View Full Version : Onkyo TX-DS989Ver2 vs. Denon 4802
02-25-2003, 06:30 PM
Onkyo TX-DS989Ver2 vs. Denon 4802
Which would you pick?
Is the Onkyo worth the approximately $450 real world premium over the Denon?
Can I go wrong with either one? I may have an opportunity in the very near future to get either unit at dealer cost.
As most know - I dont care for Denon at all. Quite a few however seem to enjoy it. I feel it misses notes completely, seems dry.
Since you love your theater so much Dr. Spec, I would go for the Oink. Good quality - you get what you pay for (even at retail), its a solid unit, and doesnt miss a beat.....
02-25-2003, 07:37 PM
it's a pleasure reading your posts.I will give you my honest opnion of which way I would go.
You own all RT series speakers.The Denon is the right choice due to mating.The Denon avr4802 is an awesome receiver.It has alot of connectability and can power a second zone if you don't use surround back.If you can get it at dealer cost,your getting a hell of a good deal.It also comes with a programmable remote.It's a touch screen.It's not a Pronto but Denon's attempt to make a nice remote.
The avr4802 has plenty of power to power even a large room.This Denon has better dynamic range then all underneath it.Compared to the Onkyo,it wins hands down.
The Onkyo is a fine receiver,I don't feel it's a good match for Polk rt speakers unless you like really bright sound.It's dynamic range is as limited as I ever seen in a higher end receiver.The worse of the bunch.
You really should listen to both.But the Denon is a home run.I love the avr4802,I would buy it if I would have kept my rt series.Fantastic.
I could go on and on why I would choose the Denon over the Onkyo.......but thats for you to deside.
02-25-2003, 07:44 PM
Phew! Two completely polarized responses from two respected members - tough call. Thank you for your opinions. Anyone else care to break the tie?
02-25-2003, 07:56 PM
I voted for Denon with my wallet. I bought one...not the 4802 but a lesser model. I agree with Mantis that Denon mates well with the RTxxi speakers. I would buy another. I listened to all the others in its class...Onkyo, Yamaha, HK...The only other one that tempted me was the Outlaw. If they upgrade the Outlaw 1050 I might have to give it a look.
Is there any chance you can do an A vs B comparison in your own home? Putting my personal feelings about Denon aside - I feel both recievers will do you justice. Polks tend to blend with everything.
Going off of strict memory here, Dan is correct - the Oink by contrast to the Denon - is a bit harsher and not nearly as mellow. If I was in your shoes, it would come down to a basic decision.....
Movies versus Music.
Both recievers have the bells and whistles, both have the power, both have good range, both produce clean power......... Can't loose either way.
If they have the Sony ES line available "at cost", check into that too! :)
02-25-2003, 08:32 PM
I bought the Oink 797 about a year ago, I'm pretty sure it's similar to the989.I have the RT series all around, and am very pleased with the setup. The Oink can really drive the RT series very well. I love all the hookup options I haven't found ways to use all the options for hooking up to the unit. I also love all the setup options the Oink unit allows for.
I personally didn't like the sound of the Denons as well.
But as is being noted in this post there are varying opinions about the 2 units. I would highly suggest you take your speaks in and put them both through their paces, It is an important investment.
Like I always say, 2 people can be standing in the same room, listening to the same speakers, same amp, One person will think it sounds awsome, the other will say it is crap.
Good Luck , Stuff
02-25-2003, 08:38 PM
I like the denon I dont have the 4802 but a lesser model. I tried the onkyo as well as the yamaha, I felt the denon was much nicer sounding.recently I hooked up a carver to my preouts and the carver gave me the extra punch i needed for my fronts but it
also made me respect my denon when i do a comparison. in the
end all that matters is which one do you like.
02-25-2003, 11:52 PM
here is the skiney of the breakdown the onkyo has some more fratures than the dennon and has more and beter sound fields like thx ultra2 and ddex for the onkyo and the denon is olny ultra and no dd ex. onkyo has more power. i have the onkyo 787 with is a sweet machine it is very nice with my polks 800 400 500. if i was not going to go seperates i would consider the onkyo. i have never herd a denon at home. but onkyo is a great product. may i ask how much is dealer invoice on the 989? i got my 787 when it was new for 700.
