Sherwood RD-6500 AV Receiver
Sometimes when people ask me to research a GREAT budget AV receiver I am truly amazed at the features and quality you can get for just a little bit of money. Sometimes though, I also find exactly what I would expect from budget gear - some basic features, and a lot of compromises that are going to make you want to upgrade, before that "new receiver" smell has worn off - either that or the product is squarely focused on audio. I would have to put the Sherwood RD-6500 in the latter category. While this receiver covers the audio portion of the receiver pretty well, only having access to composite video makes the receiver obsolete for video before you even get it home. The features it does have are all about audio quality and sonic performance.
The receiver includes the basic 5.1 channel Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II (Movie, Matrix, Music, and Custom), and Dolby Pro Logic (Matrix, Hall, Theater, Stadium and Church) decoders for enjoying all your favorite movies and music in surround sound. It also offers a Tone Direct setting that allows a 2-channel signal to bypass all the receiver's processors and tone effects. If it's multi-channel music your want, it also offers 5.1 multi-channel analog audio inputs. In this respect, the Sherwood offers almost unlimited support for new high definition 5.1 audio sources provided your source components output them in pristine analogue audio.
The rear panel shows the usual suspects in terms of inputs: AM/FM, CD, tape and a couple of video inputs plus a dedicated subwoofer output to provide bass management for your smaller-sized speakers. You have 1 coax and 2 optical digital audio inputs and an Auxiliary input means you can even rig an iPod or other analogue audio source on its own dedicated input. The speakers connect via spring clip connectors - not unusual for this price point though we are spoiled by more expensive units that offer 5-way binding posts.
This is an AV receiver that might have been better off just sticking with the A and not even trying to claim the V portion of this category. Conversely, it could be considered the perfect stereo receiver - that also does surround sound. It only costs about $200, and if you are looking for robust video features, then in my opinion you are only half way into the game. If, however, you have no interest in using your receiver to pass video signals through and you are on a very tight budget, the audio-centric features of this receiver might be the ticket.
For more information please visit www.sherwoodusa.com.
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