Last night, I attended an event in recognition of the Denon 100th anniversary at one of the 40 dealers selected to carry anniversary series. The presenter was Jeff Talmadge (aka DenonJeff here at AVS), Denon's director of product development in the US. During the group presentation and one on one after the presentation, I asked Jeff several questions, the answers to which should interest many other AVS members. Since this is currently the most active Denon thread, I thought it best to post the info here. If there is sufficient interest in discussion, though, we can move it to its own thread.
*A100: The AVR is seemingly Jeff's favorite of the anniversary series. Interestingly, he feels that it provides the greatest sound quality improvement over the stock model (4311CI) on which it is based. The primary difference between the anniversary series & stock models -- besides the obvious piano gloss finish & cast iron feet -- is that the components & boards contained w/in the series models were individually tested for compliance. Those that did not meet Denon's more tightly spec'd tolerances were diverted elsewhere, perhaps to the stock component lines. Last but not least, Jeff said that the AVR is limited to 400 units in the US and implied that nearly all have already been sold.
*AirPlay: Jeff will be testing AirPlay on his home system this weekend. The official firmware update will be available December 1 for $49.
*preamp mode: Expect the preamp mode in the 4311CI/A100 to trickle down to at least the 3312CI next year. And expect preamp mode to become more flexible w/ many possible full/partial combinations (e.g. preamp mode for just L, C, R; amp mode for LS, RS, LH, RH, etc.). Preamp mode will serve as a more inclusive alternative to an actual pre/pro -- see below.
*pre/pro: Though Denon is still looking for ways to reenter the pre/pro market, another pre/pro in the near term is unlikely. The rumored CIX pre/pro became a source of internal disagreement at Denon. Some wanted it based upon the 33xxCI, others the 43xxCI. Some wanted to shave features to bring it in at $1799, others wanted a higher end product. So, any new pre/pro is shelved for now. Additionally, Jeff insinuated that Integra w/ its 9.8/9.9/80.1/80.2 series of $2000 pre/pros -- while very popular here w/in AVS -- has not been as successful as appearances might indicate. He suggested that Integra is moving roughly 200 per month.
*Blu-ray transport: A few model years ago, Denon intro'd the 2500BTCI, a Blu-ray "transport" -- no DACs or analog audio out, no component video out, just HDMI out. Jeff agreed w/ me that the idea was ahead of its time and said that Denon will produce a universal (i.e. SACD & DVD-A) Blu-ray transport again in the near future.
*53xxCI & 48xxCI AVRs: Do not expect new model 53xxCI & 48xxCI AVRs in the future. Just as Pioneer Elite & Yamaha have not replaced their flagships, Denon has decided that the market & technology change too quickly for a high dollar flagship AVR that is released only every few years to remain viable. So, the 43xxCI -- and there will be a 4312CI next year -- is apt to be the top of the line going forward.
*A1HDCI(A) & 5308CI(A): Though he did not mention any specifics, Jeff made it sound as if the A1HDCI(A) flagship pre/pro & 5308CI(A) flagship AVR will be offered a hardware upgrade, potentially because there will be no flagship follow up models.
*Marantz: Jeff agreed that many Denon & Marantz products are now built on a common platform. However, he stated that the common platform primarily applies to the DSP & GUI. Denon & Marantz engineers, respectively, still utilize their own proprietary technologies (e.g. AL24 Processing, HDAM, etc.) to differentiate the two D&M Holdings companies.
That is the rundown from the event last night. Let me know if you have questions...