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My home theater is based on a Denon 3802 and I'd like to upgrade. Mostly I am looking to repurpose the receiver to the computer system (for basic surround sound for games). I have no compelling reason sound-wise or feature-wise to upgrade, but I would like to move from component video to HDMI in the near future. Currently my main inputs are an HDMI-capable Oppo DVD player and AppleTV (component) for video and audio from the iTunes library. The video is handled by a 720p projector using component video. I plan to add a video game unit eventually, and occasionally use an HDTV antenna to pick up local channels. I'm not too concerned about having a lot of HDMI inputs, but I do like the video upconversion features of the newer receivers (it's a huge project to connect an S video source to my current receiver so I can see the OSD to change any settings). I don't want to step down much in power from the current setup. I'm powering a set of NHT L5/M5 with powered NHT subs. They are not terribly efficient (85dB I think).


I would also like to power a second set of speakers in an adjacent room. This feature is worth at least $100 to me because otherwise I will end up buying a second amp or receiver just for this purpose. It seems like the 230x models might be better for this purpose given the extra remote option.


Based on reading the threads here, I'm leaning towards the Denon 1909, 1910, or 2309 if I can find one at a good price. I'd like to keep it around $350-400, but I can go a little higher if there is a compelling reason to. eCost has the refurb AVR 888 for $299 today, but are out of stock on the 2309, 988, and 889 that I would consider as well. They said they might get some back in a few weeks, but that sounded pretty vague. The 1709 at $185 is pretty cheap, but I don't want to end up with something "cheap", though of course a good deal is always welcome.


The Audessy functions sound interesting, but not knowing what I'm missing it's not high on my list. Maybe it should be?


I was about ready to pull the trigger on the 888 at that price, but my gut feeling is I should try to get either the 988 or go to an '09 model if I can. If Electronics Expo still honors the receiversale coupon code (didn't work for me yesterday), I could get a new 1909 for under $400. Will that be a step down in sound quality/quantity from the 3802 (which has 110wpc)? I don't really ever go over 0db on the volume knob. Or am I better off with the higher power of the 888 at $100 cheaper? I tend to be happy with higher-end gear that is a little bit older rather than the latest whiz-bang stuff but less well built. Ugh... it's so hard to decide.



Kurt
 

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do you like to listen loud? if so, I think you don't want to step down the amp section to a mid-level new model that will fit in your $400 budget. In that case, an AVR 988/2808 or even a 3806 would be a perfect fit (they are around $400 on ebay all the time) with 2 HDMI inputs and solid amp sections.


if you don't listen super loud, then a lesser amp'd, newer model will do well. The Audyssey Dynamic EQ + Dynamic Volume features add a lot to moderate-volume listening.


I owned a 3803, and have also owned a variety of entry/mid level modes (2105, 2307CI, 888, now a 789) and at high volumes the 3803 was the best. However, I can't really crank it super loud, and the newer HDMI models with Dynamic Volume/EQ sound much better than the 3803 at my typical, moderate volume listening levels, despite having less guts in the amp section.


If you are going to go that direction (newer model within a moderate budget), for your speakers, I would avoid the 19XX/7XX model level and go with the more robust amps in the 2309.


Best of all worlds would be to stretch the budget a bit and get a 2809/989 model, prowl ebay and audiogon and you should be able to find one for well under $700. You can get a refurb right now from Dakmart on ebay for under $700 after bing.com ebay cashback.
 

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I feel your pain Kurt! I too am deciding on an "upgrade" from my 3802. I say it like that because I feel that dropping back to a 19xx or 2xxx series is not an "upgrade", but there are certainly some new features that I would like to have. Others have assured me that the newer models mentioned above are really solid units. In my case my speakers are more efficient than yours (I typically watch movies at -15 to -20) so I can skimp slightly on the amp. I have been leaning toward the 1910, but the 2310 is pulling me closer and closer (mostly for the better ABT video processor since I use my DVD player frequently and still watch some non-HD channels). Since you seem to need a better amp section I would try to find a 2xxx series rather than a 19xx series.
 
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