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first AVR-receiver, Denon 3805 or HK?


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20 replies to this topic

#1 of 21 OFFLINE   Pieter_V

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Posted August 20 2004 - 04:49 AM

hey,

first of all, sorry for my bad English.

In september I'm going to buy a AVR-Receiver.
I'd bey the Denon AVR-3805, but if I had to choose for the design itself, I'd rather choose the new Harman Kardon series.

now, this week, I bought 2 JBL Northridge E100 frontspeakers.

what receiver would you guys buy when you should be me?
A Denon AVR-3805 or a Harman Kardon that match the Denon avr-3805?
The only thing that hold me from buyin a Harman Kardon is the low output.

please, help me out.

#2 of 21 OFFLINE   Yogi

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Posted August 20 2004 - 05:06 AM

HK rates their receivers conservatively so dont worry about their ratings. They are quite powerful. The only thing about HK to worry about would be their bad quality control. If I were you I would pick up the 3805. Denon's are pretty reliable and are as powerful and musical sounding as the HKs.
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#3 of 21 OFFLINE   JasonLaz

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Posted August 20 2004 - 05:51 AM

I looked at exactly the same choices you are and I went with the Denon 3805.

The main reason's I did at the time was the comparable model from HK was:

1) The 7200 and it only had 2 component inputs (I needed 3)
2) I loved the auto EQ feature on the Denon
3) Simply liked the sound coming from the Denon
4) Planned to get heavy into SACD/DVD-A and wanted to take advantage of the Denon-Link feature (one cable for input on 3805 instead of 6 and all digital)

Honestly, the remote sucks on the 3805. I have already upgraded that thing with a Home Theater Master MX-700. I guess some like it but it wasn't my cup of tea and I needed something that was girlfriend friendly to use. No way I was going to try and instruct her how to use that thing.

If I had planned to go anymore expensive, I probably would have opt'ed for seperates for better sound when listening to music but I'm pretty much 80/20 home theater/music listening on my system.

#4 of 21 OFFLINE   Wayne Ernst

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Posted August 20 2004 - 10:27 AM

Quote:
The only thing about HK to worry about would be their bad quality control.

Also, don't forget about the "pause" issues when starting up a DVD or when the DVD changes layers. I thought H/K would have resolved this issue in their new #30 series, but they didn't. Posted Image
"My reality check ... just bounced"

#5 of 21 OFFLINE   Kincade

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Posted August 20 2004 - 11:33 AM

FWIW, I love my AVR7200; and as far as I'm concerned, as long as you buy a new product, you're pretty set; most of the problems i've read have been with remanufactured units.

And man oh man, the power; it's a tank; I'm running 4 ohm mains, 6 ohm center, and (4) 6 ohm surrounds, and it never gets hot, even at higher levels. It's the next best thing to separates, IMHO.

You should also read the threads on AVSforum about how many people dislike the sound of their 3805's; I haven't heard one personally, so I can't comment on it; but there seems to be an agreement that there is a problem there, whatever it is.

There are also a lot of threads on the auto-EQ feature. Lots of good reading there.

I did compare my 7200 to a 3803, and there was no comparison. It sounded very thin, excessively bright, bass was not very tight, noticeable levels of distortion while listening at higher levels (-5 to -2 db reference), and it got REALLY hot very quickly; but my speakers are harder to drive than some others. Definitely not my cup of tea though.

I think you'll be happy with either; you just have to decide what features you want.

Wayne; I don't have any pause issues when starting a dvd or layer changes; the only time I have it is when i'm watching HBO and it switches from DPL to dolby digital, or back.
-kb

#6 of 21 OFFLINE   Shiu

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Posted August 20 2004 - 01:53 PM

If you do a blind fold test, I don't think you could tell the difference between the Denon AVR3803, 3805, HKAVR630, or 7200. I would just go with which one has the look, and the features you like. In terms of power, I am sure the AVR7200 is the winner, but it weighs a ton.

#7 of 21 OFFLINE   Kincade

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Posted August 20 2004 - 06:54 PM

I would strongly disagree. While I don't think I have a golden ear, I don't think many would disagree that my $120 bedroom Sony reciever would sound different than a Theta Dreadnaught or Krell Amplifier. If the speakers are very low quality, maybe one would not be able to notice a difference; but with speakers of just decent quality, there IS a difference between an amplifier that is rated at full bandwidth with all channels driven, and an amplifier that is rated at one frequency.

