Denon AVR-4308CI Receivers

Denon AVR-4308CI Receivers 


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[Oct 31, 2009]

I have owned many Denon A/V receivers over the past 10 years. I had to work my way up to afford the 4308ci, and when I first became interested in Home Theatre, my first Denon A/V receiver was the Denon avr-1802. Well, since then I've owned the 2802, 3802, 3805 and one of Denon's older entry level receivers the avr-483 (which was used in our bedroom. There's a couple of reasons I've had so many receivers from Denon, mainly because I just couldn't afford their higher end receivers until now.
The other reason is with todays technology moving at such a fast pace, it's hard to keep up! Hence HDMI 1.3, and all the new lossless audio codecs.
With every Denon receiver I've ever owned, I've always been very pleased with their value (you get more than what most other brands offer at a fair price).
My first audition of their middle class receivers was with the Denon avr-2802. I had just bought a Pioneer VSX-33TX which was a THX certified receiver at the time ( a 2001 model I think) from Tweeter for a crazy good discounted price, as it was a floor model and was a $1000 receiver for $350! At the time, Tweeter had a policy that you could return your electronics if they were less than a year old, and trade up if you spend twice the amount you paid to start with. So since I paid $350 for the Pioneer, I had to return it and spend at least $700. That all being said, I compared it directly to Denon avr-2802 which was $799 at the time new. The Pioneer sounded great, but after hearing the Denon, I noticed a signifant difference in particular in the middle frequencies (100Hz and up) standing out with the 2802. The Pioneer was more geared towards the hi frequencies, and this is why you hear the terms "bright" & "warm" etc.... The Denon really had a lot of power compared to the Pioneer, and it was rated with less wattage. So from this point on I was hooked! I compared the Denon receivers to Yamaha, B&K and several other brands, and although the B&K sounded incredible, I couldn't justify paying almost $3500 for just a little difference in performance compared to the 3802. So I started with the 2802 and worked my way up by trading them back in and saving a little cash on the side. Now I have both the 3805 and the 4308CI. I wanted the 4308CI simply because it's as future proof as any receiver out there, and all I'm using today is 3 HDMI connections versus all the different cables that were once necessary. The 4308CI also has "Advanced Alpha 24 Processing Plus", and this makes a really big difference in sound quality by effecting all 7 channels as apposed to past models having "Alpha 24 Processing Plus" which just effected the two front channels. This is especially necessary if you have a blu ray player, and want to experience advanced codecs such as dts-masterHD and Dolby Digital True HD. The sound quality on all speakers is just gut whrenching phenonminal period! It's the best sounding Denon I've owned thus far, and it has internet access with its own unique IP address via its ethernet port. Downloading firmware upgrades is a snap!
The Audyssey mic for calibration is as easy as it gets, and it comes very close to my own calibrations via other equiptment I have.
As with the two remotes that come with the Denon AVR-4308ci, I'd recommend putting them back in the box and investing in a Logitech Harmony One. The Denon remotes are ok at best, and I wanted a remote that the whole family could use with ease.
The manual is a bit better than past Denon manuals, but there's still lots of room for improvement here. I just don't understand why Denon (especially after so many people complaining) can't make a more user friendly manual.
The new OSD (on screen display) is so much easier to navigate around, and looks more like a microsoft based tutorial than a DOS white on black text guide. It took me all of about 20 minutes to get familiar with the new OSD, and it's day and nights difference better than the previous OSD's on earlier models.
The new face plate design with its curved look is much nicer than older model Denon receivers. It's about time Denon addressed this.
Overall, I think the gap between seperates and one all in one A/V receiver has narrowed convencingly, and the Denon AVR-4308CI has made a believer out of me regarding this ongoing issue among audiophiles.
For past Denon reviews that I've done, my old user name was "theatrejunkie". So if it's helpful to you, and you want to know about other Denon receivers and DVD players, please look up my old user id.
Hope this helps when making your decision on buying a new A/V receiver.

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