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-   -   Commodification of Denon (https://www.avsforum.com/forum/90-receivers-amps-processors/3074500-commodification-denon.html)

Jefffrye 06-20-2019 06:50 PM

Commodification of Denon
 
I’ve been lusting over replacing my 19 year Denon AVR-3802 with the new 3500 and I recently had an opportunity to stop in at a BB Magnolia store to check one out. Now I know weight isn’t a reliable indicator of performance, but you gotta wonder what corners did they cut to make the 3500 so light? By the numbers 3802 = 36.4 lbs., 3500 = 23.8 lbs. That is a loss of 12.6 lbs., or 35%!! Has there been some breakthrough in super light high tech materials? I don’t think so. Perhaps the 3802 was over engineered. Good! Also, the 3500 price is lower than what I paid for the 3802, 19 years ago. The 3500 looked and felt like a Sony VCR player and I doubt very much if it will see 19 years old. Needless to say I’ll be keeping my 3802, for now anyway. Stereo for music and 5.1 for movies is just fine.

Worf 06-20-2019 11:37 PM

Chances are, the amplifier stage will probably put out a lot less total power - which would be the reason for a large amount of weight loss as the power required would be a lot less so it power supply can be significantly lighter. A big part would be a smaller transformer where even 100W can reduce the size and weight significantly.

Of course, if the power is the same (not familiar with either model) they could've gone to a switching power supply which is much lighter - compare today's phone chargers with yesterday's wall warts and what was a huge brick then is replaced with a tiny cube about the size of the plug.

Another source of weight is the amplifier heatsink as well. A lower power amp can use a smaller heatsink which will also weigh less.

jdsmoothie 06-21-2019 12:24 AM

Important to note the current successor to your 3802 is the X6500H (ie. numbering convention no longer similar).

AnalogHD 06-21-2019 01:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jefffrye (Post 58209162)
I’ve been lusting over replacing my 19 year Denon AVR-3802 with the new 3500 and I recently had an opportunity to stop in at a BB Magnolia store to check one out. Now I know weight isn’t a reliable indicator of performance, but you gotta wonder what corners did they cut to make the 3500 so light? By the numbers 3802 = 36.4 lbs., 3500 = 23.8 lbs. That is a loss of 12.6 lbs., or 35%!!

Weight is not a proxy for sound quality.
Weight is not a proxy for sound quality.
Weight is not a proxy for sound quality.

There are far more important things, such as topology and component quality. It's possible to get ~the same sound and even the same amount of bias in 30 or 60 lbs, varying nothing more than using:
A) a toroidal transformer, pin fin heatsinks, and all-vertical or floor-only boards for good airflow, or
B) a E-I transformer, thick straight heatsinks, and two levels of horizontal boards trapping hot air.
And the "B" won't be overengineered at all. You just get more weight with a less efficient and noisier transformer, worse airflow, and more stuff that isn't really about sound.

The AVR-3802 is not a high-end piece, it's just an old receiver that wasn't bad when it was new. Now it's probably got well-degraded capacitors in the power supply. The DAC is seriously old. It doesn't support HDMI audio or video, so you probably get compressed sound through the optical inputs. No fancy stuff like Atmos or at least DTS-HD MA.

The AVR-3500 is not high-end either, but it's certainly not suffering for sound quality. The power supply is still linear of course.



Basically the reality is almost the opposite - Denon is one of the few brands that has resisted the push for cheaper sound. They still use AB amplification stages across the range, at least as far as the AVR-3500 goes. Many brands have moved to class D and its derivatives, which allow for producing truly light and small amps, but at the expense of sound. Denon hasn't.

As to the weight, the question you should ask isn't why the AVR-3500 is so light, but why the AVR-3802 was so heavy - but most AVR were at the time. I suppose it's that the digital components weren't as good and took up a lot of space, resulting in more boards, all doing the job of a single chip today. Also, as has been mentioned, if its price is too low for you, Denon has pricier and heavier models, since the numbering is quite different now.

