Denon X3500 vs Yamaha A880 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 17 Old 09-11-2018, 10:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Denon X3500 vs Yamaha A880

Hi guys, my old Onkyo SR608 has served me well over the last 8 years, but now that I've made the switch to 4K, using it exclusively with ARC is starting to annoy me.

So I'm looking for a new AVR to replace it, and after some research I've narrowed it down to the Denon AVR-X3500H and the Yamaha RX-A880.

I only got a 5.1 system now comprised of Yamaha NS-555 front towers, NS-C444 center, NS-333 bookshelf surrounds and SVS PB-1000 sub. I am planning on adding some height speakers at some point to move to a 5.1.2 setup.

I basically have some questions:

1. Am I overdoing it with these AVRs for driving my speakers in my tiny apartment living room (16sqm ~ 175sqft)?
2. Can I get similar results by going lower in the price range like the X2500 or even X1500?
3. Will buying something like a Marantz NR1609 be enough to power my speakers? It will work a great deal with the wife acceptance test vs the classic AVRs.
4. I know the Denon uses Audyssey which it's one of the best things of my old Onkyo AVRs, but I understand Yamaha's YPAO R.S.C. is not that bad comparing. Other than that they both look pretty similar in specs and also in price.
5. Out of the two, in your opinion, what would you choose? The Denon or the Yamaha?

Thanks
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post #2 of 17 Old 09-12-2018, 02:49 AM
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The X3500H is a higher level model comparable to the A1080 so right off the bat more features and as it uses XT32, more likely, better audio quality than the A880.

You could sacrifice audio quality and some features by dropping to the lower X1500H or X2500H with likely no real change from the power difference.

You could even drop to the NR1609 which, depending on how loud you like to listen, would also likely suffice power wise, although if you needed a little more, could add the SR608 using the Front L/R pre-outs on the NR1609.
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post #3 of 17 Old 09-12-2018, 04:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post
The X3500H is a higher level model comparable to the A1080 so right off the bat more features and as it uses XT32, more likely, better audio quality than the A880.
Really? Price-wise in my country the A880 (~$1250) is $50 more expensive than the X3500h (~$1200). And the A1080 (~$1700) is $500 more. And feature-wise the A880 seems very comparable to the X3500h.
The only downside on the Yamaha is that not all HDMI inputs are HDCP2.2, which I don't care that much since I will only be needing 2 or 3 at the most (still don't get why manufacturers cram 8 or 9 HDMI ins into an AVR, I really think it's overkill).

If what you're saying is true then Yamaha AVRs are severely overpriced compared to the competition. Is there anything special that warrants that extra buck?

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You could sacrifice audio quality and some features by dropping to the lower X1500H or X2500H with likely no real change from the power difference.
So you're saying that on top of the less features (no XT32, no eARC, etc.) the X2500 or X1500 also have lower quality audio?

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Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post
You could even drop to the NR1609 which, depending on how loud you like to listen, would also likely suffice power wise, although if you needed a little more, could add the SR608 using the Front L/R pre-outs on the NR1609.
Holly ****, never thought about using the SR608 as a front amp on the NR1609. That's a great idea! Though, how would I go about matching volume? I just set the volume at MAX on the SR609 and do the room calibration on the Marantz? That doesn't sound very smart... or efficient. Or do I find a middle ground, at -10db or -20db?
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post #4 of 17 Old 09-12-2018, 04:39 AM
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1. Mfr's use different pricing for their models. They don't have to match competitor pricing just because features are similar.
2. The X1500H and X2500H use a lower version of Audyssey ... ergo, lower audio quality.
3. Set the SR608 to movie reference volume (eg. 0db) and put it in DIRECT surround mode so there is no processing being done by the SR608 and then run Audyssey on the NR1609 and then the volume of the FL/FR speakers is then controlled by the NR1609 remote, just as would be the case if the internal amps are used.
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post #5 of 17 Old 09-12-2018, 05:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post
1. Mfr's use different pricing for their models. They don't have to match competitor pricing just because features are similar.
2. The X1500H and X2500H use a lower version of Audyssey ... ergo, lower audio quality.
3. Set the SR608 to movie reference volume (eg. 0db) and put it in DIRECT surround mode so there is no processing being done by the SR608 and then run Audyssey on the NR1609 and then the volume of the FL/FR speakers is then controlled by the NR1609 remote, just as would be the case if the internal amps are used.
Thanks for the explanations.

One last thing, what's the equivalent of the X3500 on the Marantz side, is it the 5013 or the 6013 (ignoring the 9 channels instead of 7)?
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post #6 of 17 Old 09-12-2018, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by snapilica2003 View Post
thanks for the explanations.

One last thing, what's the equivalent of the x3500 on the marantz side, is it the 5013 or the 6013 (ignoring the 9 channels instead of 7)?
x2500h <--> sr5013
x3500h <--> sr6013
x4500h <--> sr7013
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post #7 of 17 Old 09-12-2018, 06:50 AM
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at the end of the day it's about the room correction and the feature list.
in both cases the Question is: what do need/want?

