Originally Posted by Phil Tomaskovic
So how much difference is there between the 1791 and 1796 DACs. Does it give Onkyo that much of an edge over Denon besides the video chip differences?
Treated alone it is a pretty significant improvement (10dB SNR), but it is still only one of many components in the audio chain. Other components may be the limiting factor, rendering the improved DAC largely irrelevant. Others would know more about that than I.
Until Denon posts official specs, I don't think we know for certain
that the 3808/4308 actually use the PCM1791A. In recent years, Denon has used the latest mid-range DAC parts, so I was very surprised when I heard the 3808/4308 specs were published on the web showing the 1791A rather than the 1796A, especially after seeing that Onkyo was using the 1796A (and checking the current Burr-Brown price charts).
Originally Posted by buzzterrier
I guess I am kind of surprised that this was not called out as a bigger differentiator between the 875 and 3808. My (fairly inexpensive) Philips dvd player also can update it's firmware, which is cool. I have had other dvd players with some sort of minor problem that you were pretty much stuck with. I know there will be something with systems as complex as these receivers that can be optimized with a firmware upgrade.
Keep in mind that plenty of other receivers have received firmware updates using RS232. Of course, updating via RS232 with a PC requires more effort, and thus tends not to be widely used by manufacturers. With ethernet, the new Denons may be the first-ever consumer A/V receivers to download updates directly from the manufacturer. No question that is a nice feature to have.
That said, I don't think firmware upgades are as important as they are with some other devices, such as a Blu-ray and HD-DVD players, gaming consoles, etc. With receivers, the specifications are not in flux. The DSPs in most receivers are also heavily specialized, which limits the features a manufacturer could add. I would not expect new features with firmware updates. I expect firmware updates on receivers will exist to fix "bugs" discovered after release. If the platform was well-engineered in the first place, such updates may be largely unnecessary.
I was a bit surprised the 875 doesn't have ethernet. There are so many options to tweak on the ReonVX that you'd think they want every option to improve the output and/or offer more configuration options with a future firmware.