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Onkyo 787 or Denon 3801?

478 Views 11 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  mannyqg
I just sold my old Onkyo Dolby Digital 747 receiver and figured I would upgrade to the new 787 with the future proof rs-232 download port that I had heard so much about. When I started checking the latest info on their website, it looks like the anticipated port has disappeared, and that the 787 will only handle THX Surround EX. There doesn't appear to be any way that this unit can be upgraded to DTS discreet as they are promising for the 989 next year.


All of a sudden, the Denon 3801 starts to look very attractive. My question is:


The Onkyo units have a nice feature where the display will indicate the discreet digital speaker pattern selected such as "3/2.1" to indicate three front/two back and a sub woofer. This is a great confirmation that I've selected the correct dvd playback mode. I had a dvd start playing the other day and it defaulted to 3/1 indicating mono surrounds. I actually had to back to the disc start menu and switch to 3/2 playback. I don't think I would have known that without the display feedback.


Do the Denon units have anything other that a "Dolby Digital" or "DTS" light that comes on to confirm what you are actually listening to? Does anything show up at the on screen display? I can't find any info in their manuals at the Denon website.


I've always liked Onkyo equipment, but this seems like another instance of too little too late. I know the Onkyo is THX and the Denon isn't, but to get 7 channel amps and all the latest surround modes for a little extra money seems like a no brainer to me.


I've been playing with a 777 model and it looks like they've also dropped some features that I really liked on my 747 such as a third unswitched power outlet, the Intelligent Power On system that turns the receiver on when it detects a video signal, an LED indicator in the volume knob to display angular position, the display that now cannot be totally dimmed to off, and the conversion of mixed s-vhs/composite video signals. The new remote is a big improvement over the last generation however.


Thanks, Ray
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Tim,

I have been waiting and looking for the Denon 3801 for sometime. Can you tell me where you got it and how much? thanks


Manny
I can't wait to hear about the 3801. They should be in my area within a couple weeks. I have seen some posts on other forums that it will be available for 899. I am very surprised by that since it will be brand new and it has already caused quite a bit of interest. I would suspect that the dealers would charge a little more while the demand is great.


I will check back often to hear the first impressions.


Does anyone know of any magazines showing a sneak peek of the 3801?


Lastly I hope the remote is better than denons in the past. I am trying not to by an expensive universal.


Nick
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Ray,


I'll have a 3801 to play around with by the end of the week, I'll post some impressions after it arrives. I decided to go with the 3801 for exactly the reasons you mentioned, 7-channel amplification, and the 787 doesn't appear to support dts discrete.


Tim Holliday
I'll pickup one tonight for $850. The seller told me that he is an authorized dealer. The other sellers from Las Vegas told me that they can sell for $850 too but they are out of stock and will get more next week. So don't pay more than $850, I suspect this might still go down as the supply situation improves.


Manny
I got this one last night and had a quick dry run out of the box. I played the Eagles DTS DVD and Saving Private Ryan DTS. It sounds good as I expected and it seems it has enough power for seven channels. The good news is that it is made in Japan unlike other Denons below $1000 (3300) which are made in Malaysia. I still have to calibrate the speaker levels tonight. With its affordable price this receiver will leave other brands biting in the dust using it as a receiver or preamp.


Manny
Manny,


Thanks to all for the early feedback. I was making the rounds to various dealers trying to find some info on the 3801, but none of them have it in stock yet. Then I happened to remember that I have the world's best experts available through this forum.


On my original question about display of discreet speaker pattern selection, I notice in the 3300 website pdf manual that there is a "status" p/b on the receiver and an "onscreen" p/b on the remote. These give some kind of information feedback as to video paths and modes selected. I believe these are carried over to the 3801. Do either provide anything like the Onkyo "3/2.1" display?


I pretty certain I'm going with the 3801. I've learned over the years to really pay attention to receiver ergonomics. Great sound quality is important, but you don't have to interact with it. Ease of use problems pop up every time you push a button.


Ray
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Ray,


I am afraid the 3801 doesn't have the display pattern you want. Confirmation is for DD, DTS and PCM. I am not familiar with Onkyo but I have the Denon DD decoder which lights up six dots for each channel once Dolby digital is detected. I know what you mean about detecting the right settings. I played the Eagles DVD and makes you choose between DTS and PCM. With my short dryrun, if the PCM light is out and the DTS/dd buttons on, then you have all the channels. You also have to push the 7.1 button to activate the 2 additional back speakers, otherwise it is only 5.1. All I can say is if you experience 7 channels you'll not go back to 5. If you need one now call William Sze at 626-288-0200, he might still have one left. Just a reminder this is not THX certified if it matters. Regards


Manny


[This message has been edited by mannyqg (edited 10-07-2000).]
Manny,


I downloaded the 3801 instruction manual pdf file from the Denon website today, and did a quick scan through.


I'm curious to see if you've have had a chance to try out any of the new Dolby Surround EX dvd's. Do you know if they will turn on the surround "Signal Detect" LED indicator mentioned on page 51 of the manual?


I think the latest disk to have the new encoded EX id flag is "Mission to Mars", with about a dozen others in release.


Thanks,


Ray
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Ray,

I am afraid I dont't have any EX DVD right now. I'll see if I can get hold of one since I don't intend to buy the Mission to Mars. I have the T2 Ultimate, does this have EX? I played it the other night and the 3801 display says 6.1 but I didn't notice if EX was displayed. I'll try it again tonight.


Manny


[This message has been edited by mannyqg (edited 10-10-2000).]
Hi Manny,


I read through all the fine print in the manual, and I'm pretty sure it can detect and decode the Dolby Surround EX through what it calls the 6.1 mode.


I took your advice and ordered one tonight at the above mentioned phone number. He is listed at the Denon website as an approved dealer. It will cost me $930 delivered. My local dealer won't budge from the $1200 retail price.


At the Home Theater Forum, it was mentioned that DVD Review keeps a good Surround EX list at:
http://www.dvdreview.com/movies/filmvault.html


Sorry, but I didn't see T2 UE on the list.


Thanks for all your help,


Ray
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Ray,


I just tried T2 and it listed dolby ex as one of the selections in addition to the regular DD, DTS and the new DTS ES. The Denon detects it and it says 6.1 surround. I guess they can't put EX as this is a THX trademark. I am pretty sure that you will enjoy this receiver and perhaps later add more powerful amps to match the 5800 and yet still save some.


Manny
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