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Denon DRA-800H Review (Stereo Receiver)

User_22

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Makes sense..
If the Zone 2 source switch is as shown in the diagram, the signal to Zone 2 goes from the main DAC AK4458 or PCM1690. Maybe I'm wrong?
 

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ttt

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If the Zone 2 source switch is as shown in the diagram, the signal to Zone 2 goes from the main DAC AK4458 or PCM1690. Maybe I'm wrong?
Nope, using always PCM5100, because the above one when SubWoofer is used, only together with main zone. Z2 not sw compatibe, thus the AKM DAC cannot decode seimultaneously different streams in case of you want to hear different music on Z2. New PCM dac so don't. The amirm measurements definitely show the output of 5100, check it's datasheet, the measured rolloff, SINAD, THD, etc... e.g. copy-paste.

If you have the SM, there is no such audio signal path mentioned when the Z2 is fed by the main DAC.

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ttt

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Exactly my point, that they would maximum their profit margins in their two channel receivers and integrated amps because they know many people think that AVRs have poorer "sound quality", compared to even the lower to midrange two channel receivers and integrated amps.
IMHO there are probably some requirements from Dolby, DTS, Atmos, etc... brands for AVRs regarding to THD, SINAD to be able to use their stamps on the amplifier. No such ones for stereo receiver, so they simple degraded the PA stage :(
 

User_22

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Z2 not sw compatibe, thus the AKM DAC cannot decode seimultaneously different streams in case of you want to hear different music on Z2.
When zone 2 is turned on the source we have the same signal in zone 2 and main zone.
 

ttt

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When zone 2 is turned on the source we have the same signal in zone 2 and main zone.
Right. The PLD sending the same digital stream to both DACs, not the analog output switched.
 

User_22

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The PLD sending the same digital stream to both DACs, not the analog output switched.
How can this be checked in the service manual? In either case, the signal passes through analog switches and regulators.
 

ttt

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How can this be checked in the service manual?
Check the audio paths definition pages, no such one showed when the main DAC feeds the Z2. PCM5100 "output patterns" on Z2 also evident from amirm measurements, said many times here.
 

User_22

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Check the audio paths definition pages, no such one showed when the main DAC feeds the Z2. PCM5100 "output patterns" on Z2 also evident from amirm measurements, said many times here.
You want to say that the switch inside the NJU72343V is always in the lower position? Why is that switch in the top position in my picture?
 

ttt

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You want to say that the switch inside the NJU72343V is always in the lower position? Why is that switch in the top position in my picture

You want to say that the switch inside the NJU72343V is always in the lower position? Why is that switch in the top position in my picture?
Did you read all pages of SM? Found any other pic when it is on down position? Can you see the red lines by Denon showing the real audio paths for different configurations on SM pages? Can you imagine when the two DACs playing different music on Z1 and Z2 using HEOS? If the above questions all answered yourself, you will find the answer.
 

SoundsGood64

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Responding to posts 179, 181,182 above. On the 7-in-3-out matrix switch there are 3 possible outputs to: 1) Main Zone L& R speaker, 2) LEGO (network) analog-to-digital converter (for bluetooth headphones of analog sources?), and 3) Zone 2 L & R speaker. Based on that, I wonder which of these three outputs is/are served from Input #6 that has a direct connection from the L&R (analog signal) channel of the AKM4458 (or perhaps the PCM1690 in the revision), excluding the SW channel. Weeks ago I had eliminated outputs 1 and 2 as possibilities because in the case of output 1) this would be a redundant connection through the 7-in-3-out switch (there's a direct connection already without the switch), and for output 2) couldn't think of why one would want to send an analog signal that had just been converted from digital (via AKM4458 or PCM1690 in revision) back into an ADC--it would be better to just send the original digital signal to the LEGO. This left output #3, Zone 2 L&R , as the remaining possibility. I remember reading somewhere that in the DRA-800H there's no SW crossover in the DSP that removes low frequency signals from the main L& R channels (L,R,sub--all 3 would get low freq) but I can't remember where so I can't reference or confirm at this moment. So perhaps the SW channel from the AK4458 is just a mono mix of L&R, and Zone 2 could indeed be fed by L & R from AK4458 which would still contain low frequency signal. This is my rationale for proposing the possibility of the Main Zone DAC as one of several possible feeds to Zone 2.

The block diagram shows that Zone 2 can also be fed analog signal from one of two PCM5100 dacs, called 'downmix' or 'zone 2 net', which are inputs 5 and 7 respectively, into the 7-in-3out switch. These can be seen in User_22 Post 176 excellent photo. I suspect--but don't know--that the PCM5100 was the DAC in amirm's measurements via the Zone 2 pre-out.

A remaining question is how one causes the DRA-800H to utilize the AKM4458 (or PCM1690 in revision) for Zone 2, rather than one of the two PCM5100.
 

User_22

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If the above questions all answered yourself, you will find the answer.
A remaining question is how one causes the DRA-800H to utilize the AKM4458 (or PCM1690 in revision) for Zone 2, rather than one of the two PCM5100.

