Denon 2803 vs 3803


I'm trying to decide betwn the two. I would use mostly for music, with some HT. Other than wattage, is there a great difference (noticeable) betwn the two? Would it be wiser to get the 2803 and a separate amp later? Thanks
The 3803 has more inputs and multiroom capabilities if I'm correct?
Here is link to Denon's 2004 AVR features chart:
I got the 3803 because it has component video upconversion. That means I only need one set of video cables to go to my big screen hdtv. It also means we never have to switch video inputs on the tv. Prices on the 3803 have been coming down because the 3804 is out. I use the set up mostly for movies. My guess is the 2803 would meet your needs fine.
I think the 3803 has better Processors than the 2803 if I'm not mistaken. I'm not sure. I used to own the 2803(which I got as credit from a trade in), and it was just Ok overall for my tastes. I personally think you'd do much better adding another amp if you have the choice, yes! Case in point...
...I once did a demo between the Yamaha's old flag, the DSPA3090 and the Denon's AVR5600, the top end many years back. I ran these receivers into smaller B&W Dm602/1's, as well as Large Mirage M5's, both running as "small" and "full range" for many tests. I did movies and music(various, rock, regae, classical, etc). After getting just "ok" results using these "highly rated Class A receivers" at the time(Stereophile's ratings for HT), I decided to use them both from their "pre-out's", driving into a dedicated 3 channel Denon POA8300 THX amp. The separates amp setup's simply blew the receivers amp sections in the dirt!...not even close by a WIDE MARGINE! Soundstage, dyamics, power, detail, refinement, everything was better! I really didn't know how compromised amp's were in receivers(even flagship models) till that time.
I've sold big receivers in many jobs since then. And I can tell you things haven't changed so much since then in that respect byenlarge!(The Denon AVR5803 is about as good as I've heard a receiver on it's own)
I recommend the smaller receiver and maybe pick up an Outlaw 100x7 amp! This dirt cheep amp is a no brainer. It sounds really good to for what it is. Otherwise, I recommend the OUtlaw 950 pre/pro instead of what you're doing. For $1600 you get superb separates. And the overall sound from a denon as a pre/pro won't do any better. You also have "dirrect analog input's" for purity of analog pass-through, and 24/192 excellent dac's! I recommend this approach over what your considering as first choice, IMO.
Better dynamics can be had with even better pre/pro's.
Still if you need to budget, you'll do "ok" with the Denon.
Mind you, you'll probably most certainly get better sound going "digital dirrect", processing in the Denon, rather than using the analog connections(of course for DVD connection).
In short, These receivers on their own aren't anything too special compared to better speparates pieces. And for used, you can find some gems if you look. Otherwise, I'd do Outlaw. That combo is unbeatable for the buck new! Good luck
Good luck
Okii, I would go with the 3803 and then later on down the raod, add a 5 or 7 channel amp. Years ago I would have agreed with exertfluffer as separates being the way to go. A lot has changed since then and to be honest with you I don't think that the Outlaw combo can hold a candle to todays receiver monsters, ie: Yamaha RXZ9, Denon 5803, and Pioneer Elite 59txi. Of course we're talking more than twice the money for one of these receivers, also. Dollar for dollar there are no separates that can out-perform the Denon 3803.
Although separates are superior, I would agree with Mborner that current receivers have improved tremendously over the years. One fine example is the Denon AVR-5803 and although it may not be comparable to the best separates out there but it comes quite close at a fraction of the cost.
Fraction of the cost?(Denon 5803) Were talking about a $4800 receiver!!! There is no "fraction of the cost" in volved with $4800, I beg to differ.
Personally, I don't think any receiver is worth paying even $2k for what you get! $2k is a lot of money. I find it's much much better spent on even modest in point, the Outlaw separates at $1600!!...enough money left over to buy a compete Pardigm refernence speaker system no less!!!(if that's what you like).
I'd own those anytime before I ever owned a $5k receiver, you bet!!!!
Heck, even a $1k reciver with a good multichannel amp is much much cheaper, and sounds far better most every time, by far. Then when you go up to a pre/pro, it gets even better.
Shoot for $4800 you could get a deal on a number of super quality pre/pro and amp combo's if you shop around for good pricing NEW!!!...not even considering used.
You could get all the way up to a Krell Showcase and a good ATI 5-7 channel amp for darn near that if you shop arround! This smokes any receiver, and there's lot's of other options and combo's if you are spending that kind of cash.
Heck I could put together a complete killer High end sounding high performance HT system for $4800!...including speakers and sub! No receiver is going to do anything special to warrant that kind of money. I just find there's much better way's to spend/blow your money.
Let's see, I pick up a used Krell HTS for $1400, a used Parasound HCA1205 for $700, find some B&W 805 matrix's at $300/$350 each(x5=$1500 to $1750), and some left over for a good $500 used sub, and I'm at that money!!!!!
Personally, people who are so happy, and anxious, to go plop down $5000 for a receiver no less, I just don't get it!
Do they really think some sort of "sonic nirvana" is going to exist inside that overpriced box!?! Surely they don't think they're going to have some sort of superb audio experience from a receiver, do they?..because it's not going to happen. Receiver is another word for "BIG SONIC COMPROMISE"!...with a bunch of bells and whistles thrown in.
I guess I'm much more intersted in ACTUALL SOUND QUALITY, than some "all in one, do it all box!". But, to each his own.
As I sit here, I'm thinking of what all I could buy for $4800 that I could put together. And I'm coming up with A LOT!
Personally, I find people who do end up spending a small fortune on "A RECEIVER!!!!" end up using some cheep Polk Audio or Energy speakers, and really think they "got the shiznit!" Funny. Oh well, it's all good...knock yourselves out...peace
Wow, Exertfluffer!! Nobody really wanted to offend you but you are still obviously living the old school theory of receivers vs. separates. The old school being that, yes, receivers WERE a very poor compromise compared to separates. Today’s top shelf receivers are a true statement of technology at it's best. AVR Receivers have literally closed the performance gap of even some of the best separates. Although it can be done, it is getting increasingly difficult to find separates that will out-perform a Flagship receiver. Krell? Maybe... but not in my typical room set up. If I'm going to waste my money on separates I'm going to make darn sure that I have a dedicated room to put it all in. It used to be an embarrassment to connect high-end speakers to a receiver. Not any more. Look at how many people have woken up and seen the light and realized that they can get the same performance, sometimes better, without spending thousands on separates.

