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Upgrading to: AVR-3805, RXV2400RDS, AVR300 ???

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Shaka, Jul 26, 2004.

  1. Shaka

    Shaka
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    Hi all,
    (The browser somehow lost my original post so will have to re-write all this again :-()
    My current set-up is Arcam Alpha 8 amp with Yamaha DSP-E800 processor, Arcam Alpha 7 CD, Sony DVP-S536 DVD, KEF Q35 front & KEF centre and rears (can't remember model no. for these) I have no sub at the moment.
    My first upgrade purchases are going to be a sub and a receiver to replace the Alpha 8 and the E800. I'll upgrade the CD/DVD at some other time.
    For the sub I have more or less settled for a REL Q150e mkII. I am not too fussed about getting total stereo perfection but would like the receiver to have near enough good sound quality as my Alpha 8. I have shortlisted these to: Denon 3805, Arcam AVR300, Yamaha V2400RDS, Pioneer AX5i. I don't really have the time (or the patience) to audition all of these thoroughly so would like to hear your honest opinions on these if you have auditioned them. From what I've learned so far, they all seem to be excellent products and have their own unique features. Based on what I've read, I am currently leaning more towards the Denon, which apart from a lack of THX certification, seems to have everything I need. The Arcam is a close 2nd but that has no i-link, fewer connections and slightly more expensive. Does anyone know if the Denon, or even all of these can match my Alpha 8 for stereo reproduction???

    cheers,

    Shaka
     
  2. Radiohead

    Radiohead
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    For stereo performance I'd suggest it's in this order:

    1st - Arcam
    2nd = Denon and Yamaha
    4th - Pioneer (unless you're using iLink which moves it right up the table)

    For AV it's less clear cut though - all will be excellent and it really comes down to what sound you like.
     
  3. Shaka

    Shaka
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    Thanks, i assumed Arcam would be better at stereo. but does anyone know what the stereo quality difference is between that and the Denon? If it's marginal then I would rather settle for the Denon because of the number of connections on offer. I also like it's 3 zones, that could come very handy in the future. And as my CD/DVD upgrade would consist of a player which would do DVD-Audio and SACD, the d-link will become invaluable. In which case how does the Pioneer compare with the Denon. I know it's been out longer and has Pro-logic II and no Pro logic IIx, but again I'm won't lose any sleep over that.

    thanks Shaka
     
  4. Shaka

    Shaka
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    p.s. can the Denon remote handle other equipment or is it only to control the Denon receiver? Currently, I have a Phillips Pronto (the black & white one), but have only managed to program my CD and Sky box to it even though I've had it for 3 years (yes I can be very lazy) :)
     
  5. MattTheBeanster

    MattTheBeanster
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    I demo'd both the Arcam and the Denon twice. first time was with B&W 602 stand mounts and 2nd time was B&W 602.5 floor standers.

    The denon IMHO lacks a load of midband weight to the sound, i found this very noticible on the 602's but less so on the 602.5. Since i have the standmounts it made for an easier dicision.
     
  6. AndyGo

    AndyGo
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    I demoed the AVR300 against the Denon.

    Avr 300 seemed marginally better in stereo (but denon was actually a lot better than i expected.)

    Surprisingly (!!) , I found the Arcam to be a lot better in DTS/DD and IIx !
    It seemed much richer and more filled out than the reedy bright sound of the Denon (sounded similar to the sort of sound my DSP-a1 gives with presence front speakers). IIx from a laserdisc player sounded impressive on the Arcam but not so on the Denon. It was almost as if the Denon were struggling to keep up power-wise. This was using a mix of MK & PMC speakers at the demo & results were pretty similar on both.
    Also, the component up-conversion on the Arcam gave better results than the Denon with an s-video LD input, although the Denon was still reasonable.

    Off to have a listen to some Rotel kit tomorrow.

    Cheers,
    Andy
     
  7. jamesl01

    jamesl01
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    The Denon remote is of the learning variety so can control all your devices.

