AVR5800 vs RDC-7 vs Tag AV32R - AVS Forum
Speakers > AVR5800 vs RDC-7 vs Tag AV32R
mjabel's Avatar mjabel 05:13 PM 05-18-2001
So I'm in the market for a new surround processor and I've narrowed my list to these three. I was wondering if anyone has any experience using the AVR5800 merely for its processing capabilities. I'd also be interested if anyone could speak towards the two-channel performance of these units. I'm interested in absolute sound quality here and I want to know how much better (if at all) the Tag and the Integra are then the Denon.


Bulldogger's Avatar Bulldogger 05:44 PM 05-18-2001
I own a Cal audio labs processor so I can speak without bias as to the sound quality of the Tag. It's an excellent performer and I am sure better with two channel than the Denon. I still have yet to year the Integra stuff, I can't get past the looks of the units. I absolutely hate them. What most impressed me about the Tag was that since it runs native at 24/96, analog signals were rendered better than some processor that have an analog bypass that I have heard. This is a big sticking point for me. Normally, I would rule out any processor without an analog bypass. But, with the Tag, it was not that much of an issue. If two channel was the main and driving factor in the decision, I think I know of 2 or 3 processors that can outperform the Tag. But when you consider the total package of digital processing, sound quality and tech support, and price, the Tag is a hands down winner. I am though in the 2 channel as a main driving force category http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif.

Never become so involved with something that it blinds you.

[This message has been edited by Bulldogger (edited 05-18-2001).]
duaneadam's Avatar duaneadam 06:26 PM 05-18-2001

I doubt anyone (including myself) who posts a reply will have actually done an A/B/C comparison of these three units. I have heard all three and own an Integra so I know that unit particularily well. I'll let owners of the other units speak for them.

To me the Integra's best attribute is its ability to resolve detail. I noticed this immediately when I demoed it and it remains my favorite quality. I have a Lexicon DC-1 running into the same system and with the flip of a switch I can AB the two. The Integra's resolution of fine detail is so far superior to the Lexicon that you can tell which is playing from several rooms away.

The list of the Integra's features is endless and it has almost everything you need so I won't take up space listing them here. But its not just the features that sold me as the B&K Ref 30 has most of these features as well. Its the sound quality. For stereo listening I found it to be almost as good as the Proceed AVP (my two channel favorite) and better than most of the others I heard including the Tag.

In 5.1 it has amazing clarity and transparency, and great bottom end crunch.

What the Integra doesn't have is a convincing music surround listening mode. I haven't heard Pro Logic 2 (upgrade coming soon) yet but am hoping it solves this dilemna. Other than that its pretty hard to beat for the money.

Notice you're in the Bay area. You are more than welcome to drop by and hear the Integra.


mjabel's Avatar mjabel 02:40 AM 05-19-2001

I make have to take you up on that offer when my studies cool off a little bit. I really like the Integra, but the lower price, greater connectivity (I really like the fact that there are two 7.1 inputs on the Denon.) and the essentially free surround amplification of the Denon make it an interesting option. I'm interested though, what does the rest of your system consists of?

To give you some perspective, I've allocated about $7500 for the processing and amplification in my system. If I go with the Denon, I could add a pair of Brston 7B-ST's or a Sunfire Signature for main channel amplification, but If I go with the Integra I'll have to scale back to Sherbourn's 1500/5A. It provides an interesting dilemma as I really want quality two channel audio and excellent theater sound.

[This message has been edited by mjabel (edited 05-19-2001).]
DaveN's Avatar DaveN 03:22 AM 05-19-2001
Have you considered a set of used amps? Amps tend to be very reliable and the savings on used equipment allows for much higher quality.

My .02

Bob Sorel's Avatar Bob Sorel 04:26 AM 05-19-2001
If I go with the Denon, I could add a pair of Brston 7B-ST's or a Sunfire Signature for main channel amplification, but If I go with the Integra I'll have to scale back to Sherbourn's 1500/5A.
Stick with the separates. It will pay off in the long run. The Denon is nice, but I suspect you will be replacing it sooner than you might think. My choice would be to go for the TAG and some used amps for now, and then upgrade your amps when and if it becomes necessary.

