Upgrading my Denon AVR-5800 to... ??? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 02-11-2012, 06:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi, it's my first post, please be kind.

I need some help upgrading my system, and I'm a bit out of touch with what is the norm these days. Here's the background:

About 10 years ago I bought a fairly good "future proof" system based on the Denon AVR-5800, a full M&K 7.1 speaker system (S-150 LCR, 4 Tripole surrounds, SW), and Faroudja scaler/Runco projector. All component video based of course. It's been fine for watching DVDs, of which I've gone thru several players and currently use an older upscaling Oppo.

Then came plasmas, then DVI, then 1080p, then Blu-ray, HDMI, 3D etc, and I've never upgraded because what I had was good enough, and the standards were still being sorted out. Well it seems like we are finally there, that HDMI and 1080p Blu-ray will be standard for some time, so I feel comfortable upgrading to a system that'll last another 10+ years.

I've got an Oppo BDP-93 coming, I bought a Panasonic 58" plasma last year, and I'll probably get the new JVC projector. My room is about 12x16, so from the couch it's 4-5' to the rear wall and an 11' viewing distance.

I need a new receiver or separates, but I'm at a loss to figure out which direction.

Here're my dilemmas, in no particular cohesive order:

Is there an advantage to using the Oppo's video output instead of running it thru the processor? IOW, where should the scaling take place? Do Blu-ray discs get any processing anyway, or is it just pass thru? What about DVDs? I've got tons, and I'm not abandoning them or replacing them with BR versions.

Do most processors transcode component/S-video/composite to HDMI? It would seem like I'd only want one cable going to the projector. So how do legacy items like my VCR fit in? Laserdisc player?

Do I stick with 7.1 or move to 5.1? I've never been that impressed with my 7.1, but then again it isn't real 7.1, it's Denon's take on turning 5.1 into 7.1. If I go 5.1 it'd be cheaper buying a 5ch amp. How much is actually in 7.1 these days (real movies where it makes a real difference, not Transformers XIV to demo the effect)?

Here's what I'd like ideally: Anthem D2V or AVM50V and Emotiva XPA-1s for LCR, then their 5ch for the surrounds. Is that overkill? And it seems like the Anthems are due for an overhaul, so I wouldn't be surprised to see entirely new products soon. Do I just buy a low to midrange receiver for now until Anthem reveals their hand, or do I just start building a system on something else, say an 80.3?

I know this is a lot of q's, but I really don't have a clue which way to go, and I'd appreciate some help.

Also, this system is only for watching movies from disc and my Mac Mini, plus some legacy composite and S-video, I doubt there will be any legacy component. I have an audio only system in another room, Sonos throughout the house, so I don't care about how well the DACs handle CD audio, any streaming solutions, Netflix integration etc, except for PCM concert movies. iPad control would be nice though.

I care about built-in room EQ, good backlit remote, decent interface, couldn't care less what it looks like, everything goes into an equipment rack in a closet and is never seen.

Thanks for any help.

Oh, I most probably will move the plasma to another room and only use the projector; I just bought it as an interim solution. I want a fixed screen with the speakers behind it, and there's nowhere for a plasma that size to hide, not even motorized.
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post #2 of 10 Old 02-11-2012, 06:24 PM
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^^^

i would look at a denon 4311 (fwiw, i have 5800 as well, i'm hoping it will last basically forever in my wife's home office)...

some answers...

- i would let the oppo scale/deinterlace, and i would pass it through the avr for simplicitys sake...

- in the price range you are looking in, yes, everything will be converted to hdmi out...

- personal preference... if you've got the speakers and the room to set them up, no reason not to use them...

- dunno on the anthems, but the fact that they pulled what was supposed to be the flagship model in the mrx series (and admitting that they did that because the market didn't exist for it) speaks volumes...

- chris

 

my build thread - updated 8-20-12 - new seating installed and projector isolation solution

 

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1332917/ccotenj-finally-gets-a-projector

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post #3 of 10 Old 02-12-2012, 10:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the lead, it opened up a lot of reading and research.

It seems like I went about this q the wrong way: if I want the best room correction, there's only Anthem ARC and Audyssey XT32. Anthem I want to avoid for now until their product line refreshes, and there's only a handful of products with XT32. Since I have plans to add external amps, then I'm really just using a receiver as a pre/pro, so there's no need to pay for the most powerful AVRs.

That really just leaves 3 units: the Integra 80.3, the Denon 4311, and the Onkyo 3009.

All more or less the same price, Integra and Denon have MultiEQ Pro possibility, the Onkyo's have newer scaling chips, the Integra is prob the best for custom integration, the Denon can turn off its amps. Which one sounds the best? Which one has the best remote/interface/iPad control? Dunno without buying all.

I have no brand loyalty or need for ego purchase.

Any thoughts?
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post #4 of 10 Old 02-19-2012, 06:30 PM - Thread Starter
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I bought the Onkyo 3009, mainly due to the Amazon OneCall open box deal, which meant the Onkyo was significantly less expensive than the Denon. I suspect this "deal" is a way to get around MAP; there was no evidence that the box had ever been opened, much less used, returned, and repackaged.

