Connecting a Stereo Amp to Denon 3802

Droogie 2001

Prominent Member
Aug 19, 2001
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In my pursuit for having the best Stereo performance and Surround sound performance I can get/afford. I was wondering whether anyone could advise me on how I might be able to connect a Stereo Amp to work along side my Denon 3802 Receiver.
My current setup is as follows: DVD acts as a CD transport which connects to a Tag Mclaren DAC20 via a coaxial cable. This then outputs via Analogue interconnects into the Denon’s CD input. I put the Receiver into Direct CD mode so that the DAC does all of the decoding etc. But obviously the Denon is still amplifying the sound and sending it out to the speakers.
So this is where I thought a separate Stereo amp could help.

My main problem is that I have the Kef 2005 satellite system and Sub-Woofer. (I know there not the most ideal Stereo speakers in the world, but there still pretty good)
How do I make a sub woofer connection, is this at all possible?

My thought was DVD to DAC, then output from DAC into the ‘new’ stereo amp then Interconnects out of this into the Denon’s ext-in's. Lastly I would select the ‘Ext in’ on the Receiver so that all the Denon does is past the signal onto the speakers. But if this is possible what do I do with the Sub? It has connections for speaker cables but this is where I get lost.
If anyone is familiar with the Denon 3802 and has a similar setup I would appreciate any help! The Denon manual describes using the 2 spare channels for setting up speakers in another room but it still confuses me as to what I do with the sub?!
As for amps I was looking at the Arcam 65+ and the Myryad Z140 (budget upto £450)

Any help appreciated

To be perfectly honest I don't think it's really worth getting a seperate stereo amp with the KEF Eggs. If you had stereo speakers like the KEF Q1's or B&W 601's then it would be worthwhile.
Thanks for your advice and I know what you are saying makes sense but can anyone advise on the connections with a sub/satellite system like mine as I am willing to forsake some stereo quality etc?


Can you connect the Kef sub via both the High (speaker) and Low (phono) level connections at the same time (to the Denon)? I know this is possible with Rel subwoofers but not sure about the Kef.

Doing this would mean you don´t lose out on movies etc and for music via the external inputs, again you wouldn´t lose any bass either as it would be picked up via the high level connection.
Thanks for the response.
Err these are the specs of the Sub-Woofer and satellites:

Bass reflex with 100mm Uni-Q driver including 12mm dome tweeter
Crossover frequency : 3kHz
Frequency range : 80Hz-20kHz
Sensitivity : (2.83V/1m) 88dB
Maximum output : 104dB
Impedance : 8 ohms
Dimensions198(h) x 130(w) x 150(d)mm
Weight : 2.1kg (each)
Woofer : 210mm reflex loaded
Frequency range : 35Hz-150kHz
Amplifier : 150W internal
Maximum output : 106dB SPL
Inputs : Low-level phono/high-level speaker
Outputs : Phono actively filtered high-pass at 12dB/octave variable 160-480Hz. High-level outputs filtered at 130Hz 6dB/octave
Dimensions : 360(h) x 320(w) x 320(d)mm
Weight : 14.2kg (each)

Does this make any sense. I think this means yes. But I am not sure about the Denon amp. I have one Sub Woofer output on the Denon which goes to the Line In Left on the sub, (there is a high level pass output left & right as well as a Line in right which do not obviuosly have anything connected to them)and a sub-woofer pre out connector on the denon(as well as all of the other channels)
Please help I am a bit new to the technical terms and meanings to the connections!



I think you´ll be ok to connect them both up. Have a little look HERE and the last post by Ron Locke (Kef).

You leave the low level (phono) connection as it is i.e from the subwoofer out of the Denon into the line in of the Kef sub (left I assume). This will mean all your dvds etc play as normal, all speakers would be set to small in the amp and all bass to sub.

Next step is to connect the High level speaker connections (your main speaker cables). You´ll need some more speaker cable though. You need to take the left & right main speaker cable from the amp, run it into the Kef sub woofer. And then another pair of cables from the sub to your main left & right speakers. The sub has a high pass filter so your main speakers will only receive signals above 130 hz, the sub will take care of the rest below this figure i.e 130hz downwards. As you are using an external DAC, you set the amp to its EXT in (external decoder input). You only use this setting for Music. You´ll need to play about with the volume level on the sub to get the sound to your liking.

The only thing that may be minor problem is I´m not sure if your sub has only the one volume control, by setting it correctly for movies, it may cause music to be either too high or low (and vice versa). You would need to make a mark on it, so you know where to set it to each time. Bit of a pain but I don´t know any other way around it (unless you change subs!!).

Just so you know, HIGH level refers to using main speaker cables, LOW level is the phono connection.:)

Hope this helps you.:)
Thanks for your help Jase.
Things are clearer now and I believe I can do what I want to do.
Just need to do some demo's to see if it worth the money!


Why not try using a good Stereo power amp for the front speakers. This would stay in place for AV as well.
This would connect from to pre outs on your AV amp and should improve the sound without being complicated to use.
I know that you will still be using the AV preamp part of your system, but it may just be the improvement that you want.
Jase why would you need to connect both low & high level inputs of the sub?

Most amps route everything below the crossover to the sub via the pre-out, the same as dvd soundtracks. I believe the 3802 has to be set to stereo mode and not direct.
Originally posted by Dom H
Jase why would you need to connect both low & high level inputs of the sub?

Most amps route everything below the crossover to the sub via the pre-out, the same as dvd soundtracks. I believe the 3802 has to be set to stereo mode and not direct.

In this case the External Decoder Inputs are being used (for the external DAC). This passes through the signal unprocessed to the amplifier (you can´t engage Stereo mode). The only way to make sure the sub is in use is to wire it at High Level with the main speakers.
Ah I see, I presume external dacs don't have any bass management then?

I use SACD via the ext ins on the 3802 and setup the bass mgt in the player then use 5 phonos to the amp.
Originally posted by Dom H
Ah I see, I presume external dacs don't have any bass management then?

I assume so. No bass management on the External Decoder Inputs either.

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