Sony VA555ES vs Denon AVR3802


I'm a newby building a system from scratch.

I've already set my sights on the KEF 2005 sub/sat system, and I would like your advice on an appropriate AV receiver.

From the reviews I've read, it seems the AVR 3802 is hard to beat at the price. However, the NEW Sony VA555ES also seems very tempting. Some reviews (like in What HiFi?) rate it over the Denon. But others (like in HiFi Choice) seem to think the Sony is only so-so.

Can anyone give me good advice ? (Or should I save the money and get a Marantz 5200 instead ?)

You can't beat the Denon 3802, but I would compare it to the SOny STR-Da4es and not the 555. This is sony's new model. I read that it is an excellent receiver. Also I think, but not sure that the 555 model is for the UK and not the US, unless you live there. I would stick with either the sony or the Denon not the marantz...

Also check out the Pioneer Elite VS-43TX

i share some of the same choice making too.the kef 2005 or an rbh 5.1/7.1 for sub sats.the kef seems to already come with adjustable stands/mounts.....not sure about bout the far as the 555 0r new 5es model i'm sure it's a solid product with the 5yr es warranty.the denon may have a slight edge with it's surround modes(6th and 7th)channels.the sub crossover on the sony es can be adjusted in smaller increments where as the denon min is 80hz.however with the kef in mind this advantage may not matter.sub sats have limits primarily designed for home theatre so if the es has the edge in stereo you may not even here it.i will say that i heard an older es model without (pre-pro logic)a 6th channel paired with some paradigm ref 100's and they sounded great.there's more comparisons to bring up but they are all really minute cause you can't go wrong with the 3802 or the new sony 5es.

Sarandon Johnson
Dude I may be a Yamaha fan but I would suggest you try out the Denon AVR-3803 or the Yamaha RX-V3300 or the Marantz SR-7300 or the Pioneer Elite VSX-45TX. If you go with any of these brands you can't go wrong with either!!!!!!!

Same situation here ...
Kef 2005 (with 6th egg) and looking for a receiver (I already posted here and have had interesting feedback).
I will probably buy a Denon 2803. I was looking at the Sony 333ES but this amp only delivers 30 watts per channel. E.g. look at the following link Hawk gave me : with furthermore the following quote on the DA4ES : "Our standard all-channels-driven power measurement could not be taken because, Sony tells us, the receiver was not designed to deliver full power to all channels simultaneously." Offcourse I am unable to check if the info is correct ...

I'm going to multichannel for the first time and am getting the KEF 2005. Receiver choices are coming down to Denon 2803 or Sony STR-DA2ES or the newer STR-DA2000ES. Does anyone know anything about the combo?


I love the KEF system, and if I had a smaller room, that is exactly what I would get, but I really don't like your choices for a receiver. The KEFs really need more power to sing and neither the Denon nor the Sonys have it. Don't bother to look at the manufacturers power ratings--they are a lie. The Denon is rated at 90 wpc, but according to Sound & Vision, it is only capalbe of 60 wpc when all six channels are driven (and it is the weakest sounding 60 watts I have ever heard). The Sony DA2ES is even worse. None of these receivers has an adequate power supply, which is exactly what the KEFs need.

A better choice, for the same price range would be either the Marantz 7300 or the NAD 752. You can be assured that they both put out plenty of power as the manufacturers rate them with all channels driven at the same time instead of just two channels at the same time. Sound & Vision found the NAD 752 was rated at 80 wpc, but tested out at 92 wpc when all channels were driven.

Thanks, Hawk. The trouble with both your recommendations is lack of phono input and price. My room is approx 23x12 and our new entertainment center means no more floor standing speakers. Do you know anything in the $500-$600 range, with a phono input and enough power?


I got myself a Denon 3803 for several reason, but the biggest single factor is that it had a phono input. What a mistake. The sound is dry and sterile, and with most speakers, gets a bit grainy. Given you needs, I am going to recommend something that is on the edge of your budget, but worth getting for those beautiful speakers.

Try an NAD 742, available from Saturday Audio ( for $449. It betters its 50 wpc rating, so it is every bit as powerful as the Denon 2803, which as I said only tests to 60 wpc. Better still, it has more dynamic headroom. My denon sounds "thin" to me and others have complained about the same thing on other threads. I think the same thing is true for the 2803 as I have compared it directly to the 742 (the dealer used a meter to volume match the receivers) and the 742 definitely sounded more dynamic and life-like, probably due to the better capacitors and circuitry.

Now, it doesn't have a phono input, but the phono stage in my 3803 isn't very good, so you really need an outboard phono pre-amp anyways. Get either the NAD PP2 or the Sumiko Pro-Ject Box. I have seen both priced at $120, but they can be had for under $100 with a little shopping (try Kiefs or Saturday Audio here for the NAD), and the sound will be much better than anything built in. You just plug it into the audio aux inputs on the receiver (which I think are labelled "disk" on the NAD receivers).

Alternatively, check out the Outlaw Audio 1050 receiver, priced at $499 directly from Outlaw. See it at This is rated at 65 wpc x 3 and has tested at something like 62 wpc x 6. It also has a much better power supply and output transistors than the Denon or Sony, and sounds much better, IMO.

Either the NAD or the Outlaw should have plenty of guts for the KEF system and they will keep you in your budget, even with the phono preamp.

Thanks, Hawk. I'll look at those 2 and decide.
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