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  1. #1
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    Why so much negativity about Denon?

    There seems to be a lot of negativity about Denon's receivers in this forum. Why? Denon has a solid reputation for building quality units, and when I compared the Denons with all the other top brands, they came out either on top, or very close to the top in every catagory. Even though the receiver I purchased (AVR-1603) is one of their lower end receivers, I can tell you it's leaps and bounds better than the Sony STR-DE545 it replaced.

    A lot of the focus seems to be on the fact that Denon outsources their products. That's not really news. There aren't many audio companies anymore who don't outsource. It's become the nature of the business. Consumers are demanding more product for less money, and if these companies want to survive, they have to outsource. The trick is to maintain a good cost vs quality balance by keeping the costs down without losing too much quality. I believe some of the companies have found a good balance, Denon, Yamaha, Onkyo, H/K, and Marantz are some of those companies. I also believe companies like Pioneer, Kenwood, JVC, Panasonic, and Sony have gone too far with the cheap thing. I wouldn't touch one of their units with a 10 ft pole! However, I do think Denon is getting an unfair amount of bashing by many in this forum. They are still making very good products.

  2. #2
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    Denon is getting "bashed" at this forum because just as I predicted when the brand was sold nearly two years ago, their customer support and technical support have gone right into the ol' crapper! It's NOT a matter of "outsourcing" or building your product in some country with cheap labor - what it IS, is a matter of putting short term profitability at the very forefront of all the business decisions.

    At one point in time, Denon was a topnotch company - Japanese owned, and looking at long term prosperity in the typical Japanese way. Today, the brand is owned by a group of N.Y. investment bankers, who don't operate in the same tradition as Nippon-Columbia (the original owners of the Denon brand).

    If you want to insist that Denon's just as good as it ever was, go ahead - but don't say you weren't forewarned.

    woodman

  3. #3
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    I think it's just the responses that you've read the last couple of weeks. Believe me, there are plenty of Denon fans on this board, and when I first started posting here a few years ago, I was wondering about how many of the regulars were on Denon's payroll. If you think this is negativity, you haven't seen this board meltdown the way it can whenever someone puts out a truly defective product (i.e. the reaction to some of the h/k and Sony models from a couple of years ago, and Marantz's first batch of SR7200 receivers comes to mind). This is mild compared to the vitriol that perpetuates when truly bad products get released.

    I'm not down on Denon. They still warrant consideration as far as I'm concerned, but there seem to have been more grumblings as of late about their product quality and they just happens to coincide with all the ownership changes and switches in outsourcing that they've had. My own experience with a Denon DVD player gives me pause as well when it comes to Denon's build quality. I haven't heard of too many major things like you used to hear about with h/k, Marantz, and Sony, but the customer support does seem to not be as good as before, even if we assume that the product quality is still high. With that in mind, it could also be Denon's a victim of its own success. They set the bar so high with a lot of their previous products that any drop in perceived product quality gets magnified.

  4. #4
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    Ahh, I'm not claiming Denon's as good as they ever were, I'm saying they aren't any more guilty of having cheap-itis than any of the other audio companies, and they're less guilty than a lot of them. But for some reason, they are being singled out in this forum as though they're the only company on the slide. It just ain't so.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grampi
    Ahh, I'm not claiming Denon's as good as they ever were, I'm saying they aren't any more guilty of having cheap-itis than any of the other audio companies, and they're less guilty than a lot of them. But for some reason, they are being singled out in this forum as though they're the only company on the slide. It just ain't so.
    A lot of the gripes are based on expectations. With some of the lower tier brands, people on this board expect mediocrity (and often get mediocrity) and it's almost a surprise when something turns out to be a good product (like one of Kenwood's entry level models from a year ago -- was it as good as a lot of people said, or were they just surprised that it wasn't as bad as some of Kenwood's previous efforts?).

    With Denon getting as frequently recommended as it is (just look at all the shortlists that people post on this board, Denon is almost always up there when people recommend entry to midlevel receivers), people expect more from them. And when they don't deliver up to the level of their reputation, or at least they are not perceived as delivering, then people lash out. Denon is probably the most frequently mentioned receiver maker on this board, so you'll get both positives and negatives. If anything, the level of Denon worship on this and other boards can get pretty ridiculous at times, and maybe you're just jumping onto this board when the tide turns a little. Stick with this board for a while, and you'll probably see things cycle back soon. Every receiver manufacturer has its share of detractors on this board, so I don't think there's a concerted effort to gang up on Denon.

