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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to decide which is the best receiver for me after narrowing things down sound-wise between Denon and Yamaha models. Specifically, I am looking at Denon 2311ci, 3311ci and last year's 2310ci or 3310ci if I can find one and this year's Yamaha's V667, A700, A800 or A1000. That's a wide range in prices, from about $500 for the 2310ci or V667 to $1200 for the 3311ci so I'd like to find if there is a price versus feature trade-off. Other than multi-channel analog inputs, I don't have any experience with some of these features, so please help me rank them on order of importance for current and future usefulness:


- HDMI 1.4 (3-D, Audio Return Channel, Stand-by Pass-through)

- RS-232C port

- USB port

- Ethernet

- Multichannel Analog Input


My takes, please enhance my understanding:


- HDMI 1.4: I'm not sure if/when I'd upgrade to a display and blu-ray player that would need this. For now the 3-D and Audio Return Channel would be useless, and in the future would even more technology be needed (HDMI 1.5?) to keep up with advancements in 3-D? I'm thinking there might be other ways to deal with this with just extra cables if need be? The stand-by pass-through is of interest, but again can probably be accomplished by separate connections to tv and avr and maybe an HDMI splitter from the cable box?


- RS-232C port: I'm not going to do a professional install. Is this a huge advantage for firmware updates? How common are firmware updates from Denon and Yamaha? Only the Yamaha V667 doesn't have this.


- USB port: Denon's 3310 and 2311/3311 has this, Yamaha does not. What can the usb port be used for besides iPod connectivity or to read media from usb drives?


- Ethernet: You have to step up to the top of the budget I am looking at in the Denon 3310/11 and Yamaha A1000 to get this so I'm especially interested to know how useful it is since it comes at a premium. I won't have a permanent ethernet hook-up unless I bought some sort of wireless router - would that even work? If it is just to hook to a network to access music and pictures, I'm sure there is another way to do that (like the usb port?).


- Multi-channel analog inputs: Denon has dropped these since the 3310ci while Yamaha still has them. I have a Sony S100ES blu-ray player that still has multi-channel connections, but I only use it to play movies, not SA-CD. Having a receiver with these inputs would allow me to test whether or not I prefer having the blu-ray player or the avr convert the digital audio, but would that screw up any room calibration or lose control over other sound adjustments if the conversion is done outside of the avr?


Thanks for helping. I'm hoping to get a good 10+ years out of this receiver (my current one is 14-years old) so future-proofing as much as possible is important to me. Right now I rank the analog inputs and the HDMI 1.4 (when is the next significant improvement in HDMI technology?) lower and I'm having a hard time putting a value on the usb and ethernet capabilities and am very interested in hearing people's opinions on these!
 

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I assume Audyssey vs YPAO is also a decision point. As would be stuff Yamaha does not implement such as Dolby Volume and such.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes, the Audyssey vs. YPAO and internal working will also be part of the consideration, but I'm trying to narrow down to a specific Denons versus Yamahas in terms of features then I will get deeper into the technical specs. I'm trying to understand how important things like the RS-232C, usb and ethernet ports are as well as if there truly is a need for HDMI 1.4 or multi channel analog. Anyone with feedback on the practical uses on these features to help me with my understanding? Thanks so much!


And thanks for pointing out the usb on the Yamaha A1000.
 

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I have the top of the line Denon 5308 that has the RS-232. I've never used it. Firmware upgrades are over the internet, with the receiver downloading and installing just as a computer would.


3D - there are Blu-ray players that have two parallel HDMI outputs (Panasonic, Oppo). I have the Oppo. You can feed audio through one output and video through the other. I play the audio through my receiver, which isn't 3D-compatible, and pump the video directly into my Panasonic VT25 3D. Yes, you lose the switching feature of the receiver, but I use a Logitech Harmony remote anyway, so everything just gets set up automatically with a single button push on my remote.


Multi-channel analog: I personally have never used it. My Oppo feeds DSD from SACDs directly to the Denon over HDMI.


So bottom line: there are workarounds for the lack of 3D capability; and I personally have never found the RS232 or multi-channel analog capabilities useful. My own advice would be to make your decision on other features or qualities of the receivers.


I've never owned a Yamaha so I can't comment on YPAO, but Audyssey is really great. I think it's on this sort of capability that you should be making a choice.


Edit: Reading back, I see I have mostly described my own setup instead of giving you advice. Sorry. So let me try to correct that.


RS-232 - I doubt you will need this feature unless you get a professional to come in and set up your system.


Ethernet - useful for automatic firmware upgrades, even if you don't care about iTunes AirPlay, Rhapsody, etc. I would pay more for an Ethernet port even if WiFi isn't available. You can use a device called a WiFi-to-Ethernet bridge that will convert a WiFi into a wired Ethernet. They're cheap and simple to set up.


Multi-channel audio: if you want to listen to SACD and the receiver won't handle DSD and your SACD player won't convert SACD into multi-channel PCM over HDMI, then you need multi-channel analog.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtleonard /forum/post/19628198


My takes, please enhance my understanding:


- HDMI 1.4: I'm not sure if/when I'd upgrade to a display and blu-ray player that would need this. For now the 3-D and Audio Return Channel would be useless, and in the future would even more technology be needed (HDMI 1.5?) to keep up with advancements in 3-D? I'm thinking there might be other ways to deal with this with just extra cables if need be? The stand-by pass-through is of interest, but again can probably be accomplished by separate connections to tv and avr and maybe an HDMI splitter from the cable box?

