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Confused by Denon 3803


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#1 of 7 RichB

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Posted March 17 2003 - 11:10 AM

OK, maybe I'm "old school" or maybe I'm really just a dumbshit, but I am struggling to understand the Denon 3803. I had the 3300 which was difficult for me to get a grasp of, but the 3803 really baffles me. I guess I'm just not getting the concept of assiging inputs and Zone 2 and "multi" and all that. All I know is that if I accidentally hit the wrong button on my remote, all of a sudden I can't control the volume even though I can see it going up and down on the receiver display, or I can't bring up the on screen display or I get no sound whatsoever. I don't want to be scared of my receiver goddamit I want to understand it!! I'm not that stupid, I run my own web hosting company and I know I could get it if presented to me in some palatable form. The manual is just impossible to get a grasp of...So I guess what I'm asking is can anyone point me to "Denon 3803 For Dummies" or something equivalent? Does anyone know of some simplified explanation/manual or documentation on how this receiver works? I don't want to be afraid of my receiver!!

#2 of 7 Tom S

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Posted March 17 2003 - 11:50 AM

Blame it Denon. I have a master's degree in electrical engineering and I can't stand the manual either (3300). I am not surprised that the 3803 would be baffling.
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#3 of 7 Steve Schaffer

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Posted March 17 2003 - 01:05 PM

I've often thought some money could be made if one bought some piece of gear that comes with an incomprehensible manual, played with it long enough to figure out how it really works, and wrote a manual in plain English to be sold independently.

Most video games have "guidebooks" written for them nowadays, without which it can be difficult for the average person to play the game.

Why the Japanese mfgs can't hire native English speakers/writers who've actually used and understand the equipment to write their manuals is totally beyond me. The worst offenders seem to be receiver manuals for Sony and Denon.

The manual for my Pioneer 45tx is not perfect, but I've always been able to find the information I need. The translation is well above average.
Steve S.
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#4 of 7 Chuck Kent

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Posted March 17 2003 - 03:08 PM

I feel your pain (to quote someone... Posted Image ) I run a 3803 and really, really like it. I don't find it hard to run. BUT, I have a couple of ideas that may help...

1st - I don't use the remote that came with it. I readily acknowledge that buying an additional remote is an extra expense that one shouldn't have to incur. But there are so many better remotes out there that can make running the 3803 much simpler. IMO, a good universal remote is worth every penny.

2nd - The manual stinks. Denon has never made a manual yet that is even close to decent. Hang in there. Ask questions from experienced users here at HTF. The more you use your 3803 (hopefully with a better remote) the easier it will become. Since it offers more features than your old 3300, it will take a bit of time to get everything down pat. One thing that will help is that once you get things setup, the 3803 remembers those setting by mode/input and will run more automated each time you use it...

#5 of 7 CurtisC

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Posted March 17 2003 - 03:26 PM

I never owned a Denon until the 3802.It was a little difficult(used to other brands) but after reading the manual a time or two I learned all funtions/capabilities.I recently purchased the 3803 and found it similar but still had to read new/different sections twice.The point,you have a very sophisticated unit,for my money the best at its $ range.The manual is greek but when learned its easy.

#6 of 7 Mike Up

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Posted March 17 2003 - 03:50 PM

The Denon manual sucks, that's a fact that even Denon admits. They claim that's why they have a support number, although it's long distance. Posted Image

Really, I'm not trying to blow my own horn, but I don't really have problems comprehending even the worst manuals. I guess it's just a knack. There is many omissions in the AVR-3803 manual as no mention of ADFM(auto detection flag mode) or the fact that the multi or rec indicator will be lit at all times although they are set for source. No mention of AL24 which is Denon's Alpha 24 bit up-conversion of lower resolution digital signals. Also no mention that different surround modes have different max volume settings: Dolby Digital and Stereo is +18db, Prologic is +15db and DTS:Neo is +12db.

If you have any questions with the manual, don't be afraid to ask, I'll give you all the help that I can.Posted Image

Have a good one.

#7 of 7 BrianWoerndle

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Posted March 18 2003 - 05:36 AM

Rich, I think I can help:

I have the 3803, and I use the multi-room, so I have gotten good at operating it.

It does not sound like you are using an additional set of speakers in a different room, so all of the Zone 2 features can be turned off. If you do use Zone 2, let me know, because it will change things.

Lets start with the main system setup from the system configuration menu. In the first option for speaker setup, select the speakers that you have. If you only have 5.1, surround 'A' should be on (small or large), surround 'B' and surround back/zone 2 should be off. Then in the 'Zone 2' submenu, you do not need to deal with the poweramp assign function. That is only for Zone 2. If you have changed it, put it back to read 'surround back' (factory default). Next, on the front of the receiver there is a Zone 2 button with a light above it. That should be turned off.

Now that everything is setup correct, that should minimize problems. Here is what I think is happening with the volume control. On the remote, if you press the AMP button twice, the LCD display will read ZONE2. That means that the function buttons (1-0) will change the source to be outputted to Zone 2, without affecting the main zone. If you have all zone 2 functions turned off like described above, then this should have no affect. Also, when the LCD display reads ZONE2, the master volume buttons change the volume for the zone 2 speakers, not the main speakers. You will notice on the main display it will read ZONE2 VOL XX, and it will only adjust in 1db increments.

So, all you need to do is make sure the LCD display reads AMP instead of ZONE2. Also, the master volume buttons will operate the main volume in every function except ZONE2.

Also, another cavet of the 3803. If you want to record out from the receiver (using the VCR-1, VCR-2, or CDR/TAPE outputs) there is a Zone2/Rec button on the left. That will change between using the Zone 2 speakers, and recording outputs. You can not do both at the same time. But you can record a different source than what you are using (ex: You are watching the TV, but want to play a tape in VCR-1 and record to VCR-2, you can do that while still watching TV.) When you press that button, an icon on the main display will change from Multi to Rec. The onscreen display will prompt you to select the source (VCR-1 in the example) and then the output (VCR-2). At the top of the display you will see small text that will tell you what source is currently selected for rec out or zone 2.
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