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Denon AVR-X8500H AVR Review

Dj7675

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da Choge

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My understanding is it really isn’t a successor but a limited edition of the x8500. The x8500 is going to stay in the line another year or 2 as an x8500HA is my understanding. The only difference is the A will have an 8k input.
Dj7675; I'm sure you're quite right. The Denon AVR-A110 is a limited anniversary edition (usually coming out only once every 10 years). The quasi-successor to the Denon AVR-X8500H (HDMI 2.0 4K) will be the X8500HA (HDMI 2.1 8K) and won't come out until the very last of 2020 or the first of the next. Denon will keep on advertising and offering both of these models in their lineup for quite some time, just like they have done with other models for years. The real successor to the X8500H? -- maybe the X8700H?; I dunno, but it won't come out for at least another year or two.

BTW, for all the over-priced naysay the A110 is getting, I think it will be a very nice unit, performing measurably better than the X8500H or HA. For the A110, Denon will change out not only the big capacitors, but it seems that multiple other minor components will be changed out to supposedly higher-quality analogous components, and then, the whole unit will be "custom-tuned" -- whatever that means/entails. Whether it's worth $1500 more? -- that's a decision for the individual buyer to make.

PS. Thanks SO much for sending your X8500H into Amir for testing !!!
 
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lashto

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BTW, for all the over-priced naysay the A110 is getting, I think it will be a very nice unit, performing measurably better than the X8500H or HA.
two good summaries of changes from avsforum. Might bring a few extra dBs but nothing special. Probably nothing audible either.
Better build, better looks and the extra 2 years of warranty are pretty good. $1500 seems quite a lot for just that but the extra "bragging rights" are priceless :)
 
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Hi, I just did tests connecting a rotel stage to the front trio and in my case I have not noticed any improvement in the sound! My room is small and my gold100 and center c150 are fed by the denon 8500h.
 

Casimir36

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Hi Folks,
by comparing the prices of the X8500H with the A110 you've to consider the upgrade price of the X8500H to the HA Version, so the 1500 Dollars more for A110 are with this upgrade. I think the A110 pricepoint is fair calculated, despite the need for this upgrade. I as X8500 owner don't need the HA upgrade.
 

Casimir36

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The main advantage of 8500 is its ability to turn off any channels you want and use external amplification for it. You can't do that with their other AVRs. This is a big advantage as external amplification is useful for all three front channels.
Hi Amir,
that is the point, I plan Adam Audio active speakers S2V for the front LCR (momentarily S2V only for center, A7X for LR), the internal X8500 amps are for the surround and height channels, crossover at 80Hz. I'm happy with this solution.
 

Dj7675

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In case any current or future Denon X8500 owners read this, do not use the full preamp mode. When Amir initially tested it, it showed clipping at .6v in preamp mode with a sinad of 77 in that mode. He then tested it using the custom amp assign mode, setting amp to "none" and got the SINAD of 103. This shows at the time of the review at least, that the full preamp mode to be broken. This isn't that big of a deal in that you can simply disconnect all amps individually rather than using the preamp mode. However, it is a big deal if you don't know about it. I have sent in several messages (first via the denon contact us form and just now via their support email address asking if this is a known issue, or something that has been or can be fixed via firmware. If/when I hear back, I will post back here.
 

DerRoland

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A little shop in Germany refined the X8500 for audiophile enjoyment with 600 modifications in two steps for 1500€ (preamp section) and 875€ (power amplifier board). Unfortunately no measurements prove the treatment. For that price I would choose the AVC-A110, no question.

Anyway, nice pictures of circuit boards, factory build and modificated:

www.authentic-cinema.de (only in german language, translation via google here). List of all devices who can refined are here.

(I´m not connected to the company, found it accidental on ebay)
 
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Dj7675

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A little shop in Germany refined the X8500 for audiophile enjoyment with over 200 modifications in two steps for 1500€ (preamp section) and 875€ (power amplifier board). Unfortunately no measurements prove the treatment. For that price I would choose the AVC-A110, no question.

Anyway, nice pictures of circuit boards, factory build and modificated:

www.authentic-cinema.de (only in german language, translation via google here). List of all devices who can refined are here.

(I´m not connected to the company, found it accidental on ebay)
Do they provide bench test measurements of before/after Results? That would be interesting If they did.
 

DerRoland

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Tests are announced on their website, but so far there are no entries :(.

You must simple believe, that the changes makes the very good X8500 even better. What is certain is that the manufacturer's warranty will expire.

With some inexpensive devices, modifications are very useful, for example the powerful but awful sounding LMS DCX2496. With better opams, coupling caps and adjusted input and output levels gets this DSP noticeably better.
 
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A little shop in Germany refined the X8500 for audiophile enjoyment with 600 modifications in two steps for 1500€ (preamp section) and 875€ (power amplifier board). Unfortunately no measurements prove the treatment. For that price I would choose the AVC-A110, no question.

Anyway, nice pictures of circuit boards, factory build and modificated:

www.authentic-cinema.de (only in german language, translation via google here). List of all devices who can refined are here.

