Denon AVR-1803 first impression.


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Sep 14, 2000
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I have now owned the above receiver in Gold for 2 week's now, it replaced my ageing Sony strb-925.
After opening the box in natural light I was surprised at the colour, it just seemed differant to the show room amps. Its also not made in Japan but Korea, this hasn't seemed to effect the build quality or feel of this amp.
All connections are chrome apart from the front inputs which look gold plated.
setup is quite simple, a step by step guide is displayed on the fascia, you could virtually set this up without looking in the hand book IMHO.
Comparing to my old amp the sound quality seems much smoother sounding, my old sony amp always seemed a bit harsh, especially when pushed. the denon goe's much louder without sounding harsh. I was forever adjusting the speaker settings with the Sony, all seem's spot on with the Denon out of the box, i even find the centre speaker sounding much clearer even at 0db setting, the sony was usually on +5db :eek:

Pro-logic II : Go get your self a Pro-logic II amp now, i can't beleive how good this sound format is, watching programmes like stargate seem's like watching them for the first time, an episode 2 weeks ago in the Arctic had a scene where a roller door shuts behind the camera just to the left, the sound of the roller door shutting came from the left rear speaker just like dolby digital would :eek: same goe's for Enterprise with the ship coming from rear right. Pans accross the front sound stage seem much more accurate.

Dolby Digital EX : Tested the Pod race from SWTPM, only because i no it so well, pans accross the rear seem much more accurate, a tuscan raider takes a shot at one of the racers, it appears in the back surround then echoes to rear right. Also watched Toy Story II for a test piece, once again some good spots where people close doors behind you :) quite a view moments of back surround in this film.
EX is good, but not amazing 5.1 sound is pretty good anyway, EX just seems to fill the gap behind you with the plus of the odd effect thrown in.
As for DTS ES descreet/matrix I cannot comment yet, I haven't got round to trying them out.
The Tuner: well its a tuner it get's radio signals with RDS texting scroling the programme info, I usually listen to Sky Radio.

The only downer i have found is when you have the sound format set to Auto. If you play a DDEX film and then play a normal DD film, the Amp stay's in EX mode, you have to manually switch the back surround off, thats if you want to.

DTS-ES Discrete 6.1 and Dolby Digital EX with Power Amps for 6 Channels
The AVR-1803 is equipped with 6 amplifiers of equal power, one for each channel, in a discrete configuration for total accuracy when reproducing sound from demanding DTS-ES and Dolby Digital EX sources. The Dolby Pro Logic II feature lets you hear 2-channel stereo sources in realistic 5.1-channel surround sound.

I have probably missed plenty out so fire away with any question's.
can you tell me how much you paid for it and where
do you rate over the sony 1080
Sounds like you like your new Denon then Tim:D
I must admit I have to agree Stargate in PL2 is amazing.
X-files sounds good aswell.
Try these for ES discrete (My Personal Fav)
The Haunting R1 DTS ES
Gladiator R1 DTS ES
Seven R2 DTS ES
Rush Hour R2 DTS ES
Samir :)
can you tell me how much you paid for it and where
do you rate over the sony 1080
I payed £300 from
I cannot comment on the Sony as I have never heard it, personnaly I would never buy sony again after having bad reliability with their products, but you could probably say that about all Manufacturer's.


yes i do like it, it rock's, and only £300 :D
Thanks for your list, I only have Gladiator out of it, so I will have to give it a spin.
Thanks for the info on the Denon Tim, as you know, I've been looking forward to hearing comments from people who have been living with this amp...
I'm now going to be placing an order :)

Cheers mate,
The yamaha DSPAX630 or rds version are worth a listen and in my opinion are better especially with music.
Listen to as many as you can and DONT but on a forum recommendation.......
Originally posted by Big_AL007

Listen to as many as you can and DONT buy on a forum recommendation.......
Very tue, I like brussel sprouts but my kid's hate them, if you know what I mean.
My parents have a 2801 which sounds amazing, think I may have to pick up a 2803 towards christmas :)
Originally posted by Kuni D
My parents have a 2801 which sounds amazing, think I may have to pick up a 2803 towards christmas :)
1803 doe's the same for almost half the price :)
Originally posted by old stoneface
Do you use the Component inputs (Progressive Scan) on the amp and if so is there any loss of picture quality?
No... I only use one set of componants connected to my projector, so i have found no need to use the amp for componant switching, now if Pace would bring out a sky digi box with built in hard drive, twin tuner, componant out and progressive scan :eek:
Originally posted by Timh
1803 doe's the same for almost half the price :)

I've been thinking about this...

My parent's rig consists of a AVR-2801, B&W 602 S2 front L/R, CC6 S2 center and 601 S1 rears. (With a REL Q100E sub.)

Now that setup sounds phenomenal, especially since the room's so big.

Now I bought some B&W 602.5 S3 floor standers last year, and I'm buying the rest of the pieces running upto christmas. I'm probably going to get some 601 S3's for the rear L/R, and a LCR60 S3 for the front center (I'll buy another for the rear center next yr if I have some extra cash, although a sub is higher on the list.)

Now what I'm wondering is, will the 1803 be able to push 602.5, 601, and eventually two LCR60's?
Now what I'm wondering is, will the 1803 be able to push 602.5, 601, and eventually two LCR60's?
I can't see why not, the 1803 pump's out 80 w x 6 (8 ohms) , my old sony amp was 50 watts for each channel and that ran my brother's B&W 603's with ease.
The 2802 is only slightly more powerful at 90 W x 6 (8 ohms)
the 602.5 should be easier to drive than my brother's 603's.
Could you not demo the 1803 with your speakers at a local dealer. The money you save could buy you another set of 601 s3's, giving you identical speakers for the rear sound stage and a spare to put in the loft or sell on this forum, there should be people out there looking for one 601, this happened to me last week, i was after a single Mission 77ds, I ended up going 50/50 with a forum member as he only wanted one :)
Thanks for the info m8.

Is there any other differences between the 1803 and 2803 besides the small power upage? Hmmm money saved = REL Quake sub :)
Not sure if there is much differance, i haven't seen the spec's for the 2803 yet, maybe the 2803 has 5.1 output to deliver the decoded sound to external amps, what's the point in that though, it should be pretty good anyway, connecting to external amps is more high end for people with top decoders like Lexicon.

After reading this i am even more confused about which reciever to get!

I saw the AVR-1803 at a store on saturday, looked lush, although the dealer did bump up the specs a bit (110Wpc... i did wonder at the time, lol!)

But now there is a new Marrantz on the scene... 90Wpc, no component video switching (But i wont need that anyway!). And what about the Yamaha RXV-630? And then there is the Sony DB1080....

Then there is speakers to get... Aegis Evo's look a good bet, or perhaps the mission M74i's that are coming out!

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