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Denon AVR-X3500H AVR Review

North_Sky

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I dont know exactly the minuscule variations measured (if any) between Stereo, Direct and Pure Direct audio (sound) mode (FL & FR mains set to Large, full range, no sub).

And by ears I couldn't tell (I'm just not trained enough for it).

In my own rooms over the years (different rooms), which were excellent for acoustic dimensions by the way (no multiplier of any number...eg.; 15' W by 25' L by 10' H), and with good walls surfaces (pleasant bouncing sounds), carpets and none, high ceiling, wood, ...minimal room treatments (carpeted floor, high frequency absorbers on side walls), in my own personal case in those rooms I prefered Stereo audio mode with Audyssey MultEQ XT32 (we're talking Denon/Marantz and yesterday's Onkyo/Integra brands sporting the Audyssey canopy).

Today we have advanced...Dirac Live, Trinnov, ARC2, and few oher high caliber Room EQ systems and advanced Bass Management.
The analog stereo purists would stay far away from it all, but in my honest opinion with quality ADC and a high quality Stereo EQ system many records (Rock, Pop, Sentimental Jazz, etc.) would benefit many room's acoustics.

Music is mainly Stereo (some is Mono), and that's the audiophile mantra.
Another type of audiophiles with another view on expansion through one more speaker (center to make it physically discrete instead of phantom imaging) and stereo surrounds for the reverberations of actual hall's venues are multichannel music audiophiles.
Some recordings sound phenomenal and others despicable...just like real life stereo music.

There are two type of people in the world; the ones who push the ultimate envelope in Stereo sound, and the rest...Direct, Dirac, Pure Multichannel.
To put it simply; analog people and digital people. They live inside the same house with their pets, kids and in harmony.

Get the most of life by what the most you can afford getting from it. Think wisdom, not necessarily money. Because music matters ... sweet sounds to our ears.
There are many roads leading to Rome ... the best is the one we're on ... it cannot be any other way around it. ...The journey, our journey ... with Denon AV receivers ... preferably above 3500 ... :) Below is fine, till the journey takes us higher in the ladder of better heatsinks, bigger transformers, better parts, implementation, ...all that music stereo jazz.

I like the idea of measuring speakers, more receivers higher up, more more measured everything.
 
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amirm

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Thread Starter #162
Hello @amirm , I know you are super busy and have been doing a lot for us who crave for reviews and measurements but if you still have the AVR-X3500H, could you please please measure the pre out again at 2 V, with Pure Direct engaged and disable ECO mode?
Hello there. I still have the unit to my wife's chagrin as it is sitting on our living room floor! I have lugged the thing twice to my loft where my lab is so I prefer to not keep measuring it. The 2 volt output is dominated by saturation/harmonic distortion of the output stage. You can see that in the IMD vs level test. It is not noise related to be change based on Pure direct mode. The test at 1 volt therefore was much more relevant and it showed no difference.
 

Theriverlethe

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Good question. If the theory which is propagated here is right, there is no point in having a DAC more than 10 dBs cleaner than the amp - no difference will be heard. In this Denon’s AVR the internal DAC is shown to have at least 10 dBs higher SINAD (1 volt) - so this school of thought should agree with you: no point in adding external DAC.

HOWEVER, in my case I do hear the difference when I feed the analogue signal from my Chord Qutest instead of using internal Denon’s amp. My wife hears the difference too and we both clearly prefer what we get through the Qutest. That being said, we now actually have Denon 6500, so maybe it has a much better amplification quality with no better DAC than in 3500. Cannot think of any other explanation for this.
There’s actually a pretty obvious and well-documented explanation, called “expectation bias.” This can only be eliminated with a properly-conducted blind comparison.
 

merceg100

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My opinion: 3600H would be awesome for your needs, yes AWESOME. Remember that for all the differences these measurements may present in objective terms, you are ultimately using this in a less than perfect home theater set up with less than perfect speakers inside a less than perfect acoustic space, all of which will have more audible effects on your listening experience than all the criticism posted by this review. More importantly, the source content (movies) were mastered by home video post-production teams with big boom bang effects in mind not "fine detail resolution for the music connoisseur", so may not want to listen to the "micro dynamics" of your source - I mean seriously, an extra bit of "air" at 20khz from the bullet whizzing by is not worth the extra $5,000 in AVR performance. Also keep in mind, once your eyes are busy focusing on the action/drama, your ears practically go to sleep and you will NOT be able to distinguish the difference between a $2,000 DAC section and a $50 DAC section, but you will be able to hear differences in channel separation for immersive 5.2.4, loudness/dynamics and sub-bass, which is where most of your home theater audio budget should be. This 3600H has those things in spades.
Thanks for yours feedback, and from rest of you too. This is the closest to mine opinion before I started to read this thread. This is the latest in line and certainly hoping for more firmware updates in future reather than going to some older models which are in higher class (e.g. 4500h or similar). I do likr a benefit that it can be controlled with Alexa and fills rest of the boxes I would probably never use but it is better to have them than not.
 

peng

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Hello there. I still have the unit to my wife's chagrin as it is sitting on our living room floor! I have lugged the thing twice to my loft where my lab is so I prefer to not keep measuring it. The 2 volt output is dominated by saturation/harmonic distortion of the output stage. You can see that in the IMD vs level test. It is not noise related to be change based on Pure direct mode. The test at 1 volt therefore was much more relevant and it showed no difference.
Thank you for the quick response, but do you agree that unless in pure direct mode, the analog input signal will go through A to D conversion via the AK5358 (specs say SINAD 92)that is not a very good ADC. Yamaha's has a better ADC so for Yamaha it may not make a difference between pure direct or just stereo but for Denon/Marantz, it may be better to be in pure direct when measuring analog input so that the signal does not have to go through A To D and then back to D via the DAC.

