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Denon AVR-X4800H AVR Review

Rate this AVR

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 10 3.2%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 71 22.5%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 170 54.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 64 20.3%

  • Total voters
    315

Descartes

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My understanding is Dirac has User License Fee paid directly to Dirac for consumers, by consumers. Manufacturers have a Product License Fee to offer Dirac product capability and have paid for their technology and use of their Dirac ready Products.
I think that’s obnoxious DIRAC basically is double dipping on the manufacturers and on the customer! It should be all inclusive!
 

Descartes

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I think I'll just stick with Audyssey for now. All this Dirac talk is giving me a headache. Wouldn't surprise me if they wanted to start charging annually.
Yes like Microsoft, Adobe and all the other software companies!
 

peng

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In that case I would say yes, the 3800 can "safely drive those speakers in 7.1.2. If you like to listen to reference level, that is 105 dB peak, then you are really pushing an AVR to its limit whether it is the 3800, 4800. What are you driving them with again, and what is you typical volume setting?
 

RF Air

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I think that’s obnoxious DIRAC basically is double dipping on the manufacturers and on the customer! It should be all inclusive!
It's like the computer and software industry that is trying to protect proprietary products. They have intellectual property and can only support their business operations with a strategy to protect it by licensing the Manufacturer of Dirac product technology/equipment and offering fee for access by End User License. Defending the product is key to the survival of their business. It will take competition and new rival technology for the pricing to be challenged. I don't know if there is anything on the horizon that can do this, especially when they have 20 years of development, patents and experience with the Dirac products.

If they were not successful in maintaining proprietary access with their product, they would have failed. And if the product was not regarded as exceptional and leading technologically, there would be no demand and other products could prevail. They have to continue to sink investment into protecting and building the product technology to remain relevant to the industries they serve.

It appears they are becoming a market leader and with a growing footprint in the market, pricing may come down to broaden their reach and access to customers. Adding the Sound United products is a step in the right direction to lower costs and access for the future. Perhaps the sales/market strategy will change over time if the "next best thing" was offered to market by a competitor, forcing Dirac to compete for sales and technological advantage.
 
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RF Air

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Who is that other reviewer? General statements about using 2 vs 8 channel dacs, that 2 ch is better, would make no sense ("would" because I don't know what's been said about it). The reference class flagship ES9038Pro is also a 8 channel DAC. Going by the specs, the PCM1690, if implemented well should do better or at least as good as the PCM5102A. In terms of price, yes, I hear you the first time and I have been saying the same since the rumor about the use of PCM5102A, that D+M wouldn't do such as thing, but they did, proving me wrong.:D Someone, forgot who, suggested may be they got the "binned" pieces, if so that's good news but realistically, reaching SINAD of 96 dB is fantastic but why not go with those that offers much higher SINAD such as 100 dB typical in the first place? Again, I am not one who believe in a 100 dB SINAD chip will sound better than a 93 dB SINAD one. Audible or not, I just prefer the best possible spec at a given price point. Overall, I would have no regret if I had bought a AVR-X4800H or Marantz C40. My only counter point to yours is only about the 1690 vs the 5102A, that on paper, one doesn't seem better than the other, for the application. By the way, the Denon AVR-X5200W, measured by Gene on Audioholics, had excellent measurements and Denon/Marantz were using the PCM1690 at the time.

We may never know why D+M picked that chip went that route despite the potentially higher cost to them. If I were to guess, as I said before, perhaps they got a deal from TI that they could not refused, keep in the mind those PCM5100 series chips have been around for a very long time.
Great post @peng !
I think the business decision for TI DAC's could be strategic and perhaps a longer term plan of development and availability for D+M.

TI products are growing in demand and there is a major expansion of US Production of Chip Manufacturing. After getting "burned" (excuse the pun) by the AKM Fire, there must have been a rethink of production supply chain, along with Covid disruption. Costs were incurred by these disruptions which must have hit sales as well. This was an expensive disruption which required some marketplace "gesturing" to keep customers and marketplace reputation sustained during the crisis they encountered.

The brand exclusivity of providing performance for price may be another aspect to the business model. Flagship and upper scale products have to have a performance factor that is higher than base models or intermediate. Yes, we are talking only a small percentage in production cost, but from a marketing standpoint, premiums for higher performance require a tangible that is not obtainable with lower order products. I see it as a reversal of their position with the AKM DAC's and perhaps they will not binge forward when they have other issues to consider, other than the sake of SINAD Performance. If they hit the Spec Targets, and the Specs are sustainable and reliable, it's an achievement of reaching their goals.

