Denon receivers blow - 'least the amp section does

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John Royster, Mar 15, 2002.

  1. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    Man...sorry for the harsh title but I'm about ready to take my Denon 3802 (6 months old) back and demand a credit or throw it out the window. I am flat out amazed at how poor the amp section in this unit is. My experience confirms that receivers just don't have a good amp (sub $1500 receivers that is), must be way too much thought into features.

    Here's the setup - denon 3802 with an adcom CD player and Polk rta11tl speakers. Ever since I've been into audio it has always been about speaker/amp/source.

    Move into my new house complete with the home theater. I take the dive into home theater and replace my stereo HK integrated AMP of 100 watts/ch with the 3802. Much calibration and comparison of DACs follows but something is really missing. Midbass punch is missing, deep bass is missing. Tweeter screaming however has reared its ugly head. 5 months of fiddling with speaker position and room treatment yield not much better. I start looking for some B&W nautilus speakers - maybe I'm just tired of my speakers? Maybe the amp section of the 3802 blows?

    So, for giggles I hook up my HK integrated amp of 8 years to the 3802 pre-outs and move the main speakers to the HK. Start listening at moderate volume.

    WOWOWOWOWOWOW - my bass is back, my midbass is back, the tweeters aren't screaming at me....wowowowoowowoowwow. vocals are clear and not shrill. wowowowowowow.

    Checked my setup - yep, still as pure as can be. The 3802 is in direct mode with subwoofer set to off, mains set to small. Shouldn't matter though, all I've done is take the power and send it somewhere else. Start cranking the denon to -05. Shrill, no bass, no midbass, vocals bleed into all other midrange.

    Hook HK back up and listen at moderate levels. bass, midbass, vocals sharp and distinct, snares are tight, low end is tight and pronounced. Highs are smooth and mellow. Start really cranking the volume - same effect only louder...start clipping at insane volume so i bump it down a few notches. smooth.

    Yep...taking the 3802 back (thank god I have a good relationship with my dealer) and NEVER buying a receiver again. Sorry had to vent. I can't believe that after all this time it was my receiver causing me such sadness. Maybe I'll keep it around for a pre/pro.

    PS - all through these test the pre-amp section of the 3802 remained unchanged. Direct, sub to off, mode PCM. Cables are of good ($100) quality.
     
  2. Kevin Alexander

    Kevin Alexander Screenwriter

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    Boy, the Denon loyalists here aren't gonna like this.
     
  3. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    well I hope to kindof start some good dialog. I've owned two denon integrated amps, a tape player and three CD players of theirs. I'm not bashing, but jeez...that amp blows.
     
  4. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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  5. Mike Brantley

    Mike Brantley Stunt Coordinator

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    Did you say your mains are set to small and the subwoofer to off? Shouldn't your mains be set to large if you're not using a sub?
    Unless I'm misunderstanding or not thinking clearly. I just came home from a hellish trip to the Wal-Mart Supercenter and the brand-new Super Target that opened across the street from it. What a hassle that is on a Friday night... [​IMG]
     
  6. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    I've owned Denon stuff since 1987, with the AVR-3300 being my latest piece. I've always been satisfied with the sound, but I don't listen above reference level. If I did, I would definitely need more amp, and I wouldn't have bought the 3300 in the first place. The right tool for the job...

    For reference, I have DCM Time Windows as my fronts. Even though they go to 33Hz (measured, -3db in my room), I run them in small, and let the M&K sub handle the lows.

    I've never listened to the 3802, so I can't specifically comment on that. But your across the board condemnation, based on your VERY limited experience, is, well, silly.

    Todd
     
  7. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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  8. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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  9. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    Most AVR's with direct mode should push the full right/left signal to the front mains with no processing (that includes bass management though on some models this isn't true). I personally think that maybe you should keep the Denon 3802 (as a pre-amp unless you want to move to the Outlaw) and just buy a decent 5-channel amp and move the HK to the rears.
     
  10. chung

    chung Stunt Coordinator

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  11. Geo

    Geo Stunt Coordinator

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    Unless I'm mistaken when you set the subwoofer to off, the mains go to large automatically, no small option for mains.
    I do believe separate amps will improve any systems performance but from one extreme, terrible sound,
    to nirvana[​IMG]
    geo
     
  12. John Tompkins

    John Tompkins Supporting Actor

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    I had the denon 4802 which I loved as a PRE. But the internal amps were beat by the 400.00 sherwood am 9080 power amp.

    I don think any denon loyalist {me for one} are going to be even the slightest bit upset with this view. I'v said all along that the internal amps of the denon couldnt beat a 500.00 power amp.

    But when used JUST as a pre-pro they are very hard to beat for the money, functions, sound, etc..
     
  13. Mike Brantley

    Mike Brantley Stunt Coordinator

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    John, I never have learned how to quote (but I can use smiles :b ), but referring to the sub off/mains settings.... ah, I got you. [​IMG]
     
  14. BruceD

    BruceD Screenwriter

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  15. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Well, I am certainly no Denon loyalist, and when I was looking for a new receiver last year, the 3802 was on my list mostly due to features. I wasn't nuts about the price, but it had more or less what I was looking for. I like to deal with local dealers for this type of gear. I had heard Sony ES and Marantz in friend's systems. I went out and auditioned the Onkyo 595 and 696, as well as the x200 line of Marantz and the 3802.

    The 3802 has excellent HT capability - well placed sound, great panning and what sounded like satisfactory power to me, but something did not quite sound right when I played stereo music. Having read your statements, I would have to tend to agree with them and I think that this is actually the same thing I was hearing. Something was missing. This is one of the reasons I did not go with the 3802, especially after listening to Marantz. I listened to the SR6200 and 7200, and ended up with the 6200. The 6200, at nearly half the price of the 3802, and with nearly the same features and power rating, sounded much more rich and smooth for music. As for HK, the 520 wasn't out and I wasn't too excited about the 510 compared to the 7200 and even the 6200, but music sounded better on HK also.
     
  16. joe logston

    joe logston Stunt Coordinator

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    i have a yamaha rx-v1 and thanking of geting two odyssey stratos 3 channel amps, i know that the yammy haves a great prosseser 2-44 bits it haves all the ins & outs you want. so i dont thank i need a pre-pro amp. i thank that separate amps of this quality will do the trick of having close as possible to perffection for the money.

    thanks
     
  17. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Simply put, I won't use a home-theater receiver for stereo music, no matter how much it costs. Some will say that the high-end heavyweight receivers like the Denon AVR-5800 and B&K AVR 307 are excellent for music, but if I were spending $3000+ for amplification with music in mind, I would buy a quality stereo integrated amp or stereo separates, possibly tubes. I would then buy a mid-priced A/V receiver for home theater. That's actually what I have done, except that I have not spent $3000+ for stereo amplification. I am very pleased with my $640 Sony STR-V444ES A/V receiver for movies and multi-channel music, neither of which I listen to as critically as stereo music. That's just me.
     
  18. chung

    chung Stunt Coordinator

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    BruceD said:
     
  19. BruceD

    BruceD Screenwriter

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    chung said,
     
  20. joe logston

    joe logston Stunt Coordinator

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    hi keith i have a aragon 4004 mark 2 amp, a aragon 24k-sp pre amp, a aragon d2a ad converter. i tried the aragon amp with my yamaha rx-v1 receiver on the main channels but to much differance in sound. the aragon has the power to do it right i would need two more 4004 mark 2s they mite be hard to get, thats why im going with odyssey stratos amps, there the best for the money. i like multi-channel a lot better than 2 channel. you got to set up right though.

    thanks
     

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