Denon AV-4308CI Possibly the finest AV AMP from Denon ! Scene the A11SR /A1SR & 3805

marcd5123

Well-known Member
The Simple answer to that question for me is a big fat yes.

Outside of Denon Legandry A11SR, A1SR & 3805 in my humble opinion.

Up and until recently I owned a Denon X4100W (2015 Model) and to be fair before it became faulty it was a fantastic peace of equipment no real issues and a fine sounding AV AMP. I was quoted via a Denon authorized repair centre that the HDMI baord is faulty and it would cost a few ££££ to put Wright and not resly worth it. Considering it was only 5 years old I was certainly not very happy annoyed and upset. My previous Denon 3805 which I still have as a spare unit is virtually mint still 100% works from 2005 so around 16 years old now.

So I put my thinking cap on and looked at various Amp's as replacements some Yamaha RX-V2067/ RX-V3067 and maybe Arcam AVR - 300/350... However I'm realy a Marantz /Denon fan boy at heart and have been for years now.

After several weeks looking on ebay and doing some research I decided let's just go back to a period that was possiblely Denon /Marantz golden period for AVR'S and I personally feel that any time between late 1990's to around 2008. Denons from around 2012 + are very different Denon started with a new approach looks designs and electronics.

So I decided to try and get my hands on a near mint Denon AV-4308CI. I new it would take me some time I was not in a hurry my X4100W was still fully operational as a daily driver even with its fault.

So finally after serval months I found a eBay seller that had a unit in silver and had been in safe storage for 8 years in a box and pretty much near mint condition with very low hours of use in the components.

The 4308CI handles DSD /Dolby True HD & DTS-HD Master perfect.

Lan Connection and WiFi
DAB Radio
HD Radio
Internet Radio
Bi-Wire Mode
Bi-AMP mode
3X PSU
Gold plated connectors at the back not standard silver.

So Denon spared no expense on this unit. It looked like that Denon wanted to blast the competition away at the time of 2007-08 and from what I read from both Hifi reviews and general feedback /reviews from customers from AV forums & AVSforums it most certainly did just that.

I grabed it just before Xmas and have owned it now for just over a 1 month. To state that this is truly an AVP that was insanely good would not be justice enough.

Iv not herd a AV AMP sound this this good scene my 3805 days!. The power under the hood is just incredible. I mainly use it for 2-channel Pure direct mode with my Marantz Sa-15S1 SACD player. The 4308 absolutely trumps 2015 X4100W sonic wise. This unit is incredibly sharpe and very focused yet very clean sounding. If I close my eyes it feels like I'm. Listening to a "true" 2-channel Audiophile AMP.

The sheers detials that come through and so... So we'll rounded off at the very top end. The quality of DACS fitted in this unit is nothing short of bloody outstanding in my book.

What makes the 4308CI unique and very speical in my opinion is Denon fitted it with 2X PSU and a 3rd for standby PSU. It has "(Advanced AL24+) which means a sort of super Burr-Brown DACs installed. Compared to the model below it 3808.

You can just keep turning the volume up and up and up and it will not buckle. It's stays absolutely rock solid will not buckle.

Iv thrown evething I can at this unit from LED Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Genesis, Yes, Depeche Mode, Tangerine Dream, Traffic, Pink Floyd, ELP, Focus, David Bowie you name it I have a vast collection music and it simply outstanding. Listening to Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers yesterday, Wild Horses the guitars were so full of texture, depth realism, the clarity and separation or gaps between instruments and vocals are just incredible uncanny at times. Yes it's realy that good.

As part of my research for this AMP I did check out AVS Forums AV Forums sister site and around 4 reviews that were completed at the time of 2007/08 and all stated the same thing pretty much all reviews for this particular AMP was 5 XXXXX ratings.

When watching films in Netflix & Prime Video it's the same experience the handling and panning is super smooth. Audyssey setup 8 different listening positions absolutely nailed it. In fact this AMP did a far better job considering it uses "MultiXT" 8 different positions..obviously the X4100W uses newer "MultiXT32". Yet the 4308 somehow setup my 5.1 Speaker setup far better than the X4100W did.

Anyhow.. I did have look inside the day I received the unit in the case it needed a mini service /cleanup, I have the correct equipment for that mains dust blower, IPA 170 for any dirt of greese build up anyware but no all was pretty much solid. The unit was in storage for 8 years Cool dry place which is absolutely perfect area and environment to keep electrical equipment in.

Hardly no dust or dirt anyware inside I have it a quick blow anyway. I had a good look and you could clearly see 2X PSU also the 2X huge PSU ELNA Audio Grade filter Caps!.

The area what looked like where the Burr-Brown DACs were loads and mixed Nichicon/ELNA Gold Audio Grade CAPS. The unit looked like that it did not have more than a years worth of usage the components all looked not far from new. The smell given off the AMP for the first few days is that very distinct "new smell".

Everything in this unit works 100% their are no faults. Okay the WiFi is a little flakey at times but then agian it was no different on my X4100W.

So their is around 12-13 years apart alot changes during that time for sure improvements to technology and so forth. However with a the fancey trickery of 4K Dolby Atmos and other things that the X4100W does the AV-4308CI quite simply picks it up and throws it into the sea!. My ears have kinda got used to the difference in sound but the 4308CI still amazing me even now as I type.

The build quality back then without a shadow of dought was certainly way better. Possibly even slightly over engineered. An example is having 2 Power buttons. One for mains and one for standby. This AMP is a bug reminder on just how well Denon did 3805 kept to the design principles.

This amp had something that to my knowledge Denon fitted into to this amp at that time on their top 2 tier models either 2-Channel Bi-Wire mode or 2-Channel Bi-Amp mode.

The models below it only offered Bi-amp mode.

So you can opt for bi-wire mode or 2-channel mode when setting up.

Yes this is subjective and folks have their own views and opinions to this. So for the first 3 weeks or so I used the amp in standards 5.1 configuration then last week I decided to change it to bi-wire mode.

Before the change I was quite frankly speechless to how much I was missing out on using this amp to my previous X4100W. I changed it to bi-wire mode as I do have my speakers in biwired configuration anyway and theirs a most marked difference to the sonics!!.

The sound becomes even more neutral in the mid section. The soundstage becomes that much more larger in field and the tops become alot more refined in focus.

It feels like the amp is working far more "efficiently" the power feels the same but yet you seem to notice alot. More of everything at the same volume as before. So it feels like the amp can breathe better and express it self more. I felt for heat dissipation while I had it on for several hours and it felt perfectly fine to me not all that got to be honest. In fact it maybe running just a tad cooler than before. I did notice on this amp the layout for the use of the biwire/biamp terminals its been fitted way away from the main bank terminal area and I feel this is why the the amp is working far more effectively this way.

Anyhow..I just wanted to express my feelings and kinda review on a AMP that is around 12-13 years old compared to an amp that's only 5-6 years old. Just proves a huge point just because something is far newer even with newest bells and Whistles certainly doesnt mean its better....
 
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