Hello audio fans,
I realize that this Denon 1802 is an older AVR unit, and it wasn't ever their flagship. So the model never really blazed on the front pages or lit up the audiophile's shop windows. But this model DID give you the beloved Burr Brown DACs, a respectable power output to drive a modest HT system, and some very nice bells & whistles for the price.
Unfortunately, they left out one major player destined to be a requirement due to licensing; the HDMI connection. This dictates using discrete coax inputs as the only method of gaining "pure audio", which voids using the receiver's decoders and processing benefits, (because the discrete inputs (Ext In) bypass all that other good stuff). Other than that, it was/is a fine unit for 5.1 audio applications.
[B]Mine has a VERY strange problem dealing only with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio[/B], when rendered such "exclusively "by a DirecTv HD receiver or DVR. It ONLY shows up on certain of the DD 5.1 satellite channels - and on the others where it works fine.......it does just that: Works fine!
For years I have put up with this anomaly. I complained to DirecTv to the point of getting a monthly discount for my pain. But - as strange and impossible as it seems to consider - Could this have been a Denon DSP problem all along? I pasted in my assessment of the situation below, in hopes that you smarter-than-most audio buffs might tell me SOMETHING that makes sense of this. It has driven me crazy for too long now.
When listening to Dolby Digital 5.1, on certain DirecTv channels, the audio is absent or reduced to (sounding like) "blips" - being output at around 2 Hz intervals.
Since this only happens on certain channels, while others were/are output fine, I historically laid this problem on DirecTv for years. To watch those "certain channels", it requires setting their DVR's output setting to "PCM" and listening to it in "ProLogic II", (which is sub-standard at best).
Perpetually wanting to find the answer to this major inconvenience, I have researched again and again, and recently found others assigning the blame to Denon's decoding for what appears to be this same, exact problem.
I often wondered how I could be the only DirecTv customer trying to enjoy Dolby Digital 5.1 by way of this particular "vintage" Denon AVR unit.
Additionally, I recently upgraded with a new TV, (one that also has DD 5.1 decoding and a digital output). I had hope of circumventing the DD issue by sending the audio from the DirecTv unit to the Denon via the TV's digital in/outputs. I found that the TV can decode the DD audio (even on the "problem channels") perfectly - playing it through the TV's internal speakers just fine. This tends to indict the Denon unit's DD decoder somewhat, wouldn't you agree?
However, using the TV's digital output, (fiber optic cable) to feed the audio to the Denon unit results in the same erroneous output.
I wrote Denon about this issue years ago when it occurred. Denon tech rep said that the issue could not be a problem with the AVR since it shows only on certain channels, but not the others, (which admittedly, sounded logical to me at that time) . They laid blame to the DirecTv equipment or transmission protocol. But now I am wondering if there is a whole dimension for possibility of error in DSP or decoders that I don't understand, (one that caught Denon engineers as well - but due to "the vintage" of my unit, and/or the rarity of the issue - no acknowledgement or resolve for the problem was made public). And it's for damn sure that Denon isn't contacting their customer base about offering any free fix.
Well at this point, I am more obsessed with learning the truth concerning this strange mystery than the cost for any potential remedy. I really like having this AVR unit. It was VERY reasonable cost-wise (remember those Burr-Brown DACs - which remain a premium configuration in ANY high-end offering) and performs excellent in my HT system. Sure - It is a bit difficult to achieve reference quality audio without HDMI inputs. But the 1802 has those 6 discrete inputs for use with a good player/source, by/which to provide an excellent 5.1 (6 channel) output - when so-connected.
What about it friends........anyone want to chime in on this? I thank you all for reading the marathon post - regardless.