Disappointed with my Denon, should I switch to Yamaha?

potey77

Novice Member
I'm considering swapping out my Denon AVR-2311 as I've been a little disappointed with it's build quality and performance ever since I purchased it 8 months ago.

I recently upgraded to some MA Radius HD speakers and a BK Gemini sub. I am yet to be fully "blown away" by the surround sound experience.

Occasionally, depending on the movie, my setup produces a bit of a grin. But it's not very often.

Treble sounds a bit too excited, quite a bit of sibilance in dialogue. The bottom end is better, the little BK is fantastic.

But it's not just sound quality, the Denon feels plasticy for a £600 receiver. HDMI handshaking is sometimes flaky and the display looks like it cost 50p.

So my question is, would a change to a Yamaha receiver be beneficial? I know the MA Radius/Yamaha combo is well tried and tested, but I thought the MA Radius/Denon combo was just as good?

I've been looking at the Yamaha RX-A810 as an alternative. You can currently pick one up for £650 and my Denon 2311 is pretty much pristine so should get a good price on here.

Would it be worth it or am I wasting my time?

Any help would be most appreciated.
 

Keiron

Well-known Member
Shame to read this, I was interested in the 2312 (which I guess is the newer version).

Really, £800 amps should have a nice slab of metal for the facia as a minimum.

My little old Cambridge Audio despite the lack of features (hence why I'm looking at changing) is built like a tank and I can't criticise the sound one bit. (I previously had a Yamaha and expensive Sony ES and they wer terrible). What about a higher end Cambridge Audio?
 

potey77

Novice Member
I've looked at the Cambridge Audio stuff and although you can't beat a good bit of British build quality, their AV receivers don't get very many positive reviews with regards to their sound I believe.

The Yammy's are supposed to be good. Any Adventage owners out there want to chip in?
 

MaturityDodger

Well-known Member
My gut feeling is that the AVR isn't the reason you're not impressed by the surround effects.
Speakers make much more difference to the sound quality then the amp, but even more than that can be the room and the setup.
How are your speakers set up? Can you give a quick room plan? What are the surfaces like in your room? Anything soft to absorb echos?
 

potey77

Novice Member
Hmmm I thought this might crop up!

I do have a particularly difficult room. I dont have a plan but can give you a quick run-down, but it doesn't make for pretty reading!

Victorian terrace
5m x 4m living room
Second floor suspended wooden floors, although 60% are covered with a rug and two large sofas.
High ceiling, therefore large and uncovered walls.
One wall consists of 3 large bay windows which occupy 80% of the wall

When you clap your hands together you can hear the echo...
 

MaturityDodger

Well-known Member
When you clap your ahnds together you can hear the echo!
I think that your room is much more an issue than your equipment. Unless you can find a way to improve this, I think you'd be wasting your money in upgrades.

One thing I could think of is to put your sub, and possibly fronts if they're floorstanders on a plinth, due to your suspended floor. But you're happy with your low-end so maybe even that isn't worth it.

How about the positioning of the speakers? Are you roughly in line with this guide?
Dolby Home Theater Speaker Placement and Setup Guide
i.e. fronts 22-30 degrees from centre, surrounds 90-110 degrees from centre, with tweeters all pointing at the listening position?
 

potey77

Novice Member
I know the room is far from ideal but I don't a huge amount of choice!

Speaker position is skewed, the TV can only go in the corner due to a large victorian fireplace. I have R250 floorstanders up front.

I've played with bass settings endlessly, the sub is on TWO granite chopping baords AND an Auralex subdude. It's improved things a lot but I still can't push the volume levels without the floor resonating.

The centre speaker is the biggest disappointement though, dialogue is often muffled and I have to raise the centre trim level to hear it. I'm only 34 so not my hearing. I hope...
 

Keiron

Well-known Member
I've looked at the Cambridge Audio stuff and although you can't beat a good bit of British build quality, their AV receivers don't get very many positive reviews with regards to their sound I believe.
I'm not sure that's the case? I don't tend to take notice of reviews but I always seem to recall CA get excellent reviews for sound quality - it's the often unnecessary) facilities that they tend to fall short on.

I'm in the camp that all well designed amps sound the same - but some clearly aren't that well designed as the receivers I had from Sony and Yamaha were shocking. My modest little CA on the other hand is pretty much flawless, and compares with much higher end serious kit I used to have. It drove my Dynaudio Contours superbly well.

I see CA have a new receiver in their line up, but it doesn't seem to be available yet.
 

potey77

Novice Member
One thing about the Yamaha Adventage Series does bother me though, apparently only the A2010 and up have independent crossovers. The radius speakers have quite varying frequency ranges, the centre goes down to 55hz and the fronts 48hz. The rears however only go down to 80hz, so I would have to set the crossover at 80.

Now forgive me if I'm missing something here, but what's the point of having front and centre speakers that are capable of producing low frequency's if all you do is channel it to the sub? I may as well of saved money (and space) and bought R90's/R180's all round?
 

MaturityDodger

Well-known Member
Speaker position is skewed, the TV can only go in the corner due to a large victorian fireplace. I have R250 floorstanders up front.
Not ideal, but I know that it can be hard to do it right in all rooms. Could be detracting from the surround effect, but shouldn't cause the HF problems you mentioned.
I've played with bass settings endlessly, the sub is on TWO granite chopping baords AND an Auralex subdude. It's improved things a lot but I still can't push the volume levels without the floor resonating.
That's exactly the sort of thing I meant - I don't think you'll get any better than this.
The centre speaker is the biggest disappointement though, dialogue is often muffled and I have to raise the centre trim level to hear it. I'm only 34 so not my hearing. I hope...
Depending on the film and how well it's mixed, it can be quite normal to want to raise the level on the centre.
I guess you're just talking about native 5.1 sources? Because if you're upmixing stereo to 5.1 in your system, that could be part of the problem. I'd keep stereo input to stereo output.
 

andyshez

Novice Member
One thing about the Yamaha Adventage Series does bother me though, apparently only the A2010 and up have independent crossovers. The radius speakers have quite varying frequency ranges, the centre goes down to 55hz and the fronts 48hz. The rears however only go down to 80hz, so I would have to set the crossover at 80.

