High-End AV Receiver Group Test

pressure

Well-known Member
Excellent group test, much needed and much appreciated.

A couple of observations / questions. I know it's cheaper but I'm not sure I could give the winners medal to denon with audyssey when you can get the arcam 550 with Dirac for roughly the same money. And leaving aside EQ, is the "raw" performance of the denon really as good as the cheaper arcam and anthem models?

And a higher level question. Is it really worth investing at this level when you can get a 7010 or 6010? Especially if you take the amplification out of the question by getting a power amp (or, more rarely, active speakers)? Is the core audio circuitry and processing really that much better than good mid range amps? I suspect it is - but it would be good to have this spelt out and explored :)

Thanks again for a great group test!
 

Smurfin

Distinguished Member
Take power amplification and EQ out of the equation, and assuming an equal playing field in terms of codecs, and is there such a thing as high end any more? Are there really any processing differences these days?
 

bandyka

Well-known Member
Take power amplification and EQ out of the equation, and assuming an equal playing field in terms of codecs, and is there such a thing as high end any more? Are there really any processing differences these days?
Well I've just switched from a flagship Onkyo to a Marantz and I want my Onkyo back or the new Anthem 1120. There are definitely differences in processing.
 

pressure

Well-known Member
Yes @Smurfin that's exactly what I'm getting at. I think there probably is - I think amp designs do sound different even when you take away the eq and the processing. I think it's more apparent with music though. But it would be very helpful to tease this out.
 

bandyka

Well-known Member
Yes @Smurfin that's exactly what I'm getting at. I think there probably is - I think amp designs do sound different even when you take away the eq and the processing. I think it's more apparent with music though. But it would be very helpful to tease this out.
Agree.
 

Smurfin

Distinguished Member
Yes @Smurfin that's exactly what I'm getting at. I think there probably is - I think amp designs do sound different even when you take away the eq and the processing. I think it's more apparent with music though. But it would be very helpful to tease this out.
I think there's very little difference personally, although I've not done any recent comparisons. EQ though....can make a big difference.
 

bandyka

Well-known Member
Are you using the same power amps? Same EQ?
No just the AVRs but even with all processing and EQ off they sound very different.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Take power amplification and EQ out of the equation, and assuming an equal playing field in terms of codecs, and is there such a thing as high end any more? Are there really any processing differences these days?
You usually still get better quality/spec'd DACs the higher up you go and there's usually still better components such as capacitors used within the higher tier products. However, it is increasingly more and more difficult to ascertain exactly what these components are and most of the mainstream consumer manufacturers are less likely to list these elements than they are to list non material features instead. I guess features sell products more readily than quality components these days? Yamaha still take some pride in listing some of the components, but D&M make it a chore to find out such details. Does Denon even mention the DACs they use within the AVRX7200 on their site or within their associated product literature?

I'd guess the ultimate test would be a blind test executed on the same day within the same room, using the same speakers and using the same test content. I'm also guessing that this is not that easy to arrange? You'd also have to give results both with and without room EQ correction. Who gives a damn as to what the room EQ correction is if the room it will be used in doesn't need it or has relatively good EQ to start with?
 
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AngelEyes

Distinguished Member
I use the Denon as a processor only and use Dirac on a miniDSP, it is simply fantastic compared to the Marantz AV8801 I was using in the same way. It is the best Cinema experience I have had in my room, ever and I have used a lot more expensive kit than this. I never thought I would be so delighted with a humble Receiver. :)
 

the_dude2

Well-known Member
Good group test, thanks guys.
My humble receiver, Arcam 550, and AB Power amp is a lovely combination. Epic in every way.
 

Smurfin

Distinguished Member
I use the Denon as a processor only and use Dirac on a miniDSP, it is simply fantastic compared to the Marantz AV8801 I was using in the same way. It is the best Cinema experience I have had in my room, ever and I have used a lot more expensive kit than this. I never thought I would be so delighted with a humble Receiver. :)
Really? You're usually as cynical as me....stop encouraging me to spend money :D

In what way is it better?
 

AngelEyes

Distinguished Member
Really? You're usually as cynical as me....stop encouraging me to spend money :D

In what way is it better?
Its just way more soundy and audioy :D
 

AngelEyes

Distinguished Member
I was running NEO:X wides and front heights with the Marantz and whilst it did improve the sound field, with the Denon and just the front heights and using DTS:X it just has a whole lot more wow to it. Much more enveloping and even the side and rear effects are more coherent and impressive.

I will be adding 4 in-ceiling speakers at some point as I am sold on DTS:X, even when upmixing. Not sure if DTS:X is the sole improvement of the Denon over the Marantz but as a package the Denon is way more flexible than most receivers out there. I haven't tried the amps out myself but given your cloth-ears you would probably be fine with a one box solution anyway :smashin:
 

Steve Stifler

Well-known Member
I like my 7200WA a lot but the Dude is right, the Arcam 550 worked a treat at Ricky's even with being underpinned by the AB amp
 

Steve Stifler

Well-known Member
I like my 7200WA a lot but the Dude is right, the Arcam 550 worked a treat at Ricky's even with being underpinned by the AB amp
 

bandyka

Well-known Member
So if I went with the 1120 would you fine people still recommend a power amp??
 

Lord Essex

Active Member
As most of these receivers need extra amps for full 7.1.4 l think it would be helpful to state how flexible each is when it comes to assigning channels to these amps, ie can you assign them to any channel or only rears/ heights etc. I use a high end 2 channel amp for my front L/R for music and if you could only assign your extra amps to the rear or celling This would count that receiver out for me. It would be nice to have this info in the review
 

Member 116841

Distinguished Member
Having gone from an Audiolab 8200AP to a Classe Sigma SSP800 (so obviously using the same amplification, and EQ), I can safely say there is quite a quality difference. Whether you put this down to processing, general pre-amplifier quality, or both, is up to you :)
 

mark800

Distinguished Member
Great review, although it's a shame that the Marantz SR7010 (its top-of-the-range receiver) wasn't included in the review (or at least mentioned). I think features and sound quality are very similar to the Denon receiver and, given that it is now widely available online for £1069, I think it deserves some attention.
 

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