Denon 4520 or Pioneer SC-68? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 09-28-2012, 06:03 AM - Thread Starter
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And why?

I personally feel these two are a toss up... I'm looking for a steady 4ohm amp section, which looks like the Pioneer might have the edge. However, the Denon has Audyssey XT32 which seems to be preferred over Pio's MCACC. Anyone else have any pluses or minuses between these two AVR's? I'm looking for the best SQ and power to drive my 4ohm Polk LSI's. Thanks for any info...

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post #2 of 23 Old 09-28-2012, 06:26 AM
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I can tell you that several here will tell you the only reason you need is the XT32. My experience is that I bought the Elite SC57 last year coming from the Denon 4310 which just had XT. The Elite is a nice receiver but I just don't like the room correction as much. I'm actually going to list my 57 next week so I can buy the 4520.
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post #3 of 23 Old 09-28-2012, 06:43 AM
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Realistically, what your post is going to accomplish is bring out the Audyssey fan club and the Pioneer MCACC defenders/supporters, each will give you the usual reasons for their being on one side or the other wink.gif

Audyssey 32XT- best variant, most filters, EQ's subs, unless you cough up $750 for the Pro kit, you have no ability to change how it EQ's your setup, other than a completely manual graphic EQ option which negates the advantages of using it in the 1st place.

MCACC - can manually tweak every settings, some still prefer its "sound" over Audsyssey, has interesting and useful features like Phase Control (which does work BTW and has its fans, like me, based on how it worked to integrate an unusual center speaker combo I now have), and even tho it doesn't EQ subs per se, it does have 3 parametric standing wave filters which work as notch filters

I can post my impressions of how well the Audyssey-based SVS AS-EQ1 sub EQ worked for me compared to a Velodyne parametric EQ'r but it will take up more space than you may want to read wink.gif Let's just say the improvement, for me, was subtle at best smile.gif

As far as other features, you will have to evaluate how important each one is to you. For example, the Pioneer has an async USB DAC port for optimized jitterless transfer of audio files, while the Denon has a built-in ethernet hub. If it were strictly on value alone, let alone the debate of whether you can audibly hear the difference, the USB- DAC feature is unique to Pioneer, no other receiver has it, it's only found in external DAC's which can cost hundreds to thousands, while a 4 port ethernet hub (and not even a switch wink.gif) is a $10 item, a dime a dozen off off any online PC site wink.gif

Both are excellent choices, you can't go wrong with either. I've been using Pioneer's class D amps since the original SC-09 flagship. They are clean, hi-powered, handle 4 ohms easily. But then again, Denon has also now officially sanctioned the 4520 for 4 ohm use, so...take your pick smile.gif

The sound quality of the SC-68 is excellent but I'm sure the Denon 4520 is too.

Can you find both where you're at (Baghdad eek.gif) and compare in the same room with same speakers? That would give you the best opportunity to compare how Audyssey & Pioneer's MCACC can sound in a setup. But I realize your opportunities may be limited there. Have you downloaded the manuals yet?

hope this helps smile.gif Obviously we don't know if you live in Iraq or one of the forces, but either way, hope things are going OK for you smile.gif
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post #4 of 23 Old 09-28-2012, 06:47 AM
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there you go, 2 posts 2 opinions already wink.gif

while someone goes Denon, another who has seriously considered the top Denon prepro for several years, stays Pioneer smile.gif

Sorry, it's just the way these kinds of questions seem to end up (sigh)

nothing wrong with support on each side, but if someone bases a buying decision on the AVSForum popularity contest, we'd all have Oppo players, Emotiva amps, and a Denon wink.gif

Everyone needs to evaluate these things for what best suits their needs and the only way I know of to give each system a comparison is go listen for yourself.

Each calibration EQ system has its strengths and all have weaknesses.

For instance, I recently was told by a reliable source & read that Audyssey (at least used to?) down-sampled all audio to 48 khz, even if the audio source was hi-rez 88.1, 96 Khz or higher. If true, this would be a downside to using Audyssey. Pioneer's MCACC has never done that, it will be output with the same sampling resolution as the source.

That is something that's 1) never talked about by Audyssey 2) while may not be important to Blu-ray which is mostly 48 kHz, would be important for SACD/DVD-Audio & hi-rez audio file users. I'd like to find a source to confirm (or not confirm) this downsampling. If someone can positively say one way or another & confirm if it's still true with Multi32XT, I'd like to read it.

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post #5 of 23 Old 09-28-2012, 06:52 AM
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The 4520's predecessor, 4311, has been proven to be 4-ohm stable, so no reason to believe the 4520 won't be as well. smile.gif

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post #6 of 23 Old 09-28-2012, 07:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

The 4520's predecessor, 4311, has been proven to be 4-ohm stable, so no reason to believe the 4520 won't be as well. smile.gif

Didn't Denon put in print that the 4520 is 4 ohm capable? I think they did, anyway. Either way, both receivers will handle 4 ohms smile.gif

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post #7 of 23 Old 09-28-2012, 07:37 AM
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Yes, just saying as it's new, there have been no posts to confirm it yet whereas a number of 4311/A100 owners have confirmed it to be the case.

