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  1. #1

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    Default Which Surround Receiver????

    Denon AVR-3808CI or Onkyo TX-SR876.

    I noticed both can be used to bi-amp the front speakers but I do not want to constantly have to be connecting and disconnecting wires and jumpers on the RTi12's. I saw that the Onkyo can be bridged in stereo mode but the Denon instruction manual online was very hard to decipher. I currently have only a stereo receiver and I am looking to upgrade to 5.1 surround. I do not think I will have room for 7.1 so 5.1 is what I will be going with. I have also heard that HK and Onkyo rate power differently than other brands. Is Denon one of those brands or is 140 watts of Onkyo equivalent to 140 watts of Denon? I would like to upgrade to blu ray and a cd changer that match brands as well so feel free to chime in with your experiences. I like the idea of having everything match due to aesthetics, but I do not want to pick something that is inferior simply because it looks good.
    Ryan Jozwiak

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  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanJoz View Post
    Denon AVR-3808CI or Onkyo TX-SR876.

    I noticed both can be used to bi-amp the front speakers but I do not want to constantly have to be connecting and disconnecting wires and jumpers on the RTi12's.
    i dont why you would have to constantly connect and disconnect when you bi-amp? You should never have to do that.

    Also bi-amping with a receiver is waaay overated. If you get an external amp with leftover channels then think about bi-amping, otherwise dont stress over it.

    Both the receivers you mentioned are great. I prefer the Denon, but everyone has different tastes. They will both get the job done for you. Im sure some will say get the Denon! and others will say no! get the Onkyo!
    If you get a chance, go see them both in person and play around with their interfaces and what not to see what you like better. Also if possible Demo them on the same gear.
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  3. #3

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    Bi-amping with an AVR is going to get you minimal gains at best. Some people have reported slight improvements in it, but most people have reported that it was a waste of time, and a waste of money on the extra speaker wire. It's not going to double your power or anything, because all the power is still coming from the same power block.

    Personally I'd go with the Onkyo. When I was receiver shopping a while back, I compared several Denons to several Onkyo's, and I preferred the Onkyo every time. I wouldn't really recommend going with any of Onkyo's DVD players or CD players though. From everything I've heard they tend to be pretty problematic. There are plenty of other choices out there though that would still match the Onkyo, but would be much better choices.

    All of the power ratings you see in receivers are somewhat over rated. I've always heard that Onkyo is fairly honest with their ratings, but they are still a bit over rated. That 140 watts per channel is probably more like 80-90 real world watts. Not sure about the Denon though.

    Like bigred said, if it's a possibility, go and demo them both with the same speakers, and mess around with the interfaces and see which one you like more. You can read all the reviews and stats you want, but at the end of the day, your ears are different from everyone elses. Everyone has their own preferences.

    edit-by the way, welcome to Club Polk.

    Any plans for what speakers you're going with yet?
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  4. #4

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    My vote is for the Denon 3808, proven feature upgrades and great sound. Price point has become very attractive. Onks are fine too but do not know much about them.
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
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    I prefer Denon... I LOVE my 2808CI.

    As far as rated power... I heard that Onkyo rates them with two channels driven, don't know about Denon.

    I know several people with the 3808CI and they love it. If power is what you want... Skip the 3808, go with a 2808 (can find them for under $700) and get an external amp for the fronts... I am looking at an Emotiva XPA-3.
    Last edited by Upstatemax; 01-29-2009 at 10:03 AM.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Upstatemax View Post
    I prefer Denon... I LOVE my 2808CI.

    As far as rated power... I heard that Onkyo rates them with two channels driven, don't know about Denon.

    I know several people with the 3808CI and they love it. If power is what you want... Skip the 3808, go with a 2808 (can find them for under $700) and get an external amp for the fronts... I am looking at an Emotiva XPA-3.
    I too have a 2808 and they can be had for the $500 range but I wish I had the 3808 for upgrade capability.

    I have a Carver TFM-45 driving the mains, would do the same if I had a 3808.
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
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  7. #7

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    it looked like in the manual if you biamp the fronts (denon) that you have to unplug and add the jumpers every time you switch from stereo to surround. I got the impression that since the onkyo is bridgeable, that you do not have to unplug and reinstall the jumpers for surround mode.

    thank you for all of your help
    I will be using the RTi 12's for fronts, 35i's for rears, and the larger of the two RTiA center channel speakers.
    Ryan Jozwiak

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  8. #8

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    Give the Pioneer Elite SC05 or SC07 a look as well. It is also in the same price range as the Denon 3808/4308 respectively. They sound awesome with the Rti series, use the Ice power amps and run cool to touch. Worth a demo at least.
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  9. #9

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    I have my mind made up between the onkyo and denon but thanks for your input.
    Ryan Jozwiak

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  10. #10

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    If you think about it, bi-amping with a single receiver is probably going to do WORSE rather than better, because you're splitting your receiver's power equally rather than letting the crossover in the speaker determine which part wants more power.

