HR-895 Review

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HR-895 Review

Post by dfronk » Thu Jan 10, 2008 9:26 am

The audio/video receiver. (includes related articles on things to consider when purchasing a receiver and Dolby Pro Logic) (Evaluation)

Publication: Video Review

Publication Date: 01-JAN-94

Author: Day, Rebecca

Carver HR-895

With its trademark rack-mount handles and imposing appearance, you know as soon as you see the Carver HR-895 that it's a serious A/V receiver. And the price is as serious as the look--$1,250--although, as you'll see, there are far more expensive models out there. More vintage Carver is the manual's homey preface by company president Bob Carver welcoming you to the product. In it, he points out unique features, including the company's proprietary Sonic Holography system, which is found in Carver products as well as certain Toshiba TVs. As the name suggests, Sonic Holography gives a three-dimensional sound to a recording. You can engage the circuit or not, depending on your enjoyment of this digital signal processing (DSP) mode. There are rules, though, and a diagram in the owner's manual prescribes proper distances speakers should be from walls, from each other, and from the listener in order to obtain optimal results.

Sonic Holography was a Carver staple long before digital signal processing became de rigueur for A/V receivers; presumably that's why Carver chose to leave ambience modes out of the HR-895. There are, however, three additional surround modes beyond the requisite Dolby Pro Logic: matrix, hall, and simulated stereo.

The HR-895 doesn't offer a slew of DSP modes, but instead adds multi-room, multisource capability so you can listen to a CD, for example, in the living room while the radio is on in the main room. The HR-895 comes with a lightswitch-size IR-R8 receiver, which connects via a supplied 50-foot blue cable to a rear jack on the HR-895 and accepts and transmits commands from the remote in the second room back to the HR-895.

There are separate inputs for AM, FM, and CATV as well as CD, phono, tape, VCR 1, VCR 2, laserdisc and video, which should be enough to accommodate a fully equipped home-theater system. Power is hefty, with 110 watts to the left and right channels, 75 watts to the center, and 35 watts per side in the rear. A better distribution would have been to produce equal power across the front 80 watts a channel in triplicate would have been more than adequate to bring up the center's level. The HR-895 also has an output for a powered sub.

The tuner section offers 30 presets for FM, AM, and even cable radio (there's a separate CATV coax input on the back panel next to the regular FM/AM antenna inputs). The tuner has Carver's ACCD (Asymmetrical Charge-Coupled Detector) circuit, which helps to improve reception of signals affected by multipath interference.

Standard features include tape dubbing, a delay button that lets you change the built-in digital delay of Pro Logic, a test tone button for Pro Logic and corresponding input level and input balance controls. An extra touch is the sleep timer, which can turn off the system at a predetermined time, wake you up, or set the system to record a radio program once or even daily. Nice, but a piece of cake to operate, it ain't.

Ergonomically and aesthetically, the HR-895 is lacking. Fifty buttons and knobs are packed onto the front panel--most are fairly small with hard-to-read labels. The stereo mode button for the tuner is mixed in with source buttons, while other tuner function buttons are located elsewhere. The fluorescent display is full of information. Some is helpful (radio station call letters can make programming easier) but most is not, especially since the displays are too small to read from beyond a couple of feet away. The remote control is a block of identical Pez-shaped buttons, making tactile function recognition difficult at best.

The owner's manual, at only 33 pages7 is exceptionally concise, straightforward, and clear for such a complicated product.

The Carver HR-895, with its meaty power for the main channels, Sonic Holography sound enhancement, second-room/second-zone audio and tuner details, is definitely an audio buff's kind of A/V receiver. To be better suited for the all-around home-theater enthusiast, it could benefit from equalized power, a better remote, and more user-friendly operation.

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