Denon Angst - please help me choose - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 27 Old 10-12-2018, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Question Denon Angst - please help me choose

Hi, everyone. I haven’t been here in a while but I value your expertise and judgment. Here is the backstory: several years ago I had a Denon 3803 CI and it suffered some network card issues and lost one of its HDMI connections and I remember paying good money to send it back for Denon to fix it. It was a fully a warranted product from a reputable source. And even to go before that, when I first turned on that Denon, upon hooking it up, I knew the sound was superior to my previous mid-level Yamaha’s and Pioneer elite (lower end of those). I immediately fell in love with how it played both 2 channel audio from my rega tt and 5.1 channel music from sacd’s and dvd-a’s. And it was great for home theater, after I found a better way to set up the sub (online sources) after having run audessy and it wasn’t right. So - I have loved these products. But, as noted above, the Denon began having issues with other little things failing after I got it back and I did not want to go to the trouble of sending it back yet again. I was not super impressed with their customer support. But what did I do? I upgraded to a Denon 4310 CI.!! Dumb loyalty to the sound.

Now for about a year, this one’s remote has begun failing in ways like I can’t access the menu from the remote but have to do it from the front of the unit even after hard and soft restarts. And it has had trouble switching sources from the remote. Finally got that working mostly between my two main things are use. Nonetheless, I am very troubled to have more and more issues. And now the sub all of a sudden is booming and shaking the walls on simple TV shows like the news - not exactly raucus adventure movie soundtracks. So I manually adjusted the sub woofer by pushing the menu button on the front of the unit since I can’t do it from the remote and it was fixed until I turned it off and then re-turned it on the next day. And I manually turned down my sub (on the sub itself) which is a very fine axiom sub (the EP 500 new model). I run a 5.1 system by Axiom. So even though I love the sound of Denon, i am beginning to shop for yet another replacement receiver, on a teacher’s salary - which is why I am mad that these seem to never last long enough.

I would like good quality sound for music first as home theater is just an added bonus, an enjoyable one, no doubt, but I do want music to sound great. I guess I wonder if I can spend less than $1200, say, since I don’t need more than 5.1 channels (i did 7.1 and did not notice a difference that mattered to me). But, I just use this as a reference price. I want to buy one more receiver that can last a decade at least. I have a new Rega P-6 with Jolida phono pre-amp and an Oppo UDP 203 and I use a tivo and a roku from which I stream netflix and amazon. I love albums and hi-rez music, multi-channel and stereo. Please consider this and offer suggestions on a nice receiver for me to enjoy. Preferably with a good remote if you tell me another brand - Denon’s are challenging, and one you believe will last. I am wide open, even to price point, and I would like to take advantage of any bargains as new models may be coming in the next months. And I am 55 now and I wonder if my ears are good enough to detect subtle sound differences anyway. Too many concerts and good car stereos in my past! But i could discern the difference between Denon and my previous Yamaha, but the Yamaha was down further in their line, so not a fair comparison. I also would not like the unit to be taller than the current Denon as my equipment rack lacks more height space (may rule out some Onkyos?). And I was loving reading about Marantz that works with Alexa, but aren’t they sisters with Denon? And does that mean I could expect more problems or are they made differently? Given that I also have a 4 channel quad setup I run alongside this one with Klipsch LaScala’s and Heresy’s, I have a heart for the Marantz’s of old (i have a 4400 and a Sansui 9001 - two awsome receivers from the 70’s that continue to work, while these Denon’s continue to have quirky failings). But I need not make an emotional purchase. I am soon retiring from 28 years of teaching middle school and do not know what I will do next for work, so I need to be smart. So, thanks for reading this and thanks in advance for offering your insights, experiences and opinions! I look forward to hearing from you! I hope I gave you enough info. Thanks!
Laura
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post #2 of 27 Old 10-12-2018, 02:10 PM
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I have had 3 Denons in a row that I used for home theater and 2-channel music. The first (3805) still works fine, but it's obsolete for home theater use (no HDMI). I replaced it with an x4000, which had to be shipped twice for factory service--it's now out of warranty, and the receiver constantly goes into protection mode--so basically it's waiting to be scrapped/recycled.


