Denon's new AVR 3801 Receiver

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  • George Bellefontaine
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Jan 2001
    • 7637

    Denon's new AVR 3801 Receiver

    This new receiver supports both DTS ES matrix 6:1 and DTS ES discrete, as well as Dolby Digital 6:1 and has 8 channel input for DVD-A or SACD. Speakerwise, it offers a 7.1 configuration which allows two back wall speakers for the center rear surround channel. I am seriously thinking about replacing my Yamaha A3090 with this new receiver. I was wondering if anyone on this site knows anything about this new unit. I believe it was introduced just before Christmas. The good thing is, it is about half the price of the 5800 receiver, though not as powerful- 105 watts for each of the 7 channels. The 3801 wouldn't have as many inputs and outputs as the 5800 either, but certainly has enough to accomodate my setup.




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  • Lexman
    Super Senior Member
    • Jun 2000
    • 1777

    #2
    Hmmm, sounds very good on paper. But how does it do making capaccinos? I mean not all receivers can do a good froth. lol.

    Actually, with all the latest processing, Denon quality, I would think it's the real deal. As long as:

    Your speakers are fairly efficient, your not putting to much of a load on the receiver driving full range speakers, AND provided your room is not overly large.

    That's my advice. Goodluck with the decision George!

    Lex

    Comment

    • SMiLEY
      Member
      • Sep 2000
      • 45

      #3
      Well, I've got the 3801, and I'm loving it. I haven't hooked up a surround rear channel, so I'm only using it for 5.1, but I'm quite happy with it. I upgraded from an old Pro Logic receiver, so this was a big deal for me.

      I haven't had any power issues, but again, I'm not using the surround rear channel. The DD and DTS sounds great from this receiver. I normally only listen to music in stereo, but I played around with the 5-channel stereo, and for some music it's really great!

      The remote is amazing when compared to other Denon remotes. It has built-in codes for other products, so programming it is a breeze. If you need to do special functions that aren't built-in, it learns easily as well.

      Some things you should know. Denons have a fixed crossover of 80Hz. This works fine for me, but many people ask about adjusting it, and it can't be done. Apparently the on-screen menu does not work with the component video output. If you want to use component video, you'll need a second connection using either composite or s-video to get to the menu. I think that the video signals don't cross either. For example, if you connected the TV/projector using component cables, and your DVD player only had s-video, you wouldn't get a signal to the TV until you hooked up an s-video output from the receiver. I'm not sure if that's standard among video switching receivers, but I thought you might like to know.

      Anything else I can tell you?

      Comment

      • Andrew Pratt
        Moderator Emeritus
        • Aug 2000
        • 16507

        #4
        I am currently using a Denon 3300 in my HT and have had the oppertunity to demo the 3801 at home for an evening. What we found was that the 3801 did not sound as good as the 3300 when powering my speakers in stereo mode. We didn't bother with HT since we were mainly concerned with its performance in 2 channel modes. anywho I really like denon products but I'm not sure I'd recomend the 3801 over the 3300 unless you really wanted the new 6.1 formats. Of course its still a great sounding receiver and has tons of options on it. Also I didn't have my 5 channel amp at the time so I wasn't able to see if the 3300's warmth was due to its amps or the pre amp section...if its the pre amp then if the 3801 was used as a pre amp it may very well sound as good as the 3300...just an idea.




        Comment

        • George Bellefontaine
          Moderator Emeritus
          • Jan 2001
          • 7637

          #5
          Thanks everyone.
          My Yamaha has a 80 hz crossover and I've been able to live with it, so that part isn't a problem. As far as component goes, my projector is connected directly to the DVD player, so that isn't an issue.The fact that Andrew found the 2ch stereo not as good as the 3300 is bothersome, though I would not be using the 3801 for music. I intend to move the Yamaha upstairs where my music setup is, and use it for music listening.I really like the Yamaha for 2 ch stuff.
          Anyway, before I do anything, I intend to give this new receiver a test drive.
          Thanks,
          George




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          • Andrew Pratt
            Moderator Emeritus
            • Aug 2000
            • 16507

            #6
            Well I'm just reporting what I heard. There was some discussion on it on HTF not that long ago and we were'nt the only ones reporting that the new line didn't sound as good as last years models. Of course this is all subjective and compared to your yamaha most receivers are going to sound warmer esp Denon and Marantz.




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            • George Bellefontaine
              Moderator Emeritus
              • Jan 2001
              • 7637

              #7
              Andrew or Smiley,
              When reading the spec sheet on the 3801 I didn't see any reference to a AC3 RF input. Is that lacking on this new unit ? It's not a big issue for me as I only have a handful of AC3 laserdiscs, but I am curious just the same.
              George




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              • John Holmes
                Moderator Emeritus
                • Aug 2000
                • 2703

                #8
                Good luck with your test drive. Let us know how it handles




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                • Andrew Pratt
                  Moderator Emeritus
                  • Aug 2000
                  • 16507

                  #9
                  Denon has removed the RF input from all models since the 3200. I assume the big dogs (5700 and 5800) still have it but the 2800, 2801, 3300, 3801, and 4800 do not




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                  • SMiLEY
                    Member
                    • Sep 2000
                    • 45

                    #10
                    Andrew's got it. Only the 5800 has an RF input on Denon's new receivers. I just picked up an RF demodulator off of eBay, and it wasn't cheap, but it sounds great!

