• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Advice on AVR - how would you spend your money?

JJ452

Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2024
Messages
5
Likes
1
Hi all,

I am hoping you will be able to give me your thoughts on how you would spend your money on an AVR as it seems quite difficult to choose given some of the current prices.

For the better part of a decade I have been running a Cambridge audio DacMagic, Yamaha A-S700 Stereo Amp and Monitor Audio Bronze bookshelf speakers. Usage was 90% music and 10 movies. I recently moved house and now (finally) have more space and installed an LG Evo C3 77" TV and find myself craving more punch from my audio system...

I got a couple of good deals over the last few months and purchased some Monitor Audio Silver 300 7G floor standers (massive upgrade for the system) and then an SVS SB-3000 (another massive upgrade) to counter the bright MAs (and giving some home theater grunt). My upgrade path will a centre channel, rears and then atmos - no more than that as my room is only wired for that setup and I'm not going to start faffing around with more cables. Before I can purchase more speakers I need to replace the stereo amp....

Denon AVR-X3800H (£899) / Marantz Cinema 60 (£999)
Denon AVC-X4800H (£1449) / Marantz Cinema 50 (£1299) / Denon AVC-X6700 (£1399)
Marantz Cinema 40 (£1899) / Marantz Cinema 70 (£679) + IOTAVX AVXP1 Power Amp (£1188) / Marantz SR8015 (£1599)

The Denon AVR-X3800H didn't get the recommended rating so would be worth skipping at retail price but the current offers seem to make it tempting to pick up. Spending a little extra I think the battle is between the clearance Denon AVC-X6700 and the Denon AVC-X4800H and I'm leaning towards the Denon AVC-X6700 for the more powerful amp. I think the Marantz Cinema 40 is expensive for what it offers but Marantz SR8015 at it's price seems convincing but again perhaps not as much as the Denon AVC-X6700. The only value in the Marantz Cinema 70 + power amp combo is that they are separate units and would allow me to upgrade the receiver again in the future with minimal expense.

Ultimately I have no idea which to choose. If it were your money, which would you buy?
 

ZolaIII

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 28, 2019
Messages
4,249
Likes
2,507
With 90% music listening I would focus on stereo 2.x and go with MiniDSP Flex HT and mic of course. Actually it would be a 2.2 system as your current speaker ideal crossover point is 100 Hz so sub per each chenel. SVS SB-3000 is a power hause so you could have gone with two sub's from lower 1 & 2xxx series. You already have a very solid power amplifier and when you cross mains like that you will get additional cuple dB possible SPL from them (single SVS SB-3000 already goes 118 dB max continues SPL). Biggest gain along with digital crossovers and signal processing would be implementing equal loudness normalisation so that you can listen on moderate SPL levels enjoying all their is to it. Unfortunately Mini doesn't have it implemented (Yamaha have but it won't translate to sub's where it needs, applies only to Yamahas outputs) and I don't think you are in for poking with PC (tho that makes it even more potent than AVR in video processing with let's say MadVR and trough JRiver you get best of both including downmixing to stereo with mid chenel boost).
Of course that's just me and doing it like that.
Edit: not to be biased Denon recent AVR's with latest Audyssey have solid loudness implementation and processing when tuned with additional app but doesn't have multichannel sub out or possibility of rerouting chenels so there is that if you really want to go that way. Only the AVR-X4800H from one's tested hire from current line-up got a approval based on it's measured performance (after they were forced to switch to ESS DAC's after AKM fab burned out).
Best regards and have a nice time.
 
Last edited:

EWL5

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2023
Messages
345
Likes
176
I'm surprised the 3800 and Cinema 50 (as well as 4800 and Cinema 40 counterpart) are so far apart in pricing, just like in the US. We had been getting quotes in Euros where they were much closer in pricing.

I would go w/the 3800 and possibly reuse your current stereo amp for the L/R pre-outs.
 
OP
J

JJ452

Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2024
Messages
5
Likes
1
I'm surprised the 3800 and Cinema 50 (as well as 4800 and Cinema 40 counterpart) are so far apart in pricing, just like in the US. We had been getting quotes in Euros where they were much closer in pricing.

I would go w/the 3800 and possibly reuse your current stereo amp for the L/R pre-outs.

I was wondering about this as lots of reviews said they were closely priced and many threads I read said get the Marantz based on that fact. I think this might have been true in the UK until the December sales started where the Denon products seem to have gotten significant price cuts but the similar Marantz products haven't been as deeply discounted.