To: ttt
We see one answer in the table above that explains your picture from service manual. In the service manual, one PCM5100A is named NETWORK DAC (Z2) and the other is DOWNMIX DAC. The name is fit for purpose. I think only those digital signals that are not dependent on the MAIN ZONE go through the PCM5100A.
To: SoundsGood64
In my opinion, digital signals go to the ZONE 2 output when the ZONE 2 is set to the SOURCE . Then the same signal is in the amplifier and ZONE 2 output. Well if DENON has a specific purpose to degrade performance then it is different ;).
 

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SoundsGood64

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To: ttt
We see one answer in the table above that explains your picture from service manual. In the service manual, one PCM5100A is named NETWORK DAC (Z2) and the other is DOWNMIX DAC. The name is fit for purpose. I think only those digital signals that are not dependent on the MAIN ZONE go through the PCM5100A.
To: SoundsGood64
In my opinion, digital signals go to the ZONE 2 output when the ZONE 2 is set to the SOURCE . Then the same signal is in the amplifier and ZONE 2 output. Well if DENON has a specific purpose to degrade performance then it is different ;).
Thanks for the nice post. To understand your opinion better, would you please also post Figures A03a and A03b that are referred to in your table? Much appreciate your interest.
 

toz

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Hello all

With my dra-800h, i always stream music from my smartphone with heos because for some reason i dont understand the sound it's much better than using the simple bluetooth connection... that could show the difference of dac output ?
 

User_22

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To understand your opinion better, would you please also post Figures A03a and A03b that are referred to in your table? Much appreciate your interest.
Underlined only A03b, the corresponding image is post No: 182
 

SoundsGood64

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Some further comments....

Comment 1-responding to posts 181,182
I found in the DRA-800H manual no mention of setting L & R Main Zone speakers to "Small" or "Large", indicating they get the full audio spectrum regardless of whether or not there's a sub. There is a crossover selection which applies a low pass filter for the subwoofer at a specified low frequency but it appears that this does not have a consequence for the L & R Main Zone DAC output. This is consistent with an earlier post I read somewhere (can't remember) that stated the L & R speakers get full audio spectrum regardless of whether there is a sub--there is no way to set L&R speakers to "small".

Comment 2
For the DRA-800H that amirm did the measurement on, I now wonder whether for the Main Zone DAC it had AKM4458 or the PCM1690 revision. Further, I wonder what the exact settings he used to obtain output from the Zone 2 pre-out.

Comment 3
In the table provided by User_22 (post 191), condition #3 is:
Input Source: HEOS
Input Mode: Auto
Sound Mode: STEREO
Z2 Source: HEOS
Main Zone: On
Zone 2: On

This table (post 191) refers to Fig A03b (post 182), for condition #3. With the Z2 Source set to HEOS, the Z2 network dac (PCM5100) is used for Zone 2, whereas for the Main Zone, presumably (in Fig A03a?, haven't seen this Fig) the AKM4458 (or PCM 1690 in revision) is used for the same HEOS digital source, but with analog output from the DAC going to Main Zone L & R speaker. Interestingly, in the AVR-X2600H service manual (perhaps similar hardware setup), the Z2 network dac has a direct and non-switchable connection to HEOS that occurs before DSP. However, there are other possible configurations to play the same HEOS source in both Main Zone and Zone 2. I believe these are not depicted in the table in Post 191 but I describe below.

A second possibility, "Z2 Source: SOURCE" (that is the "Zone 2 Source" button, second to left button on receiver is set to SOURCE; the button itself and the selection of the button both have the same word 'source') then the Zone 2 is set to mirror the Main Zone, per user manual. In post 181, the analog block diagram is shown. There are two possible locations for the switch by which both Zone 2 and Main Zone would receive analog output from AK4458 (or PCM1690 in revision). I suspect the switch is the 7-in-3-out matrix switch, using Input #6 (L&R analog output from main zone dac) because this is the switch that would toggle among the many possible Zone 2 sources (ie analog inputs phono, CBL/SAT, CD, along with digital inputs). However, the second very reasonable possibility is what User_22 inquired about by highlighting in red "Zone2: Source switch?" in the same figure in Post 181. In either case, it's the Main Zone DAC that is feeding analog signal to both the Main Zone and Z2.

And a third possibility, if HEOS or another source is being played in the main zone, the option button is pressed on the remote control, and "All Zone Stereo" is selected. In this case the manual states that only the STEREO mode may be used (as opposed to DIRECT or PURE DIRECT), which makes me think that the DSP must be involved. In this case any analog source must go through ADC and then DSP. For HEOS the Z2 network dac cannot be used since the HEOS connection to it does not go through DSP. In this case I am guessing that the digital signal for Zone 2 is routed to the Downmix dac, PCM5100. Main Zone still gets AKM4458 (or PCM1690 in revision).

Any thoughts on any of these comments? Corrections with rationale are very welcome.
 

