Denon 3801 vs 3802

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by NateF, Aug 23, 2001.

  1. NateF

    NateF Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok, so 5 months ago I bought a Denon 3801 for $1000 - a little pricey, could have gotten it for a hundred or so less online, but the local place I go through offers 100% value on trade ins, and I figure if I ever have a problem I can just drive over (it's like 1/2 a mile from here) and talk to them.
    So anyway, now the 3802 is out, and I'm wondering what the difference is. I looked at the specs, and they look pretty much exactly the same... am I missing something? What does the 3802 have over the 3801?
    -Nate
     
  2. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    Nate: I'd walk into that shop and make your best deal on the 3802, then go out to your car and bring in the 3801. At most, the 3802 should cost you no more than $100 more than your 3801. With any luck, you might be able to trade them straight up.
    ------------------
    Take Care,
    merc
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    DFAST, 5C, DVI, HDCP, SafeAudio, Macrovision and Lewinski!!!
     
  3. Kieran Coghlan

    Kieran Coghlan Second Unit

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    Copied from a reply to you in a different thread:
    NateF:
    I'm not sure, but it seems the only differences between the 3801 and the 3802 are that the 02 has slightly more power (110 wpc vs. 105) and the 02 has Dolby Pro-Logic II, which the 3801 lacks.
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    -Kieran
    My HT Page
     
  4. NateF

    NateF Stunt Coordinator

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    Ahh, thanks Kieran, I missed the DPL-II reference.
    Hmm.. I haven't heard about DPL-II before now, is it just another encoding scheme, and if so, are any DVDs actually using it in place of DD or DTS? If it's just updated DPL, why would anyone bother, since DPL is simply inferior to DD and DTS?
    -Nate
     
