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I am debating between these two receivers, the price difference is about $300 ($510 for pioneer, and $810 for Denon) even though both models' MSPR are $1200.00.


I will mainly use it as pre-amp to feed my Mcintosh 402 amp, so my main concern is on the pre-amp section ( I am pretty sure that in terms of movie performance, they are about the same). Denon has the 4 Dacs in the 'pure direct' mode for 2 channels while pioneer only have 2 Dacs. (someone told me that Denon's Dac has better quality then Pioneer) So my question is that in the pre-amp section, how much actual difference are between these two models.




Thanks in advance!!




Ren
 

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First, try comparing apples to apples with the 45TX against the 3803. Problem is you probably can't find any more 45TX's anymore. Truly one of the better values in receivers, and actually warranted it's price tag.
 

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I disagree with DJ_JonnyV - the 43TX and the 45TX have essentially identical sound, so I find it a fair comparison.


In my testing, I didn't notice the Denon 3803 as having any notable sonic advantage in direct mode (my preferred listening mode as well). The two models sounded different, but it may come down to just a matter of taste as to which you prefer.


If the Pioneer has inferior DAC's, or two versus four per channel, I didn't notice a degradation in performance - resolution, separation and focus all seemed roughly on par with the 3803.


Moving to the HK525, however, did produce sonic differences that seemed to indicate some weakness with the performance of the DAC's (at least to my ears).


Your mileage may vary.
 

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Fat Dave,


So which receiver seems to have the weaker DAC?? It was not clear from your post and TIA for clarifying it for me
 

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The Pioneer 43tx has less sophisticated DACs than the 3803, but as Fat Dave noted, the difference in sound depends on the listener. (Much more than the DACs have an influence on sonics.) I found the 43tx to have more "presense" or it's sound enveloped the listener better than the 3803, in a side by side comparison. At first listen I prefered the Denon's laid back character (the 43tx sounded a bit more in your face), but then noticed that certain "live concert" CDs were too laid back on the 3803 and the sound tended to stay isolated around the speaker instead of fill the entire room with sound, while the 43tx began to sound better and better to my ear. (I listened A vs. B for about two hours) Again, this is just my opinion and your likes and dislikes may be different.


By the way the sound from both the 43tx and the 45tx is the same. I would find it hard to believe an individual could tell me they heard a difference all settings equal.
 

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I was speaking more in terms of features between these 2 receivers. I've seen too many people talking about Denon's video upconversion feature on the 3803, so at that price point, Pioneer's ansewer to "the feature that puts you over the top" question is the Auto MCACC. Yes, I do know that the 43 has the manual version of this.
 

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I couldn't tell if the 43TX or the 3803 had weaker DAC's. They sounded a bit different, but to my ear, neither one showed a weakness, just a different presentation.


A more sophisticated ear than mine may be able to hear a difference in resolution and accuracy that I could not detect, however.


On paper, the 3803 should be better. In practice, however, I ever so slightly preferred the sound from the Pioneer. That may have nothing whatsoever to do with the DAC's though...
 
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