In any case, I think that YOUR ears should be the ones to tell you what you like best. But yes, there are differences between a Yammie, HK, Denon, and many others. You've gotta find what you like best. I found the Yammie to be overly bright, and the Denon to be still too bright for me; but the HK for my ears was very natural and tight.

HTH, and good luck on your search!
-kb

#8 of 21 OFFLINE   Wayne Ernst

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Posted August 20 2004 - 11:08 PM

Shiu,

There are differences in the sound - even a double blind test would be able to let the user distinguish between the sounds from each receiver.

But, I do think the gap is narrowing. Previously, the Yamaha receivers used to be quite bright - I bought one, couldn't take it and returned it. However, their newer receivers sound excellent. It appears most receiver manufacturers are migrating towards a more neutral sound. Maybe, after a few more generations of receivers are produced, a double-blind test might prove that one can't tell the difference between sounds. But, for now, that difference exists.
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#9 of 21 OFFLINE   Shiu

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Posted August 21 2004 - 12:41 AM

Kincade,

I don't have much to disagree with you. I was not comparing your favourite HK model with some low end receivers. I was comparing them with the Denon 380X models. Of course I can guess that Krell amplifier will sound "different" than Sony, and HK amplifiers for that matter. Absolutely no disagreement here.

Dennon receivers are well regarded by many people in this forum. I also did not say that one could not tell the difference in a blind test with all speakers as I know some speakers are more revealing than others.

Wayne, we all heard about Sony ES and Yamaha receivers being bright, you owned a 4ES as I did before, did you find it overly bright? As for Yamaha, obviously you like the sound of the latest models. Before I bought the Denon, I took my time to audition several HK models and tried to hear for myself if they are in fact "warmer". I found them sounding rather neutral (to my ears anyway), as I did with the Denon 380X, and yes, even the 4ES. It may be true that certain brands of receivers sound bright historically, but as you mentioned, may be the "gap" is starting to narrow.

#10 of 21 OFFLINE   Wayne Ernst

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Posted August 21 2004 - 04:12 AM

Shiu,

I didn't think my Sony 4ES was too bright at all. But, I didn't own the receiver with my current Polk speakers, so it's a little hard for me to judge the sound now.

I do think most, if not all, receivers are starting to migrate to a very neutral sound. Just the other evening, it was nearly hard to tell the differences between a Yamaha, Denon and a Pioneer Elite receiver. However, I could tell the differences and the Denon 3805 came in 3rd place for what my ears told me. But, there are a lot of loyal Denon followers. I just feel that lots of times, it's the "loyalty" of the follower talking for a certain brand - rather than the actual sound of the receiver itself. Posted Image
"My reality check ... just bounced"

#11 of 21 OFFLINE   Kincade

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Posted August 21 2004 - 04:18 AM

Shiu,

I don't mean at all to insinuate that Denon products, especially the 380x are not good products; to the contrary, they are excellent products; I think they actually exceed the HK in some features (and even more in the 3805). But I also think the amp section is second to only separates in the HK's. This was one of my main criteria in my decision.

My point is that I think unless you have terrible speakers, I think you can tell the difference between the 380x and the HK upper models very easily. The Northridge series JBL's IMHO fall under this category; they are good speakers, and I'm quite sure that there will be a noticeable difference between the two with them.

Anyway, only my opinion; and again, I'm quite sure that either product will satisfy him quite well.

Here's one of the threads I was referring to at AVS:

http://www.avsforum.....highlight=3805
-kb

#12 of 21 OFFLINE   Wayne Ernst

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Posted August 21 2004 - 04:22 AM

Also, I should point out, last evening I had a chance to listen to the following:

- $3.5K Meridian receiver
- $3.5K Meridian CD player
- $3.5K for a pair of B&W 804 speakers

Actually, I didn't care much for the sound. Sure, it was good - just not $10K worth. The components were not in the same room as the Pioneer Elite, Marantz, Yamaha and other gear. However, I would have loved to have had a chance to A/B them appropriately.

