H/K 525 vs. Denon 2803 strictly for HT?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Ian C, May 8, 2003.

  1. Ian C

    Ian C Stunt Coordinator

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    Okay, considering that these seem to sell for about the same price, are there any opinions between these two? I like both their sounds, although I have read that these most recent Denon receivers sound a little more bright or thin as compared to their past brethren. Any truth to this?

    The fan in the 525 concerns me. Many seem to report it can be heard, while many report it cannot. I worry about heat and build-quality...though it is much heavier than the Denon.

    I like the looks of the H/K much more. I think the Denon looks cheap, though I know it is built well. The H/K has Logic 7, which is a big plus, and the Denon...doesn't.

    The Denon has more usable inputs and stuff, which I would definitely take advantage of. I think, with all channels driven, they probably put out about the same amount of power.

    Ack. I'm really not wanting to buy both and demo them at home, but I may just wind up doing that. What do y'all think?
     
  2. Pablo Abularach

    Pablo Abularach Supporting Actor

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    Ian,

     
  3. Jamey F

    Jamey F Stunt Coordinator

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    You say it's much better but...Why? I'm glad you're giving your opinion, but clue us into why.

    The H/K is normally touted as a more musical choice, but since he said HT I could argue the 2803 is better suited. The connections, inputs/outputs, processing are in Denon's favor. I have the 3803 and for HT the 525 can't compare with it's features. The 2803 lacks some of them, but retains a good bit also.

    Instead of recommending one over the other without listing reasons, Ian, I would suggest you should look at the features of both to decide (that is at least very important for HT use) which is more likely to fufill your needs for HT. If you were concerned about listening to a lot of music, I wouldn't put as much importance on features. For HT, you really want a receiver to do much more than sound great. Try to find out if there are certain features that you may truely want that one or the other has.
     
  4. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    What does the 2803 have that the 525 doesn't?
     
  5. Pablo Abularach

    Pablo Abularach Supporting Actor

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    Jamey

    For me is very important how it sounds, even in HT, even more important than the features. But also sometimes I dont like to say it is better because a lot of stuff, because many times coments or opinions are baised on personal preferences. So audtioning is the best thing for anyone.

     
  6. Frank Mowry

    Frank Mowry Stunt Coordinator

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    I can't hear the fan at all in my 525. The 525 has all the needed modes for HT along with flexible bass management. What more do you need in terms of bells and whistles?

    I probably don't use 3/4 of the features of the 525 but it's does a great job with movies and music.

    I initially considered the Denon's but for $499 for a refurb 525, I couldn't pass it up. And I was happy with my previous Pro logic H/K so that sealed the deal.

    Frank
     
  7. Jamey F

    Jamey F Stunt Coordinator

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    CurtisSC...

    Pablo Abularach is correct when saying the 2803 offers more options, connections, and technology. I also agree the weight difference makes me wonder about the power supply and ampifiers. I own the 3803 which is more in line of power with the 525, but with even more features than the 2803.

    Many people rave about logic 7. I haven't heard it, so I won't comment on it. Also, the Bass Management could be a plus for the HK.

    Go HERE for an overview of the 2803. Go HERE for a similar plug from H/K.
     
  8. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Jamey F,

    I was just actually what more does the 2803 actually have over the 525? Is it significant?

    curtis
     
  9. Jamey F

    Jamey F Stunt Coordinator

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    And, I was pointing you to the place to look. Key points of interest would be the 100 mhz component switching for greater bandwidth sending HDTV signals, it also should remember what sound format for each input for up to three different types of signal. There is an extra digital input (no biggie), 12volt trigger for external devices like an amp for auto cut on, supposedly more advanced processing (but it may not sound better because of it), and the 525 doesn't have main amplifier inputs, but does have preins (not sure what the difference is).

    The H/K has better bass management if you have different size speakers that need crossovers at different levels. The H/K has front panel inputs.
     
  10. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Sorry Jamey....the H/K link you provided really didn't list feature for feature, so I did some comparison...

    The H/K also remembers the sound format for each input and does have wideband component video switching, but does not list how wide.

    Some additional things that I found with the 525 that I can't find on the 2803:

    192kHz/24-Bit DACS as opposed to 96/24 for the 2803
    HDCD decoding
    MP3 decoding

    The 525 does not have main amp inputs. The pre-ins are for 6/8 channel input, which the 2803 has as well.

    And the weight is really different the 525 weighs 44lbs and the 2803 is just about 29lbs.

    Have you heard the two side by side?
     
  11. Jamey F

    Jamey F Stunt Coordinator

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    No I haven't. I purchased the 3803 before the 2803 came out. I suggest you listen to them both now that features are not a large difference in usability. Obviously if the H/K sounds better to someone, that is what should be purchased. I didn't consider the 525 because it lacked some of the features the 3803 has (100 mhz component switching, but upconversion is the biggest). The 2803 doesn't offer the upconversion. The H/K may be high bandwidth, but the 2803 and 3803 are the highest I've seen at 100mhz. This MAY not offer any advantage over the more common 30-50 mhz ratings on other receivers (the 525 listed at 50mhz), but it could prove beneficial in the highest resolution modes even though I haven't heard of any formats in the future that would theoretically need more than 50mhz.