02-26-2003, 02:47 AM
While the Oink that I have is over 5 years old, I still love the thing to death (even thought it's not DD). I'm running RT16s up front, a CS1000p, and a pair of the F/X1000's. I haven't ever had a problem with the sound, other than when I'm blasting it SOOOOOOOO loud that it does seem a bit bright on some vocals. During movies though, I have ALWAYS liked the sound. The bass is crisp and VERY intense. I've only recently wanted to upgrade it, and have decided to go with the Integra line.
Good luck with your decision.
02-26-2003, 07:15 AM
Thanks for all the replies guys. I really appreciate your $0.02.
Gonzo - the Denon AVR-4802 definitely does DD-EX, DTS ES matrix/discrete and it is Ultra certified - but it is not THX Ultra 2 certified.
I'll try and demo both locally with my RT800s, and sorry but I cannot share the exact dealer cost - I promised the source.
02-26-2003, 07:44 AM
acording to the crutchfield compare list the dennon dues thxex but not ddex
02-26-2003, 09:16 AM
Ganzo - THX Surround EX IS Dolby Digital EX. HERE (http://www.thx.com/mod/techlib/surroundEx.html) is the link.
Here is the full spec sheet on the 4802 on the Denon site. 4802 (http://www.usa.denon.com/catalog/pdfs/AVR4802.pdf)
02-27-2003, 11:34 AM
I have the 4802 powering my RT system and find it is very capable of driving the system well above what would be comfortable listening levels. The remote is like a mini Pronto, like Dan says, and can be programmed to run the entire rest of your system. I'd vote Denon but your ears are the deciding vote. Good luck. Rick
02-27-2003, 01:31 PM
You are looking at 2 fine pieces of electronics either way. I've heard good sound from both Denon and Onkyo in my time. However, I feel its always useful to look around. Have you considered the Yamaha RX-Z1 or the Pioneer VSX-49TX?
Not trying to add to confusion, just offering what I feel are two other fine recievers. In the end look at what you will really need...if one unit costs more and only adds "bells and whistles" that you are not likely to use...save yourself some cash.
I know my Yamaha isn't nearly as upscale as the RX-Z1, but it does a fantastic job with my RT series. Just my .02 for you. :)
02-27-2003, 01:55 PM
As for looking at other receivers - these are the only two exact models I can get at dealer cost.
I have also found out that the actual difference in dealer cost between the two models is $660. That's not chump change. It seems the Onkyo's claim to fame is THX Ultra 2 certification, while the Denon is only THX Ultra certified.
It seems the THX Ultra 2 certification deals primarily with controlling room gain at very low frequencies - something I'm not terribly concerned about since I have actually plotted my sub's FR and I have no issues there.
Both of them do DD-EX Matrix, DTS 6.1 ES Matrix, and DTS 6.1 ES Discrete, and both of them have 7 amp powered amp channels for 2 rear surrounds.
Both of them have flexible bass managment circuits, allowing high pass filtering at 40, 60, 80, 100, and 120. I like the thought of trying 60 Hz for a high pass because my center and surrounds are larger and have an F3 of 50 Hz.
Both of them have 8 channel input capability for DVD-A or SACD. My Toshiba DVD player does have pre-outs for these formats, but only for 6 channels.
I guess I'm leaning towards the Denon at this point, but I will try to find both of them locally and demo them for myself. Thanks.
02-28-2003, 12:33 AM
The Denon is definitely easier to use too.
02-28-2003, 11:18 AM
I was demo'ing the Onkyo unit a while back at The Great Indoors and the sales staff couldn't find something as simple as bass control on the thing. I imagine that it's something as simple as learning about the unit once ya get it and then you're set.
As for that remote that comes with the 4802.......I've heard VERY bad things about it. The idea is a good one, but from most of the people that I've talked to and read up on, they've indicated that it's not user friendly and you have to flip through too many screens to get it to do what you're wanting it to. Might not be an issue if you have a universal that you're happy with......
02-28-2003, 12:03 PM
Onkyo 797 Setup button> scroll up or down to Tone control> Bass or Treble Scroll from tone control to get more LFE Controls.....Love the Onkyo remote I use it for all my equipment.