    James
     
  8. Barend

    Barend
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    Agree, AVR3805 bit thin in the middle, tried an equalizer but couldn't really improve.
    I hate the word, as it's used in too many ads, but the Arcam really is more...musical.
    Tried a symphony again, when there's a unisono orchestral outburst you feel the pressure coming on your chest, but much less on the Denon.
    First I thought the AVR300 had rolled off treble, but that's not true- both receivers are very detailed in stereo.
    Second harmonics? Dunno...
    It's a mystery to me!
    Barend
     
  9. Shaka

    Shaka
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    Thanks for your comments all. But what about the lack of i-link on the Arcam? The Arcam would be my first choice if it had that. In a few months, I'd also like to replace my current CD & DVD units with one player that will have SACD & DVD-A (haven't decided on the model yet). Doesn't i-link give a much improved performance over the standard inputs when it comes to SACD/DVD-A?
    Perhaps I'll need to audition them myself and then decide whether the Arcam's performance is better enough to justify the £500 price diff (can get the Denon for around £800) and the lack of i-link.
    But as always your views/opinions are appreciated. Keep em coming.
     
  10. Shaka

    Shaka
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    p.s. Has anyone got experience with the Pioneer AX5i? I remember reading some good reviews for it a while back. How does that compare against the Arcam and the Denon?
    And what about the Yamaha 2400 ... Anyone demo'ed that??
     
  11. Barend

    Barend
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    True! Just had the Pioneer DV-868 in, and it really is a pity...afaik only Sony and Pioneer have i-link, but neither has Denon- their Denonlink protocol is different. Agree the Arcam's a bitt stiff priced, but I prefer it nevertheless for sheer sound quality, anyway, my AVR-3805's for sale now for 1049 Euro's in case you're interested- it's deep black which is very posh!
    If you insist on i-link the only Pio receiver with a really good stereo sound is the VSX-10i (or something), and forget the Sony's.
    Barend
    BTW- The DV868 sound is remarkably good, carefully adjusted (separate stereo cable to the AVR cd input and everything set to direct) I couldn't find a diff with my Arcam CD82T. Don't like the digital stereo hi-bit sound though. But 5.1 is excellent, as is the pic. Player costs 999 Euro's in Germany.
    Barend
     
  12. davepuma

    davepuma
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    Hi,

    I too am looking at replacing my Yamaha DSP-E800/Arcam Alpha 8 combo, mainly to get DPL2 etc. I originally thought about just going for the Arcam AVR300 but it's a bit too pricy for me, especially as I can get a Denon 3805 for 460 GBP out here in Singapore. I don't want to go down the 'two boxes' route again but would a Denon 3805 be as good in stereo as my old Alpha or would connecting the Alpha to the pre-out on the 3805 be an option? Space isn't an issue as I have two separate racks anyway. The retailer recommended a Pioneer ax5i over the Denon (and it was cheaper) as it had THX. Which one is the best to go for? I won't get the chance to audition any of these receivers out here other than the Arcam AVR300.
     
  13. Barend

    Barend
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    The Pioneer is a bad investment, there'll be a new range soon.
    I daresay the Denon sound is better overall.
    I consider THX as insignificant.
    Barend
     
  14. ic33

    ic33
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    I wouldn't be surprised if your Alpha8 is still better than any of the AV receivers you listed in stereo, so you may be better focussing on other areas and just running your CD output direct to the Alpha8.

    I was in a similar position about 12-18 months ago and was looking to spend about £800 on an AV receiver to replace a budget stereo integrated and pro logic receiver. I was quite disapointed with the stereo performances of the AV amps. I auditioned an Arcam AVR200 and then heard the A75 and A85 stereo amps. Night and day difference and it convinced my that I'd be better spending my money on a new stereo amp (ended up with a MF A3.2) and save up for a dedicated AV unit - just bought the 3805.

    You're in a slightly different postion as you say music is not the highest priority but if that's the case then maybe you can live with the Alpha8 for now and just buy something that gives you the best in surround performance and features. The Denon certainly won't disappoint on this.
     
