Advice needed: Denon/Marantz/Arcam??


Jon Block
Hello all,

Just like most other people on this forum, I'm about to take the plunge and go for an AV receiver/amplifier.

At the moment I'm trying to choose between:
(prices in pounds I'm afraid, but you can work out the ratios)
Marantz SR 5300 - £330
Denon AVR 2802 - £480
Denon AVR 3802 - £600
and the Arcam AVR100 - £500

Primarily I'm looking for an amp that performs exceedingly well in stereo (as in buying this new amp I'm saying goodbye to my old stereo amp), but I'm obviously wanting decent 5.1 sound quality as well. My front speakers are Mission m53's and I haven't bought any others yet - does anybody else have some of these in their setup, if so what amp do you use?

Based solely on the choices you offer us, I would (and I think others here would as well) choose the 3802.

I was initially impressed with the Arcam until the rep told me it was, for all intents and purposes, an NAD T-series AV amp which have had numerous issues. But the decision to buy the Denon shouldn't come at the QC failings of the Arcam/NAD. The Denon is a quite a nice unit, and based on some comments here, is identical to the newest 3803.

I do not have much experience with the Marantz, but I have researched and listened to the Denon, and was definitely impressed with the feature-set that the 3803 offers: direct audio, pure audio, burr-brown decoders, widescreen 7.1 dsp, very nice processors, and far more in common with its "best in class" older brother, the 5803, than any of the models below it. And, I think the coolest feature (that you can't hear) is that it will "upconvert" composite and S-video signals to Component video!!

Good luck, and if you want more info from a first-hand owner, do a search for "Phil Krewer", he's a 3803 owner who posts here a fair amount.



Phil Krewer
Hey H1,

How's the Sub search going. I read a nice article that really liked the M&K MX-125 Mk II. Is this one of the subs you were looking at. It looks like a great sub. To bad I can't afford it.


Hey Phil,

That seems to be my problem lately too! Plus I have a really hard time spending *that* kind of money *just* on a sub...I know they're good, but c'mon...pushing a $grand?

If I only wanted slam it seems like I have a ton of options at a decent price (klipsch, velodyne, polk), but I'm looking for a sub that can actually voice notes and not just boom.

I am now really interested in the Hsu VTF-2 (I think). It's under $500 and gets the most amazing reviews...any feedback on Dr. Hsu's inventions. I am also interested in the Monitor Audio subs as I've heard that they too are "fast".

By comparison, my Boston Acoustics sub is "slow" and with the M&K K-7's that I bought (for a song), which are fast and energetic, my Boston's lethargy has become more apparent on certain material.

If you spy any deals...let me know...but basically I gotta stop spending...HELP!!



Phil Krewer
Hey H1,

I looked for the Hsu sub you mention and didn't see and expert reviews but all of the consumer reviews were very positive. From what I can see you can only buy it direct. I did see a rave review of the Hsu VTF-3 (I think) on this site under subs. The reviewer called it the new king of subs under 1000. I think it retails for 849 however.

Your probably going to kill me for this but the Sub that Hsu replaced (according to this reviewer) as the king of subs under 1000 was the Infinity Interlude 120s. I did find one place that sold the 120s, new, for 499, but I wonder about the warranty. There is also a guy on that is selling a NIB black 120s for 449, I think, plus 85 shipping. He clams that the 5 year warranty is good.

I'll try to look up the Monitor Audio subs you were talking about.

Hang in there,



Quick question. After reading a shootout in Sound and Vision magazine on subs (including among others infinity il100, M&K K9, and 2 Polk offerings) I'm interested in the il100. They loved that thing and compared to its $1600 intermezzo-brother they said it was the same "sound and composure" without the shear power...NOT BAD!

So now I see that I can get one of these badboys for $320 on! My question is what did you pay for yours (and where) and does the RABOS kit make a nice difference?

The reviews seem to really push that this is a very nice cube and that it offers excellent performance on music, giving up only a tiny bit in SLAM to its 5-times more expensive brother.

Basically, S&V gave the intermezzo and the top-shelf velo highest honors with the interlude just a touch below the ' a savings of $1300.

Boing...light-bulb ON.



Phil Krewer

I don't have a separate sub. I own a pair of IL60s which have the equivalent to the IL120s in each speaker. ie they have built in 500watt subs. I bought them as floor models from CC for 1000/pr. I have not seen any Interlude subs at any of the CC here.

The RABOS kit is a must. It cost $65 and you have to order it from Infinity. It comes with manual, test CD, graphs, and a very nice low freq SPL meter. If you want to try and save the money and have an SPL meter you can download the manual from Infinity and I'd be happy to copy the CD for you.

BTW, if you don't mind a Cherry finish there's one at by ebay for 320 shipped. Personally I like the black.

Happy hunting,


Hey Phil,

Ah, IL120's in each^t!

I like the black too. I saw the IL120 on ebay for $389 (I think) which I think I'm favoring because of the larger driver and extra's only $60 more.

As for RABOS, thanks for the offer, that's really cool. I think I'm going to pick up the Radio Shack SPL meter and I hope that it goes down to sub-level frequencies, but I may take you up on the test CD...thanks.

I'll let you know how I make out, now I just really want to find a local place that actually still has them (pretty sure they're discontinued).

I may demo the intermezzos knowing that according to S&V, the actual sound of the interlude is very similiar...I couldn't use the 850 watts of the intermezzo anyway...well I could, but I'd be living in the box it shipped with..."honey, I'm turning it down now!"

Thanks man,


Not to complicate things, but you also might want to look at PSB SubSonics. I just replaced my Acoustic Research H12SO with the Sub Sonic 7 and I really had no idea that subs could also produce both house shaking bass for movies, and be musical at the same time. There is an auction just beginning on ebay (3003916849) that is opening at $379, but I am fairly certain it will go a bit higher. Dave

Thanks Dave,

On there is talk of the PSB series. Thanks for the advice.


Peter C.
Everybody seems back on the topic of subwoofers.
I would just like to go back to the original question.
If you are looking for an AV receiver that does well for stereo, with 5.1 as an extra, I would recommend Marantz, but perhaps you can go a little bit up the ladder, to SR6300 or even SR7300. These should still be cheaper than the Denon 3803, for music I still think it has a better sound.


this is for jon block....first i think price dictates everything.i'm not sure what you want to may be able to get something above your budget by getting a used reciever.i find that every reciever has one feature that may hurt or really help you that another does/does not.if you cherish stereo, you can't go wrong with marantz...home theatre i would look at denon or yamaha.....a reciever is not a easy decision these days.

Dear Jon Block, I have to agree with Marcus here. For Home Theatre I would also recommend a Yamaha AV receiver, especially with the m53's. I myself have also a pair of m53's and the Yamaha RX-V630RDS Home Cinema Receiver (£459.95). It's a perfect match. I tried the Yamaha with B&W's 603 s3, Dynaudio to name a few, and always came back to the Mission m53. But of course the Marantz is also a safe bet. I'd suggest you try to listen to both receivers with your current setup. Trust your ears! Hope it helped.

I am currently considering the Yamaha RX-V3300 and the Mission M53 Fronts M51 Rear and M5C center. I have been working with the Mission 74 x4 and MC2 with the MS10 Sub. Any thonghts???
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