Good to hear you are still with us. Any thoughts on current Outlaw projects?
The Ultra-X13 is a hell of a sub, as I posted elsewhere the other day.
I like what they've done with the RR2160, and the amp offerings are as solid as ever.
I moved to a Marantz 7702mkII last fall (was going 4K with the UDP-203 and the $1000 sale price when they were getting ready to roll out the 7703 was too good to pass up) and am quite happy with it, but the 976 does look interesting. I saw that Atmos/DTS-X were going to show up in a later unit - to be honest, I think having a non-Atmos offering is good for a great many people. So many people never really got past 5.1 that adding the channels required for Atmos is impractical for a lot of consumers, even among those of us who are really serious about the hobby. Being able to get the audio and video quality of a top-line processor without having to pay for the extra DAC channels and other provisions associated with Atmos sounds good, and the rest of the feature set is appealing.
Streaming/network integration into products that don't need it is still pretty popular, but I'm pleased to see a little bit of a shift away from that trend. On the one hand, my Vizio 4K TV and my Vizio 4K computer monitor at work both have the guts of a ChromeCast built into them so they can act as "Smart TVs" in a manner that I'm pretty comfortable with, but for services like Netflix I've found that standalone devices (Roku, Amazon FireStick, etc.) are easier for the family to use than apps built into a player, TV, or other component that offers them as an afterthought. We still use a BDP-103's Netflix app in our bedroom, but otherwise we've moved to Rokus (Premiere+ in the den, Express in the kitchen) and Amazon (first-gen FireStick in the guest room). From that perspective, the USB "power outlets" on the 976 and RR2160 are a handy feature that I expect will be heavily used.
So, gonk, are you on the Beta list for the 976? Any experience with REW?
Ha! If I were, I probably couldn't talk about it. I still do a little beta testing for Oppo, although the same time constraints that have kept me away from here have also curtailed my review writing