Because I really like the benefits of Audyssey MultiEQ XT32, my only other choice was another Denon or a Marantz (I hate the little porthole display on the Marantz units). Yamaha receivers have YPAO, which is an inferior room correction system to Audyssey, so I ruled them out. Other AVR brands with good-quality room correction systems (Anthem ARC, Dirac) cost a lot more than my budget allowed.

Therefore, I replaced my AVR recently with an x4400, which is on sale at many dealers because the x4500 was recently released (there is very little difference between the 4400 and the 4500). So far, so good. The sound is excellent and all of the features work as advertised.

Concerning the Denon remote, it's ridiculous that it isn't backlit. I generally keep it in a drawer and use a Logitech Harmony remote. They are backlit!! and easily programmable to operate all of your AV equipment.

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post #3 of 27 Old 10-12-2018, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Hi, everyone. I haven’t been here in a while but I value your expertise and judgment. Here is the backstory: several years ago I had a Denon 3803 CI and it suffered some network card issues and lost one of its HDMI connections and I remember paying good money to send it back for Denon to fix it. It was a fully a warranted product from a reputable source. And even to go before that, when I first turned on that Denon, upon hooking it up,
The 3803 did not have networking, nor HDMI. Maybe you mean the 3808CI?

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post #4 of 27 Old 10-13-2018, 06:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Smile Thanks for sharing that, pbarach

Quote:
Originally Posted by pbarach View Post
I have had 3 Denons in a row that I used for home theater and 2-channel music. The first (3805) still works fine, but it's obsolete for home theater use (no HDMI). I replaced it with an x4000, which had to be shipped twice for factory service--it's now out of warranty, and the receiver constantly goes into protection mode--so basically it's waiting to be scrapped/recycled.


Because I really like the benefits of Audyssey MultiEQ XT32, my only other choice was another Denon or a Marantz (I hate the little porthole display on the Marantz units). Yamaha receivers have YPAO, which is an inferior room correction system to Audyssey, so I ruled them out. Other AVR brands with good-quality room correction systems (Anthem ARC, Dirac) cost a lot more than my budget allowed.

Therefore, I replaced my AVR recently with an x4400, which is on sale at many dealers because the x4500 was recently released (there is very little difference between the 4400 and the 4500). So far, so good. The sound is excellent and all of the features work as advertised.

Concerning the Denon remote, it's ridiculous that it isn't backlit. I generally keep it in a drawer and use a Logitech Harmony remote. They are backlit!! and easily programmable to operate all of your AV equipment.
I appreciate the fact that I am not the only one with issues and I certainly understand returning to Denon. More to ponder and thanks for info. Regarding pricing due to newer one - that is the kind of way I wish to purchase.
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post #5 of 27 Old 10-13-2018, 06:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by afrogt View Post
The 3803 did not have networking, nor HDMI. Maybe you mean the 3808CI?
Yes, sorry -typo.
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post #6 of 27 Old 10-13-2018, 06:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by afrogt View Post
The 3803 did not have networking, nor HDMI. Maybe you mean the 3808CI?
You are absolutely right and I have made this same typo before. Geez! Sorry,- that does cloud the issue if I do not name it right. Thanks for alerting me.
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post #7 of 27 Old 10-13-2018, 07:28 AM
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A Denon X3400 on closeout will get you the best version of Audyssey (XT32) and preouts and can probably be had for around $500 if you shop around. It has 7 processing channels. Going further up the line gets you more processing channels, but not better room correction. If you don't need more than 7 processing channels, I'd go X3400.
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post #8 of 27 Old 10-13-2018, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by quadgirl View Post
I would like good quality sound for music first as home theater is just an added bonus, an enjoyable one, no doubt, but I do want music to sound great. I guess I wonder if I can spend less than $1200, say, since I don’t need more than 5.1 channels (i did 7.1 and did not notice a difference that mattered to me). But, I just use this as a reference price. I want to buy one more receiver that can last a decade at least.
Electronics are going obsolete faster and faster these days. Get the cheapest receiver you can find that gives you features you need and plan on it going obsolete in less than a decade. Electronics are made from mostly commodity parts in this price range. And no brand has a zero-defect or zero failure rate. If you spend $500 now you can spend $500 in 5 years you can still get your decade in for under $1200.
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post #9 of 27 Old 10-13-2018, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by pbarach View Post
Yamaha receivers have YPAO, which is an inferior room correction system to Audyssey
Inferior in what way ?

