Sherwood Newcastle R-756 or Outlaw 1050 or something else? Hawk?



I was pretty well set on purchasing the H/K AVR325(thanks for all the info Hawk & GT), but after auditioning it at a store it sounded good but didn't really blow me away(I guess it could have been the speakers (Polk Audio)). I was expecting an improvement from my current H/K AVR30(pro-logic) in stereo mode but it didn't quite sound as good, certainly surround was very good.

My requirements are 5.1 (I have no interest in 6.1/7.1) and excellent sounding stereo music. I also have a strong preference for DPLII or at least something like it(i.e. circle surround/Logic 7). I'm looking around the C$1000(US$700) price range because that's about half the amount I spent on speakers and I figure any more money would be past the point of diminishing returns.

I don't have a strong preference for H/K other than the fact that I like my current receiver and they're one of the 'honest' manufacturers with regard to power ratings and high current capacity.

I stumbled across a local dealer for the Sherwood Newcastle R-756 and have seen several positive reviews and can get one for a half decent price locally(C$1100). I was also considering the Outlaw 1050(~C$900) but am leary about the problems developing on some 6.1-encoded DVDs if you don't have a 6th speaker installed and the lack of DPLII. But...if this is easily the best sounding receiver in my price range I could be convinced to forgoe DPLII and purchase a rear surround speaker (or two).

Onkyo, Denon, Panasonic & Pioneer just don't cut it musically in my opinion. The NAD T742 is potentially an option, I'm still trying to find a local price on one (Ottawa, ON) but I'm guessing it'll be over my budget(the HK AVR325 and Denon 2803 retail for around C$1500 locally) and it's not one of the receivers I would order from the US because of reliability issues with previous models and NAD seems to really discourage Internet ordering anyway (from reading their website).

My usage is 50%DBS/30%DVD/20%CD. My speakers are older model Acoustic Research HO series (similar to current Hi-Res series, i.e. AR9, AR2C, AR15).

Feel free to suggest other receivers, maybe I'd be better off getting a 5.1 receiver for HT only and continuing to use my AVR30 for stereo music. I guess I'd need some sort of switch for the font speakers in that case?



I have a Sherwood Newcastle R-956 and its a good receiver. But it does not have DPLII, 5 channel stereo, DTS:Neo, DTS-ES or DD-EX. My 956 is 6.1 matrix but the 756 is only 5.1. Sound quality is very good but you're not getting any of the newer features that have been around for almost 2 years or more.

Plus there's a defect when playing DTS disc. The LFE channel has been measured to be at least 10db too low. There is really no way to correctly compensate for this. You can increase the sub volume but that's not really the same thing. Plus you'd have to change it back when you play a DD movie. Lacks some bass management features. As powerful as my 956 is, I'd opt for something a little more user friendly. The manual is horrible. I have an HK and this Newcastle and if you read HK's manual is bad, the Newcastle is twice a bad. The remote is irritating too. Didn't learn all my codes from other devices. I don't know if you listen to the radio much but you can't scan the presets using the up/down button. It only goes up! Bad!

The R-756 was replaced by the 863 over a year ago and it supposed to be much better. You're looking at a receiver that may be 3 years old. I bought my R-956 back in summer of 2001.

Good sound, nice power, very user unfriendly. If you're only using stereo and Dolby Digital, it's great. The other soundfields are useless. Comes with a 3 year warranty though.

I've read good things about the Outlaw but it's missing the new technology (DTS-ES, DD-EX and DPLII) also.

I'd definitely get the HK-325. Feature set is much better.

I read on another forum you can get factory renewed HK's in Canada at US prices. Call the HK support number 1-800-567-3275 and tell them what model you're interested in. This is for Canadian customers only. Give them a call and let us know if this works.

Geez! Thanks for the warning on the Sherwood Newcastle GT! I assume the 756 has the same problems as your 956, I thought I read the 756 had Circle Surround, is this similar to DPLII? The R-863 is available here for C$1800, a bit too pricey for me.

I'm not overly concerned about buying a 2 year old model as long as it has excellent sound quality and something close to DPLII. Out of curiosity, how do you find the sound of your R-956 compared to the HK (I think you have a 320?) on the same speakers?

Unfortuantely, as luck would have it, I've just now had to shell out about C$900 for a new dishwasher :(. It sure was painful to shop for a maytag with the hk325 sitting one isle over. So my new receiver purchase is on hold until at least Christmas time, but I still appreciate the input.

I'll give that HK Canada number a call though and let you know what I find out. I did notice a few retailers here are selling the refurbs now too though.


My R-956 doesn't have Circle Surround. It has something called SRS Tru Surround which was horrible. I had read good things about Circle Surround and wished my Newcastle had it. Maybe the R-756 does, but I dunno.

I no longer have the HK-320. There's a logic 7 bug when using 7.1. You only get noise out of the surround back right speaker. It works fine using 7 channel stereo, Neo:6 or DTS-ES, but not Logic 7. Logic 7 works great with 5.1. I was only using 5.1 with my system but decided to test for the defect since I read about it on another forum few months ago. Sure enough, it was there. Not a huge problem but something that would bother me if I moved the receiver into another room with 7.1 Since I had a 2 year warranty I really wasn't worried about it. This defect was only on the HK 320 and 520, newer models are fine. But I called HK the other day, they confirmed the bug and they offered to replace my 320 with a NEW HK-325 for free. Awesome customer service!

This was an offer I couldn't refuse so I boxed my 320 up and sent it to HK service. My new 325 is in transit and hopefully will be here Thursday or Friday. In all other respects my 320 was great. The majority of people would probably never use the 7.1 feature because you needed an external amp to do it. If you're only using 5.1 its perfect. The 325 comes with 7 amplified channels. Much more convenient.

