When I wrote about Sherwood last week, the company was releasing a budget Blu-ray player. Now it's its high-end Newcastle line making news with an A/V receiver that costs about six times as much. The R-972 offers plenty of features in return, as long as you can afford its $1,799.95 price tag.
The receiver's main claim to fame is its inclusion of technology from the Trinnov Optimizer equalization system. This system can compensate for inexact speaker placement in a room by adjusting the acoustic images of each channel. For example, the center channel speaker is often placed below the screen even though the channel is designed to be center screen—the Trinnov Optimizer can compensate for this discrepancy and re-position the acoustic image to the intended space. The system can recreate the location of the acoustic waveforms precisely where they were originally placed in the mix.
In addition to this unique feature, the R-972 comes with much of what you'd expect from a high-end receiver, including 100 watts RMS per channel for seven channels, four HDMI 1.3 and three component-video inputs, XM Radio support, 3-Zone operation for whole-house audio/video, and support for a plethora of surround-sound and lossless audio codecs (Dolby Digital +, Dolby TruHD, DTS Master Audio HD). You can pick it up sometime later this fall.