Denon AVR-4308CI Vs Denon AVC-A11XV Vs AVP-A1HD Vs A11SR VS A1SR All First Rate reference outstanding Models!!!

marcd5123

Well-known Member
Hi Everyone, I owed my Denon 4308 scene December 2020 purchased it from a private seller in virtually mint condition. I owned several Denon amps over the past 25 years being Denon 3803-3805 and X4100W.

Out of all those amps the 4308 more or less wipes the floor with them sonic wise. To the extent that I can honestly say the 4308 is by far the finest AV AMP iv ever owned its that bloody good!!. I listen to alot of 2-channal audio with my current Marantz SA-15S1 Player and they together an absolute dream team the sonic quality of the 4308 is nothing short of outstanding its that fxxing good.

Possibly because of the very special "Advance AL24 Processing Plus" DAC's it uses which was exclusive to this model and the it's bigger brother....

Anyhow... How does the Denon AVC-A11XV A compare as its a few year before the 4308 came out which was 2007-08.

Any idea would the Denon AVC-A11XVA be night and day difference sonic wise. Remembering the 4803 was around ยฃ2K + when it came out.

Be great to here some comments with folks that have owned these amps.

The 4308 has HDMI 1.3a which surports Lossless Formats such as Dolby True HD & DTS-HD Master which is a must. Also the 4308 has HDMI-CES a pre-runner to ARC uses 2 cables but it works. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ‘
 

marcd5123

Well-known Member
@shug4476 ,Well technically Denon Link is still here. Just wired differently now.

Instead of the entire signal path going down a CAT6 cable they have just split it up. The acutal bitstream signal now goes via HDMI as of their 2013 models I think then they use a Coax cable to link the AMP and Blu-ray player to sync up the digital clocks for both AMP and Player to eliminate jitter completely.

My previous setup was a 2015 X4100W with Denon Link HD and a Denon 3313UD Blu-ray player. Yes Denon annoyingly did not create a produce a product that if you had either an older Denon Generation 4th or 3rd Link which uses the Rj45 connection you can mix them no adaptor checky way.. Typically proberly a way for people to buy the new kits..

Yes Denon transports have had mixed issues over the years, however they are still pretty robustly built.

I acutally already purchased a new Laser Pickup for my Denon DVD-3930 2 days after I brought it on ebay. So if it ever dies then I will replace it my self.

Having the 3930 for 3 months now it certainly does match and alot of times out classes my Marantz SA-15S1 on sonic terms thats how impressive the internal DACs are.

My Denon AVR-4308 and Denon DVD-3930 are working like a dream team very powerful combo that's for sure.

It truly is amazing fantastic technology!. When engaged Denon 3rd link the AV AMP displays DSD Pure Direct and blue lights are lite on both units.

I purchased a New 2M Ibra CAT8 Network cable from Amazon UK works 100%. Happy Days for sure and hopefully will now last me some many years to come. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ‘
 
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Jase

Distinguished Member
@cmondetown Hi, Buddy ๐Ÿ˜ŠFrom memory the Arcam AVR 300 was pitched up agenst the ground braking Denon 3805 Denon won that war by a mile!! (2004-05) On all sides I know I still have my 3805 from new boxed up as a backup just can't being my self to sell it. However some have argued that the Arcam AVR300 did a better job for 2-channal... Arcam AVR300 was a big deal for Arcam and it also won awards. The AVR350 is essentially the same unit just next generation with HDMI.

For Denon it was 4806.. Then Denon smashed it once more with the 4308 which blew pretty much all the competition away.

Iv seen many A11SR for sale on ebay they tend to sell for around ยฃ150 - 175 for a almost mint unit.

DVD-A1 are definitely still sort after and last one I saw sold for around ยฃ300 a month ago. I would have considered that however the lack of DSD SACD decoder was a deal braker for me. Why Denon did not fit it at the time is a strange one. However their replacement unit DVD-A11 did have have they are soooo rare!!.