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post #8 of 23 Old 09-28-2012, 07:37 AM
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I listen to more music CD,SACD,Lossless and DVD-A and so far I have been impressed with the sound signature of the SC-57 and can only imagine the 68 providing the same and i was a big fan of Onkyo/Integra.
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post #9 of 23 Old 09-28-2012, 11:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, that exactly what I was looking for!

I might try the Denon 4520 this time. I have an older Pioneer SC-07 and a newer Denon 2312. I do like the Audyssey better on the Denon, but the unit as a whole has its bugs. Music cuts out when using the iPod through the USB and sometimes the HDMI ports are not working properly(no sound on occasion, unless I reset the AVR). I have no issues with the Pioneer. I hope they resolved the quality issues with the newer AVR's or I just got unlucky and grabbed a lemon.
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post #10 of 23 Old 12-05-2012, 04:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cvetan1 View Post

And why?
I personally feel these two are a toss up... I'm looking for a steady 4ohm amp section, which looks like the Pioneer might have the edge. However, the Denon has Audyssey XT32 which seems to be preferred over Pio's MCACC. Anyone else have any pluses or minuses between these two AVR's? I'm looking for the best SQ and power to drive my 4ohm Polk LSI's. Thanks for any info...
Mike

What speakers are you trying to drive with these receivers? On a side note IF you have 4 ohm load speakers , most even the ones who can support 4 ohm load are not the ideal way to power difficult to drive speakers. I suggest thinking about external amps that have plenty of power to drive 4 ohm load speakers.

Receivers in general work best with 8 ohm load speakers.

Personally I like the Pioneer Elite much better then the Denon due to overall sound quality , Dynamics , feature sets. For starters the internal USB DAC on the SC-68 is incredible. I have used it and was blown away by it's performance. If your into computer music , this makes for a strong feature. I have plenty of other personal needs that the Elite satisfies.

If I where you , before I purchased either of these , I would throw a Integra DTR70.4 into the mix. I feel it's a better sounding feature loaded better controlled receiver then the Denon and rivals the Pioneer in many ways except sound quality. I personally like the sound of the Pioneer.

All 3 of these receivers are quality units , it's really whats the right match for your system. Please list your system including room size and make up of that room.
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post #11 of 23 Old 12-05-2012, 04:51 AM
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From what I've read, the 4520 handles 4 ohms well. Audyssey XT32 is head and shoulders better than Pioneers room EQ and makes a very significant improvement in sound quality.
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post #12 of 23 Old 12-05-2012, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theresa View Post

From what I've read, the 4520 handles 4 ohms well. Audyssey XT32 is head and shoulders better than Pioneers room EQ and makes a very significant improvement in sound quality.

Not according to "professional" reviews. Home Theater Mag seems to like the Pioneer version better.

Plus, "head and shoulders better" in what way? Like not being able to change any of the settings? Like having one and only one setting for everything? Like having no manual EQ? Etc....

All the room correction software seems to have their strong and weak points. To unilaterally declare Audyssey to be "the one" is short sighted.

Much of it is like people's preferences toward different speakers. No 2 people hear exactly the same and no one I know has a room identical to mine.
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post #13 of 23 Old 12-05-2012, 05:32 PM
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Both the newer Denon 4520CI and its predecessor the 4311CI can very easily drive 4-ohm speakers. If fact several owners posted selling their external maps when moving from separates to the 4311CI to power their 4-ohm speakers.

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post #14 of 23 Old 12-05-2012, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theresa View Post

From what I've read, the 4520 handles 4 ohms well. Audyssey XT32 is head and shoulders better than Pioneers room EQ and makes a very significant improvement in sound quality.
I thought this also until we replaced a clients broke Onkyo 5009 with an SC-57 and now I like how the 57 handled music and so far I could not really tell the difference for movies.
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post #15 of 23 Old 12-05-2012, 09:25 PM
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When talking sound quality are people really comparing strictly just the amps, or the AVR's eq/DAC effect onto the sound quality?

I suspect the latter, unless people compare the pure direct mode of each.

