NEAR's Digital Signal Processing can make you a hero!
You may ask, "So why bother with all those buttons and knobs I see here, Bill?" Because we know that not all installations and environments are exactly the same and that you may want to do a bit of tweaking to dial-in absolutely perfect sound for your clients.
Here's a specific example: Let's say you've installed a NEARSCAPES 4.1 system with the subwoofer on Amp channel "A" and four LB4TM satellite speakers running in mono on Amp channel "B" (see my CE Pro magazine article on the joys of monophonic sound) and that you've selected that system settings from the presets. But because of the speaker positioning forced on you by landscaping or the client, the subwoofer is 6 Meters (20 feet) farther from the listening area than the LB4TM satellites. The result is poor blending of the sub and sats with weak output in the crossover range. Just connect a laptop to the amp through the Ethernet port, open the DSP dashboard and go into the time delay screen shown below.
Are you a DSP Ninja?
No other residential power amps that we are aware of offer compression. They may have limiting (as do we), and while that is useful for helping prevent over-driving and breaking speakers, it is not the same as compression. Compression reduces dynamic range - the difference between the softest and loudest sounds on a recording. Wide dynamic range is great in indoor settings but in outdoor areas the high amount of ambient noise, typically 55-60dB, masks low-level sounds. Sure you can turn up the volume to overcome the background noise but then crescendos on the recording will be way too loud. A gentle amount of compression can be a real game-changer.