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Can't decide: Denon 2802 vs 3802 (1 Viewer)

Mike Pollmann

Stunt Coordinator
Feb 14, 2000
I've decided it is time to finally upgrade to a nice receiver and am having trouble deciding between the Denon 2802 vs the 3802.
First of all, here's what I currently have:
- Denon AVR-1100 (older DD Ready receiver, decoding done by my Sony DVP-500D DVD Player)
- Paradigms: Monitor 5s, CC-350, Mini-Monitors, PS-1000
- TV: Toshiba CZ32V61 (supports component input)
As far as my room goes, I'm in a apartment where my living room is connected to a large kitchen. Living room/viewing area is probably about 15x12. Room factor isn't such a big deal since I can't play stuff real loud (see below).
Anyway, I've decided to get a new receiver for several reasons. First and foremost, I want to get out of the stone age of having my DVD player doing my DD decoding. I am looking forward most to getting DTS/DPL2 support and being able to use other digital audio sources other than DVDs. Secondly, I am interested in the component/S-Video switching of the receiver which I do not have available to me now. Lastly, I think my Paradigms are rather underpowered at the moment.
I should point out that I'm looking to the future when buying this receiver. I plan on being in a house within 2 years where I can setup a nice HT room where I can crank up the volume.
I plan on running the following sources through the receiver: DVD Player (will be in the market for a new one that does DTS output), CD, Cassette, VCR, TiVo, Digital Cable, Dreamcast, N64, and soon a GameCube (most likely with component output when its available). I use my receiver currently for about 75% HT, 25% music.
My dilemma is that I don't know if I should try to save some money by going with the 2802 for now, since I probably won't even use the surround-center channel any time soon. Or, if I should get the 3802 now, looking toward the future when I will want more power and would prefer to have the dual amplification for both surround-centers. (This also raises the question of 1 vs 2 rear-center speakers. I read that seperating into 2 speakers greatly increases the "behind" effect - could someone elaborate on that a bit for me?)
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
- Mike
P.S. - Can someone tell me what support either the 2802 or 3802 have for discrete IR codes? (On/Off, sources, etc). My Pronto will need updating. :)


Stunt Coordinator
Oct 24, 1999
I think either of these receivers would be an excellent choice. I would probably lean towards the 2802 myself. The difference between the 2802's 90w and the 3802's 110w is really a minor difference. And you can always add a 7 channel amp to the 2802's 7.1 pre-outs in the future.
Retail on the 2802 is $799, $400 less than the 3802's $1199.
Like I said, they are both great receivers but IMO, the 2802 gives you more bang for the buck.
I don't know about the discrete codes, sorry. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will help out.
Hope this helps,
My Home Theater

Scott M

Jan 3, 2000
I recently purchased a 2802 after going thru the same dilemma. I'm running Studio 60s up front, a Shiva based sonosub, and matched lower end Yamahas the rest of the way around(with a 32 Wega). In a 18x20x8 room I regularly listen at -15db to -10db below VE calibrated reference with no problems power wise(running the mains as small and using the back surround for 6.1 matrix). I even hit -5db during the THX trailer on TPM with no problems.
The only thing I would point out is that the 2802 has lower quality DACs(I'm using 2 of the optical ins for DVD and Sat and I'm very happy with it's performance)than the 3802 if this is a factor in your decision. Also I think the 2802 only has 2 component inputs and 1 output, I don't know if the 3802 has more but your post mentions you want component ins for the cube, do you use them for the DVD also? If so that's your limit right there.
I'm very pleased with the 2802 and keeping my budget down enabled me to pick up the Studio 60s at the same time. The combo of the two really made a night and day difference for me but YMMV.
Hope this helps.

Scott Page

Stunt Coordinator
Sep 6, 2001
Why not consider the 3801 as well unless you absolutely have to have Prologic II. It's a great reciever and should be doable within your budget. It also has Prologic II like processing. Maybe not the real thing, but close enough if you are not going to use that feature a great deal.

Bryan Acevedo

Second Unit
Aug 7, 2001
I have owned both the 3801 and 3802. I currently have the 3802 and love it. I would say go for the 3802 over the 2802. The DAC's, AMP's, power supply, etc. are all upgraded over the 2802. The difference between the 90W X 5 of the 2802 vs the 110 X 5 of the 3802, may not look like much, but I would venture to say that the 3802 can get closer to its spec, because the transformer is rather large! Of course, I don't have any proof - just guessing. That doesn't make the 2802 bad (quite the contrary), it just makes the 3802 better. I would rather have the DDSC of the 3802, than the fixed 24 bit processor in the 2802. Is it an audible difference? I don't know - probably not, but it makes me feel better! :) Also, you can use the extra two channels of the 3802 to power a second zone (like I do). I can be watching a 5.1 movie in the main theater, and have my patio speakers (or dining room speakers) playing a different source at a different volume. That is a plus right there, to me anyway!
As far as the advice of going for the 3801 - that is good advice as well. Having compared the two, the 3802 has a warmer sound that I liked, but the 3801 had great sound to begin with. And like was mentioned, the 3801 has a Matrix mode that compares pretty favorably to the DPLII mode of the X802 series.
Good luck!


Oct 14, 2001
I just went through this same decision and purchased the 3802. The deciding factor, as mentioned in a previous post, was the multi-room capability with internal amps. While that may not be a big deal now in your apartment, it might be something to consider for your house, especially if you have kids. The 2802 has the multi-room but only via pre-outs so you would need to invest in a two-channel amp to use it. As for performance, this piece has impressed me from the moment I listened to the first CD's and DVD's and I cannot think of a single negative - I even like the remote. Don't think you can go wrong with it if you can afford the extra dollars. Good luck with the decision.

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