Pros Does everything you want it to
Cons Isnt a $5000 receiver
Summary When it comes to getting a receiver you have a number of options to consider. The real question is what type of home theatre am I assembling, and how much am I willing to spend. If you are considering the 3806 then you already have decided that cost is a factor because you have bypassed the 4806 or other more expensive receivers. Now for $1000 dollars or less, you can get the JVC or the Sony but neither offers the quality that the 3806 does. The easy set up (cnet is wrong on this one) makes putting together your system incredibly easy. The 3806 can handle anything you through at it, from dvds to cds to video games.
Sure not having an upconverting feature through HDMI is a drag but how many of you are spending $1000 on a receiver and still have a video tape player? Really its not a feature you need, and dont miss.
I hve had my 3806 since October and has been a dream. I have a dvd and cable box in the hdmi's and an xbox 360, an ipod, turntable, and cd player hooked up and everything sounds crystal clear and works perfectly. This is the way to go.
Pros Great picture, and sound. Lots of inputs.
Cons Awful remote. Awful user manual. Awful interface all around. Don't buy unless you love troubleshooting.
Summary Every positive thing people say about this unit's sound and video quality is correct.
However this is the most difficult receiver to use ever built. I'm a network engineer who loves reading operating manuals and home theater is my passion. Forget about the casual user (wife, baby sitter, etc) getting the hang of this thing. How to change an option when I'm looking right at it is a challenge. They use different terms between the remote, the manual, the on screen display and the unit LCD. Is "RCA" the same as "composite"? Sometimes. The whole interface is inconsistant. It's like each section was programmed by different engineers in different countries.
Want more examples?
The remote: To control the reciever (the most common use) you have to click some hard button on the remote to get the soft buttons to light up. Already I'm annoyed. Then you have to click the "amp" soft button. But you better not click it twice because then you are in a different mode and then you have to click it three more times to cycle back to the regular amp control mode. And one of those modes you cycle through is 'system call' programming mode. How do you know you are in a different mode? Only by subtle differences in what buttons are enabled. Try telling your wife, "you've clicked the amp button too many times and accidently entered 'system call' mode and erased all of the programmed frequencies and macros". This is a very real possibility with this remote.
I could go on and on with the speaker binding posts being way to close together (too close for even my banana plugs), to the labeling of the inputs on the back, to the way you change the soundfield to the user manual that is full of conditions like "if this then this, except this and that, then only if the other thing." This equipment is user hostile.
Pros Excellent receiver with great sound and features
Cons HDMI scaling is not up to par with other models
Summary The new Denon AVR-4306 has better HDMI scaling support with other features similar to this model. It is much less than the AVR-4806. Another one to check out is the Yamaha RX-V2600. It is similar price to the AVR-3806, but has HDMI functionality similar to the AVR-4306.
Pros SOUND and Design.
Cons NONE to mention from this end.
Summary I traded up to this unit from my DENON AVR-3801 which I owned for over 5 years. This updated unit is by far the best sounding DENON to date. The user options allowing you to move a microphone around your listening area to achieve the best room acoustics for your listening room is exceptional. The unit will adjust the room acoustics to the amplifier. You will not go wrong with this new comer which also features full HDMI switching. Features are to numerous to mention here. Check it out at your nearest retailer.
Pros Speaker balancing... features delivered as promised
Cons Remote, documentation
Summary 1st, a correction to the CNET review. The HDMI connection, while it does not upgrade video signals, does not degrade them either. I have a Sharp AQUOS LC-45GX6U with DVI, HDMI, & component inputs (& others). The Aquos reports on the input it gets (480p,720p,1080i,etc). Coming off a Scientific Atlanta 3250HD cable box (Brighthouse), I see the same input reports from the Aquos and the same options (dot-by-dot on 1080i) going through the 3806 via the component output OR the HDMI output as I do going to the Aquos directly via either DVI or component. Simply not true that the 3806 does not transmit anything but 480i via HDMI...I have opted to go via component from through the 3806 because of HDCP issues with the Brighthouse/cable box connection. See http://forum.ecoustics.com/bbs/messages/34579/122868.html for an interesting discussion of component vs digital connections.
As an aside, I have a Dennon 1920 dvd player going in via HDMI to the 3806. The 1920 has upgrade options for DVD output. The 3806 passes them through.
Unlike the reviewer, I think the speaker balancing calculated from 6 positions is GREAT. It does take a while, but does works great. What's a few minutes of setup?
Downsides: Most manuals aren't great, this one isn't either. Example, the 'A' speakers in the illustrated 7.1 setup (actually, 10 speakers supported in the main room including the subwoofer) are shown as side speakers...but if you are setting up 5.1, they are the main rear speakers. In the illustration, these are shown as 'B'...tough for literalists like me. Go for the full ten speakers if you can, wonderful.
The remote isn't great either. the lcd section needs to be lit up to work. Suggest taking a look at the Univeral Remote Control 200, URC-200 Automator, as a better, almost ideal combination of hard buttons and always available lcd.
BTW: Crutchfield gave great support on setup issues.