  15. Shaka

    Shaka
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    Well I finally have it!! :clap: :clap:
    I've bought the Arcam AVR300. Got it yesterday after a demo at the local Sevenoaks. I was extremely impressed with it: in surround sound and stereo. We put on Pearl Harbour and it sounded just spectacular. The sound of the planes as the fly by was so detailed and smooth unlike my current setup where it just wasn't right or as detailed. I'm rubbish at picking out subtle details and nuances in music, but from what I could tell it is as good if not a little better in stereo than my Alpha 8 integrated amp. Which is what I wanted. Plus I can also biamp the fronts because I don't intend to use the 7.1 setup, as I don't have enough room nor want anymore speakers.
    Have a couple of problems at the moment. When I got it home yesterday and finally got everything connected to it, found out that my existing speaker cables for the fronts do not fit the AVR300 even though it's an Arcam, like my Alpha 8. The centre and rears are fine because they're just bare cables anyway. I couldn't wait and was desperate to try it out, so stripped the cables at the amp end and just inserted the bare cables in. However the cabels are extremely stiff and it was a struggle to get them in. I don't think there is proper contact. Just waiting for Seveoaks to open so I can go and get some new cables. Any recommendations???
    I also purchased a sub yesterday too - Rel Q150E mkII, but I don't understand the setup. I think the neutrik cable (Hi level) is for when listening to stereo music and the other subwoofer cable (Lo level) I got is for LFE surround sound. However there were 2 connections for this: one labeled 0db and the other +12db, not sure which one to use so plugged it into 0db socket. There also a few knobs at the back. I'm not sure what the Rolloff frequency does and what it should ideally be set to. Also there's a "mode" knob. What should that be set to?
    And that just leaves the receiver to setup, which I'll do later on once I've read the manual properly.

    cheers,
     
  16. galewis1

    galewis1
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    Where can you get a 3805 for £460 :eek: ... and will they deliver to the UK?
     
  17. Roguey

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    remmeber u got to add import tax and vat, which would probably make it equal, plus its got to come an long way - so much harder to simply return if any problems arise..
     
  18. davepuma

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    Any one of the shops in the Sim Ling Square Shopping Mall (5 or 6 floors of gadgets!). I'm afraid they don't do mail order as they're just a shop. I'm seriously considering it though as I can't justify spending an extra 700GBP for the Arcam AVR300. I did have my heart set on the Arcam as I want to go for one Amp for both music and AV as opposed to my current system (Yahama DSP-E800 which has served me well for a few years now).

    Cheers
     
  19. Crustyloafer

    Crustyloafer
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    I'd suggest you also read the manual for the subwoofer whilst your at it.
     
  20. MattTheBeanster

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    stick the avr300 sub out into the 0db. the mode set to 2 for LFE as the soundtrack intended. there are rolloffs for high and low, low shouldn't do anything with the mode set to 2 (the avr300 takes care of it), high is for the stereo neutrik link.

    read the manual that came with it or download from the rel web site, it'll explain how and where to set it up. will take a while but definately worth the effort.
     
  21. Shaka

    Shaka
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    Thanks for the info Matt. I did read the manual but still don't quite get it when it comes to frequencies. I've set it up anyway as the manual and your suggestions. I'm finding that sometimes it gets too loud for my taste, so I lower it and then other times when I'm expecting some bass there is nothing or very little. I suppose I'll have to keep tuning it and over time I'll get it to the ideal level. I think I've nailed it in stereo though as it sounds just right - not too much and not too little :)
    Do I have to change anything on the AVR300? I have it left the crossover frequency to 60Hz as it was originally.
    I have another couple of questions though (sorry):
    Not sure if I've set something wrong or not, but I'm finding the sound to be a bit 'low'. It doesn't seem to have the impact that I was expecting. I mean it sound awesome during the demo, but now I have it home it doesn't sound as exciting and dynamic. I've tried a few movies at around 70Db, but there doesn't seem to be that much 'life' in it. Don't get me wrong it sounds very good but not great, like it did in the shop. Any ideas ??
    Also the manual talks about being able to connect it to a TV Scart (RGB) socket using the video trigger sockets. As I don't have a plasma or LCD yet, to be able to use component, this quite intrigues me. Would I get any better picture quality using this than the quality I get by connecting my DVD player directly to the TV??? What kind of cable would be needed for this. Can you buy it or is it a specially modified cable?

