Denon 3700 B&W 603 vs 4700 B&W 603 S2 advice

MattWJAdamson

Novice Member
Hi

I've recently trying to decide between two systems which are identical in price

Denon AVC-X4700H AV Amplifier with Bowers & Wilkins 603 5.1 Home Cinema Speaker Package (607 Rears)
Denon AVC-X3700H AV Amplifier with Bowers & Wilkins 603 S2 5.1 Home Cinema Speaker Package (607 Rears)

A few people have been saying the 3700 is more than adequate to power the 603 S2 speakers which are superior to the 603 standard edition. They also cost considerably more. However some say they would pair the newer more powerful amplifier with the older 603 speaker.

I'd appreciate others thoughts on this and if you own them or were deciding similar

Many thanks
 

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
Hi, the difference in power between the two receivers is negligible (<1dB SPL so imperceptible) so I would choose the receiver that has the right feature set for you. In that regard, the X4700 has better (AL32) processing and some owners that have tested both found it sounded a bit better than X3700 with music.

I'm a long time B&W 600 series speaker owner and have used various generations over the years in my systems. Personally I wouldn't pay a significant premium for the latest S2 version. I would instead go for the older version and (provided I had the space) swap the rears for 606s as they are much better speaker all round than the 607 for not a lot more money. At their run-off pricing they're a real bargain.

EDIT: Here's a thought. The B&W subs in those 5.1 packages are nothing special, especially for movies. For similar money, I'd probably build a movie focused 5.1 system with a X3700, 2 pairs of 606s, an HTM6 centre and an SVS PB-1000 Pro sub. If your room is large and/or music is a priority then swap out the front 606s for a pair of 603s. If 606s are too large for rears then go with the 607s.
 
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MattWJAdamson

Novice Member
thanks for the feedback. I don't have any specific feature requirements other than good home cinema combined with music. It was really when I saw two systems in this combination at similar price points

  1. Denon AVC-X3700H AV Amplifier Bowers & Wilkins 603 S2 AV Speaker Package
  2. Denon AVC-X4700H AV Amplifier with Bowers & Wilkins 603 5.1 Home Cinema Speaker Package (607 Rears)
It got me thinking is a better amplifier with slightly older / lower spec speakers ( although both I'm sure are very good ) better than having a lower spec amplifier and higher spec speakers.
 
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Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
The S2s are more different spec than higher spec, there really isn't much between them and the money saved could be put towards a better (or even a second) sub which would make a huge difference to your system. As I said above, the weak link in that system is the B&W sub, unless it's for low volume music listening and even then you could probably do better with a BK sub.

Richer Sounds sell Denon, B&W and SVS so I'd be inclined to design my own package and shop around for prices. There are discounts to be had I can assure you.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
The main difference between the two Denons models is the components used. They will be of a higher spec that that fitted to the X3700. The big difference comes with AL32 processing which is very good. Hardly a thing in power ratings, certainly nothing to make a big difference.

Speakers will make the biggest difference but I doubt there is any thing between the B&W speakers being evolution more than revolution.
 

darrenhaken

Active Member
@gibbsy does the AL32 make the 4700 worth buying over the 3700 for that alone or would it only make sense of you also needed the extra channels?
 

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
Moving up to the X4700 essentially adds AL32 processing, 20 more watts per channel and Auro 3D support. There are a few other things but nothing that should make an appreciable performance difference. Critically, both models come with Audyssey XT32 and a full set of pre-outs.

It's difficult to make a case for the X4700 because the circa. £400 price difference is only about £200 short of buying a X3700 and adding either a stereo amp with HT bypass if 2-channel music's a priority or a 3-channel power amp for the LCRs if movies are a priority. These two options would also give you full 7.1.4 capability.

If you're not shopping to a budget then I guess none of this matters but then you'd probably be shopping higher up the range anyway.
 

darrenhaken

Active Member
Moving up to the X4700 essentially adds AL32 processing, 20 more watts per channel and Auro 3D support. There are a few other things but nothing that should make an appreciable performance difference. Critically, both models come with Audyssey XT32 and a full set of pre-outs.

It's difficult to make a case for the X4700 because the circa. £400 price difference is only about £200 short of buying a X3700 and adding either a stereo amp with HT bypass if 2-channel music's a priority or a 3-channel power amp for the LCRs if movies are a priority. These two options would also give you full 7.1.4 capability.

