Need help please.....Denon 3803/Pioneer 45

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brad Newton, Dec 17, 2002.

  1. Brad Newton

    Brad Newton Second Unit

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    I just compared these 2 units in a dealers showroom with Klipsch speakers. He originally suggested the 3803 but after comparing them, both of us thought the Pioneer sounded crisper + seemed to have more power. We set both receivers on the same volume display (don't know if that is correct or not) and watched several scenes from Men in BlackII & the latest Star Wars dvd. He demonstrated the Denon on screen display, crossover, and assignable inputs. He was not sure about the Pioneer since it had just arrived in his store a few days earlier. Here's where I need some help, please, does the Pioneer have:
    a macro capable remote, assignable/customizeable inputs, video conversion, on screen display and adjustable crossover? I am leaning towards the Pioneer, but want to make sure it has the same features as the Denon. I want to pair this receiver with the B & W 603 series speakers. Also, I know that Denon has a high bandwidth (100), but what does Pioneer offer. The salesman stated that anything over 37 would pass the signal without degradation.
     
  2. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    does the Pioneer have:
    a macro capable remote, assignable/customizeable inputs, video conversion, on screen display and adjustable crossover? I am leaning towards the Pioneer, but want to make sure it has the same features as the Denon. I want to pair this receiver with the B & W 603 series speakers. Also, I know that Denon has a high bandwidth (100), but what does Pioneer offer. The salesman stated that anything over 37 would pass the signal without degradation.

    ========================================


    The 45 TX has all of the features you list except video upconversion. It's not recommended for 4 ohm speakers, don't know what the B & W 603s are.
    Component bandwidth is 40 Mhz per the owner's manual.

    I was choosing between the 2 recently and got the Pioneer. I originally really wanted the video upconversion which it lacks, but it has one feature the Denon doesn't have which is extremely cool and imho makes up for lack of video upconversion.

    The Pioneer has automatic calibration of speaker level, speaker delay and 5 band graphic equalization, called MCACC. Comes with a microphone on a 20ft cord. Plug mike cord into front of receiver, place mike where your ears would be in your normal listening position. Select auto setup in the OSD menu, follow a couple of simple instructions onscreen, wait a few minutes while weird noises come out of the speakers.

    Voila--speaker levels and delays automatically adjusted and separate 5 band graphic equalization for each speaker performed to compensate for uneven frequency response due to speaker design or room acoustics.

    After doing the auto setup I double checked levels with AVIA and my Radio Shack SPL meter and everything was within 1 db. The thing even correctly estimated my speaker distances within half a foot. The equalization has resulted in very clear well defined sound--I'm hearing stuff I never heard before with my Sony ES receiver.

    The THX post processing is also cool for some soundtracks that come off a bit harsh, and can be applied to any surround format the receiver can do--DD, DTS, DDEX, DDTSES, DPL, DPLII, Neo 6.

    I've had mine over a week now and am still discovering neat features.

    The remote looks intimidating at first but turns out to be the most logical and easy to use of any I've had. In addition to macros it has learning capability and codes for other mfg's stuff are pre-stored and selectable on the lcd screen--no need to look up codes in a manual and enter them.
     
  3. MikeRP

    MikeRP Supporting Actor

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    I second Steve's review.

    I think that Pioneer has hit a real home run here with the MCACC - I think once people understand its power..... Pioneer will be making a real dent in the market and others will be pressed to follow.

    Good Luck

    Mike
     
  4. Brad Newton

    Brad Newton Second Unit

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    Does the Pioneer do dts discrete & matrix? I am leaning toward this unit but wondered how it would mathc up with B & W 603's? Any ideas.......
     
  5. Juan_R

    Juan_R Supporting Actor

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  6. MikeRP

    MikeRP Supporting Actor

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    I checked out the 603's and was deciding between them and the Paradigms I ended up with. I think you'll have no problem with the Pioneer unless you listen to stuff at very loud volumes.

    In which case I think you have a problem with either the Denon or the Pioneer and a good 2 or 3 channel amp to run the mains would be in order.

    Good Luck!

    Mike
     
  7. Brad Newton

    Brad Newton Second Unit

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    Which Paradigms did you purchase? What receiver are you using?
     
