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Denon vs Yamaha vs Marantz

 

New member
Username: Soundfan

Post Number: 1
Registered: Dec-04
I have been reading through a number of discussions on receivers and am impressed by the depth of knowledge of many who post here. I am new to this, but thought I'd jump in and ask the "experts" for some advice regarding a contemplated receiver upgrade for my HT.

I currently have a Sony STR-DB840 Receiver, Sony KP-61HS10 RPTV, Polk RT600i fronts & Fxi3 surrounds, Velodyne DSP10 Sub, and (unfortunately) the built in Sony speakers for Center. Use is typically 75% movies, 25% music and room is 16x24 with 16' ceilings. I am currently considering the following receivers and would greatly appreciate input/comments on:

· Denon AVR3805 (or possibly wait for the 4805??)
· Yamaha RXV2500
· Marantz SR9300

I would also be interested in any thoughts around the relative importance of DVI/HDMI switching in a receiver so that I am not buying (prematurely) obsolescent gear. (I have seen some posts that indicate all HDTV programming will require HDMI connectivity in a few years, plus HDDVD players are apparently going to require this as well)

Thanks in advance for any input or advice you can provide.

 

Silver Member
Username: Kano

Post Number: 194
Registered: Oct-04
First, if you're referring to using your Sony television as your centre speaker.... please don't. In your receiver's set-up there should be a place to set the centre channel to none or off. On my receiver it is large, small, and none. This will send all dialogue and centre channel signals through the Rt600is, much preferable since the tv will ruin your entire soundstage.

As far as the receiver, three fine choices. I'd recommend a warm receiver for Polk, so of the 3 the Marantz is the best option. Although I have not heard the Yamaha 2500.

In addition, if your use is going to be more aimed at home theatre than music, the Marantz may not be the best bet, as reviewers favour it more for music than HT. Owning the HK and Polk combo, I would definitely recommend it. The Harman Kardon's high current power far outreaches its ratings, especially compared to how a lot of other receivers rate their equipment (like Sony). The new HK AVR635, or even their flagship the AVR7300 are excellent choices.

As far as HDMI, I'd like to know more about it as well.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Earful

Post Number: 19
Registered: Dec-04
I have to say that although Denon is not liked by many on this forum they seem to get good reviews by the industry and have for years. Currently the 3805 is one of Audioholics product of the year. It is supposed to be very good at music also.
I have not heard the 3805 yet and refrain from passing judgment until I do. It is reviewed as warm and laid back but other people say it is bright. While a lot of people on here have high regards for the Marantz there are others who don!t like what they hear. Nad is considered warm but you hear some people claim it is bright. Some people have a different idea of what bright and warm are as far as how it pertains to what they hear. It would seem that the top names such as Denon, Harmon Kardan, Yamaha, Piomeer Elite, Marantz and Nad all make very good products and others in higher price categories but there are differences in features and sound. When you get a feel for what products are good at a certain price point the best thing to do is listen for yourself and determine what sounds best to you while offering the features and hook ups that you will need.

Some of those concert dvds they have in the stores are horrible for auditioning audio equipment. Also a room can change the sound too. I heard speakers I really liked in one room and then they were at another place in a very small room with different furnishings and they sounded terrible.

 

Silver Member
Username: Jonmoon

Post Number: 167
Registered: Dec-03
I haven't heard these receivers but I have to second C.B.'s take. There are many posters who think Denon 3805 is great and there are those who don't like the Denon sound. It seems to me that words like: "detailed", "fatiguing", "bright" and "accurate" are all used to describe the same sound as experienced by different people. I know that I am very sensitive to higher tones and can be irritated by them so I probably wouldn't go for this sound. The disparity in responses essentially proves that you have to know yourself (your preferences) and to listen before you make a judgment.
 

New member
Username: Soundfan

Post Number: 2
Registered: Dec-04
Thanks to all for the helpful input, and Kano I appreciate the tips on HK and the Sony Center speaker issue (I knew it was not a great idea, but with the 61" RPTV there is really no "good" place for a center speaker unless I mount it on top @ 5' off the floor.) I'll definitely try it with the Center speaker off.

Also curious if anyone has heard details about the upcoming Denon 4805 (timing, specs, similarities to 5805, etc)

Thanks
 

Silver Member
Username: Kano

Post Number: 195
Registered: Oct-04
Yu could put a centre all the way on top of the tv, just wedge something underneath the back end to tilt it down. Polk also makes their centre speakers with a slanted back end so you can flip them and place them on the floor, angling the sound upwards, check them out.

http://www.polkaudio.com/home/products.php?category=5&speaker=353
 

New member
Username: Soundfan

Post Number: 3
Registered: Dec-04
Well I've now disabled the built in Sony speakers for Center, and placed a RTi25 (spare since I got the Fx3's for surround and until I get 7.1 and need back surrounds) on top of the TV and it seems to work well. I do find my attention drawn upwards towards this new location a bit (I guess because the previous setup delivered center at about 1' AFF and is now 5' above floor) but I'll give it a test run tonight. If all is well I'll probably pick up a "proper" center; any thoughts/recommendations on a good choice of center for my system?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Riches1

