The feature set is expected to include support for just about all current audio decoding algorithms, including Dolby Digital EX, DTS24/96 and the upcoming Dolby Pro Logic IIx 2 to 7 channel decoder. The video path supports both component and European RGBS video, and includes up-conversion from composite or s-video to component video to help minimise the number of cable runs to a display. Three component video inputs are available, all with sufficient bandwidth for HDTV. A programmable master audio delay of up to 100 milliseconds permits use of modern digital displays without loss of lip sync.
Both the stereo and multi-channel performances of the AVR300 are exceptional, made possible with a huge toroidal power transformer and seven identical ultra low distortion power amplifiers designed to audiophile standards. There is a direct signal path for both stereo signals and the 7.1 multi-channel input. Power output is 120 Watts per channel into 4 or 8 ohms (two channels driven) and 90 Watts per channel with all seven channels driven. Preamplifier outputs are available for use with external power amplifiers. An independent second zone, with stereo line level audio and composite video, is supported. RS232 control is built in as standard; this also simplifies system software updates.
The master DSP chipset is the new Crystal CS49400, with 24-bit and 32-bit processing; the audio DACs, ADCs and volume controls are from Wolfson Microelectronics.
Unlike many competitors’ AV products, the AVR 300 is designed to have fine aesthetics and look attractive in domestic surroundings; to this end it is available in silver or black finishes. It is also surprisingly compact with a front panel footprint of 430 x 150mm (17 x 6 inches) and an overall depth of approximately 450mm (18 inches). It is supplied with a backlit learning remote control.
The AVR300 was designed in the UK and available in black and silver finish