My review of the Newcastle 963

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Ryan S.S., Jun 23, 2003.

  1. Ryan S.S.

    Ryan S.S. Auditioning

    Jun 14, 2003
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    I finally decided on Receiver and I bought a Sherwood Newcastle 963, I had read articles where it was a great value if you could get over some of its’ quirks like a bad OSD and the clumsy way you have to access some of the functions. Well here is my review.

    Before this I owned an 1801 from Denon and I will be comparing it to this even though it is not a good comparison. My speakers consist of all B&W 602’s, 601’s and a LCR60. I unpacked my receiver and the first thing I noticed was how heavy it was. I looked in the manual and it weighs in at 42lbs not too shabby. I then set it in my entertainment center and was impressed on how everything was set up and how easy it was to connect everything onto the back plane. There is a lot back there but it doesn’t seem crowded. The next thing I unpacked were two remotes. The main remote which BTW is an MX-500 clone which I will get to later, and a second room remote. I thought this was a great addition and pretty thoughtful since you can use 2 of the seven amps to drive a second room pair of speakers, it also has a second room video out. I bought a black model and the blue lcd and power light looks cool against the black background.

    I was worried about how hard it would be to set up the receiver after reading some of the other reviews, but I had no problem, I was totally done with setup and calibration with AVIA in under a half hour and I found it really pretty straight forward. The only thing I wish was that the OSD would be played through the Component video in which by the way is 54 MHZ which should be more than enough bandwidth for true quality.

    Now for the sound, here is where I was truly impressed, now I know there is a lot more power in my new receiver than in my old 1802 but I didn’t expect this much difference. In Two channel direct my 602’s completely opened up. I first listned to Nora Jones and her voice sparkled, the highs were so clear and crisp, and the sound staged was very wide. It placed different instruments in different places in front of me and there was distinct separation between them. And as good as the Highs were what really impressed me was the amount of bass that could be produced by my speakers when given enough clean power. I listened to Korn which most of you will probably laugh at but the bass in their albums are really quick and hard hitting and they were managed with ease. Then came running in Surround mode. I am only using it in 5.1, not the full 7.1. It was just as good here, it was crisp and clean and did a wonderful job decoding both DTS and DD I used Toy Story 2, Gladiator, Fast and the Furious, Star Wars 2, and Fifth Element. As you can tell just by the number of movies that I found this to be much better than my old receiver it totally enveloped me in sound and the center channel was always crisp, on my old receiver I found I had to turn up the center on movies just to hear dialog. The auto detect function worked flawlessly picking up DD or DTS every time. Even on the test disc it went From DPLII to DD to DTS and back again without a problem.

    The remote is Universal Remote Controls Theatermaster MX-500. and this is a great remote that sells for $175 in it’s own right. I have never been a big universal remote fan but this one is a great remote. It has an lcd with 10 hot buttons as well as regular hard buttons. I will just say I have never used a Universal before because they were clumsy but by the end of this weekend I had switch to this remote for everything.

    For around 1000 dollars I think that it might be worth the hunt for you to go and find a dealer for this brand. I know they aren’t around a lot. But I called their help desk and got a dealer right away. And what sold me on this was I e-mailed their VP of Marketing and in less than 2 hrs got all the info I asked for That is customer service. So all of this combined makes this one of the best purchaces in Home theater I have made and with all the features should do me well for a long time
  2. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

    Jan 23, 1999
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    Enjoy your new reciever. Newcastle stuff is very good and I also have had good experience with their customer service.

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