Is now a bad time to be upgrading my receiver (Denon 3802)?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Michael D. Bunting, Dec 20, 2002.

  1. Michael D. Bunting

    Michael D. Bunting Screenwriter

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    I have the upgrade bug...again...much to my wife's dismay [​IMG]
    I currently have a Denon 3802. I'm somewhat happy with it...I have had it for almost a year now.
    I wish it had more optical/coaxial inputs for all my gear...and I know this can be "fixed" by adding a seperate switch. I could always go that route...but I'm wanting to avoid adding another component to my already full A/V cabinet if at all possible.
    I'm thinking about going for the new Denon 3803.
    I like the fact that it offers component video Up-conversion...and it also has alot more digital inputs than my 3802 does.
    The broad frequency range of the 3803 for Component Video switching is 100 Mhz - which should also be an improvement over my 3802 and also allow me to connect my AT&T Digital Cable box w/ High Def, DVD Player, XBOX, and perhaps a Replay TV 5080 (down the road) via component cables.
    The component video up-conversion would be nice also...hopefully I can get a better picture outta my standalone TiVo with this?
    The 3803 offers something that I have been wanting for awhile now as well: an AUDIO DELAY FUNCTION
    When viewing my AT&T Digital cable box via TiVo - there is a slightly noticeable lip-synch problem due to some signal processing issues between my TiVo and my current receiver (3802). With this Audio Delay option...I could match them up according and be able to enjoy the show..without looking for lip-synch problems....
    One thing that scares me about buying a new receiver right now is: DVD-Audio
    I have a Panasonic RP-91 that plays DVD-Audio discs. I don't have that many right now....but I thought I remember hearing that a new "firewire" standard had been adopted for DVD-A a few weeks back. Can anyone help me out here?
    I'm not looking for something that is completely future-proff...in this day and age it's probably impossible..you and I both know that.
    But I'm really interested in getting a new receiver (probably the Denon 3803) and was wondering if anyone could throw out some discussion on whether I should or not...right now anyway.
    Thanks for any and all feedback!
     
  2. Jeffrey D Smith

    Jeffrey D Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    It sort of sounds like you are looking for someone to justify you buying a new receiver or to talk you out of it.

    My suggestion is to try an answer the following: Do you want it? Can you afford it? Is there something better the money could go towards?

    It's always the last question that gets me, as I am a very charitable person and have a hard time justifying expensive purchases.

    In regards to the receiver itself, I have a co-worker that owns one. While he is not audio savy he does claim it to be one of nicest receivers he's dealt with; for whatever that is worth.

    Goodluck.
     
  3. Winston_T

    Winston_T Agent

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    Another reason why I'd like to replace mine is the volume control just is too flakey. It doesn't react or reacts way to quickly so to volume jumps around. *Ack*

    DVD-A/SACD is also a concern for me.

    But I agree with Jeff. Another thing to think of is what the "price" of the upgrade would be worth (sell 3802 and buy 3803), or how long can you put it off for.
     
  4. Salvador

    Salvador Second Unit

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    buying a 3803 to replace a 3802 is a lateral move IMO. If you could get away with it without losing much money then go ahead. But if it's going to cost you >200, its probably not worth it. If the upgrade bug is really upon you, then why not make a big purchase that will carry you one level up audio wise. Otherwise, just stick with your 3802. The complaints you have about the 3802 aren't glaring flaws.
     
  5. Gil D

    Gil D Supporting Actor

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    Michael,

    The big question is: Is the 3803 an upgrade over the 3802 soundwise?

    I have the 3802 and wanted to upgrade to the 3803 for alot of the same reasons: audio sync delay, more digital inputs, adjustable xover, pure direct, etc.

    The 3803 is intended to be a 5803 lite on paper so it looked to be a perfect upgrade for use as a preamp. But unfortunately the 3803 did not live up to my expectations. The sound although maybe a bit cleaner is much thinner and brighter compared to the 3802 used as a preamp. I also don't particularly care for what the 3803 AL24 digital filter implementation does which cannot be turned off in Direct and Pure Direct.

    I'm hoping that the 3803 I had was just faulty and these characteristics are not the norm. We'll see.
     
  6. Gil D

    Gil D Supporting Actor

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    A few other comments on te 3803.

