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Pioneer Elite vs. Denon (1 Viewer)


Stunt Coordinator
Jan 25, 2003
I am tring to decide between a Pioneer Elite 45TX and a Denon 3803. I use my receiver for 95% home theater use for DVD, HDTV, and DSS viewing. What is your OPINION of which one is better for my needs. Thanks!


Second Unit
Apr 3, 2003
Supposedly the Denon's sound warmer. I personally went with the 45tx because of the thx select. marketing ploy? maybe, but it couldn't hurt. and it didn't.

Steve Schaffer

Senior HTF Member
Apr 15, 1999
Real Name
Steve Schaffer
The 3803 does video upconversion--you can connect composite, S-video, and component video inputs and the receiver will output all of them via component video. A cool feature but not vitally important if you have enough inputs on your tv to run component from dvd and HD boxes direct to the set.

The 45TX has MCACC auto calibration.
It comes with a microphone that plugs into the front of the receiver. You place the mike at your normal listening position and hit "auto setup" on the onscreen display. In 6 minutes, the receiver sets correct speaker levels for all speakers, calculates and sets speaker delay for all speakers, and does a 5 band graphic equalization.

This feature gave me better sound in 6 minutes than hours of adjustments on my very tweakable Sony ES did, and I would recommend the Pioneer highly because of it. It also has a very user freindly remote that actually can easily control all my gear.


Supporting Actor
Aug 8, 2002
Its really a tough decision. I really didn't need video upconversion and the MCACC is fabulous. Also the remote on the Pioneer is very good.

You won't go wrong with either one but like a said the MCACC is a real advance.


Mike Up

Supporting Actor
Dec 16, 2002
I have the AVR-3803 and found it to offer the best performance for Music and HT than others I've heard near it's MSRP and over.

There are several strong points of the Denon. One is it's pure direct mode which uses "4" DACs per channel for music.

Another, it's parallel bass management that keeps Direct modes L/R channels in analog bypass with full range signals, but adds the subwoofer output which is done in digital bass management. The parallel circuit sends pure bypassed signals to the L/R channels and a mirrored signal to the bass management to develop the subwoofer output signal. Of course, the direct modes give the option to turn the subwoofer off for that individual sound mode.

As many, if not more, digital and A/V inputs than many flagship receivers.

Burr Brown Analog to Digital(ADCs) 192Khz/24 bit converters on the stereo analog inputs. Also uses Burr Brown 192Khz/24 bit Digital to Analog converters(DACs).

Alpha 24 bit up-sampling and bit interpolation processing on Digital PCM signals.

Same Analog Devices Hammerhead Sharc processor(Melody 100) used by Denon's AVR-5803 flagship receiver.

Of course the up-conversion circuit.

Ability to have on-screen menus while using the component video inputs.

Able to use 192/24 bit PCM signals through digital inputs if they are ever brought forth on an audio disc(PCM, not DVD-A's MLP, compressed audio).

RS232 serial port for customization.

Multi-room Audio and Video outputs.

LCD remote with backliting for buttons.

I consider myself a purist and would never use the MCACC feature of the Elite as I let the amp amplify the signals as they were input. No DSPs, no tone controls, no EQ, and no MCACC that changes the signals.

Some like the MCACC feature. I've seen posts from several people that sited they get different readings from multiple MCACC calibrations. I question it's accuracy.

I've been extremely impressed with the Denon AVR-3803, it offers sonics better than some $2000 receivers I've heard. Also, the up-conversion is great. While it can't enhance the resolution as it's mainly a conversion process for convenience, it does overcome one big disadvantage of composite and S-Video signals, color bleed. Using the color chart while up-converting a S-Video signal to component, the typical color bleed associated with S-Video was gone with the up-conversion to component output. So this circuit does enhance the video signals to a degree.

Audition both and find what you like best.

Good luck in your decision.:emoji_thumbsup:

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