I cannot rule out that the other factor for TI products is the Burr-Brown "Bromance" from on early times when Denon pitched and performed better with the use of the TI technology acquired for there products. It's a long relationship, maybe something else is coming to rival the current chips, which may entail Exclusivity, that will rival the competing high end DAC's.

Reliability has to be a consideration with any new production run of products. And because it's all proprietary, we don't always get any tips on what is coming ahead. I do know that as long as they are making products and developing enhancements with features and new build technology, they are moving in the right direction, for now.
 

Descartes

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It's like the computer and software industry that is trying to protect proprietary products. They have intellectual property and can only support their business operations with a strategy to protect it by licensing the Manufacturer of Dirac product technology/equipment and offering fee for access by End User License. Defending the product is key to the survival of their business. It will take competition and new rival technology for the pricing to be challenged. I don't know if there is anything on the horizon that can do this, especially when they have 20 years of development, patents and experience with the Dirac products.

If they were not successful in maintaining proprietary access with their product, they would have failed. And if the product was not regarded as exceptional and leading technologically, there would be no demand and other products could prevail. They have to continue to sink investment into protecting and building the product technology to remain relevant to the industries they serve.

It appears they are becoming a market leader and with a growing footprint in the market, pricing may come down to broaden their reach and access to customers. Adding the Sound United products is a step in the right direction to lower costs and access for the future. Perhaps the sales/market strategy will change over time if the "next best thing" was offered to market by a competitor, forcing Dirac to compete for sales and technological advantage.
So since it is also in the sound system in Volvo do they charge customers to get a license?
 

fer2503

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In that case I would say yes, the 3800 can "safely drive those speakers in 7.1.2. If you like to listen to reference level, that is 105 dB peak, then you are really pushing an AVR to its limit whether it is the 3800, 4800. What are you driving them with again, and what is you typical volume setting?
at the moment, waiting for a new avr, i use a denon x1200w at a volume of 60-70
 

Nihon

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Another concern of mine about 3800H/4800H is that they do not support native playback of DSD because PCM 5102A does not.
Does nobody mind this point?
I mind this point because I have SACDs.
 

dadregga

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Another concern of mine about 3800H/4800H is that they do not support native playback of DSD because PCM 5102A does not.
Does nobody mind this point?
I mind this point because I have SACDs.
DSD to PCM conversion is audibly transparent. It doesn't matter.
 

ivo.f.doma

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Where did you see that they lie about 8 X 5102, was it in the Masimo video? If they did, it was likely true, because the 4800's dac board(s) has to cover a total of 15 channels. The PCM5102A is a two channel IC, so they do have to use 8 pieces. The z2/3 and will likely be covered by another 3 PCM5100 like they did with the previous year models.
Somewhere in the thread there is a table from Denon showing what and how many DACs they are using in their AVRs this year. This is what we all base our discussion on.
At 3800/4800 they state 8x5102. No others are listed there.
If I'm wrong, I apologize.
 

ivo.f.doma

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Great post @peng !
I think the business decision for TI DAC's could be strategic and perhaps a longer term plan of development and availability for D+M.

TI products are growing in demand and there is a major expansion of US Production of Chip Manufacturing. After getting "burned" (excuse the pun) by the AKM Fire, there must have been a rethink of production supply chain, along with Covid disruption. Costs were incurred by these disruptions which must have hit sales as well. This was an expensive disruption which required some marketplace "gesturing" to keep customers and marketplace reputation sustained during the crisis they encountered.

The brand exclusivity of providing performance for price may be another aspect to the business model. Flagship and upper scale products have to have a performance factor that is higher than base models or intermediate. Yes, we are talking only a small percentage in production cost, but from a marketing standpoint, premiums for higher performance require a tangible that is not obtainable with lower order products. I see it as a reversal of their position with the AKM DAC's and perhaps they will not binge forward when they have other issues to consider, other than the sake of SINAD Performance. If they hit the Spec Targets, and the Specs are sustainable and reliable, it's an achievement of reaching their goals.

I cannot rule out that the other factor for TI products is the Burr-Brown "Bromance" from on early times when Denon pitched and performed better with the use of the TI technology acquired for there products. It's a long relationship, maybe something else is coming to rival the current chips, which may entail Exclusivity, that will rival the competing high end DAC's.