    Audio sync: Only delays the audio which is usually the case with audio being ahead of the hi-def video. It worked but a bit annoying that it increments only 1msec at a time. Going from 0-100ms is slow. Audio sync can be very distracting and trying to tweak it 1msec at a time doesn't help with the frustration. A nice feature but unfortunately not a panacea.

    Adjustable crossover: If you want to use the 80Hz analog crossover for analog inputs and 60Hz for digital inputs, one needs to manually change the settting in the setup menu. Since I want the analog xover for for my 555es changer I just left it at 80Hz, rendering the other settings pretty much useless since I'm not going to manually switch every time. A macro should fix this though.

    No onscreen menu on component video, but wasn't using the Denon to switch component video since I have 4 component sources. Use an Audio Authority switcher for that.

    Direct/Puer Direct Mode: The AL24 digital filter can't be turned off as previously mentioned. The soundstage is altered and the stereo image compromised. Maybe AL24 is too demanding on the single DSP?
     
  7. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Sounds like 3802->3803 isn't much up an upgrade, overall. Why not wait?
     
  8. JonStern

    JonStern Agent

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    I've had the 3803 for a couple of weeks now and have no complaints (other than being misled by Crutchfield's site about it being able to A/D the 6-channel analog inputs for bass management, something that its big brother the 5803 CAN do).
    It does not sound bright to me with Polk LSi speakers. My point of comparison is an all-tube system with Verity Audio Parsifal speakers. I don't use the AL24 circuit so can't speak to that. This is one great sounding receiver and the only upgrade path I'm thinking about is another receiver, the 5803[​IMG]
     
  9. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    what does your wife want in return?
     
  10. Chuck Kent

    Chuck Kent Supporting Actor

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    Michael: I recently went from using a 3802 as a pre/pro to a 3803 as a pre/pro. I am very happy with the upgrade.

    Should you do the same?

    Well, the 3803 adds several nice touches on user friendliness. The ability to turn off the sub in all modes, on-screen volume display, digital audio delay (you mentioned) and Auto Surround Mode (the 3803 can remember more than one surround mode per input based on the type of signal it receives on that input.) All nice touches.

    The 3803 also received a completely new DAC section. 2 per channel vs. 1 for the 3802. (The new ones are also 24 bit/192 kHz vs. 24 bit/96 kHz.) The SHARC processor was also upgraded to the latest version. And, as you note, the 3803 has video up-conversion.

    But is it worth the extra $$$???
    For me and my system, I can't tell a great deal of sonic difference between it and the 3802. Pro Logic II seems a bit clearer but it's not something I can put my hand on the bible and swear to. Other users are hearing warmer and brighter. (I do agree that the AL24 is not something I like. It does mess with the soundstage. Mono recordings sound stereo re-processed. I just go 2 channel analog and don't use AL24. (AL24 can't be bypassed when in 2 channel PCM digital mode.))

    I don't use the video up-conversion (I'm totally S-video) but I do know that it's not a video enhancer. So whatever is going in will only be the same or worse, not better. What you're gaining is connectivity.

    For me, it was worth moving up (or over if you will) to the 3803. The user friendly "things" had several pieces I like and use. But they may not be enough for you...


    (P.S. Gil mentions the analog vs. digital crossover. I'm not sure what he is refering to since the analog crossover only functions on the 2 channel analog inputs and is fixed at 80 Hz. So if you want to have a 60 Hz digital crossover setting, you can set it there and leave it. You don't have to switch it back to 80 Hz when going back to analog. It's already there. (The reason the analog 2 channel filtering is fixed at 80 Hz is because of Denon's parallel analog bass management. This allows a 100% 2 channel analog pathway for the main left and right speakers and still use a subwoofer for the bass if you want to.)
     
  11. Gil D

    Gil D Supporting Actor

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  12. Gil D

    Gil D Supporting Actor

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    Mike,
    More info in the press release on the parallel stereo analog pathway with bass management. A great feature on the Denon's IMO and I have been taking advantage of this desirable feature since the 3801.
    http://www.dba-pr.com/clients/denon/...03,%201803.htm
     
  13. Chuck Kent

    Chuck Kent Supporting Actor

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    Mike: I agree that Denon's manuals don't give the info that help us understand how all of their technical expertise works. From the Denons I've owned, they never have. But they do release the info in different ways. Product promotional literature (like the CEDIA press release), Tech Notes (the one I'll list comes from the older AVR-3300) and Manufacturer's Comments (which I remember reading but don't have a web address for. I think it was in Stereophile's Guide to Home Theater a few years back.)
    1st, here is a posting I made a while back in another thread here at HTF. The only difference now is the the 3803 can now turn off the sub (by individual mode) in ALL modes. The 3802 and before could only do it in Direct.
     
