Off the car stuff here, I'm going to talk about the McIntosh MX151:
In a word, EPIC. In HT, just about any receiver is okay, provided you don't have planar speakers, mass market gear has gotten to be just about bulletproof. This is about music. No, the menus weren't the greatest, yes it was a little clunky for navigation (it's a $12K pre/pro, c'mon), but the DACs and preamp output sections are to die for. No coloration, no audible compression quirks, just incredible dynamic range and imagery. I prefer coloration to come from my amps, not my sources or speakers, that way I have more control. That's a lot easier said than done, however, because most manufacturers like to fiddle and screw around with "their sound signature". Bollocks, just make something that's good, functional, and reliable. Please?
For years I've used an Integra RDC-7.1, hacking it with unofficial Japanese firmware, and components from ex-Integra employees, to stay current with modern formats (more or less), because its 2-ch sound is outstanding, and I'd gotten used to its quirks and minor bugs. I was about to send back the MX151 because it was just too funky and buggy, despite the SQ, but now I have the latest FW and it's fixed! It works as advertised!
Finally. I can have my stereo cake and eat it too.
For McIntosh getting off their butts and fixing it, without breaking sound quality, the MX151 gets my highest award:
So, you're thinking, "you're applauding them for doing what they're supposed to be doing in the first place?" Yeah, I am, because most companies don't. Oh, they'll get a bug fixed alright, but it's usually released with a new product. If you buy something and it doesn't meet expectations, you're SOL most of the time, unless you go through the hassle of sending it back, which isn't always possible if you bought it online. Too bad, so sad, thanks for all the fish!
Also you're likely thinking, "Magick, WTF? It's 12 grand!" Well, there's a way around that, buy the MX150 from AG or Ebay and the firmware path will take you all the way to the final MX151 release. Really? Yeah, really. They didn't leave MX150 owners out in the cold, they get to have it all too.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/MCINTOSH-MX-150-HOME-THEATER-CONTROLLER-SURROUND-SOUND-PROCESSOR-S-O-T-A-/150968212615Edited by Magick Man - 12/30/12 at 5:56pm