If you're not shopping to a budget then I guess none of this matters but then you'd probably be shopping higher up the range anyway.
I was eyeing up something in the price range of X3700 to replace my Sony STR-DN1080 and then connecting a stereo amp with HT through the preouts.

Of course, I do want to make sure I am getting the right AV receiver before you drift into the realms of diminishing returns. Difficult to know where that point is!
 

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
I was eyeing up something in the price range of X3700 to replace my Sony STR-DN1080 and then connecting a stereo amp with HT through the preouts.

Of course, I do want to make sure I am getting the right AV receiver before you drift into the realms of diminishing returns. Difficult to know where that point is!
I therefore suggest you also consider the X3700's opposite number in Marantz's range, the SR6015 that can had for very similar money. While they look similar on paper, it has different circuitry and many people report that they prefer the sound signature of the Marantz, especially with music.

 

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
I have no first hand experience but I would expect not, here's why. Apart from when I went from a Pro-Logic to a Dolby digital AVR 20 years ago, I have only ever experienced "big jumps" in sound quality by changing speakers, especially subwoofers. IMO, when shopping to a budget most people (especially those new to the hobby) over-spec their AVRs and under-spec their speakers/subwoofers, especially if it's a system where the priority is TV/movies.

I saw an interesting Audioholics video a while ago which really got me thinking. In it one of their geeky gurus reported that research (by Harman I think) shows that for a given audio source, the relative weighting of the factors that impact the quality of the sound we hear is 50% room, 35% speakers and 15% electronics (i.e. DACs/pros/pre/power amps combined). This is very much in line with my own experience.

For me, the most important ingredient equipment-wise is having quality front LCR speakers and a well positioned/EQ'd pair of subwoofers. A good 5.1 system with those will walk all over one with more channels that hasn't got that bit right.
 
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Jester1066

Well-known Member
I therefore suggest you also consider the X3700's opposite number in Marantz's range, the SR6015 that can had for very similar money. While they look similar on paper, it has different circuitry and many people report that they prefer the sound signature of the Marantz, especially with music.
Yep the Marantz mentioned is definitely more musical than it's Denon sibling (3700) for sure. Is it as good as a dedicated stereo amp with HT Bypass? Only your ears can decide that! Fwiw - I think the route someone takes (HT Bypass amp vs more "musical" AVR (like the Marantz), depends on a number of factors: (not necessarily in this order)

1. How much physical space you have - ie can you accommodate 2 seperate boxes
2. What you listening habits are. If you use your system 10% for music 90% movies - the Marantz or even Denon - would probably be sufficient. If however your use is 50/50 split or more weight to the music side then a Stereo amp with HT Bypass would (imo) be worth considering.
3. Of course there are higher end receivers (NAD, Arcam, Anthem & Lyngdorf) - which are all considered by many to be more musical than the Marantz. However, these brands come at a premium price and and have well documented "glitchy" software implementation imo. Of course other may feel differently on this - which is fine 😊

If you're use your system heavily (at least 50%) for music, I think the HT Bypass amp route is the way to go. I have this setup myself and feel the cost is more than justified! 👌😊
 

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
I agree. Maybe what I said was a bit misleading - I wasn't for a minute suggesting that a SR6015 would be better for music than a stereo amp, just better than a X3700 at the same price.

To appreciate much of a difference though, I suspect you would need fairly decent speakers and room acoustics.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
For me, the most important ingredient equipment-wise is having quality front LCR speakers and a well positioned/EQ'd pair of subwoofers. A good 5.1 system with those will walk all over one with more channels that hasn't got that bit right.
Totally agree, 1st and foremost (and I think @darrenhaken does too), quality speakers have a greater impact on sound than the equipment powering them.

It also depends on what speakers/layout you have/may want to implement in future.

For example in my case I started with a basic 5.1 system (Ma Bronze 5th Gen) for speakers, paired with a BK P12-300SB-PR sub all powered by a Denon x2500h. The system was great. then added 2x atmos upfiring speakers. Again a worthwhile upgrade.....

I then wanted to try 4 Atmos speakers, but my x2500h would only process/power a max 7 speakers, so to get full atmos I needed to upgrade the 2500H. Hence the 4500H!

