Originally Posted by GoodSonics
OK, I have gotten the Denon AVP setup pretty well, and think I can give some decent feedback as to how the Denon AVP sounds, and can give some comparisions to the Proceed AVP2+6 (one of the best non-HDMI prepros), and to the Halcro (one of the best sounding HDMI capable prepros). I hope this will be helpful even to those that have not heard the AVP2+6 or the Halcro.
Disclaimer: The following is of course my opinions, based on my room, my supporting equipment, my listening preferences, and how well I have the sytem setup at this time. Some people know I had a lot of problems as a Halcro owner, but I have always given credit where due. The Halcro is an amazing sounding prepro if you can get one that works. MY SQ comments will be unbiased.
Short summary of the AVP2+6 SQ:
The AVP2+6 is several years old now, but has amazing SQ. These units are very accurate, and have incredidle clarity. You seem to hear notes, between the notes. By that I mean you can differentiate between many notes that on other systems, you may confuse as only being 2-3 notes. The sound is full, and the tones are rich. The tonality of the AVP2+6 is very accurate.
The unit isn't very dynamic though, and some have called it plain. I think this is more of a time domain thing. Some will say the average dynamics lend itself very well to music, but some people like a little more punch for movies.
Short summary of the Halcro SQ:
The Halcro is a relatively new unit, which has HDMI. Many have found it to be a buggy unit, while others get it to work. The SQ is excellent though for those who get a working unit. Out of the box, it has very good clarity and is very dynamic. The example I like to use is that if you are watching a movie, and a window is broken into 1,000 pieces, you will hear 1,000 pieces hit the ground. Not just a bunch of glass.
The Halcro is reasonably accurate tone-wise, and is incredibly accurate as far as the time domain goes. This accuracy makes the Halcro have a 3-D like sound. Therefore, the Halcro is excellent for movies, and very good for music.
OK, now that you have a reference point for the comments to follow, on to the Denon AVP.
The Halcro of course has virtually every connection currently available in the audio and video world, and nearly every feature. The question is how does the Denon AVP stack up to other AVPs? The short answer, is that it does very well. I found it to be in the same league as the AVP2+6 and the Halcro. The good news is that everything works, including the HDMI. I have tried it with 5 different sources so far, and they all work perfectly.
The Denon AVP can be configured in 2 main ways, with numerous variations. These are using Audyssey, and not using Audyssey (which I will shorten to "Aud" for the rest of this review). I personally am using a hybrid right now. I have copied the Aud EQ setting to the Manual EQ, and am using the Manual EQ instead of the Aud. This means I have turned off the time-domain adjustments. For this review, assume I am using this configuration unless I specify otherwise.
The Denon AVP has very good clarity, and very tonality. It sounds similar to the AVP2+6 tonality wise, but is a more dynamic. The soundstage is spacious and well defined. Personally, I prefer the Denon AVP over the AVP2+6 for my 50/50 Music/Movie HT. When I didn't use any EQ, the Denon AVP and AVP2+6 sound similar.
The Denon AVP can also sound similar to the Halcro. When I tested the Aud, the time domain was greatly improved and the sound became more defined, much like the Halcro and the 1,000 pieces of glass analogy. When you combine that with the tonal accuracy of the Denon, I would say the Denen and Halcro are pretty evenly matched SQ wise for Movies, but I would give a slight edge to the Denon for Music.
BUT, to get the Aud working well, you will have to run it several times. I had tried the Aud in the 3806, and it sounded too digital. I could never get it sounding better than just copying the Aud setting to the Manual EQ. The Aud in the Denon AVP is better. On my first run, I got it very close. The overly digital sound seems to be gone. I simply had too much high midrange coming in. I think this is because I was lazy and ran it witht the mic on a pillow, instead of modifying my camera tripod to hold the mic.
Overall, I find the SQ of the Denon AVP to be very configurable. You can set things up to match many preference style. The unit is clear, tonaly accurate, and fairly dynamic. IF you take the time to run (and maybe re-run) the Aud, you can get a very dynamic, detailed sound.
I did try the Denon AVP 2-CH inputs. I compared the Denon Link coming from my Denon 3930 universal player, and it's Analog output. The Analog sounded incredibly clear, so I think the Denon AVPs 2-CH capablilty must be pretty good. The Analog sounded a little harsh compared to the Denon Link setup, but the soundstage was better witht the Analog. I think these two things are tied more to the 3930DACs, not the 2-CH of the AVP. I will let others weigh in on this though, as I don't have in-depth 2-CH experience.
I hope this review helps those considering this unit.