Yamaha RX-V2300 vs. Denon AVR-3803 vs. Pioneer Elite VSX-43TX


I'm curious what are some of the thoughts out there regarding these three receivers? I haven't decided, yet, but I'm leaning towards the Yamaha. It has more head room and seems to have a little better sound, but I'm still mulling it over.

I'll probably be hooking it up to an Infinity Modulus system. SAF (spousal acceptance factor) requires a smaller speaker and I've been impressed with the sound of the modulus system.

Any thoughts out there?

John K.
Dave, my first thought is not to worry about the "sound" of the receiver. No well-designed receiver, including the ones that you're considering, will change the sound of your speakers, listening room or recordings. You should be looking at the 45TX(available around $800) rather than the 43TX. It's a very powerful receiver with automatic MCACC to calibrate your speakers to match your listening room.

The Modulus is very stylish, if that's what's needed for the SAF, but if you're going to spend that much I think that you can get a bit better sound by picking some individual speakers, rather than a "system". I'd suggest considering 3 Axiom M2s across the front, 2 Axiom QS4 side surrounds, 2 more M2s in back if you're going to a 7.1 setup, and a Hsu VTF-2 sub.

Don't go for the Yamaha. I've been disappointed with my yamaha flagship rx-v1 and went for the Denon avr-3803. I've been very pleased with the change. Yamaha sounds harsh and very compressed. I don't know about Pioneer, but it is certainly not a Denon's competitor.

This is in response to soundspec's comment that Pioneer Elite is not a competitor to Denon. You could not be more wrong. I have had both the Denon 3803 and Elite 45-tx in my home and the Elite was far and away the better sounding unit. The 3803 is very bright and vocals are sibilant beyond my tolerance. The Elite is much smoother and more easy to listen to for extended periods. I had a Denon 2802 before and liked it much more than the 3803. I was amazed how bright the 3803 was. I used both units with two different speaker systems[Def Tech and Monitor Audio] and the Elite kicked butt with both. Pioneer Elite is therefore not just a competitor to Denon but as far as the 3803 and 45-tx go is superior. The great thing about this whole isssue is that there are several good brands out there to choose from. Just take your time and pick the one that sounds best to your ears. Good luck to all.


Hmmm, interesting thread. First John K. asserts that receivers don't make a difference in the sound coming from the speakers. Then Soundspec and Elitefan get into a fight has to who has the best sounding receiver. Kind of ironic.

IMHO, I think John K. is wrong. I have heard several head to head demos of receivers, using the same source material and speakers (you can do this at a good audio store rather than the Circuit City's and Best Buys), and it is amazing to me in double blind testing how much difference a receiver/amp makes to the sound. I will grant that among several brands, there is very little difference, however. The big Japanese audio cartels tend to copy one another and there are very small differences between them under the $800 range, but I have lately become aware of some very discerable differences in the sound put out by some brands above that amount as they start putting better quality components into the receivers.

Pioneer Elite, for instance, wants to emulate the sound of tube amplifiers, consequently they sound a lot warmer than say a Denon 3803 (which can be a bit warm, but is much more neutral sounding to my ears than the Pioneer Elite). The Yamaha is at the polar end of this by being a very bright sounding amp, which can catch your ear at the dealer, but many people (like soundspec) soon grow weary of it because they find Yamaha's sound fatiguing. However, you should not be swayed by my adjectives. Maybe you like a bright sound, or maybe you like it warm and fuzzy. Everybody wants to be described as neutral, but sometimes you can be so neutral as to be boring (I had a receiver like that once).

John K. is right, however, when he points to the speakers as having more of an influence on the sound that the receiver, but when you get above $800 for a receiver, real differences in the sound start to appear and you have to account for the differences in your choice of speakers. The real key is to get a good combo of receiver and speakers. Some combinations are just not right.

For example, Klipsch speakers are recognized as being very bright and detailed. Yamaha is a horrible combo with Klipsch. In my town, the Yamaha dealer only sells Yamaha receivers with Paradigm loudspeakers, because the Paradigms are very reserved and laid back in their sound. So, the Yamaha helps to spice up the Paradigm's sound.