  6. #6
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    woochifer, funny you should mention people talking about problems with Sony receivers. The reason I bought my Denon was to replace a Sony. I bought it new in '99, and it already crapped out on me. Little did I know Sony was already deep into this cheap thing by then. I bought the unit mainly based on Sony's name. I obviously don't know if the Denon will outlast the Sony yet, but I do know it has more power and sounds better. If it doesn't last, maybe I'll be in here bashing as well.

  7. #7
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Hiya Grampi, thought I'd throw in my 2 cents as a Denon owner. I'd like to share my experience and impressions on things. Denon is a fine company that makes some fine products in my opinion. I used to have a glorious 3300, that baby could sing and I proved it to myself and a few other in a blind, level matched, listening session. Well, that poor unit got cooked last year when my house was struck by lightning in July of 2002. I took it in for repair and it was in the shop for 3 months and still not functioning when I lobbied the insurance company to replace the thing rather than repair it. Part of the delay was the shop not knowing everything that got fried, the thing was dead as a door nail. The biggest problem though was getting parts through Denon. That took forever. Granted, if the shop knew straight away what was cooked and what was functioning it wouldn't have taken quite so long but the wait for parts was maddening. This is the type of problem you may encounter currently if something should go wrong with your unit. This has always been Woodman's biggest complaint as near as I can tell and it seems to me that he was correct. Of course the lightning wasn't Denon's fault and it was really a remarkable machine. I replaced it with a 3802 and didn't go through the same painstaking comparisons this time around. While it does have PL2 (whooptee doo) it just doesn't sound the same with music. I still enjoy my receiver but based on my unscientific impressions, it isn't as good playing my really bad music.

    None of this is an indictment of any denon product, but when I needed service it was tough to come by. Hopefully you'll never need it.

    Regards,
    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  8. #8
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    I've had a mixed bag of Denon experiences...bought a refurished AVR 2801 and it worked flawlessly for 2+ years, but I bought a DVD-1000 player and it had a lip-synch problem...returned it twice and came away with the same problem. BUT, it sounded awesome and the picture was/is fantastic so i posted here for help and someone named 'afterburn' directed me to avsforums.com and there is a Denon rep on their board...contacted him and he gave me a number in Cali...the guy was great and he instructed me to remove the audio chip and mail it in...week later i had it in and its been working like a charm. So you can get results, but must work hard for them.

  9. #9
    3db
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    Thats just the point why Denons are getting bashed

    In my opinion, you worked way to hard and spent too much of your valubale time solving this problem. If Outlaw was to work like that, they would have never gotton off the ground. Thats whats wrong with Denon

  10. #10
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3db
    In my opinion, you worked way to hard and spent too much of your valubale time solving this problem. If Outlaw was to work like that, they would have never gotton off the ground. Thats whats wrong with Denon
    I agree...i did work hard for it. Heck, thats not the full story. Denon actually denied the player had a lip-synch problem when it was well documented here and other websites and clearly obvious on my DVDs. Talk about pulling teeth. AND the player was from an AUTHORIZED DEALER!!!
    Anyone considering Denon should attempt a dry run for service. It's a joke...

    for the money their asking, they should be more than catering to consumers.

    p.s. the player is fantastic though...can't complain about that!

  11. #11
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    So what are we paying for exactly?

    Superior product, reliability, service, or all three?

    I've been a longtime Denon fan and still believe that of the Japanese companies, they (along with Yamaha) put out the best products. While they do outsource, a lot of their critical parts are proprietary and/or designed in-house and it shows in the quality of their sound and picture. They also rarely skimp on parts using Burr-Brown DACs, Faroudja or Silicon Image chips, etc.

    However, everyone here seems to be bringing up a very valid point; Denon's customer service is a joke. I've had experience with this and I unequivocally agree. That said, I've owned/own a Denon receiver, tape deck, cd player, and turntable and only had to call them once (for the receiver). While the process was a complete pain in the ass (it's not like they make it easy for you on their website. Forget e-mailing, they never respond. Finding the phone number is the proverbial needle in the haystack routine) once completed, everything was fine. I'd rather go thru one trying experience over the last 20 years than experience wonderful customer service over numerous times because of a faulty unit. I've always said that if you are on a first name basis with your doctor, attorney, or service manager, you've got a problem.