SoundsGood64

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Hello all

With my dra-800h, i always stream music from my smartphone with heos because for some reason i dont understand the sound it's much better than using the simple bluetooth connection... that could show the difference of dac output ?
I'm certain there's someone with more expertise on this than me, but no one else has yet commented, so here's an initial attempt.

First, whether you are using bluetooth or HEOS, I'd think you'd be using the same DAC. Probably both HEOS and an incoming bluetooth signal would come in via the same network module which would then connect with one of the three DACS (Main Zone, Z2 Downmix, or Z2 Network). In fact because bluetooth and HEOS use the same network module, this probably means that you can cannot listen to bluetooth in one zone, and HEOS in another.

Second, I believe the key difference between an incoming bluetooth and an incoming HEOS signal is that for bluetooth you might have a lossy codec. Say on your smartphone or tablet you are playing a lossless flac file (or lossless streaming from provider). Going through HEOS will be going through your local WiFi network and will be lossless. Going through bluetooth there is a direct radio connection between your smartphone and the DRA-800H, and you could be using a lossy codec for that transmission.
 
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toz

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I'm certain there's someone with more expertise on this than me, but no one else has yet commented, so here's an initial attempt.

First, whether you are using bluetooth or HEOS, I'd think you'd be using the same DAC. Probably both HEOS and an incoming bluetooth signal would come in via the same network module which would then connect with one of the three DACS (Main Zone, Z2 Downmix, or Z2 Network). In fact because bluetooth and HEOS use the same network module, this probably means that you can cannot listen to bluetooth in one zone, and HEOS in another.

Second, I believe the key difference between an incoming bluetooth and an incoming HEOS signal is that for bluetooth you might have a lossy codec. Say on your smartphone or tablet you are playing a lossless flac file (or lossless streaming from provider). Going through HEOS will be going through your local WiFi network and will be lossless. Going through bluetooth there is a direct radio connection between your smartphone and the DRA-800H, and you could be using a lossy codec for that transmission.
Yep i think you're right, heos should use à lossless way. Bluetooth is Ok and usefull but often crapy way for the sound
 

GiBo61

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Some further comments....
...
Comment 2
For the DRA-800H that amirm did the measurement on, I now wonder whether for the Main Zone DAC it had AKM4458 or the PCM1690 revision. Further, I wonder what the exact settings he used to obtain output from the Zone 2 pre-out.
.......
Any thoughts on any of these comments? Corrections with rationale are very welcome.
Considering that Denon started to replace the AKM AK4458 DAC IC in X4700H and X6700H in spring 2021 and that the DRA-800H unit Amir tested was shipped by Amazon in late September 2021 it is quite likely it already had the PCM1690 DAC (I guess Denon started to "downgrade" the less premium models and later moved on to the more expensive ones).
 
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ttt

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Considering that Denon started to replace the AKM AK4458 DAC IC in X4700H and X6700H in spring 2021 and that the DRA-800H unit Amir tested was shipped by Amazon in late September 2021 it is quite likely it already had the PCM1690 DAC (I guess Denon started to "downgrade" the less premium models and later moved on to the more expensive ones).
The PCM1690 has -94dB THD+N (~sinad) in normal mode, in dual-differential it is better with 3dB, so -97dB. The PCM5100 has -90dB, amirm measured -86dB on Z2, it is better correlate to 5100. There is only the analog switch + some opamp between it if we assume the main DAC used on Z2.
Anyway, I continue to assume, the Z2 output never fed from main DAC.
However, it is software based configuration via the volume chip, the truth is in the firmware, so only an engineer could answer it precisely. Or, disasssemble the amp and simple shunt the output of PCM5100 and see Z2 still has signal.
 

User_22

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Anyway, I continue to assume, the Z2 output never fed from main DAC.
However, it is software based configuration via the volume chip, the truth is in the firmware, so only an engineer could answer it precisely. Or, disasssemble the amp and simple shunt the output of PCM5100 and see Z2 still has signal.
I checked the signal going, thanks for the idea.
Audio IN: 2 CD (analog)
MAIN ZONE: CD
ZONE 2 Source: Source, SINAD -91dB
ZONE 2 Source: CD, SINAD -100dB
ZONE 2 Source: Tuner, Signal from radio
ZONE 2 Source: HEOS, Signal from internet via PCM5100A

DIGITAL AUDIO IN: Coaxial

MAIN ZONE: CD
ZONE 2 Source: Source, Signal via PCM5100A, SINAD -94dB
ZONE 2 Source: CD, No Signal
ZONE 2 Source: Tuner, Signal from radio
ZONE 2 Source: HEOS, Signal via PCM5100

I measured with my RME FIREFACE UCX audio interface. Calibrated for output 2 Vrms, generator SINAD -108 dB, digital mode -114 dB. The digital signal is connected to the amplifier, but is output in an analog way, so measurements can be made up to 103-105 dB.

Calibration

RME_digital_calibration.jpg


Digital input measurement

Meas_dig_input.jpg


Analog signal measurement

Meas_analog_input_Z2_source_CD.jpg
 
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