Denon 3803, 4802, Yamaha 3300 Showdown

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jerry_Whit, Jan 16, 2003.

  1. Jerry_Whit

    Jerry_Whit Auditioning

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    I was at the local Tweeter store yesterday. Was pretty convinced that the Denon 3803 was my next investment. I currently have a 10+ year old Yamaha Pro Logic Receiver which I have really enjoyed. My speakers at home are a bit mismatched (that's my next $$) as I have a Mirage Center, JBL L10 fronts, in-wall rears (was Boston Acoustic now Speakercraft).

    Listened to the Denon 3803 ($1199), Denon 4802 ($2200), and Yamaha RXV3300 ($1499) in a side-by-side comparison with ALL Klipsh speakers - Fronts were RF5($1499), Center RC3 ($399), 12" sub, not sure the model #'s on the surrounds. (Tweeter Prices for reference)

    Now, it's possible that each piece was not optimally setup. The Yamaha had to be setup to get the correct center/front balance for example. I listened/watched a Diana Krall (Live in Paris) DVD and hear are my comments.
    All units were set to the same decoding of Dolby Digital.

    The Denon 3803 did not blow me away and totally impress me as I had hoped. (I went to the store wanting to really like/buy this unit.) It sounded a bit lacking of punch and more subdued. Not as crisp. Had the volume level at approx -14dB?) which we deemed by the salesguy to be over the 50% point of the volume range, maybe even close to 75%.

    The Yamaha really impressed me with it's punch, clarity, and ample "reserve power". This unit did not appear to be working hard to provide a very full, dynamic sound stage. Volume level maybe 30%.

    The 4802, of course, had ample power, clarity, and the best overall dynamic sound, but of course it's an extra $700 at Tweeter prices.

    I would rank these on a scale of 1-10 judgement points
    4802 (10)
    Yamaha (8.5)
    3803 (5)

    I'm not sure what to think of this and am a bit unsettled. Is it possible the 3803 was misadjusted in some way? Can someone else comment on these units in side-by-side comparisons?

    I definetly want to do some more listening. Thanks for the feedback in advance.
     
  2. Andrew_B

    Andrew_B Stunt Coordinator

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    The 3803 has great processing, but doesn't exactly match the 4802 or yamaha in the power amp department. It really depends on your room, but my 3802 has more than enough punch for my 3000 ft^3 room.
     
  3. Ken Custodio

    Ken Custodio Second Unit

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    You probably won't go wrong with any of those receivers, they are all good receivers. I have a Denon 4802 and love it, the only feature I really want from the 3803 is the s-video up-conversion to component. You could always get the 3803 and get a 3 channel power amp for your fronts and center [​IMG] I am sure someone is going to say, well if you are going to do that why not get a pre/pro and a 5 channel power amp.
     
  4. Jerry_Whit

    Jerry_Whit Auditioning

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    Thanks for the replies so far...

    Mike I appreciate the volume control dB level details. I'm going back for another listening session with some of your suggestions.
     
  5. NickSP

    NickSP Supporting Actor

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  6. Gil D

    Gil D Supporting Actor

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    I have always used a separate power amp with the Denon 380x driving my 4/6 ohm 86-87 dB SPL speakers. The Denon's amps are a weak point when driving insensitive speakers like mine. I tried Denon 4802 vs 3803 straight up and would came to the same conclusion while driving my speakers, but usually the Klipsch is not much different with it's higher sensitivity. Like Mike mentioned check the tone controls and channel levels. I was comparing a Denon 3802 and Sony DA5es in the store one day using Klipsch towers on stereo and was saying wow that Denon is alot better than the Sony. I then discovered the tone controls were jacked up on the Denon and after adjusting they were pretty close.

    Also give the Sony DA4es a try at the store. I have seen open box lately for $600 but you can do the same mail order. But it's nice to try before you commit.
     
  7. MatthewJ S

    MatthewJ S Supporting Actor

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    Jerry, I sell ALL THE BRANDS you mentioned and I would say your assesment is right on...I would agree with others and make sure that all the tone controls, levels, parameters ,etc are the same on the equip. you are auditioning....and see if they can volume match as close as possible...if the salesman doesn't seem to be able to set-up a fair comparison, find a more compitent salesperson...as for mike up, I have not only sold, but also owned many of the same rcvrs you mentioned and have come to rather diff. opinions...as for feature the 3803 has the 2300 beat, as for sound quality and balls, I would say the reverse is true.....
    ===========
    the only feature I really want from the 3803 is the s-video up-conversion to component
    ---------------------end quote------
    this would be better if we weren't finding so many problems with th upconversion of the 3803......see related threads on this topic....even denon now is working on the problem.
     

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