Audyssey (even the <XT32 versions) are much better in subwoofer correction where YPAO really sucks. For the other speakers YPAO does a better Job for my room/speakers here compared to XT32.


Features:
Yamaha
  • DSP programs
  • quite good/balanced out of the box setup
  • build quality
  • Dialog Lift
  • Dialog Level works better than the Audyssey counterpart

Denon/Marantz (Audyssey XT32)
  • Loudness adjustable in 4 steps plus off (YPAO on/off only)
  • Dynamic Compression adjustable in 3 steps plus off (YPAO on/off only)
  • Low Frequency Containment subsonic filter

but as i mentioned before, the functions are well balanced at the Yamaha. The loudness (dynamic EQ) of Audyssey is by far too heavy in Default mode and a lot of people don't even know they may change that with the Reference Level Offset Option. Yamaha has just on/off but it works fine. So you could say: you want it the way Yamaha does it and it takes more effort to get it from a Denon/Marantz.

personally i like the handling of the Yamahas more, but that's really individuell.
Example: D&M chooses the audiomode depending on the signal, Yamaha on the Input. Imagine you switched to "straight" last time you listened Music from CD. Now you are watching a movie on TV with Neural:X Upmixer for the 5.1 sound and a 2.0 commercial interrups, guess what? The D&M AVR switches to straight since it's 2.0 and back to Neural:X when the movie continues. Same for a BD with trailers in different sound format.
I am used to choose the sound mode for the source and after that it stays so, no fancy automatic switching in between. Other people like it the other way around...
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post #8 of 17 Old 09-12-2018, 07:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickey Mouse View Post
at the end of the day it's about the room correction and the feature list.
in both cases the Question is: what do need/want?

Audyssey (even the <XT32 versions) are much better in subwoofer correction where YPAO really sucks. For the other speakers YPAO does a better Job for my room/speakers here compared to XT32.


Features:
Yamaha
  • DSP programs
  • quite good/balanced out of the box setup
  • build quality
  • Dialog Lift
  • Dialog Level works better than the Audyssey counterpart

Denon/Marantz (Audyssey XT32)
  • Loudness adjustable in 4 steps plus off (YPAO on/off only)
  • Dynamic Compression adjustable in 3 steps plus off (YPAO on/off only)
  • Low Frequency Containment subsonic filter

but as i mentioned before, the functions are well balanced at the Yamaha. The loudness (dynamic EQ) of Audyssey is by far too heavy in Default mode and a lot of people don't even know they may change that with the Reference Level Offset Option. Yamaha has just on/off but it works fine. So you could say: you want it the way Yamaha does it and it takes more effort to get it from a Denon/Marantz.

personally i like the handling of the Yamahas more, but that's really individuell.
Example: D&M chooses the audiomode depending on the signal, Yamaha on the Input. Imagine you switched to "straight" last time you listened Music from CD. Now you are watching a movie on TV with Neural:X Upmixer for the 5.1 sound and a 2.0 commercial interrups, guess what? The D&M AVR switches to straight since it's 2.0 and back to Neural:X when the movie continues. Same for a BD with trailers in different sound format.
I am used to choose the sound mode for the source and after that it stays so, no fancy automatic switching in between. Other people like it the other way around...
Thanks for this. I do see a lot of people saying that feature-wise the Denon has everything but the kitchen sink but that Yamaha has a better build quality (and heft).

Also, coming from the Onkyo which also changes audio mode by signal not by input I'll be more pleased with Denon's implementation.

It's also apparent when you compare the weight. It does seem that Denon uses smaller/lighter (lower quality?) components that are driven harder compared with Yamaha where it can be as much as 10 pounds heavier for the same 7 channel amp. It might also explain the price point difference between them.

At the end of the day, I guess the Denon will always have more features and options and probably even better software (?) than Yamaha, but that Yamaha will be built heavier but with a lower set of features. I might be completely wrong though.

I guess I understand now why Denon's are so popular in the forums.

All in all, I guess I'm going to go for the X3500H. When you compare it to the proper equivalent AVRs from Yamaha (A1080) and Marantz (SR6013), the price difference is not something to joke about.
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post #9 of 17 Old 09-12-2018, 07:37 AM
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Yamaha tends to "cheat" at the weight. Ok, it's not cheating, the given values are correct but way they reach them.
there are models where the 4 feet (without the "magic" 5th one ) weight about 3lbs!
i doubt that increases sound quality...
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post #10 of 17 Old 09-12-2018, 07:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Yamaha tends to "cheat" at the weight. Ok, it's not cheating, the given values are correct but way they reach them.
there are models where the 4 feet (without the "magic" 5th one ) weight about 3lbs!
i doubt that increases sound quality...
Wait, that feet itself is weighted? I know about Yamaha's 5th feet, I just never knew it's intentionally weighted. That's... not nice... to put it mildly.
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post #11 of 17 Old 09-12-2018, 07:54 AM
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Yamaha would never admit the feet are extra weighted. The marketing guys will say: it's heavy duty quality to reduce vibrations.

i have some TAG McLaren audio equipment. McLaren adopted the old Camtech company. The only thing they changed for the "new models" (besides the label) where feet from "Sorbothane" rubber, directly inherited by their formula 1 development, of course

but the whole stories illustrates how much attention you should pay to the weight (and some other data).
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post #12 of 17 Old 12-29-2018, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by snapilica2003 View Post
Thanks for this. I do see a lot of people saying that feature-wise the Denon has everything but the kitchen sink but that Yamaha has a better build quality (and heft).