If you look at the 3802's inside, it's filled with boards, discrete components and low-integration circuits that have nothing to do with sound, just outdated analog inputs. And as for which lasts longer... on one hand, more stuff is more things to go wrong, and many 3802s have. On the other, lead-free soldier has been a big blow to electronics reliability, so there's that. No one can tell for sure.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Jefffrye (Post 58209162)
The 3500 looked and felt like a Sony VCR player and I doubt very much if it will see 19 years old.

You might be surprised at how much empty space there's in modern AV electronics. This is what a modern BDP from a strong audio brand (Arcam) looks like on the inside:
You could squeeze all of that into a package just a bit larger than PC BD-RW drive (the actual drive takes just 1/3 the height of a 5.25" slot today). The only reason the box is made so large is out of tradition, for neat component stacking, and to satisfy the owner's feelings that they're not stepping down from their massive VCR player.


But to each his own! Feel free to keep your AVR-3802, if it hasn't developed obvious sound problems, and the lack of newer digital inputs won't make a difference anyway if you've kept your VCR as well.

dfa973 06-21-2019 02:13 AM

If you are judging by weight then the first mobile phone was about 2 kilograms (4.4 lbs) in 1973 and today a smartphone is around 172 g (6.07 oz).
I am not sure that the old one is better than the new one...

MRAYB 06-21-2019 04:53 AM

I am in the middle of the exact same process at the moment. Going from the older flagship model 4311CI to the 2017 X4400H. I like the above cell phone analogy^^^. The older 4311 weighs 38lbs, the newer 4400 is 30lbs. The 4311 is a great receiver, just outdated. No digital to Zones, few surround modes(by today's standards) no 4K, Atmos, 3D and so on. For 8lbs less, the 4400 is loaded with WAY more features. Couldn't be happier with the update.

Worf 06-22-2019 12:25 AM

Another thing - it turns out that manufacturers are artificially weighing down stuff to make it intentionally feel heavier.

Sometimes they use special enclosure plates that make the case heavier (though it also makes it stiffer, which can be a nice attribute sometimes). Either thicker metal, or they screw on thick metal plates.

Or they toss in weights into the product to make it heavier.

Thus nowadays weight really isn't a measure - manufacturers may catch on and simply weigh down the unit to make it feel heavier. This of course costs money they could've used elsewhere in making the product,but they decided to spend some faking it.

dfa973 06-23-2019 04:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Worf (Post 58213820)
...........,but they decided to spend some faking it.

Maybe sometimes the weight is just for the weight (fake heft, perceived value, premium product, etc.), but sometimes the added weight is just for keeping vibrations on lower levels. The rest is a bonus.

dfa973 06-23-2019 04:59 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by MRAYB (Post 58210160)
I am in the middle of the exact same process at the moment. Going from the older flagship model 4311CI to the 2017 X4400H. I like the above cell phone analogy^^^. The older 4311 weighs 38lbs, the newer 4400 is 30lbs. The 4311 is a great receiver, just outdated. No digital to Zones, few surround modes(by today's standards) no 4K, Atmos, 3D and so on. For 8lbs less, the 4400 is loaded with WAY more features. Couldn't be happier with the update.

Yeah, but 4311CI is a flagship beast, equivalent to a modern X7200W or X8500H...

It should not be compared to X4400H... not the same level whatsoever!

MRAYB 06-23-2019 06:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfa973 (Post 58217358)
Yeah, but 4311CI is a flagship beast, equivalent to a modern X7200W or X8500H...

It should not be compared to X4400H... not the same level whatsoever!

Yea, I know. I own both. Was just looking at weight vs. age. The 8500 is 51lbs! Can't really compare 8-9 year different flagships either I guess. For music, can't beat the 4311. A coworker is buying it to use in his 4 car garage/shop. He has two diy subs and a bunch of speakers already. Will be nice to see (hear) the old girl keeping the legacy going.:D


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