  8. Jamey F

    Jamey F Stunt Coordinator

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    This is exactly the choice I am contemplating. I would love to have the MCACC feature of the Pioneer Elite, but the video up conversional along with the ability to handle a 4 ohm load seems to tilt me toward the 3803. Add to that the higher bandwidth of the component switching for the Denon and it seems like a no brainer to me. What makes me think twice about it is the fact that all those nice features the Denon has in it's favor, I wouldn't use immediately, but I would use the MCACC of the Pioneer right out of the box of course.
    My system consists of digital HD cable, panasonic cp72 DVD changer, 56" toshiba HDTV, paradigm mk7's fronts, cc300 center, mini monitor rears, 2x PS 1000 subs. I can add adp 150's on the side if wanted (I have them already in a different room), but I doubt I will. I would probably use the extra 2 channels to drive 2 to 6 speakers throughout the house sometime next year before the next christmas party [​IMG]
    Questions I would have would include:
    1) Which receiver has the most/best surround formats (I believe here it is a tie with both using the same 5.1 and 7.1 formats).
    2) Which has the best/cleanest amplifiers?
    3) Which implements multi room the best with possible multiple speakers running of only 2 channels. Denon seems to handle higher ohm loads better.
    4) Which has the best upgrade paths to a future surround format.
    5) Does either offer pre-ins for all/any channels?
    6) Which would be the best pre/pro if I upgraded to an outboard amplifier like a parasound 1205 for instance?
    7) Does either offer an easier upgrade to the receiver itself (updates to future surround formats or upgrades to receiver functions)?
    8) I have heard the Denon is typically warmer than Yamaha, Sony, Onkyo. This is a good thing IMO, because my speakers accross the front are a bit bright (mini monitors aren't as bright sounding for some odd reason). How is the Pioneer?
     
  9. Jamey F

    Jamey F Stunt Coordinator

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    Thats exactly why I have never bought a pioneer or pioneer elite receiver. Many I have talked to have stated the elite line is as good as Denon/yamaha (which I own now), Onkyo (last receiver). With problems of the shutting down though, that begs a question of their quality. The Onkyo was WAY too bright for me. It only had prologic so I upgraded to a DD Yamaha 992 on clearance sale for $600 locally. I was thrilled about the sound compared to the Onkyo. It's every thing I NEED, but I wanted DTS even when I got the yammy. I couldn't justify it then. I guess I can now with the other features added to the 3803. Other sound formats would be nice for the future, what is really selling me is the component video switching. I have a toshiba HDTV with no discrete codes to jump to video settings. Going from HD2 to HD1 requires about a 10 second macro. Video up conversion seems like a great idea, but without front inputs, it doesnt' really add much for me personally at this moment. I don't have a VCR, or anything with S video or compaosite hookups to use. It is possible, that I might could use it with my cable box to do a stretchin gtrick on my TV, but I don't know if I could tell the receiver to ignore the component source in favor of an S-video source with a simple remote command. It's not really a biggy though in the grand scheme of things. If the 3803 had the MCACC or something similar, it wouldn't be a choice at all.
     
  10. MikeRP

    MikeRP Supporting Actor

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    Geez guys:

    The Denon is a good receiver - no doubt. But, as far as processing, you guys are both forgetting what an integrated equilizer with the MCACC settings its values can do for the sound in most of our odd (not perfect setups).

    As far as reliablility, the dealers I have talked with have had no returns of the 45, 47, or 49. If you read the thread on AVSForum, you'll find that WanMan's problems were caused by a bad speaker althouh he did eventually find a problem with his 45 and resturn it for a new one.

    I think you'll find when the numbers come out - that the Pioneer and the Denon are very similiar in WPC for all 7 channel driven. I'm running Paradigm Studio 40's and center, and Bose AM-10's for the rear. They operate at 6.2 Ohms. To get mine to shutdown I have to turn the sub off, and crank the bass up in every category I can find to max and then operate at 100 db average with peaks of 107 db or greater. I tried to get it to shutdown. It will NEVER shutdown with my setup under normal conditions. And no one in their right mind will listen to the levels I used to cause shutdown.

    Now, if I was in to really loud then I'd go get a 2 channel 150 WPC or greater amp for the mains. I have a Pioneer Silver Series SX-1080 125 WPC that I may use instead. I think you'd need that type of amp to get the best sound from BOTH of these receivers.

