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Thread: Denon vs Yahama

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    Denon vs Yahama

    Ok, it's time to change out my Onkyo 600 for something new. What is your opinion of the Denon 2805 and the Yahama RXV2500 (or maybe the 1500 is a better comparison?). Are their sounds different? I have heard that the Denon's reliability is not too good. Is that true? This is an issue for me since my Onkyo is making loud crackling noises when it switches to a digital sound mode and Onkyo and the repair shops say they can't find anything. I would like 3 component inputs (XBOX requires one). Thanks for your input!

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    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Six of one, half a dozen of the other...to be honest, I don't hear much difference between these two receivers...I had the predecessor to both models in my home for a little over a week, and decided to go with Yamaha at the time for a few reasons. Better movie DSP's, YPAO, slightly better power supply unit, more power,and the fact I already had a Yamaha so the learning curve wasn't as steep for me. I also actually visited a few shops, some repair techs and asked about the quality of both manufacturers (as I was previously loyal to Marantz a/v receivers for years)....I was by 4 techs at different stores that nobody touches Yamaha at these price points, but that Denon, Onkyo, etc, weren't exactly far behind. If Yamaha had 1 lemon in a 100, Denon and Onkyo would have been 2 in a 100, not exactly a bad number to get worried about... These guys were really hard on Harman Kardon and Marantz, both of these brands had some serious issues with a few models at the time (that happens to all brands sooner or later), so I assume they were just getting tired of seeing them...judging by feedback here the past few years, both have corrected any problems. I guess my point is the quality thing is nice, but all these come with warranty, and the chances of something going wrong with either of them is small. I don't think I'd rule out Denon because of quality concerns, look at the whole package.

    Sound quality wise, I found the Yamaha neutral, the Denon neutral, and maybe just a small difference between them...not really enough to comment on...both handled music sources surprisingly well and didn't make me feel like I needed to switch back to my stereo gear.
    A few years back the differences between them would have been much different.

    You could do worse than either of these, and I'm tempted to advise you to go with the best deal...but listen first and come to your own conclusions

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    What's the price difference?

    What's the price difference retail or online? Are you willing to buy one used in excellent condition? If there's a significant difference between the two and money is a factor for you, I'd go by that. Personally, I just got a Denon 3801, retails for $1200 for $450 including shipping & no taxes in excellent condition and to me this is the greatest thing since sliced bread in terms of sound quality.


    Quote Originally Posted by peddler
    Ok, it's time to change out my Onkyo 600 for something new. What is your opinion of the Denon 2805 and the Yahama RXV2500 (or maybe the 1500 is a better comparison?). Are their sounds different? I have heard that the Denon's reliability is not too good. Is that true? This is an issue for me since my Onkyo is making loud crackling noises when it switches to a digital sound mode and Onkyo and the repair shops say they can't find anything. I would like 3 component inputs (XBOX requires one). Thanks for your input!

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    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    I always say that when you are deciding between two very close in sound/quality receivers, go with the one that has the features and useablility you want. That's ultimately what it comes down to. For instance, how do you like the remote controls for each unit. Is the set up menu easy for you to use? Is the manual clear and comprehensible? Which unit gives you more custom control over how the unit works? Those questions will be far more productive for your decision than, which one sounds better?

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    Forum Regular JamezHill's Avatar
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    Little off topic, but I was comparing Denon, Yamaha and Pioneer Elite. I would say around the 1000 dollar mark. I'm a little hesitant on Denon from what I read. The Yamaha sounds great but I don't care for DSPs. Anyone familiar with Pioneer Elite line in comparison?

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    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    I'd put the Pioneer Elite stuff right beside these two receivers without hesitation...Pioneer really puts out some good stuff, even the non-Elite brand, and shouldn't be lumped in with the likes of Kenwood, or Sony's bottom end stuff.

