Denon 3802 or Sony Str-Da4ES

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Antonio_B, Sep 18, 2004.

  1. Antonio_B

    Antonio_B Stunt Coordinator

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    Sup guys,

    Which receiver do you suggest me to buy between those 2?

    P.S:Considering sound quality and options...

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. anthony_b

    anthony_b Screenwriter

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    The Sony has dual 5.1 inputs for DVD-A and SACD. The Denon would have a slight advantage sound wise.
     
  3. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    I chose the 4ES when comparing it to the Denon 3801. The 4ES was great and the parametric EQ was useful in taming room peaks, but took alot of time w/ test tones and the spl meter to get things very flat. The 3802's remote is pretty lackluster but the sound is a bit warmer. The 4ES sound is very clear but not quite bright, definitely not warm though. I later moved to a Pioneer Elite 43TX because of a good deal and it's much more user friendly.

    Depending on what you're looking to pay you might also want to consider the Pioneer 1014TX. I recently upgraded my Elite 43TX to this and it's a great unit. OSD, DPLIIx, Auto setup w/ spl and room-eq, component video upconversion, and a very solid amp section (just as good as either the 4ES or 3802). The 1014TX, like the 43TX, is very neutral, especially when using the auto room-eq. It also has plenty of power, no less than my 43TX or the 4ES when I had it.

    Either way, all of these are good units w/ solid power output and good features, but there are several features you'll be missing out on by going w/ a 2 model year old unit (mainly those i mentioned in my description of the 1014TX).

    Hope this helps [​IMG]
     
  4. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    I think the 4ES would have to be priced at a very good level to make it worth-while. I've been seeing used ones selling for nearly $500 (US $$) recently.

    At that price-point, there are lots of options for new receivers.
     
  5. Shiu

    Shiu Second Unit

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    The 4ES has a nice looking blue light, and its bass management system allows you to adjust the XO of each of the front, center, surrounds and sub channels. With the Denon, all channels will have the same XO. Apparently, some of the 4ES has the "ES" transformer in it but some, such as mine, has the "Bando". Whether it affects the SQ, I really don't know. I suspect the 3802 has slightly better SQ.
     
  6. Mark Russ

    Mark Russ Second Unit

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    Another vote for the 3802. BETTER amp section.
     
  7. Kevin Alexander

    Kevin Alexander Screenwriter

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    BETTER?...No offense Mark, but that definately is NOT true. Either of these receivers would serve you well. The Sony is more feature-rich w/ the Parametric EQ and other neat features, and w/ the EQ, you can make it sound ANYWAY you want. For the reasons given above, I'd choose the Sony.
     
  8. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    I'm going to have to agree w/ Kevin on the amp section. The 4ES was tested at somewhere near 92wpc by S&V. The 3802 was tested similarly. The Denon doesn't offer any advantage in actual power output. The features of the 4ES along w/ ample power are why I picked it over the Denon 3802. I would still consider your budget and take a look at what's available in the new market as well.
     
  9. Mark Russ

    Mark Russ Second Unit

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    Sorry guys, I don't want to seem argumentative either, but facts are facts and less call a spade a spade.


    I have copied and pasted the following from a review of the 3802 from Home Cinema choice Online:

    MUSIC APPRECIATION
    LAB REPORT

    Manufacturer's rated output: 7x 105W RMS

    Max output at onset of clipping: 138.3W RMS @ 1% THD

    Fidelity firewall output: 128.7W RMS @ 0.09% THD

    Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz ±0.4dB

    But let's get to the crux of the matter - performance. Not surprisingly, it's comparable in tone and timbre to the original 3801. And that's no bad thing, of course. The 6.1-channel modes are by far the most impressive, creating a richer surround atmosphere than conventional 5.1, and drenching the soundstage in gloriously sharp effects that send shivers down the spine.

    Given a choice between this and the earlier AVR-3801, it's clearly worth splashing out the extra £50 more for Dolby Pro-Logic II, which marginally pips Neo:6 for the most convincing stereo sourced surround output. There's real definition to the surround channels that vanilla Pro-Logic lacks. It's also worth noting the extraordinary muscle on offer. Our fidelity firewall test, designed to identify the amount of undistorted power available, measured the 3802 at 128W in stereo mode. This is no pantywaist performer.

    On a purely musical note, CD replay is mature and easy to listen to. I aired a range of material, including delicate, moody jazz by Miles Davis and thumping upbeat disco from Jamiroquai, and found that the 3802 maintains a consistent purity and warmth.

