Originally Posted by SeattleHTGuy
The 4310 and 4810 do use the same DAC's but only the 4810 can do Advanced AL 24 Processing on all channels. The 4310 can only on the front two (or three, I might be wrong on the center). I would believe that would lead to an argument that the 4810 has a higher grade parts bin for all channels. Please prove me wrong.
I has nothing to do with higher grade parts... AL 24 is a DSP process.
AL 24/24 Plus/32 is only used on 16 bit sources, which in this day and age is relegated to audio CD.. that why it is only really important for stereo/LR.. since most all MC sources (DVD-A, MLP, multichannel codecs) are 24 bit, it isn't very beneficial to have it on all channels, IMO... while it's beneficial to have more bits/higher sample rate for signal processing, I can't attest to it's benefit sonically for CD's if you are listening in a Direct mode.
The larger "Feature Set" statement really covers(ed) connectivity options and the mentioned 12 channels of capability. I think Freeassign is a biggie here as are those 12 channels. It is the only receiver that can do DSX height and wide. The rear panel also allows greater connection flexibility. This includes additional subs (Arguably not a big deal). Oh, you also missed wireless ethernet. Wireless is a big deal for some and a major feature set item. Oh, you also missed Zone 4 Optical... Another biggie for getting around HDMI restrictions. I know I've missed some other things, but I stand by "Substantial".
Free Assign is a necessity to using 9.1... if any other products in the line up were 9.1 capable, they would have the same option, so I don't think it can be considered a feature upgrade..
WiFi is a great feature for those without wired rooms... agreed. Not major, IMO, due to the availability of other options (WiFi bridges, which are now common and relatively cheap.)
And if you need 4 zones, the 4310 only does 3.. (note, however, zone 4 digital on the 4810 is still limited to bitstream DD, DTS or 2.0 PCM (CD), so it doesn't get around HDMI restrictions at all, and is still very limited as far as HD sources go, and can't be used with XM, HD Radio, Tuner, Phono, etc...)
And to add to those without Ethernet in their entertainment rack, the newer power line adaptors should be given serious consideration... high speed data access is becoming a great thing to have with Netflix, Pandora, Rhapsody, etc, and these services will grow immensely this year.
It is the only Denon
receiver that can do 9.1, so, yes, it's the only option from them..
I respectfully disagree with the term "substantial" as they are both operationally equivalent outside of 9.3 and the addition Zone 4 connectivity...
As far as the quality statement, it comes down to connections and chassis. I assume better components internally as well just given the money put in to the back of the receiver. You can see the money just in the speaker connects. Totally different class of connection. It is a wholly different design than the lower Denon's I don't have proof of this (internally, as I have not opened them) and haven't taken them apart. The unit is a different dimension, has different connects, amps, so I guess there are more changes as well.
If you divide the weight/channels, they are identical, but since amps don't make up for the entire chassis, you can also factor in the bigger chassis to heat, additional DAC circuitry, increased power section, more speaker connectors, etc.. I don't think there is a reasonable argument that necessarily mandates higher audio quality.
Regarding the speaker connects, and regardless of their rigidity or nice, clear binding connectors, I find it hard to believe that the construction of the speaker connectors will have any bearing on the quality of the sound from these two units... I would find it unlikely that the design or internal connection components aren't shared with the 4310, 4810 and 5308. (And, btw, the 4310 also runs in differential mode.)
I'm not trying to downplay what a great receiver it is... however, for those that cannot use 9.3, they need to have the correct information at hand when choosing between the two units.... it is up to a consumer to decide if the 33% price differential will matter in a 7.1 setup..
10W amp difference isn't enough, IMO, to have a substantial impact on the sound since they share the same DSP and DAC's... while the power supply, I would suspect, has been beefed up accordingly for more amps, I would only assume the usual benefit you gain from doing that is offset by the extra power demands of the added channels...
Seeing as these two products came out within months of each other, and share the almost exact the same functionality (outside of 9.1 and extra zones) I can only speculate that Denon, like every other company, shares as much engineering in the 4x10 lineup as they can to make as much money as they possible, and the price differential is more a function of marketing than added manufacturing and parts costs (I mean, how much more do you think they spent on the binding posts in bulk)... seeing the recent lab tests from the 4310, I suspect the 4810 would measure the same as a pre-amp.
And once again, I am not downplaying this great product.... I am a 4310 owner (and have owned 5803, 5803A, 5805, 5308 and 4308's also..)
I just want to make a point for those that don't need more than 7.1 (or a digital 5.1 zone 4) that they should seriously consider other ways to spend the $1000... for that, you could do a lot of things to your room, system and components that I suspect would far outweigh the benefits of going up to a 4810..
Of course, only my opinion, and not based on any subjective comparisons of the two directly.