Most 3D players will have dual HDMI outs for compatibility reasons anyway so that you could bypass the receiver and send the video signal to the display, so I don't think it's of huge importance.


- RS-232C port: I'm not going to do a professional install. Is this a huge advantage for firmware updates? How common are firmware updates from Denon and Yamaha? Only the Yamaha V667 doesn't have this.

RS-232 port is great for updating firmware on the non-networked Denon models, and I personally wouldn't buy a model without this or a network connection, as I'm the type who likes to keep firmware updated. However, Denon typically only releases 2-3 firmware updates during the year the receiver is sold and then stops releasing updates after that (i.e. last years xx10 models stopped getting firmware updates in the Spring of 2010 just before the xx11 modes came out). After you put the last update on the receiver, RS-232 becomes useless after that. Still, I wouldn't want to be without this capability unless I knew I was purchasing a player that was manufactured after the final firmware update for a given model was released.


- USB port: Denon's 3310 and 2311/3311 has this, Yamaha does not. What can the usb port be used for besides iPod connectivity or to read media from usb drives?

I think that's about it. I don't foresee using this feature on mine. I would personally rather stream my music through a $99 Apple TV instead.


- Ethernet: You have to step up to the top of the budget I am looking at in the Denon 3310/11 and Yamaha A1000 to get this so I'm especially interested to know how useful it is since it comes at a premium. I won't have a permanent ethernet hook-up unless I bought some sort of wireless router - would that even work? If it is just to hook to a network to access music and pictures, I'm sure there is another way to do that (like the usb port?).

This can be used for streaming music from Pandora, internet radio stations, or from a DLNA media server on your computer/network. You need a hard-wired ethernet connection from your router to connect the Denon/Yamaha. I personally don't like Denon's clunky networked interface as much as I thought I would, so I stream most of my stuff (i.e. Pandora) from my laptop using a program called Airfoil to my Apple TV anyway. The Pandora desktop app streams at 192k vs. 128k on the Denon anyway, so it's a little better quality this way too.


- Multi-channel analog inputs: Denon has dropped these since the 3310ci while Yamaha still has them. I have a Sony S100ES blu-ray player that still has multi-channel connections, but I only use it to play movies, not SA-CD. Having a receiver with these inputs would allow me to test whether or not I prefer having the blu-ray player or the avr convert the digital audio, but would that screw up any room calibration or lose control over other sound adjustments if the conversion is done outside of the avr?

I don't think the Sony would do any better than the Denons, but I suppose it's possible. The receiver would have to re-convert the analog signal to digital for processing and then convert back to analog afterward. Typically, multi-channel inputs/outputs on devices are used for compatibility issues (i.e. you have an old receiver that can't decode DTS-MA but you buy a new player that has multi-channel analog outputs so you let the player do the conversion to analog and your compatibility issues are solved).


Thanks for helping. I'm hoping to get a good 10+ years out of this receiver (my current one is 14-years old) so future-proofing as much as possible is important to me. Right now I rank the analog inputs and the HDMI 1.4 (when is the next significant improvement in HDMI technology?) lower and I'm having a hard time putting a value on the usb and ethernet capabilities and am very interested in hearing people's opinions on these!

See bold responses above. Also, for what it's worth, I bought a Denon and Yamaha to compare side by side in my house and was MUCH more impressed with what Audyssey did in my room than YPAO. Additionally, I will never buy another receiver without DynamicEQ again, as it makes music/movies come to life at much lower volumes by compensating for the ear's insensitivity to bass and surround effects the further you get from 0 on the volume dial. Just my $.02.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you for the feedback and confrirming my thinking about some of these things. It sounds like a 2009 model is a good option since I don't need the HDMI 1.4 capability and that there are work arounds if I did in the future. The Denon 3310ci would probably be the choice, but they are getting very hard to find (at the closeout prices)!


As for the WiFi-to-ethernet bridge - how much internet access can be had? Is it just the internet radio stations, or other websites as well?


Thanks again!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtleonard /forum/post/19632222


Thank you for the feedback and confrirming my thinking about some of these things. It sounds like a 2009 model is a good option since I don't need the HDMI 1.4 capability and that there are work arounds if I did in the future. The Denon 3310ci would probably be the choice, but they are getting very hard to find (at the closeout prices)!


As for the WiFi-to-ethernet bridge - how much internet access can be had? Is it just the internet radio stations, or other websites as well?


Thanks again!

The wifi bridge just allows you to not use a wired connection. The network features will be the same either way. The network features of the 3311 include:


Firmware upgrades

Pandora

Internet radio

Rhapsody

Napster

Flickr

DLNA (network access to music on a media server running on a computer on your network)


I believe the 3310 has all of the above with the possible exception of Pandora. It's not listed in the owner's manual, but I seem to recall reading that it was added as an update with a later version of the firmware.


There are no "websites" you can access via a browser on the receiver or anything.
 
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