Since I mentioned about moving upwards to XT 32, there have been some questions for me so I might as well post it:
- Audyssey takes the hassle of room acoustic adjustments or EQ from the hands of a novice and gives a pretty impressive approximation of what an expert can do. You won't replace joamonte or some of the other pros, but for those not inclined to doing too much tweaks or have no choice in the placement of certain speakers or subwoofers, this is a valuable tool.
Long before Audyssey in whatever versions, HT and audio hobbyists have been doing their own acoustic measurements and were able to get very impressive sounding rooms and setups. Audyssey has made great strides ahead in achieving this with a simple keypress after just placing the mike on a tripod.
So will everyone need it or the other versions from the other companies, such as MACC, YPAO etc? Well it saves a lot of effort, and does it's job well.
So what about XT and XT 32 etc?
Well from a personal perspective, I traded in the 2309 for the 2809 within a week of purchase, simply because I found the XT to be better on the 2809 and even now, this is the top version for Marantz and only one model in the Denon range and two in the Onkyo range which possess the higher XT 32 version.
This will be useful for those who have two subs, difficult speaker placement and can potentially offer a better surround experience.
But if your funds do not allow you to stretch to the highest version, you can make do, and then do the rest of the work manually if you wish to make the most of your system. I would advise that everyone does that, regardless of the version of auto-EQ that you have.
So in summary, IMHO for the best HT or even audio experience, buy the best auto-EQ you can afford, i.e. the best surround processor or "brain" that you can find in a AV amp or pre-amp, and then get better amp sections by adding power amps f you can. Eg, buy a second hand model with a better processor, and if you don't need 3D, or networking, an older but higher model may suit you better.
If the budget does not allow you to stretch upwards, then learn how to tweak the acoustics by simple things like moving speakers, furniture etc to enhance your experience.
Cheers and enjoy.
I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.