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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Someone's recent post reminded me that I wanted to ask a question regarding a Denon 3803 that I just picked up.


I just traded my Sony 555ES for a 3803, and although it sounds fabulous for movies, it sounds a little bright with music. At least, it sounds brighter than the Sony did. I have a Sony SCD C222ES player, and with the Sony receiver, had always connected / played it via digital coax.


When I noticed that the Denon was brighter, I decided to try analog cables instead. My thinking was that the brightness was probably coming from the different DACs in the Denon and -- by using analog cables -- I'd be using the DACs in the Sony CD player instead.


Although the sound is a little different now, and maybe a little warmer, the difference isn't as dramatic as I had expected... even when using the Pure Direct mode of the receiver. Can someone explain this to me? Isn't the "Pure Direct" mode bypassing everything in the receiver and just amplifying the signal? Is there always some "massaging" of the signal happening, even when using analog sources and the various direct modes?


I guess I'm a little lost as to what happens to the signal between the CD source and the speakers.
 

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Going have to go give my 3803 another listen with music I just traded a 3802 for a 3803 yesterday so far I felt that in my setup there was not much differance in sound btw the 3802 and 3803. Since I am using all klipsch speakers (except subwoofer) I wanted more of a warmer sounding receiver hopefully the new denon 3803 doesn't turn out to be brighter sounding on music than the 3802.
 

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To my knowledge 'Direct' bypasses tone control and subwoofer output. I am not certain about Denon but some receivers convert analog to digital and then back to analog. I have never understood why they do this.


I have never owned the 3800 series but I had a 4802 and it was bright in HT and lifeless with 2 channel music.


I do not mean to sound so harsh but that is why I do not prefer Denon.
 

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I have found the 3803 warmer than the 3802. I previously had a Yamaha 996 which I would describe as harsh. I use 3 DQ-10's as L,R,C, Conrad Johnson for surrounds, and maggies for rears.


Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
When I was shopping for receivers a couple years ago, I was all but convinced that I'd end up with either Yamaha or Denon. I demoed all four units in the $1200 range that Audio King had at the time, which include those two brands plus Sony and Pioneer. I eliminated the Pioneer first, it just sounded like it was missing something. To my amazement, the Yamaha went next. The Sony and Denon were left and sounded very, very close to me. I ended up giving the nod to the Sony for the user interface, even without knowing much about the operation of the Denon. Now that I own my first Denon, I'm simply amazed that they haven't done more in that arena. The Sony was much easier to work with.


Having said that, I'm not completely turned off by either the sound or the operation of the Denon... I'm just trying to get used to both of them.
 

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I upgrade from Pioneer Elite VSX26TX to Denon 3803 about 1 month ago. I too found the Denon to be a little brighter than my Elite. I plugged in the elite last weekend and checked the settings and found the bass was turned up 4 db. I don't recall doing that, but once I lowered it to 0, they are much more similar.


I did significant comparison between the DAC's in the 3803 and the Sony S9000ES and 12 year old Onkyo CD changer. Both have optical & electrical signaling. I found the DAC's in the 3803 to be subjectively superior to both. The 9000ES boosts signal level by about 4 db out of the analog ports, so it's hard to do an A/B but the denon is very slightly more detialed and the soundstage to me is more present. I did it blind by having my wife do the switching. I can tell very accurately who's doing the DAC.


I don't believe the 3803 converts the analog to digital and then back to analog when in direct or pure-direct mode. However be carefull because these modes do engage when using digital connections and in this case still go through the speaker config setting processing.


Take it with a grain-of-salt, but some say that the DACs in the 3803 need a break in. I used a chesky 5 channel 24/96 DVD at moderate volume for a few days. I don't know if it helped but I did find an appreciation for the recording technique.


-RJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the input, RJ!


At one point the break-in question did occur to me, but I more or less wrote it off. Maybe I'll run it continuously for a few days and see what happens.
 

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Guess I will try the same thing, after listening to the new 3803 now I am not sure if it sounds better the same or worse than the 3802. Might be that after having the 3802 hooked up for 2 months I am use to the sound of it. It also might be that don't have the 3803 tweaked as well as the 3802. Last might just be me being paranoid that the 3803 doesn't sound as good. Need to stop reading these post lol. I was happy with it till I read this post.
 

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I bought a 3803 to replace a Sony non-ES 5.1 receiver I have. I did a comparison with both hooked to my separate 5 channel power amp and calibrated to 80 db with an SPL meter. To me, the Denon sounded "compressed" and not as realistic as the Sony! The Denon just sounded flat. I called my dealer and walked him through my tests. He agreed that I was truly isolating the preamp sections of both units and gave me a full refund for the 3803. I'm still using the sony.


Jeff
 

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Jeff,


I looked at the manual on the 3803 - and it is quite complicated. Are you sure that the set-up was correct (speakers set to small) or some other setting that effected your sound. From what I have read and heard from my friends - the Denon seem sto be a brighter sound.


Reggie
 

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Quote:
I found the sound of the 3803 to slightly warmer and more detailed than the 3802 through my Dynaudios.
Are you using the 3803's amps to drive the Dynes or as a preamp?
 

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I have now had my Denon 3803 for a couple of weeks (as a pre/pro) and, in general, I don't notice much of any difference between it and the 3802 it replaced (that I can reliably identify.) I do feel it seems a tad clearer in DPL II modes.


If anyone is interested...the Stereo, Direct and Pure Direct 2 channel modes stay in analog if they are analog to begin with. Denon has published this in many papers over the last several years. Bass management is a bit different between the Stereo and 2 Direct modes but the speaker feeds ARE always 100% analog (if they start that way.)


2 channel digital feeds in the 3803 are a bit different than they were in the older 3802. They are now ran thru Denon's AL24 processing, NOT just converted (no way to byoass AL24.) I have listened quite a bit to the AL24 2 channel digital "sound" and have decided that I don't really care for it much. Tonally, it's ok but I don't like what it does to the soundstage. So, I have just went back to analog from my Adcom 20-bit player...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the input on the analog sources, HAN! Even going analog from my Sony SACD player, the Denon still sounds bright to me for some reason. It could be that the DACs in the Sony CD player are very different from the DACs in my old STR-V555ES. Then again, I could be imagining things.


I'm going to go do some side-by-side comparisons of the 3803 to the current generation Sony, Yamaha, and Pioneer receivers to see what I think.
 
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