    I'd bet that Denon is no more reliable overall than either Onkyo, HK or Pioneer Elite. These new Elite receivers are alot different than the older models. They are all going to produce some problems. Also, on these forums, we tend to get to hear all the problem stories and I've heard plenty about Denon as well as Pioneer. They don't affect my decisions.

    The processing is great on the 45. So, we might argue the different quality of the DAC's or other such stuff but it comes down to sound and the Pioneer has great processing. I've had no trouble whatsoever.

    Don't forget also that the Pioneer has been THX certified and undergone through that process peer review for sound quality.

    Now, when it comes down to it, you have to pick by features. What's important to you. Video conversion is not a big deal to me. If it was however, I heard none of the Pioneer's are degrading the video quality.

    Another thing - don't pay a bit attention to sound you get in a store and even short home tests are difficult. In my experieince the store guys have no idea how to set up these machines right. As far as warm or bright, the Pioneer had the EQ which can make the sound however you like it. Frankly, I like the way the MCACC does it and have not been able to make it better even through serious experimentation.

    One thing we all need to do, is deal with the FACTS about each receiver. I have no problem with the Denon, Onkyo 900 , HK 525, or the Pioneers. Its really tough to make a decision about these models.

    As for me I chose the 45 and haven't looked back........

    Mike
     
  11. JeremySt

    JeremySt Screenwriter

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    I just got my AVR 3803. I am a big Denon fan, although I like Pioneer too. For what its worth, I love the 3803. No complaints. Awsome sound. Totally different, and hugely improved over the incredible 3802.
    THX? [​IMG] Who Needs it? Not me.
     
  12. MikeRP

    MikeRP Supporting Actor

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  14. Juan_R

    Juan_R Supporting Actor

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    I have read where people are having problems with the Denon, when converting the composite and S-video to component. Now does this mean that all the 3803's are bad? No it doesn't, but there is always issues specially with the first batch of receivers. One person in the AVS forum got a 3803 that would not even work, the lights and everything would turn on but no mater what he did he could not get any sound out of it, and this unit was shipped to him from Denon.

    We always hear about the problems because this is the place where people come for help when an issue comes up. That does not mean that a certain company is putting out bad equipment.
     
  15. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I replaced a Sony VS333ES with the Pioneer VSX45TX. The Sony actually has more flexibility as far as crossover settings (can be done individually for each channel vs a universal all channel setting on the Pioneer) and has full equalization capability. In other words theoretically the Sony can do all the equalization the Pioneer can and more--but you have to do it manually vs the automatic capability of the Pioneer.

    In the 18 months I used the Sony I thought I was quite happy with it, retweaked every month or so just for fun.

    When I hooked up the 45 and ran MCACC, I suddenly was hearing stuff I'd never heard before, and the sound was much smoother and more defined.

    As for the shutdown, mine never has and neither have any of the other 4 receivers I've had since 98.

    I think both the 3803 and 45TX offer great processing and format compatibility, but neither is a true amplification powerhouse to the extent that one could drive 7 speakers with large woofers on Large, with no sub, at ear-bleeding volume levels.

    What you're getting with either unit is lots of bells and whistles and amplification that's more than adequate for any sane speaker setup in a small to moderately sized room. They aren't gonna drive 7 huge speakers in a 20x40 foot room with cathedral ceiling at 110db, but neither is any other receiver within $1000 of their prices.

    I'd rather have a receiver that goes into shutdown mode in this scenario than one that blows out the tweeters in my speakers.

    To be honest I also don't think anyone could go wrong with the Denon, Pioneer, HK 525, etc. They're all nice machines.
    I chose the 45 primarily because my room has weird acoustics and I thought the MCACC would help, which it has proven to do to an extent beyond my expectations.
    In my particular circumstances I made the right choice for me, but ymmv.
     