Atlanta, GA US

Post Number: 53
Registered: Apr-04
Regarding the comments about "many" people not liking Denon, I would say that there are not "many" Denon bashers, just the same couple of posters who are quite prolific in making their assertions that Denon is "bright" or "thin" or "sibilant". I have had "discussions" with a few of the Denon bashers, and they remain arrogant and pedantic in their views. Most of the posts told me how wrong I was, because they had the 3805 in a store (usually the worst listening environment imaginable, (i.e. bad wire, bad room acoustics, refraction from adjacent speakers, etc, etc). They appear not to care what current Denon owners or the professional reviewers have to say. They heard "bright" and ergo the entire Denon line is bright. Never mind that most reviewers note a progressive and substantial improvement in sound from the 3802, to the 3803, and now to all of the XX05 receivers in particular. (My research indicates the latter is due to improved and cleaner power supplies, especially for the 3805.) Some have taken the psyche of a betrayed lover in their disdain for Denon.

One bad Denon (or any other brand) does mean that the entire line is bad. I had a 2803 that sounded "thin" and exchanged it -problem solved. I have had H/K's that had auto setup problems and lock up problems, but I wouldn't characterize the entire brand based on that experience. It is much more plausible that some of the posters had a defective Denon when they refer to them as "the worst sounding receiver I ever owned", especially when you read the professional reviewers comments on Denon - like the 3805 being named both an Editor's choice by CNET and Receiver of the Year by Audioholics.com.

No person can realistically tell someone else what a receiver sounds like. They can only comment on what a receiver sounds like TO THEM. Their are too many variables to be considered (interconnects, speaker wire, speakers, room acoustics, source input, recording material, listening mode, analog vs., digital, personal preferences, etc). It's like the old parable of the blind men describing the elephant. They were all right, yet they were also all wrong.

I have read every review about Denon on ecoustics.com and a few others as well. I have read comments on Denon describing them as everything from "warm" - the prevailing view, to "on the dry side of neutral", the latter comment being viewed in a favorable perspective. Compiling all of the reviews would lead to the following impression: Highs - extended and smooth but not harsh. (if you favor receivers that "roll off" the highs, you might not like Denon); Mids - slightly warm, natural vocals, not overly colored ( if you like your midrange "forward" sounding, you might find the Denon thin,) Bass - One area where almost all of reviewers concurred, terrific bass, tight and well defined, with plenty of impact with some stating that they had to double check that their subs were turned off in two channel mode because the bass was so prominent. Overall, the sound was described as "neutral", lacking any excessive coloration at any particular frequency. Also, Denon got high marks for imaging, sound stage and handling transients with speed and aplomb.

I purchased my first "hi-fi" rig in 1970. In just the last 10 years I have owned Kenwood, 2 Yamaha's to include the $2000 Yamaha RX-V3000, 2 Harmon Kardon's (AVR 325 and 625), Onkyo 701, Denon 2803, Denon 2805 and now have a Denon 3805. I have Denon 2910 Universal DVD/SACD/CD player, Axiom M22ti's, Axiom EP175 sub and Axiom center and surrounds. I listen to mostly CD music. I put the Denon 3805 in Pure Direct Mode and the 2910 in Pure Direct Mode. What I hear is this: Highs - smooth, detailed, and extended, Yes they are "bright", but in a good way, they are never harsh, to include Dylan's, Young's and Tyler's harmonicas, guitars that have the appropriate "ring", (I play the guitar and know what it supposed to sound like, the Denon delivers the goods)
Mids: excellent vocals, Norah Jones, Sarah McLaughlin, Ray Charles, Dianna Krall, all sound slightly warm and like they are sitting on the other side of the room, very realistic. Bass: tight, tuneful, and impactful.

I cannot comment enough on the detail. I have heard things that I have never heard (maybe never noticed) on a number of recordings. Instruments are placed in positioned on the soundstage, with each having a distinct sound, rather than being mixed into some kind of musical stew where you know it's in there, you can hear it, but you can't tell where it is. Finally, the overall sound of the receiver is neutral and musically accurate. All of the comments apply to mulitchannel music as well. I use the room EQ setting on "Flat" or "Off". The "Normal" room setting is way to warm and colored for me. But if you like H/K receivers, you might like that sound. Home theater is also exceptional.

So, there is my "opinion" on the Denon 3805. I upgraded from the 2805 about 30 days ago. The 2805 was also an excellent receiver, but not quite as good as the 3805. I think the Burr Brown DACs make a difference. Also, the 3805 has 4 higher grade power supplies vs. the 2805's one PS. I would also invite you to read Russ Whites comments on the 3805 in the "Denon Auto Setup" forum. I hope my comments were helpful to anyone contemplating purchasing the 3805.



 

Bronze Member
Username: Riches1

Atlanta, GA US

Post Number: 56
Registered: Apr-04
oops! 2nd paragraph above above should read "One bad Denon does NOT mean the whole line is bad".
 

Silver Member
Username: Kano

Post Number: 226
Registered: Oct-04
The Polk Csi3 will match your current speakers the best. Probably can pick one up for $100 on sale. I wouldn't recommend the Csi5 because it will overpower the front speakers. The best placement may be on the floor directly in front of the TV. I would raise it up a few inches to help with dust, but at $100 it shouldn't be an issue.
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