    It's not like plugging in a second set of wires to your receiver is going to make power come out of nowhere, it's going to take power away from the other channels (unless you buy a ridiculously expensive receiver, that is).

    This may not always be the case, but chances are pretty good that "bi-amping" using a single receiver is a waste of time and money at BEST.
    If you will it, dude, it is no dream.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobman1235 View Post
    If you think about it, bi-amping with a single receiver is probably going to do WORSE rather than better, because you're splitting your receiver's power equally rather than letting the crossover in the speaker determine which part wants more power.

    It's not like plugging in a second set of wires to your receiver is going to make power come out of nowhere, it's going to take power away from the other channels (unless you buy a ridiculously expensive receiver, that is).

    This may not always be the case, but chances are pretty good that "bi-amping" using a single receiver is a waste of time and money at BEST.
    I don't want to sound critical of you so please don't take this the wrong way.

    Are you sure about making it worse? Both receivers I listed have internal settings which allow bi-amping and the onkyo is a 3 room receiver and you can bridge one of the rooms to increase the power to the front mains. The denon receiver's manual made it sound like if front speakers were bi-amped with the 3rd room posts that the speaker wire must be reconfigured for surround mode. Both receivers have internal settings that limit the surround to 5.1 (which is what I want) with the benefit of increased power when listening to 2 ch. music. Both receivers are rated at 140 wpc and the way I understand it is that if the onkyo is bridged and in stereo mode, you get 280x2 in stereo mode and 140x5 in surround mode.

    Also isn't it comparable to biamping with the same amount of power for both the highs/mids and the lows as using one larger amp to drive both sections? Does bi-amping bypass the crossover?

    Thank you again for your help
    Ryan Jozwiak

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  12. #12

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    I don't see why bi-amping would bypass the cross over? Anyone else.

    As far as the difference in power ratings. An Onkyo 876 is, IMO, a bit more powerful than a Denon 3808...Look at the weight difference, and the more MASSIVE EL transformer. Don't know if that's relevant though because it takes a LOT of wattage, a lot more than 10 or 20 to hear a difference.

    Onkyo stereo ratings are far above 140 watts. But surround declines with number of channels. 5.1 has got to be more than 100? A number of stereo mags have down in lab testing that tell you true wattage at all channels driven.

    Power wise I'd compare the Onkyo 876 with the Denon 4308 not the 3808.

    The Onkyo is Warmer than the Denon, but I find Denons to have a bit more high end detail?

    cnh

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    I didn't mean to say bypassing the crossover. What I meant was... and someone please correct me if I'm wrong but I thought I was told this many moons ago when I asked the same question... Let's just say for simplicity, your reciever is pumping out 100W to each front channel. You run the one wire to the fronts. In the speaker, that 100W can now be distributed where it is most needed.

    IF you "bi-amp", in this scenario, you're not now pumping 100W into all four channels, more than likely you just split your 100Wx2 into 50Wx4 (maybe not quite that drastic, but close). SO now instead of the speaker distributing 100W where it's needed, which could be 90/10 for all I know, you're sending 50W to each post, so the part that would have needed 90 is getting far less than it would otherwise. See?


    This is why I don't ever answer audio-related questions, there are people who know way more than me.
    Last edited by bobman1235; 01-29-2009 at 05:44 PM.
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  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by cnh View Post

    Power wise I'd compare the Onkyo 876 with the Denon 4308 not the 3808.

    The Onkyo is Warmer than the Denon, but I find Denons to have a bit more high end detail?

    cnh
    I knew that and should have said they are near the same price range, while power is close, it is not exact.
    Ryan Jozwiak

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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanJoz View Post
    it looked like in the manual if you biamp the fronts (denon) that you have to unplug and add the jumpers every time you switch from stereo to surround. I got the impression that since the onkyo is bridgeable, that you do not have to unplug and reinstall the jumpers for surround mode.
    Are you talking 5.1 or 7.1 surround?


    If you are using a 5.1 setup, you never have to change a thing.

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    I don't see why you'd have to plug and unplug the wires and jumpers to switch between surround and stereo. There should be a "bi-amp" setting in the setup menu that would just turn the back channels into front channels full time. That's a pretty big design flaw if you have to unplug wires and re-install the jumpers to listen to it in stereo mode.
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  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobman1235 View Post
    I didn't mean to say bypassing the crossover. What I meant was... and someone please correct me if I'm wrong but I thought I was told this many moons ago when I asked the same question... Let's just say for simplicity, your reciever is pumping out 100W to each front channel. You run the one wire to the fronts. In the speaker, that 100W can now be distributed where it is most needed.