Conversely, a very warm Pioneer Elite would be a lousy combo with the Paradigms (Boring!). Klipsch is a far better choice for the Elite. I have not heard the Infinity Modulus combo, so I can't advise on the best choice for those speakers.

All of these receivers are very good products, but you have to weigh how the products interact. Therefore, rather than harangue you about this brand or that, I think you should demo the Yamaha you like with the Infinity Modulus system. If they aren't at the same dealer, go buy the Yamaha and take it to the Infinity dealer and have them plug the Yamaha into their board (a good audio store will gladly do this--I just did it earlier this week). You can return the Yamaha later. Take in good source material (CDs and DVDs) that you know and that are challenging to the electronics. Then compare the Yamaha to another, comparably priced, receiver in the same store, head to head. See what you think. Do you really like the sound? You have to live with this system, so you have to like it, not us.

If none of these receivers satisfies you after demo'ing them with the speakers, check out the NAD 752 or 762. They have far more detail when playing back digitally encoded source material than any other brand I have ever heard (makes me wish I had never bought my Denon). It is the one true receiver I have heard that gives you the sound of high quality separates in a single box receiver.

Good luck and enjoy your search for great sound. It's out there.

I never trust a double blind test in stores. They never match the volume exactly in db's and inevitably the reciver that is set higher will give the impression of having the better amp section. You would need an honest professional that set-up the double blind test with the db's set exactly the same on the same set of speakers in the same spot. And guess what? Under most modern receivers of equal power they will sound the same. I have never found an audio/electrical engineer with degree that said otherwise. Of course you will find lots of "audiophile" types and salespeople that will say otherwise. But then, they have a self interest in pushing one product over another and/or have a belief system that doesn't want to be challenged. Kind of like the fictitious difference in good Radio Shack wire and expensive wire---a pile of BS as any AES member will tell you. But retailers make a fortune on wire and cables. Wires and cables have taken up the 80% or more mark-up that phono cartridges used to have for retailers.

If you want to get bang for your buck spend your money on good speakers and make sure your room is acoutically balanced--and not with those stupid tube and other devices sold. A carpet or drapes work miles better if your room is too bright.

You say all receivers at the same db sound the same. I guess you believe a Denon,Marantz,Elite or Yamaha all sound the same driving the same speakers.No way! I have had two different Denons in my home with the same speakers and even thay did not sound the same. The old arguement that all amps sound the same doesn,t hold water. Every amp has it,s own sound. I suppose Parasound,Carver,Classe,Lexicon all sound the same,huh? If what you say is true then speakers sound the same no matter what is driving them. Simply not true at all. You are generally correct about tests in stores but even then there are vast differences in sound between amps. Speaker choice is the most important but what to pair with speakers is very critical if you want your system to sound it,s best. So everyone; take your own music and movies with you to the stores and that will help you make your decision. Good luck to all.

What are the two Denons do you have at home?
Have you tried to compare them with Pioneer Elite 45TX with M&K 750THX speaker system?
Why did you say that the 45TX is better than Denon 3803?


Curious Man,
The Denon models I had were the 2802 and the 3803. I used them both with Def Tech DR-7 mains and the rest of that system. I liked the 2802 but not the 3803 as the vocals were to bright and sibilant for my taste. I was surprised at the difference between the two. The Elite does not have that problem even with my new Monitor Audio system. The Elite is also more attractive, more user friendly and for me sounds better. Both the 45tx and the 3803 are well built, have large power supplies with lots of multichannel power reserves. Its just a matter of which one sounded better. For me its the Elite.


I do trust double blind tests in stores because I have two very good stores near me that know how to set them up and they always match the volume levels. This is something done at the better audio stores (not Circuit City or Best Buy!).

I will also tell you that it was my cousin, the guy with an electrical engineering degree, who got me hooked on this stuff and he definitely hears differences in the sound of electronics and can tell me why!

