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Denon 4802 plus Lexicon NT512 experience (1 Viewer)

Aug 15, 2001
Hi all,
I'm little curious what you guys think about my experiences. My system consists of Denon 4802 as pre/pro connected to Lexicon NT512, Denon 2800 as DVD and CD transport, Diva Swans 6.1, 4.1 and C3 center channel plus SVS 20-39 PC subwoofer. Before purchasing an amp I was very happy with my system but because of this forum and numerous postings describing experiences with going into seperates I've always wondered what I'm missing. After I hooked up Lexicon amp (same as Bryston 9BST) I've started serious listening and to my surprise there was only a slight improvement in sound than from using my receiver alone. So i have two questions:
Is Denon 4802 such a great receiver that it can compete with high-end pre/pro's and amps out there? From my understanding Lexicon NT512 suppose to be one of the best.
Are my speakers, CD and cables not good enough to let me experience the difference?
I use Monster Cable speaker wire and Outlaw interconnects.
What I want to add is the fact that to me Denon 4802 alone outputted incredible sound and addition of an amp only improved it slightly (not night and day). My system is calibrated using RadioShack sound meter to 75 db for speakers and 80-81 db for SVS sub.
I also visited couple of my friends who own Lexicon MC-12 and Classe SSP-70 or 75 (can't remember) and their systems were very close in sound quality to mine, which is three times cheaper.
I'd like somebody to help me with to solve that puzzle.


Supporting Actor
Feb 14, 2000
Goes to show that what you read here should be taken with a grain of salt. In order to determine if adding an external amp will make a difference depends on room size, speaker efficiency, and listening habits. If your listening environment and habits don't push the Denon to its limits, adding an external amp won't really make much difference.


Stunt Coordinator
Dec 18, 2001
It can be happening because of:

- The amp is still not powerfull for the speakers to open up. NT512 is 120Wx5. Usually big floorstanders need something closer to 200Wpc.
- Speaker wires are too thin so they cannot pass enough current. Should be at least 12 gauge, or maybe even doublewired. Monster cable is fine, just make sure the gauge is enough.
- The speakers are overly sensitive and do need a lot of power. This can be good or not so good.
- Your own personal perception. What would be a dramatic difference to somebody else is only be a minor difference to you.

Denon's amps are okey but in no way they are comparable to a decent external amp. When I added external 200Wpc amp to power my Paradigm Studio 100s, the difference was very dramatic, especially in mid-bass range. But there were practically no difference in high frequencies range.

Jeremy Hegna

Supporting Actor
Nov 28, 2000
I kind of disagree with you. The amplifiers in the 4802 will compare with outboard amplification very favorably in fact. These amplifiers are NOT your typical receiver amps. In fact, in the S&V testing, I believe the Denon 4800 was able to hit 140-150 watts with all channels driven.
That said, there is a difference when you add external amplifiers, even if the receiver has decent amps.
I would try bi-amping your mains. Run the "5th" channel to your center speaker. You have not increased the power at all if you are just running single channels to each speaker. The 4802 is rated at about 120 watts per channel and that's what you've replaced them with. Even though you don't have a noticable amount of extra power...your headroom should improve, as well as subtleties in the music you listen to. At higher volumes, you should hear less effort by the amp section, clearer highs and mids, and more thump down low. You have a hell of a set-up there, so I'm assuming you're using decent cables/speaker wires. If not, try out some different wires from your local B&M.
BTW, Don't expect night and day differences. That last 10% of improvement in your system is what we are all looking for. Spend some time listening and switching between internal and external amplification. You've got yourself a sweet set-up. Enjoy:)


Stunt Coordinator
Mar 30, 2002

I have to agree with Gordon. The 4802 at normal
listening levels will give you a performance that
is fantastic. The power supply is more than adequate
and only by adding a high-end seperate amp ($$$$$$)
would you see a noticible differance.

Before buying mine I got the salesman to set up the
4802 with an outboard sherbourn 5/1500A amp. At low
to moderately high levels I saw only a very slight
difference and so did my freind.IMO not worth the extra



Stunt Coordinator
May 29, 2002

based on my experiences most people think adding a new (stand alone) power amp will give a big advantage over the amps build in a receiver. this is most often not the case, as you encountered by yourself. in my opinion the pre amp section of a device has a far more bigger impact then the power amp section does. this is the main reason why to go with separates, because the pre amp section is usually clear superior compared to those found in receivers. so my advise is this: if you really want a significant improvement in your system, spend your money on a good pre/pro, you will not regret it.

regards, holger

Ken Custodio

Second Unit
Dec 5, 2001
I have a Denon 4802 receiver also, and I added a parasound power amp based on what I have heard in this forum. Like you I didn't hear the "big" difference in using an external amp. I did notice that there was more bass at lower volumes. I think the 4802 has a very good amp section, definitely not as good as a decent power amp, but definetly better than most receivers.

If you have large demanding front speakers in a big open room, I think a big power amp will make a big difference.
Aug 15, 2001
Thank you all for the replies. As to the power of Lexicon amp it is officially rated only at 120 W per channel but factory tests that came with an amp show 156 W per channel, so the difference should be significant and I assume that quality of Lexicon amplification is far superior to Denon 4802. From the replies received I conclude that if room is not too big and I'm listening at moderate levels it doesn't make sense to spend additional $2500 for a seperate amp because there is only slight difference in sound and that's what happened in my case. Next question that comes to mind: is it worth to sell Denon and buy a seperate pre/pro like Anthem AVM-20. I've read a review on Denon at hometheaterhifi.com and they describe this receiver as a quality sound processor. Will sound quality after an upgrade be improved significantly or is it "listen closely and you might hear it" experience?
Like I stated previously I was happy with a sound of receiver alone but I wanted to find out how big is the sound improvement after going into seperates. I got to admit that so far I'm not that impressed and I don't think spending $2500-$3000 to get 5 percent sound improvement is worth it.
Please let me know what you think and don't be offended if your experience is totally opposite. After all, this forum was set up so we can share different experiences.


Stunt Coordinator
Apr 3, 2002

Part of the problem is that Denon has made a good recvr in the 4802 and at this level the law of diminishing returns starts to play a factor.Differences are going to get very subjective now. Your just a step away from their flagship recvr so you can expect this component to be a work horse in the power arena on order to compete with entry level seperates.

Like you I own a 4802 and I drive it with the Parasound 2205at (225wpc). I have noticed a difference in sound quality at reference levels. It is not "night and day" but the difference is there. Maybe if you biamped the front stage like the other posts have said you will notice a big enough change to warrant the extra $$$. I wouldn't sell your recvr just yet. Experiment with several amps first. Try to find deals on ebay, u-bid,open box/demos at retailers and even this forum for large amps for less $$$.
If you give a price range and I see something that might be of interest I'll post it so you can check it out.

Good Luck!


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