  14. Chuck Kent

    Chuck Kent Supporting Actor

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    Gil: We kinda cross posted a bit but I understand better what you're saying.

    Good point. I don't know if the digital lowpass changes to match the analog 80 Hz or not (I run my setup as all Large and use an Outlaw ICBM and an external amp.) Someone needs to test this out...
     
  15. JonStern

    JonStern Agent

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  16. Chuck Kent

    Chuck Kent Supporting Actor

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    Earlier post deleted. I will post back later with more test results on the 2 channel highpass filters...
     
  17. Michael D. Bunting

    Michael D. Bunting Screenwriter

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    Thnaks for all the discussion fellas! Please keep it coming!
    I'm still wanting to upgrade - more than likely to the 3803, but I just haven't pulled the trigger as of yet.
    One thing that concerns me in regards to DVD-Audio and the 3803 is the new "Firewire" standard that was approved a couple weeks ago.
    Article: DVD-Audio Firewire Standard Approved
    Like I said before...I'm not "huge" into DVD-Audio...as I only have 3-4 DVD-Audio discs right now...but it is something I would like to stay with, if at all possible.
    So, in order to do so...it seems I would want to purchase a receiver that handles a firewire input for the upcoming DVD-A standard that was adopted.
     
  18. JonStern

    JonStern Agent

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    Chuck, looking forward to your test results. Thanks for all the info and for pointing out some of the sources for your information.
     
  19. Chuck Kent

    Chuck Kent Supporting Actor

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    Ok. Here goes...

    I spent a half hour or so, in 2 sessions, testing the bass management of the 3803 using bass tone sweeps and the 40 Hz tone from the Infinity RABOS CD. (I only tested to see if the bass management functioned and if the frequency setting made any differences, not to actually measure the exact frequencies or the slope of the filtering.)

    In a nutshell, here's what I found out:

    Highpass filtering is available in ALL modes except the External 7.1 Input, Pure Direct and Direct.

    Lowpass filtering is available in ALL modes except the External 7.1 Input.

    The filtering for the 2 channel Stereo and Direct modes works exactly as it is outlined in my post above.

    One unusual thing I discovered is that the 2 channel analog highpass filtering is NOT fixed at 80 Hz. The amount of bass filtered out depends on the frequency you choose in the setup menu. (This did raise some doubts in my mind as to whether the analog pathway in the Stereo mode stays fully analog. But since the CEDIA paper still talks about the bass management having a parallel pathway, my feelings are that it still is fully analog.)

    During my first test session, I initially did not get any highpass filtering when in the Stereo mode. I discovered that the subwoofer MUST be set as Yes in the setup menu and left "on" in the Stereo mode channel level setting. Once I did leave the sub "on" (but unplugged), it was easy to hear/measure that the highpass filtering worked as spec'd.

    Mike: You asked why Denon didn't use an analog lowpass on the sub??? Denon has never said why they left it as digital but my feeling is pure dollars and cents (or yen.) They already have a digital one on-board and subjectively, leaving it digital doesn't probably hurt anything. The critical frequencies that need to stay analog are the midrange and treble. (At least IMO...)
     
  20. Chuck Kent

    Chuck Kent Supporting Actor

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    Mike: I certainly agree that for now, we should agree to disagree. [​IMG] Hey, it's all for fun anyway, right?
    Short of having a 3803 service manual, or as you note, a Denon employee verifying the exact circuit layout, there is no definitive way to verify that this latest Denon has an analog highpass section in the Stereo mode.
    The older Denon's definitely had the analog highpass in the Stereo mode (the reference to the EE that checked his 5700 service manual circuit layout. I have personally corresponded with this person via the web and by phone. He's real.) I will continue to look for the proof you're wanting to see on the newer models...
     

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