Am I correct in think th Marantz products are being priced one up vs their Denon counterparts as in the Cinema 50 (£1299) is actually closer to the X3800 (£899) and the Cinema 40 (£1899) is closer to the X4800 (£1449)? That being the case I think I'll eliminate the Marantz products as that is a significant mark up.

Denon AVR-X3800H (£899) / Marantz Cinema 60 (£999)
Denon AVC-X4800H (£1449) / Marantz Cinema 50 (£1299) / Denon AVC-X6700 (£1399)
Marantz Cinema 40 (£1899)
/ Marantz Cinema 70 (£679) + IOTAVX AVXP1 Power Amp (£1188) / Marantz SR8015 (£1599)


Effectively leaves the choice being Denon AVR-X3800H (£899) vs Denon AVC-X4800H (£1449). Can I justify that extra £550? That would get me a Monitor Audio Silver C250 7G centre speaker.
 

ZolaIII

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 28, 2019
Messages
4,249
Likes
2,507
Ideal would be finding old stock of AVR-X3700H for even less money and with AKM DAC if that's possible and that is if you don't nead full bandwidth HDMI 2.1.
Good luck with that.
 
Last edited:

EWL5

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2023
Messages
345
Likes
176
I was wondering about this as lots of reviews said they were closely priced and many threads I read said get the Marantz based on that fact. I think this might have been true in the UK until the December sales started where the Denon products seem to have gotten significant price cuts but the similar Marantz products haven't been as deeply discounted.

Am I correct in think th Marantz products are being priced one up vs their Denon counterparts as in the Cinema 50 (£1299) is actually closer to the X3800 (£899) and the Cinema 40 (£1899) is closer to the X4800 (£1449)? That being the case I think I'll eliminate the Marantz products as that is a significant mark up.

Denon AVR-X3800H (£899) / Marantz Cinema 60 (£999)
Denon AVC-X4800H (£1449) / Marantz Cinema 50 (£1299) / Denon AVC-X6700 (£1399)
Marantz Cinema 40 (£1899)
/ Marantz Cinema 70 (£679) + IOTAVX AVXP1 Power Amp (£1188) / Marantz SR8015 (£1599)


Effectively leaves the choice being Denon AVR-X3800H (£899) vs Denon AVC-X4800H (£1449). Can I justify that extra £550? That would get me a Monitor Audio Silver C250 7G centre speaker.
Yes, it's the upscale model vs the mass consumer model like Lexus is for Toyota, Acura is for Honda, etc.

Innards are nearly identical and you are really paying more for the external design and very arbitrary benefits like HDAM.
 

EWL5

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2023
Messages
345
Likes
176
Ideal would be finding old stock of AVR-X3700H for even less money and with AKM DAC if that's possible and that is if you don't nead full bandwidth HDMI 2.2.
Good luck with that.
Problem with that is old stock of 3700 are probably gone and newer stock won't have the AKM DACs!
 
OP
J

JJ452

Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2024
Messages
5
Likes
1
Ideal would be finding old stock of AVR-X3700H for even less money and with AKM DAC if that's possible and that is if you don't nead full bandwidth HDMI 2.2.
Good luck with that.

Well funny you should say that.... I've found a model with serial number ending in 05117 which I believe is the AKM DAC? Asking is £700. Is this the best option unless I spend the extra and go for the x4800?
 

EWL5

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2023
Messages
345
Likes
176
Well funny you should say that.... I've found a model with serial number ending in 05117 which I believe is the AKM DAC? Asking is £700. Is this the best option unless I spend the extra and go for the x4800?
If you believe that will get you the AKM DAC, I'd go w/it since it's a huge leap in price to the 4800. Is this 3700 new or used?

I forget if the older 3700 required the HDMI dongle so hopefully someone can chime in.
 
OP
J

JJ452

Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2024
Messages
5
Likes
1
If you believe that will get you the AKM DAC, I'd go w/it since it's a huge leap in price to the 4800. Is this 3700 new or used?

I forget if the older 3700 required the HDMI dongle so hopefully someone can chime in.

Used - 3 years old (£700 seems steep for it so might be able to negociate somewhat). Age has never really been an issue with any audio equipment I've own previously unless these are known to have some faults?
 

ZolaIII

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 28, 2019
Messages
4,249
Likes
2,507
Used - 3 years old (£700 seems steep for it so might be able to negociate somewhat). Age has never really been an issue with any audio equipment I've own previously unless these are known to have some faults?
Well if you really want the AVR that one is solid, if it's not much used should last about 10 years. Sometimes input board drops dead and other times are condensers. Make sure it's in a good condition and you will be fine. Keep the A-S700 and have fun.

Edit: don't forget about app.
 

