so why the two? It has to be for a second zone. And a quote from some info from Denon at CEDIA
The AVP-A1HDCI is a multiple source/multiple zone controller processor, capable of up to four zones and providing digital output to Zone 2.
By digital output, I take that as HDMI.
As for the Integra 9.8, yes it is a very full featured pre/pro, and at its $1,600 price point it's probably the best under $4,000 pre/pro available. It's a lot of pre/pro for the money. You mention that it's a good pre/pro to hold many over until the high end companies come out with their next wave of AV Controllers. Well even those high end companies new gear won't have all the things that many enthusiasts like myself want. Things like Wi-Fi capability, Audyssey MultiEQXT/Pro, HQV Realta video processing, and 6 HDMI ins. Even the upcoming Krell Evolution only has 4 HDMI inputs, with no zone two capablities for it.
If there had been a company like say Theta that was going to offer an AV controller with the things mentioned within the next 5 or 6 months for under $10k I'd be all over it. But even the company's sometime to be released Valis AV controller ($7,000?), makes no mention of Wi-Fi, Audyssey, HQV Realta, 6 HDMI inputs etc.
So for the immediate future the Denon is the most fully featured AV controller out there.
As for the Denon 10 channel amp, I guess it's all a matter of preference. I kind of like the way it looks. I would have liked them to be in Silver here, but there is no denying that the amp is built like a tank! Each of the 10 channels if configurable and bridgeable. Gotta love that internal design.
I would buy it also but it just isn't as high powered into 4 ohms as I would have liked. Right now my Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature Series II amp offers 850 watts x5 into 4 ohms. So for now anyway I don't see me changing that out.