I would personally stick with either DVD-A1XV Or DVD-3930 best units and they both use Denons far superior "Advanced AL24 processing Plus" not the standard "AL24 processing Plus" don't get that wrong it's a big deal as far as DACS go. Denon only made these available on a few upper-end models in the 2007-08 ranges it was short lived hence why each time a DVD-3930 And or Denon 4308 comes on ebay they sell pretty quickly. Denon stopped using the higher end DACS from around 2009 upwards. The 08 range was the last breed and pretty speical definitely check out what folks have said on the sister site AVSForums and you will see just how popular that range was.

Arcam are great definitely but at that particular period Denon /Marantz pretty much ruled the AV market for quality build and sonic terms.

Its with checking out a Arcam AVR 350 and and or A Denon 4306 or 4308ci. Denon fitted both thsoe units with their "Advanced AL24 processing Plus" DACs that's what cost alot of the money the AVR-4803 was over a ยฃ2K receiver at the time of launch 2007!. The DVD-3930, DVD-A1XV and AVR-4803 were fitted with the same quality DACS. The US AVR-5910 was the UK/EU version of 4803 I think or the 5803 along those lines. The US used different numbers for their models. Its all published on Audioholics website or Avforums. Plenty their anyhow.

For me snapping up a near mint Denon AVR-4803 & Denon DVD-3930...has possiblely been the finest Hifi gear iv ever purchased and Iv owned quite a few components over the years. Aside from owning my Marantz SA-15S1 which I still have from 2007 when I brought that new.

They both are a power house of a combo using analogue DACS and Denons Denon 3rd Link Generation for SACD Raw bitstream transfer to the AMP quality is out of this world it was soooooo advanced for its time we forget.. And even in 2021 how many other manufacturers have still not been able to equal that technology now. Yeah sure DACS have changed and gotten better with time but to be Frank these units are getting so very hard to get now in decent condition. You have to do alot of reading research and keep an eye on ebay or Hifi Shark website be ready to hit that bid button it buy it now as these units sell so very fast.

Just to let you know. The DAC's in the DVD-A1XV(A) - DVD-5910(CI) are different to the other models. They use the Burr Brown PCM-1792, the same as those in the AVC-A1XV(A) - AVR-5805(CI).
 
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Jase

Distinguished Member
The DVD-A1XV is also a very nice bit of kit, but Denon optical drives can be notoriously unpredictable and D&M do not offer much in the way of product support.

Denon Link 3 is the way to go if you have a compatible amp. It is a shame they phased it out of the newer kit.

Yes, the drives can be a bit iffy. My DVD-A1XVA refuses to play the multichannel layer of SACD's and will occasionally decide not to play ball with CD's until it's turned off and on again.

Oddly enough, my other Denon CD player (DCD1450AR) hasn't missed a beat since I bought it 21 years ago.
 
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shug4476

Active Member
Yes, the drives can be a bit iffy. My DVD-A1XVA refuses to play the multichannel layer of SACD's and will occasionally decide not to play ball with CD's until it's turned off and on again.

Oddly enough, my other Denon CD player (DCD1450AR) hasn't missed a beat since I bought it 21 years ago.

My DVD-2800mkII is still going strong 20 years on, now relegated for second room CD duties!
 
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marcd5123

Well-known Member
Yes @Jase Is correct the US models.

From my knowledge and very high reviews at the time just as an example of this period from Audioholics..

Both Denon AV-4803CI and Denon DVD-3930 were fitted with Burr-Brown 1792 or higher DACS. These DACS we're pretty much the highest quality you could get. Denon /Marantz used them and even Arcam with their AVR300 and 350 models I think.

The US models and Japanese direct models did use a slightly different specs but not much.





The review for the 3930 does indeed state those very US models.

Also theirs plenty on sister site AVSForums. ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ‘
 
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marcd5123

Well-known Member
My DVD-2800mkII is still going strong 20 years on, now relegated for second room CD duties!