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    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamezHill
    Little off topic, but I was comparing Denon, Yamaha and Pioneer Elite. I would say around the 1000 dollar mark. I'm a little hesitant on Denon from what I read. The Yamaha sounds great but I don't care for DSPs. Anyone familiar with Pioneer Elite line in comparison?
    I'd like to know what and where you have heard this about Denon? Most major brand recievers are reliable and if they last a year,they'll last just about forever. Denon is no different. I'm on my second and have never had a problem. I know a guy with a Yamaha without a problem. I know a guy with a pioneer thats on his second in a year but i wouldnt say pioneers and not reliable just because of that one time. That stuff happens.
    Look & Listen

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    Forum Regular JamezHill's Avatar
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    I just see all the posts on here and avsforum questioning Denon's reliability. I have a Denon DVD player and I think the quality in features, perfromance and in build quality are the best I've experienced. But you're right, things do happen. I still have some time before I make my purchase. I was just curious because I see Yamaha and Denon posted a lot and Pioneer Elite seems to be hardly mentioned (in comparison). Thanks for your replies guys...

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    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamezHill
    I just see all the posts on here and avsforum questioning Denon's reliability. I have a Denon DVD player and I think the quality in features, perfromance and in build quality are the best I've experienced. But you're right, things do happen. I still have some time before I make my purchase. I was just curious because I see Yamaha and Denon posted a lot and Pioneer Elite seems to be hardly mentioned (in comparison). Thanks for your replies guys...
    It really varies. In general, Denon is a very reliable performer, but given that they've gone through multiple ownership changes and switched out their outsource suppliers multiple times over the past three years, you're bound to get some hiccups in the QC somewhere along the line. Denon and Marantz recently consolidated their outsource manufacturing into one outsource partner, so that will at least stabilize their manufacturing. Your comments about their DVD players is kinda ironic because their DVD players have had the most notable reliability problems.

    Yamaha doesn't outsource as much as the rest of the industry (along with Sony, they're the only company that makes their own audio processor chips), but given that they've had some financial losses in recent years, who knows if they'll be able to maintain the kind of vertical integration that they currently have. Their strength has always been the consistency of their product quality.

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    Interestingly enough, I went out to audition these two receivers this weekend at Tweeter, (correction, I was looking at the Denon 3805 and the Yamaha 2500, but close enough). I followed the advice posted elsewhere on this site and took along a couple of favorite movies and cd's.

    Walking into the store I was pretty much sold on the Yamaha 2500, and had the Denon placed second, mainly due to comments posted on this (amongst other) sites regarding reliability. I ran both receivers through 2 movie scenes (Two Towers/Helms Deep and Episode 5 of Band Of Brothers if you're interested) along with some favorite tracks from a number of cd's. Both receivers used the same set of speakers (I believe they were a set of Polks), and I could switch between them in the audition room.

    I came away convinced that the Denon was the better receiver. Vocals from Cd's and dialogue on DVD's was much clearer...I put this down to the Denon pumping out more power per channel, but I'm a technical neophyte on this so I won't go any further with that The bass was much more pronounced on the Denon also.

    The Yamaha sounded muddy in comparison, and personally I found the controls less intuitive on the Yamaha after playing with both receivers.

    There was a Pioneer Elite instore, but unfortunately it wasn't wired in so I couldn't test that at the same time.

    Not a scientific diagnosis I know, but I've done quite a bit of research on these receivers over previous weeks and was surprised with the difference between them. My advice to you would be to test-drive these yourself if possible. As for me, I'll be purchasing the Denon 3805 along with the Boston Acoustics System 520 speaker set this coming weekend.

  11. #11
    Forum Regular JamezHill's Avatar
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    HAH! oddly enough, I just remembered the Denon DVD player I own is factory refurbished!

  12. #12
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsp36
    Interestingly enough, I went out to audition these two receivers this weekend at Tweeter, (correction, I was looking at the Denon 3805 and the Yamaha 2500, but close enough). I followed the advice posted elsewhere on this site and took along a couple of favorite movies and cd's.

