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Review and Measurements of Denon AVR-4306

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the amplifier section of the Denon AVR-4306. At the time of this writing, we are still searching for a high-performance amplifier at reasonable prices. None of the new gear purchased has achieved the right bar so I dug into my inventory of old audio products and found this Audio/Video receiver. I think I bought it 12 to 15 years ago. I see mentions of it as far back as 2005. So in audio terms, it is a grandpa. :)

I see the AVR-4306 on Amazon from a number of sellers starting at $389. On ebay, I found $189 including free shipping.

As expected, these AVRs are huge as compared to desktop or even some pro products I have tested. The number of jacks seemingly is a marketing thing with more the merrier.

Yamaha AVR-4306 AVR Home Theater Review and Measurement.jpg


For my testing, I only focused on using the unit as a 2-channel amplifier and put it in "CD direct" mode. I also tested it in "pure" mode but made no difference.

Let's get into measurements and see if this Denon manages to usneat our bargain basement but new amplifiers.

Measurements
I measured the unit using its CD input with a 4 ohm dummy load. Here is the dashboard view at 5 watts (more or less) power:

Denon AVR-4306 AVR Home Theater Dashboard Measurement.png


Wow, for the first time we break into 80 dB SINAD (signal above noise and distortion)! So this is a good sign of things to come. Here is where we stand with respect to amplifier SINAD:

Denon AVR-4306 AVR Home Theater SINAD Measurement.png


Most important for an amplifier is power versus distortion:
Denon AVR-4306 AVR Home Theater Power Measurement.png


Now we are talking! The Denon AVR-4306 is significantly cleaner than the NuFroce STA-200. And it produces far more power to boot. Mind you, still not state-of-the-art but we are making progress.

Likewise signal to noise ratio breaks new ground:

Denon AVR-4306 AVR Home Theater SNR Measurement.png


First amplifier tested to break the glass ceiling of 100 db and by decent amount.

Frequency response is also a lot more accurate:
Denon AVR-4306 AVR Home Theater Frequency Response Measurement.png


THD+N versus frequency also shows clear superiority:

Denon AVR-4306 AVR Home Theater THD vs Frequency Measurement.png


Conclusions
Slowly we are making progress toward high fidelity amplification. The Denon AVR-4306 clearly has better performance than amps tested so far. I am hoping as we move forward, we will find units in smaller packages with even better performance.

-----
As always, any questions, concerns, comments, corrections, etc. are welcome.

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cjfrbw

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#2
The old, obsolete AVRs that have 5.1 external inputs to the multi-channel amps make great budget amplifiers and can be obtained cheap as chips. Many of the Yamahas have great build and component quality, and sound more than decent.
 

Sal1950

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#4
I think I bought it 12 to 15 years ago. I see mentions of it as far back as 2005. So in audio terms, it is a grandpa. :)
Just cause there's snow on the roof, doesn't mean no fire in the furnace. LOL
A bit embarrassing for the modern stuff but as mentioned in another thread, if you want the best bang for the buck, look to the used market. ;)
 

PuX

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#5
I expect a dedicated stereo amp would preform better than a receiver at the same price/same brand.
 

graz_lag

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#6
The old, obsolete AVRs that have 5.1 external inputs to the multi-channel amps make great budget amplifiers and can be obtained cheap as chips. Many of the Yamahas have great build and component quality, and sound more than decent.
In addition, you get the flexibility for "two-channel" or "multi-channel" listening, at least 2.1, with at least the addition of a subwoofer for that extra "oomph" for good kicks, bass and low frequency harmonics.
The option is already paid, it's there for free.
 

Jimster480

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#7
Heh this isn't so surprising.
Good computers from a decade ago can often run current software with supriring competance vs cheap $150-300 machines from the stores.
 

Juhazi

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#9
Tests published in magazines have shown this for more than 20 years, just believe it. Only the lowest price category of AVRs have poor power rating, but so do low-priced stereo amps as well. When AVR's price exceeds 5-600$/€, they are "best buy for the money" and almost impossible to beat with ten times higher price soundwise. I have been using Yamahas for 36 years, but now I have also Onkyos , Cambridge Audio and a now Denon as AVR. But Yamaha is sitll my favourite - solid quality, good performance, best UI. For stereo I have also had a Vincent (AB), Audiolab (AB), XTZ(A/AB) and a NHT(D). My active speakers have ICEPower modules. Very hard to find differences in sound, I can live with any of these soundwise.

Buzzing heard from speakers comes as induction to RCA cables in most cases. I have sometimes measured this by recording output signal and noise with Audacity.

Some people are just so fixed with the idea of stereoamps being better quality, but it is just good marketing and hype of audiophile press!
 