    After looking more closely at the 2803 compared to the 525, they are much closer in abilities than I thought. The 525 actually offers a few advantages I didn't expect to see like the DACS, but the 96/24 DACS in the 2803 are 2 per channel, but I don't know if the H/K does this as well. The 2803 lacks much of what the 3803 has that I assumed incorrectly the 2803 would have (as you mentioned the 192/24 DACS).

    As you feared, you'll have to demo them both to decide. I'm sure this will be a much thought over decision for many people. You obviously didn't see anything you specifically wanted that the other didn't have or it would be easier for you to decide. Without a large concern of the lacking of features of one or the other, you'll have to choose mainly on sound quality. I'm glad the 525 didn't offer upconversion, or I would have had to have looked at it more closely.
     
  12. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Actually...I already have a 525, and was wondering if there was something I overlooked in 2803.
     
  13. Jamey F

    Jamey F Stunt Coordinator

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    If you already have the 525, do not consider the 2803 an upgrade or something worth trading the 525 in on if you are happy with the sound. You would have to go up to the 3803 as I did to gain upconversion which is the biggest advantage Denon has over it's competitor's in the $1k price range right now. You're next move from the H/K should be seperates by starting with an external amp. I will be adding an external amp to the 3803 probably in a few months and I will use the 3803 as a pre/pro until I can afford a dedicated one (probably a year or two away).
     
  14. Mike Up

    Mike Up Second Unit

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    To start, I must say I'm not a HK receiver fan. Numerous reasons.

    First, I have heard the fan first hand. I would never allow such a noise maker in my living room. It's noise level was directly comparable to a "PC"! Most receivers have silent fans. HK's sounds like an industrial fan where it was heard over the music, which was at a loud level.[​IMG]

    HK sound has always been least than desirable to me. The sound is compressed and rolled off to me. This makes sense when striving to obtain the colored and bloated warm sound characteristic that came from tube amps. Many like this masking sound characteristic as it covers up many recording flaws and helps them to sound better. Myself, I want the sound to be in it's original sonic character for better or worse. Again, this is only my opinion and why I don't care for HK's sonic characteristics.

    For a receiver that's striving to obtain the 'tube sound' and a musical reputation, they delete the biggest feature out of their receivers for the analog music lover, the moving magnet phono preamp stage.

    When it comes to home theater they lack connections. Optical digital is quickly becoming the industrial standard with many HT components leaving the digital coaxial cable in the dust. HK's receivers only have 2 rear optical digital inputs which make them incompatible with many average home theaters, mine included. I have a DirecTV receiver, DVD changer and CD changer, all only use optical digital connections making the HK receiver inadequate for my average setup.

    Video inputs are also only average at 4 rear inputs. The AVR-3803 and AVR-2803 have 7 rear video inputs.

    HK has selectable crossover points for each pair of the 7.1 speakers in HT. This is debatable as being an improvement. Articles have stated that multiple crossover points cause phase errors in bass management circuits and can lead to improper boosting or canceling. Also it seems that the subwoofer's crossover is independent of the other's crossover points which could lead to boosting again on overlapping frequencies or certain bass frequencies being left out if the subwoofer crossover point is lower than the speakers crossover point. A single crossover point looks to be the most desirable.

    Also the HKs offer analog 5.1 input bass management. However this is in the digital domain so the original DVD-Audio signal must be converted to digital through the HK's circuits which is debatable on degrading the signal. Also, SACD uses DSD technology and not PCM. The HK digitally converts the DSD signal to "PCM". This would defeat the claimed benefits of Sony's DSD format.

    These are the reasons I don't favor HK. I know my opinion is not shared and that a good many people like HK. To each their own. I'm only stating my opinion.

    When it comes to power HK rates one way honestly but rates another way a bit deceitful. They rate their RMS output on par with actual output according to S&V power tests. However they rate their dynamic power with peak to peak amp ratings? That's not an industrial standard that's used by other receivers and amplifiers. Why? Perhaps to confuse naive customers who know no better? Only HK know's why they don't adhere to industrial rating standards.

    When it comes to rms, 5 channel driven power ratings according to S&V, The HK AVR-510 was below par for it's price class. It delivered 74 watts/ch with all 5 channels driven. The Denon AVR-2802 delivered 74 watts/channel with all 5 channels driven also but was $200 MSRP lower. Yes, the HK AVR-510 was $999 and the Denon AVR-2802 was $800. So the power output was definitely not on HKs side as their competitors lower class receivers were able to 'equal' their higher price class receiver. S&V's power test results

    Besides, S&V has a strange way of testing power output. Many of the receivers that S&V tested that didn't meet their power rating had different results else where. In Home Theater Magazine and Stereophile Guides to Home Theater, most of these same receivers 'exceeded' their rating with 5 channels driven according to these different magazines. So maybe S&V's test are not the end all, as many may think. [​IMG]

    As far as weight went, it certainly didn't have any benefits when power was concerned on the AVR-510. Also, no benefits on the new AVR-*25 series when it comes to cooling as they still need the noisiest fan to cool them down.

    These are just my opinions and my takes on why I don't find HK receivers desirable in this very competitive market today. On the opposite, I found the Denon's AVR-2803 and AVR-3803 to offer the most, at the lowest price. A definite best buy IMO and why I bought the AVR-3803. As I said, each to their own as this is only "MY" feelings as not to offend the many pro-HK receiver fans here.

    Have a good one.
     

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