Denon AVR-3808CI: An Overview

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Ronald Epstein, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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  2. Bob_Chase

    Bob_Chase Stunt Coordinator

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    Great review Ron.

    I've been eyeing up this unit for a while now. I was watching some of the early adopter discussions at the AVS Forum and it seemed like there were some issues early on. But once firmware updates were issued most of the bugs were squashed. The ability to update the firmware via the web is another incentive for making the upgrade.

    Reviews such as yours are certainly getting me closer to pulling the trigger. Now if I could only convince the CFO that we need a new receiver. [​IMG]

    I've always been intrigued by the Audyssey self-calibration feature. Could you just elaborate on the process of repeating the calibration in different areas of the room? Do you take a reading at each speaker location? Does it average the levels after these multiple tests?

    Thanks.
     
  3. Gregory Pauswinski

    Gregory Pauswinski Supporting Actor

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    Congratulations on your new receiver, and thanks for the review, Ron!! What a fantastic price for such a good receiver!

    I too am interested in more information about the Audyssey self-calibration. Pulling out the old SPL Meter is such a pain sometimes...

    With the new HD-DVD and Blu-Ray players, I've been looking to upgrade my Denon AVR-5800. I've been looking closely at the 3808 and 4308. Can you or anybody else speak to the differences between these receivers? The biggest difference that I can see is WiFi and an HD Radio tuner. It doesn't seem to me that those features are worth an extra $1000.

    I wish this receiver had more than 3 component video inputs. I already have 4 component devices. High Def cable, Blu-Ray Player, HD-DVD player, PS3. Unfortunately my TV does not have HDMI inputs, so I have to run everything through component.
     
  4. Chris Maynard

    Chris Maynard Supporting Actor

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    I just ordered a 4308 to replace my 5800. Besides the changes you listed you also get a bigger power supply, 10 more wpc and a second HDMI-out.
     
  5. joseph westcott

    joseph westcott Second Unit

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    Thanks for the review. What a great price considering all the bells and whistles, HD Audio support, and several HDMi inputs.

    Enjoy!!!
     
  6. Raul Marquez

    Raul Marquez Supporting Actor
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    Faced with the same situation after EMA Las Vegas, I bought a new receiver yesterday. I went with the Yamaha RX-V1800 which has 4 HDMI inputs, 3 component inputs, 3 Coax and 6 Optical, all of which are assignable and re-nameable. I too was concerned with early issues posted elsewhere about Denon, but I'm glad the're resolved. What finally made me decide for the Yamaha were: its lower price (list $1200, though I've seen it online for $950), and the fact that I'm upgrading from a Yamaha RX-V2400 which I really liked, and which allowed me to hook up to this receiver the PRESENCE speakers (smaller speakers located on the front wall above and lateral to the front main ones) that Yamaha uses for various sound fields.

    Congrats to Ron on his new receiver as well!
     
  7. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    RAF and Adam where really impressed by the Denon models at CEDIA. In fact RAF has the 3808 for himself right after the show. The Audyssey self-calibration is a real plus. I definitely have this receiver on my short list.
     
  8. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Greg:


    I was wondering. If you plugged in your High Def cable, Blu-ray and HD-DVD into the Denon using the HDMI inputs could you output them over the component? I'm not sure if it works that way or not. I know that if you put in a component, or composite input you can output this over HDMI. I'm not sure if the reverse works or not.
     
  9. Gregory Pauswinski

    Gregory Pauswinski Supporting Actor

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    Hey Parker!

    It is my understanding that you cannot output an HDMI connection over component. I think it's because of copy protection concerns..
     
  10. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Weren't the Denons not playing nice with the Sammy 1400 Blu-ray player's bitstream output of TrueHD and DTS MA? That seemed to be the scuttlebutt on AVS. The Onkyos were not having audio issues with the 1400.

    I wouldn't want to get a newer Denon until I knew that there wasn't some compatibility issue with audio bitstreaming of the new formats.

    Dan
     
  11. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    As an owner and user of a 3808CI in my system (it replaced my 3806) I can attest to the fact that it's a great unit for the money. I haven't had the time to post a "review" of my own because I've been so busy but I'll eventually get around to adding some comments at my HT web site regarding all the great features of the Denon.

    As a (former) Lexicon MC-8 owner there's a lot to like about the Denons at their price point (especially the 3000 series and up). For one thing, Logic7 is no longer the only 7.1 game in town. For another, the components used in the Denon 3000 (and up) series are not exactly run of the mill items.

    In particular, I love Denonlink which mates perfectly with my Denon 2930ci for SACD/DVD-A in a completely digital path. Additionally the new GUI is worth the upgrade alone in my estimation (along with the Internet connectivity.) While it's not possible to test out every combination of players, etc. with the 3808ci in my HT I take with a grain of salt some of the comments on those "glass half empty" sites about incompatibilities of the 3808ci with some players. As was pointed out, the firmware upgrades (now via Ethernet on the 3808ci - I did one seamlessly when I installed it a couple of weeks ago - address most if not all issues.

