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Denon differences & doubts!!

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by RAC, Apr 4, 2001.

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  1. RAC

    RAC
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    Thanks for reading this. I'm chewing over spending some money on my first HT amplifier and have been focussing on the Denon range. I'm interested in the AVR-3801, but given that HT is a little less important to me than good music replay, I wonder whether it will be sufficiently musical?

    So, I can spend more money of course and the AVC-A10SE seems like a good product, but then it does have less Surround Sound functionality/ amplifier channels. I realise that I could add another power amp, but I think that is spending too much money. But then the thought occurred to me, perhaps the AVR-3801 would benefit from an external amp.

    Can a pre-amp be used in conjunction with the 3801 and will that deliver a better overall package than going straight to the A10SE? I'd appreciate any thought and comments you might have, or pointers to other web material. (I've tried doing my homework already, and I need a bit of extra help - thanks). :rolleyes:
     
  2. russraff

    russraff
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    As far as I am aware, the 3801 has fantastic processing, much like the older 3300 had. I would get a 3801 for £600 and a stereo poweramp if CD replay is important to you. I have a soft spot for Rotel amps, so I would recommend the 991 200 w/chnl, or Arcam Alpha 10.
    if it is any help, I had a Rotel poweramp (1075), and thought the quality of that was better than a Denon A1D I had on loan (which is itself better than the A10SE).

    Russell
     
  3. RAC

    RAC
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    Thanks Russ - I had a feeling that this might be true and could be a way of spending money more wisely, whilst getting better results for music. That being said, I still have some specific questions:
    1. Can anyone comment as to how superior the A10SE is sonically to the 3801, and
    2. Are their usability issues in having another amp hanging off the 3801. e.g. what about adjusting volumes/ what about playing stereo CD's in one of the surround sound modes etc. I guess I'm looking for further insights, as I don't have sufficient experience of my own in this area. Thanks. :confused:
     
  4. russraff

    russraff
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    Okay, here are the differences as far as I am aware:

    The A10SE has a better poweramp stage utilising quite a large "toroidal" transformer. This is basically a more efficient kind of power supply that also produces much better sonic results than cheaper "frame" power supplies. Examples of frame powered amps are: Yamaha AX1 and Sony 777ES. Tellingly, all Arcam amps (except the new receiver, I think) use toroids, as do all Rotel power amps. The A10SE also has more capacitance which, I believe, means that there is more power in reserve for when a sudden loud passage occurs in the music/film.
    The A10SE uses dual shark processors, but the second one is used specifically for THX processing which, in my opinion, is a complete waste of time.
    Other than this, I think the DACs are the same Analog Devices model, and both the 3801 and the A10SE are wide bandwidth designs for upcoming SACD and DVD-Audio.
    The A10SE will be an improvement over the 3801, no doubt. It’s just that the A10 won’t be as good as the 3801 and poweramp combo.

    The 3801’s internal speaker level settings can be adjusted to match volume levels if you added a 2 chnl amp. As for listening to CD’s in 5chnl mode, yes there will be a discrepancy in quality, if you were to use a 2 chnl amp. Just play CD’s in stereo.

    Anyway, hope this helps - Russell
     
  5. Guest

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    The Denon 3801 is very well regarded, haven't heard it myself but it seems to be doing very well. It's also available discounted for around 600UKP.

    Have you looked at the Arcam AVR-100, which is very well regarded for music. However it is a minimalist receiver in terms of home cinema features - if you're interested be sure it's going to be happy with your speaker setup (i.e. avoid satellites and a sub !).

    I would say if you have a budget of 800 UKP and want the best receiver you can get for stereo then get the Arcam. If you want more features and better 5.1 (or 7.1) performance then go for the Denon. Apparently the Denon isn't that far behind the Arcam in 2 channel mode.

    I got an AVR-100 a couple of weeks ago after listening to CD's with the DV-88 DVD player, but didn't even demo it in DD/dts mode.

