"Great Receiver with lots of features and options"4.5 starson by 20glove
Pros: Sound quality/clarity in both Stereo and Surround, features galore, gui was nice/easy to navigate, sleek look, solid build quality, internet radio streaming via ethernet, sound restorer option
Cons: Took some time to set up, was not ready right out of the box in my opinion, corny/odd remote , optional software for itunes streaming, no ipod dock included
Summary: Overall this is a great receiver that looks very sleek and the build quality is awesome. I have had it up and running in my system now for several days and have played with most of the features. I did also have an Onkyo 805 here at the house so I will be comparing that to the 3808 several times throughout the review.
I will go over the positive experiences first. The first thing I noticed when opening the box was that it was packed perfectly. Then seeing the build quality out of the box, I was amazed, as I was with the Onkyo 805. I have had Pioneer Elite's in the past... and both Denon and Onkyo appeared to be built better and both were pretty heavy.
Once I hooked this receiver up, and went through the setup... I noticed how GREAT this system sounded. The clarity was amazing, I mean I was listening to Joe Satriani (self titled album) and I could hear him striking the strings on the guitar and in surround I watched Twister and every channel was very consistent, clear, and felt the entire movie around me. As opposed to the Onkyo 805 I believe the Denon was more clear but did have to be listened too at a higher Db than the Onkyo 805. The Onkyo was very good performer in surround as well as it seemed to push the center channel much more than the 3808, which some people like, the 3808 seemed much more consistent with all speakers not pushing one over another. The Onkyo 805 was louder and could be listened to at lower Db's but the Denon was much more clear on all channel. Onkyo 805 did not measure up to 3808 on stereo sound. The soundstage that the 3808 produces was terrific and the 805 appeared flat and not as clear.
The features of the 3808 were great with 4 hdmi inputs, ethernet input, mp3, wma, and radio sound restorer that will produce near cd quality sound from your compressed music. I put in a cd (dvp-ns9100es sony dvd/cd/sacd player) and listened to my streamed itunes of the same song same band, (Five For Fighting: 100 years), and it was pretty close, the cd player pushed the bass a little more and the soundstage was more center, but without switching between the two would have not noticed that much of a difference, and when the restorer is off you notice the difference as well. The ethernet connection is GREAT, you hook up the ethernet and the internet radio is right there at setup, couple of pushes of the button and you are listening to internet radio, amazing.
The Graphical User Interface (Gui) is a nice feature as well. It is very user friendly, colorful, and just a nice touch. It did take me some time to learn all the options, there are many, but once I read the book and used the gui it was easy.
Now for the minor complaints if you can call them that. I do not feel that the 3808 was ready right out of the box. I thought the sound without any adjustments seemed blah... dull.. flat. As opposed to the Onkyo 805 they was ready right out of the box... I like the sound settings out of the box better on the 805 than when I ran the Audessy mic set up on the 805. That was completely different on the 3808, you have to run the Audessy set up b4 getting that amazing Denon sound. The set up took some time as well.. I think I timed it at 17 minutes total, which is more of an annoyance than anything.. but 17 minutes for a lifetime of great sound... good trade off to me. It took me some time to know all the options in the gui and I am still learning all the options this machine has even today.
The remote is corny and to me not user friendly, you have to push dvd twice to control a seperate cd player/changer. It took me literally 10-12 minutes to find that in the manual as that was deep in the set up pages. I liked the old remotes on the 3805 better, big and bulky I know... but self explanatory.
For the price I believe the system should have an Ipod dock included, like the Pioneer Elite's. Also they could include the software to stream your itunes library through the ethernet, unless there are licensing issues. I would have been happy with either or from the above, but with all the other options... I just needed something to complain about because this system to me is plain AWESOME!
I would not trade this for any other receiver in its price range. I even feel the extra $500 over the Onkyo 805 was worth it to me. Both systems were worth the money I believe but I watch movies about 40% of the time, listen to cd's/SACD's about 40% of the time, internet radio/itunes 10%, and games about 10% so I was looking for a more versatile unit with the streaming, hdmi inputs, and the consistent sound between surround and stereo.
I highly recommend this unit to anyone looking in this price range. Excellent system overall in my opinion.