    And the one thing that really shines in the Denon series is the use of Audyssey. Not only does the basic 8-point calibration work extremely well and is child's play to implement (the 3806 had a 6 point system) but all the 2008 Denons (3000 series and up) include the capacity of using Audyssey Pro. This is a version which uses 32 data collection points in the calibration and is far more precise (not to take anything away from the 8 point method). At CEDIA 2007 I attended a training session on Audyssey Pro and actually purchased a license ($300) to activate it in my 3808. Essentially the license unlocks the ability of your receiver to use the SW included with the license to run the full pro equalization. Without such a feature built in, one would require an external processor that Audyssey markets for around $2000. The Denons and units from several other manufacturers (Integra and NAD for example) already are "audyssey pro-ready" with the inclusion of the appropriate chipsets.

    However - and this is an important point - only the Denon units have the ability to use the "Dynamic Equalization" component of Audyssey Pro. This feature is a real ear-opener and has to be heard to be believed. When we asked about this, the Audyssey folks told us it had something to do with the faster processing capabilities of the Denons. Something else to consider.

    BTW, I've noticed some questions here about Audyssey and I'm sure my comments above will fuel the fire even more. Rather than repeating everything here I suggest that you go over to the Audyssey site here for the answers to a lot of your questions.

    Audyssey, in my opinion, is far from being a gimmick. It's a serious acoustical upgrade (developed by Tomlinson Holman of THX fame and a team at the USC-LA audio labs) and it really works.

    In a nutshell, the 3808ci works perfectly with all my HDMI components including a Dish 722 HD DVR, a Toshiba HD-DVD XA2 and a Sony PS3 (for Blu-ray). So did my 3806 for that matter (since I'm doing all the decoding at this point in the players) but the 3808CI does it more elegantly and with better capacity and features. (I'm still using the Denon as a pre/pro so I can't comment on the amp section).

    Hope this helps.
     
  12. Travis Hedger

    Travis Hedger Supporting Actor

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    This is getting crazy. There are so many great choices now in receivers that I really have no idea which way I am going to go. Choices from Denon, Pioneer, Onkyo. Its just crazy all the things these new receivers do and all seem to do equally well.

    Ill be looking to upgrade from a 9 year old Pioneer VSX-D608. A very vanilla 100w DD/DTS 5.1 receiver. That is it. It doesnt even do component inputs!
     
  13. Southpaw

    Southpaw Supporting Actor

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    Tell me about it Travis. I don't know which way to go - I've narrowed it down to the Denon 3808, Pioneer Elite VSX-94TXH and the Yamaha 3800. I'm leaning towards the Elite but it is just a lean at this point. After reading Ron's review, the 3808 is right there too. Anyone compare these models with each other? Ron, did you compare the 3808 to anything before buying it?
     
  14. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    I looked at the Onkyo, but there were too many reports about it
    running "hot" so I opted to stick with the Denon.
     
  15. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    Ron, thanks for your writeup (and to RAF for his insights). Like you & many of the folks who went to EMA, I am now smack up against the reality that I need to upgrade to really enjoy the "largesse" we received. I've been eyeing the Denon 3808, & I think you guys just pushed me over the edge. I think I'll be stopping by the Home Theater Store tomorrow. [​IMG]

    Of course, then I've got to upgrade the display...
     
  16. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    Ron

    Awesome about the Denon! Robert, how is it as a pre/pro...I mean, I haven't heard a lot about how it "sounds". Sure, lots of features on it...seems good and all...but how does it sound guys?? Robert, compared to your other components used as pre/pros before?

    It's either this piece here or I jump up to an Anthem...but I'm still finding it hard to justify the purchase of an upscale preamp at this time considering they take longer to roll out with newer DACs and features like the video upscaling...anything "digital" outdates itself quickly...

    I may just do this Denon for a while longer. I've been doing ok with the Marantz so far...despite it not being the best solution.
     
  17. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer
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    Thanks for the review Ron and the other helpful discussions. I am hoping to upgrade my receiver before too long and I will have to consider the Denon. I was leaning toward one of the Pioneer Elites, but I think I will open up the competition a bit.
     
  18. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Michael:

    RAF kept his monoblocks to use the Denon as a preamp and said it "sounds" great. I have an Outlaw 7700 but I am thinking of letting it go and just use the amps in the Denon.
     
  19. gadgetfreak

    gadgetfreak Auditioning

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    Great Review, Ron !

    Can you please confirm if the Denon 3808 really does "HDMI to HMDI scaling up to 1080p" (as mentioned in the specs)?
     
  20. john a hunter

    john a hunter Supporting Actor

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    If used as a pre-pro as I am thinking of doing, is there a heat problem with the unused amp section?
     

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