I had a denon 2310, that started having hdmi issues. It was sent away and "repaired" but was never right again.
The AV store had switched to Yamaha from Denon because he said almost all the denons they sold came back for repairs. This was around 2012-2013.

I have bought 2 yamahas from them for 2 systems and haven't looked back.

The Ypao, in my opinion was no better and no worse than Denons solution. It was hard to compare because there were many other system and room changes throughout that time.

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post #10 of 27 Old 10-13-2018, 08:11 AM
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I was not super impressed with [Denon’s] customer support.
Looks like nothing has changed since I was dealing with them over 20 years ago about their miserable car stereo head units.

I’d suggest some upper-tiered Yamaha gear. They don’t seem to show up on these forums as having QC issues. I’ve been using Yamaha flagship receivers since the early 1990s, and haven’t had any issues with them. You can get used ones a few years old dirt cheap, which is what I typically do. You can find the RX-A3060, which is two models old, in your price range, and the 3020 for even less.

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post #11 of 27 Old 10-13-2018, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jjackkrash View Post
A Denon X3400 on closeout will get you the best version of Audyssey (XT32) and preouts and can probably be had for around $500 if you shop around. It has 7 processing channels. Going further up the line gets you more processing channels, but not better room correction. If you don't need more than 7 processing channels, I'd go X3400.
Thanks for that - it may be a great solution to go this route, and certainly the price is right! I appreciate the input.
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post #12 of 27 Old 10-13-2018, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Looks like nothing has changed since I was dealing with them over 20 years ago about their miserable car stereo head units.

I’d suggest some upper-tiered Yamaha gear. They don’t seem to show up on these forums as having QC issues. I’ve been using Yamaha flagship receivers since the early 1990s, and haven’t had any issues with them. You can get used ones a few years old dirt cheap, which is what I typically do. You can find the RX-A3060, which is two models old, in your price range, and the 3020 for even less.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
Thanks, Wayne. I did have yamaha in the early 90s and I do like things that work and buying older models. I wonder if there is much perceived difference in sound quality between those and denon? I will investigate further. I appreciate it.
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post #13 of 27 Old 10-13-2018, 12:04 PM
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I wonder if there is much perceived difference in sound quality between those and denon? I will investigate further. I appreciate it.
The difference in "sound quality" is going to be how the room-correction software interacts with your specific speakers and room. Its tough to tell without an in-room a/b comparison and/or in room measurements. If you don't run any eq/room correction or if you use pure direct there should be no difference in sound quality.
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Inferior in what way ?

I had a denon 2310, that started having hdmi issues. It was sent away and "repaired" but was never right again.
The AV store had switched to Yamaha from Denon because he said almost all the denons they sold came back for repairs. This was around 2012-2013.

I have bought 2 yamahas from them for 2 systems and haven't looked back.

The Ypao, in my opinion was no better and no worse than Denons solution. It was hard to compare because there were many other system and room changes throughout that time.
I think I will not care about room correction, in the end, anyway, so that is a very good point! I am so glad it was not just me with Denon’s, but what are the odds of 2 in a row with issues. I will definitely have to check out the Yamaha’s. Thanks.
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The difference in "sound quality" is going to be how the room-correction software interacts with your specific speakers and room. Its tough to tell without an in-room a/b comparison and/or in room measurements. If you don't run any eq/room correction or if you use pure direct there should be no difference in sound quality.
That makes sense. I use pure direct with analog 2 channel and it just says “multi-channel in” when I play sacd’s. I will have to see if that is using the audessy settings or if it is direct from the oppo.
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post #16 of 27 Old 10-13-2018, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jjackkrash View Post
Electronics are going obsolete faster and faster these days. Get the cheapest receiver you can find that gives you features you need and plan on it going obsolete in less than a decade. Electronics are made from mostly commodity parts in this price range. And no brand has a zero-defect or zero failure rate. If you spend $500 now you can spend $500 in 5 years you can still get your decade in for under $1200.
Ha! That us an interesting way to look at it Jackkrash! With all the junk in landfills, it would sure be nice if things would last, but maybe audio is now a disposable. Very interesting! Thanks.
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post #17 of 27 Old 10-13-2018, 02:48 PM
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[QUOTE=Shadowed;(YPAO is) inferior in what way ?
[/QUOTE]