(I´m not connected to the company, found it accidental on ebay)
Hello, thanks for the contribution, but I always explain to myself that behind a 4k av, how was the price of the x8500h that can be improved the most? Don't you have a group of qualified technicians behind to give the best sound? Regards
 

Oniiz86

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In case any current or future Denon X8500 owners read this, do not use the full preamp mode. When Amir initially tested it, it showed clipping at .6v in preamp mode with a sinad of 77 in that mode. He then tested it using the custom amp assign mode, setting amp to "none" and got the SINAD of 103. This shows at the time of the review at least, that the full preamp mode to be broken. This isn't that big of a deal in that you can simply disconnect all amps individually rather than using the preamp mode. However, it is a big deal if you don't know about it. I have sent in several messages (first via the denon contact us form and just now via their support email address asking if this is a known issue, or something that has been or can be fixed via firmware. If/when I hear back, I will post back here.
So I'm guessing Sound United never got back to you on this? Seems odd that they released the X8500H knowing that the Pre-Amp mode was broken & in a non working state, it took 2 years for a comprehensive analysis to discover this & the down-mixing bug that affects all D+Ms AVRs which may be fixed in a possible firmware update.
 

Dj7675

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So I'm guessing Sound United never got back to you on this? Seems odd that they released the X8500H knowing that the Pre-Amp mode was broken & in a non working state, it took 2 years for a comprehensive analysis to discover this & the down-mixing bug that affects all D+Ms AVRs which may be fixed in a possible firmware update.
No they haven't. I don't think we can be 100% certain it is still broken as I think there have been firmware updates since the review. However, I do think without hearing from Denon on this it is very likely still broken. I was hoping to hear something back by now. I have tried 3 times now via their contact us form with no response. The issue has been raised here as well as AVSForum X8500 owner thread. One of the great benefits of Amir's testing is finding out if anything is broken such as this. These devices are so complex now, it seems that some updates can sometimes break things. I still need to call Denon support as that may be the only way to get a ticket of some sort started as the contact us is not getting me anywhere.
 

Oniiz86

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No they haven't. I don't think we can be 100% certain it is still broken as I think there have been firmware updates since the review. However, I do think without hearing from Denon on this it is very likely still broken. I was hoping to hear something back by now. I have tried 3 times now via their contact us form with no response. The issue has been raised here as well as AVSForum X8500 owner thread. One of the great benefits of Amir's testing is finding out if anything is broken such as this. These devices are so complex now, it seems that some updates can sometimes break things. I still need to call Denon support as that may be the only way to get a ticket of some sort started as the contact us is not getting me anywhere.
This review was conducted after the latest firmware was released on the 29th of July, changelog here https://www.denon.jp/ja-jp/support/AVC-X8500Hupdate, I believe we are set for another firmware update sometime in October with Dolby's Atmos Height Virtualizer & DTS:X Pro.
 

Vasr

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I still need to call Denon support as that may be the only way to get a ticket of some sort started as the contact us is not getting me anywhere.
I am just trying to imagine you explaining to the support call person that your 8500h clips at .6v and gives a SINAD of only 77 in pre-amp mode and so you would like a fix.

"Sir, can you try powering off the unit and powering it on again..." :D
 

Dj7675

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I am just trying to imagine you explaining to the support call person that your 8500h clips at .6v and gives a SINAD of only 77 in pre-amp mode and so you would like a fix.

"Sir, can you try powering off the unit and powering it on again..." :D
That is funny. I am guessing not far from the truth either.
 

Dj7675

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This review was conducted after the latest firmware was released on the 29th of July, changelog here https://www.denon.jp/ja-jp/support/AVC-X8500Hupdate, I believe we are set for another firmware update sometime in October with Dolby's Atmos Height Virtualizer & DTS:X Pro.
All true. The only thing I don’t know for sure is if it was on the latest firmware or not. I‘m not certain one way or the other.
 
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My Onkyo TX-NR905 (silver, my favorite) was a beast also (weight and power) -- Onkyo doesn't make them like that anymore! Replaced it in the living room with a Marantz SR7012, transferred the Onkyo to my bedroom, then replaced it again in the bedroom with a Marantz SR6014. A little regretful I didn't go the Denon route. Know I'm in the minority, but I like the esthetics of the Marantz units -- however, as Amir says, they are definitely "form over function". I have had my suspicions for a long time regarding Marantz's highly-touted HDAM modules, but chose not to heed them, and now those suspicions have been fairly well confirmed.

For the most part, this is the kind of ASR review I was hoping to see for the Denon X8500H. May just decide another change is in order once the Denon X8500HA (8K model) comes out in 2021. Then I'll need to open a second-hand AV shop :oops:;) (got a few more older units in storage).

Still have the Onkyo and it still performs very well - don't quite know what to do with it. People are talking about the heat of the X4700H, but the Onkyo was a real frying pan as well (it was the HDMI video processors that made it so hot, though).

Great review, Amir, and I know these are very time consuming, Thanks !!!
I went Onkyo 906 to Marantz 7012 with MM7055 power amp and I was disappointed, the onkyo was in your face, two years on and I miss the onkyo sound, so the 8500H should be a good upgrade.
 
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