"Great sounding receiver, HDMI switching needs work."3.5 starson by willakilla
Pros: Very, very good sounding amplifiers with loads of power to spare, I (at least) like the remote, Dolby TrueHD, Audyssey Pro setup, extensive connectivity
Cons: HDMI switching is finicky, so beware you might end up with a $1,500 mid-range 7.1 channel audio only device.
Summary: I purchased my AVR-3808ci from a local authorized dealer about 5 weeks ago basically by default. I really wanted to go with the Onkyo 805 for about $500 less, but nobody in my area had one in stock, nor would they for over a month. So after getting the price of the Denon reduced to $1,299, I went with it.
First impressions - I upgraded from a Yamaha RX-V2500 which I considered a very capable receiver with better than average sound quality. The Denon straight blew it out of the water. Never have I heard such an A/B difference between two similarly priced amp/pre-amps. The soundstage was immediately wider and more well defined, and I especially noticed a difference in the surround channels.
After running the somewhat arduous Audyssey setup, imaging and phasing were improved again dramatically, and I noticed that the Audyssey setup did not roll my subwoofer off to near inaudible levels unlike the Yamaha was prone to doing. The setup did falsely detect backward wiring in a few speakers, which I assume is due to positioning, etc. I was able to get all tests to pass after fiddling for a while though.
The receiver also has a remarkable bevy of inputs and decoding formats, including "Doubly" TrueHD 7.1 which you can make use of if you have a device capable of outputting it and an HDMI 1.3a connection (or 5.1 via the analog ins).
But here's where it gets interesting. The Denon would not display HDCP protected or analog upscaled content via my HDCP compliant DVI-D display device. All I got was colored snow. This is uh, "kinda" a big deal obviously.
Denon has been contacted about the issue and promises to address it, however it has now been over 3 weeks and I have no response despite a few follow-ups. At this point I have circumvented the problem by using a different display, but obviously that is NOT an ideal solution.
Another downside to the lack of display is that you don't get to use the massive amount of on-screen display capabilities that the Denon has to offer.
So anyways, in the interest of space, that's it. This would easily be a 9 or 10 if it weren't for the HDMI problems, and once corrected, should be bumped up accordingly.