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/90-re...l#post55972594

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post #18 of 27 Old 10-13-2018, 03:11 PM
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Ha! That us an interesting way to look at it Jackkrash! With all the junk in landfills, it would sure be nice if things would last, but maybe audio is now a disposable. Very interesting! Thanks.
The best example I can find would be timepieces. Clocks and pocket-watches were very, very expensive when they were first introduced as a personal merchandise, and the quality and way they were cherished made them a real treasure for most people. Grandfather clocks were only to be found in the homes of the wealthiest homes. Now we have time kept on our cell phones, so most people don't find the need to have to carry a dedicated timepiece anymore.

The way that watches have gone from really expensive, to really cheap, and then back to really expensive again, is something to think about. Most wealthy people wear these watches as status symbols these days. Of course that is an over generalization, for the most part. Older Grandfather clocks and other personal timepieces were really pieces of fascinating art and function. The newest ones are really pieces of astounding technology, and you pay out the nose for it. Do a search for these ultra high quality modern timepieces. They are jaw dropping in their precise implementation.

I know I sound like a broken record here, but I wish there were more manufacturers adopting NAD Electronics implementation of their MDC components that have replaceable, upgrade-able cards that are designed to be upgraded as the technology improves to accommodate the latest connection protocols. That is just smart. It's not what I would consider a gimmick. You may want to have a look at them as a solution to your quest for an upgrade-able solution to this situation. Good luck in your search.
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The best example I can find would be timepieces. Clocks and pocket-watches were very, very expensive when they were first introduced as a personal merchandise, and the quality and way they were cherished made them a real treasure for most people. Grandfather clocks were only to be found in the homes of the wealthiest homes. Now we have time kept on our cell phones, so most people don't find the need to have to carry a dedicated timepiece anymore.

The way that watches have gone from really expensive, to really cheap, and then back to really expensive again, is something to think about. Most wealthy people wear these watches as status symbols these days. Of course that is an over generalization, for the most part. Older Grandfather clocks and other personal timepieces were really pieces of fascinating art and function. The newest ones are really pieces of astounding technology, and you pay out the nose for it. Do a search for these ultra high quality modern timepieces. They are jaw dropping in their precise implementation.

I know I sound like a broken record here, but I wish there were more manufacturers adopting NAD Electronics implementation of their MDC components that have replaceable, upgrade-able cards that are designed to be upgraded as the technology improves to accommodate the latest connection protocols. That is just smart. It's not what I would consider a gimmick. You may want to have a look at them as a solution to your quest for an upgrade-able solution to this situation. Good luck in your search.
Thanks, Bootster. I have been interested in those NAD module things. Thanks for reminding me and giving a great analogy! I appreciate a company trying not to make everything with built-in obsolescence. They are pricey, but may be worth saving for and waiting for. 😊
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post #20 of 27 Old 10-13-2018, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by jjackkrash View Post
The difference in "sound quality" is going to be how the room-correction software interacts with your specific speakers and room...If you don't run any eq/room correction or if you use pure direct there should be no difference in sound quality.
Definitely different correction system could sound different. But the receiver won't necessarily sound the same without it. We swapped a friend's old Yamaha for a newer Onkyo and the bass was clearly firmer. Now, new receivers from various brands-who knows? I'd be curious to do controlled tests. When we get a chance we're going to compare a Denon 2312Ci versus a $25 Parts Express piece-THAT will be interesting.
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post #21 of 27 Old 10-13-2018, 05:24 PM
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...I wish there were more manufacturers adopting...replaceable, upgrade-able cards...
Don't hold your breath. It's more expensive, thus why you can't upgrade laptops/desktops any more to my understanding. Those multi-connectors that let you swap cards are fairly expensive, and appeal to only a very very few customers who are even aware that exists.
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post #22 of 27 Old 10-13-2018, 06:03 PM
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Thanks, Bootster. I have been interested in those NAD module things. Thanks for reminding me and giving a great analogy! I appreciate a company trying not to make everything with built-in obsolescence. They are pricey, but may be worth saving for and waiting for. 😊
You are most welcome. Again, good luck in your search. I don't know for sure, but I would wait a little bit if you were seriously looking at NAD. The products out now are getting a bit long in the tooth, so to speak. They are due for another upgrade right directly (I just like the phrase "right directly"). Don't get me wrong however. I absolutely LOVE the T 777 v3 I own. It is exactly what I was looking for in an AVR, and I got it with the Factory Refurbished savings that made it well worth the initial outlay of cash.