EWL5

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2023
Messages
345
Likes
176
Used - 3 years old (£700 seems steep for it so might be able to negociate somewhat). Age has never really been an issue with any audio equipment I've own previously unless these are known to have some faults?
It has a known fault that's HDMI-related and why I asked about the dongle. Here is what I'm talking about:

Check w/the seller to see if the dongle is included in the sale as Denon is no longer distributing it!
 

ZolaIII

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 28, 2019
Messages
4,249
Likes
2,507

MetalBOX

Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2023
Messages
9
Likes
15
I have somewhat of an alternate take to the X3700H issue. Objectively an X3700H with an AKM DAC is better than the current X4800/Cinema 40, but when you're dealing with Home Theater you can't treat it like stereo (ie: plug-and-play). You don't want to consider a receiver/processor entirely based on audio performance.

What you find out when you own older HT products, and this is considerably more prevalent than in the early 2000's, is that longevity and connectivity are tied to format support. All things being equal, if all you care about is the objective measurements, then by all means get the X3700H. However, if you anticipate upgrading your TV even remotely in the next 10 years, and having your receiver for equal length, I'd recommend considering the X4800H/Cinema 40 (or X3800H/Cinema 50, I suppose) for a multitude of reasons. The primary one is resolution support. Secondary would be feature sets like DIRAC/ART, though those may mean far less to you.

The big thing about resolution support is that you may find yourself wanting to upgrade your TV before you upgrade your receiver/processor. When this happens, you may be locked out of using the unit as a media switcher, either because of lack of video format support, or resolution, or both. Now you may be able to rely on ARC/eARC to get audio to your unit, but anyone who's used this setup as a workaround can tell you how unintuitive it can be (or in the extreme cases, completely broken). Sometimes the TV only supports certain formats, sometimes it only outputs 2.0 PCM instead of Surround. It's a nightmare that's largely fixed by having a unit that matches the input on the TV.

As it stands, there's no reason for a format like Dolby Vision or HDR10/10+ to change in the near future, they can theoretically push luminance beyond what any movie/TV show is even grading for currently (or any TV is outputting as well). But that doesn't hold true for resolution, of which TVs are already starting to push out 8K. It may seem far off, but 5 years in you may be wishing you had access to a receiver that supported 8K instead of 4K.

Just keep this perspective in mind. You can't 100% future proof, especially if there are audio format changes, but you can definitely be ahead of the curve enough to hold out until you decide you actually want to upgrade again. Food for thought.
 

ban25

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Nov 5, 2022
Messages
792
Likes
781
As someone who used to own an X3700H, the very thought that anyone in 2024 would consider buying an out-of-warranty AVR with a broken HDMI 2.1 implementation that's limited to a single port (when it works), has a pathetic standard definition OSD, has no support for Dirac Live, is limited to 2 subwoofers, and runs hot enough to fry an egg...the very idea that anyone would consider such a purchase, for maybe $100 less than what a brand new X3800H goes for on discount...that is crazy...
 

rynberg

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 30, 2020
Messages
297
Likes
649
Location
Bay Area, California
The Marantz gear is heavily marked up over the practically identical Denon (actually the lower level receivers still perform worse than the Denon), so I would eliminate those from contention, honestly.

Since the older Marantz SR8015 and Denon 6700 do not offer DIRAC, I would also skip those. Between the Denon 3800 and 4800, I personally would spend the extra dough on the 4800 as it uses Denon's more powerful amp platform and is built in Japan vs Vietnam. But either will sound great and offer DIRAC if you want to use that instead of Audyssey.
 
OP
J

JJ452

Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2024
Messages
5
Likes
1
I have somewhat of an alternate take to the X3700H issue. Objectively an X3700H with an AKM DAC is better than the current X4800/Cinema 40, but when you're dealing with Home Theater you can't treat it like stereo (ie: plug-and-play). You don't want to consider a receiver/processor entirely based on audio performance.

What you find out when you own older HT products, and this is considerably more prevalent than in the early 2000's, is that longevity and connectivity are tied to format support. All things being equal, if all you care about is the objective measurements, then by all means get the X3700H. However, if you anticipate upgrading your TV even remotely in the next 10 years, and having your receiver for equal length, I'd recommend considering the X4800H/Cinema 40 (or X3800H/Cinema 50, I suppose) for a multitude of reasons. The primary one is resolution support. Secondary would be feature sets like DIRAC/ART, though those may mean far less to you.

