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Denon 3808 vs Onkyo TX-SR875 or TX-NR905


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7 replies to this topic

#1 of 8 OFFLINE   kwsode

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Posted September 06 2008 - 03:32 AM

These are the three receivers I think I've narrowed it down to:
- Denon 3808
- Onkyo TX-SR875
- Onkyo TX-NR905

Looking for both movie watching and ability to run 2nd (possibly 3rd zone) for music - but first priority is movies.

Leaning toward the TX-NR905. Is this an old receiver that's been replaced by something bigger and better (for comparable money)? Any other suggestions in the $1000 - $1400 price range?

Would like to purchase today so early feedback would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance -

#2 of 8 OFFLINE   gene c

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Posted September 06 2008 - 07:33 AM

For mostly movies I would go with the 875. It uses the same video processor as the 905 which does a better job than the Denon. Both get pretty hot, though.

The 3808 seems to be excellent all-around but uses a lesser video chip. But it does have Audessey's Dynamic EQ which is supposed to be pretty effective. If you hook the video sources straight to the monitor then I might suggest the Denon. Hardly heard a bad word about it.
"Everyday room": Panasonic 58" Plasma, Dish HD DVR, Pioneer Elite vsx-23, BDP-23 BR, dv58avi universal dvd player, Paradigm Studio 20 V1, CC-450, Dayton HSU-10 subwoofer.

"Movie/Music room": Toshiba 65" DLP, Dish HD receiver, Marantz 7005, CC-4003, BD-7006, Polk LSI25's-LSi7's-LSiC, 2 original Dayton 10" "Mighty-Mites" subwoofers. (subject to change without notice).
 
Also have  MB Quart Vera VS05 +.....too much to list. Help me.
 
 

 


#3 of 8 OFFLINE   Jeff Whitford

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Posted September 06 2008 - 07:45 AM

I have no issues with my video going thru my 3808. I work in the business and can buy anything out there (at cost)and chose to replace my Lexicon with a 3808. Im very happy with it.
Jeff Whitford
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#4 of 8 OFFLINE   Adam Barratt

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Posted September 08 2008 - 07:56 PM

I narrowed the field down to these three models about six weeks ago, and tried out a Denon 3808 and an Onkyo 875 at home. I was offered the 3808 for about $100 less than the Onkyo (a bargain really) but I still picked the 875 in the end.

The 3808 has a really nice looking GUI, but the 875 just sounded better to me when listening to movies. The 875's amplification has, in my opinion, much more body and authority (maybe a result of the unit's extra 16 pounds of weight, mainly in amplification). Also in the 875's favour are its better video processor (Reon HQV vs. Faroudja) and DACs (Burr Brown PCM1796A in the 875 vs. PCM1791 in the 3808; the more expensive Denon 5808 also has the 1796As, which produce 10dB of additional dynamic range; the 5308 also has the HQV's bigger brother).

The 875 is THX Ultra2 certified while the 3808 is not certified at all, and while THX certification has never been a big selling point for me, it didn't hurt. There have been a lot of comments about the 875 getting hot, and it certainly does, but no hotter than any of the other larger amps I've owned (although it wouldn't be the best choice if you plan to keep it in a fully enclosed space).

The Denon has more inputs/outputs, USB and network features as well as a nice GUI. Build quality is similar, but the Onkyo isn't the prettiest amp (the Denon is a nicer looking piece if you want to have it out in public view, especially in silver). I preferred the Onkyo remote (the Denon has a backlit LCD unit with 'soft' buttons that just didn't feel right and couldn't be felt in the dark). The Denon sounded great, make no mistake, but it just didn't impress me as much as the Onkyo.

Coming from a Yamaha DSP-A1, which weighs about 50 pounds, I found it hard to get around how light the 3808 felt; something you can't say about the 875 (or 805). Which ever one you get you should be happy, though. I decided not to get the 905 as it was considerably more expensive and the only notable benefits were an extra HDMI output (soon to be found on the Onkyo 876, which might be a reason to wait, although the 876 has lesser DACs as well), better power supply and Internet radio features.

If you buy an Onkyo make sure it has a recent firmware version (mine has 1.8) as the older versions could produce a loud 'pop' when playing DTS-HD MA soundtracks. I also had a problem with the video processor on my first 875 and took it back after two days, but I haven't had any issues with the replacement (both delivered units were made in Malaysia, while the trial unit I first listened to was made in Japan).

These kinds of things are very subjective, so I definitely wouldn't put any money down without getting a chance to listen to the units first. Buying based on reviews/other people's opinions/specs isn't something I would recommend!

Take a look at this chart comparing the 3808 with the 875. There's also a link on the page to a comparison of the Denon 4308 with the Onkyo 905.

Adam

#5 of 8 OFFLINE   MTrotter

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Posted September 12 2008 - 03:04 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Barratt
I narrowed the field down to these three models about six weeks ago, and tried out a Denon 3808 and an Onkyo 875 at home. I was offered the 3808 for about $100 less than the Onkyo (a bargain really) but I still picked the 875 in the end.

The 3808 has a really nice looking GUI, but the 875 just sounded better to me when listening to movies. The 875's amplification has, in my opinion, much more body and authority (maybe a result of the unit's extra 16 pounds of weight, mainly in amplification). Also in the 875's favour are its better video processor (Reon HQV vs. Faroudja) and DACs (Burr Brown PCM1796A in the 875 vs. PCM1791 in the 3808; the more expensive Denon 5808 also has the 1796As, which produce 10dB of additional dynamic range; the 5308 also has the HQV's bigger brother).

