I work for a custom a/v dealer and recently installed a Denon AVR 4310CI in my home. Thought you might like to see excerpts from the writeup I gave the owner.
This is the 5th AVR from 2 different manufacturers I have installed in my now 4 year old home. My room setup is far from ideal: 12 ft ceilings, hardwood floor (with a large rug and some cloth furniture), very open floor plan. The room containing the system is 18 wide x 26 deep but has a foyer and dining room separated by arches.
I have 7 ceiling mounted speakers and a floor sub. LCR are Sonance and the remainder are Klipsch. Until now I have connected them in the standard 7.1 arrangement: LCR, surround LR, and surround back LR. With the 4310 I used connected the surround back LR as surround A – LR. I connected the surround LR to the amp assign jacks and assigned them as “front wide”. I ran the Audyssey setup and allowed it to measure 8 positions, following the suggestions in the Audyssey site. I also enabled DSX through the amp.
Prior to installing the amp I had watched and recorded via DVR the HBO HD broadcast of Max Payne. Sounded great on the 3808. I watched several scenes on the 4310 and was amazed at the difference. As the DSX site mentions, now ALL of my speakers were engaged in the movie. The soundstage was indeed wider. Voices were more clear. I heard pieces of paper blowing across the screen I had not heard before. There is a scene during which Max runs through a building firing and being fired upon…..WOW. You could hear the shots and the hits with proper direction and depth. I’m not certain how to explain it except to say it was enveloping without being painful or distracting.
Last night we rented Watchmen on DVD (I loved comic books as a kid and love most of the movies now…Ironman, etc.) I will say this movie is the exception. BUT, the audio was awesome. I’m playing this on old technology – a Panasonic DMR-E80H. I don’t have a BluRay so I let the amp upscale to 1080i. It did a good job and I did not notice any artifacts. This movie is a little like Sin City…..graphic with a lot of bone crunching and head splitting. It has an aircraft in a lot of scenes. Again the sound was absolutely stunning. There is a thunderstorm in one scene, not at the forefront but as background noise. The thunder moved realistically between the various speakers including the very back ones (set up as surround A). Oddly, a real thunderstorm was approaching a little later and we could NOT tell the difference until we started to see the lightning.
I was glad to find this posting because I'm installing a similar system: Denon AVR-3808CI with ceiling speakers & floor subwoofer. I've seen plenty about "ideal speaker placement" at "ear level or slightly above", but I've found very little information on what to expect from a ceiling speaker installation. This gives me hope for "great" sound from a Denon AVR-3808CI, and maybe "amazing" sound from an AVR-4310 (or equivalent) with ceiling speakers.
This story also mentioned replacing a Denon AVR-3808 with an AVR-4310. Denon makes "Custom Installation" models of many of their receivers, including the AVR-3808CI **and the AVR-4308CI*. The "CI" models have a DB-9 connector on the back for RS-232 serial port control while the "regular" AVR-3808 doesn't. The two CI models mentioned are (currently?) eligible for a "feature package" firmware upgrade ($100 from Denon) that adds features found on the current AVR-4310, including: Audyssey Dynamic Volume, **Audyssey Dynamic EQ, Rhapsody, Sirius Radio, and **HDMI CEC*. (See: www.USA.Denon.com/upgrade )
It seems reasonable to me that the Audyssey Dynamic Volume and EQ could easily change the sound from "great" to "amazing" - so I'm planning on upgrading my 3808CI with that $100 firmware upgrade. The only question is whether I should do it now - or wait a few months? (New models would probably be available by June 2010 - so maybe Denon would incorporate some or all of the 2011 improvements into the feature package upgrade? )
I would appreciate learning about any known hardware limitations that might limit the audio or video performance of an "upgraded 3808CI" compared to a 4310 or similar. Ditto for any rumors about the 2011 model year receivers as far as features, availability, or upgrades to the 3808CI. Thanks in advance...
"There's never a good time to buy hardware - but firmware you can buy over & over again!"
The upgrade of the 3808 does not include Audyssey DSX. So, if that technology is of interest to you then you will have to look into the current models with Audyssey DSX (or wait for announcements from our licensees for new products).
Did you just changed the connections at the back of the av denon or changed the position of the speakers?
Chris - when I first ran set up after bi-amping my front speakers, I was expecting two sets of test tones for front left and right, but this was not the case.
Would appreciate your comments.
That's not the case. MultEQ always pings the speakers with a full range signal and doesn't ping the individual speaker drivers separately.
Thanks Chris - I neglected to mention that I definitely noticed a sound quality improvement (entirely subjective) after bi-amping. I know many reports say that improvements can be subtle, if at all noticeable, but I am certainly happy with teh results.
I think that some people expect it to produce additional sound effects. It was like this when surround was introduced: "I paid for more speakers so they should be playing loud so I can hear them all". But, that's not what is needed for soundstage improvement. The added info from the Wides and Heights will depend on the content, but its role should be apparent only when you take it away.