Even if I had $10K in cash, I'd still be prompted to find the "best bang for the buck" gear which would mean a receiver in the $1K range and utilizing my current Polk RTi speakers. This just leaves spending some $$ on an appropriate "universal" DVD player with bass management built in. Posted Image
"My reality check ... just bounced"

#13 of 21 OFFLINE   Shiu

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Posted August 21 2004 - 08:36 AM

Kincade, thank you for clarifying your point. Actually, I only use the 3805 to power the centre and surround channels. I know the top model HK receivers are more powerful. If I had the AVR7200, I would not have to take the power amplifier away from my stereo system. Having said that, I am very happy with the 3805 as a pre/pro, except for its simplistic bass management system.

The AVR7200 used to be my dream machine, but they cost a fortune (at least double the price in the U.S.) in Canada. For that kind of money, I decided to go with the 3805 plus a power amp.

Pieter is apparently leaning towards HK. Since he is concerned about "low output", I would recommend that he stick with the AVR430 or higher models. The lower models may, in fact, be less powerful than the 3805 that he is also considering.

#14 of 21 OFFLINE   Kincade

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Posted August 21 2004 - 10:03 AM

Agreed. I'd say the 430 should be the lowest he should look at.
-kb

#15 of 21 OFFLINE   Pieter_V

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Posted August 25 2004 - 03:37 AM

Guys, thanks for the responses.

I think I'm going to buy the HK AVR-630, much people say they find it a better receiver than the Denon. (not only the members of this forum)

The HK is also less expensive than the Denon AVR-3805.
So, I'll try the HK.

#16 of 21 OFFLINE   Scott Phillips

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Posted August 25 2004 - 05:29 AM

Good pick! I love mine!

PS I had a Denon 3803 before.

#17 of 21 OFFLINE   Chris_Liberti

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Posted August 25 2004 - 10:15 AM

I have to say the same thing, I have a 4ES currently and it is powering M&K S-125 speakers which are known for being bright. To me it is not overly bright, really neutral actually but extremely detailed. I plan on upgrading to H/K in the near future (trying to justify the cost of the AVR7300 over the AVR630).

#18 of 21 OFFLINE   Jeff Leeds

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Posted August 25 2004 - 08:11 PM

You cannot go wrong with the HK, I have two, a 7200 and a 430 that I just bought. they are very nice and the sound quality is very very good.

Denon is also a great piece of equipment, more features than the HK, but I think the HK does have the nod on shear ability to pump out sound.
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#19 of 21 OFFLINE   Doug Brewster

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Posted November 01 2004 - 08:42 PM

Have an HK 525. Just bought the Denon. I know it isn't the 630, but I owned a 520 before the 525 so am very familiar with HK.

This Denon is much more powerful than the 525 (which is rated 85 x2, 70 x7 vs 90 x2 and 75 x7 for the 630). It is also considerably less noisy than the 525. Additionally, it sounds great in 2 channels; less warm than the HK, but quieter, warm enough and plenty of power. I've read some comparisons and (in the lab) the Denon tested out as more powerful than the 630. I don't mean manufacturer's ratings. I mean actual lab tests.

In the past, I found Denon to be lifeless and thin sounding, but not the 3805. While I doubt I'd dislike the 630, I am pleased with the 3805 and believe Denon does a better job of sound processing than HK. I know that to be true when comparing the 3805 with the 525 and have read the same regarding the 630. Additionally, if you have the need, the Denon rear channels can be used to BiAmp your speakers.

But...I bought the 3805 because I got it through COSTCO, which is where I got the 520 and 525. They are an unauthorized dealer, but their policy is, if I am ever satisfied with the product FOR ANY REASON, I can return it for a full refund. Needless to say, like the 520, the 525 is going back.

Right now, they do not have the 3805, but (for $799) they have the 2805 with the same refund policy. They are also carrying the Denon DCM 380 cd changer - only mention this because they seem to be aquiring Denon products right now. Maybe they'll have others - like a higher end DVD player????
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#20 of 21 OFFLINE   Shiu

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Posted November 02 2004 - 01:03 AM

3805 through COSTCO? I guess that will never happen in Canada.