Denon 5803 preamp and Yamaha 2400 comparison

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Elbert Lee, Mar 4, 2004.

  1. Elbert Lee

    Elbert Lee Supporting Actor

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    This comparison may not interest a lot of people in their buying decision since one is priced over $4k and one at $1k, but, hopefully will serve as an informational tool for those who believe that the quality of a preamp rests soley on its DACs.

    I have been using a Denon AVR5803 as a pre amp in conjuntion with an ATI 2505 (250w x 5) amp. The combination is very very nice. The AVR's internal amps were used to drive the two surround back.
    Last year, when I sent the 5803 in for its DL3 upgrade, I borrowed a 3802 and used it as a preamp. I was somewhat disappointed with its performance compared to the 5803. The first thing I noticed was a huge increase in the noise floor.
    Second - steering / panning between the front, rears, surround backs, etc., was not as "convincing" and seamless as the 5803 - However, given the price difference, I couldn't expect it to perform at the level of the 5803.

    I recently packed up the 5803 and am borrowing the Yamaha RXV2400. I'm more impressed with the 2400 than I was with the 3802. The noise floor wasn't quite as high, but still noticably higher than the 5803. Chalk it up to good fundamental preamp construction!
    That being said, I was impressed with the detail - I daresay close to that of the 5803. I listed to several pieces of very familiar demo material. The Yamaha wasn't completely revealing on some of the more subtle soundtracks (movies), but was close enough
    Soundfield - was much "thinner" sounding than the 5803 - what the 2400 gave was a "crisper" sound, but at the cost of the more "enveloping" soundfield that was more familiar on the Denon. This was more noticable and prevalent on the more subtle effects soundtracks, especially spooky horror films and low level ambiance produced in submarine movies and sci fi films.
    Sound coloration - the yamaha was definitely more agressive, although "lean, dry and less full sounding" than the 5803. That being said, I can't say that I minded all that much on SOME films. In fact on live television performances, I actually think the "punchy aggressive" sound of the Yamaha complimented the effect. The added amount of "harshness" to the sound may actually be pleasing
    Empirically, the 5803 is still the superior preamp in all respects. However, the huge difference in sould does not necessarily translate into such a huge difference in listening enjoyment when it comes to movie soundtracks.
    Music - that was a different matter - The harshness definitely stood out and the soundstage was much more forward sounding than that of the 5803 - The Yamaha had almost 80 hours of usage so I know it was broken in. I definitely enjoyed the 5803 much more for music.

    I still favor Denon products, but I have to admit that Yamaha came a long way. I've owned three Yamaha receivers in the past and I have to say I'm most impressed with the 2400 at the $999 pricepoint.

    I am still a believer in getting a nice pre/pro if there's room in one's budget, but at the same time, if movie soundtracks is the only thing it's being used for, I can't say that the help of a flagship receiver/pre/pro will provide 4x the audio experience. However, it might be WORTH 5 times the value to the proud owner of the system since every increase in each aspect performance still yeilds tons of satisfaction. To each his own
     
  2. Elbert Lee

    Elbert Lee Supporting Actor

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    BTW - after hooking up the 2400 for several days, I can hear faint background noise through all of my speakers. With the 5803,, there was none. I also heard it through a Denon AVR 3802, but not as much.
     
  3. Burklund

    Burklund Stunt Coordinator

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    what speakers are you using with the 5803?
     
  4. Shawn Solar

    Shawn Solar Supporting Actor

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    I got a 2400 too. Not bad but no where near a seperate amp/pre/pro type setup. I still miss my old marantz reciever/seperate amp combo. not that the marantz is any better but I'm not a fan of reciever amps. I can say I basically heard the same diffrences you note. Slightly drier less spacious sound, of course not as drastic as one might think.
     

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