I acutally had the follow up model the DVD-2900 which was a first rate unit and once again won practically every award it could get however.. I did not own it for to kind Denon once more created the grown breaking DVD-3910 which I still own from new however the transport sevo has developed a fault so keeping it for spare parts. After reading plenty of reviews from AVSforums and audioholics I decided not to bother to spend money and repair the DVD-3910 and instead save up a bit more and grab the best condition DVD-3930 iv never looked back. ๐Ÿ‘
 
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Jase

Distinguished Member
Yes @Jase Is correct the US models.

From my knowledge and very high reviews at the time just as an example of this period from Audioholics..

Both Denon AV-4803CI and Denon DVD-3930 were fitted with Burr-Brown 1792 or higher DACS. These DACS we're pretty much the highest quality you could get. Denon /Marantz used them and even Arcam with their AVR300 and 350 models I think.

The US models and Japanese direct models did use a slightly different specs but not much.





The review for the 3930 does indeed state those very US models.

Also theirs plenty on sister site AVSForums. ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ‘

It's testing my memory a bit as it's a long time ago but I'm fairly sure the DVD3930(CI) used PCM1796 DAC's. Certainly good as they put them in their AVP models.

The AVR-4308(CI) and AVR-4810(CI) used PCM1791.

See if you can find the original product brochures online as they used to list all the proper specs with breakdowns of the various components used.

Either way, they were all excellent at the time and Denon used to implement them in dual-differencial mode for Stereo, Direct etc. Something they no longer do unfortunately.
 
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marcd5123

Well-known Member
Hi @Jase Yes I believe you are definitely spot on! I I had a feeling it was one of those lol scene I last posted I managed to dig up some more reviews and specs sheets I managed to get hold of a while back and save as PDF files on my Goggle Drive totaly forgot and yes it did state everything you mentioned.

I'm pretty nerdy geeky when it comes to keeping reviews, magazines printed out reviews. Iv got plenty dating back to 2001 I think. It's great as you can always dig it out and read them agian now and then always puts a big grin on my face just love it.

Great comment I had totaly forgot about that
"dual-differencial mode for Stereo". That's something you don't here these days so much. I have a feeling they dropped that in later years as it definitely costs alot more money to produce and fit. I believe. Yes AVP models were their top upper teir end components.
 
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cmondetown

Standard Member
Is the distortion still there when using pre outs?
As an update from me I have connected my Arcam 8r to power the front speakers and so can retain the A11SR to powere the centre, sub and rears. It sounds great. Moreover I checked and the 8r is only drawing an additional 10-15kw in use. I thought it would have been more. I don't know why I didnt do the before. I'm so happy I dont have to retire my old Denon just yet :)
 
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shug4476

Active Member
It's testing my memory a bit as it's a long time ago but I'm fairly sure the DVD3930(CI) used PCM1796 DAC's. Certainly good as they put them in their AVP models.

The AVR-4308(CI) and AVR-4810(CI) used PCM1791.

See if you can find the original product brochures online as they used to list all the proper specs with breakdowns of the various components used.

Either way, they were all excellent at the time and Denon used to implement them in dual-differencial mode for Stereo, Direct etc. Something they no longer do unfortunately.

The only theoretical benefit of dual differential configuration is to improve the SNR by 3dB. In most real world scenarios it would be better to design an improved circuit. Dual differential is effectively a cheap way of doubling up the silicon in the signal path to make theoretical gains.

As an update from me I have connected my Arcam 8r to power the front speakers and so can retain the A11SR to powere the centre, sub and rears. It sounds great. Moreover I checked and the 8r is only drawing an additional 10-15kw in use. I thought it would have been more. I don't know why I didnt do the before. I'm so happy I dont have to retire my old Denon just yet :)

I certainly hope that is a typo...
 
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cmondetown

Standard Member
The only theoretical benefit of dual differential configuration is to improve the SNR by 3dB. In most real world scenarios it would be better to design an improved circuit. Dual differential is effectively a cheap way of doubling up the silicon in the signal path to make theoretical gains.