02-28-2003, 01:37 PM
I can't speak for the denon of really any other besides Onkyo because that's what i have always had, Onkyo and Integra, But i have heard the Onkyo TX-DS989Ver2 is really leaps above anything else in the Onkyo line even the 797, or what ever the below model is, If you get Onkyo that is the receiver to get.. hear say i know, But i have heard good things about that particular model.. Far as speakers mating with Receivers... well thats to be determined i suppose.. don't really believe that. But to each is own i guess..
03-18-2003, 09:14 PM
I have a 4802 and RTxxxi speakers. I don't have the experience that alot of other members have, but I can tell you the 4802 is a great receiver. It has lots of power, alot of connections, THX Ultra, and a touch screen remote. I haven't used a pronto remote, but I don't think the Atkis remote is bad at all.
I use the receiver to drive RT2000i's with a PSW 650 for stereo music and cannot believe the sound. The system really images and the clarity is great. For home theater, I add a CS400i, FX 500is, and RT35i's. I really enjoy watching movies at home. My friends would rather come over an watch movies at my house than go to the local theater.
Just my opinion, but I am extremely happy with the Denon. The only way I would make my system better is to one day go to seperates (including a set of Krell amps). Just my opinion.
Best thing is to listen to the receivers and get the one you think sounds the best.
03-19-2003, 12:42 AM
Thanks for the replies. I actually went with the 3803 (yes also at dealer cost), since it is a new model and the front end is essentially lifted from the flagship 5803 (sans THX Ultra 2 post processing). It has the same Melody 100 SHARCS floating point DSP and the same Burr-Brown DACs.
Thus far I am very impressed. I did not expect such a significant improvement in the sound quality over my Kenwood AVR. Channel separation, imaging, panning, and detail (especially in the upper midange) is noticeably sharper and better with the Denon. The overall sound quality is lean and slightly bright but not at all harsh. The tri-lams have never sounded better.
Since the RTs are 8 ohms and are high passed (currently at 60; I'm experimenting with 60/80), the load on the Denon amps is minimal and it sounds very muscular and dynamic.
A Denon..eh? *sighs* Spec spec...
Enjoy the reciever though bud - if you dig it - thats all that matters :)
03-19-2003, 12:46 PM
1) The price was right.
2) It sounds much better than the Kenwood (amazingly - I really didn't expect that).
3) The front end is supposedly (according to on-line reviews) a marked improvement in sound quality over the 3802 and even the 4802. No AVR in its price class has more sophisticated or higher quality digital processing. Not until you hit the Pioneer Elite 49 at twice the price do you get the same DPS and DACs as the 3803. The lesser Elites have lower grade DSPs and DACs.
I'm all about HT and so far this new model from Denon has really impressed me. The surround stage is more spacious and yet at the same time more focused and defined. I'm hearing small details and a sense of ambience that the Kenwood completely failed to convey in comparison.
Honestly, I was a skeptic about how much of a difference higher grade electronics can make. I'm convinced there are real and audible gains to be has in this area. It is not as large of a gain as say going from a mediocre speakers and sub to great ones, but it is more than I thought it would be.
03-19-2003, 01:01 PM
Well, I guess I'm too late on this one...
03-19-2003, 10:02 PM
good move.I'm so happy for you.Kenwoods high end receivers in the Sovern line doesn't compare to the Denon.Sound quality with Rt series Polks is stellar.....as your experienceing.Very cool.
Don't forget to take advantage of the video upconverting.It's a nice feature.
This receiver went into more of a major change this year over the avr3802.More inputs as well.Awesome and my vote for the best thousand dollar receiver for features and flexability.Denon has always shined there and prove it well with the avr3803.I install it almost every other day.It's a fine peice even at retail price.
If you need any help or just want some tips.....ask my man.I'll offer any help you need.
O another cool ass feature Denon has been doing for years now is the use of the internall amps for surround back and using them for powered 2nd zone....read about it in the manual.......cool stuff.Read the manual from cover to cover.Alot to learn about this unit.Cool stuff................How about some pic's man,lets see your rig and your new baby........:)
03-20-2003, 12:58 PM
Thanks for the positive comments. It sure has a ton of features.
I don't need the video upconversion feature because I have only one component video feed and it's direct to the HDTV. The feature will come in handy though if I ever use multiple video inputs.
I like the following feature. After the individual channel levels are calibrated to reference in the set-up menu, the user can alter the channel levels of each playback mode on the fly and the AVR remembers the setting for each playback mode.