  5. Bryan Acevedo

    Bryan Acevedo Second Unit

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    NateF,
    Maybe I can help you out with this. I too bought a 3801 about 6 months ago. But I kept having problems with the S-Video cutting out on it. I finally got tired of it and went to return it for another 3801. But at the same time, the 3802 was coming out, so I asked to get a 3802 instead. They were going to charge me $150 difference (between what I paid and the price of the 3802), but I got them to waive that since I had spent quite a bit of money with them on a full Denon & Klipsch setup.
    First, the differences are minor in their appearance. The back panel is identical, and the front panel is almost identical.
    They took off the digital signal locked indicator light, the one next to the other indicators on the left part of the screen. Not sure why they did that, but they did. The volume control is now plastic instead of a heavier machined aluminum. That is what I think makes up for most of the weight difference. I think they did this to cut costs. Maybe they were spending too much on the volume controls, and decided to add DPLII but keep it the same price and performance. So maybe they had to cut costs somewhere, but I don't know.
    The front panel also has a "tone defeat" button that replaces the 3801's 6.1/7.1 button. You can now defeat all of the tone adjustment globally. It totally bypasses this circuit. I use it and I like it!
    The volume now goes from -70 to + 18 instead of -60 to +18. It is kind of cool cause now at night I can really have it quiet (and yet still hear it!).
    The power supply (transformer) is exactly the same in both models. But the 3802 has a custom transistor for the bias to the amp. This is supposed to provide a non-fluctuating power supply signal to the amps at high outputs (heat factors in here). I believe this is what caused the 5W more power. They also did something with the digital gain on the DAC's. But that power increase doesn't really mean anything, it is just a side effect of their "tweaking".
    In my opinion, the 3802 sounds slightly better than the 3801. It sounds a little warmer with my speakers. It sounded like it has more power (no I don't mean the 5 watts!). It just has a fuller, punchier sound. Especially on male vocals. You may not notice a difference, but I sure did, I really enjoy it even more than the 3801. (I enjoyed the 3801 immensely, so I am really in heaven now!) I have heard a lot of people criticize the 3801 about being bright. I never understood why, until I heard the 3802. The 3801 was my first Denon receiver, and I didn't compare it to any other Denon receivers, so I didn't know what that Denon sound was. I do now, and I like it! The 3801 isn't bad by any means, just that the 3802 is a bit more refined and to my liking. Of course, you may prefer the 3801 over the 3802! Just know that they may very well sound different (or not) in your setup.
    DPLII - it is not a replacement for DD or DTS. It is a new version of DPL. But it is done in the digital domain. Old DPL was an analog matrix decoder. DPLII is digital (it still uses the matrix processing) but it gives you discrete full range surrounds. DPL had a mono limited range (up to 7Khz) surrounds. One thing about the Denon though, is that old DPL was done totally in the digital domain as well, so DPL sounded better on it than a lot of older DPL receivers. But it still had those limited surrounds.
    So what would you use it on? TV viewing, old VHS viewing and Music. (Yes music!)
    For TV viewing, the surrounds are now in stereo and full range. It's pretty cool to watch TV and have a commercial come on with fill wrap around sound. There is a commercial where I live (Arizona) for Qwest, I believe. It has a roller coaster going all around, and the roller coaster actually travels AROUND you, not just front to back. It is pretty cool! But most TV shows don't have a lot of surround sound, so you won't get a lot of it there. PPV (on DirecTV) is much more enjoyable now. I don't feel now that I am watching a center channel based movie anymore. It does a really good job with it. I don't own many VHS tapes (and the ones that I do I don't watch), so I don't know how it sounds with them. Probably pretty good I would guess.
    DPLII has a music mode. It has 3 parameters that you can set to change the effect. It is pretty cool. I really like listening to music in this mode now. It really opens it up, like the music is coming from all around, but not like 5 Ch stereo. It is more like sitting in the studio, and the sound is just bouncing off the walls a little bit. It is really cool!
    Also, if this matters to you, the 3802 has adjustable settings on the sub crossover. You can now select 80 Hz, 100 Hz or 120 Hz. That doesn't really matter to me, and may not matter to you, but it is nice to have it in case I ever need it. It would be cool to have the settings go down to 40 Hz and 60 Hz like the 4802 and upgrade for the 5800. But I probably wouldn't even use those. In my setup, 80 Hz is the best one.
    I would recommend getting the 3802 if you can swing it. Then you will have a kick ass receiver with all of the latest software decoding. It may not have this new DTS 96 or whatever, but I am not even sure what that is!
    Good luck!
    P.S. Email me if you have any other questions on the 3801 or 3802.
    ------------------
    Thanks,
    Bryan
    "... But Honey - I promise this is the last thing I will have to buy for the Home Theater"
    Mistubishi 60" RPTV (VS60603)
    Denon AVR 3802 RCVR
    Denon DVM 1800 DVD
    JVC 3600U SVHS VCR
    RCA DirecTV
    Klipsch RB5 - L&R
    Klipsch RC3 - Center
    Klipsch RCW3 - In-wall surrounds
    Klipsch KSW12 - Sub (Hopefully an RSW12 whenever they come out!)
    Monster Power Conditioner
    Radio Shack Gold Series Interconnects
    Radio Shack 12 AWG Mega Cable
    [Edited last by Bryan Acevedo on August 24, 2001 at 12:56 PM]
     
  6. NateF

    NateF Stunt Coordinator

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    Bryan - thanks a bunch for the detailed analysis. I, too, really enjoy the 3801 and it's my first Denon receiver, and really my first foray into quality home theater. I've never had a problem with my receiver, it's worked perfectly from the day I got it.
    It seems like the benefits of upgrading are relatively minor, and since I have my current setup nicely tuned, I guess I'll wait for the next best thing to come out [​IMG]
    Thanks again for the info.
    -Nate
     
  7. Kieran Coghlan

    Kieran Coghlan Second Unit

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    Bryan Acevedo:
     
  8. Garry I

    Garry I Stunt Coordinator

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    Have any of you compared the matrix and widescreen mode to the DPL 2 mode. I know DPL is too centered and basically no surround, but i was watching videohits in Matrix mode and vocals were coming from center and the L and R fronts mainly, with occasional surrounds and it sounded better than DPL. I also tried the Widescreen 7.1 mode on the 3801 and vocals were pretty much just in the center with occasional surrounds. The matrix mode sounded more bassier with the subwoofer, but the widescreen mode was more bassier in the center speaker. I preferred matrix mode while i was listening to videohits, but there were times when i wanted Widescreen 7.1 mode when i didn't want to hear the whole front soundstage for vocals. Has anyone actually listened to all these modes without speculating that DPL 2 is better because it is newer.
    I definately won't won't be upgrading my 3801. I don't understand why people are upgrading their 3801 to 3802 just for DPL 2, crossover frequencey and some other minor additions. I bought my 3801 5 months ago expecting that by the the end of this year or early next year that DPL 2 receivers would be out. I chose not to wait because this minor addition wasn't worthwile for me.
     