Just dropping it in in place of the AVR-5800 was a revelation, the sound MUCH MUCH better than the venerable Denon, to a point I didn't think possible with a much cheaper and less powerful unit; I guess technology just moves on. It sounds so good I'm questioning whether I actually need to buy an outboard amp.

And this is with the amps fresh and unburned-in; I'm hoping they'll sound a bit better in a couple of weeks.
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post #5 of 10 Old 02-19-2012, 06:47 PM
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I recently went from a 5800 with an external Rotel powering my mains to a 4311 with no external amp. I was really skeptical about stepping "down" a notch in the Denon line and going sans external amp, but man oh man what a difference XT32 makes. I may still replace my Rotel just because I want to, but certainly not because I need to. Enjoy the new rig!
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post #6 of 10 Old 02-19-2012, 09:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, I'm enjoying it as I type this!

The XT32 is a big part of why the Onkyo is so much better; I'm sure the 4311 would have shown similar gains. Still, even with Audyssey turned off the sound is more dynamic than the 5800, and dialog is MUCH more intelligible. With the 5800, I cannot understand dialog sometimes, and have to turn on the subtitles...

The 5800 has a warm, polite sound, but for years I've been wanting the focused, incisive dialog you get at a movie theater. This comes at the expense of an overall brighter sound, at least with unburned-in amps, but I'm happy to trade. Right now, the Onkyo is slightly brighter than I'd like.

I'm going to experiment later whether I need an external amp or not. In a couple of weeks when the Onkyo's amps are burned-in, I'll add my Theta Dreadnaught 5ch to power all but the rear surrounds, and I'll know quickly how the Onkyo pre sounds because I'm so familiar with the Theta amp.


Are you saying you are not using the Rotel with the 4311?
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post #7 of 10 Old 02-20-2012, 07:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EVONick View Post

I bought the Onkyo 3009, mainly due to the Amazon OneCall open box deal, which meant the Onkyo was significantly less expensive than the Denon. I suspect this "deal" is a way to get around MAP; there was no evidence that the box had ever been opened, much less used, returned, and repackaged.

Not to change your mind, but should you decide against the 3009 for some reason, the 4311CI can be purchased for a few hundred less than the 3009 Open box price when you "call" one of several authorized resellers that provide a discount to include AV Science and Electronics Expo. It has actually been selling at that same open box price since it was first released in Oct 2010, although has dropped in the past few months even lower due to Newegg's weekend sales for a few hundred less, and although Newegg is not an authorized reseller, several other authorized resellers have been matching the Newegg price.

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post #8 of 10 Old 02-20-2012, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EVONick View Post


Are you saying you are not using the Rotel with the 4311?

My Rotel went tits-up a few months ago, and I am using the "back-up" amps in the 4311. I may eventually get a multi-channel amp to replace the Rotel but I'm not in any hurry. The 4311 has exceeded my expectations in driving my l/r/c and surrounds, although I have a very nice sub pulling the heavy work down low and have everything crossed over at 90Hz. I can play everything loud and clear to sufficient levels to drive everyone out of the room. If I went to a 7, 9, or 11 channel set-up, I would probably feel better with an external amp.
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post #9 of 10 Old 02-20-2012, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

Not to change your mind, but should you decide against the 3009 for some reason, the 4311CI can be purchased for a few hundred less than the 3009 Open box price when you "call" one of several authorized resellers that provide a discount to include AV Science and Electronics Expo. It has actually been selling at that same open box price since it was first released in Oct 2010, although has dropped in the past few months even lower due to Newegg's weekend sales for a few hundred less, and although Newegg is not an authorized reseller, several other authorized resellers have been matching the Newegg price.

Thanks for the info, I just went on an Amazon buying rampage because I needed a quick solution. I'm sure the Denon would have tickled me just as much, but I didn't know about the similar pricing.

Interesting update: The Onkyo sounds 42X better than it did yesterday, all the brightness is gone.

Why? Well, it's been on for 24 hours more, but I don't think that's it. I re-ran the Audyssey XT32 due to some research on the Audyssey site about microphone technique, and the only thing different is this: instead of perching the microphone on top of the couch back cushions for positions 1-5 and then on a tripod across the couch for 6-8, I kept it attached to the tripod for all measurements, and leaned it against the back cushions for positions 1-3, then across the couch itself for 4-6, and just behind the couch for 7-8.

The difference is HUGE. All the brightness is gone, and I'm listening at 0db, which is very loud. Apparently putting the mic on a large surface interferes with its ability to measure high frequencies, but I'm still having trouble believing there's this big a difference due to having the mic slightly more in free air, especially considering the tapered design of the base, and that it's also slightly above ear level. Nevertheless, I like what I'm hearing!
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post #10 of 10 Old 02-20-2012, 11:18 PM
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Hehe. The closer I follow the set-up instructions in the Audyssey thread the better the results I get. Go figure. And I agree using a mic stand and tripod made a huge difference. XT32 is pretty awesome IMHO, if you just take a little time to learn its setup tricks.
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