Also, coming from the Onkyo which also changes audio mode by signal not by input I'll be more pleased with Denon's implementation.

It's also apparent when you compare the weight. It does seem that Denon uses smaller/lighter (lower quality?) components that are driven harder compared with Yamaha where it can be as much as 10 pounds heavier for the same 7 channel amp. It might also explain the price point difference between them.

At the end of the day, I guess the Denon will always have more features and options and probably even better software (?) than Yamaha, but that Yamaha will be built heavier but with a lower set of features. I might be completely wrong though.

I guess I understand now why Denon's are so popular in the forums.

All in all, I guess I'm going to go for the X3500H. When you compare it to the proper equivalent AVRs from Yamaha (A1080) and Marantz (SR6013), the price difference is not something to joke about.

In the end, I also had the hassle of trying to figure out what receiver to get after my oh so loved Marantz SR5800 blew the HDMI board! due to the fact that I decided one day to try a different set of speakers aside from my Missions. Don't try this at home, kids. After much beleaguring and almost buying a Marantz 5012 and a Denon AVRX2500 - both refurb - I ended up getting an amazing deal on a brand new AVRX3500H in the box after alot of back and forth with the salesman and mgr. Set it up last night and it is AMAZING in one word. My marantz had the MultiEq basic but this EQxt32 measures the room for speaker positioning and seating but also measures the sub level which I didn't have with the Marantz and also measured the room treatments for acoustics which may be smoke and mirrors but makes me happy. I did notice that the marantz couldn't read the sub level at one point through the mic. Maybe I should have waited longer for the Denon to read the sub but all I did was just the volume to a "ballpark" level as per the instructions. Great receiver and musically great also.
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post #13 of 17 Old 01-14-2019, 05:53 AM - Thread Starter
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In the end, I also had the hassle of trying to figure out what receiver to get after my oh so loved Marantz SR5800 blew the HDMI board! due to the fact that I decided one day to try a different set of speakers aside from my Missions. Don't try this at home, kids. After much beleaguring and almost buying a Marantz 5012 and a Denon AVRX2500 - both refurb - I ended up getting an amazing deal on a brand new AVRX3500H in the box after alot of back and forth with the salesman and mgr. Set it up last night and it is AMAZING in one word. My marantz had the MultiEq basic but this EQxt32 measures the room for speaker positioning and seating but also measures the sub level which I didn't have with the Marantz and also measured the room treatments for acoustics which may be smoke and mirrors but makes me happy. I did notice that the marantz couldn't read the sub level at one point through the mic. Maybe I should have waited longer for the Denon to read the sub but all I did was just the volume to a "ballpark" level as per the instructions. Great receiver and musically great also.
Yup, I ended up buying the X3500 at Black Friday on a really good deal. I'm really happy with my purchase and it drives my Yamaha + SVS setup pretty well. And I agree that the XT32 is miles better at room calibration than the basic MultiEQ2 my old Onkyo had.
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post #14 of 17 Old 01-15-2019, 05:02 AM
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Yup, I ended up buying the X3500 at Black Friday on a really good deal. I'm really happy with my purchase and it drives my Yamaha + SVS setup pretty well. And I agree that the XT32 is miles better at room calibration than the basic MultiEQ2 my old Onkyo had.
now that I've used my AVRx3500h since Christmas, I myself find it such a great receiver paired with my Mission fronts, Boston Acoustic rears and Dbox 300 sub. May try to swap out sub for a Sunfire sub I picked up a week ago at a thrift shop. The XT Audyssey system works much better than my original Marantz audyssey system and does a beautiful job of EQ'ing my sub also.
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post #15 of 17 Old 01-15-2019, 05:11 AM - Thread Starter
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now that I've used my AVRx3500h since Christmas, I myself find it such a great receiver paired with my Mission fronts, Boston Acoustic rears and Dbox 300 sub. May try to swap out sub for a Sunfire sub I picked up a week ago at a thrift shop. The XT Audyssey system works much better than my original Marantz audyssey system and does a beautiful job of EQ'ing my sub also.
Do you by any chance use the Audyssey MultEQ Editor app? I hear a lot of people praising it and saying that the overall result improves significantly the result of the standard auto calibration. I'm wondering if it's true and if it's worth investing the $20.
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post #16 of 17 Old 01-15-2019, 02:10 PM
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Overall I think so, I have only seen one complaint but it was probably user error.
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post #17 of 17 Old 01-16-2019, 04:37 AM
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I have only heard about the editor. Is is it an app you can buy online or.....? Perhaps I'll check it out and see what is said about it further. I'm pretty happy as is though with the system.
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