The way I see it, the way to make the upgrade cards worth your while, get the T 777 v3. Look for the factory refurbished units. You can save a big chunk of coin, while making the upgrade cards worth more to you as far as the overall percentage of the unit. Both of these units are serious pieces of audio gear, but the upgrade cards are less of a hit on the pocketbook when you are upgrading the T 777 v3 versus the T 758 v3. I was pondering the upgrade to my T 758 v1, and the card would be $499 for the AM 130 to get the upgraded video performance, and $199 for the BluOS module that gives you the Bluetooth/Internet WiFi functionality. That's a whopping 70% of the total amount that I paid new for the T 758 v1!!! Holy smokes!!!

If I were to invest that $700 into the T 777 v3 in the future, it would be 39% of the price I paid, (28% if I had paid the retail) not the 70% investment to the T 758 v1. That's a big difference, and the more I look at it, the more I know that I will not invest that kind of coin into the T 758 v1. The T 758 v1 is a really nice unit on it's own, but I can't see that kind of investment to make it Bluetooth compatible and upgrade the video.

Like I said, good luck to you, and I can say with certainty that the NAD products I have, and have owned in the past, are audibly better than the Japanese counterparts they are competing against. The NAD units also don't have a bunch of redundant features that you don't need. I just wish the MDC cards would come down in price before it comes time to upgrade my new T 777 v3 in the future.
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post #23 of 27 Old 10-13-2018, 06:13 PM
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We swapped a friend's old Yamaha for a newer Onkyo and the bass was clearly firmer.
Yes, it is always possible a unit, especially an old one, is defective.
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post #24 of 27 Old 10-14-2018, 06:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bootster View Post
You are most welcome. Again, good luck in your search. I don't know for sure, but I would wait a little bit if you were seriously looking at NAD. The products out now are getting a bit long in the tooth, so to speak. They are due for another upgrade right directly (I just like the phrase "right directly"). Don't get me wrong however. I absolutely LOVE the T 777 v3 I own. It is exactly what I was looking for in an AVR, and I got it with the Factory Refurbished savings that made it well worth the initial outlay of cash.

The way I see it, the way to make the upgrade cards worth your while, get the T 777 v3. Look for the factory refurbished units. You can save a big chunk of coin, while making the upgrade cards worth more to you as far as the overall percentage of the unit. Both of these units are serious pieces of audio gear, but the upgrade cards are less of a hit on the pocketbook when you are upgrading the T 777 v3 versus the T 758 v3. I was pondering the upgrade to my T 758 v1, and the card would be $499 for the AM 130 to get the upgraded video performance, and $199 for the BluOS module that gives you the Bluetooth/Internet WiFi functionality. That's a whopping 70% of the total amount that I paid new for the T 758 v1!!! Holy smokes!!!