This actually turned out to be a critical must have feature for me. After reference calibration, I proceeded to play my standard for 2 channel bass - the soundtrack from Gladiator. Boy was I totally disappointed in the lack of bass power - I was sick over it and was going to return the AVR on this point alone. Until I realized I could bump the subwoofer 4 clicks in that mode and it got me right where I needed to be - and saved that setting without affecting the main reference calibration levels set-up menu. Nice feature!
Also the 2 Channel Pure Direct Mode is a nice feature for the purist. It shuts down every non essential circuit in the AVR and only leaves the DACs and the amp stages running for the cleanest most direct signal. It sounded very good on Gladiator - nice soundstage with good detail and instrument placement.
But clearly where this AVR shines is for HT. Playback on DVD has been really impressive. The only problem I experienced thus far was on disc 2 of the LOTR EE in DTS-ES 6.1 the Denon refused to decode a 15 second piece near the beginning of the disc. I don't know if its the Denon, the DVD, or the Toshiba DVD player. I will trouble shoot with other versions of the disc, other DVD players, and another local 3803 a friend owns and find out one way or the other. I suspect it's the disc because it's just for that section and decoding is otherwise flawless.
I'll try to get a pic up tonight but be forwarned my digi camera came in a cereal box and pic quality generally sucks.
03-20-2003, 09:34 PM
I never heard of that problem but I would lean towards the Toshiba.They have had problems in the past with there players.We as a company don't sell them anymore.
Sounds like you dug in a bit.Gald to see your enjoying it.There's alot of cool usefull features,dig and you will discover......
03-21-2003, 06:40 AM
Here is a pic Dan.
Last night I played Donald Fagan "Kamakiriad" in both Pure Direct and in Stereo.
In Pure Direct I just ran the 800's as full range units with no sub (very easy to do - this AVR is very flexible).
In Stereo I ran the 800s and the sub filtered at 80 Hz and played with the sub level until I got a seamless transition.
First, as a major compliment to the SVS 20-39PC+, the sub blends SO well with the mains that toggling back and forth between the 800s on full range and the 800s/SVS shows the two to be virtually indistinguishable unless there is bass present below 40 Hz (which occurs every 30-40 seconds on the CD). Then the SVS steals the show by digging down into the 30s effortlessly where the 800s in comparison just cleanly sign off and ignore the really deep stuff.
This CD is a brutally honest test for a subwoofer because the bass guitar here is almost like a mix between an acoustic and an electric - your can hear the frets and the string timbre quite clearly. This is also a credit to the Denon, which has a very clean and neutral character in the bass.
Secondly, I was wrong about this AVR just shining just for HT. The sound quality on a good CD like Kamakiriad is simply spectacular - I never knew what kind of sound was locked up inside the 800s. The biggest difference over the Kenwood is in the treble. Cymbals and hi-hats simply have a completely different timbre - very realistic with amazing dynamics and it's like air surrounds certain cymbal hits and they are just floating in front of the speakers. It was like listening to this CD for the first time. The sound projects into the room with a muscular, clean, effortless ease that makes playback very pleasant and comfortable even at SPLs averaging in the low 90s.
I am really, REALLY impressed with the sound quality of this AVR. It pairs up with the RT line exceptionally well. I am very happy with this upgrade thus far.
03-21-2003, 07:21 AM
Yep there it is Doc.I like it, and it seems your loving it.
As I mentioned before the tonal quality of the Denon and the Timber of the Polks goes together like Beer and Football.
I loved the way my Denon(avr3801)and my rt system sounded together.I felt that was the best overall combo in it's respected class.
Denon is musical.Sometimes I felt it was even better there then Movies.
Now here's the question.......What next on the Doc's plate for upgrades??Wire maybe?A new DVD or CD player?Do you have SACD or DVD AUDIO??Hint hint.....
WIth the Denon and Rt series,it's easy to hear the difference in better wire and sources.
Yep the trebble on the Kenwood suck,it's cool man you can say it.I have listened to Kenwood products for years and I have a low opnion of them,I had high hopes for there current line but it failed under my standards.......Denon is a all around better product.You'll find this out on your own with no input from me.
Denon has a NEW dvd player hitting the market soon in the 1k price range.SACD/DVD AUDIO 14 bit,108,etc......coming soon.
