Denon 3803 vs 4802R

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Eric Lo, Feb 18, 2004.

  1. Eric Lo

    Eric Lo Agent

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 1999
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am contemplating about getting the Denon 3803 and connect it to an external amplifier. This setup will run me about $1,800. At the same time, a Denon 4802R costs $2,000, only $200 more. I'm wondering if anyone has any experience/heard of the difference between Denon 3803 with an external amp and Denon 4802R? I intend to use the setup for 60% music and 40% movies.

    I know that 3805 will be available soon and I'm guessing it will sound similar to 3803. If 3803 runs out of stock, I can wait a few weeks and get the 3805. My main concern is that the 4802R is only $200 more than the 3803/amp combo. I'm interested to know if the combo will sound better. Or, the 4802R has good enough features and performance that is better off to spend the extra $200.

    The Denon 4802 has been around for about two years and it seems like a newer version (with newer features... possibly HDMI switching?) will be coming out soon if 3805 is scheduled to be out next month. Any words about the next iteration of 4802R?

    -- e [​IMG]
     
  2. GregoriusM

    GregoriusM Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2000
    Messages:
    278
    Likes Received:
    0
    The whole answer depends on what amplifier(s) you will be attaching it to.

    Many, many people have used their Denon 38xx's for pre-amps and along with good amplifiers, have produced better sound than the 4802 can put out.

    So, if the amp has the same or better wattage along with its own power supply, you're probably going to get better sound from the 3803/05 with amp combo than the 4802.

    But that's a big if, since we have no idea what amp or amps you are going to attach to the 3803/05.

    More info is needed!

    Feature-wise though, you're getting quite a bit more with the 3805 and external amps than with the 4802 alone.

    Greg
     
  3. Eric Lo

    Eric Lo Agent

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 1999
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for your insight, Greg. In fact, I'm considering a few external amps such as the Rotel RMB-1075, Parasound HCA-1205A, Halo A23, and Marantz MM9000. Music quality is more important for me than movie, especially 2-channel music. Also want to use the external amp to off load the internal amp of the receiver/processor.

    I'm willing to spend up to $1,200 for an external 2- or 5-channel amp. Is any of these considered quality external amp and provides equal or better amplification than the internal amp of the Denon 4802(R) ???

    I'm trying to see if this combo is a good approach to achieve my goal of music quality. On the flip side, I'm also wondering if I will miss the THX processing on the 4802(R) since it is within the striking distance of my budget, only $200 more than the combo.

    Any thoughts?

    -- e
     
  4. Mark Russ

    Mark Russ Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2002
    Messages:
    341
    Likes Received:
    0
    Eric, the 3803 arguably has a better pre/pro section than the 4802, which is what you would be using it for anyway. It has better DACs for sure, maybe a better DSP too. About the only advantage to the 4802 is that it has 2 DSPs to the 3803's 1, probaly because of THX.

    Most ANY seperate power amp will outshine the 4802's.

    If you want to upgrade even further and still probably be under the cost of the 4802, pick up a good used 2 channel preamp such as those from NAD or Adcom and integrate that into the system as well. Then it will easily trounce the 4802 on music and movies.

    IMHO, I say get the 3803 plus an amp. Better performance and cheaper to boot.
     
  5. Marvin

    Marvin Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 1999
    Messages:
    1,480
    Likes Received:
    41
    Real Name:
    Marvin
    Even a power amp of lower wattage, e.g. 85W? Just curious.
     
  6. Steve F M

    Steve F M Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Messages:
    1,132
    Likes Received:
    0
    Mark, explain how the 3803 has a better Pre/Pro section compared the 4802R?

    Eric you can now get the 4802R for around $1500 Online.

    Your in a tough situation both ways you list would sound good. The 4802 does have a very good amp section but Seperates are usually the way to go. I just bought a used Denon AVR-4802 for $850 and I must say I'm impressed. I had the 3803 before I purchased this and thought it was crap for the money they wanted. The amp section was not as good as the 3802 or 3801 which came before it and so I'm glad I ditched that and wound up with the 4802.

    Take a look at the Outlaw Seperates Combo also which fits nicely in your price range!
     
  7. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 1999
    Messages:
    1,479
    Likes Received:
    0

    I would say very arguably. IMO, especially for music, the 4802R was noticeably better than the 3803. It is built better to boot.

    Granted, it doesn't have all of the features of the 3803, which may be a consideration for Eric.

    DJ
     
  8. GregoriusM

    GregoriusM Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2000
    Messages:
    278
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would argue that with outboard amps, the 3803 will give you better sound than the 4802 for both music and movies.

    The 4802 versus the 3803 with onboard amps may be something different. I haven't heard them side by side for a while.

    The Rotel amps are great for music, IMHO.
     
  9. CurtisC

    CurtisC Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2003
    Messages:
    369
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have the 3803 with a Parasound 1205a,it does great a job w/more power than I ever use.I think there are few that believe the 4802/r has a superior amp section to a stand alone quality amp.The pre/pro of the 3803 leaves little to be desired at this price,imo.That said the 4802/r is a great unit at its price if all in one required.
     