Since my 320 is gone, I reconnected the Newcastle. It definitely has more power but you'd expect that since it listed for US$1400 when new. Sound is pretty close but I preferred the HK because of ease of use plus DPL2 & Logic 7. When watching TV on the Newcastle you either listen in stereo or DPL1, which is inferior to DPL2. All the other surround modes sounded like echo chambers. I have 7 speakers in my room so the lack of options is irritating.

The pluses of the Newcastle are phono input, more power, gold plated jacks and the ability to rename the video inputs. The minuses are in my previous note. I don't know if the 756 offers everything the R-956 has.

I'm only using Energy Take 5 speakers and old Boston A-70s. But both receivers make everything sound better than my old Sony.

I got my receivers brand new with heavy discounts and full mfr warranty. I'd trade the Newcastle in for a HK 525 in a flash. If Sherwood offered me a new model like the 863, I'd love it. They make a good product but take too long to catch up with their competitors features.


Here's an old article comparing the Newcastle R-956 to the HK AVR-4000. Since this is an British magazine, I'm not sure what the US equivalent to the 4000 might be. Perhaps the AVR-310?

Oh, by the way I did call that HK support number for refurb prices in Canada. They told me to email I haven't heard anything back yet.


Cool, the number and email is legit. I posted that on another site and drew all kinds of skepticism. Supposedly you can get refurb "z" models at the Canadian equivalent to US prices.

If you can get a 325z that Onecall has priced at $386US, it would be C$540. 525z from Onecall would be C$715. Maybe they only match prices on HK's or Ebay site, I dunno. But it would still be better that what you pay up there now.

Good luck.

Yea, even price matching from wouldn't be too bad.

The 320Z is US$398 / C$560
The 520Z is US$498 / C$700
The 525Z is US$698 / C$1050.

I'm guessing the 325Z would go for around US$498 or C$700. The 325Z retails here for C$1200 and the 325 for C$1500. I'm not holding out much hope, I emailed them a few days ago with no response yet. I've just sent another email. NAD doesn't seem to be marked up quite as much as HK here, the T742 goes for C$900 and the T752 I think around C$1200. Unless I can get a 325Z for C$700 I'll probably end up buying the NAD. Oh, by the way j&r does ship HK receivers to Canada, I think the AVR325 would end up costing me around C$950 including taxes, shipping etc. But, I would have to send it to the US for warranty issues, and with my luck I would have problems :). In the end I feel better buying something locally considering the quality problems with receiver in general over the past few years.

Well, my 325 is supposed to be delivered today according to UPS tracking. If so, I'll have a full writeup over the long weekend if not sooner.

I've read the NAD really sounds good. I guess there were bugs in earlier releases but have mostly been fixed by a chip upgrade. You'll have to check and see which version you get.


When you called customer support, did you have to plead your case ? Or are did it seem like they are well aware of the issue ?



Didn't have to plead my case at all. Told him about the known Logic 7 bug on the 320 and 520 and mentioned it was on a couple audio forums. He said they were aware of it and the fix was to replace the unit with a new 325.

I spoke with two different reps. I was away from home the first time. He asked me what kind of amps I used and explained that I tried two different amps, then tested in 7 channel stereo and everything worked fine. It was just Logic 7. He asked me to fax him my receipt. By the time I got home it was after hours since they're on the east coast.

I called the next day and asked to speak to the same rep. He was on the phone with somebody else so I told the new rep my problem. Mentioned the Logic 7 bug and he said they'll replace it with the 325 just fax the receipt with serial number. Within an hour he had emailed me, gave me a Return Authorization number and sent me packing instructions for my old unit. I mailed the old unit out on a Wednesday and HK received it on a Friday. Went from SF Bay Area to Phoenix.

On Monday I got an email with my new unit tracking number. It arrived on a Thursday from UPS. Brand spankin' new, works great and I'm totally happy. Can't say enough good things about HK Customer Service.

Which unit do you have?

You should check out the Marantz line up, perhaps the Sr-7300 or OSE they all have SRS Circle surround 2 which is 6.1 and they sound just as good as HK and way better than any other mass market receiver.


Thanks for the info... I have the 320 and it's currently in for repair. It will shutdown randomly, sometimes after only 5 minutes. I have tried with different sources and even with no speakers connected and it will still do it. It doesn't do it very often but it's still annoying. Other than that, I am very satisfied with it.

I remember playing with Logic 7 when I first got the unit but I can't remember if I had a problem with it... I had a defective speaker at the time so maybe I'm confusing my speaker problem with the Logic 7 problem. I will try it again when I get my unit back from repairs.

My excuses to Smitty as I don't want to pollute this thread...

BTW, I also wrote to demodeals earlier this week and didn't get an answer. I got the email address from the Canadian H/K customer support (Jam Industries).


Remember, the logic 7 problem only happens if you're running 7.1 speakers, not 5.1. It affects the surround back right speaker. You'll need an external amp to test it.


I have enough speakers to test it out. However, I guess you could test it with only one speaker ?

To be honest, you probably don't need to test it at all unless you want to hear the muffled rumbling sound for yourself. Several users plus HK have confirmed the L7 defect exists in the 320.

I'm not quite sure how you can test it with only one speaker since there are no speaker connections for the surround back right until you add another amp, but if you've figured out a way to do it, then cool.

Did you send you 320 back to HK or to a local repair shop? If HK already has it, ask them about the L7 problem and what they can do to resolve it.


I was thinking you need only one speaker connected to an other amp for the SBR channel... But it doesn't really matter.

I brought it to the store that I bought it from. I guess they sent it to Erikson / Jam Industries (H/K support in Canada) or to a H/K approved repair shop... I'll probably have to wait for it to return and then contact H/K support directly.
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