I certainly hope that is a typo...
Indeed๐Ÿ˜‚
 
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marcd5123

Well-known Member
@shug4476 At the end of the day as long as the AMP section has been designed pretty well and decent quality components have been used throughout then Dual differential Mode should sound stunning compared to standard layouts. Yeah I surpose theirs going to be lots of debates on that front as you stated . These particular Amps were designed to be aimed at "Audiophile" quality by Denon hence the high costs so the Hi-Fi quality should be their.

I do know that looking inside my AVR-4308 it had 9 independent PSUs fitted thats nuts but awesome and absolutely loads of ELNA Audio Grade Caps, with ELNA Silmic caps used as well. So Denon meant business with these models. No wonder they had such a big RRP price tag.

The same thing with DVD-3930 loads of ELNA Silmic Audio Grade caps throughout the DAC board section with PSU. My previous 3910 had hardly any of that only a Switch mode PSU to handle the unit. The DVD-3930 runs with 3 independently run PSUs.. and it weighs an absolute ton. Double shielding the same case as with DVD-A1XV.

Iv attached the Denon Official spec sheet here.
 

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marcd5123

Well-known Member
Hi @Jase Did some reading with regards to one of your comments "

It's testing my memory a bit as it's a long time ago but I'm fairly sure the DVD3930(CI) used PCM1796 DAC's. Certainly good as they put them in their AVP models.

The AVR-4308(CI) and AVR-4810(CI) used PCM1791."

You got me thinking on the nerdy side of things...

On various websites PinkFish Media, SteveHoffman website and even AV Forums just to get a feel of what folks felt about those DACS used.

The consensus is regarded in very high degree! These particular DACs that Denon used from Texas instruments which I know realy well as I'm a PC Engineer by trade they been making PC BIOS chips for decades now so they definitely know a thing or too about electronics.

These were top of the line chips.

THE Burr-Brown PCM1796 & DSD1796 variant are used in the 3930CI as the acutal DAC baord is driven by its own big EL transformer just for the audio section.

And the Burr-Brown PCM1791-A has been used in top of the line equipment by brands such as Sony on their top tear ES ranges and some Naim Audio components . Sony I think used the DSD-1791-A variant of the chip but its built on the same aspect anyway.

So yeah DACS have changed over the years as technology always adapts and changes I mean Denon now use on their top tear model the
(Advanced AL32 Processing +) instead of the standard (AL24 proocessing Plus). That's understandable as that is what technology is available now and represents 2021. The above DACS did the same and obviously represented the very best around 2007 or so.

To be fair and honest I personally realy think it does get to a point that comes a time when you don't get any more returns! Or diminishing of no returns.

The 3930CI as an example is technology made around 15 years ago now and it's now 2021 it was so bloody advanced for its time pardon the language... And yet 2021 In my view I realy do think it would stand its own with newer equipment. I mean surely how much more difference can you acutally "sonicly" get with newer DACS how much more would we or the human ear be able to in real wold terms here.

So it brings me to the point technology 15 years old is still as amazing then and still is now not alot "realy" has changed in that department...

I could be wrong... Here but these units and AV Amps seem to be either standing their own audio wise now.. In some respects I resly do believe that these models from this Period do outclass the newer ranges???... Just thinking out loud. So you feel hang on why spend ยฃยฃยฃยฃยฃ thousands on newer equipment when a product from 15 years ago or so or in some cases 20 years ago sound still sound incredible now... Why spend all that money.

Makes you think... I'll never look at a "Universal Player" in the same way again or a 4308ci. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜Ž
 
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Jase

Distinguished Member
@marcd5123

They did use to put decent components in the older models. This all seemed to change when they stopped making the proper Flagships like the AVC-A1HDA/AVP-A1HDA etc.

I believe they also changed the processing architecture on the newer models. Whilst we've got Atmos etc they seem to have gone backwards in terms of basic sound quality and overall construction.