This recent thread covers the debate related to amps and sound quality.
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1438109/can-you-hear-the-difference-between-amplifiers


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post #16 of 23 Old 12-06-2012, 02:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtbdudex View Post

When talking sound quality are people really comparing strictly just the amps, or the AVR's eq/DAC effect onto the sound quality?
I suspect the latter, unless people compare the pure direct mode of each.
This recent thread covers the debate related to amps and sound quality.
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1438109/can-you-hear-the-difference-between-amplifiers
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Yes, that thread is locked for good reason. There are those who approach it from a scientific perspective and those with a purely subjective viewpoint. Its like religion and politics as topics, it seems to it seems it cannot be politely discussed.
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post #17 of 23 Old 01-04-2013, 09:56 AM
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Mantis - Some years ago I upgraded from a Pioneer Elite vsx49tx to a Denon 4308. I primarily listened to Lossless files via coax from a Audigy2zs. I felt that for music, the Denon was a big step backwards, harsher, thinner, and it just didn't fill the room like the Pioneer, but I stuck with the Denon as I liked it's features - and it performs very well for home theater.

A few years ago I purchased a HTPC, and I currently listen to lossless files on my Denon 4308 via HDMI from a ATI5670 card. Since making this switch - I have been very pleased with the quality of FLAC and Windows lossless files - no noise, excellent clarity, and a fuller sound. I was thinking of upgrading to the Denon 4520 as it sounds like they have upgraded the DAC's (plus I need 3D), as there would be no learning curve - but I am intrigued by the Pioneer's USB DAC. Audio quality is my most important purchasing factor, and I would have purchased an Arcam600 or Denon 5308 if price were not an issue.

Here is my question - since I'm simply passing through audio over HDMI from the HTPC, and the Denon is doing the processing, could I gain anything from the Pioneer's USB DAC, or is that mostly a feature for someone listening from a laptop etc.?
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post #18 of 23 Old 01-07-2013, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moooog View Post

Mantis - Some years ago I upgraded from a Pioneer Elite vsx49tx to a Denon 4308. I primarily listened to Lossless files via coax from a Audigy2zs. I felt that for music, the Denon was a big step backwards, harsher, thinner, and it just didn't fill the room like the Pioneer, but I stuck with the Denon as I liked it's features - and it performs very well for home theater.
A few years ago I purchased a HTPC, and I currently listen to lossless files on my Denon 4308 via HDMI from a ATI5670 card. Since making this switch - I have been very pleased with the quality of FLAC and Windows lossless files - no noise, excellent clarity, and a fuller sound. I was thinking of upgrading to the Denon 4520 as it sounds like they have upgraded the DAC's (plus I need 3D), as there would be no learning curve - but I am intrigued by the Pioneer's USB DAC. Audio quality is my most important purchasing factor, and I would have purchased an Arcam600 or Denon 5308 if price were not an issue.
Here is my question - since I'm simply passing through audio over HDMI from the HTPC, and the Denon is doing the processing, could I gain anything from the Pioneer's USB DAC, or is that mostly a feature for someone listening from a laptop etc.?

Theoretically the USB DAC should have lower jitter than the HDMI connection you are using. It's quite likely that the difference will not be audible.
Also there might be an audible difference between the two DACs.
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post #19 of 23 Old 03-24-2013, 05:38 PM
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IMO I would take Denon over pioneer any day. I just love the sound that comes out of Denon or Marantz. I had a pioneer sc 65, could not stand the clean(emotionless) sound of it. Also Audessy XT32 won must have accessory of the year award recently. MCACC did a fine job but IMO Audessy XT32 is another level . Both have enough juice to drive any speakers on the market.
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post #20 of 23 Old 03-24-2013, 05:49 PM
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Not sure if the OP made a purchase yet, but I am a former Pioneer fan turned Denon. I just picked up the 4520. For the record, I never thought MCACC was that spectacular. I will be testing out xt32 soon.
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post #21 of 23 Old 03-25-2013, 04:31 PM
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Thought I would throw my $.02 in...newb here, but I had a Denon 3310 that the HDMI board went out, and was unwilling to pay to replace it (out of warranty). Picked up the Pioneer Elite vsx-53 when it went on sale, as it has preouts, which were a must; I do have difficult-to-drive speakers and needed an outboard amp, as I tend to get a little free with the volume at times...I initially preferred the sound of AudessyXT (not XT32) on the Denon; to my ears, it had a "warmer" sound after running the auto setup. I thought the Pioneer sounded harsh, almost shrill after MCACC ran it's routine. I was thinking I had made a horrible mistake buying the Pioneer. But after a little research, and some tweaking (Xcurve and shortening the delay on the reverb), I think the Pioneer sounds great. Audessy sounded better out of the box (to my ears, anyway), but MCACC gives you the flexibility to duplicate that sound, if you so desire. Ultimately, it's your ears that must be the judge. YMMV.
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post #22 of 23 Old 03-25-2013, 04:39 PM
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The 3310CI only uses the lower version of Audyssey MultEQ while the more current "CI" models use the more advanced MultEQ XT. The jump from XT to XT32 would be a noticeable improvement and from MultEQ even more so.

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post #23 of 23 Old 03-25-2013, 04:53 PM
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JD, you are correct. My mistake!
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