    Walking into the store I was pretty much sold on the Yamaha 2500, and had the Denon placed second, mainly due to comments posted on this (amongst other) sites regarding reliability. I ran both receivers through 2 movie scenes (Two Towers/Helms Deep and Episode 5 of Band Of Brothers if you're interested) along with some favorite tracks from a number of cd's. Both receivers used the same set of speakers (I believe they were a set of Polks), and I could switch between them in the audition room.

    I came away convinced that the Denon was the better receiver. Vocals from Cd's and dialogue on DVD's was much clearer...I put this down to the Denon pumping out more power per channel, but I'm a technical neophyte on this so I won't go any further with that The bass was much more pronounced on the Denon also.

    The Yamaha sounded muddy in comparison, and personally I found the controls less intuitive on the Yamaha after playing with both receivers.

    There was a Pioneer Elite instore, but unfortunately it wasn't wired in so I couldn't test that at the same time.

    Not a scientific diagnosis I know, but I've done quite a bit of research on these receivers over previous weeks and was surprised with the difference between them. My advice to you would be to test-drive these yourself if possible. As for me, I'll be purchasing the Denon 3805 along with the Boston Acoustics System 520 speaker set this coming weekend.
    One quick note on the audition that you did. Before you draw any conclusions on the audio performance, you need to make sure that the comparison is much of an apples to apples comparison as possible. The signals for these receivers were wired through a switch box, which can degrade or otherwise color what you hear. Also, if you had any of the DSP modes switched on, that can dramatically affect what you hear.

    The best way to compare the sound quality of receivers is to directly wire them to the receiver, and make sure that you're at first only listening to the sources using the default modes (direct stereo for CDs, and Normal DD for movies). And of course, in all listenings, you need to make sure that actual listening level is the same (the volume position is not a proper comparison point because one manufacturer's "zero point" might be louder than another).

    Given that you noted more bass with the Denon, that would indicate to me that either something with the setup on the demo models was different, or you simply had the volume cranked louder. The default bass management settings should be identical with the two receivers because their decoders have to meet Dolby and DTS' specs. Unless something with the menu was done differently, the bass level should not differ with the default settings.

    The wattage output alone will not create the differences that you'd noted unless you're really cranking it, at which point you might hear more audible differences.(Remember that with most speakers, you're already at moderately high volumes with less than ONE WATT of output per channel) In my listenings using this type of comparison, I've never noticed huge differences between receivers as far as sound quality is concerned when the levels are matched.

    However, there are much bigger audible differences when the DSP modes are engaged. If you plan to use them, then that would be one area of comparison. In addition, the ergonomics and setup controls are usually the biggest differences between comparably priced receivers. If you like that better in the Denon, then I think that actually weighs more into the big differences than anything else.

  13. #13
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Wooch beat me to it, but I was going to mention the insignificance in the power differences as well.
    How were these setup? Where all the levels, delays, bass management, and input sources identical? DId you SPL match the volumes for playback?
    Until you can answer yes to all of these it's hard to draw a conclusion.
    My initial tests when I was buying put Marantz out in front and Denon dead-last, but I was familiar with the Marantz and NAD controls. Only when I managed to borrow 4 of these and played with them in my home did I come to realize I actually preferred the Denon's sound (it finished 2nd on my list, but was easily tied for first in sound quality).

    I've always felt you can learn to use the controls of any piece of a/v gear, and they're all equally bad at this price-point. Sound quality for me was a bust since they all sounded about as good as each other with minor differences. It was the bonus features that I actually never considered at first that swung me in the end, I had to find something to act as a tie-breaker.

    Sometimes in the end you just have to go with your gut feeling...I'd feel comfortable buying either knowing I was getting a top notch unit. Hopefully you'll get a chance to try out the Elite receiver too.

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    Woochifer and Kexodusc,

    Thanks for your (much greater) technical analysis...as I stated, I am a technical neophyte in these areas

    To answer some of the questions you both raised...