  9. Chuck Kent

    Chuck Kent Supporting Actor

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    Garry: I recently went from a Denon 3300 to a 3802. The main reason is due to the amount of 2 channel sources that I listen to. By all accounts I had read earlier this summer, Pro Logic II was a major improvement over the original decoder's ability. (At this point, I can't accomodate a rear center speaker so I'm still 5.1.)
    While I understand where your're coming from, I have to say that based on my week's worth of listening, DPL II is THE best 2 channel based mode on the unit for movies and TV. To my ears, it has better separation and creates a more coherent soudfield than (even the good) Widescreen mode. (I haven't had enough time to test out the DPL II Music mode yet but casual listening is very promising.)
    My thoughts are that if 2 channel based surround is much of a factor for someone, DPL II will prove to be more than just a minor addition.
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    [Edited last by Chuck Kent on August 25, 2001 at 12:58 AM]
     
  10. Brad Newton

    Brad Newton Second Unit

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    Does the 3802 also have the "other" sound fields, like-concert hall, stadium, etc? I am just trying to learn the lingo, so accept my apology if I didn't use the correct phrases. My sister just purchased a Yahama receiver that has numerous sound fields - just wondering if the Denon did also.
     
  11. Tor Arne

    Tor Arne Stunt Coordinator

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    I read somewhere that the 3802 had the exact same transformer as the 3801, the same part number and all. My guess is that they're equally powerful.
    The AVR-3801 also has the "tone defeat". If you select "DIRECT" input you bypass all the digital components and tone control. This gives the shortest way to the amp with only the volume control to worry about. Choosing "STEREO" will give you tone control, but I prefer "DIRECT" for the psychological assurance that it's better. [​IMG] Who needs tone-control anyway?
    If you wan't or need the DPLII feature then go for the 3802 as the price difference isn't very high. I personally like the look of the 3801 better because it has the machined metal-knobs instead of the plastic ones on the 3802, it fells more expensive. [​IMG]
    Regards,
    Tor Arne Hustvedt
    Norway
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    Picture of my setup so far:
    http://tahustvedt.homestead.com/files/stereo01.jpg
     
  12. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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    No offense, but personally, I'd rather have plastic knobs and a new mode than machined-metal ones and DPL. While it may feel more expensive, bottom line is that we probably paid the same amount of money for our receiver.
    I like DPLII a lot as it enhances Dolby Surround DVDs and satellite TV by leaps and bounds over vanilla DPL.
     
  13. Mike Sheahan

    Mike Sheahan Stunt Coordinator

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    Brad,
    To answer your question, yes the 3802 has a few of the other surround modes.
    I spent some time listening to music this week through my HT setup, which is very unusual for me, and I found the "Jazz" mode almost as pleasing as the music mode for Pro Logic II.
    The 3802 also allows you to tinker with these settings as well, and I found that after messing around with the settings I actually felt the 5.1/6.1 sound was better than the stereo sound.
    So far I'm extremely pleased with this receiver.
     
