HELP: Setup for Denon 3800 for CD audio & which AV amp upgrade ?


Standard Member
I am using a REL Strata sub with KEF RDM2's biwired using Ecosse ES2.3/CS2.15 combo speaker cables. Presently a good quality QED optical cable is used to connect it the Denon 3800 DVD to the Sony AV (940 model) for both CD & movie audio.

Firstly I want to get the best out of my present setup & hoping that experienced forum members can help by answering some of my questions:

Does the players AL24 Plus processing offer real world sound improvement (i.e it’s not just a marketing gimmick) ?

Does the AL24 Plus processing output via both digital (optical) & analogue connects?

- If its analogue only than I guess I need to invest in some decent analogue interconnects. Recommendations?

-I have considered using analogue interconnects & using the Direct Analogue option on the amp which I believe will bypass all of its processing completely. Concern with that in Direct Analogue mode the amp does not send out any sub out & I feel I must have sub working as the RDM2's are fairly small speakers that are not able to reach particularly deep.

-Does the amp also have to support AL24Plus for it to be fully appreciated?

Is there anything else I can do to improve audio quality (in setup or hardware ) ?
New CD/DVD player is not an option as at this point I want to wait for BluRay players... possibly PS3 in march until 2nd/3rd standalone players are out.

Secondly I’m after advice on replacing my current aging Sony AV amp.

I realise that the Sony AV receiver is not really a great audiophile amp for CD music but I’m stuck with it for a little longer. I will be looking for another replacement AV amp soon. I have a budget of £400 so I will be shopping 2nd hand for yesterday's top AV amp at a bargain. As well as great CD audio sound I want it to have great home cinema sound with support for at least Dolby Prologic II if not IIx. I'm quite happy to stay with a 5.1 & it is not essential that supports 7.1 or more.

A friend of mine recently picked up a Denon ASR11 for £450 which I have heard & fallen in love with. Only thing is it's huge which is a little off putting for me as I don’t have much space. I'm also not overly in need of the THX support –if its there it’s a bonus. I am considering the cheaper Denon 3803 or possibly 3805 if someone swears that it is that much better (extra £150-£250). I’m hoping these might offer the same Sonics as the ASR11 but in a smaller package.

Would either of these make enough sonic difference over my Sony 940 to justify an upgrade?

Is there another AV AMP out there in my price bracket that I should consider instead? Pioneer/Yamaha/Arcam etc... ?

Any tips & advice would be much appreciated. Thanks



Distinguished Member
AL24 Processing Plus on the DVD player only affects the analog output. Whether it offers any improvement is tricky to say as you can't switch it on or off at will.

For analog cables try

Mark is one of the members here on the Forum. :)

The Amp doesn't have to support AL24 Processing Plus either. Some of the later Denon's have this for 2ch Playback and others have the more sophisticated Advanced AL24 Processing.

Some Amps (Denon's) will let you have sub output even in their Direct/Pure Direct Modes if you wish. Later models have a seperate setup for their 2ch Modes where you can specify speaker size, crossover etc.

The A11SR is a very good AV amp so you won't get it's sort of performance from the 3803 and 3805. It has a better Pre-Amp section and much more potent amplification. Kef RDM's sound very nice when paired with Denon's. I used to have RDM1's with my old Denon KA1SE. :)


Distinguished Member
It does come in black but there aren't as many about as the gold/champagne ones.

What's your max budget for an Amp?


Distinguished Member
400 will get you ex flagship Amps like the Denon A1D although I prefer the A11SR to be honest. Denon A1SE's are starting to get near the 500 barrier. Sold my upgraded A1SE for 650 quid...


Standard Member
Unfortunately the Denon A1D does not do Dolby Prologic II which i want for broadcast TV viewing. I might just end up buying a new cabinet to stick ASR11. By the way how smaller are the 3800 series AVR to the ASR11 ?

Also I just found out there is the Sony - STRD1200ES going cheap as £329 brand new. Got a 5 Star review review What Hi-Fi.
How would this compare to an older used Denon 3803/3805 ?
A used Denon 3805 will probably cost £100-150 more than the brand new Sony which seems like a real bargain but sonically can it touch the Denon for cd & movie audio ?



Distinguished Member
To be honest, I've not heard any of the Sony range so wouldn't like to comment.

The 380* series Denon's aren't as deep or as high as the A11SR and they weigh less.


Standard Member
Thanks for all your replies Jase.

Opinions & advice from other forum members would still be very welcome.
I'm still in need of answers & would appreciate opnions on:

- Optical Versus Analogue interconnects for listening to CD audio as AL24 is only functional via analogue

- Denon 3803 Versus Sony STRD1200ES in terms of sonic quality for cd music & movies
- And is either of these AVR upgrades going to make a big enough difference sonically over my current Sony 940 ? Marginal improvement would not justify upgrade & I will instead look to spend more or hang on little longer to what I have.

- Alternative AVR to suggested ones that i might have overlooked.

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