Denon AVR 2803 or Onkyo TX SR701


Hi Everybody !!!

After years with a very old equipment I decided to change it all.
So I got information and my choice was between a
Denon 2803 vs Onkyo sr701.
Eventually I bought the Denon but I don't know now if it was a mistake.
It sounds really pure and clear
(I use it 70% Music 30% Movie) but it seems to me that the Bass is kind of "muddy" and the Treeble too "present".
I know it's too late but can anyone tell me if it would have been better with the Onkyo ?

I too auditioned the Denon 2803. The 2803 is a little bit brighter than the onk. I preferred however the sound of the 701. More laid back and open but with the same level of detail. Just not as forward as the Denon. And as for the power? I don't ever have the onk playing over 60-65%..


Dont know if you saw this post from previous posts but you may find it interesting.

Day 8 with the Onkyo TX-SR701. Will I keep it?

Read on to find out! This was day 8, only two more days to return it to hh gregg if I'm not satisfied. I've done my most critical listening yet. I'm listening now to see if I find something wrong, something to disqualify this unit and send to the ranks of the other rejects - (Harman Kardon 225, Harman Kardon 325, Denon 2803).

Those "paper auditions" (reading the spec sheets) have me little nervous. What about those "reports" of Onkyo's not making their power specs? That perception seems rampant on the discussion boards -- especially from those who DON'T own Onkyo. Didn't I see where the Onkyo power supply only provided 14 amps of power vs. the HK 225 and HK325's 28 and 31 amps respectively? Then there was the Denon 2803 test showed it hitting 80 + or - watts with 5 channels driven where the same magazine showed the Onkyo 701's predecessor (the 696) hitting only 50 of its 100 watt rating with five channels driven.

Oh the madness, the torment of being a perfectionist! Hundreds - yes hundreds- of hours of research, reading review after review, over and over again. The facts are all rolling around in my head like some feverish amp/watt/dB stew.

Then the real test though - comes down to listening. From my previous posts, recall that I found the HK's warm, but just a little lacking in detail at the high end, sometimes overly bright, with Harmonica (Dylan, Young and the Jay Hawks) sometimes being grating. The Bass on the HK's would definitely thud, but was not as well defined as the Onkyo's, either in tightness or tonal qualities. The Denon had greater detail at the high and low ends than the HK's, but just seemed thin and lacking in the mids. It also did not seem as dynamic.

Back to day 8. First audition is Steely Dan's "Two Against Nature" DVD-A in DTS mode. Everything is good. There's a subdued sibilance in the vocals, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I can still hear the "tuh" and "Kuh" sounds fine, and the "sssss" is well tamed. Great! Vocals are warm and the Sax sounds appropriately "reedy". The percussion is excellent. Snare drums are popping, brush strokes on are clearly defined, and cymbals and high hats have adequate sheen. Imaging is to the point that I feel as if I am in the audience, enveloped by the music

On to the Jay Hawks "Rainy Day Music" on CD. The vocals are so detailed that you can actually hear the moisture on the lead singers vocal chords vibrate as a slight rasp. No, its not static or distortion doing that, that's detail. The acoustic guitars have a satisfying ring to them. I know what a guitar sounds like .The reproduction is so accurate, it feels like I am sitting just a few rows back in a live performance. This particular CD sounds great played back in either Pure Audio Mode or in Dolby Pro-Logic II. The DPL-II really allows my Paradigm CC370 to shine!

The Final audition is the Black Crows "Shake Your Money Maker". I have never been a fan of DSP's but for some reason I decide to try the "Studio Mix" mode on this CD. Holy Moly! I crank it up to 67 on the volume and I am stunned at what I hear. This sounds likes I am in the recording studio. It's all clean, pristine and precise. Yet, my pants leg is vibrating from the sound. I can feel the music thumping on my chest and making my rear end tingle through the leather upholstered, sofa with each beat of the kick drum. All concerns about "specs" and power ratings vanish. My wife walks by and I ask, "Is this too loud"? "No" she says. HWAF! (High wife acceptance factor).

So, after two months of countless hours of research, numerous in store auditions, finally narrowing that down to 4 models and 3 different brands - I have a winner. And the margin is wide folks. The Onkyo 701 is my clear winner my personal Mid-range receiver contest

D&mn !!!!!
I knew it, I knew it, I knew it.
"Oh the madness, the torment of being a perfectionist!"

See I am a perfectionist too but I didn't take as much time as you did to think about it.

By the way => Steely Dan's "Two Against Nature" is a very good choice.

This makes me sudder as I just got talked into the Denon 2803 (instead of the Onkyo 701) and I myself have seen none of the supposedly 'warm' characteristics that the Denon should be giving me.


