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$800 for new receiver.... (1 Viewer)


Jul 3, 2001
I just got an influx of $800 dollars and I am going to use it to upgrade my receiver (finally!). Right now, I am considering the Denon 3801, Onkyo 787, and the Integra 7.1. As of now, the receiver will be pared with a pretty low end set of Sony speakers (two front full towers, center speaker, and two small rears, coupled with the SA-WM40 subwoofer). I intend to purchase new speakers (looking at Atlantic Technology, probably System 270THX, that is absolutely as high as I can go) within the next six to eight months, though. Which of these recievers is the best for the money and also, when are the new models coming out? Would it better to save the money, wait for the new models, and buy the receiver and speakers together? Thanks for the help.

Jeremy Hegna

Supporting Actor
Nov 28, 2000
Speculation of a 3802 from Denon is out. No promises or timelines, but is expected to have DPLII on board...the 3801 does not and has (by rumor) been discontinued to await the release of the '02.
There have been several favorable reviews on the Onkyos with DPLII...but I don't believe they have seven amplifiers, like the Denon...that would make them incapable of DTS-ES discreet and DD-EX, unless you added out board amplification.
You need to take some time this weekend, or maybe today... browse the local B&Ms and take a listen.
Kenwood has a new line available with component video switching and DPLII. Most other manufacturers are sure to follow suit..shortly. We are kind of in a transition period with new formats, and I would think by early fall, you'll have a plethora of choices.

John Garn

Apr 2, 2001
Like you I am in the same boat....new receiver needed, $800 limit, considering same models. At the moment I am leaning to the Integra but each have their plusses and minuses:
+1-Integra has great resale value (important today with constantly changing technology); Edge: Integra
+2-Integra and Onkyo have THX cert and THX-EX decoder altho Denon is supposed to decode EX sources; Edge: Integra & Onkyo
+3-Ease of Operation//Nice front panel layout--simple to use (my wife has to operate this too!)--the Denon front panel layout (3801--but all are similar) is the most complex, confusing and remote reliant mess I have ever seen--the front panel has no way to tune/scan AM/FM--and I used to be a high end dealer (where simplicity and good sound prevailed!) Definite Edge: Integra and Onkyo
+4-Integra vs. 787--Lots of little extras over the Onkyo 787 for the $100 diff in MSRP except Integras much harder to find at comparable discount. Am still researching what the exact differences are internally between the 787 and 7.1--where the DACs, DSPs, power supplies, capacitors, etc lie. Since Specs for both units are identical I strongly suspect that if there are any differences, they are nominal.
+5-No DPLII or DTS Neo:6 in Integra/Onkyo--the two best 5.1 (close to discrete) decoders for those who have a lot of 2 channel or simple Dolby source material, ie, vinyl, VHS movies, majority of DSS signals, etc. If you have a lot of 2 channel material, one of these surround decoders is really needed. Circle Surround is another decoder that is supposed to perform the same function. Edge: Denon 3801
+6-Powered channels: Integra/Onkyo have 6, Denon has 7. For 7.1, Integra/Onkyo require additional amp; Edge: Denon
+7-Customer Service: Denon literally has NONE!!! You can't even an email within the USA. Sell it and forget it!!!--that has been Denon's marketing strategy. Integra/Onkyo's support is not great due to a lack of technically knowledgable people but at least it's there and they try to be helpful. Edge: Integra/Onkyo
+8-Manuals: Denons manual was obviously written by someone not fluent in English! Add this to their total lack of customer service and you are now totally reliant on your dealer--assuming you purchase from someone local vs. mail order. Edge: Integra/Onkyo
+9-Sound Quality/Internals: Most people agree the Denons sound good and have a pleasing warmth. Also, Onkyo has had past problems with the performance quality of their DACs. I believe Integra/Onkyo share Crystal DACs at 24 while the Denon has the Sharcs at 32--still researching this too tho---. Most experts I have exchange communications with really don't believe there are any receiver brands that are superior---whatever differences exist, they are subtle. Afterall, a receiver used to be 3 components in one box, now they are at least 4 or 5 components in one box so sacrifices are ALWAYS made! For now tho I'd have to give the edge here to Denon--but with reservation.
Overall I would say this:
1-If having a good decoder for two channel inputs is important, if you want 7.1 capability without adding an amp and if you can live with the grossly nonexistent Denon customer service and confusing front panel layout, and if THX certification is not important---then buy the Denon;
2-If however, 6.1 is OK with 7.1 there to add and if ease of operation, decent customer service, THX, etc is important, the Integra is the definite choice provided one can be had for around $800+--I know the 787 can be had mail order from an authorized dealer for @$750-760 with shipping included.
To the best of my knowledge, the 787 and 7.1 are the same except for cosmetics, 1 vs. 2 triggers, detachable power cord, 2 vs 3 yr warranty, IR remote input and multi-room feature improvement; there may also be minor internal differences which at the moment rest unconfirmed here---
Hope this all helps.
John G.
Note: Since I was owner of a high-end dealership in the 80's permit me to impress upon you-- do make sure your purchase source can provide two things:
1) a purchase receipt from an authorized dealer and
2) some type of inexpensive return plan for DOAs especially.
Most all of the Japanese manufacturers are reliant on their dealers exclusively for their sales and they are protecting them (from Internet discounters) by refusing repair service to those without original receipts from an authorized dealer. Rather crummy I think....they are using the consumer to protect their own marketing and profit interests...but, that's how it is and like it or not, they do enforce it. So, buyer beware especially from all the new agents/resellers that appear on Ebay....put up a website, find some dealers who need to move stock out the back door and you're buying product from someone who cannot give a valid manufacturers warranty and who will, guaranteed, disappear in a few months and reopen a new website thereby voiding out all "their" supposed warranties!
PS Kenwood was not mentioned herein for one reason---they just came out with 5-10 new receivers but based on my review of their website, manuals, etc none--not even their supreme Soverign model 5900-- have 6.1 or 7.1 preouts!
Absolutely unbelievable!!
If I obtain any further significant info I will post that as well.
Good Hunting!