    Perhaps the biggest surprise is how good the receiver is in two-channel mode. Not only are there astonishing power reserves but the stereo delivery suggests you're at the higher end of the market. The original 3801 was the must-have receiver of last season, and while the competition is hotting up, I've no doubt that the 3802 is now the model to beat. It features a dazzling array of sound capabilities, great build quality and a personality that will bridge the gap between high-end luxury and midrange accessibility.
    -----------------------------------------------

    Notice a fidelty firewall measured 2 channel output on the 3802 of almost 129 watts per at .009% THD. Not too bad.

    At Sony's own request, S&V didn't even show a measurement for the 4ES with all channels driven. I don't really care enough to go digging it up, but I specifically remember that. You don't have to take my word for it though, you can check it yourself.

    I do feel the 4ES would make a great pre/pro for movies though when paired with an external power amp.
     
  10. James W. Johnson

    James W. Johnson Screenwriter

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    Id have to totally disagree with this, I think Sonys are more honest sounding.

    I have quite abit of experience as well having heard and owned quite a few receivers.

    I take a 4ES over the Denon.
     
  11. Kevin Alexander

    Kevin Alexander Screenwriter

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    While I agree that the Denon is an adequate receiver, these have to be 2-channel test results because no receiver to date has exceeded its manufacturers specs w/ all 7 channels driven at the same time.
     
  12. Mark Russ

    Mark Russ Second Unit

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    Hi Kevin, I specifically stated it was a 2 channel measurement:

    "Notice a fidelty firewall measured 2 channel output on the 3802 of almost 129 watts per at .009% THD. Not too bad."

    HK 7200 exceeded it's specs with all 7 driven. I haven't seen it benchtested yet, but I'm very confident the NAD T773 would rather easily as well, and I'm sure there are a few more too that would. But you are right that in general, the far majority don't.

    S&V didn't even show a 5 channel rating, much less a 7 for the 4ES at Sony's own request because they knew it wouldn't come anywhere within even shouting distance of it's rated specs, and I guess S&V complied since they didn't want to piss off a top advertiser. The 4ES will do 110 watts into 1 channel, and 12 into each of all the others at the same time.

    However, in real world terms, this could be enough given the right circumstances, ie. room size, speaker efficiency, how loud the user likes it, etc.

    But all in all, I'd want more power than that myself. A lot more.
     
  13. Kevin Alexander

    Kevin Alexander Screenwriter

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    Oops! You're right. I forgot about HK. Their amps always test as advertised.
     
  14. Shiu

    Shiu Second Unit

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    Mark, as you stated, "facts are facts", S&V tested the 4ES in the Jan 2003 issues (P.58) with the following results:

    Output at clipping
    1 channel driven - 171/271 W 1Khz into 8/4 ohms.

    Stereo performance
    Both channels driven - 140/209 W into 8/4 ohms.

    Note that S&V always use 1 khz to do the output at clipping tests, i.e. same treatment to Sony, HK, Denon or whatever.

    I am not trying to defend the 4ES but just want to state some "facts". After owning one for two years, I actually traded it in for the Denon 3805.

    For those interested in comparison tests, this links (http://www.hometheatermag.com/receivers/)
    to the Aug Home Theatre issue that tested the Denon 3805, HK630, Sherwood R865, and Pioneer 55TXI. I was surprised to see that for a lower list price, the 3805 produced much higher 7 channel driven output than the HK630. While it is true that the Denon's multi channel driven output tested lower than their advertised 120 W per channel, its 2 channel rating is significantly higher, especially at 4 ohms (218 W at 0.1% distortion, vs 147 W for the 630). S&V also bench tested the 3805, with similar results. HK does advertise their power outputs in the most honest manner, but it does not always give you more power for the dollar.

    Back to the original question, if I had to choose between the 4ES and the 3802, I would likely give up and get something else because I am so attracted to the Sony's feature and the look but couldn't help but think that the Denon would sound better. I thought Wayne made an interesting move from 4ES to HKAVR7200 to Yamaha HTR5760.
     
  15. Mark Russ

    Mark Russ Second Unit

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    Well Shiu, here is a fact you yourself have just pointed out, "1 channel driven".
     
  16. John Morton

    John Morton Stunt Coordinator

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    Geez, can't we all get along.

    Get the equipment home and listen for yourself. You might be splitting hairs on SQ?? As for adaptability, Sony's pretty terrific.

    When I (rarely) hear something I think sounds better, I race home and put on the same sample. So far I haven't heard anything to prompt a change.
     

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