    While this may not be the best analogy, consider that thousands of very happy customers wait years to get their hands on a Ferrari; not exactly reknown for their durability or quality. Are there cars that are faster? Better looking? Corner harder? Stop shorter? Damn right. The point is, sometimes you pay for more than just the parts.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    Superior product, reliability, service, or all three?
    I think we would ideally want all three within a reasonable cost. In this day and age, I think that price is really driving everything, which of course puts downward pressures on build quality and service.

    Just from my own experiences, I will say that Yamaha's customer service is head and shoulders above Denon's. I wanted to find out a spec with my Yamaha receiver, and they e-mailed me back within 24 hours with the exact answer and a toll-free number for any follow up questions. When I requested a catalog, I had it in less than two weeks.

    When I wanted to find out whether any firmware updates had been issued for my occasionally glitchy Denon DVD player, it took three e-mail messages (the third message mentioned how quickly Yamaha had gotten back to me) over a two-month period for them to finally respond. Their solution? Ship my DVD player to their Southern California office and they'll take a look at it! I gave them the serial number and manufacturing date, why wouldn't they know? If I want to call them, it's long distance. Since I have an extended warranty, I should've probably checked with the store where I bought the unit first.

    Another customer service plug I'll put in is for Bissell vacuums. My parents bought one of their cordless vacs and it failed after it got tangled with carpet threads. Called Bissell, they just asked for the serial number and sent out a new unit via 2-day mail.

    While I haven't had good experiences with Sony's electronics customer service, their music department is great. Sony Music is the only company that has a toll-free number to report defects, and when my Miles Davis *****es' Brew boxset (absolutely sublime music) had 16-pages missing from the book/case, they sent me a whole new set (minus the CDs) within a week.

  13. #13
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    Denon Quality.

    I love Denon gear. Even though it isnt what it used to be. I'm in Australia. I used to sell Denon HiFi 25 years ago and I can tell you a lot has changed. The distributors of Denon here, also distribute Marantz and Nad, but they have no idea about Denon products nor do they care about helping customers. Thats probably why Denon is getting bashed so much. Its probably the same all round the world. I still love Denon stuff but boy am I dissapointed they stopped the GOLD on the DVD players and went for the same old black and silver. The Gold really looked classy and its somthing Denon has had from the beginining.

  14. #14
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    Audio market & denon

    haflr the audo gaer outhereis as yo say out souarced .
    it wouldn't surprise me the same OEM company is doin work a lot of the companys is just al spce work gethe plan wackit out and get paid .
    What ever is on the plan i what goes into the product no less no more.
    It;s up to us to wise buyers.
    Manufacturing wil ccut any corner any where t savemoney and make aprofit.
    .

    It's the ols saing you get way ou pa for .

    Plus mostof the productnow are throw aways if breaks just buya new one the cost of the repair is almost the same as just buyin g a new unit.
    we als do it to our selves as well people will buy cheap gear just because it's cheap .
    The one pay cheque wonder system !! yeah man it got real big speakers and it glows in the dark man . Th eold bough t cause it matches her hair .
    .
    IN audio electronics thesday theris just so much ou there yo wan to buy wiht open eys and real sharp ears and can it be fixed if it breaks with in a reasaonable time fram e
    Yu wan t 8 wedk waiting period on a 2 dollar part as well.
    lok beforey buy read th ereviews se what your friends have shop a round a bit and ask the 20 questions .
    James
    .

  15. #15
    Forum Regular royphil345's Avatar
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    Denon seems highly recommended by many people on this board. Poor customer service seems to be the standard with many companies that make affordable electronics these days. You'll see just as many gripes about the other manufacturers if you hang around long enough.

  16. #16
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Wow,this thread was like a year and ahalf dead and brought back. Thought it was a strange thread as i never here dislikes about Denon,well only fron non-denon owners.
    Look & Listen

  17. #17
    Sgt. At Arms Worf101's Avatar
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    Red face What these companies don't realize...

    is that a cheaply made product may make them money in the shortterm but a iffy product combined with poor customer service will truly kill them in the long run. I don't want to recount my horror story with my first DVD player but in a way I feel I must. I got into HT about 6 years ago. My frist DVD was Pioneer unit. It was defective from day one and I had to sic the California Better Business Bureau on Pioneer to get any kind of satisfaction from them. I ended up getting a full refund minus 3 rounds of shipping. They made money on me in the short run but have lost money on me ever since...