  14. Tor Arne

    Tor Arne Stunt Coordinator

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    None taken. [​IMG]
    Looking back at my post, the comment about the metal knobs looks a bit silly. [​IMG] But I like the shiny knobs. When I look at the cheaper models in the shop they look so much cheeaper to me.
    If they cost about the same and he can simply trade with the shop then he should go for it. I don't know the price difference here in Norway.
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    Picture of my setup so far:
    http://tahustvedt.homestead.com/files/stereo01.jpg
     
  15. NateF

    NateF Stunt Coordinator

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    Here's my view: I watch new movies almost exclusively (that means movies in the last 3 years, approximately), thus, 90% or more of them are in dolby digital. I listen to music sometimes, but usually it's just background to whatever else I'm doing. So I'm not going to worry about DPL-II, since I'd almost never have a chance to appreciate it.
    If you use your receiver to listen to music - really listen, then the DPL-II might be worth it. The same goes for people with lots of non-DD DVDs. For me, when I pop in a DLP only disk, I am very surprised.
    -Nate
     
  16. Bryan Acevedo

    Bryan Acevedo Second Unit

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    Kieran,
    No offense taken, but I don't think you understood what I meant. First, when I said that the -70 could go lower and still hear it, this is what I meant. Before, if I turned it to -60, it was at -60db from reference. Now I can turn it to -70db from reference, a full 10 db lower. Each click is 1 db, so adding another 10 clicks gives me 10 more db of volume control. I can now turn my volume down 10 db lower than before. If I wanted to do that before, I couldn't, because the 3801 couldn't go any lower.
    Also, DPL was an analog only matrix decoding format (How would they put it on VHS if it wasn't). Until recently, there weren't such things as digital decoders (last 15 years). So yes, newer receivers do decode in digital, but the older receivers didn't. They used analog matrix steering as far as I understand it. That's why it wasn't very precise. DPLII just takes this same signal and applies a better digital algorithm to it. This is how I understand it, but I could be wrong.
    Bryan
    [Edited last by Bryan Acevedo on August 26, 2001 at 12:52 AM]
     
  17. Gil D

    Gil D Supporting Actor

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    I recently picked up the 3801 because the price was right. I also auditioned the new 3802. DPL2 is great for music and is a bit better for prologic and stereo sources on TV and Sat.
    For $100 I would trade up to the 3802, no question.
    What are you waiting for?
     
  18. Bryan Acevedo

    Bryan Acevedo Second Unit

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    Hey Mark - you're right - I am making it up to impress the people here on the forum. Maybe you can't hear it at -65, but I can. Now during the day with the AC going and all of the outside noise, I can't hear it. But at night, when everyone is in bed, nothing going on outside, and no AC going, I can play it that low and hear it. I can't hear every whisper, but I can hear the dialog enough to watch a TV show. Why do people have to question silly things like that?
    Who cares if you don't think I can hear it, I was simply stating that the volume control goes down lower, and that it is kind of convenient for late night viewing. Why do you think there is some conspiracy behind that statement? How do you sleep at night?
    Bryan
     
  19. Tor Arne

    Tor Arne Stunt Coordinator

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  20. Bryan Acevedo

    Bryan Acevedo Second Unit

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    Mark - sorry for the abrupt post. I just got irritated when I read your post and shot back. I realized afterwords that you weren't necessarily attacking me, just making a comment. Sorry - no hard feelings bro.
    I was thinking the same thing as you, that maybe they recalibrated the volume controls between the two. It could very well be that at -60 on the 3801, was really -70 because of the accumulating errors. (i.e. instead of 1 db on the 3801, it was really 1.1 db for every click, and by the time you get to -60 you are way off.)
    I don't have access to a 3801, so I can't tell you what the two SPL's would be. I also don't think my SPL meter can pick up the sound at -65. It may, I will try it out and let you know. Also remember that I have Ultra Efficient Klipsch speakers with horns pointing right at me. Another speaker may not be audible at these volume levels.
    And like I said, I can only hear it at night with really low ambient noise. My house is really well insulated (I upgraded the insulation for the AZ heat) so it is very, very quiet. During the day, with all of the noise pollution outside, I can't hear it. I also live outside the city, with a lot of farms (soon to be neighborhoods and malls), so at night it is very quiet outside.
    As far as the scale -70 may not really be -70 below reference. On my receiver, 85db is accomplished at -3 on the volume control. -13 is 75db. That is why I would assume -70 is 70db below. But also remember, that I normally watch a movie above -23. That is loud and I am 20 db below the reference! I could watch louder, but I have a 7 month old, and any louder is not good for his little ears or naps!
    Peace.
    Bryan
     

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