  10. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 1999
    Messages:
    1,479
    Likes Received:
    0

    Then you must think that the 3803 has a better pre-amp section than the 4802R and IMO, that's a hard case to make. An external amp isn't going to magically add sound quality to the unit. I would agree with you, however, if the speakers being driven presented a difficult load to the 4802R's amps or you wanted to run all speakers full-range at insane levels or had a very large room, but remember it has a toroidal power supply(rare for a receiver), so I think in many installations it would suffice.

    There's nothing wrong with having the opinion that the 3803 + amp is better, of course, since some of it is subjective, but since one member mentioned specs earlier, the only area the 4802R is weaker is in the A/D converters. With DVD's and CD's it would be easy to not have them come into play.

    Feature-wise, the only useful feature difference I can see is the video upconversion, and that may not even be an issue.

    We are not making it easier for you are we, Eric?[​IMG]

    DJ
     
  11. Mark Russ

    Mark Russ Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2002
    Messages:
    341
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, it looks like I inadvertantly opened up a can of worms here.

    Marvin
    quote:

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Most ANY seperate power amp will outshine the 4802's.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    "Even a power amp of lower wattage, e.g. 85W? Just curious."


    Marvin, I had a 3802 which was actually measured (not just rated) at something like 127 watts per channel in 2 channel mode and a 12 year old little baby Adcom GFA535 power amp rated at 60 watts per channel. The little Adcom surprisingly easily bested the 3802 when a/b compared with each other head to head.


    ================================================== =========
    Steve F M

    "Mark, explain how the 3803 has a better Pre/Pro section compared the 4802R?"





    Steve, I believe I already did. The 3803 has more modern up to date chips, DACs, etc. The 4802's are a lot more similar to the 3802's than the 3803's. The only advantage the 4802 might have over the 3803 is THX if you put any stock in that.

    ================================================== =========

    David Judah
    quote:

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ...the 3803 arguably has a better pre/pro section than the 4802...
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    "I would say very arguably. IMO, especially for music, the 4802R was noticeably better than the 3803. It is built better to boot."

    "There's nothing wrong with having the opinion that the 3803 + amp is better, of course, since some of it is subjective, but since one member mentioned specs earlier, the only area the 4802R is weaker is in the A/D converters. With DVD's and CD's it would be easy to not have them come into play."






    David, was that as a pre/pro to pre/pro only A/B comparision to each other while using identical amps? Or do you mean receiver to receiver? If it's a straight up receiver to receiver comparision in 2 channel " direct" mode with CDs while using the CD player's DACs and the receivers' own built in amps, then of course the 4802 will sound better. Should anyway.

    -----------------------------------------------------------

    quote:

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I would argue that with outboard amps, the 3803 will give you better sound than the 4802 for both music and movies
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    "Then you must think that the 3803 has a better pre-amp section than the 4802R and IMO, that's a hard case to make. An external amp isn't going to magically add sound quality to the unit."


    I would very strongly disagree with that statement. While the 4802's amps are strong for a receivers, it still can't compare to a seperate power amp.


    I stand by my original statement. A 3803 with a seperate power amp will best a 4802. Especially if you also integrate a decent 2 channel preamp into the system too. The 4802 is/was a fine machine though, and at the right price like $850 it would be a no brainer. But at $1500 when you can get a 3803 for $600, I just can't see it. You would still have $900 to put into power amps and maybe even a 2 channel preamp too, all of which combined would EASILY best the 4802 on movies and music.
     
  12. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 1999
    Messages:
    1,479
    Likes Received:
    0
    Note the exceptions I made, Mark. I don't expect the 4802R to best a dedicated power amp, but if you break it down at the preamp level, I just don't see(or hear)how the 3803 compares to it. The addition of the amp doesn't all of a sudden make the 3803 a better preamp.

    Now, if due to equipment or configuration, the 4802R does not have enough power and starts to strain, then sure the 3803 + amp will sound better because it's out of its linear operating range--dynamics are compressed and distortion rises.

    Eric mentioned that 2 channel sound quality is more important than movie reproduction. IMO, the 4802R would outperform the 3803+amp in that scenario(I'm not saying the 3803 wouldn't sound good though--it's a very nice receiver)and have enough power for movies(with the exceptions I mentioned earlier).

    I'm not denigrating the 3803, and for certain installations it might well be the better choice, but from the information we have here, IMO, the 4802R would probably suit Eric better. Of course, only he can decide if that's truly the case and either way he'll have some nice equipment.

    DJ
     
  13. Mark Russ

    Mark Russ Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2002
    Messages:
    341
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well David, with all due respect, do you REALLY believe that the analog preamp 2 channel "direct" section of a 4802 is so much superior to the 3803's as to be enough of a difference to overcome the SIGNIFIGANT difference of a seperate, external power amp paired with a 3803 over the 4802's own internal built in amps?

