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Denon 3803, Pure Direct, and Subwoofer

1898 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  TigerAspect
I've read through the manual and fiddled with the settings, and for the life of me I can't figure out how to have the subwoofer on when playing DVDs with DD/DTS through the optical in, but to use the Pure Direct mode for CD/SACD in 2 channel without activating the sub. My old Sony had a 2-channel mode, but the Denon manual says "The subwoofer's channel level must be set to off in order to turn off the digital circuit in PURE DIRECT mode." Does this mean I have to go to the menus each time to change the settings? I;m also using a Pioneer DV-45A DVD/SACD/DVD-A that is hooked up through the 5.1 analog in puts as well as the 2 channel out and the optical out. I use the receiver's processor for DVD, but the DVD's processor for DVD-A and SACD. Thanks.

Or is the issue with this only that the digital circuitry is on but that it's not actually sending sound to the subwoofer--i.e., it's 2 channel but not really "Pure Direct"?
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I have mine configured the same way but only using 2-channel analog audio. The 3803 will remember the speaker configuration per the processing mode.

If you have the DD/DTS working as desired, do not change it. Simply put the unit into Analog mode, then select direct/pure direct. Next, press the enter button on the remote, this will enable you to modify the speaker settings for whatever speakers are enabled. Keep pressing enter until the subwoofer is selected, then press the left arrow all the way until it reads "OFF". This off condition will only be in the analog/direct mode. Now when you switch back to DD/DTS/DPL2, the sub will be enabled.

I did this and it may be purely subjective or maybe my sub/RL were cancelling each other out, but at this point but it seems that the L/R speakes actually have more bass now.

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So, what do you think of the 3803 - both as a HT multichannel unit and on 2-channel analog?

Tom B.

After a few days I had thought of returning it. Now, the more I use it the more I like it.

Regarding audio performance, let me say that: The acoustics of my room are horrible. So with that said, I think the 3803 is very accurate. I have a Chesky sampler 24/96 and it sounds awesome. I think there's going to be a revivial of this format due to its quality & simplicity.

I did a significant amount of comparison between the DACs in my 9000ES compared to the Denon using 44.1 CD-Audio and two things became clear.

1. The sony colorizes the low end by boosting signal level.

measured via SPL meter using optical or copper digital cable

2. The soundstage of the Denon DACs place the music front and center while with the sony it's shifted a little to the left.

At first I liked the Sony DAC's better but then when I compensated for the signal level found the Denon to be more detailed. For example: I have a CD from Crouded-House Titled StoneFace. On my 3803 I hear background vocals I've never heard befor on a 10 year old CD.

SACD sounds nice, but I rarely play them so can't really comment on the quality here.

Regarding multi-channel audio DD/DTS: My previous receiver was a THX-Ultra Pioneer Elite. On that unit I constantly found myself turning up/down the volume during movie playback to tone down music and such. I thought one of the goals of THX was to resolve this. Anyway on the 3803 (no THX) I just turn on the movie and never have to touch the volume.

Regardless of format, distortion is non-existent at any volume level I've tried. My room is 15 x 18 with vaulted ceiling. I'm keeping my 3803 so hopefully it'll last longer than my Elite did.

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