If I were to invest that $700 into the T 777 v3 in the future, it would be 39% of the price I paid, (28% if I had paid the retail) not the 70% investment to the T 758 v1. That's a big difference, and the more I look at it, the more I know that I will not invest that kind of coin into the T 758 v1. The T 758 v1 is a really nice unit on it's own, but I can't see that kind of investment to make it Bluetooth compatible and upgrade the video.

Like I said, good luck to you, and I can say with certainty that the NAD products I have, and have owned in the past, are audibly better than the Japanese counterparts they are competing against. The NAD units also don't have a bunch of redundant features that you don't need. I just wish the MDC cards would come down in price before it comes time to upgrade my new T 777 v3 in the future.
Thanks again for the thoroughness of this, Booster. I am going to investigate thoroghly the exact model and method you have mentioned (factory refurbished) right soon (I like this phrase almost as much as right directly!) - meaning today. Thanks for that. It might be my best way to go. Have a great day!
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post #25 of 27 Old 10-14-2018, 07:53 AM
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I just want to mention that the T 758 v3 already has the upgraded cards (that would cost me over $700) so it is a good one to look at as well. I was looking at that number as to what I saved by going to a factory refurbished T 777 v3 over the retail price, and NAD sells for retail, for the most part. I couldn't see putting out the retail price for that unit, even though I really love it, I just don't have those kind of resources ATM. Again, good luck, and thanks again.

EDIT: Both units come with Dirac software, and I would really hate to leave out that tid bit of info.
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post #26 of 27 Old 10-14-2018, 08:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by head_unit View Post
Definitely different correction system could sound different. But the receiver won't necessarily sound the same without it. We swapped a friend's old Yamaha for a newer Onkyo and the bass was clearly firmer. Now, new receivers from various brands-who knows? I'd be curious to do controlled tests. When we get a chance we're going to compare a Denon 2312Ci versus a $25 Parts Express piece-THAT will be interesting.
I would love to know the results of that!
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post #27 of 27 Old 10-14-2018, 08:35 AM
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Don't hold your breath. It's more expensive, thus why you can't upgrade laptops/desktops any more to my understanding. Those multi-connectors that let you swap cards are fairly expensive, and appeal to only a very very few customers who are even aware that exists.
The point I was trying to make was just what you were saying. The way to force these up-gradable cards to have competitive prices would be to make more manufacturers go to an upgrade-able system. I know exactly what you are talking about, as I have a Surface Pro and it has virtually no upgrade-able paths. If it weren't so nice, I would never have considered it. What you are talking about there is portability and weight saving. The manufacturers know that they have the corner on the market, as those laptops and convertibles are technological marvels. I still can't believe that these newer small, light convertibles are able to do what they can do. I can work on CAD programs with mine (i7), and that is amazing for such a diminutive unit. There are also budget devices in the same format however, that come in at bargain prices (i3). But back on topic.

The point I made about the percentage of the cost of the MDC cards would be a reason to buy the more expensive, nicer units. For one, you are getting a really, really nice AVR, and you are also going to be upgrading a more capable unit. As far as I can tell, NAD doesn't advertise much, as they really don't have to. If more manufacturers would adopt that upgrade-able system, I believe that NAD would have to do some number crunching and perhaps lower the cost of those MDC cards, or perhaps come down in price across the board. As it stands, the NAD units for sale at authorized merchants are selling at retail prices, and have no trouble doing so.

As for not being aware of the system, that is just a shame, as I would love to see some new upstarts come out with upgrade-able components in a high quality format to compete with NAD. I guess you could look at the high prices for the MDC cards as a R&D thing, as they have to spend a lot to get their engineers to produce these cards, and do it right the first time. Nothing will tank a manufacturer as easily as having a bad repair record could do. NAD already had one flawed card they needed to fix, and that cannot happen frequently, as the people who want to pay premium prices for audio gear are not going to be very tolerant of recalled items. I know I won't.

The thing I really think that's unfair to the manufacturers of quality, mass produced gear are the reviews of these components. The more units that are sold, the more chance of having some bad ones get away. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and most of the posters on forums like, this come here to look for answers to problems, not to "cheer the gear". This undoubtedly means that the components get a "bad rap". That's just the way it goes.
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