    IF you "bi-amp", in this scenario, you're not now pumping 100W into all four channels, more than likely you just split your 100Wx2 into 50Wx4 (maybe not quite that drastic, but close). SO now instead of the speaker distributing 100W where it's needed, which could be 90/10 for all I know, you're sending 50W to each post, so the part that would have needed 90 is getting far less than it would otherwise. See?
    I see what you're trying to say, but passive crossovers and receiver amps don't work this way. You have 200 total watts (his receiver is rated for more, but we're just using nice round numbers) from the amp. You're saying if you wire two speakers normally, you have 100w X 2, which at each speaker might be 90w + 10w when the bandwidth gets split. And if you bi-amp, you think it's 50w X 4, which at one speaker is 50w + 50w, meaning he just limited his lows to 50w instead of 90w, and 40w is somehow being wasted. No. The receiver could (and will, if needed) deliver 200w max to any of its channels without ugly distortion if it's got a 200w amp. If his highs draw 10w each, there's 180w left, no matter how he has it wired.

    Hooking up more wires doesn't put a hard limit on the output of any channel, and it doesn't create power out of thin air. The amp still does what it does. This goes back to why bi-amping with only one (real, actual, physical) amp is a complete waste of his time.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by comfortablycurt View Post
    I don't see why you'd have to plug and unplug the wires and jumpers to switch between surround and stereo. There should be a "bi-amp" setting in the setup menu that would just turn the back channels into front channels full time. That's a pretty big design flaw if you have to unplug wires and re-install the jumpers to listen to it in stereo mode.
    The Denon does have a "Bi-Amp" setting, the ONLY reason you would have to change the bi-Amp set up is if you want to use a 7.1 surround since the channels used to Bi-Amp the front mains are the surround backs.

    If you use the Bi-Amp set up for the front mains with a 5.1 surround (Like I do) you never have to change the Bi-Amp setting/wiring.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Upstatemax View Post
    The Denon does have a "Bi-Amp" setting, the ONLY reason you would have to change the bi-Amp set up is if you want to use a 7.1 surround since the channels used to Bi-Amp the front mains are the surround backs.

    If you use the Bi-Amp set up for the front mains with a 5.1 surround (Like I do) you never have to change the Bi-Amp setting/wiring.
    First thank you for clearing that up for me.
    Second, the onkyo has the ability to bridge the front channels and multi room outputs. Would this be more beneficial than using the bi-amp setting and show more significant power gains up front? Those RTi 12's are hungry, and while it is really loud with my hk stereo receiver @70 wpc, I want to see what they would do with much more.
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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by SEH View Post
    Hooking up more wires doesn't put a hard limit on the output of any channel, and it doesn't create power out of thin air. The amp still does what it does. This goes back to why bi-amping with only one (real, actual, physical) amp is a complete waste of his time.
    I'm gonna go with both sides on this one if I'm understanding the argument correctly (if not feel free to slap me around a little). Take the Yamaha 3900 for example (just because I remember the numbers).

    The box is rated at 140w X 7. With 5 channels used you actually get 100 per channel or 500 total. If you steal the 2 unused channels for bi-amping, the watts across all 7 channels drop to 88. It appears to me that you will pick up usable watts into the bi-amp pair (166 versus 100) but you would lose watts into the center and surrounds. Effectively in this scenario you pick up 23% across the used channels. I don't have 3-channel numbers handy so I can't work an L-C-R scenario. It may be a good trade-off (or not). I don't have the distortion numbers handy either but they may go up in which case the trade-off becomes less clear.
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  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty913 View Post
    The box is rated at 140w X 7. With 5 channels used you actually get 100 per channel or 500 total.
    why is it 100 instead of 140? Shouldn't the power go the other way? 140x7=980. 980/5=196. I would think the power would not drop if you had fewer speakers. I could be wrong as well but that does not make sense to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanJoz View Post
    why is it 100 instead of 140? Shouldn't the power go the other way? 140x7=980. 980/5=196. I would think the power would not drop if you had fewer speakers. I could be wrong as well but that does not make sense to me.
    Very, very few receivers perform "as advertised" depending upon the fine print. The number I quoted were from the Feb/March issue of Sound & Vision and are test bench results. Receivers are usually advertised in their stereo configuration at or below a given distortion level (1% or so) and the Yamaha 3900 did test at 150 X 2, 100 X 5, and 88 X 7 into 8 ohms. Actually the numbers are very good. Unless the specs say "XXX watts per channel with all channels driven", you are usually looking at a 2-channel wattage claim. I think what they're saying is any channel can be XXX watts, just not all at once. There are exceptions (HK is pretty good about it as is NAD and others).
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  23. #23

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    look at this sunfire in this thread http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/showthread.php?t=77885

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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanJoz View Post
    First thank you for clearing that up for me.
    Second, the onkyo has the ability to bridge the front channels and multi room outputs. Would this be more beneficial than using the bi-amp setting and show more significant power gains up front? Those RTi 12's are hungry, and while it is really loud with my hk stereo receiver @70 wpc, I want to see what they would do with much more.

    If power is your main concern you are going to want an amp... The Emotiva XPA-3 will deliver 250w per channel if you only drive the front two channels.

    The XPA-3 is $525 shipped and in terms of power, it will blow away any stand alone receiver.

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    I was also considering one of these two -- but I've seen on the AVS forum and elsewhere on the net that there have been HDMI compatibility issues with the 3808ci -- has anyone else seen/heard/experienced anything like this...?

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