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RayDunzl

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#11
I see the AVR-4306 on Amazon from a number of sellers starting at $389. On ebay, I found $189 including free shipping.
MSRP of the AVR-4306 was (maybe) $1999 in 2006 dollars (for whatever that's worth)

CPI inflation Calculator says $1,999 in 2006 → $2,503.10 in 2018
 
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restorer-john

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#12
Some people are just so fixed with the idea of stereo amplifiers being better quality, but it is just good marketing and hype of audiophile press!
I have many AVRs here I have picked up over the years. Some of them were TOTL multi thousand dollar units, some medium to upper range models. Even a few mid range ones I bought for their parts content (Sanken LAPTs etc).

None of them come close, IMO, to dedicated, high quality, two channel, analog class A/AB amplifiers in a few key areas.

  • Residual noise. AVRs are poor in this regard. Many/most use encoder type digital volume controls that introduce noise. Even units that went to great lengths to idle or shutdown parts of the digital circuitry are never as silent as 2 ch analog gear.
  • Power output. There is not a single multi-channel, single box AVR, regardless of price or pedigree that can deliver the sheer amount of power that dedicated 2 channel (or monoblock) amplifiers can deliver. Especially power into very difficult loads for extended periods.
  • Dissipation. Put 5,7,9 or 11 channels of amplification in a box, attached to inadequate heat-sinks and things get very hot, very fast. Long term heat damage in AVRs in their Achilles' heel. I see many <10yo AVRs with heavily heat damaged components, traces and PCBs. Consider, an AVR is only likely to run flat-out in the most extreme situation for one feature movie- maybe 2 hours tops.
  • Reliance of menu driven setups, failure prone VFDs and poorly mounted/soldered external jacks.
  • No consideration for environmental ingress. Many AVRs of all price points employ SMD PCB mounted devices with little or no protection from dust, moisture etc. Horizontally mounted PCBs under perforated casework in humid climes is a recipe for premature failure. I see it all the time.
 
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Sal1950

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#13
Some of the higher end receivers of the 70s-90s had incredible power sections. Things have changed a lot over the last few decades.
More and more numbers are thrown out that play a game with the specs. Some good stuff here for those without a lot of tech background.
 

JJB70

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#14
My main amp is still an old Sony TAF303ES amp, it wasn't cheap when I bought it new in the 90's but considering the pleasure it has given me, the bomb proof quality and my complete satisfaction with performance it has been a bargain. And in the world of audiophiles it was probably ismissed as low end bargain basement anyway.
 

Sal1950

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#15
My main amp is still an old Sony TAF303ES amp, it wasn't cheap when I bought it new in the 90's but considering the pleasure it has given me, the bomb proof quality and my complete satisfaction with performance it has been a bargain.
You sure can't ask for more than that. The Sony ES line of components were all built like tanks that I'm aware of.
My 5.2.4 channel rig here is using 5 Adcom GFA-5X5 II power amps from the early 1990s. Just like a Timex they take a lickin and keep on tickin. LOL
 

maty

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#16
  • Residual noise. AVRs are poor in this regard. Many/most use encoder type digital volume controls that introduce noise. Even units that went to great lengths to idle or shutdown parts of the digital circuitry are never as silent as 2 ch analog gear.
A lot of audiophile amps have less SNR than AVR.

You can can adjust economically a second hand AVR like my Marantz SR4500 (with KEF Q100 cheap tweaked too) and get a great sound!

https://www.soundandvision.com/content/marantz-sr4500-av-receiver-ht-labs-measures
 

Juhazi

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#17
Of course the high-end mono or stereo amps measure better than AVRs, but do they sound any better? Analog devices with with many switches and volume potentiometer start suffering from oxidized contacs after some years of use. Many of them also heat up very well too.
 

FrantzM

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#19
Hi
A few years ago ata CES, one of the best display/room/sound was that of a Sony AVR driving 5 Wilson Watts/Puppy with two subs (can't remember if those were Wilson too) ... The AVR drove the Wilsons with ease and authority. I was then in my classic audiophile subjectivist phase and kept on reminding myself how better it would have sounded with audiophile stuff .. It did however sound excellent. The Wilson person who was there was very down to earth. The level of realism of some of the SACD they were playing was stupendous.. as for movies ... WoW!!!
 

JJB70

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#20
Of course the high-end mono or stereo amps measure better than AVRs, but do they sound any better? Analog devices with with many switches and volume potentiometer start suffering from oxidized contacs after some years of use. Many of them also heat up very well too.
But does not that comment go to the heart of the entire audio debate, i.e. once you get to a point where you cannot discern any further sound quality improvement then why spend any more? And for many (I suspect the vast majority) of people that point is reached a lot lower down the hi-fi pecking order than certain manufacturers and magazines would care to admit. That is not to deny top equipment can measure better, but for example in the case of amplifiers I find you really have to look hard to find one that sounds bad (or which indeed has a noticeable sound at all) if used within its limits for load and power. I do think it is worth spending on good speakers and headphones and in the case of speakers paying attention to placement and room acoustics, but even that doesn't have to mean spending mega bucks.
 
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