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AVR-1508 Not bad for the buck...

Jim Pixel

Established Member
For the past 5 or more years, I have been using mainly Yamaha receivers for my AV setup. 2 years ago I bought my first LCD TV (JVC 32") and had it in my room. It gave a great picture and I decided to also update my then Yamaha RX-V540 to the receiver that most of the AV magazines were calling the best in its class at the time, the RX-V757. I can see why they called it the receiver of the year back then, because it was a great amp, still is...

Just a few months ago my brother decided decided to update his 42" Panasonic plasma TV to a 50" job and even though I never really relished the idea of owning a plasma, I couldn't really argue with the price so I gave him dollars and took it away. I had my room all set up with my LCD and the RX-V757 and all the speakers etc. Everything fitted in like a bug in a rug - no room to spare. That extra 10 inches of TV meant that I couldn't keep the RX-V757 on the stand/shelf I made for the TV and amp, just too wide... As a matter of fact, I couldn't find a space for that amp anywhere as my room is sort of jam-packed enough already. The LCD and the RX-V757 went out into the lounge room and replaced the CRT TV they had out their - talk about ancient... "They" have now been converted to AV fanatics since I wired in a few speakers for them etc... Now I had no AV amp... I had to resort to using my Yamaha AX-396 stereo amp which I use with this PC. Beautiful sound but only 2 channels and no surround - ya know what I'm saying...!!! Heck man I was suffering... I lived with that for just on 2 weeks before I went looking for an amp which could fit into the space where the AX-396 was. My brother had an older Technics SA-AX540 which was small enough so I made him a deal, swapped a few things he wanted from me for it and took out the AX-396 and in went the SA-AX540. This amp is by no means the answer but at least it has a few more channels and a sub outlet. Ahhhh, back in business,, well sort of... I still missed a dedicated AV amp and.

I hit the internet to see what was around, since I had been virtually out of the AV scene for the past 18 or more months (who invented work?)... Most of the Yamaha stuff just isn't get too much praise lately and I got the feeling that apart from a new skin, they were still much the same as they were 12 months ago. While I was still looking at Yamaha prices, I saw a shop running a super special on the bottom end Denon AVR-1508. Didn't really like the idea of a budget amp but for that sort of money, if it doesn't perform I can call it a cheap mistake and move on,, BUT,, the modest physical dimensions meant that it will fit into the spot the Technics amp is now occupying... YESSSS...!!! So I bought it... Instead of just plonking it in and wiring it up and then setting it up, I first decided to try it out by placing it on the bed and plugging in speakers and inputs and listening to what it sounds like... Very plain Jane the first time I powered it up. Sweet fanny adams (no) bass or treble and it took forever to find how to get any... I thought Yamaha menu setups were bad news. Denon takes it to a new level, but over the next few days of taking it in and out of its box and setting it up on my bed, I found out just how this baby works and set it up to just how I like it. My first taste of Denon and even though its a bottom end job, I can say I am quite impressed with this sweet little number. Boy oh boy, it "does" sound different. Each mode simply sounds different from Yamaha. This is quite a good little amp alright... In my opinion, Yamaha tended to exaggerate their surround sound. It was a very vivid sound. I never noticed this before, until I plugged in the Technics amp which is still a great sounding amp for its age but you can tell that technology has caught it up and passed it by. Denon is more neutral. It simply amplifies the existing sound then give it the selected effect.

I haven't as yet actually put the AVR-1508 into place, as over the past 3 or 4 days I have done and undone enough cables, speaker wires and other connections to make me almost wonder why I ever decided to ever go A/V in the first place. TV just aint the same as it was 10 years ago - chuckle... I will drop the 1508 in most likely this weekend as it is a tight squeeze and you only want to do it the once, as you only have two hands and one brain...

Bottom line - The AVR-1508 appears to have great bang per buck. I'm glad I bought it...


Standard Member
Hi Jim,

I would be most interested to hear you thoughts on this amp as I have just purchased one to replace a 10 year old Yamaha RX-V396 amp which is finally giving up the ghost. Its been losing the audio channels from time to time and now its finally lost the subwoofer so, seeing as its so old, it was time for a change.

I was impressed to see that the Denon had HDMI (no that my tv has it but hey) so its reasonably futureproof (for now). I'm interested in how you've connected it to your tv as the option presented to me at the moment is HDMI to DVI and if I understand things correctly, DVI will not output the sound?? where as HDMI will.

I plan on connecting a HDMI DVD player to it as well so I assume that the amp will see the audio/video via HDMI from the DVD, send the video signal to the tv on the HDMI to DVI lead and that the audio will simply come out through the speakers?? Is this correct??

Will also be connecting up a Freesat box via HDMI as soon as they release the PVR versions of the Humax box.

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Jim Pixel

Established Member

Will let you know what I think of it once I get it installed and running... I was meaning to get it in by now but have been plain old too busy at work (am a builder) and plain old knackered for the night once I get home. I need all my wits about me when I am fiddling around with zillions of cables and wires etc. However, be aware that I don't use my AV amps like most others. I only ever use them for sound, never video. I have a Panasonic 42" plasma, a Sony DvD recorder and a Panasonic DvD recorder,, with quite a lot of switching amongst them, depending on which combination I wish to use, but the audio only is tapped off into the AV amp... I just prefer to have it like this as I do a lot of copying, burning onto DvD's - not pirate copying, just movies ex sat TV on one recorder and sports events (especially Formula 1 and motorcycle racing) on the other. I sometimes run this PC into either recorder as well and other DvD players and AV devices directly into them too, so I just leave my already complicated setup alone without adding the extra complications of an AV amp in amongst them... Both video and audio are two separate setups and I would rather augment them each differently from the other...

Maybe once I set it all up, I'll see what the 1508 is capable of and could change this setup...

Let ya know then...

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