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2200 vs 898 vs 3802 >> Plus 3802 initial impressions

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DougO, Dec 2, 2001.

  1. DougO

    DougO Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm planning to audition these units in my home, as a matter of fact I currently have the 3802 running. I believe the other two units offer some ergonomic improvements over the 3802 (namely OSD shows volume level, and ability to select a video source to view, via the remote, while listening to an audio-only source). I also believe that the 3802 offers an improvement over the other two (namely that all speaker settings & DSP settings (like 5-channel stereo, for example) are saved for each source).

    So 2200 and 898 owners, what say you?

    I read in the 2200 manual that the recommended speaker setup has the rear center and two surrounds against the rear wall along the same plane -- this is different from the other two receivers which shows their "side" surrounds on the side walls. Any 2200 owners using this setup and came from a different speaker setup where they had side surrounds? I'm curious to know if there is a dropoff in surround envelopement (or improvement with the Yammie).

    I want recommendations on why I should bring the 898 or 2200 into my home next. I would prefer to get my socks knocked off and not have to consider bringing them all in. Obviously, the 3802 has not knocked my socks off.

    Seems to me that the Yammie offers a ton of customization using their Cinema DSP in tandem with DD & DTS. Does this offer a huge improvement in the ability to create spaciousness, Yammie Cinema DSP users?

    Initial impressions of the 3802:

    I'm driving 7 speakers: mains are AR 338s, surrounds are AR 228s, rears are AR 91s, sub is a/d/s ms/3. All surrounds tweeters are at ear level, while in a sitting position (not really sure how much of an improvement comes about when placed 6 feet above the floor -- comments?). My room is 28x15x8 and opens to adjacent large room; I would characterize the room as quite live and reflective due to hardwood floors partially covered by a rug and other factors. My previous receiver was an H/K AVR80 (only DPL). The AVR80 could create seriously "scary booms" in the room, the 3802 creates slightly less than scary booms in comparison. There must be a reserve current differential here.

    Setup is not so bad, but the remote isn't going to cut it as the sole remote (neither did the AVR80's remote cut it). I sit 20 feet away from the screen and AV rack so not being able to see the volume on the OSD is, well, too annoying (certainly a huge ergo boo-boo on Denon's part).

    The 3802 offers nice sound, in direct mode a definite improvement over the H/K AVR80, (maybe the 3802 is too smooth to let hard edge rock unleash through my AR 86dB sensitivity speakers). I have a wonderful and very musical a/d/s sub, and I can tell you that when you set your mains to "large" and play sources thru PL2, the sub is not nearly as involved compared to having your mains set to "small." This may be true for all receivers for all I know, but it is a true observation. DPL2 really enhances the separation of the vocals in 2-channel stereo sources, but in my setup the 3802 seems to mask the "biting edge" some rock tracks can deliver. New Agey stuff, like Patrick O'Hearn, sounds very nice however (my tastes run the gamut - all enjoyed but C&W and most rap). STP, however, sounds too tame in my setup (but still an improvement over the old AVR80). Drum and cymbals sounds are seemingly overly compressed sounding (no extended sizzle on crashes; tom-toms sound slightly muffled). But hey, I'm really buying a new receiver for HT mostly, and the 3802 does a nice job on DD/DTS material, and TPM is great in "Denon Surround EX" -- as a matter of fact the 3802's matrix options to drive the rears is a real boon for non-PL2 listening.

    My dilemma is that the 898 must be ordered mail order, so I'd pretty much own it once I receive it (unless I want to pay too much initially (i.e., not at a J&R's, for example) or want to fork out a 10-15% restocking fee and return shipping charges). The 2200 can be bought at the same store I got the 3802, except they are a Tweeter store and their discounts suck.
     
  2. DougO

    DougO Stunt Coordinator

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    ^ Up
     
  3. Gary Thomas

    Gary Thomas Second Unit

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    After fiddling around with the DSP's & PLII settings, I keep it on PLII Music for TV, VCR & CD. I find that this setting gives the best "center channel" results for dialogue.

    Also, I've just started using the Ex-In for DVD-A. I only have 2 DVD-A's & nothing to compare to, but the results are fantastic. So, I can't compare the results to your other choices, but I can assure you that the Denon can handle DVD-A.
     
  4. Rick Radford

    Rick Radford Supporting Actor

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    Doug,
    Here's a thread that has some discussion about 898 vs 3802.
    HTH.
     
  5. DougO

    DougO Stunt Coordinator

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    Rick: I had read that thread prior. Thanks.

    I see discussion of features, but not quality of sound, and comparison of ergonomics. I'm looking for someone to come forward and say, "I read your dislikes on the 3802, and I too drive seven low sensitivity speakers in a fairly lively room, here's what the 898 (or 2200) does."

    I'll bring the Yamaha 2200 home in the next few days to do an A/B with the 3802, but I can't really bring an 898 home from any local vendors since none close to me carry them as a regularly stocked item.

    All Interested:

    Let me know what you want me to look for during my comparison, and I'll post my findings here in this thread.
     
  6. NickSP

    NickSP Supporting Actor

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    Doug, Is it possible for you to drive to any dealer that carries the Onkyo 898 and either the 2200 or the 3802? That way you can use some process of elimination and choose the winner between the 2 and then do an ultimate test at home?

    All the three receivers you mentioned are very capable in terms of power. I have owned the 3801 and currently have the 898 and can tell you that both those receivers have ample power and am sure that the 2200 will have enough power too.

    They all offer similar features in terms of processing, decoding, etc. and the 898 offers THX-Select if you care. I personally thought the 3802 which I auditioned at home sounded slightly bass heavy at times in stereo than the 898. The 898 offered clear mids and highs and gave an impression of a clean sounding amplifier than the 3802 IMO.

    I also liked the HT performance of the 898 over the 3802, albeit slightly. The 898 offers more choices for inputs and puputs and better componant video switching, 12V trigger, a great OSD, etc.

    However, I liked the memory system of the 3802 better in which it memorised tone control settings and channel level settings for each individual input.

    Hope this helped and not confuse the issue more.
     
  7. rbirk

    rbirk Stunt Coordinator

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    I have played around a little with my 3802 and DPL2 and find that most sound seems to come from the middle channel. I don't really find the sound very separated. I am using the cinema mode and default settings.

    Ron Birk
     
  8. DougO

    DougO Stunt Coordinator

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    USe PL2 Music mode for best separation between the Front L & R + Center speakers, for video and audio sources. I too noticed that PL2 Cinema mode did concentrate heavily into the Center (closer to regular DPL).
     
  9. DougO

    DougO Stunt Coordinator

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    I just received a new Pioneer DVD player and hooked it up to the 3802 via coax (displacing the former Sony model unit also connected via coax). The Pioneer in and of itself has opened up the highs and seemingly added extra airiness to 2-channel music. I cannot believe that the new Sony DVD player (newest entry level unit, np300...) AND my 6-year old Yamaha CD changer using optical output (was $300 heavily discounted in '96) equally contributed to the perceived muffling/bottling of the highs. More details to follow as soon as I run some more DVDs and CDs through the system.
     
  10. Gil D

    Gil D Supporting Actor

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