Presumably it's down to cost and wanting to release a new model every year rather than the old 2-3 year cycle. At least the AVC-X8500H is getting updates but even that is nowhere near the older models in some departments. Look at the power capacitance (uF) for example...:facepalm:

Anyway, perhaps they'll return to their glory days but I suspect the bean counters carry more weight than the engineers these days.
 
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marcd5123

Well-known Member
Hiya @Jase ,Well the irony for me and I decided to purchase in the last year both AV-4308CI & DVD-3930CI was purely chance as such. Mainly because of Covid19 lockdown and having more time to spend with it all.

I had purchased a Denon AV- X4100W & Denon 3313UD Blu-ray player 6 years ago.

I was acutally pretty happy with the both units indeed. Having come from my previous AVR 3805 & DVD-3910 from new as well only 2 weeks after they launched. They both were in their boxes for years but both more or less mint condition I take extreme care of my products after all they cost me alot of money and I had to save up the money.

So I decided to run an experiment and get my trusty old 3805 out its box with the greatest and coolest remote control ever made by a Company ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜œ. Anyhow so I did.

All fired up perfectly ran the auto calibration and tweeked it a bit after setup. Started to play some of best well known album from my Marantz SA-15S1 and boy was I absolutely gob smacked! ๐Ÿ˜ฎPlaying everything as I always do hit that Pure "Direct Mode button"... It sounded nothing like the X4100W bearing in mind it's 16 years old. Soooo warm richer smoother better focused and pretty darn power scale. Everything sounded so much more "Hi-fi". I thought it was just a plasibo thing so I carried on and had consistent results.So then I decided I will keep this wired up for a week and see what happens.

I don't need 4K or Atmos I live in a large studio flat but still it's limited to just 5.1. I have LG 4K Nano Cell TV 8600 model and I have Amazon 2019 4K Firecube to handle all my 4K stuff. Also I have a ext HDD with all my films attached to my TV all in MKV format so again don't need it. I grabbed out my Spare QED Graphite optical cable from TV LG to the 3805. Okay so it does not have HDMI ARC its not the end of world just and extra remote I can live with that. So I spend the entire weekend played a handful of films and the 3805 more or less blasted the X4100W out the warter when it came to 5.1.

I was agian both amazed and very angry!!!. The X4100W is a 2014/15 model and yet it simply does not preform close enough to my 16 year old 3805 standards. The 3805 is very very heavy and build quality is just so much better side by side the X4100W does not stand a chance on that level.


However I had a problem I wanted a Denon AVR that was capable of playing back Dolby True HD & DTS-Master for my Hi-Res audio.....

So then I started to look at the 2007-08 models then I came across and all the reviews from all over could not rate the 4308 enough... Or models from this particular period. Anyhow many months later after bidding my time on ebay I found a almost mint 4308 unit. A guy had it in his lockup stored in its box for almost 8 years. I grabed it cost me ยฃ250... Possibly the finest ยฃ250 iv ever spent in my life. I wish I'd never brought the X4100W and even if the 4308 cost me ยฃ600 back in 2015 I would have easily payed that no question about that. The 4308 comes from the same product line as to when the 3805 was developed by Denon so I new I was on to a winner.


My DVD-3910 simply died well the servo given up... Then some more research and 3930 came up once again this realy was a 1 off unit Denon manufacturerd literally 1 year before Denon scrapped that line and went onto Blu-ray transports BTU2500 and BTU3800 I think. Denon & Marantz never made these units ever agian.

DVD-3930 cost me ยฃ210 once more I seriously could not be happier. So much so the 3930 has now become my daily driver for all my CDS and SACD'S. I'm not going to ever sell my beloved from new Marantz SA-15S1 that's still a reference model can't bring my self to that's stays in my rack. However the 3930 matches the Marantz in every way and even beats its on many occasions with either the analogue DACS and Denon 3rd Link to the 4308 they are realy a dream team together.
For me I realy do feel after 20 years now I can't be any happier I have reached my end game goal.

