Fun with Instruction Manuals: The New Sony ES Receiver

Sections: Audio, Smart Home

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I have kind of an odd A/V fetish. I love owner’s manuals.

It’s true. When I get a new piece of gear – either personally or for review – one of the first things that I like to do is read the owner’s manual. And, yes, I know that this might very well be the geekiest form of entertainment on the planet, but I actually enjoy browsing through, checking out what the key new features are, looking at the specs, seeing what different settings are available, etc. Often, a look through the manual will reveal things about the product you never knew existed or give you that key piece of setup knowledge that keeps you from spending 20 minutes on hold and then looking like an idiot when the tech support person on the other end says, “It says clearly on page 3 of the manual, ‘do this first…’” (Doh!)

So the other day I received Sony’s new flagship ES receiver — the Control4 enabled ST-DR5800ES — in for review, and what’s the first thing I notice when I open the top box flap?

Now, who am I to argue with a box. That says “Please.” And in French no less. (Sacrebleu!)

Now, this manual is impressively sized; over 170 pages in English alone. And (#humblebrag) I’m going to say that I have a *fairly comprehensive* understanding – probably at least a 9 out of 10 – of technology and technical terms, especially when it comes to anything home theater related. But when reading through this manual – which is designed for every day users, not Wile E. Coyote Super Geniuses – I stumbled across several things that left me going, “Huh?”

Below are exact quotes excerpted from various pages of the manual… and me trying to make sense of it.

Pg 7 – Raising the center speaker sounds to an appropriate height. By using the front high speakers, you can lift up the sounds of the center speaker to an appropriate height on the screen. This function allows you to enjoy natural representation without discomfort.

I certainly don’t want any discomfort from my viewing. And who doesn’t like a “natural representation”? I’m guessing the “appropriate height” is where audio (dialog) sounds like it is coming directly from the center of the screen? Or just keep raising until all discomfort is alleviated…?

Pg 7 – Reproducing front high speakers virtually. The receiver can reproduce front high speakers virtually even when there are no actual front high speakers. The receiver can also reproduce the Center Speaker Lift Up effect using the front high speakers, as well as reproduce various sound field features utilizing the front high channels the receiver is equipped with.

That second sentence feels like I’m being Incepted or something. Just read it again. Feel your mind spinning, spinning, spinning, like a coin. Will it stop? Will it fall? Will your mind succumb to the “Center Speaker Lift Up” effect?

Pg 64 – About the effect type for HD-D.C.S. HD-D.C.S. has three different types: Dynamic, Theater and Studio. Each type has different reflection and reverberation sound mixture levels and is optimized to match a listener’s room uniqueness, taste and mood.

A “sound mixture level” sounds kind of like a drink order. Also, it is optimized for my “taste and mood.” Sometimes I like my sound mixture to be a little sassy, other times I want it laid back or playful. Sometimes I want it to be naughty. My tastes and moods are fickle, like my sound mixture levels.

Read on for more more of the wit and wisdom from the Sony ST-DR5800ES manual at Sciacca Writes…

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