Similar with (dual subs) I couldn't fit 2x P12-300SB-PR's in physically, so went for (smaller) SVS SB2000 Pro's. Which again made a huge difference to my sound quality.

The Sony can only do 7 channels max and I personally find that Audyssey has better bass EQ and management over the Sony. So it depends how far someone wants to grow their system I guess. If @darrenhaken, decides to go down the HT Bypass route, he'll need an AVR with front Pre-outs (which the Sony doesn't have).
Denon/Marantz implementation of DTSX/Atmos is also better than Sony's imo.

Maybe get a side by side demo of a Denon 3700 vs your Sony and again let your ears decide?

Edit: I now have the kit list you see in my signature!. What I will say is this hobby has lots of "rabbit holes", tha need careful navigation! AV hobby is cheap....

Said virtually no one 😂😂😂😉👌
 
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Jester1066

Well-known Member
To appreciate much of a difference though, I suspect you would need fairly decent speakers and room acoustics.
Hope he doesn't mind me saying but, @darrenhaken has Dali Opticon 6 Mk2's & matching Vokal as his LCR... so that's that box ticked 🤣😉😊
 

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
Obviously if the Sony lacks the features required then it needs to go, just don't expect a "big jump" in sound quality by changing the AVR - that was the question posed to me. At best I would expect it might sound "slightly better" and, at worst, "just different".

I say this based on the stupid amount of hours I spent hanging out at my local AV dealer when I lived in Australia (thank you West Coast HiFi :smashin:) testing the various kit they had at different price points. Of course I may just lack the "golden ears" required to appreciate the difference but I was truly staggered by how similar AVRs and amps sounded (once you got past the budget models) when fed the same source and played back through the same speakers. I certainly wouldn't fare well in an AVR "Pepsi Challenge".

By comparison, using different speakers was a night and day difference which is what first got me into using towers instead of bookshelves. Those Dalis are proper speakers - 2 1/2 way towers with twin 6.5" woofers, perfect. That's the same configuration as my B&Ws which I really like. I expect they sound amazing.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Get the speakers right and they will last you for years and outlive most amp or AV amps you care to put with them. I believe you will hear a difference between the Sony and the Denons. The question is as to whether or not you'll like that difference. The Denons (or Marantz) will at least give you the option to venture further than 7.1 or 5.1.2 and have the ability to add external amplification is needed.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
Obviously if the Sony lacks the features required then it needs to go, just don't expect a "big jump" in sound quality by changing the AVR - that was the question posed to me. At best I would expect it might sound "slightly better" and, at worst, "just different".
Yeah perhaps I should of summarised my point as follows (in terms of level of impact on sound quality):

1. Speakers (inc subs)
2. Room acoustics (simple stuff like rugs etc can have a massive impact on SQ)
3. System use/listening habits - as discussed above.

Obviously an AVR's feature set (number of channels etc) will largely dictate the upgrade path overall, as stated. The 3700 offers a certain degree of future proofing in this respect. As an example. Both my 2500h & 4500h were bought new. The 2500h lasted me 18mnth (as I needed more channels). I bought the 4500H in 2018 and have no plans/desire, or need to upgrade it in the 3yrs of ownership.
 

darrenhaken

Active Member
Obviously if the Sony lacks the features required then it needs to go, just don't expect a "big jump" in sound quality by changing the AVR - that was the question posed to me. At best I would expect it might sound "slightly better" and, at worst, "just different".

I say this based on the stupid amount of hours I spent hanging out at my local AV dealer when I lived in Australia (thank you West Coast HiFi :smashin:) testing the various kit they had at different price points. Of course I may just lack the "golden ears" required to appreciate the difference but I was truly staggered by how similar AVRs and amps sounded (once you got past the budget models) when fed the same source and played back through the same speakers. I certainly wouldn't fare well in an AVR "Pepsi Challenge".