Do yourself a favor, flip through the recent archives of Audio/Video Interiors. Ever wonder why most of these 1/2 million dollar custom home theaters are using receivers? If you don't maybe you need to ask yourself why. Or, The next time you visit your local "separates" dealer, ask the owner of the store what he has in his own home. You'll be surprised at the answer, again, ask yourself why. Could it be that they know something that you don't? Perhaps they realize that the laws of diminishing returns for separates are absolutely ridiculous.

Ok, time to get the facts straight! The Denon is not $5,000 as you stated, nor is it $4,800 but actually $4,400 NEW. The processing power in the Big Denon is staggering! There are no entry level or even mid level processors that can even come close, processing wise. To repeat what Ryder is saying, these big receivers can and sometimes do outperform some of even the best separates.

Now, I am by no means bashing separates but give credit where credit is due. I'm simply stating that receivers have made incredible strides in the performance/value arena, so much so, that they've become the component of choice for even the most discriminating critic. In the next 5 years you will see pre/pro tecnology take off like never before at prices that will be line with receivers. Why? because receivers give these guys a run for their money. I've stated once before, "Rip out my receiver and install a rack full of Bryston monoblocks and a Lexicon
MC-12 and I doubt very seriously that I would hear a difference in my room".
Okay maybe I'm slightly off with my statement of the Denon coming close at a "fraction of the cost".

The main point that I was trying to put through is that top-of-the-line receivers have improved tremendously and offer almost comparable(if not better) performance compared to good separates. I used to have the idea that receivers are crap when it comes to sound quality in both HT and music and have always disregarded them since my main objective is getting the stereo part right. That was about 7 years ago when I owned the Yamaha DSP-990. The Yamaha was my first introduction to HT as well as my stereo rig. Since my main priority has always been music, I got rid of it and started to build my system slowly throughout the years from the modest Arcam Alpha 10 and several other amps before I ended up with the Plinius SA-100Mk3 today. Although I would like to have the best HT but the relatively high cost have deterred me from owning separates(still with the old school theory that receivers suck).

Not until I've listened to the Denon AVR-5803. This unit really changed my perception of the quality of today's receivers. I'm very much with Mborner and his write-up tells it all, although discriminating critics would beg to differ.

Just my 2 cents.
("Maybe... but not in my typical room set up.")

If your spending $4800 on a receiver for a "typical room set up", might I strongly suggest separates, yes! Again, Outlaw has even the Denon beat at 1/3 the cost!!!!..yes. I've sold, installed, and retailed the Denon for years. Sorry. It's a good receiver...better than most...not as good...not worth $4800 IMO. That's the deal.

("There are no entry level or even mid level processors that can even come close, processing wise.")(refering to 5803)
Sorry, you're wrong. Again, even the modest little Outlaw separates sound better, yes! Connectd Digitally or through the "dirrect analog inputs" for good analog sources.Also, even though the Denon uses good processors. All the interference that's in a receiver increases noise floor, reduces channel sep, obscures detail ultimately, and the transformer must share dubties in driving everything in the thing!..not just the output devices! It has to driver the processors, the lights, the motorized volume control(and similar), pre amp section, amoung others. Power is reduced/compromised, and current is restricted.
Again, I'd take any receiver for a heads up full range with even modest separates, most every time. Separates still smokes receivers.
I can buy anything I want in this biz at "a song!"...and I wouldn't wast my money on any $2k receiver and over! chance! Why? Because I know what works from over 20 years experience, and over 1000 systems under my belt!
It's all good though...people can think what they want.