I will definitely be sticking with this for quite sometime now. Unless I can't get hold of AVR - 5308 I think it's bigger brother that's super rare to find.

The 4308 also does HDMI-CEC which as we know is the fore-runner to ARC. Just 1 HDMI cable and QED optical cable. And I can control the volume with my LG Magic remote control works perfectly and syncs well. Job done.

1 year old and I have not missed 4K or Atmos from my previous X4100W which is boxed up. The sonic abilities from both those units absolutely out weighs not having the latest tech.

I'm not surprised that audio quality has suffered these newer AV amps having Dolby VISION, HDR10, HDR10-HLG the 8K pass through and the rest must cost a fair bit to fit into these units so I surpose something has to suffer.
 
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Jase

Distinguished Member
@marcd5123

If you can track down a fully upgraded AVC-A1HDA (5308CI) with 3D, Audyssey XT32 etc that would be the one to keep. As you say, they rarely appear for sale these days but it's certainly worth keeping an eye out for one.
 
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marcd5123

Well-known Member
Hi @Jase Absolutely agree... Thats the one. That's littery got everything but the kitchen sink... And the very very last of the "Old school" Denon. I think that's 2011/12. Basicly 2X 4308 stuck together lol.

I tell you something the tradition Denon sound is just sublime truly is. The 4308 & 3930... Its such a very full bodied yet soooo smooth and very warm.

The sheer clarity and it's soooo dam crystal clear and very concise at the top end. The X4100W could not deliver at those levals. No way.

Playing all my SACD'S via Denon Link is just something else. It's sooo fluid warm and bang on neutral. Theirs absolutely no digital or clinical sound about it at all. It's so organic and gives a very analogue sound. How Denon managed to create that I don't know what ever magic they did its fxxing impressive!! Sorry for the language.

So yeah I'm definitely going to keep an eye out for a AVC-A1HD for sure. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ‘.
 
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Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
There's an A1XV on the 'bay now, HDMI doesn't work, but says fully functional otherwise.
 
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Jase

Distinguished Member
There's an A1XV on the 'bay now, HDMI doesn't work, but says fully functional otherwise.

The seller should update the description as it's an A1XVA with later HDMI board, remote etc.

Problem is the cost to repair them. I was quoted over 1k just for an updated HDMI board replacement on my A1XV. That didn't include any shipping either.

Mine had other issues and repair costs would have gone past 2k easily so I gave it away. Shame really as they were beasts.
 
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Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
I shared it here as I have a vague memory of some members saying that they weren't bothered about TrueHD or DTS-HD, so they could use it with just normal digital inputs.
 
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Jase

Distinguished Member
I shared it here as I have a vague memory of some members saying that they weren't bothered about TrueHD or DTS-HD, so they could use it with just normal digital inputs.

Could also be used as a poweramp if the external decoder inputs are still working. Good way to get 10 (fully assignable) channels of decent amplification.
 
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shug4476

Active Member
The A1XV was described by AV Tech as an engineering-led solution to a problem that doesn't exist! Always thought that was accurate.
 
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Jase

Distinguished Member
The A1XV was described by AV Tech as an engineering-led solution to a problem that doesn't exist! Always thought that was accurate.
It was a complicated bit of kit. Quite flexible if you wanted multizones and could work out how to set them all up.

Cleanest pre-amp I've ever heard though. Could wind it up to +18db on the MV and not hear any hiss etc on both digital and analog inputs with my ear right up to the speakers. My current Marantz is hilariously noisy in comparison.
 
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marcd5123

Well-known Member
Yeah I also saw that however I'm holding out for a decent AVC-A1HD its bloody rare but keeping fingers crossed ๐Ÿคž.. That will replace my awe dropping Denon AVR-4308CI which I'll never sell I'll keep that and give it to my parents maybe. Untill then it's ๐Ÿ‘€. One of the finest AV AMPs Denon ever sold from that particular period.

 
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