Archive for category AV Receivers
The good news is, whether I relied on the onscreen menus or the MultEQ editor app for speaker calibration, Audyssey nailed the delays and crossover settings for my speakers with dead-on balls accuracy. This would have blown my mind right out the back of my skull just a few years ago, but I’m honestly starting to take for granted as the norm rather than the exception.
Throughout my testing, I employed the SR8012 in several different configurations, including a 5.2.4 setup with RSL’s new CG5 speaker system and pair of RSL Speedwoofer 10S subs as the bed, with a quartet of GoldenEar SuperSat 3 satellite speakers hook-mounted to the ceiling temporarily. I did the bulk of my listening relying simply on the aforementioned RSL 5.2-channel system, and also set up the SR8012 right next to Denon’s AVR-X4500H in the same room, both connected to a pair of RSL CG5 bookshelves positioned side-by-side, for the purposes of direct comparison (levels matched, of course). I ended my evaluation with the Marantz powering a simple stereo pair of Paradigm Studio 100 v5 towers.”
The X8500H is 51.6-pounds of brute force. Denon needed the larger chassis for the extra amp channels and upgrades. Some sites incorrectly list the X8500H weighs 39-pounds, reproducing an online typo when the unit first launched. Denon has since corrected this typo. This baby absolutely weighs 51.6 pounds! If you think that AVRs have wimpy amplification sections and design compromises, the X8500H will disabuse you of any such misconceptions.
Once again, I spoke with Mr. Yamada about the choice of an E-I core as opposed to a toroidal transformer and technical aspects. He told me for the best price/performance, Denon chose a new 8.2kg, 18-pound customized power transformer that the company felt would provide enough quality and performance to meet their requirements for a flagship 13-channel receiver. He also said that Denon’s engineers have the “know-how and experience to suppress negative effects such as leakage flux, beat, and vibrations to optimize the performance.”
The receiver incorporates custom-made DHCT (Denon High Current Transistors)—discrete monolithic amplifiers rated at 150 watts per channel (@8 ohms, 20Hz – 20 kHz, THD 0.05%, 2 channels driven) and 190 watts per channel (@6 ohms, 20Hz – 20 kHz, THD 0.7% 2 channels driven). The X8500H will also drive 4 ohm speaker loads with no problems. Let me reiterate: This AVR will drive most speakers on the market natively—including those rated at 4 ohms. And don’t gloss over this important note: Be sure to connect this AVR to a 20A circuit for maximum performance. If you connect this AVR to a 15A circuit you may get as much as a 10% reduction in power output! I tested the X8500H on a dedicated 20A circuit dedicated solely for my audio equipment.
In this system, the main source is Spectrum cable TV, and while I am no fan of cable as compared to DirecTV or Dish Network, having the Denon AVR-X2500H in the loop seemed to smooth out the video enough to make it watchable. While watching 24-hour coverage of a U.S. Presidential race that won’t go to election for another 18 months, the talking heads on CNN looked a little smoother and more natural with the Denon’s video processing engaged. The audio was notably better, as you might expect when upgrading from a mid-level Sony soundbar to a pair of Polk floorstanding speakers, a 10-inch powered sub, and a nice little Denon receiver. Unfair comparison? Probably. But it was a pretty significant upgrade in performance for not a lot of upgrade in cost. I checked in with some pre-March madness basketball on ESPN and even a stop by The Food Network, and things seemed better with the Denon in the loop on our key source, even if it was a massive pain to switch back and forth between the old rig and the new.”
Switching to Lucy, the RX-A3080 again turned in a dynamic performance, with excellent placement of effects within my listening environment. The combination of YPAO and the A3080’s processing prowess also managed to create a convincing sense of space at the 15.45 mark.
An excellent example of this being Professor Norman’s (Morgan Freeman) lecture at the 15.45 mark. The dialogue was clearly rendered throughout the movie, even during its more frenetic moments.
The sense of space and depth the Yamaha provided was carried over into a long-time favourite, The Wolverine. While the RX-A3080 lacked some of the refinement of my Denon, it still turned in a detailed performance.
Likewise, while the bass performance was excellent, YPAO wasn’t able to exert the same type of control over the bottom end as Audyssey.
Fed with the bombastic chaos that is Mad Max Fury Road, the RX-A3080 presented a spectacular performance, easily one of the best I have heard in my home theatre.
“All discs were played back on a Panasonic UB-9000 which upsampled Chroma to 4:4:4. The Video was routed via the RX-A3080 and sent to a Sony VPL-VW270ES with a FIBBR HDMI cable. During the review period, I didn’t encounter any problems receiving 24fps, 4:4:4 HDR.
With Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, the RX-A3080 put in a powerful audio performance, the crackle of magic and destruction wrought by the Obscurous having plenty of sonic impact. Although it couldn’t quite match my Denon AVC-X8500H in terms of power, it wasn’t as far off as I expected, its performance belies its mid-range price-tag.”
It is undoubtedly the first thing you notice about the amp’s sound, but it’s unfair to say that is its defining characteristic. It’s more that every other sonic aspect is so natural that it is easy to be impressed by how much power you’re getting for the money.
There is a substantial helping of bottom end, designed to put you in your seat and hold you there, but it never dominates what is a clean and even balance with little to provoke any fragilities elsewhere in your system. ”
All told, I had the receiver out of the box and fully operation in less than half an hour, and that includes adding it to my Control4 system. As with all network capable AVRs from Denon these days, the X4500H supports Control4 SDDP (Simple Device Discovery Protocol), which means that its IP driver auto-identified itself from within the Control4 Composer Pro programming software, and I didn’t have to worry about setting a static IP.
One other nice touch is that the receiver came out of the box with IP control engaged (something you used to have to hunt and peck for). I also just as quickly set up the HEOS module and drivers for Control4, and had a fully functional AV system and multiroom streaming music system connected and configured in less time than it takes to prepare a proper bowl of stone-ground grits.”