I don't know who convinced you that the Denon is "warm" sounding, but I have seen a number of posts that suggest it. It is nothing but an "urban legend." I have a 3803 and I find the sound to be rather dry, especially for music playback. Denons haven't had a warm sound for perhaps 10 years or more.

Hawk is right. Denon receivers are far from warm aand I found the 3803 to be unlistenable in my old system due to it's vocal sibliance. It drove me nuts trying to tame that high frequency sss. If you want a warm receiver try a Elite, H/K, Marantz, Nad, Integra maybe. And don't let anyone tell you that all receivers or amps sound alike. That's just nuts.

If not a Denon, then what would be a good pairing for Paradigms? I've read the Paradigms are considered warm (still learning) and that you'd want a warm receiver. If that's true, what do I upgrade my Onkyo SR600 (which crackles at medium high volume on certain pitches only on the center channel so I think it's bad). I like Onkyo but read about so many more brands like HK, Denon, Yamaha, NAD, Pioneer, etc. I've read 50/50 that the Yamaha is too bright or it's just right. I thought the Denon 2803 was the front runner until I read this thread. I'm 70% HT and 30% music. I want a good receiver 90-100 watts with everything my SR600 has plus maybe 7.1.


Paradigms are not only "warm", they are pretty laid back. If you get a warm and laid back receiver to go with your Paradigms, the sound will be on Ambien! You need balance, not necessarily more of the same.

I have a Denon and I happen to think it is a pretty good combo with the Paradigms, particularly at that price point. My previous post was in response to Justin's post, who was mislead about the Denon's sound. However, whether a receiver's output sound is bright or dry or whatever, that does not necessarily make the sound bad or poor. It is just a charecteristic that must be accounted for when choosing the complimentary components, particularly speakers. Elitefan's example of the 3803 is spot on, but also a problem with pairing his old 3803 with Monitor Audio speakers which are a bit bright and forward sounding. So it was just a bad combo. I find I can control the sibliance problem with the right speakers--like Paradigm. So don't be steered away from a Denon just because it doesn't have a warm sound.

If you want to look at something else, check out an NAD 752. The NAD is a warm receiver, but it is not laid back and to my ears, sounds even better with Paradigms than the Denon.

One other receiver that might work is a Marantz 7300. Same price range as the Denon, it has a warm sound, but to me it is not as laid back as an H/K or Pioneer Elite. Try it out. Take it home for a weekend from a local dealer to try it with your speakers. If you don't like it, return it on Monday and get the Denon.

Hold on, just thought of an even better idea. You like your Onkyo, right? Only has a problem with the center channel amp, correct? Well, then I would say keep it and add a quality external amp, using your Onkyo as your pre/pro. Check out the Outlaw 7100, which I think you can get refurb'ed from Outlaw ( for $825. 125 wpc x 7 and a killer amp with the Paradigms. You can always get one from Outlaw and set it up to see if you like it as they have a 30 day return policy, no questions asked. Check it out!

You could also upgrade to a better Onkyo like the 800 or new 801 or look into the Integra line. Integra's have better power supplies than the regular Onkyo's and still keep the Onkyo features and looks. They are not priced all that much higher and are really excellent and under appreciated on this website IMO. It goes without saying that the NAD's are excellent sonically as are the Rotel models which would all sound fabulous with Paradigm. If I had a Paradigm system Integra, NAD, and Rotel would be what I would choose from and would undoubtablty get the Integra for it's more generous input package as the NAD and Rotel don't have enough for my system, unfortunatly.
Have you had the chance to hear the Outlaw amps? I would love to but have never had the chance.

This forum has talked a lot about the NAD receiver lines and the Outlaw seperates, praising them both.
How does the Outlaw receiver 1050 compare with the NAD T742. I remember it had glowing reviews when it came out a couple of years ago.


I think the two are very similar, sonically speaking. Unlike its bigger separate amps, Outlaw's 1050 receiver sounds very much like an NAD, which is to say warm and focused--a very clean sounding receiver.

The real difference is two-fold: the Outlaw has a sixth channel (6.1) whereas the NAD only had 5.1 (all I need). However, the Outlaw uses a propritary Zoran processor and does not do Dolby Pro Logic II, for those who want multi-channel surround sound from two channel sources (such as a videotape movie).

Hawk- So if I were to got the amp route, first I have to check to see if the SR600 has pre-outs, how does that work? Does that meant that the onkyo is just doing the receiving and the amp would handle all the power? WHich would do the processing? I'm extremely limited in my separates knowledge so a little break down would help a lot :)
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