Using non-hdmi receivers for sound only


Standard Member
Basically none of audio travels via HDMI whereas all my video does (projector).


I currently use a bi-amped combination of a lowly Denon for the highs (1804) and an old Sony UK spec av amp, STR-DB1080 uk spec for the mids plus a couple of subwoofers. 6.1 array. Speakers are a combination of B&W 602S3 front + B&W centre, MIssion sides and Tannoy backs - a right mismash. Oppo BDP-83 Bluray plugged in for audio using optical leads or RME Fireface 800 for computer duties.

I am being offered an old (ex.cond) Denon 5803 a flagship model from 7/8 years. My kit is about the same age I think.

So question - will changing my mishmash application for one amp of this pedigree improve things noticeably or is it a waste of money with the speakers I have, i.e. would I notice any difference?

How much is HDMI a step up for audio re older kit is it more for ease of use?

thanks for looking,

Last edited:


Distinguished Member
The benefit of HDMI recievers will be the ability to get HD audio from your bluray player. HD audio can only be transmitted via HDMI or multichannel analogue outputs. It can not be sent via optical cable hence you are only getting DTS/DD at best at the moment.
HD audio in my view is an improvement over normal DD/DTS as it is more immersive/detailed. The only caveat I would put to this is that I would not buy a budget HD reciever to replace a high end non HD reciever as the improvement for HD audio will be overshadowed by the cheaper components in the budget reciever. I have an Arcam 350 and get HD audio from the multichannel inputs so get the best of both worlds imho. DTS/DD/Prologic sounds stunning on the Arcam (much better than my older lower end recievers) and the HD audio sounds great too (although did take a little more setting up).
The 5803 is a nice reciever and I feel will sound better than your current setup with DD/DTS/Prologic. It will also make your wiring etc a lot simpler. However, I feel you would benefit from getting a good HD reciever so you can get HD audio.

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