Now forgive me if I'm missing something here, but what's the point of having front and centre speakers that are capable of producing low frequency's if all you do is channel it to the sub? I may as well of saved money (and space) and bought R90's/R180's all round?
I'd be very interested in an answer to this as well.

I have my Yamaha RX-V671 set with a crossover at 120hz as that's the minimum rating shown for my Canton Movie 80 CX speakers.

In future I will look to upgrade the fronts to floor standers with a meatier centre, but if I keep my Canton's at the rear then presumably the crossover would have to stay at 120??
 

Greg Hook

Moderator & Reviewer
Have you considered Onkyo? I've had the 905 for a few years now and it is a beast of a thing. A BEAST!
 

potey77

Novice Member
I had a 608 before the Denon, too clinical for my ears. And the MA's don't pair well, for that reason.

Build quality and firmware was far superior though.
 

potey77

Novice Member
Superior to Yamaha or Denon?
Never had a yammy so can't comment, but much, much better than the Denon. The volume and input selector knobs on the Denon feel like they're going to come off in your hand when turned.
 

wysinawyg

Active Member
There's lots of advice (including one of the stickies here? IIRC) that you should always have crossovers set at 80Hz anyway on the basis that whilst floorstanders can do 40-50Hz a Sub does it better and leaving out the low stuff leaves the floorstanders better able to deal with the mid-bass.

Similarly while a little speaker may do something at 80Hz, it isn't going to do it as well as a floorstander.

Tis a bit of an issue though if your rears only do 120Hz and you have to set crossover globally.
 

potey77

Novice Member
Yes I'm aware on the school of thought on the 80hz crossover, including it being recommended by THX. I will of course bow to superior knowledge and experience, but having (near) full-range speakers and not using their full-range seems pointless. I appreciate that LFE should be directed to the sub, but why should the lower frequencies in a movies soundtrack be also filtered out?
 

MaturityDodger

Well-known Member
I have a pair of XTZ 99.36s as my fronts. I also use them with a separate stereo amplifier for music listening. They sound fantastic with that, and go ridiculously low.
They're also much better in quality than my subwoofer, which is next on my upgrade wish list.
But for surround listening (and my AVR doesn't have pre-outs, so I'm using it to power the speakers, not the stereo amp) I've tried lots of different settings. The AVR (Onkyo TX-SR508) can set the crossover for all speakers at the same time, but can then set each speaker to 'small' or 'large', where large speakers take full-range. There's also a 'double bass' option, to duplicate sub signals through the fronts.
I've played around with all of these, and find that the best sound comes when I take the low frequencies away from the fronts, and give it all to the sub.

With the AVR having to power the fronts at full-range, it struggles to hold onto the speakers, and bass becomes very boomy. I've found that with larger speakers and underpowered amps in the past. I think it's a case of the amp's inability to keep up with the speaker's instantaneous demands for current.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that even though the speakers are much higher quality than the sub, and that they are capable of reproducing very low frequencies, it can still be better that they don't.
 

potey77

Novice Member
Good explanation, thank you.

I do see the logic of it, having the sub to do the work leaves more headroom for the fronts, just that I fail to see the point of having floorstanders as fronts in the first place, unless you listen to a good split of movies/music.
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
I have just replaced my Sony 3500ES with a Yamaha RX-A810 Before that I had a CA 540R,
Best price on the A810 at the moment is £619 I believe.
 
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potey77

Novice Member
Lisa, thanks for the info on the A810.

I really need to way up wether it'll be any significant improvement for me to swap to the Yamaha from the Denon. And realistically the only real way is to try one out!

Where can one be had for £619 incidentally?
 

Fallen30angel

Standard Member
lisag said:
I have just replaced my Sony 3500ES with a Yamaha RX-A810 and am delighted with the improvement in sound. Before that I had a CA 540R, and my current set up does sound far superior to anything I have had before (although I had different speakers partnering the CA).

So, with the same Kef Speakers, the change from the Sony to the Yamaha has resulted in the sound now filling the room much more. With the Sony, the sound came mainly from the fronts, with the odd effects from the rears, but now it is hard to pinpoint where different audio is in the room, it is much more immersive, and I am really pleased with the upgrade.

I did upgrade the speaker cable to the rears at the same time as installing the new amp. Apart from that, there has been no other changes. I am especially impressed with the Neo Cinema 6 setting on stereo tv broadcasts, it is a type of pro-logic setting but works really well and makes normal boring stereo tv a lot more interesting.

Best price on the A810 at the moment is £619 I believe.

lisa
Lisa,

Good to hear your positive report on the Yamaha RX-A810, I'm about to replace my Onkyo 606 and have been reviewing the forums looking to see not only from a suitable replacement perspective but also an uplift to a higher spec amp. I think the vast majority of the market is populated by the circa £400 apps which I believe would be a more sideways rather than upwards move!

what KEF speakers are you running with it?

Rich
 

potey77

Novice Member
The price has dropped since Yesterday! Cheers for the heads up.
 

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