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XOtothelight 10th November 2005 08:12 PM

Home Theater
I'm setting up a home theater, something like a Denon AVR-3806. Is there a real benefit to adding a clean preamp to the mix?

This is not just movies but music, 300+ CDs and 200+mp3s. Do I need to bring in a tube based amp or stick to solid state?


anatech 10th November 2005 08:56 PM

Denon makes a decent surround product. They are generally well made.

However, two channel and surround are completely different animals. I now have both types in the house, including a wife that does not give me grief over multiple systems. Now she wants a bigger surround system.


cowanrg 10th November 2005 09:00 PM

for the price of a denon 3806, you can go with the rotel receiver, which sounds a lot better for music. its a good compromise when getting a piece that does both.

adding amps to the denon does help its performance dramatically. the denon is nice, but it has no "balls" when it comes to power. its rated power is high, but it just doesnt have the warmth and fullness of a good 2-ch amp.

anatech 10th November 2005 09:20 PM

That's basically why I said they are two different systems.

I can't agree on the Rotel though either. There are better units out there and there's nothing wrong with the Denon. I think you run into trouble trying to make one system do both jobs well.


cowanrg 10th November 2005 09:37 PM

yeah, its obviously opinion, but ive dont head to heads with several of the common brands (denon, yamaha, b&k, denon, and others), and the rotel is easily the best value. i worked in a high end audio store up until just recently and was able to directly compare all of them.

i agree, its impossible to make one system do everything unless you plan on dropping big bucks.

XOtothelight 10th November 2005 10:40 PM

The primary reason I was looking at the Denon is the HD functionality. It has dual HDMI inputs (supports up conversion) and one out. Would the preamp be purily a musical funciton?

cowanrg 10th November 2005 10:49 PM


Originally posted by XOtothelight
The primary reason I was looking at the Denon is the HD functionality. It has dual HDMI inputs (supports up conversion) and one out. Would the preamp be purily a musical funciton?
im not sure what you are asking here... IF you added a preamp, yes, it would be primarily for musical improvement.

and if you are asking if when you just use the preamp section on the denon, is it purely musical, well, you can make it do that by disabling the video section and bypassing a lot of the decoding.

if you clarify your question, maybe we could help a bit better.

anatech 10th November 2005 11:46 PM

The Denon isn't bad. It will not help to add a preamp unless you want a better phono section. Either run the Denon as is, or get into separate processors, amps and higher end speakers. That's the only way to make a difference.

I still service high end gear and have had contact with most brands over many years. What I like comes home for at least a listen. Yamaha has arguably the best processors in a receiver, while Denon is build a bit better and sounds better. The difference in sound between a Rotel beside a Denon is nothing, and Denons are no slouch when it comes to output sections. Lot's to choose from, and Denon is a good choice. I will say that Denon service is a lot better in Canada than I hear it is in the States.

We can argue brands until the cows come home (and they are close where I live now!). The Denon is a good choice.


XOtothelight 11th November 2005 03:21 AM

I not looking at a discussion on rx brand names. I brought the Denon up because of the specs and HDCD capability. With that said would it be better to have a separate processor box and have my own diy amp? I don't really need radio functionality, phone, or tape. I primarily need is DVD/CD input with processing and upconversion (HD format) for the movies (dts, dolby, thx, whatever). I know this is dual hatted here, just can't afford two completely separate systems and would like to do my best with a combined system.

cowanrg 11th November 2005 03:28 AM

i would say this...

judged as just a processor or a preamp, a "seperates" processor will sound better as a preamp or a surround processor than the denon. assuming you build some decent amps (better than the denon) you will have a better system all around. that is of course my opinion, and there are brand exceptions, but in general, i would go for separates over a receiver any day.

thats actually what i do... i have a nice surround sound processor that performs well as a preamp in 2-ch and also does will in surround. then, i have separate amps, a few of which ive built.

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