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Need advice: Denon 2803 vs Sony 4ES vs ?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Mike Pollmann, May 27, 2003.

  1. Mike Pollmann

    Mike Pollmann Well-Known Member

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    Hi-

    I'm on the verge of finally getting a new receiver, and I'd like some recommendations and advice from everyone. Up until recently, I've been intending on getting the Denon 2803. I've always had Denon products in the past and have been happy with them. What I'm not happy with is the limited selection of dealers (all expensive) I have if I want to get a warranty. It would seem that Sony isn't anywhere near as anal as Denon in this regard. That, coupled with the excellent reviews I've read here about the 4ES have made me consider something I never have before - a Sony receiver. This concept still seems a bit foreign to me. [​IMG]

    Anyway, here's a rundown of my current system:
    TV: Toshiba 32" CRT (Non Progressive, has component inputs)
    DVD: Panasonic DVD-F85S (just got this yesterday)
    Tivo Standalone (Series 1 - upgrading to DTivo soon)
    GameSystems: PS2, Xbox, Gamecube
    VCR: Panasonic (non SVideo)
    Tape: Kenwood tape deck
    Speakers: Paradigms: (F) 5SEMk2s, (C) CC-350, (SUR) Mini-Monitors, (SUB) PS-1000
    Current Receiver: Denon AVR-1100 (DD-ready receiver, nothing fancy)

    One of my main requirements for the new receiver is the abilty to handle all of the inputs. I currently have the DVD hooked directly to my TV's component input, so that doesn't need to go through the receiver. However, between the Tivo and 3 game systems, that's a total of 4 SVideo selections I need. The Xbox, PS2, DVD Player, and DTivo (soon) all need an optical and/or digital coax input for audio. Also, I need 6 channel analog in for DVD-Audio support.

    Things I'd like to get:
    - 7.1 as opposed to 6.1 or 5.1. I only have the speakers for 5.1 at the moment, but I'd like to "buy for the future."
    - Multi-zone support (does the 4ES do this?)
    - Support for discrete IR codes (I have a Pronto).
    - Pre-outs for future addition of am amplifier.

    That said, does anyone have any recommendations as to which receiver would be best for my system? Currently I've been looking at the 4ES and 2803, but am willing to consider anything. I really am not thinking about the 3803 due to its high cost. I've seen the 4ES advertised for $650ish. I can't seem to get the 2803 for less than $700 from any authorized source.

    Thanks for any advice.. Sorry for the long post! [​IMG]
    -Mike

    PS - If I am incorrect on the authorized/warranty issue on Sony receivers, please let me know!

    PPS - I know everyone recommends auditioning receivers to choose. But how can this be done when the dealers with these receivers don't carry Paradigms? The only Paradigm dealer in town here only carries Marantz & Rotel. As such, I've been looking at these purely on features and input/output.
     
  2. Chad Anson

    Chad Anson Well-Known Member

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    I picked up the Sony from an authorized dealer (JandR.com) for around $670 shipped. You'll have to negotiate to get that price but it isn't hard. I upgraded from a Denon 3300 and really like the 4es. The weak point, however, is the remote. Why am I cursed to own receivers with crappy remotes? [​IMG] Luckily I have my Pronto.
     
  3. Shiu

    Shiu Well-Known Member

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    If you want to know more about the 4ES, I suggest you read the Sound & Vision review. It does have 7.1 pre-outs and second room capability but no third. The 4ES will soon become "discontinued".
     
  4. Mike Pollmann

    Mike Pollmann Well-Known Member

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    Is the Sound & Vision review online anywhere?

    And I also have a Pronto, so I'm not worried about remotes. I'm just looking for the best receiver for my needs. Anyone else have any suggestions?
     
  5. David_Stein

    David_Stein Well-Known Member

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    do you think there will be some deals on the 4ES as it becomes "discontinued" or will the lack of availability hold prices as they are?
     
  6. terence

    terence Well-Known Member

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  7. Dennis LM

    Dennis LM Member

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    I am a very satisfied new owner of a 4ES. I did the very same comparison that you are doing just about a month ago. I decided on the 4ES seeing it as the biggest bang for the buck. The 5-year warranty was also a great help. I, like you, just could not find the 2803 (nor the 1803 for that matter) for even close to the price. You are right on the warranty issue.

    You may check out the warranty for the 4ES at the Sony site below.
    Sony STR-DA4ES link

    You may want to go to Crutchfield.com to have a look at the back and if you want you may also download a copy of the owner's manual from Sony (free) to have a look at it to see if it's what you need. I think it will handle what I can see of your needs.
     
  8. Mike Pollmann

    Mike Pollmann Well-Known Member

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    Dennis-

    If you don't mind me asking, where did you get your 4ES and for how much?

    We have a very limited selection of Sony ES dealers in Milwaukee, so I may have to order it online. Probably a heck of a lot cheaper, too.
     
  9. Dennis LM

    Dennis LM Member

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    Mike, I purchased my 4ES at MyDigitalUniverse.com for $632 after S/H. You may want to just check out the comparison sites for a few weeks. I have noticed a lot of bouncing of prices on the different online sites. It's amazing how much the prices can change from day to day as well.

    Always go the extra step of getting the actual shipping & handling info since it varies quite widely from site to site. Also check out the fine print on the terms and conditions. You often are at risk for the return freight and any restock fees if thing don't work out.

    The comparison sites are great here, since they often have customer responses to the vendor and the whole experience. I filled out mine. [​IMG] Make sure the "rating" of the vendor is based on a sizable sample, not just 10 responses.
     

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