    I've put together some 5 systems for friends and co-workers in the past 4 years or so. Do you think I ever recommended or purchased a Pioneer product for any of those systems? NOT!!!! Do you think I take every opportunity to warn people how cheap, shoddy and criminal a company they are? YES!!!! In screwing me over the way they did, Pioneer not only lost thousands in potential sales, but also have made an implacable enemy who will spit at them from his grave.

    Contrast that treatment with the service and support I've gotten for HSU subwoofers. It' s like night and day. They answer my questions promptly, write to me regularly and produce a great product. I've put 2 HSU VT-2's and one VTF-2 in systems the last year or so and do not hesitate one instant to recommend them not only for their superior product but their masterfull and humane service and support. This kind of loyalty you cannot buy... only earn.

    So if Denon wants to take the short path to ruin, let them. I own a Denon DVD player and it's simply a rock solid and bullet proof piece of gear that's about 4 years old. Based upon my experience I'd use Denon in the future until they prove they no longer derserve my trust.

    Da Worfster

  18. #18
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    Can't really say.

    About denon's customer service, that it. I've had a 2082 for going on three years and never had a problem with it and never had to use 'em. Still lovin' it every day. I have issues with the remote but that's 'cause it does too many things with too many teeny tiny buttons and I'm a klutz.

  19. #19
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    Denon receiver experience

    To weigh in on the Denon topic, I have owned a Denon AVR-1603 receiver for more than two years and I love it. It sounds excellent with music, and I love using PLII for listening to digital cable jazz stations. However, I did have a problem with my unit, which drove me nuts. My subwoofer would suddenly come on at maximum volume with a low hum at all hours of the night. It wasn't the sub. I switched units and the same thing happened. It turned out there was a cracked circuit board in the 1603 that was causing the problem. It was fixed within three days and I have not had a problem since. However, the repair center guy told me these receivers are not as well built as past Denon units and while mine might last a long time, it will probably need servicing again at some point.

  20. #20
    Forum Regular BadAssJazz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grampi
    There seems to be a lot of negativity about Denon's receivers in this forum. Why? Denon has a solid reputation for building quality units, and when I compared the Denons with all the other top brands, they came out either on top, or very close to the top in every catagory. Even though the receiver I purchased (AVR-1603) is one of their lower end receivers, I can tell you it's leaps and bounds better than the Sony STR-DE545 it replaced.

    A lot of the focus seems to be on the fact that Denon outsources their products. That's not really news. There aren't many audio companies anymore who don't outsource. It's become the nature of the business. Consumers are demanding more product for less money, and if these companies want to survive, they have to outsource. The trick is to maintain a good cost vs quality balance by keeping the costs down without losing too much quality. I believe some of the companies have found a good balance, Denon, Yamaha, Onkyo, H/K, and Marantz are some of those companies. I also believe companies like Pioneer, Kenwood, JVC, Panasonic, and Sony have gone too far with the cheap thing. I wouldn't touch one of their units with a 10 ft pole! However, I do think Denon is getting an unfair amount of bashing by many in this forum. They are still making very good products.

    I still have my Denon 3802, purchased a few years ago, and I stick by it as still one of the best HT receivers out there in it's class. It will take either serious upgrade-itis or changes in room design for me to get rid of the thing. But I have a friend who bought a 3805 last month from an authorized dealer who has had issues from day one. He eventually returned it and has moved on to a Parasound separates rig. If this is, indeed, indicative of the type of issues with newer Denon products, then the bashing is deserved. By all means, alert/inform the masses!

  21. #21
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    On my second,never a problem.
    Look & Listen

  22. #22
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    Question receiver quality

    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    On my second,never a problem.
    has anyone ever had any problems with Onkyo a/v receivers?

  23. #23
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedude1
    has anyone ever had any problems with Onkyo a/v receivers?
    Yes, someone has

  24. #24
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Why has a 2 year old thread been resurrected?

  25. #25
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    I guess someone got really, really bored one day.

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