03-21-2003, 07:55 AM
take a listen to the yamaha rx-z1 you can get it at a good price,
seen it at $2149 it is a top of the line receiver
and you can get it in gold, i my self is getting tired of black stuff.
i got a rx-v1 (gold) yamaha receiver, and love it.
03-21-2003, 09:27 AM
I'll pass on the Yammy - too much $$ and I can't get it at cost. For what I paid for the Denon I'm extremely happy with the sound quality.
No plans to replace the Toshiba - the Colorstream picture quality is outstanding in progressive scan wi th component video output.
However, I might bite on a dedicated CD player with SACD and DVD-A since I do have the inputs on the Denon and I'm told a dedicated unit will outclass my Toshiba on CDs.
And as long as it isn't too expensive, I will consider (as more of an experiment than anything else) wiring the mains with better speaker cable and I am open to suggestions from everyone. The runs to the mains are pretty short and easy to change out. Currently they are bi-wired with Home Depot 14 gauge and banana plugs.
I have read many times that most people cannot tell the difference between 16 gauge lamp cord, 14/12 gauge Radio Shack or Home Depot, mid grade Monster, or even some really hi-end stuff.
On the other hand, I have read enough comments on Club Polk to suggest there is evidence to the contrary and wiring CAN make a difference in at least some systems and component match-ups.
If I make a wiring change, I will commit to an honest assessment in a double blind comparison and I will post the results win or lose. Keep in mind the outcome of the comparison will be only based on what "I" can hear.
Also when making recommendations for wire, remember I am running RT800i mains, and a $1200 Denon receiver, and a $250 DVD player. I'm still decidedly mid-fi and I am obviously not running LSi15's, a B&K Ref 50 pre/pro, and a Carver bi-amp rig, so I don't want to buy wire that costs $25/ft.
Keep things in perspective, and please try to match the wiring to MY system . Recommendations from all members reading this thread are welcome.
03-21-2003, 09:43 AM
If the 3803 sounds that good, think about how good the 5803 will sound! Glad to hear the Denon works for you. I've got the CD too. My old Denon is ready for the bedroom HT. I'm got a serious case of upgraditis for the main HT. I've been closing in on the 3803. I figure it can cure my upgrade fever for awhile and after that, I can buy an outboard amp and use the 3803 as a pre/pro to tweak the last rememnants of sound quality out of the 90's.
03-21-2003, 11:19 AM
Well that's the beauty of the 3803 - it contains the exact same front end components as the 5803. The trickle down theory at work.
I would expect the same redesign of the 4802 very shortly. The 4803 will undoubtedly also have the exact same front end components.
The 5803 has THX Ultra 2, so it contains a second set of identical post processing hardware. That's the primary reason it costs a small fortune.
If you ran the 5803 in non-THX mode, I would imagine the sound quality would be very similar to the 3803 since they use the same DSP and DACs. The 5803 has a more powerful amp - bigger transformer and caps - but the amp design is obviously more alike than different between the two.
The 3803 checked in at 40 pounds in the box from UPS. I think the bare weight is around 37 pounds. Upon lifting it, most of the weight is clearly under the left rear amp section. It is much heavier than my Kenwood.
I don't run any of my speaks on full range anyway, so the 8 ohm, 80 Hz high passed load presented by the RTs can only be viewed as a piece of cake for the Denon.
03-21-2003, 09:37 PM
have you tried lowering the cut off to 60 Hz???I bet the Polk system would love that.Alittle juice and the Denon will supply....
03-22-2003, 06:47 AM
I tried 60 Hz and honestly 80 Hz sounds a tad better even for music - only because the SVS is such a good subwoofer.
It is amazing I can do filter point shifts on the fly while listening to music for instant comparo's. What a flexible AVR this is.
Dan - check my previous recent post over on page one - looking for wire recommendations per your comments - you might have missed that post and I'd like your thoughts (and anyone else's).
03-22-2003, 08:45 AM
god where do I start........Ok lets get to basic's....
Your level of system would greatly benefit from Monster M950i interconnects and M1.4s bi wire speaker cable.Thats the Monster of things.
Try out some KimberKable PPJ's interconnects and 4vs/8vs bi wires.Kimber Kable has Proven to me to be one of the very best sounding wires around.
You would benefit from experiment.See if any local dealers will allow you to take some home and try it.
Get into it and I'll try to help further.
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