Denon DVD-3800 Floor Unit Spotted (NJ)

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Doug_B, Aug 8, 2003.

  1. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    The Tweeter store by Quakerbridge Mall has a former floor model 3800 boxed up. They're selling it for about $690. I asked to take a look; the back sticker shows a February 2002 date, which I believe represents an older unit that does not have all the kinks worked out. There is a slight scratch on the top, near the front of the unit. I decided not to bite (independent of what Denon would do to "freshen it up") and instead went for the 2900 (which per the salesperson wasn't in stock in the stores in the vicinity, so I'll pick up next week). I hope the 2900 has noticeably better DVD-A and video than my Panny RP-91; a 30 day return option is worth the near-retail price to me. The 3800 looks a bit more solid than the 2900, though.

    Doug
     
  2. Jason Wilcox

    Jason Wilcox Supporting Actor

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    hey doug...i was just at the mall yesterday...

    nice to see another central jersey member

    i'm right off princeton pike
     
  3. Phil Nichols

    Phil Nichols Second Unit

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    Doug,

    Just as a F.Y.I. data-point for you even though it's too late: My 3800 is a February, 2002 build and my S/N is 194, so it's only the 194th 3800 ever built! Mine did not turn out to be a "skipper" - plays rock solid from beginning to end. I removed it's chroma bug with the free Denon firmware disc. I removed it's Y/C Delay (because I'm picky - most folks don't) for about $30. It plays HD CD's at their true 20 bits (2900 doesn't), it remembers where you leave off in standby mode (2900 doesn't), it's audio is superior to the 2900 (of course [​IMG] because it weighs more), and it's images are sharper than the 2900's (because it's video bandwidth does not roll-off at the high end of progressive video frequencies like the 2900's does - see the graphs in Shootout 3 for both players).

    A cheap 3800 that DOES NOT skip is a fine piece of machinery that results in superb value. Of course getting a "non-skipper" may be a statistical crap shoot on early builds!
     
  4. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    Jason,

     
  5. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Doug, I'm with Phil in that a bug-free '3800 is a wonderful piece of machinery. I have a December 2002 unit that has performed flawlessly, and I am thrilled with it. (Note that I use it exclusively for DVD-Audio.) Despite my impressions of the '3800, I would have passed on that open-box unit given the build date and scratch on the top.

    I hope the '2900 works out for you. If not, you might look at the '3900, which should be coming out soon.

    By the way, I know that Tweeter store very well, as I used to live in Hillsborough, and my fiancee lived in Hamilton. I used to go to the Tweeter and CD World when it was next door. Now the CD World is up Rt. 1 North a bit (Lowe's shopping center on the northbound side). If you haven't checked out CD World, do so. They have good prices on new and used CDs and also sell DVDs, SACDs, and DVD-Audio discs.

    One more thing about CD World. They are having a great sale this weekend -- buy one, get one free on used CDs and 20% off everything else.
     
  6. Jason Wilcox

    Jason Wilcox Supporting Actor

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    thanks for the tip keith...i'll definitely be at cdworld tommorow
     
  7. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Jason, no problem. Although I live in Delaware now, I went up to the CD World in Cherry Hill yesterday to check out the sale. I can get to Cherry Hill in about 45 minutes. [​IMG]
     
  8. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    Keith,

    Thanks for the CD World info. It probably would take me just as long to get to the one closest to me as it does for you to get to the Cherry Hill one [​IMG] .

    As for the 2900, I guess I have some post-purchase flexibility (bear with me; it's my first Tweeter purchase). If I don't like it / don't notice a marked difference vs my RP-91, I can get a refund w/in 30 days. Even if I do like it enough, I can either a) keep it and upgrade w/in 120 days for the new Denon, assuming its release is timely, or b) return w/in 30 days and wait for reports of the new Denon before deciding whether to go for it or repurchase a 2900 (or something else; still very curious about the Arcam Diva). No feelings of guilt on any of these choices, as the Tweeter salesperson used the return policy as his sales pitch, and they didn't have the 2900 set up.

    Thanks.

    Doug
     
  9. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member

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    Doug
    Doug - I've A/B'd the 3800 (12/2002 manufacture date) and 2900 and found that the 2900 produces a noticably softer image on my ISF calibrated 57" Hitachi HDTV than the 3800. This was using progressive output via component. I purchased the 2900 thinking that I could consolidate my rack a bit and get rid of my stand-alone SACD player, but no dice. There's enough of a drop in video quality for me to send it back to Good Guys and keep the 3800. FYI.
     
  10. Jason Wilcox

    Jason Wilcox Supporting Actor

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    seems like the sale at cdworld was just for the 9th. oh well..
     
