Denon 3802 or seperates

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by EarleD, Jul 18, 2002.

  1. EarleD

    EarleD Supporting Actor

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    I am currently using a 3802 as a preamp only. I have a mixture of amps(Acurus A250-fronts, Adcom 2535 Centers, and a vintage Pioneer amp for my surrounds). I would eventualy get a 5 channel amp and mate it with the Acurus.

    An Outlaw ICBM does the bass management for the system, ie it's placed between the preouts and the amps.

    I have been thinking about selling the 3802 and getting a preamp instead. Will there be a noticable difference with movie playback and or music playback.

    I was thinking of the HK preamp, the 2.1 I think. Or posible the Sony 9000 series preamp, with the Sony I can also sell the ICBM.

    Any thoughts or suggestions, or leads on any preamps. It seems like kind of a waste to have the Denons amps and not be using them.

    Earle
     
  2. Yoon Lee

    Yoon Lee Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm in same situation.
     
  3. Walt N

    Walt N Second Unit

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    I've been looking at the Outlaw 950 and the Rotel 1066 since they were announced and I've been following their respective threads on these forums. Today, I ordered a Denon AVR-3802 to use as my new pre-pro. The 80Hz x-over to the sub works well for me and I couldn't find any compelling reason to buy one of the others. The specs on the Denon's pre-pro section are very good and I loved the sound of my AVR-3300 as a pre-pro. While I haven't performed a blind level-matched A/B with my Denon vs. a good dedicated pre-pro, I haven't heard anything in my various visits to HT dealers that would cause me to think I'm missing out on even a single bit of sound quality by this choice.
    It helps if you don't think of it as wasting an amp section, just think of it as a great pre-pro which comes with free amplifiers you choose not to use. [​IMG]
     
  4. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    A respectable amp and Rotel 1066 or outlaw 950 should sound better than the denon as a pre/pro. But the difference in cost may not be worth it. If you listen to more music, I think it would be worth the separates, but if you're a movie fan, there probably won't be much of a difference.
     
  5. Walt N

    Walt N Second Unit

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    Chris, I should mention that 2ch and multi-channel music is my focus and HT just comes along for the ride. By virtue of price the 950 or the 1066 "should" indeed sound better than a common Denon AVR, but the specs say the Denon will sound as good or better depending on the mode and format. Have you compared them? Once the economies of scale and development history of the products are factored in this makes more sense.

    As difficult as it would be, I'd love to do a blind comparison with two or more of the products in question with a small group of enthusiasts. I'd be very surprised to see the AVR-3802 consistently picked as the worst performer of the bunch.
     
  6. AustinKW

    AustinKW Stunt Coordinator

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    Walt,

    Smart move on the 3802. The pre/pros perennially lag the receivers for decoding modes and features. I don't even acknowledge the existence of the Outlaw since it is not currently available due to tech foibles. My MO is to use a "throwaway" receiver as a pre/pro, back it up with some decent outboard amplification and wait for the multi-channel music digital I/F logjam to break. When we get 1394 FireWire from the players to the processor for real bass management without unnecessary A/D - D/A conversions or the ICBM kludge, then I'm in! I figure Pioneer's going to crack this thing wide open with the 49TXi and the 47Ai later this year. By early next we should have our choice of mid-fi receivers and reasonable pre/pros with digital I/Fs to choose from. Good luck.

    Austin
     
  7. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    It would be nice to try a pre/pro amp combo and be able to compare it to the 3802. A lot of places have 30 day return policies that might prove as a helpful audition tool.
    What speakers are we talking about. If the speakers arn't cost justified to match with separates maybe the Denon is a better choice.
    The specs may be the same as in watts and distortion but then we get into the audiophile's words such as: live, cold, dynamics, warm, detail, coloration, emotion, separation, image, focus, strain, transparency, coherence, yadda yadda. The companies don't advertise what's subjective and dependent.
    It's all about hearing details the original producer wasn't aware of himself. [​IMG]
    I'd try and audition as many products as you can. I may hear something natural, warm, full, and emotionally engaging while Joe sixpack hears something that sounds like his walkman.
     
  8. Walt N

    Walt N Second Unit

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    Lacking any truly useful A/B data, all we have to go on here are specs and inherently biased listener accounts of performance. Considering the similar designs of the equipment in question, depth and width of soundstage, natural tonal balance, emotional engagement, etc. are euphemisms that will tend to lose distinction, identity, and assigned value once the listener can no longer see what piece of equipment is being played. In a similar fashion, accounts of high-end cables and other dubious forms of hardware improvements have demonstrated this more than adequately.

    Price and quality of speakers is not a factor here as we are talking about using outboard amplification that can be assumed to match the power demands of such. That said, even some cheap speakers can be amazingly (or horrendously) revealing and useful in such a comparison. Bose notwithstanding.

    In my estimation the point of diminishing returns with pre-pro's literally falls off a cliff once receivers of this ilk are considered for this purpose. There is no magic here, just solid engineering principles and execution with which some of the mass producers have become quite adept. (And with which some upcoming brands or models are still struggling.)

    I'd be very open to contrary data. Whether it be in the form of white paper and/or reliable listener accounts where potentials for bias are removed, I'll gladly cough up some extra jack for "real" sonic improvement.
     
  9. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    I replaced a Denon 3801 receiver [used as a pre/pro],with a Outlaw 950.
    First of all I really don't care for 2ch sound,but don't wanna get into that right now.Of course that doesn't mean I don't like to listen to music,I do.
    As a matter affect the main reason I got this pre/pro because it featured BM on it's 6ch analog input for DVD-A/SACD.
    Anyhow I can't comment on stereo performance as much,since I don't listen in stereo anymore[didn't with the Denon either],but the DPL II is awesome once a made some "calibration" on it's music mode.I would consider tad bit "warmer" then the Denon's "Matrix" mode which I used for music with that receiver.
    For movies the difference was much more prominent,and the Cirrus Logic surround was better IMO then Denon's own version of "EX" for Dolby.
    The real plus for me was the variable crossover[I know this is also available on the 3802,it wasn't on the 01],I was able dial in a better blend with my subs.
    I agree however that at this price range the differences are negligible,therefore one must decide for oneself.
     
  10. Gil D

    Gil D Supporting Actor

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    Earl,

    I have the Denon 3802 used as a preamp and have speakers that resove well (Sonus faber & Polk LSi).

    The 3802 is hard to beat at the price IMO. I would not consider the Sony 9000 at this point but wait for the TA-10es. I heard the Rotel and while it was maybe better with HT, I was not that impressed with stereo - could have been the speakers though. The Lexicon MC-12 is a great piece however outrageously expensive. I am considering the DC-2/MC-1, the new Sony when it arrives, or maybe the Anthem AVM-20.
     
  11. EarleD

    EarleD Supporting Actor

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    I probably just stay with the 3802 as I use it mostly for HT.

    Thanks for the input and suggestions

    Earle
     

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