The big thing about resolution support is that you may find yourself wanting to upgrade your TV before you upgrade your receiver/processor. When this happens, you may be locked out of using the unit as a media switcher, either because of lack of video format support, or resolution, or both. Now you may be able to rely on ARC/eARC to get audio to your unit, but anyone who's used this setup as a workaround can tell you how unintuitive it can be (or in the extreme cases, completely broken). Sometimes the TV only supports certain formats, sometimes it only outputs 2.0 PCM instead of Surround. It's a nightmare that's largely fixed by having a unit that matches the input on the TV.

As it stands, there's no reason for a format like Dolby Vision or HDR10/10+ to change in the near future, they can theoretically push luminance beyond what any movie/TV show is even grading for currently (or any TV is outputting as well). But that doesn't hold true for resolution, of which TVs are already starting to push out 8K. It may seem far off, but 5 years in you may be wishing you had access to a receiver that supported 8K instead of 4K.

Just keep this perspective in mind. You can't 100% future proof, especially if there are audio format changes, but you can definitely be ahead of the curve enough to hold out until you decide you actually want to upgrade again. Food for thought.

I do appreciate your input, thank you. I have actually come from the other side where I have reused kit and sacrificed newer standards due to a good DAC implementation (at least according to my ears) and for quite a few years have gotten by quite happily with an optical link from the TV. Obviously I'm looking to move beyond this now but that history is why I get hung-up on the quality of the DAC vs newer features as features come and go but the DAC is there forever.

The other thing is I get all my content from my AppleTV 4k which I believe only does PCM multichannel or Dolby Atmos (Dolby MAT format) output and the only other device connected is my launch day PS5 which hasn't yet seen triple digit hours powered on in more than 3 years and seems to be getting used less and less. This is obviously an individual thing but I don't see 8K taking off (at least not for me) since I don't buy Blu-Rays, terrestrial TV (including satellite) doesn't have the spectrum for 8k channels and any streaming service that will offer it will likely cut the bitrate to keep bandwidth costs down resulting in a higher bitrate 4K stream being a better option. Gaming might someday make use of it but as I said, I can't find the time to do.
 

MetalBOX

Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2023
Messages
9
Likes
15
I do appreciate your input, thank you. I have actually come from the other side where I have reused kit and sacrificed newer standards due to a good DAC implementation (at least according to my ears) and for quite a few years have gotten by quite happily with an optical link from the TV. Obviously I'm looking to move beyond this now but that history is why I get hung-up on the quality of the DAC vs newer features as features come and go but the DAC is there forever.

The other thing is I get all my content from my AppleTV 4k which I believe only does PCM multichannel or Dolby Atmos (Dolby MAT format) output and the only other device connected is my launch day PS5 which hasn't yet seen triple digit hours powered on in more than 3 years and seems to be getting used less and less. This is obviously an individual thing but I don't see 8K taking off (at least not for me) since I don't buy Blu-Rays, terrestrial TV (including satellite) doesn't have the spectrum for 8k channels and any streaming service that will offer it will likely cut the bitrate to keep bandwidth costs down resulting in a higher bitrate 4K stream being a better option. Gaming might someday make use of it but as I said, I can't find the time to do.
Generally, if all you care about is audio, then it's going to be whatever measures best, I suppose. I, personally, take the same position as ban25, where feature set is immediately important to me.

I actually run older kit and sacrifice newer standards right now, which was why I made my comment. Optical is a no-go for me, since it limits you to excessively compressed formats (in most cases you can't even get DD+ from streaming, we're talking DVD era audio formats). Further, in my case, my processor only outputs at 1080p, and my TV specifically won't send anything but PCM 2.0 through ARC/eARC. It's a big deal for connectivity, because it's important to me to a.) get the highest quality audio signal I can (and thank God for Blu-ray players having separate audio/video outputs) and b.) I want to make sure I'm using my TV to its best potential. We'll just say I had to jump through a few technical hoops, and extra components, to make sure I was getting at least okay streaming surround (still compressed because, of course it is...).

I just generally take the stance that you don't think about the upgrade path until you run into a situation where you have to. A older SDR TV at 4K isn't that much better than a good 1080p display, but that all goes out the window with HDR as far as I'm concerned. Couple that with the fact that most audio streams that aren't disc-based are heavily compressed, and you end up in a situation where you just want to make sure you're sitting as close to the top of the format list as possible. Receivers sure can't hit 24/32-bit content thresholds, but at least the compression is lessened.

All this to say that I don't anticipate Dolby Vision or HDR10/10+ changing for the foreseeable future, and those are probably 2 of the biggest reasons to care about what your receiver can or can't take in. You have a nice LG C3, there's no reason not to treat it and your audio well!
 
Top Bottom