    1. Understand that both these receivers were going through a switch box which could degrade performance. When I asked the sales associate about this, he did say they used the same cabling for all their receivers in the room - not sure if they'd let me rewire their audition room to directly link the receiver(s) to the speakers.
    2. I did compare both receivers with various dsp modes, along with the direct stereo for the CD's
    3. I didn't have an SPL meter, so I can't comment on that.
    4. I didn't get into the setups of both receivers, so that could be the telling variable here...

    I agree with Kexodusc on the controls being a deciding factor....not being familiar with either the Yamaha or Denon actually gave me an advantage here as I have no prior experiences with other manufacturers before.

    One thing I am going to follow up on is the remotes for both receivers. I've read that the Denon remote has either a love it/hate it design. I know - you can always go and buy a universal remote, but if you're dropping $1000-$1300 on a receiver from my perspective you should get a good remote shipped with it!!!

    I'll go into the store and give both of these receivers another test drive next weekend...I'll let you know how it goes.

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    SuperPoser Rock789's Avatar
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    I recently got a denon 2805 over similar receivers you listed...

    since you are looking at the $1000+ price range, check out the pioneer elite 56, it is very nice,
    likewise for the NAD T763,
    I was looking at the pioneer elite 54 for $850, and the nad T743 for $700...
    all the receivers were very similar, but the denon has 5 optical in's which was my deciding factor...

    goodluck,
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    Thanks everyone for your reply's. Keep 'em coming. I'm headed to Tweeter this weekend to check them out. I read that the Denon2805 has assignable component outputs. I couldn't find if the Yahamas have that feature. Is it really that important or just a convinence feature? Cheers

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    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Thats your call if it is a convinence or important.
    Look & Listen

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    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peddler
    Thanks everyone for your reply's. Keep 'em coming. I'm headed to Tweeter this weekend to check them out. I read that the Denon2805 has assignable component outputs. I couldn't find if the Yahamas have that feature. Is it really that important or just a convinence feature? Cheers
    Not sure what you precisely mean by assignable, but on the Yamaha, there component outputs are preassigned for DVD and CAB/SAT, for instance. This is a matter of arbitrary convenience that corresponds to the remote control. Let's say for instance that you don't have a component hookup for your cable or satellite system, but you do for your PS2. In that case you could put the cable system via S-video into another slot, say like VCR, etc, and the PS2 in the CAB/SAT spot and that just corresponds to the buttons on the remote, and certainly there is no degredation in quality issue here. Again, this is just an arbitrary examply that comes to mind, because every time someone choose a Denon over Yamaha an angel loses its wings.

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    I read a review from audioholics.com that the Denon 3805 allows the use if a sub in stereo mode. Does the 2805 also have this feature? How about the Yamaha RX-V2500 and 1500?

  20. #20
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peddler
    I read a review from audioholics.com that the Denon 3805 allows the use if a sub in stereo mode. Does the 2805 also have this feature? How about the Yamaha RX-V2500 and 1500?
    I have the Yamaha RX-V3300 and the sub engages in stereo mode. I'm using an optical connection. I think with an analog connection the sub does not engage during stereo mode.

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    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    There's various "Stereo Modes" on my RX-V1400 (almost identical to the newer 1500, it's replacement)...
    The sub is active on all but the direct mode, which by-passes all processing circuitry.
    Not that this is nearly as big a deal as the industry and so many people are making it out to be, the receiver isn't a Bryston...using the direct mode isn't the pathway to audio nirvana the marketing type most companies have would let you believe...keep in mind, ya gets what ya pays for.
    Personally, I prefer to use the "Straight" mode or whatever it's called on these things...it by passes the DSP circuitry and just handles the L and R channels, but the subwoofer is active...no audible and your sub is active. Sounds great. Most receivers are capable of this.
    I

  22. #22
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    Have the 3805 Denon, and love it!!!


    pay for it in March from the dealer with tax (no shipping - Ipicked it up) $900.


    one thing that I found today that I have never seen before in AV's

    if the FM- antenna cable is unplugged, although everything seems to be ready to go for the TUNER there is no sound, the display screens show everything AOK ( wish there was a msg saying you Dum**ss, plug the antenna cable) but no sound. it took me a while to figure it out!!!

    go Denon! for me.

