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Denon 3803 Multi-Zone Question (1 Viewer)


Apr 29, 2003
I’m looking at getting a 3803 in the next few weeks and have a couple of setup / capability questions.

I have 7.1 speakers setup in my home theater room and them multiple other rooms with stereo speakers. The other rooms will be fed through a speaker selector switch which is driven by its own amp that receives its signal from the appropriate output jack (pre out?) on the 3803.

Does the 3803’s multi-zone, multi-source capabilities allow me to watch a movie in 7.1 in the HT room while listening to a different audio source (say CD) from Zone 2? Or do I have to step-down to 5.1 in the HT room to do that?

I’m assuming that “7.1 audio (CD)” in the HT room and the same signal to the other amp is not a problem?

A friend who’s currently setup for 5.1 picked one up last week and I’ve been reviewing the manual. After reading it a few times, I’m still confused as to whether this can be done?

If it’s doable, can someone tell me the appropriate output jacks and setup steps on the 3803 to accomplish this?


Jamey F

Stunt Coordinator
Dec 20, 2002
There are only 7 amps in the 3803. So, first there is a limitation on the power output of the receiver. It would be conceivable on the amp side. Processing is a different thing entirely. The rear speakers and Zone 2 would have to output the same thing if they were both hooked up at the same time.

You won't be able to have different sources going to both the rear channels and zone 2. There is a menu setting that you have to choose in the receiver between rear speakers OR zone 2.

So as far as the processing and the amplifiers in the receiver are concerned, you could have 2 sets of rear speakers (one set for 7.1 and the other for zone 2), BUT they would be hooked to the same amps (unless you go external amps), and they would be outputting the same sound information (processing limitation).


Supporting Actor
Feb 19, 2002
That is not how I see it. I have a 3803 and use the multi-zone feature. But I only have 5.1 and use the extra 2 amps for the multi room.

If you have 7.1 in the main room, you need an additional amp for the multi zone, which you say you have. You ahould be able to hook the 7 speakers up to the Denon's amps, and use the pre outs for Zone 2 to the additional amp. The pre-outs for zone 2 share the same jacks as the rear speakers, but I still think they will output zone 2 while the 7 amps in the receiver play in the main room.

But I am not sure. Sorry I can't be of more help.

Jamey F

Stunt Coordinator
Dec 20, 2002
Brian...I do the same thing, and I also have no external amp yet.

I didn't catch he was using an external amp for zone 2(sorry). I was assuming incorrectly he was using the 3803 for all of it. If you look at the rear of the 3803 in the manual, there are 10 preouts (7.1 + zone 2). I would assume, you could use the internal amps for 7.1 and the zone 2 preouts to run to your external zone 2 amp.

I have messed around with the receiver's controls a bit. Even with the amps assigned to rear speakers, zone 2 is still able to be turned on and volume controlled. I don't have my zone 2 hoooked up yet so I don't have any way to verify. Perhaps brian could do that for you.

The biggest thing I can think of standing in the way IF the receiver will process 7.1 AND do preout for zone 2 is that Zone 2 usually has to be fed an analog input. You may have to run analog cables from your cd player to the zone 2 preins and then the zone 2 preouts to your zone 2 amp. Run the cables for 7.1 as you would normally (probably digital coax or optical). In the setup menu, you would choose to use the internal amps for rear speakers. With the use of external amps for zone 2, I think it can be pulled off.

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