As I stated before, once you get above a certain level, there are very discernable differences in the sound produced by different receivers and the design philosophies of the makers can be heard. Pioneer Elite, for example, announced years ago that they wanted to emulate the sound of tube amplifiers, so their products have a very warm, mellow sound (just ask EliteFan!). On the other extreme you have Yamaha, which makes its receivers for its speakers. Since the speakers are very warm and laid back, Yamaha receivers tend to be rather bright sounding when played through other speakers.

If you can't hear a difference, that is fine. Just buy a HTIB from your local Sam's Club and be done with it, because as you say, the electronics don't matter. But for the rest of us, it makes a difference in what we hear and how much enjoyment we get from our HT setup (See, e.g., previous post from elitefan).

Buying good speakers, as you suggest, without buying the proper electronics to drive them is absolutely the biggest waste of money imaginable. I have had Magnepans, which are by far the best speaker I have ever heard, but I couldn't use any Kenwood, Sony or Yamaha to drive them because they don't produce enough current. My local Maggie dealer who also sells Yamaha, refuses to sell a Yamaha with any Maggie speaker for this reason, even if it means a lost sale. It is critical to get the right electronics to drive quality speakers, or you have wasted the money you spent on the speakers.

I don't disagree with your comments about the wire for the most part, but nobody said anything about wire. We are talking about the right receiver and different receivers are made up of thousands of different parts, each a choice made by the engineers to acheive a certain sound. Not every maker of receivers uses the same DSPs, DACs, output transitors, or power supplies. Instead, choices are made, at least with the better receivers, to achieve a certain sound. That is why each sounds differently, but then perhaps your experience is with the lower end receivers where the choices made are based almost solely on price and not on the sound.

Dave, dude, do a test between the Denon Avr-3803 and the Yamaha Rx-v3300. trust me you won't be dissaponted between the two. Me personally I like the Yamaha over the Denon and vice versa. Hell today I am still trying to decide which one to get. for instance if i go with the Yamaha, I will have 130 watts X 6 and 35 X 2 for the front effects which by the way they make the surround sound sooooo buch better. also the yamaha has a lower distortion rate and those Excellent DSP modes. which 5% of people use and I do. And the Denon has 110 watts X 7 and it does have the wonderful Widescreen 7.1 mode. Trust me I have been selling surround sound receivers for over 5 yrs. and you can't get any better between the Denon or the Yamaha. Also try looking at Pioneer Elite, they are a great brand.

Good thread! I throw in on the side of Yamaha but that's probably because I own one. I must say if I could afford a Denon 5803 (think that's the number) for about $4000 I wouldn't hasitate. My Yamaha has served me very well. I'm running it with Wharfdale (8's) and a Val sub. The Wharf's are warm with a sensitivity in the 87 range. A perfect match for the 2300. Again, though, everyone buying speakers and a reciever has got to listen to them in their home listening environment. I saw thread about buying somewhere having a good return policy. I think that is so very true. I bought my Wharf's on line only after listening to them several times in a sound room and finding out through much study, the return policy of that internet site. My son is the person that worked with Tweeters and has a Pioneer Elite with Boston's. A bit pricey for my taste but I have to say the sound is exceptional. He does have a few bugs with the Pioneer though. Listen to all in your price range and pick the one that meets your needs.

John Allen
I never used to believe amp and receivers made any difference until I got an NAD. Wonderful. Clear. "Neutral", yes.
Hawk, now I've come to trust your judgement here, BUT "...but sometimes you can be so neutral as to be boring".
The system itself SHOULD be neutral. It SHOULD be boring. Unless you get interested and excited by neutrality (a good condition for audio appreciation; SAF usually and rightly doesn't operate that way).

It is the sound you should hear, not the equipment. If by "neutral" we mean "transparent", it is always a good thing; you can't have too much tranparancy. A clean window is much less interesting than a dirty one. But what you see through it is still less than you would see from the same viewpoint if it wasn't there. Warm, no. Bright, no. Neutral, yes. Transparent, yes. The perfect audio system is totally invisible. The fun and interest for some of us is trying to get things that way.
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