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    I auditioned the Denon 3805 and the Yamaha 2500 and 1500 at tweeter today. They didn't have a 2805 on the board. What a difference, though! The Denon was had a much softer tone to it compared to the Yamahas. We were listening to Joe Walsh on Eric Clapton's Crossroads concert DVD. His guitar solo's were much more detailed on the yamahas than on the denon and were definitely brighter- at times a bit too much so. Switching to the denon muffled them a bit. I could see how the denon might flatten some dialog in other movies because of this. In case you all are wondering, the DSPs were all set to the same respective dolby surround modes on both and all levels were flat. Although, I doubt that the auto-setup was run for any of them. Any one have similar observations? Do you thing the Onkyo's are more like the denon or yamahas? It's difficult to tell w/o them being side by side. cheers

  24. #24
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peddler
    I auditioned the Denon 3805 and the Yamaha 2500 and 1500 at tweeter today. They didn't have a 2805 on the board. What a difference, though! The Denon was had a much softer tone to it compared to the Yamahas. We were listening to Joe Walsh on Eric Clapton's Crossroads concert DVD. His guitar solo's were much more detailed on the yamahas than on the denon and were definitely brighter- at times a bit too much so. Switching to the denon muffled them a bit. I could see how the denon might flatten some dialog in other movies because of this. In case you all are wondering, the DSPs were all set to the same respective dolby surround modes on both and all levels were flat. Although, I doubt that the auto-setup was run for any of them. Any one have similar observations? Do you thing the Onkyo's are more like the denon or yamahas? It's difficult to tell w/o them being side by side. cheers
    That seems to be the general (though not necessarily accurate) consensus: Denon's tend to be flat and Yamaha tends to be bright. If you are leaning toward the Yamaha, finding a warm speaker can tame the apparent brightness of the Yamaha, either now or for some future upgrade.

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    Denon's Rule!

    For the past 6 months I've been bitcching to everyone on how all the highend receivers I tried out in stores sucked. Well I hit dirt with my Denon 3801 which I got used in excellent condition for $450 including shipping. What I like about this Denon is that even suxky recorded old CD's sound good on it, in fact everything sounds good on this. I think the sound is perfect- totally natural, no exagerated highs or lows. One thing I especially notice now is on vocals especially, with the Denon's all the backing and harmony vocals are clean, crisp and distinctive more so then I've ever heard on a system. I heard someone else's Yamaha on this board, and while I admit new well recorded CD's seem to sound better than my Denon, old badly recorded CD's too me, sounded worse on this system. So its a trade off- if you are mainly going to play newly recorded CD's, I say go with the Yamaha but if you're going to play alot of old reissued/remastered albums, go with the Denon. In any case, I'd advise you to get either a Denon or Yamaha that's over a year old, perhaps used or on clearence, online & you could be paying 30-35% of the original retail price. Lastly, if you've got time and money to layout, get both Denon and Yamaha, and compare the systems back to back and the loser gets returned to the store or sold on Ebay..




    Quote Originally Posted by peddler
    I auditioned the Denon 3805 and the Yamaha 2500 and 1500 at tweeter today. They didn't have a 2805 on the board. What a difference, though! The Denon was had a much softer tone to it compared to the Yamahas. We were listening to Joe Walsh on Eric Clapton's Crossroads concert DVD. His guitar solo's were much more detailed on the yamahas than on the denon and were definitely brighter- at times a bit too much so. Switching to the denon muffled them a bit. I could see how the denon might flatten some dialog in other movies because of this. In case you all are wondering, the DSPs were all set to the same respective dolby surround modes on both and all levels were flat. Although, I doubt that the auto-setup was run for any of them. Any one have similar observations? Do you thing the Onkyo's are more like the denon or yamahas? It's difficult to tell w/o them being side by side. cheers

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