                    Comment

                    • George Bellefontaine
                      Moderator Emeritus
                      • Jan 2001
                      • 7637

                      #11
                      Smiley
                      What's an RF demodulator and how does it connect to the 3801 ? Also, if you don't mind, how much did it cost you ?
                      Thanks,
                      George




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                      • SMiLEY
                        Member
                        • Sep 2000
                        • 45

                        #12
                        An RF demodulator is a little black box that accepts an RF AC-3 input and outputs a digital signal via coax or optical.

                        They aren't being made anymore, so they can get pretty pricey on eBay. I've been seeing them in the $280-$330 range lately.

                        Someone over at HTF said you could still get them for $130 from Sony (RFD-1) but I don't know how that turned out. I didn't have any luck there, and I've heard from several sources that nobody has them in stock anymore.

                        After several months of watching classifieds and seeing nothing, I realized they weren't getting cheaper and went ahead and got one from eBay.

                        I really only got it because I'm a Star Wars nut, but I do have some other AC-3 LD's that are much more fun now, and I won't have to buy them on DVD anytime soon.

                        Comment

                        • George Bellefontaine
                          Moderator Emeritus
                          • Jan 2001
                          • 7637

                          #13
                          Thanks a lot for the info, Smiley.I'll check around to see what I can find.
                          I have another question for you about the 3801, if you don't mind answering:
                          In some owner reviews I've read about this receiver, a lot of owners said they had a hard time understanding the manual, and had a lot of difficulty in setting up speakers for the 7 channels. The Yamaha wasn't exactly easy, but if you were careful in interpreting instructions, it all worked out. How did you find setting up the 3801?
                          Thanks,
                          George




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                          • SMiLEY
                            Member
                            • Sep 2000
                            • 45

                            #14
                            Setup wasn't that bad, but the manual is a little hard to decipher. It's available online at Denon's website.

                            http://del.denon.com/catalog/pdfs/AVR3801DFU.pdf

                            Take a look and see what you think. I can't attest to the difficulty of 7-channel setup, but I've seen the controls and it doesn't seem bad at all.

                            Comment

                            • George Bellefontaine
                              Moderator Emeritus
                              • Jan 2001
                              • 7637

                              #15
                              Well I gave this a testdrive. I played the DTS6.1 discrete DVD version of Gladiator and I was really impressed, especially with the sound of steel clanking during the combat scenes.I'm still having a little trouble making the decision. I have several LDs with DD 5.1 and this receiver doesn't have an AC3 RF input. I've been looking around for an outboard RF Demodulator but haven't come up with one as yet. Must admit, though, now that I have heard DTS 6.1, it's going to be hard keeping my hands away from the cheque book.
                              Gad, when will all this madness end ?




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                              • Andrew Pratt
                                Moderator Emeritus
                                • Aug 2000
                                • 16507

                                #16
                                when will this madness end?
                                well I've got some bad news buddy its a life long disease that only gets worse as time progesses Of course most of use don't want to be "cured" so is it really a disease LOL




                                Comment

                                • John Holmes
                                  Moderator Emeritus
                                  • Aug 2000
                                  • 2703

                                  #17
                                  Andrew said,
                                  "Of course most of use don't want to be "cured" so is it really a disease LOL"

                                  I know I don't!:B

                                  George,
                                  It sounds as if The Denon is winning the bout, the wallet is an inferior athlete




                                  "I came here, to chew bubble gum and kickass. And I'm all out of bubble gum!!!" My DVD's
                                  "I have come here, to chew bubblegum and kickass. And I'm all out of bubblegum!!!"

                                  Comment

                                  • George Bellefontaine
                                    Moderator Emeritus
                                    • Jan 2001
                                    • 7637

                                    #18
                                    Well I went and bought the 3801 and for the last couple of days I was busy tearing down the old system driven by my Yamaha A3090 and setting up the Denon.
                                    I didn't have any trouble setting up this receiver, despite all the complaints I read in other posts.I admit, I had to read through the manual a couple of times before I had things down pat.In fact,though, I actually found the Denon easier to set up than the Yamaha. I particularly liked the choice of manual setting of speakers in test tone. I was able to be more exact in setting the 75db reference for each speaker.
                                    I haven't played any 6.1 titles yet- other than Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged me for certain tests. But last night I watched Stallone's version of Get Carter(not as good as the original, but that's another post)and was very pleased with the sound.
                                    Andrew was right.The Denon is much warmer than the Yamaha. I must admit, I was timid about switching from the A3090-Yamaha's flagship integrated amp at the time- to the Denon which was third down from the top, but I have no regrets. I really love this amp. There's a scene in Get Carter at a cemetry nera the end of the movie. Stallone is talking to his neice and the sound of birds chirping all around me was something to behold. There is a lot of low end information in this movie and Denon seemed to have more oomph here than in the Yammy.
                                    All in all, I am very pleased. Now, on with Gladiator in DTS ES discrete 6.1. Oh, boy !




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                                    • SMiLEY
                                      Member
                                      • Sep 2000
                                      • 45

                                      #19
                                      Congratulations!

                                      You've taken your first step into a larger world...

                                      heh

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