The 875 is THX Ultra2 certified while the 3808 is not certified at all, and while THX certification has never been a big selling point for me, it didn't hurt. There have been a lot of comments about the 875 getting hot, and it certainly does, but no hotter than any of the other larger amps I've owned (although it wouldn't be the best choice if you plan to keep it in a fully enclosed space).

The Denon has more inputs/outputs, USB and network features as well as a nice GUI. Build quality is similar, but the Onkyo isn't the prettiest amp (the Denon is a nicer looking piece if you want to have it out in public view, especially in silver). I preferred the Onkyo remote (the Denon has a backlit LCD unit with 'soft' buttons that just didn't feel right and couldn't be felt in the dark). The Denon sounded great, make no mistake, but it just didn't impress me as much as the Onkyo.

Coming from a Yamaha DSP-A1, which weighs about 50 pounds, I found it hard to get around how light the 3808 felt; something you can't say about the 875 (or 805). Which ever one you get you should be happy, though. I decided not to get the 905 as it was considerably more expensive and the only notable benefits were an extra HDMI output (soon to be found on the Onkyo 876, which might be a reason to wait, although the 876 has lesser DACs as well), better power supply and Internet radio features.

If you buy an Onkyo make sure it has a recent firmware version (mine has 1.8) as the older versions could produce a loud 'pop' when playing DTS-HD MA soundtracks. I also had a problem with the video processor on my first 875 and took it back after two days, but I haven't had any issues with the replacement (both delivered units were made in Malaysia, while the trial unit I first listened to was made in Japan).

These kinds of things are very subjective, so I definitely wouldn't put any money down without getting a chance to listen to the units first. Buying based on reviews/other people's opinions/specs isn't something I would recommend!

Take a look at this chart comparing the 3808 with the 875. There's also a link on the page to a comparison of the Denon 4308 with the Onkyo 905.

Adam

Adam,

Thanks for the great review of these models. I also have been 'round and 'round with the decision of a new receiver. I also kind of settled on the same options, most recently leaning towards the Denon because of the reports of glitches/problems with Onkyos, such as the heat and the pops, firmware updates requiring sending in the unit, etc.

I see you felt the Onkyo's sound quality with movies bettered the Onkyo, an opinion shared by others I've read about in various audio/video forums.

But did you do any comparisons of audio quality with music CD, SACD, or DVD-A? I did see some folks write that they felt the Onkyos were not so great for two channel musci. I also plan to connect my turntable.

And I also want to get a receiver that can decode SACD and DVD-Audio in the receiver, rather than having to run interconnects like I do now. I assume the Denon and Onkyo can do that equally well, but perhaps not.

#6 of 8 OFFLINE   Adam Barratt

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Posted September 12 2008 - 03:44 PM

I listened to SACD (I have no DVD-Audio discs and haven't had a player capable of DVD-A for about six months) using the analogue inputs (the 875/905 will accept DSD over HDMI but I think the upcoming Sony ES SACD player is the first to support this capability). I thought it sounded very good indeed. Much better than the DSP-A1 in fact, which could be a little sibilant. I've heard reviews stating that the 875 and 905 sound harsher at higher volumes, but I took it up as high as I was comfortable and didn't have any problems. By this stage I had already essentially settled on the 875 so didn't compare it with the Denon unfortunately.

The 875 is at the end of its product life, so any new units you buy should have a mature firmware version (without pops), and if it doesn't you can upgrade the firmware with any CD player via the TosLink optical input. The later firmware versions also add a 'hidden' video menu (undocumented in the user manual) for the Reon processor as well, which was a nice surprise.

Adam

#7 of 8 OFFLINE   MTrotter

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Posted September 12 2008 - 04:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Barratt
I listened to SACD (I have no DVD-Audio discs and haven't had a player capable of DVD-A for about six months) using the analogue inputs (the 875/905 will accept DSD over HDMI but I think the upcoming Sony ES SACD player is the first to support this capability). I thought it sounded very good indeed. Much better than the DSP-A1 in fact, which could be a little sibilant. I've heard reviews stating that the 875 and 905 sound harsher at higher volumes, but I took it up as high as I was comfortable and didn't have any problems. By this stage I had already essentially settled on the 875 so didn't compare it with the Denon unfortunately.

The 875 is at the end of its product life, so any new units you buy should have a mature firmware version (without pops), and if it doesn't you can upgrade the firmware with any CD player via the TosLink optical input. The later firmware versions also add a 'hidden' video menu (undocumented in the user manual) for the Reon processor as well, which was a nice surprise.

Adam

Thanks much for the quick reply!

Actually, the Oppo DV-980H universal player that I am thinking about buying(at $169!), will send the DSD and PCM to the Onkyo.

From the Oppo site:

"HDMI v1.2a output with exceptional core video performance and high resolution audio support (multi-channel PCM and DSD™)

HDMI is an all digital interface for the cleanest possible connection. It delivers high-quality digital video and audio through a single cable. The DV-980H is among the very few players on the market that support HDMI v1.2a with multi-channel PCM and DSD audio, making it an ideal source device or digital transport for audiophiles."

Also, thanks for the info about being able to update the Onkyo's firmware at home. I've only read that people had to send their Onkyo's in to a service center for updates.

Now I may be leaning more toward the Onkyo 875.

#8 of 8 OFFLINE   SherardP

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Posted September 12 2008 - 06:43 PM

Pioneer Elite 94 should be a tough contender in this class. they sound amazing.





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