By comparison, using different speakers was a night and day difference which is what first got me into using towers instead of bookshelves. Those Dalis are proper speakers - 2 1/2 way towers with twin 6.5" woofers, perfect. That's the same configuration as my B&Ws which I really like. I expect they sound amazing.
They do sound amazing!
 

darrenhaken

Active Member
Get the speakers right and they will last you for years and outlive most amp or AV amps you care to put with them. I believe you will hear a difference between the Sony and the Denons. The question is as to whether or not you'll like that difference. The Denons (or Marantz) will at least give you the option to venture further than 7.1 or 5.1.2 and have the ability to add external amplification is needed.
Do you have any view as to what level of AVR investment would be needed to step up from the Sony? Seems subjective is what I'm learning
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Do you have any view as to what level of AVR investment would be needed to step up from the Sony? Seems subjective is what I'm learning
You will hear a difference with a Denon X3700. Not so much through a step up in audio per se but because Audyssey XT32 is a superior room EQ to that found on the Sony. As you walk up through the Denon tiers they do all improve on the previous model. AL32 will make the difference over the X3700 with the X4700.

They may not be huge differences but it all adds up. Probably the sound steering on the X4700 is better than the X3700 because of the better processing. I went from an AL24 X6200 to an AL32 X6500, same model level but the sound steering is so much better. Many people will think that my X6500 is overkill for a 5.1.2 in a relatively small room, especially as the Denon is just driving five of those speakers.

The other thing with Denon and Marantz is that they are so easy to set up and use. It will be up and running within an hour.

What should you buy? Difficult to answer, mainly because I've never been a Sony fan for AV or stereo music. It's really down to want you want to achieve, your choice, your money. I'll put my head on the block and tell you to go for the X4700 as I think you'll be impressed with the sound steering and overall soundstage. Not going to be the best for stereo music, a Marantz will top it but not by much. As I said the X3700 will give you an improvement in your room because of better room EQ.

How does this tickle your fancy for the same price as a X4700. May be a deal to be done, originally a £2300 amp.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
You will hear a difference with a Denon X3700. Not so much through a step up in audio per se but because Audyssey XT32 is a superior room EQ to that found on the Sony. As you walk up through the Denon tiers they do all improve on the previous model. AL32 will make the difference over the X3700 with the X4700.

They may not be huge differences but it all adds up. Probably the sound steering on the X4700 is better than the X3700 because of the better processing. I went from an AL24 X6200 to an AL32 X6500, same model level but the sound steering is so much better. Many people will think that my X6500 is overkill for a 5.1.2 in a relatively small room, especially as the Denon is just driving five of those speakers.

The other thing with Denon and Marantz is that they are so easy to set up and use. It will be up and running within an hour.

What should you buy? Difficult to answer, mainly because I've never been a Sony fan for AV or stereo music. It's really down to want you want to achieve, your choice, your money. I'll put my head on the block and tell you to go for the X4700 as I think you'll be impressed with the sound steering and overall soundstage. Not going to be the best for stereo music, a Marantz will top it but not by much. As I said the X3700 will give you an improvement in your room because of better room EQ.

How does this tickle your fancy for the same price as a X4700. May be a deal to be done, originally a £2300 amp.
Hit the nail on the head there @gibbsy...

There's even a couple of 4500's on evil Bay for £800
 

darrenhaken

Active Member
You will hear a difference with a Denon X3700. Not so much through a step up in audio per se but because Audyssey XT32 is a superior room EQ to that found on the Sony. As you walk up through the Denon tiers they do all improve on the previous model. AL32 will make the difference over the X3700 with the X4700.

They may not be huge differences but it all adds up. Probably the sound steering on the X4700 is better than the X3700 because of the better processing. I went from an AL24 X6200 to an AL32 X6500, same model level but the sound steering is so much better. Many people will think that my X6500 is overkill for a 5.1.2 in a relatively small room, especially as the Denon is just driving five of those speakers.

The other thing with Denon and Marantz is that they are so easy to set up and use. It will be up and running within an hour.

What should you buy? Difficult to answer, mainly because I've never been a Sony fan for AV or stereo music. It's really down to want you want to achieve, your choice, your money. I'll put my head on the block and tell you to go for the X4700 as I think you'll be impressed with the sound steering and overall soundstage. Not going to be the best for stereo music, a Marantz will top it but not by much. As I said the X3700 will give you an improvement in your room because of better room EQ.

How does this tickle your fancy for the same price as a X4700. May be a deal to be done, originally a £2300 amp.
Is that the previous model of the top end one you've shared from eBay?
 

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