AVR-2308CI Build Quality
It’s cool to have hip and trendy parents. After all it was their support as a child that eventually led me to turn my audio obsession into the Internet's premier home theater publication you read today. With that my parents felt it was time to upgrade (with a little nudge from me of course) their 7+ year old 5.1 surround receiver into something more up to date for easier connectivity with their new HD display. What they didn’t expect was a quantum leap in sound quality which quite frankly surprised me as well. Enter the AVR-2308CI – Denon’s newest $850 heavy hitter in their arsenal of HDMI 1.3a capable receivers. This unit is armed to the teeth in all of the latest features including HDMI 1.3a audio and deep color support, XM HD radio and Audyssey MultEQ room correction. Top that off with 100wpc x 7 of respectable amplification – a heritage Denon is known for - and you’ve got a well rounded product capable of serving as the brains and brawn for today’s sophisticated home theater installation requirements.
The Denon AVR-2308CI’s build quality is what I’d expect from Denon at this price point. Sturdy construction, with a brushed aluminum faceplate, detachable power cord and binding posts for all speaker connectors come standard on this unit. The chassis is certainly well secured as I had to remove 11 screws just to get the top cover off to take this picture. The power supply is about average from what I’ve seen in this price class, sporting a decent sized power transformer and two 85 deg C rated 12,000uF 71V power supply capacitors. Denon didn’t skimp on putting a nice solid aluminum finned heat sink in this receiver as so many other companies tend to do at this price class. It’s an indication to me that this baby’s got more juice than the spec sheet shows as we will soon find out on my test bench.
In order to hit the rated 100wpc Denon is claiming, they would require a rail voltage of sqrt(2)*[(100*8)^1/2 ] = 40V + 5V(margin) = 45V. As you can see their capacitor bank has plenty of overhead to meet this requirement.
Back Panel View of the Denon AVR-2308CI
The AVR-2308CI certainly has an impressive backside but it is lacking one feature I am mildly disappointed in – preamp outputs to connect external amplification. I understand however at this price, Denon is banking on most people not pairing this receiver with other amplifiers, but as I found when reviewing this receiver, it’s got a heck of a good processor section that would serve quite well as an inexpensive pre/pro for someone to pair with their more powerful stack of amplifiers. Well, it would have if Denon included preamp outputs. Since they didn't on this model, you will have to settle with using its internal amplifiers to power all of your speakers.
The AVR-2308CI has two HDMI 1.3a inputs and 1 monitor output, 3 coax and two toslink digital inputs, and one toslink digital output. The detachable power cord and 150mA high current 12V trigger was a nice touch at this price point. I can think of many products at 4 times this price that still utilize wimpy 10 or 15mA triggered outputs which wont work with most motorized screen systems and power conditioners. Kudo’s for Denon on using an extra current amplifier stage to make this port more useful to the integrator and end user.
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.