Evan A

Stunt Coordinator
Sep 28, 2000
I would also throw in the Kenwood 5080 into the mix. It can be had if you look in that range
Evan Adams
[email protected]

Charles J P

Senior HTF Member
Aug 19, 2000
Omaha, NE
Real Name
CJ Paul
Integra/Onkyo have 6, Denon has 7. For 7.1, Integra/Onkyo require additional amp; Edge: Denon
Actually since the rear center channel is not made discrete by using two speaker over one, you can use the 6th channel in the Onkyo's to power two 8 ohm speakers in series or parallel or two 4 ohm speaker in series. So the only advantage to having a 7 channel amp vs six is
1) more power (not necessary because doubling the number of drivers will increase output even if you are splitting the output to two speakers)
2) conveniance (only necessary if you can get it at the same price IMHO)
My Website: Link Removed
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Rick Radford

Supporting Actor
May 12, 2001
John Garn,
Very nice job on that summary of AVR's (that I'm also considering).
From other research, the Integra also offers cherry picked components vs mass market components. Still.. where to find them?
Stopped by my local hi-fi store today... no more Denon 3801s... they are waiting on the new 3802s to arrive.
On another subject (since I'm shopping for everything);
I listened to Paradigm Studio 60s and 40s today. Unfortunately, not powered by the same amp... nor were they in the same part of the store. I also made the mistake of listening to the 100s. Rats. I hate budgets!
From what I've been able to listen to, the 100s were comparable to Tyler Acoustics Addisson A28s.. and maybe the Addisson 210s.. admitted a very obscure speaker mfg. But I had the opportunity to visit Tyler Acoustics and spend several hours listening to these speakers and was impressed with what I heard. YMMV.

John Garn

Apr 2, 2001
Thanks for the nice comment.
Not familiar with the Tyler speakers. Have listened to the Paradigms but admittedly not with good electronics. Personally, I'm an old B&W fan (and ex-dealer)--I tend to like warmer sounding speakers and to me the Paradigms sound tinny; B&Ws must be well mated with solid state only electronics--tubes just make them sound too mushy.
Funny, the Denon 3801 feature wise is one of the most current products available and here it is being discontined. No doubt Denon will add DPLII altho with DTS Neo:6 the unit doesn't really need DPLII.
At the rate I'm going I'll probably end up putting off any purchase for at least a couple months. Anything you can buy today will be obsolete by Xmas no matter what you buy. The 7.1 will be replaced by the 7.2 probably in the fall, ditto the 787 and with Outlaws new preamp due as well as some nice receivers from Sherwood (963 and 863?)--our choices in the near term will be more prolific.
Let me know if you find anything more out about the 7.1 vs 787 (or Integra vs, Onkyo) controversy.

Dan Hitchman

Senior HTF Member
Jun 11, 1999
Denon 3801 or possible 3802.
DTS-ES Discrete 6.1 decoding and 7 channel amps built in.

MatthewJ S

Supporting Actor
Feb 27, 2001
advantage of 2 rear surrounds vs. one rear center is that you can use the two rears INSTED of the two side surrounds in an either-or-or-both configuration , " the best of both worlds"...god, i hate repeating myself...Denon has learned this, unfortunately , not everyone else has.....some multi channel music formats prefer that direct radiating rear surrounds be used while many people prefer wide dispersion surrounnds placed at the sides....to each his own, or both!
Matt says "if you have received good service from a salesman,if he has educated you as to what you should buy, buy from him! not from the internet!"

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