Reliability has to be a consideration with any new production run of products. And because it's all proprietary, we don't always get any tips on what is coming ahead. I do know that as long as they are making products and developing enhancements with features and new build technology, they are moving in the right direction, for now.
Great post too! And factually correct. I'm just pointing out that TI also produces DACs with better parameters....
It's been decades since Bur Brown took over :).
 

EWL5

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DSD to PCM conversion is audibly transparent. It doesn't matter.
Not only that, it really doesn't pay for AVR vendors to continue to support legacy items (and the reason why budget AVRs have long since dropped most analog connections).

I have no intention of replacing my DVD-A/SACD player once it breaks. They had their day.
 

peng

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I cannot rule out that the other factor for TI products is the Burr-Brown "Bromance" from on early times when Denon pitched and performed better with the use of the TI technology acquired for there products. It's a long relationship, maybe something else is coming to rival the current chips, which may entail Exclusivity, that will rival the competing high end DAC's.
Right! I forgot that D+M has been using TI chips forever and as far as I can remember, only used AKM (an entry level one) once, before they started using the excellent AK4458 and AK4490. So as you mentioned "Bromance" could well be another factor.
 

FrankieD

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I may have found an issue with my 4800. I know this may sound silly and I may never use the Tuner but, with the money I spent it should work. Apparently there looks to be an issue with the FM antenna connection. No mater what I use, I only receive one FM station that is local, (I mean several miles away). I have used the supplied FM antenna, the one in my attic, multiple cables, and still nothing. I tested it with my old receiver and all works fine. AM works. I will call Denon later this week to troubleshoot. Anyone else “old school” and tried the FM tuner?
 

peng

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at the moment, waiting for a new avr, i use a denon x1200w at a volume of 60-70

Well then if you feel the Klipsch speakers are getting enough juice from the 1200, then will certainly be happy with the 3800. volume 60 is about what I do, 70 would be too loud for me, but again, I think you are going to be fine with the 3800. You can always add external amps later, but you know that already.
 

peng

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Somewhere in the thread there is a table from Denon showing what and how many DACs they are using in their AVRs this year. This is what we all base our discussion on.
At 3800/4800 they state 8x5102. No others are listed there.
If I'm wrong, I apologize.

AVR manufacturers rarely, if ever...list their zone 2,3, network DAC chips. People found out (mostly from service manuals) they (Onkyo, Yamaha, Anthem, NAD, and potential many others) use lower spec chips for those functions, and I don't blame them. Yamaha even use the lower spec chips for the channels other than the main 7 channels.
 

peng

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Great post too! And factually correct. I'm just pointing out that TI also produces DACs with better parameters....
It's been decades since Bur Brown took over :).
Very true, the AVR-5805CI uses the TI chip, PCM1792 that offers some of the best specs even by today's standard.

24-Bit Resolution, Dynamic Range: − 132 dB (9 V rms, Mono) − 129 dB (4.5 V rms, Stereo) − 127 dB (2 V rms, Stereo) − THD+N: 0.0004%
0.0004% is about 108 dB SINAD, if D+M uses the 1792, no one would have complained, even if they jack the price up a little?:D
 

ivo.f.doma

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AVR manufacturers rarely, if ever...list their zone 2,3, network DAC chips. People found out (mostly from service manuals) they (Onkyo, Yamaha, Anthem, NAD, and potential many others) use lower spec chips for those functions, and I don't blame them. Yamaha even use the lower spec chips for the channels other than the main 7 channels.
Hmmm, that's a sad state of affairs.
It's not clear to me then how the 4800 can measure 10dB better SINAD with the same DACs... even higher than its table values without the surrounding circuitry involved.
I thought it was because the 3800 and C50 have 5100...
 

EWL5

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Hmmm, that's a sad state of affairs.
It's not clear to me then how the 4800 can measure 10dB better SINAD with the same DACs... even higher than its table values without the surrounding circuitry involved.
I thought it was because the 3800 and C50 have 5100...
Someone mentioned there's some form of monoblock design in the 4800? Not sure if this can improve SINAD by 10db...
 

peng

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Hmmm, that's a sad state of affairs.
It's not clear to me then how the 4800 can measure 10dB better SINAD with the same DACs... even higher than its table values without the surrounding circuitry involved.
I thought it was because the 3800 and C50 have 5100...

The difference in SINAD between the 5100,5101 and 5102 are negligible, but those are specified as "typical", so a few dB better as measured on ASR is believable.

Various posters have speculated why Denon/Marantz could achieve measured SINAD a few dB (not 10, don't know you saw that) better than the typical 93 dB specified by TI. Regardless, it at least shows that D+M has done an excellent job in implemented this chip.
 
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