Bulldogger's Avatar Bulldogger 08:29 AM 05-19-2001
Mjable, recievers are easy to use which is why a lot of people buy them. They have improved considerably in the last five years so the gap between them and separates has narrowed. But the gap is still very much there and audible. I am an audio junkie and whenever I go out of town, I usually spend a few hours listening to different gear. I always buy something to support the dealer and not waste their time even if it's only a hundred dollars. This is common knowledge to a lot of guys here, but I'll repeat it as you seem to just be building your system. The most important part of your system are the speakers. Second, I would say the pre-amp. I could switch between 3 different amplifiers in the same price range, say Aragon's, Bryston, and Parasounds best amplifier the 3500 and you could hear differences even if you had never heard these amps before. But, you would have to listen for the differences. They would not "jump out at you." I know a few amplifers that are so exceptional that they would "jump out at you." My point is that good amplification is easier to find that a good pre-amp is to find. I can readily hear the difference between say a Bryston pre-amp and a Audidle Illisions one. I am not saying that one is better than the other, but they sound different. As a pre-amp, a receiver is never going to give you the best performance. Take a look at things like signal to noise, total harmonic distortion, and damping factor for the recievers built in amplification. A separate system will almost always have better specs. There is just too much stuff "under the hood," of a reciever. I understand though that recievers suit some folks needs just fine. You however do not stike me as being in that camp as you are already using the Denon as a pre-amp only. Why buy amplification twice, especially compromised amplification, if you do not need it? The suggestion to buy used is an excellent on. Even then though, stick with a reputable person as there are a lot of thieves on the internet. Always check feedback and never buy from anyone that you can not confirm their home address and possibly a work address and phone number. I have been ripped off, so I speak from experience. I am willing to bet you almost anything that if you buy the Denon, you will not have it long before you realize it is holding your system back. About 3 months ago, I was auditioning some Krell amps. There was a guy who had graduated from LSU here in my home state. He had purchased a Denon 5700 and was using it to drive a Mccormack amplifer. One of the guys who he went to college with had recently brought over a separate pre-amp to try with the Mccormack. This had resulted in this guy now auditioning pre-amps. The salemen was kind of "matter of fact" about telling him that of course, a separate pre-amp sounds better and giving him that didn't you know that look.

Never become so involved with something that it blinds you.

[This message has been edited by Bulldogger (edited 05-19-2001).]

[This message has been edited by Bulldogger (edited 05-20-2001).]
duaneadam's Avatar duaneadam 09:36 AM 05-19-2001

I'll second Bob and Bulldoggers recommendations of separates.

$7500 should allow you to find a very good system providing you shop carefully for a used amp. If I remember, Bulldogger had his Aragons for sale recently for $2500. Something like that would allow you to allocate $5000 towards a first class pre pro.

One word of caution. Pre/Pros seem to depreciate more quickly than used amps due to their more quickly evolving technology and features. If you buy a new Pre/Pro, try to get something as future proof and upgradeable as possible.

As far as my system, I am currently running the Integra's balanced outs into a Proceed HPA2/HPA3 combination and B&W speakers. I split the digital signal into the Lexicon DC-1 and use its sub out for a second subwoofer with different time alignment. I also use the DC-1's 7.1 rears for logic 7 etc. Had originally planned to sell the Lexicon but just haven't been able to give up logic 7.


mjabel's Avatar mjabel 11:37 AM 05-19-2001
To answer a few queries:

Bob and DaveN, I have definitely considered used amplifiers. I was just throughing out the retail prices to ball park the budgets.

