Originally Posted by djmaltby
Alright, after a day of setup and playing, here are my initial impressions.
I received the 3311 from OneCall yesterday. It was double boxed, but the remotes were loose within the Denon box. Everything else was securely taped down.
First some context. This is my first Denon AVR. It's replacing an 11 year old Sony STR-DB930 after the rear channels failed. My primary purpose is to replace a now ancient receiver, while getting all the latest audio formats, add network capabilities and do as much future proofing as possible. Obviously I don't swap out my AVR gear frequently.
The main components in my setup are:
Samsung 1080p TV LN-T5271F
LG BD-390 Blu Ray player
Motorola DCH3416 DVR (Comcast)
Paradigm Monitor 7 speakers
So far, I've been very pleased with the 3311, with a few qualifications.
After hearing of the network card issues on the 3310, it was a relief that networking worked right out of the box, with absolutely no setup at all. I setup a few internet radio favorites, played a few of my Pandora stations, and played a few mp3 tracks from my media server (Mac). It all worked perfectly.
I thought I read in previous manuals that there was a Denon website where I had to create/manage my internet radio favorites, so it's a positive that I can favorite them directly from the 3311.
One thing I didn't like about the network interface is that going out (left) of a track and then back into same audio file restarts the track. Also, my mp3 cover art (embedded in all files) did not always display correctly. It showed the correct artwork at first, then went back to the last track's art. I don't know if it's a DLNA or 3311 issue. Another bit I don't care for is the gray background of the internet radio UI...it looks like I have poor black levels. I think I'd prefer the background to be black rather than gray.
At some point while exiting from a network function, I was notified of a firmware update, so I did it. The notification said it would take 13 min, but it took longer. It did a ROM, SUB and Ethernet update, and the first 2 took about 10 minutes, but the Ethernet update said 1 min remaining for 10 minutes or more, which was concerning. It did finish successfully, it just took longer than the status indicator on the unit said. I didn't notice any differences after the update, so I don't know what it contained.
I do like having all the additional sources I didn't have before, such as Internet radio, HD Radio, satellite radio, iPod/iPhone, DLNA media server. The one disappointment to me here is that it doesn't play video in any format from my media server, so I'll have to stick with the BD390 and AppleTV for that.
My 10MP .jpg photos are also displayed in very, very low resolution, so I haven't figured out if that's a result of a 3311 setting or my DLNA server (MediaLink). Displaying Flickr photos were fine. The BD390, using CIFS, displays the same pics perfectly. I'm not really sold on running DLNA servers rather than providing native CIFS/SMB support, like the LG does.
My iPhone 3Gs plays directly from the USB port on the front. No dock required, which I understand is an upgrade from the 3310. Optimally, I'd prefer a USB port on the rear so the door doesn't need to be open. There is a Denon iPod dock port in back, so it's an option, but at added cost.
I haven't done the Audyssey setup, so I can't speak to that, yet.
Both video and audio are very good to my eyes and ears. I have the BD390, Moto DVR going through the 3311. Netflix HD streaming (Sin Nombre) via the BD390 looked better through the 3311's up-conversion than directly from the BD390. I also like that it does DD PLII Cinema audio for surround until Netflix delivers 5.1 audio.
I played Avatar Blu Ray and both audio and video were excellent. I'm glad to finally have the HD audio formats decoded. I also played the Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. Both audio and video were very solid in my book.
One odd thing about the audio, though, is the volume seems to require a much higher level than my old Sony. The volume dial also requires a lot of turning to change the volume. I've gone back and forth on using relative or absolute volume, but they both require substantially higher volumes for normal film viewing. I'd say 60-70 (out of 99) on the absolute scale and 0 on the relative scale just for normal viewing. I know you can add volume for each source or speaker in the setup, but that doesn't seem like the right approach. Am I missing something?
I do wish Denon hadn't removed the switched AC input this year (the 3310 had one). I also miss the blue indicator for 5+.1 formats on the Sony, especially for cable TV when it's not always known. My receiver is not in direct line of sight, but in a cabinet at a 90 degree angle to where I sit. Seeing the blue light on the Sony told me all was well.
The remote itself isn't anything great (lots of buttons), and the response angle and range of the 3311 are not nearly as good as my old Sony. The manual says it's 30 degrees off center and that seems rigidly accurate. I've had a Harmony One that worked very well to adjust volume, at 90 degrees, on the Sony with my cabinet open, but it appears the RF of the Harmony 900 will be necessary. I've avoided it thus far because I've read about how sluggish the 900's response is. I guess I'll have to see for myself.
On the 3311's GUI...it's ok. I think Sony has a better, more graphic PS3-like GUI. Denon's is functional, if spartan, but it's much better than nothing on my old Sony. It's absolutely a big step up, but probably not as good as the Sony GUI.
Also, the GUI on some sources is semi-transparent, allowing the video behind it to show through. When playing Avatar Blu Ray, though, the menu completely replaces the video (opaque). The same thing on the Internet Radio UI. I'm not sure if there's a setting I'm missing or if this is as developed. The manual says that the menu replaces the video when playing a 3D source, so I don't understand why these sources produce an opaque menu. I have high speed HDMI cables (1.3 C2), so I suppose it could interpret that as 3D? It also doesn't show volume changes over HDMI on some sources, for example when I play a disc via Blu Ray. The GUI overlay on the Moto DVR is semi-transparent so I can see the video behind it, but on the BD and Net/USB input, it's opaque. Again, it could be a setting I'm missing.
The web interface is promising, but not really a reason to buy the 3311. I wasn't able to get it to save my configuration off to a file, but it might be due to using Safari rather than IE or Firefox. It would be handy to have a config backup in case a reset were ever necessary. The control interface from iPhone is also ok, but too textual. I've seen a few apps that seem to control Denon AVRs in a more graphical UI, but the reviews were mixed. Any recommendations?
Well, that's about all I have for now. I'd be happy to hear from experienced Denon users with insight into settings that I might be missing. Are there specific things people would like me to check/test on the 3311?