    Hopefully the power drop in 5 channel mode (90w to 70w) won't affect quality too much when I buy centre and rear speakers !

    Web links:
    www.audioreview.com should have (somewhat biased) reviews of the amps you're considering.
    http://www.aslgroup.com/arcam/Default.htm#AVR100 has some great info on the Arcam if you're interested, including build details (toroidal transformer etc.)

    DF
     
  6. RAC

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    Brilliant. I think I'm quite interested in the Denon, just for it's processing capabilities and it's all round abilities (that's not to say I'm closed to other options like the Arcam - I'll certainly check it out).

    Does anyone have any thoughts on suitable power amps that could be used with the 3801? I know Denon make a power amp called the POA-T10 (or something like that!). Are there any obvious benefits with sticking same brand, like ability to control volume settings on both amps at the same time, or gain balancing etc? (Interestingly, this power amp I just referred to only appears on Denon's German website and none of the others....). Cheers.
     
  7. Reiner

    Reiner
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    As for the external amp you must differentiate between stereo-amps (ie normal hifi-stereo amps) and power amps.

    The POA-T10 is a 2 channel power amp and does not have volume control or input selector for different sources like normal stereo-amps do.
    Volume control is therefore controlled by the AV amp/receiver which is actually an advantage over using a stere-amp as those would require a manual adjusting when switching between stereo and AV.

    It is recommended to stick to the same brand to maintain tonal balance and some amps of the same brand are also gain-matched, ie with the same input level signal they "sound equally loud".
    If they are not gain matched you could - to a certain extend - adjust via the pre-amp's menu (in this case the AV amp/receiver).

    [ 05-04-2001: Message edited by: Reiner ]
     
  8. RAC

    RAC
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    I guess the other option to consider is to go the separates route whole heartedly and get a pre/amp processor, and then a multi channel power amp. But it doesn't seem to me like there's an awful lot of products in this market place, and the ones that are, will be well outside of the budget I'm going to work with (I was hoping not to spend more than £1200-1500 on amps for new kit). Is there something else I should consider??
     
  9. Koen

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    the biggest advantages of having both of the same brand are that the gain will be the same, and the fase will be correct. By that last thing I mean that if you would want to bi-amp your front speakers, using the 3801 for the tweeters and the power-amp for the woofers, the signal will reach the speaker at the exact same time. this is important when you choose to go for a three-channel processor like a yamaha 800, in combination with a stereo-amp for the fronts. it's best to keep both amps from the same brand.
    another issue which I think ís important are the looks. It will look far nicer to have to units in the same finish than some ill-assorted pile of gear that you can't bear to look at for a second. The wife of significant other will love you for it too.
    hope this helps, you're certainly on the right track !
    cheers

    Koen :D
     
  10. MarkB

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    I heard on the grape vine that Denon are going to release an "intermediary" 7 channel amplifier/receiver to bridge the gap between the 3801 and the AVC-A1SE flagship. All I know is that it will end in a "2" (and not "1" like 3801) to denote Dolby Pro Logic II processing.
    I can't remember any more than that but it might be worth waiting a few weeks to see what *might* transpire… It may have been bull but then it might not. Unfortunately, Denon gives no word on future products. Keep us posted on your choice anyway.
    Mark B
     
  11. RAC

    RAC
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    There really doesn't seem to be much out there as far as I can tell that offers all the upto date processing like the 3801 offers, but in a separates solution. I read up on the Rotel RMB-1095 power amp last night. It looks awesome (and recks my budget!), but it only offers 5 channels (who knows if I'll ever want that 6th one?). And as far as separate processors/ pre-amps are concerned, they all seem to be a bit old and don't have the latest chips/ decoding possibilities (unless you want to spend out on the higher end stuff, which to be frank, I don't).
    I wonder if an interim solution might just be to plump for the 3801 and wait 6 months to see what happens. I'm sure that the strong brand (never mind the technology) of Pro-Logic II is going to shake things up a little. Again, comments, suggestions and admonitions are welcomed. Thank you. ;)
     

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