    cheers,
     
  22. Roguey

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    just basically for an extra £500 here in the uk for an AVR300, u get better music performance but is that it? i guess with the 3805 u probably get more features althou
     
  23. RohanM

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    Just to throw a bit of a curve-ball in: in the Aug 2004 issue of HiFi News (a seriously esotric 'highbrow' magazine, with a degress in electrical and elctronic engineering required for the technical analysis!), they had an AV kit supplement called "AV Tech". (i was stranded at a train station, it was the only hi-fi/AV mag I hadn't read!, so I bought it).

    This edition tested Denon 3805, Arcam AVR300, Harman AVR630, Pioneer AX5si, and the latest Rotel and Yamaha gear (can't remember the model no.s) from around the 1000GBP mark. I don't think they tested them in 2-channel stereo (surprising, I know), but they did the usual DVD-A, DVD-V, and SACD.

    Basically, the Arcam was dissed, the Rotel was probably the best for sound quality, but the Denon came out tops overall... The Pioneer was rated, too, but with the proviso that you use it with I-link sources.

    Interestingly, they say the Pioneer AX5 is the same as the AX3 (Motorola DACs, processing, amplification, etc) and that you are purely paying for the 2x I-link connections in the AX5. So, if you like the sound (which they rated highly) and don't have/intend to buy I-link gear in the short-term, save yourself some money and buy the AX3!

    On the Arcam, they stated that it MUST be used with the speaker impedence selector (extremely rare on an AV amp) on the 4 ohm setting, not 8 ohm. This may explain the lack of impact that Shaka's experiencing. (make sure everything is turned off before switching this!).

    One good thing about the AV Tech reviews, is that it mentions what happens to the bass and LFE signals, on the different speaker size/bass management settings - which is a bit too detailed to write here, but anyone whoever read "Home Entertainment" mag when it was alive, will recognise the importance of this.

    Going back to Shaka's query, most articles state 80Hz should be the sub's crossover frequency setting (I think this is a THX requirement, too). AV Tech also states that the AVR300 adds more bass gain than the others - which would explain the inconsistency that Shaka is experiencing. You can change this on both the AVR300 and on the sub.
     
  24. Barend

    Barend
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    It would be lovely if somebody could scan & mail me the article, as I can't get the mag in Holland. If some wise guy chooses to put me in my place again and write "Order the mag"- well, they did not react nor send it abroad...
    Hope some kind soul will respond. barendh@xs4all.nl

    That said and not having read the article it sure is funny not to include STEREO / DIRECT in the listening test, as this is the major test for pure sound quality!
    Let's be frank, ANY receiver sounds spectacular when it's throwing 6 or 7 sound sources at you...
    What I read now is that the AVR-300 is supposed to be bassy, which I can't agree on, listen to a classical orchestra and the stereo sound is EXACTLY as it should be, nothing is exaggerated nor suppressed, with firm bass and sparkling high. Or listen to the Teldec Beethoven Symphonies by Barenboim, a very lifelike DVD-A 5.1 experience.
    I found the Denon a bit weak in the mids and with slightly exaggerated highs.
    So I chose the Arcam, for pure sound purity- in DD-EX as well, never tiring, always intricate sound, excellent dialogue clarity.
    Don't think I'm a real Arcam aficionado, and I fought hard to find major faults in the AVR-300... :D
    But for others, the choice may be different!
    Barend
     
  25. Roguey

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    choice is mainly around price, £500 isnt a little more, maybe if it was only like £100/200 more everyone would get one instend. i think there pricing isnt doing them any favors, if anything - making them lose a few sales to companies like denon, who offer a product which is not £500 behind in quality.
     
  26. Barend

    Barend
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    I agree. Arcam seems to aim at the high end market here but the product (albeit excellent) is just not good enough to match the price.
    Barend
     
  27. Roguey

    Roguey
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    is it arcam setting the prices that high? is it cause of the manfactoring costs are more? - i doubt the parts cost an lot more, well not £500 more!
     

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