Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: South Lyon, Michigan USA
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Well, I brought home both a Denon 4310CI and a Pioneer Elite SC-27 this weekend. The Denon was nice, but many of the direct access features of my Denon 3805 were missing. I could no longer adjust speaker levels with the push of one button on the remote. The 4310 seems to require that you go the through the GUI to do this. By the way, the Denon has the nicest GUI I have seen and it can overlay over video for adjustments on the fly. I also could not figure how to cycle through various Surround modes as I could with my 3805 as in PLII Cinema & PLII Music. Once again it had to be done through the GUI. I did not much care for the remote that came with the 4310. Audessy set up was very nice and worked flawlessly. The big problem with the 4310 that I had was HDMI issues. When the GUI was on the HDMI connection would go out and would reacquire about every 15 to 30 seconds, and during a movie it would go out randomly. Due to this reason it had to go back to the store. I brought home a Pioneer SC-27 to try. This thing is a monster. Sound wise, I liked it better than the Denon, more punch to it. Both sound very nice though. The good news is that there are no HDMI issues with the Pioneer and many of the features that I liked such as direct access to surround modes, speaker level adjustments and such were available with the touch of one button on the remote. The remote is not the greatest, but serves its purpose, much better than the EL remote from Denon. The bad news, the GUI on the Pioneer is not nearly as refined as the Denon. Many features and adjustments are not available through the GUI. The GUI seems to be there for initial Setup and a few functions. It cannot overlay over video, so it cuts off a movie if you try to use it. Also many of the adjustments cannot be seen on the TV screen such as volume, speaker levels when adjusting from the remote or audio parameters, they only show up on the Receiver display. The MCACC setup works almost as well as Audessy. Another thing that I miss from the Denon is the ability to have A & B Surrounds, but because everything works, I will keep the SC-27 for now. I have 30 days.
At this point, I have decided to keep the Pioneer Elite SC-27. It sounds as good as the Denon 4310 if not a bit better, and sounds better than my Denon 3805 that it replaced. It does everything it is supposed to do. The menus are not as pretty as the Denon and I wish that more of the settings were on the OSD/GUI but these are not deal breakers. It is the sound and functionality that matters the most. Many of the functions that I like to get to quickly are on the remote with touch of one button, no need to go into the GUI such as the Denon. I did find the button on the Denon remote that lets you cycle through the all the channels but for whatever reason it would not show the Sub Woofer setting, that is what I use the most. As for MCACC vs Audessy, I used them both and both did a great job of setting the system up, no need for SPL Meter. Audessy may have had a slight edge, but not that much, plus I like the Pioneers ability to save different set up positions in memory for different seating positions. As said before, both Denon & Pioneer Elite Recievers are great, but this time the Pioneer suites my needs better, plus the Denon 4310 that I had kept loosing the HDMI connection, that was the deal breaker for me.
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