(..."Do yourself a favor, flip through the recent archives of Audio/Video Interiors. Ever wonder why most of these 1/2 million dollar custom home theaters are using receivers?...Could it be that they know something that you don't? Perhaps they realize that the laws of diminishing returns for separates are absolutely ridiculous")

Perhaps they realize diminishing returns? I'm talking about a near $5k receiver!)(doi!....that's a lot) There is no diminishing returns here! That sale is about selling what's "in-stock"! That's it. It's not anything to do with selling the best performing gear for the money. Separates can be had for less than that. Even a $3k pre and $1600 amp combo is less! So there is no "diminishing returns" in respect to purchasing the Denon 5803!...none. Maybe with the 2803/3803 under $2k, but not $4800!!!
They use receivers in "Many"(not all) because these people are already spending WAY MORE THAN THEY'D LIKE on the whole house custom thing!...and probably a dedicated custom theater with all the decore,structures,cabinetry,necessary gear, etc!!! A receiver often works into a budget, or they have it in stock, yes!
I've worked in 6, that's right, 6 high end audio/video stores. I've talked to clients to no end. I've worked on $1m million dollar installs, down to a few thousand. I think I understand the clients, the game, and the compromises.
Often, receivers are a compromise, yes. Still, for best sound, receiver isn't the best bet, sorry.
I'll most all of the separates combo's up against the Denon, a second.

("so much so, that they've(receivers) become the component of choice for even the most discriminating critic.")
Sorry, critics own pre/pro's for their system, and have receivers for comparison! I know a few of them!
And, receivers are "where the markets at!"..becuase this is where consumers minds are! Receivers sell! That's it. They offer all in one performance packages, which is phsycologically atractive!...thus the prices are often low for features offered, because of competition and demand! It's marketing.
Still, if you chose to believe that receivers are where it's at, that's your perogative. For the more informed, receivers can't hang, don't sound as good, and have serious sonic compromises comparatively. Do receivers sound good, sure some do on their own. Better than separates?...not by a long shot.
Yeah (non-critical jousting only mind's all good and fine) "mborner" your nowhere near the truth on this one!
Again, I've lived, eatten, and breathed custom audio video, HIgh end audio and HT for the past umpteen years, and seen and done most all of it! I've been down all the paths basically, and continue to "tinker".
The Outlaw separates(which I don't sell or endorse) blows your reciver chioces in teh dirt!...sorry to inform you.
It was the best sounding Ht system set up at last years Home Entertainment expo in San Franscisco by quite a bit! Mind you, there were other variables. Still, it was very good sounding, and better than any reciever I ever heard.
Hey listen, even the Acurus Act 3 and 125x5 that I used to sell(own as well) spanked the Denon5803, and any other flagship I've sold!
I've dealt in the Marantz SR18/14, Denon 5803, Yamaha RXZ1, and Pioneer VSX series THX stuff, as with others. None can compare, sorry. They're receivers.
Hey if anyone's trying to pitch how good receivers have gotten, they're basiclally all reading magazines designed to "sell soap!" It's marketing, that's all.
Sure there are some fine sounding receivers "for what they are." The old Nakamichi AV10, Denon AVR4802/5803, Yamaha RXZ1 and less expensive RXV800/1000 series, Arcam's $1200 piece, Marantz SR14/18, the old Sony STRD777ES receiver, some of the Past NAD's(although reliabiltiy a challenge there), maybe B&k(ok)and similiar have been excellent RECEIVER CHOICES over the years I've found. I'm not doubting that. And there are others from other brands, like Integra and HK that I'm sure have made some good gear. But were talking receivers here! In a serious HT/music playback context, they can't perform up to separates standards for driving speakers dynamicslly...bottom line! Receivers always are and always will be a compromise.
I've simply lived too long through all the "press" and "hype" to know differnt. It's what I do, it's what I know. REceivers are a substitute for separates, and those on budgets. If you wan't performance, you go separates. If you want features/value/convenience, you go receiver. That's it. All real audiophiles and experience folk all know this.
Congratulations on all your experience and accomplishments, Exertfluffer, you are indeed, a better man than I!!
I agree...Now it's settled
I've had both-3803 has video up-converting, very useful in simplifying connections to the TV. The 2803 is notorious for over-heating and having a VERY noisy cooling fan. Drove me nuts!!! Go with the 3803.