    It ain't gonna happen buddy! You would also improve the sound of a 4802 itself with a seperate power amp as well. What I'm trying to say is that adding a power amp to a 3803 makes a dramatic difference that you can clearly hear when compared to the 3803's own amps, just as it would also with a 4802.

    Please don't get me wrong, I'm not in any way, shape or form dissing, knocking, or trying to run down the 4802. As I said it was and is a damned FINE machine. But let's be realistic here.
     
  14. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 1999
    Messages:
    1,479
    Likes Received:
    0
    We obviously have a fundamental disagreement on what a dedicated power amp can do, so we'll have to agree to disagree, Mark, but don't take this topic of subjective preference and turn it into a matter of fact.

    DJ
     
  15. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 1999
    Messages:
    6,017
    Likes Received:
    0
    DenonJeff has said that they are coming out soon with it so I would assume anywhere from April to August as a guess but I guess you could venture over to AVS and send DenonJeff a PM.

    I'm considering the 3805 myself. I would assume if they take some of the features and add THX that would equal the 4802R(new model). I would assume that includes:

    PLIIx
    Parametric Room EQ.
    THX Ultra 2
    Atkis Remote

    Since I have pronto and won't pay the extra for THX Ultra 2, the Denon 3805 seems natural.

    I doubt you will go wrong either way.
     
  16. Mark Russ

    Mark Russ Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2002
    Messages:
    341
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well David, all I can say is that if you can't hear the obvious difference between a receiver and a seperate power amp, then you do not need one in the first place.

    Have you actually ever tried it yourself? I'm going to take a guess that you haven't.

    If you take a poll here on this, I believe that you will find that the overwhelming majority who actually have experience with this will agree with me though on this one.

    Enjoy your 4802. Seriously. It sounds like that is all you need and as long as you are happy with it, then that's all that matters.

    But I will say this though, if you ever get the chance to pick up a decent power amp at a good price, even just a 2 channel one, hook it up to your 4802 and I'm pretty sure you will be amazed at the difference and would then agree with me on this.
     
  17. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 1999
    Messages:
    1,479
    Likes Received:
    0

    Right--that's my point. If the 4802R is not being overdriven, then because IMO its preamp section is better, it would be better overall for music. That's all.

    And as far as equipment goes, Mark, I have a Pioneer 45TX powered by a Sunfire Cinema Grand(200x5), so I'm not defending a 4802R purchase. I assumed you had a 3803 and that's why I made sure to point out that I wasn't denigrating it.

    There are instances where having more power is advantageous, but 2 channel music listening isn't one of them(with some exceptions)especially with the relatively beefy torroidal power supply of the 4802R. Again, adding my Sunfire amp, didn't make the 45TX a better sounding preamp.

    DJ
     
  18. Marcelo T

    Marcelo T Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2001
    Messages:
    124
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a friend that has a 4802 powering a pair of B&W cdm7nt. I hooked up mine parasound HCA1000a (125 w) to his receiver, just to see if there is some noticiable difference. After around 30s of listening, my friend was cursing the Denons amps and getting ready to add a 2 channel amp to his receiver. The main difference was on the bass, much tighter and defined with the Parasond.
    This little test was conducted at 90db SPL, which would be easy on both amps.
    [​IMG]
     
  19. Mark Russ

    Mark Russ Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2002
    Messages:
    341
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well David, I throw in the towel here on this after this post, as I see now it is pointless.

    Could you not clearly hear the diffrence between your PE receiver and the Sunfire power amp, even when not "taxing" the amps through volume as Marcelo T just pointed out? I just don't see how you can sit there and say that just adding a seperate power amp to a reciever does not "magically" improve the sound of it.... it most certianly does to! Frankly, I don't even see how you can't hear the difference for yourself because it is always very dramatic and obvious in my experience

    As for the preamp stage, on movies, the 3803 is a lot more similar to the 5803 in that regard while the 4802R is a lot closer to the previous generations 3802. The 3803 has "pure durect" mode just as the 4802R for 2 channel. Besides, if you do not even have either, or at least extensive hands on experience auditioning them as preamp to preamp on a "level" playing field by A/B comparing them to each other while they are both being driven by identical power amps, then how can you honestly say this "IYHO"?

    Still, for a $900 price difference, as I already pointed out, not only could you add a very high quality seperate power amp (either 2 or multi channel) to the 3803 to easily trump the 4802R's power amp section, but also a real good used dedicated 2 channel used preamp like NAD or Adcom, etc. as well. Now you could not possibly argue the point that the 4802R would still be superior for the money then.

    With that, I'm out like Peter Frampton's hairline.
     
  20. GregoriusM

    GregoriusM Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2000
    Messages:
    278
    Likes Received:
    0
    There are too many 3803 owners out there who opted for the 3803 with external amps over the 4802 to say definitely that the the 3803/amp combination would not be superior in most cases than a standalone 4802.

    I have seen many posts where 3803 owners are happy with their receiver overall, and put a good quality 2-channel amp (with its owner power supply) with the 3803 to enhance the 2-channel music.

    That being said, both receivers are great receivers.

    Greg
     

Share This Page