My 5308 was new in June of this year. Getting it was the culmination of many years of planning to build myself a home theater system. I got my upgrade just before Christmas and I thought I could now report on my impressions on what the upgrade has done for me. I think to help with perspective, I have to describe my setup to some degree.
Fronts: Infinity Overture 3's
Center: Infinity Overture 1
Traditional Surrounds: Infinity Overture 1's
Rears: Infinity Overture 2's
Front Heights: Infinity CC-3's
Wides: NA (was going to use Infinity CC-3's)
Front Left Sub: Infinity BU-2
Front Right Sub: Infinity BU-2
Rear Center Sub: Infinity HPS-1000
You may have noticed that I've locked in on a range of Infinity speakers. The reason for that is simple. I decided in college (~1996) that I wanted a kick butt home theater some day. However, I knew that I would never be affluent enough to just go get one in the future, so I decided to begin collecting pieces before there was a wife and kids and mortgages so that I'd have a chance to reach my goal. It took till now to make this happen, but the final system came together this summer. The downside is that my speakers aren't new tech anymore, but they are meticulously cared for, I've got spares, and when it comes to having something older, I think its way better to have older speakers than older players, receivers, and TVs. The 5308 was the final piece. I probably should have gone with a 4810, but I got excited and splurged maybe a bit too much. Here's hoping the 5308 will go the distance with me so that I can feel good about my investment.
I was pretty excited about the 5308 upgrade and that contributed to me getting it over the 4810. I originally tried to cheap it and get a 5308 B-stock thru Dakmart. That went badly. The unit they sent me was physically smashed. I got a new one after that was cleared up, paying full price and wincing still from that cost. The 5308 upgrade got me really excited as I thought I would be able to drive an 11.3 system with it. This did not turn out to be the case, but I convinced myself that it would so I plunged ahead to prepare for it. I bought a Parasound 5125 (5 channel external amp with THX2 certification) to power the extra heights and wides as I suspected from the way the 4810 worked that I'd need the extra amp to run the new speakers. My room is very well setup for heights, but wides were going to be a trick from a placement standpoint. When I realized I couldn't get heights and wides together, I opted for the heights due to the placement problems with wides and because it would be easier for my wife to accept the heights logic versus wides that may really get in the way and be prone to issues with our little kids running around. Since I had a 5 external amp in hand (best laid plans and all not going as hoped...) I decided to let the Parasound take the heights and the Overture 2 rears. My reasoning was that the Parasound could unload some of the Denon's work load amp wise, maybe give it more overhead power. I don't push my system hard, but it didn't seem reasonable to let so much amp be unused when the Denon was maxed out with 7 channels running.
With the upgrade, I'm now running a 9.3 system. Here are some of my observations:
-The bass management has significantly changed. After I ran setup, my subs are far more present and responsive. In fact, I plan to rerun the setup and dial them back a bit, I'm not suffering from a bass shortage.
-The entire sound field with the heights running is bigger. Before, the sound from the back of the room felt like too much. It was as if the front speakers were being overwhelmed and not balanced against the rear speakers. I tried fiddling with levels and stuff and got it a bit better, but nothing compared to the situation now with the heights involved. The front of the room now has more authority and the overall enveloping sound field is far better than before.
-I need to come out and admit that I'm a fan of Denon's 5 and 7 channel stereo surround sound. To my glee, the upgrade provided a 9 channel surround sound and I absolutely love for listening to music. It is as if my towers are 10 feet tall now with and a monstrous wall of sound washing over from the front. No longer do the fronts sound timid relative to their rear and side peers.
-Using DSX with movies has been a good deal of fun. With Transformer's 3, it was an orgy of powerful sound that scares and delights. Lord of the Rings movies provide greater sound depth with songs and large room cathedral sounds that give a real feel of the environment like I've never heard/felt before.
My 5308 has worked perfectly and I've had no problems. In my opinion, the upgrade is worth it. If you are willing to get a 5308 in the first place, then the upgrade makes sense to bring out its full potential.