Bulldogger, It's good to someone from New Orleans on this forum. I'm working in NO next year and I'd be interested on how the dealers are down there. Anyway, I wasn't originally considering a receiver at all, but the if you believe the print journals this unit is supposed to be a step beyond anything ever done in a receiver before. There is also a strong contingent of people on the Home Theater Forum that think the Denon is the holy grail of home theater equipment. A bunch of folks debated for days on whether or not the amps in the Denon where as good as Krell amps. Now, I think the Denon camp on that forum is a little hypocritical (They slam the Onkyo or B&K receivers for sound quality, but will just as quickly debate that you can't hear a difference between properly running solid state electronics) and most of their debates just turn into shouting matches, which is why I posted this question to this forum. Here are a few links to discussions on HTF on this very topic if you're interested.
Denon 5800 vs. anything else???
Integra Research RDC-7 vs Denon 5800

I don't exactly agree with their thoughts that the Denon is such a killer unit, but they raise the question and I felt I should give it consideration, especially given the price and features of the Denon.

[This message has been edited by mjabel (edited 05-19-2001).]
Bob Sorel's Avatar Bob Sorel 12:02 PM 05-19-2001
Mjabel, you might want to contact Rick_S here on this forum, as he owned a Denon 5800 and recently upgraded to the TAG, so he has at least been owners of 2 of the units you are considering. I have not heard the Integra, but I have heard from a lot of people whose opinions I trust (like Duane's on the Integra and Bulldogger's on a LOT of the others), so I feel that you really won't go wrong with separates. I personnally upgraded from A Yamaha RX-V1 and never looked back, so I was also a flagship receiver owner once upon a time.

lemt's Avatar lemt 08:50 PM 05-19-2001
It is not easy to take a final decision in this domain. In the long run a separate cost you less than receiver du to the new technology. BUT be careful, the performance of some processors does not better than the top of the line receiver and they are OVERPRICED. The forum give you some idea but you HAVE to LISTEN for yourself and choose which one has less compromise and response to your NEED and TASTE.
I make one year to find the rights speakers for me and 6 months for the processor.
Good Luck
Bulldogger's Avatar Bulldogger 04:55 AM 05-20-2001
mjable, I'd be glad to recommend some dealers. Really there are only two high end dealers here. Audio Resources and Wilson Audio. You are welcomed to come over and check out my system when you get to town. Right now, I am using a California Audio Labs SSP-2500. Duane is right, I did sell my Aragons which are great amps that I would recommend. I replaced them with a CAL MCA 2500 that I have not yet received but should next week. My speakers are PSB stratus Gold I, PSB C-6i and PSB stratus mini speakers. My next upgrade is going to be another pair of the Gold(i) for the rear channel. I have a Dalite 80X45 16:9 high contrast electric screen mounted but am waiting for either the new Sanyo PLV 60 or Sony 11vht projectors. My dog Mugsy, don't laugh, will pay for it with his "services," hehehe. Check out www.bulldoggin.com I can possibly show you a few of my old French quarter "tricks," as wellhttp://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif like walking down Bourbon St with a group of friends and wishing the ladies happy Mardi Gras about ten days before Mardi Gras. See the trick is to listen for a foreign accent as women from all over the world come here for Mardi Gras , usually on the Friday a week before Fat Tuesday. They did not come all the way from Australia,England,Japan,and Canada not to have fun. As soon as they know you live in N.O., you're in! If you are still single, you will have to take over my "old" job http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/biggrin.gif of showing them a fun time! I think most of us are like Bob and started with recievers. But if this is going to be a lifelong hobby like it is for many of us here, separates are the only way to go. Since I have been using separates, I have tended not to take recievers like the Denon seriously. But there is a custom installer here, OFF THe Wall, who sell Denon's top of the line gear. I must admit I was suprised to hear a reciever sound that good. But, a good separate system still will outperform it. I see the Aragon 8008X5 selling for 2700.00 new on the internet. That would leave you a lot of room for a high-end surround processor. Then you would be left only to decide which surround processor was best. You would then get to see us fight too!http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

Never become so involved with something that it blinds you.

[This message has been edited by Bulldogger (edited 05-20-2001).]
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