Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by titanax, Jan 28, 2002.
Has anyone tested an amp that peforms better than the 3802 ?
Yes, the Denon AVC-A11SR.
But, it's *much* more expensive.
I spent an afternoon at the Bristol branch of Sevenoaks listening to the Arcam AVR200 + P85, AVR-3802, AVC-A11SR and the Cyrus SmartPower.
I was just listening to them in two-channel stereo, using music CDs, since I felt that music alone would be a better test. The speakers were my Ruark Tallisman, which are quite bright, so that needs to be taken into account.
Going in the demo I was convinced that some combination of separates would be best. I really didn't even want to listen to the A11SR buit was persuaded by the guy in the shop.
The Arcam combination was dissapointing. Very harsh, with weak bass. I could only stand it for about 20 minutes. To be fair, I think the brightness was as much to do with the Tallisman as the Arcam.
Next the A11SR - the difference was like night and day. An hour later I was still impressed.
Next the Cyrus SmartPower with a Cyrus PreAmp. This sounded good, but too bright with the Ruarks.
We then used the A11SR as a pre amp, with a pair of SmartPower's (each one bridged). This was a bit better that the A11SR (but not much) on its own (mainly in the bass department), but at £2,900 was well above my notional budget.
Finally, we tried the 3802 with a pair of SmartPowers. The theory being that the 3802 and the A11SR preamps might be similar, so this combination should sound similar to the previous one for music, but it would be ~£1000 cheaper. Wrong! The bass was still good and tight, but the high end harshness was back.
So, in the end I went for the A11SR alone, and since getting it home a week ago I think I've clocked up more hours of music than in the last six months. Sorry neighbours I'm sure it'll wear off soon...
Dave, sounds like you spent a good day in the hi fi shop. I did some comparative testing as well with 3802 and A11SR and can agree the A11SR is a really great amp for CD as well as Home Cinema. Denon have done a brilliant job, and I bought the A11SR.
What I didnt do, because of price, was compare it to the A1SE.
I would be interested to hear if anyone has done any comparrisons of A11SR and A1SE for Music as well as CDs.
Dave one question, where you using the CD players onboard DACs or the Denon/Arcam DACs?
Due to the fact I havent got a BNC to phono connector, yet, I have only connected my CD player via analogue phonos to my A11SR. When I get one I willbe comparing the two modes of connection.
At the end of the demo we returned to just the A11SR. The source was a Meridian 507 CD player. We tried both analog and digital interconnects, and I can honestly say I could tell no difference. However, by that point I was pretty tired.
At home I have a 10 year old Meridian 207, that for some time has been broken. The digital output works fine but the analogue output was effectively mono - both channels output the same signal, the CD's right channel. I'd not done anything about it, since I figured a repair would not be cost effective.
Anyway, the thought of getting the A11SR spurred me into action. I talked to the guys at Meridian and they kindly agreed to send me a copy of the schematics. Can you imagine getting that level of support from someone like Sony?
A couple of hours with a test CD and an oscilloscope convinced me the DAC had failed. The original DAC was a Philips TDA1541A 16 bit (4x oversampling). I managed to get hold of a TDA1541A S1 (single crown) (from a Guy the other side of Bristol) which is specially selected by Philips for linearity. I replaced this over the weekend and I now have a working CD player again.
So, to return to your question about DACs. After quite a lot of listening I think I can tell a difference between using the Meridian's DAC and the Denon's DAC. I would say the Meridian's DAC is slightly better - the stereo imaging is a tad more precise. But there's not much in it. Which, again, I think is a fine reflection on the Denon, since many people say the TDA1541A was one of the most musical DACs ever made (whatever that means!).
Anyway Rog, get a digital interconnect and try it. BTW, What is your CD player?
Oh, and by the way, the A11SR was in pure direct mode at all times.
Dave, good info, ta. My Cd is a Linn Mimik which I have had for 7 years or so. Not sure if it is in the meridian part of the market. It cost me £800 at the time. I audtioned loads and it blew all the Arcams etc etc away at the time.
Comparing its CD capabilites to my Sony 735 DVD player is like a Vauxhall Corsa and an XK8. You sit on one of them and sit IN the other.
I just need to get the BNC to Coax convertor and I will be testing away for hours.
Got the BNC to Coax convertor. Will start a new thread with my thoughts.
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