I got my 9.8 last Tuesday and have been playing around with it since the past week. I have calibrated the sound via Audyssey and have verified the levels using AVIA and RadioShack sound meter and the calibration levels are dead on.
The setup was fairly intutive. It's a big relief to have HDMI connection for both audio and video. But I did connect S-Video so that i can use my TV instead of burning projector hours.
The Reon does an excellent job of upscaling the DVD's. I have Oppo 981HD but it does not do 480i and DSD over HDMI so I bought Oppo 980H as it can output 480i over HDMI and DSD over HDMI. I compared Oppo 981HD Faroudja vs Reon and I like Reon better. The picture is more smoother. Its not huge but there is a subtle difference in vide quality. 980H is a keeper and i'll sell my 981HD. There is little nuisance with the 9.8 setup for output resolution. The resolution is fixed and is not specific to a particular input so if i play Highdef disc I have to change it to pass through.
The immediate thing i noticed is the clarity of the sound has improved and the sound stage is wide. The bass is tight. Even if i turn the volume high up there is no distortion in the sound.
So far I have only used Uncompressed and MultiChannel output of PS3 and HD-A2. I don't have a player that outputs bitstream of High Def auto format.
As I mention above DTS and DD sound very clear and refined and the sound is very eneveloping.
For SACD is used 980H to o/p DSD over HDMI and the sound is clear with wide sound stage and the mid bass is tight. The higher frequency is little bright. The DVD-Audio did not sound as good as SACD. I don't have many DVD-A disc but the sound stage did not sound as wide as SACD. Maybe i'll have to try a well recorded disc and I don't know if Oppo 980H passed the raw bitstream for DVD-A
So far I'm not very impressed with the sound quality in 2-ch music listening. The sound is very bright and especially in a female vocal the S sound is like hissing. I have tried various modes Direct, Stereo, Neural THX 5.1(Does not work for HDMI input). The sound is very fatiguing after few minutes of listening. The bass seems to be ok but the higher frequency is bright. I don't like to adjust Tone control as I did not have to do it with my previous Denon AVR-3803. I liked the warm sound of Denon and its pure direct mode. I thought 9.8 will outperform the Denon in sound quality as it uses better DAC.
The other positive about this unit are
1. Bi-Amp the unit
2. Balance output
3. Component Video output for Zone2/3.
4. 2 HDMI output with a caveat.
5. Upscaling of Composite, S-Video, Component Video to HDMI.
The few -ve's are
1. You can output via only one HDMI output.
2. No Pure Direct mode to shut off video circuit.
3. No processing of Reon for 720p, 1080p except edge enhacement.
4. Only 1 subwoofer out.
5. No dislay of Reon setting on the setup menu screen.
This unit is great for people who don't care about 2-ch music. Due to space limitaion I have both my 2-ch and HT integrated so its a deal breaker for me if I cannot figure out to toned down brightness in 2-ch music.
I plan to return the unit to the dealer or sell it off as I cannot justify spending MSRP on this and be unhappy with it.
I'm really confused