AVR-2308CI Listening Tests
I sat with anticipation of what Audyssey MultEQ could do for an untreated room with all in-wall speakers and vaulted ceilings. I wasn’t expecting much to be honest, but I figured I’d give it a shot anyways as it was a bonus feature not a defining one when I selected this receiver for the install.
SACD” Patrica Barber Modern Cool
Track #7 “Company” can really give your system quite a workout with all of the percussion work and explosive drum soloing halfway into the song. I was quite amazed at how much more focused the snare drum sounded with Audyssey engaged. Stereo separation was also much improved while the instruments all seemed to convey better articulation. The trumpet was more centered with Audyssey engaged, and the vocals were warmer and richer. During the trumpet solo, I felt as if the speakers literally popped off the front walls giving them a much more spacious and 3-D effect. I had to remind myself that this was just a two channel listening session and I was already hearing a huge benefit of the room correction system. In track #1 “Post Modern Blues”, the bongos took on a higher level of realism with Audyssey engaged. With Audyssey engaged, didn’t feel like I was listening to the speakers as much as I was enjoying the musical experience.
DVD-Audio: Beatles Love
Track #1 “Because” is one of my favorites as it really exemplifies the uncanny melodic nature of the Beatles that few if any bands today can match. With Audyssey engaged, I found the surround envelop to widen while the vocals from the front 3 speakers were more upfront and in your face. The snare drum in Track #5 “I am the Walrus” really popped into the musical landscape once I engaged Audyssey. I briefly compared “Audyssey” to “Audyssey Flat” and while initially I thought I preferred the latter, I found it wore on my over time. “Audyssey” sounded more tonally balanced to me, especially at loud listening levels. The snapping sound emanating from the left front speaker in track #12 “Blackbird/Yesterday” sounded more realistic with Audyssey engaged. Track #14 “Tomorrow Never Knows” really showed off Audyssey’s prowess. With Audyssey engaged, the cymbals took on a much wider and dynamic presence to them as they also were better articulated. In comparison, once I turned off Audyssey, the cymbal crashes sounded dull and more blended into the vocals. Audyssey also appeared to tighten up the bass response a bit but not as dramatically as what it did for the mid and high frequencies as well as increasing the enveloping effect and improving the overall multi channel experience. What really impressed me was the sonic improvement carried to all of the listening seats in the living room. This allowed for a much broader sweet spot just like Audyssey claimed it would do.
Suggestions for Improvement
From a performance standpoint, I have little to criticize about this receiver, especially at this price. I would however like to see some operational hiccups fixed with the Auto setup such as less time between speaker measurements and a hot key on the remote to engage and disengage Audyssey. I don’t like the fact that when you engage the “setup lock” feature to prevent people from messing with the receiver settings, it won’t let you choose different surround modes. I also found it puzzling that the “Pure Direct” feature seemed to only work for analog sources. When I tried to engage it for a digital source, I heard no output. Because of the setup flexibility of this receiver, I strongly encourage you to run through all of the bass management configuration options at least once. During my initial setup, I found that 2CH direct mode set the crossover to 40Hz and thus I had to select the custom configuration mode to set it correctly back to 80Hz.
Perhaps in the next iteration of this receiver, Denon would consider going back to a remote control unit that has all of the buttons on one side all with backlighting. Until that happens, look elsewhere for an all in one remote to better serve this purpose.
The lack of preamp outputs on this receiver was a bit disappointing but understandable at this price point. I really feel the AVR-2308CI would have served as a bargain based processor for someone looking to utilize their more powerful external amps. But, you will have to step up to the next model (AVR-2808CI) for an extra $350 or so which also includes TrueHD and DTS-HD decoding to afford such a luxury.
Could someone tell me how it sounds or are all AVR's about the same but with different connection options? Most topics are about what they have for connections for TV or DVD players,etc.I was just wondering how the sound quality is for dialog and music? I'm sure speakers have something to do with it but the receiver plays a big part to.
I will go out on a limb and say that comparably priced AV receivers sound comparable. What I have noticed is a decline in build quality from many of the mfgs I once respected. I had a HK for many years (25+) before it died. But, if you asked me to buy one of their lower to midrange systems today, I would have to pass. I have also been disappointed with Onkyo and their lower to midrange products. Not because they are not feature rich or lacking any technical edge, but because of heat and other reliability issues.
I think the competition has forced many mfgs to cut corners and it is beginning to show.
Does Denon sound better than the others. Probably not distinguishable by anyone but the most trained listener with reference quality speakers but I have been very happy with its performance over the last few years, build quality, and its reliablility.
I am also impressed with their attention to video and audio performance. They consistently outperform other mfgs if you combine these two prerequisites. I doubt few would argue that they are the leaders in video performance on a consistent basis.
Time will tell if Denon can maintain its position and still compete in todays cut throat market. I would hate to see their quality suffer in order to stay in business. Price before quality seems to be a theme that has taken over our country and it is a sad thing to watch. I hope it is not a trend that continues because America will (is paying) pay for our short sightedness.
Thats it. I just love denon. lol
The US 1508, 1708, and 1908 all have preouts. The 2308CI is really the only one that doesn't.
I checked their website, none of those models has preouts but the ones before the 1908, 2308CI (example:1907, 2307CI) have preouts.