  16. Juan_R

    Juan_R Supporting Actor

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  17. Jamey F

    Jamey F Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a perfectly rectangular room 18 x 22 with only one imperfection as to it's layout. The TV will sit along one of the 18' walls and down the 22' wall to the right is sloped down from 9' to a 6' kneewall instead of a straight 9' wall on the left side. The pitch is 12/12 so it is a little less than 3' of 18' wide room that is angled. I don't see this modifying the room acoustics to any amount worth considering. I would expect my unbalanced room furniture and drapes to affect accoustics more. Like I said my last post, if Denon offered the MCACC technology or somethign similar, I would go straight for that without considering the Pioneer. I'm leaning more towards the Denon every day. I'll have to go over the spec sheet on the 3803 again to see if anything jumps out at me that would cause me to look elsewhere besides the auto calibration. Does the 3803 offer any kind of manualy equalization and/or delay for each channel?
     
  18. Jamey F

    Jamey F Stunt Coordinator

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    A 5 band equalizer even if not perfect, could certainly give aid to a setup that have diffferent size or different versions of the same brand speaker. I have Paradigm mk7's and mini-monitors. The mini-monitors are MUCH newer. They, while being much smaller, give more bass than the Mk7's. The downside is they have a slightly muddier sound. The midrange is not very clean. Of course, for the ~$200-250 a pair I paid for them, they are a stellar deal. However, I would love to be able to turn down the bass (even after routing the low end to the sub) on the back speakers (mini-monitors) a bit. I also have found my center is a bit on the bright/thin side. I would love to be able to turn down the treble and/or increase the midrange on it. All of these adjustments aren't major, but just those tweaks might would keep me from upgrading my speakers in the near future like I plan.
    On second thought....maybe I don't want the MCACC features with the 5 band EQ. I would loose a little bit of the reason to upgrade next year [​IMG]
     
  19. MikeRP

    MikeRP Supporting Actor

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    Jamey:

    I think some of this decision gets down to what you really love. For instance, I purchased new in 1980 a Pioneer SX 1080 125 WPC channel receiver.

    I love this machine. Its a true powerhouse. But, frankly I haven't considered buying a mid priced reciever like the 45 until now. I've bought always $200 or less receivers and been 2 -4 years behind in technology. No cash.

    My first receiver after the Pioneer was an Onkyo. It still does duty every day as the Playstation machine in stereo mode. Been very reliable. So, I like Onkyo.

    The next one I bought was a Kenwood. Very reliable but no guts. Just does Prologic. So, I don't like Kenwood cause of this thing. May not be fair.

    Yamaha, I'm a dirt bikeer and trumpet player and I don't like any Yamaha products so I won't consider Yamaha for HT - just me this is unfair.

    My experience with HK has been wonderful in a 30 day test on a 520. I also had a 3 month test on a Onkyo 595 and like it very much. Now, I spent extensive time in a high end shop checking out the 3802. and I liked it.

    I guess what I'm getting at is this...If you more comfortable with Denon or you think by buying Denon you own't look back. Buy it - it will be money well spent. the buying decision often comes down to these final intangibles.

    Mike
     
  20. MikeRP

    MikeRP Supporting Actor

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    MikeUp:

    Mike, I hate to tell ya but until you try the MCACC its hard to understand how good this thing works.

    It is a true advance in technology for this level of receiver. It adjusts a 5 band eq for each speaker. It does this for two settings both front align and all channels adjust. The eq settings are remarkably different for each of these two main settings on each speaker. When you manually change the crossover, it automatically changes the
    the EQ settings to reflect your change. It also gives you 2 settings where you can manually change the eq settings to your liking.

    I agree normally that a five band eq is not enough when connected as a MASTER for a whole system. I would like to see more and the 47 and 49 have a 7 band eq. But, you must remember this adjustment is for EVERY speaker not just as a master. In all you get 70 different settings for one crossover setting. Take into account all the different crossover settings and you get an enormous amount of flexibility in sound control not rivaled by any receiver in this class.

    I am a serious semi professinal trumpet player. I have a very discerning ear. I have spent hours working with the sound on this machine. I have not been able to best the MCACC. It truly adjusts the room for the best sound.

    I comment on the 45 from my own experience. I'm not commenting on the Denon 3803 or its capabilities. I'm reporting the facts as I know them. I'm sure the Denon is great. Hope you will consider your comments in the same light in the future about equipment you have not tested or used.

    I think the worthy goal of this forum is to have serious dicussions about equipment and research its capabilities, whether good or bad, from a sound knowledge base.

    Mike
     

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