This is a review and detailed measurements of the Denon AVR-X3800H 9.4 Home Theater Audio/Video Receiver. It was kindly drop shipped to me by a member and costs US $1,699.
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Not much to say about the look of the unit as it is pretty much similar/same as last generations. Here is the back panel:
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I had one operational problem with the unit where the Setup button would not bring up the menus anymore. A power cycle fixed it. I was happy to see solid extruded aluminum heatsink. Despite that, the top front of the of the unit (above the heatsink) got quite hot to the touch. I highly recommend ample airflow in that area. As usual, there is a fan there but it would not come on to cool the unit.
I grabbed a preliminary set of measurements from the DAC section of the 3800H and ran it by the company. Within typical margin of error, the measurements were the same as company's own.
Denon AVR-X3800H DAC Measurements
The DAC measurements and usage are made better by a global "preamplifier" mode which shuts down the amps and keeps them from overloading the unit during testing. I started my tests using Toslink optical to remove any possibility of ground loops:
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I was fair bit disappointed to see the high distortion spikes which caused the unit to underperform the AVR-X3700H
by some 10 dB. This naturally knocks down the positioning of the unit by good bit in our SINAD ranking:
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The culprit seems to be the optimal output shifting fair bit lower in voltage:
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With amps shut off, the 3700H was happy to go 2.0 volts.
So fairly large degradation here. Company explanation was that this was good enough for "99%" of the external amps out there. Be that as it may, it still doesn't explain the drop in performance at the peak level (101 dB for 3700 vs 95 for 3800).
Connecting HDMI causes a rise in noise floor but SINAD didn't change since it is dominated by distortion:
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Fortunately dynamic range is unchanged from last generation:
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IMD is naturally worse due to earlier saturation:
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Linearity has suffered a bit:
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Multitone shows the degradation we would expect:
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Due to different DAC chip used (?), the filter performance is a bit worse as well:
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This naturally increases the noise+distortion in our wideband measurements:
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Quite poor result.
Jitter is bad but so was the last generation:
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Denon AVR-X3800H Amplifier Measurements:
Let's start with analog input with and without pure mode:
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This is good results.
Crosstalk is very similar to last generation and in need of some improvement:
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Dashboard performance is a bit worse than last generation but not as bad as the hit in the DAC section:
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HDMI input raises the noise floor:
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Fortunately noise performance is the same as before:
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Multitone has power supply noise in lower frequencies and rising distortion in highs:
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Rest of the measurements are essentially identical to last generation AVR:
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All in all, the amplifier is as performant as before.
I had high hopes going into this review thinking the company had seen the advantage its superior objective measurements in the past and would try to capitalize on them. Sadly, the reverse seems to be true with the DAC section taking a large step backward. Considering that the 3800 costs $500 more than 3700H, this is very surprising to me. Yes, inflation has a lot to do with that but surely the eye needed to be focused on making sure they at least met the same level of performance as last generation.
The good news is that the amplifier seems to be same design as last generation and has only taken a small hit.
Denon had been my "goto" recommendation for AVRs and even AVPs. When anyone asked me about either, I would just say "get a Denon AVR." While subjectively the performance of this new generation may be similar, I can't accept the regression in objective measured performance.
It is with much sadness that I cannot recommend the Denon AVR-X3800H.
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.
are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/