Denon 1604 an Impulse Buy??!! (longer mini review)

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Roy Wallace, Jan 2, 2004.

  1. Roy Wallace

    Roy Wallace Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 17, 2001
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    Hello there, forum faithful:
    I would like to share a small story with all of you who have been offering so much great information over the past few years.
    I accompanied my brother in law to the local A&B on new years eve afternoon to watch him buy an entry level yamaha receiver.
    While he was writing the deal up, I browsed the receiver lineup, as I have been wanting to upgrade my old Sony STR-D2020 that has been faithful for over twelve years.
    I got to looking at the Denon units, and I did get an xmas bonus, so I did something I never do.
    I NEVER impulse buy, but the salesman dropped the already discounted price, putting it only $50.00 more than the 1404, and I knew from this forum that Denon is a reputable brand, so here I am with a NEW RECEIVER!!!!
    I didn't even realize that this unit was 6.1 or anything.
    Now that I have had a day or two with my new friend I felt compelled to share my experiences.
    I hooked it up to my equally ancient JBL Decade 26's and could simply not believe the transformation.
    I have been content with these speakers for many years, but I always had thoughts of replacing them with more modern equipment eventually, but this receiver transformed them in such a way that I am thinking of keeping them now.
    I only have these two speakers and a cheap little Realistic (temporary) center channel, but I am absolutely astounded with the sound.
    The JBL's have never had anywhere near the bass with the Sony, and the sounds that have always pleased me just FLOW from the speakers. All this and I haven't even done an honest calibration yet.
    I look forward to finding a nice set of surround speakers to compliment my JBL's in the next month or two.
    I will scan a drawing of my unique room and post it with my other photos (at Webshots) to get your advice on this as well.
    I would like to extend my thanks to everyone on this forum for their knowledge. With the info I have gathered here I have been able to make an impulse buy and STILL come home without a single hint of remorse.
    Thank you Home Theater Forum!! [​IMG][​IMG]

    Happy New Year, I will update when I can

  2. Steven J. Hurst

    May 20, 2002
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    I too made an impulse buy on this receiver and have enjoyed it very much although there seems to be very little buzz about it. I would love to hear why people are not getting this receiver or at least are not talking about it. I am running the Athena .5 system with a polk subwoofer and it sounds amazing!

    Enjoy your new toy
  3. Iver

    Iver Second Unit

    Sep 23, 2002
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    That probably just reflects that the 1604 is a newer model. There are plenty of happy Denon owners here.

    As far as magazine reviews, entry-level (or one-above entry-level) models do not often get reviewed, unless it's one of those roundup type articles ("best receivers under $500" etc.).

    The 1604 appears to be an upgraded version of the 1602, which is the model I purchased in August of 2002. I certainly do not consider Audioreview to be the final arbiter of quality, but, for what it's worth, the 1602 currently has 43 reviews with an average score of 4.42. Pretty good for an entry-level model.

    So far, my 1602 has done a fine job, most of the time driving Paradigm Focus front R/L's with Baby Advent II's kicking in on surround duty when needed. Overall performance has been very good with excellent bass response for bookshelf speakers.

    If I had larger and/or less-efficient speakers, I might opt for a receiver with more output capability. But for music listening and TV watching with a loud DVD soundtrack every now and then, the 1602 does well.

    One thing I'd caution on with the 1604 is to go easy on using the slide switches on the remote. They appear to be identical to the slide switch on the 1602's remote which does not look like it's sturdy enough to stand up to a great many duty cycles before it fails. That's a pain, because, on both remotes, the slide(s) control the different modes (receiver, VCR, DVD), letting you use the remote to control all your HT devices. Despite that convenience, I avoid this option because switches of this type are notoriously flimsy.

    And that brings up one drawback of the Denon receivers. Figuring that the way a company dealt with replacement remotes would be a reflection of their dedication to customer service, I looked into this on the finalists in my receiver search. To replace the remote for the Denon 1602 (and presumably for other models in the line), you must contact a third-party company, one which does not appear all that excited about selling replacement remotes. The cost is $80, which is ridiculously high (the remote for the Onkyo SR500 was only about $30).

    Fortunately, if worst comes to worst, you can control the functions of the 1602 (and probably 1604) from the front-face controls as well as from the remote.

    All-in-all, the 1604 looks like another solid product from Denon. Maybe a little bit expensive at full list price, but definitely a good pick if you can get a discount or find one on clearance.

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