  11. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Doug_B,

    No problem. At least you have good options if the '2900 doesn't work out for one reason or another. Give us a report on the '2900 every so often.

    Do you still have the Ah! player with the upsampler? I imagine it beats the '2900.


    Jason,

    Sorry about that. I assumed the sale was for the entire weekend. However, I guess they couldn't run such a sale for too long.

    I see for your location that you are headed to Happy Valley. So you are going to Penn State? I remember you looking into Penn State. Best of luck! It's a great school, and when you aren't busy with classes, you will have a great time. It's a great place to go to school!
     
  12. Jason Wilcox

    Jason Wilcox Supporting Actor

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    thanks keith! don't worry about the sale thing

    i'll be heading out to penn state on the 28th. i'm extremely excited and if it wasn't for wishing all my friends good luck as they head out to college i'd probably be feeling like the days are going really slow.

    so hopefully i'll end up with my degree in EE in 4 years....then maybe get my masters and/or go for some audio engineering at penn state

    first semester i'm taking a seminar in digital music (how cool is that?)

    and i'm really looking forward to taking the seminar for speaker building (using PVC pipe) second semester

    sadly...i'll be parting with my stereo since a sub, speakers, receiver, and cd player just take up way too much space for a dormroom. but, i just bought some grado sr-60 headphones to keep me busy[​IMG]
     
  13. Phil Nichols

    Phil Nichols Second Unit

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    KeithH,

    "(Note that I use it exclusively for DVD-Audio.)"

    I'm starting to play DVD-A on my 3800 too. I have only 3 channels of a 5.1 system, so I'm finding that using the stereo tracks of DVD-A sound better. What comes out when you choose "stereo" playback on DVD-A disc menus relative to quality? Do you get the full DVD-A bit-rate and sampling frequencies in the stereo mix? The 3800 manual is vague on this, but it may be completely up to the mix in the engineering in the DVD-A transfer.

    By the way, you might want to try some 20-bit HDCD's on your 3800 (the 2900 won't play these - except only down-mixed to normal CD 16 bit) since the 3800 has a built-in decoder for these. My first HDCD sounds spectacular through the 3800 HDCD decoder. I can't tell HDCD from DVD-A stereo......both sound about the same on my system and both sound way above regular CD. I'll no longer buy CD's - only HDCD and DVD-A, since between the two I should be able to find about any piece I'm interested in. [​IMG]
     
  14. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Jason,

    Those are some great classes you will be taking at Penn State! Enjoy them! I know I would!


    Phil,

    I have a 5.1 set-up, but I use it almost exclusively for movies. So I play the stereo tracks on DVD-Audio discs most of the time.

    You asked:

     
  15. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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  16. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Doug, you are obviously enjoying the Ah! Glad to hear it!
     
  17. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    Picked up the 2900 last night. Fired it up for DVD-A first. A noticeable improvement for a number of selections, relative to the RP-91; a fuller, richer sound with more detail - and yes, the notes do have audible decay now. Maybe it will get even better with some break-in?

    On the video side, I did calibrate for both progressive and interlaced output. Note that there's a wide variance in some of my projector's settings between the two. Once calibrated, I could not tell much of a difference between the two (same with my RP-91). On the one hand, my projector (Infocus SP7200) does a great job with interlaced material, thanks primarily to its FLi2300, so it's to be expected. On the other hand, this observation is based only on image sharpness, color rendition, etc, evaluating with the most pristine DVD material (SW2 AOTC). There's obviously a lot more to evaluate from a video perspective with more demanding material, even given that such evaluations are not my forte.

    Seeing what this player does is giving me another sample point that will help me make some generalizations about DVD players in my system, which in turn will help me decide whether to keep this or not. Questions that are not answered yet:

    - Will the DVD-A performance be sufficient for me? I don't necessarily need a large DVD-A collection to strive for even better audio quality. I'm still wondering about the Arcam units (Diva and FMJ series); would be nice to be able to try out one of them at home. Such a unit could very well end up being my primary redbook player as well.

    - Does my projector's deinterlacing and related performance level the playing field for component output-based DVD players (at least players that eclipse some reasonable quality threshold). There are many owners who have written this about the 7200 (and to be fair, about other projs with Faroudja or other high end deinterlacing engines).

    - Is a DVI interface something with which I should be more concerned for a near- to mid-term DVD player? DVI reportedly would take my projector's output to a higher level. Maybe my video money should be going towards a modestly priced DVDP with a DVI interface and a high quality DVI cable (50 feet is not cheap, and the installation would be more of a pain given that its large connectors must be taken into account). Please, no HTPC recommendations, though.

    Food for thought (and eyes and ears).

    Doug
     

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