Originally Posted by DreamWarrior
I did know that about the Integra stuff, but wasn't sure if there were other differences besides price and dealers. I just know I can get the Onkyo stuff easier.
From what I've read Integra is more of an installer/premium-channel product; not something you can buy through online or other retail channels. You'll probably have to find something local if you'd like to purchase an Integra product. That said, as far as I know all of their products have an Onkyo counterpart.
As for the balanced option, I doubt it'd be too useful to me. I do have balanced connectors on my equipment (sub and current amp) but I don't use them now (can't).
Yeah, I don't suspect that balanced output is a big ticket for many users - but you never know, some people want their equipment in a house down the street.
I have seen the A100, I'll take a closer look, thanks for the additional suggestion.
I did a bit of reading, it doesn't look like Best Buy sells the 4311 online yet (it's shown as "coming soon"), so I can't figure out what the protection plan costs. The A100 is $500 more, and I believe adds three years to the warranty (5 over 2), so if 3 years of protection plan is $500 or more then the A100 makes sense (at least to me), if not then the 4311 makes sense (and no I wouldn't pay for the protection plan; the manufacturer's warranty will probably provide better coverage - again along this logic the 4311 might be a better choice overall, as it should almost certainly cost less).
One more thing I wonder, is the receiver going to consume more power just because it has the amplifiers in it idling away? I wonder if it is smart enough to turn them off? I really would hate to be sucking down power for amplifiers that aren't being used (and possibly will never be used). I thought I heard the Denon had a feature to turn off unused amplifiers, but when I played with it briefly at Best Buy today I couldn't find it.
I can't help you with specifics on the receiver, in terms of menu-configuration, however I can tell you that Denon receivers at the higher end can be very complicated to set-up (I remember reading something a few years ago about their very top end parts requiring a two or three day workshop to fully master - the 4311 doesn't look anywhere near that intimidating, but it's certainly not your average clock radio).
In terms of power consumption though, if the amplifier isn't "doing anything" it will use minimal power compared to if it were driving a load - so while it may consume some power with nothing connected, it isn't going to be substantial. When you connect your speakers and turn it up, then the power consumption goes up (so just because the thing says 900 or 1000W doesn't mean it always consumes that, it only draws what it needs at the moment).
edit: just read the Denon manual, looks like it's an all or nothing deal. I can turn off all the amplifiers or have them all on even if I'm only going to use a few. Maybe I missed something? I also can't seem to find the RCA output specs on the Denon unit...the nominal and maximum voltage may be...interesting to see and compare against the pre-only products. Wonder why they aren't listed....or am I blind.
I believe you're right here - but someone who's spent time with a 4311/A100 may have more insight about what's the "best" way to set this up (between normal, 11ch, etc). From what I'm understanding out of the manual, you can re-assign the internal amplifiers but you cannot have some of them enabled and some of them disabled - this isn't going to be a substantial hit to your power bill, but is something to think about.
I have no idea about the specifications, I don't see it as a bad sign though; my experience with Denon has always been that they're a bit lacking in published specifications. I would expect those pre-out terminals to give you an appropriate 1-2V into ~1kohms, just like they should from any relatively modern pre-amplifier. If your amplifier has adjustable input sensitivity, gain, or tirm controls you're even better off.
Just to throw a wrench into the works, have you looked at the Emotiva UMC-1? It uses very little power compared to something like the 4311, costs substantially less, and gives you basically the same feature-set (you won't be doing 11.2 or XT32 (I know, that was the original point
), but everything else is on-par).
I don't think with any of the boxes you've listed (5508/80.2 or 4311/A100) you'd go wrong, but I don't think you'd go wrong with something else either (like the Marantz or Emotiva). I'd be asking how important XT32 really is - the 4311 is around $1300 more than the UMC-1 ($500 over the Marantz), and the 5508 is another $300 over that; is a fancy auto-cal worth $1600 to you?
Realize I'm not trying to argue you either way here - just trying to point out some options you may not have seen in your original search.