I understand your point/logic about the issue being distortion, not noise dominated, but wouldn't it also be possible that the "saturation/harmonic distortion" came from the ADC AK5358 when this low end ADC chip was subjected to 2 V, that is near it's limit of 2.2 V according to the datasheet?
 

peng

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If anyone can hear the superior sound quality of Pure Direct sound mode over Direct and Stereo sound modes I'm all ears.
I tried, and I could not hear a difference. For me it is an ocd thing, on numbers, i.e. even though there is no audible difference, it is great to know what the quantifiable differences are. I think I know this ship has sailed but no harm trying right..
 
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North_Sky

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amirm

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Thread Starter #169
Thank you for the quick response, but do you agree that unless in pure direct mode, the analog input signal will go through A to D conversion via the AK5358 (specs say SINAD 92)that is not a very good ADC. Yamaha's has a better ADC so for Yamaha it may not make a difference between pure direct or just stereo but for Denon/Marantz, it may be better to be in pure direct when measuring analog input so that the signal does not have to go through A To D and then back to D via the DAC.

I understand your point/logic about the issue being distortion, not noise dominated, but wouldn't it also be possible that the "saturation/harmonic distortion" came from the ADC AK5358 when this low end ADC chip was subjected to 2 V, that is near it's limit of 2.2 V according to the datasheet?
I tested the amp using both digital and analog inputs. The digital input naturally doesn't go through ADC. That performance was consistent with analog test:





The shape of the graph despite changing loads is very similar and as contrasted with NAD. If there is ADC involved, it seems to be transparent enough.
 

peng

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I tested the amp using both digital and analog inputs. The digital input naturally doesn't go through ADC. That performance was consistent with analog test:





The shape of the graph despite changing loads is very similar and as contrasted with NAD. If there is ADC involved, it seems to be transparent enough.
Thanks again Amir, and I do understand your logic very well, just that at 159 Watts output, the pre-out voltage would have been at approx. 1.25 V. So yes again, we do know up to 1.25 V the pre-out is reasonably clean, better than the NAD T777. It is uncertain if in PD, the pre-out at 2.0 V would result in the distortions part of SINAD when it bypasses the ADC. I know you are busy testing other gear so I won't bother you on this any more.

I hope you will make pure direct mode a standard practice for analog input measurements in future receiver measurements as depending on the brand/model, it may or may not bypass the ADC so the results may or may not be the same for every case.
 

Johnb

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I was excited to stumble upon the polish hifi site referenced on this site that also tests gear. Lots of gear, and going back zears.I wasted a lot of time entering data into a spreadsheet, so that members could tease out which AB amp might be a good deal, new or used. Alas, it appears that the graphs are without Direct button, as lowest Sinad on anz of the graphs is 0.01 to 0.02% The better amps should be and do measure elsewhere in the range 0,002 to 0,008%. Waste of effort.
 
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amirm

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Thread Starter #172
I hope you will make pure direct mode a standard practice for analog input measurements in future receiver measurements as depending on the brand/model, it may or may not bypass the ADC so the results may or may not be the same for every case.
ADC path almost always truncates the frequency response in an obvious way, leading me to examine that mode. So there should not be a worry there.
 

maty

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I have been warning for some time that I do not trust the THD measurements of that site.
 

peng

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I have been warning for some time that I do not trust the THD measurements of that site.
Good to know I am not alone on this. I will continue to read theirs though.

Really great and lucky for people obssessed with bench test measurements to still have audiosciencereview and audioholics, now that S&V stopped doing their already limited scope measurements. Stereophile is good too but they don't seem interested in DAC in anything in the <$1,000 range.
 

maty

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maty

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Denon AVR X3500H has better graph here:



Pure Direct activate here?
 
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Johnb

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There is an argument that a receiver should be measured in the way that it is used. For instance, if you have extensive tone controls, with them engaged. This is what most people would do. Most people on this site probably would not, and with good reason. The problem with the measurements on the Polish site is that you cannot predict how an amp would measure with a direct path, with noise at its lowest. Still, the power measurements are useful in cutting through the specmanship, the S/N might be a good clue as to what Sinad might be in Direct (they also show distortion at 1W). Pity, the site could have been truly useful to us, but its only somewhat useful in reality. The measurements of pure amps (not integrated) should be accurate, as there is no switch to set.
 

maty

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Probably the THD measurement be the same with PD. But... SNR-A at 1 watt will be higher with PD, I think.
 
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amirm

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Thread Starter #180
But... SNR-A at 1 watt will be higher with PD, I think.
The DAC portion doesn't change with and without that mode so I say it is not going to make a difference in these measurements either.
 
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