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Denon’s New ‘800NE’ Range Merges Classic Style With Modern Features

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Denon 800NE Series AV Components

Denon 800NE Series AV Components

Summary

  • Product Name: PMA-800NE, DNP-800NE, DCD-800NE
  • Manufacturer: Denon
  • Review Date: October 08, 2018 12:00
  • MSRP: $699 - PMA-800NE; $599 - DNP-800NE; $499 - DCD-800NE
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now

PMA-800NE Stereo Integrated Amplifier

  • Output Power: 50 watts into 8 Ω, 85 watts into 4 Ω
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.01 % (Rated output: –3 dB), 8 Ω/ohms, 1 kHz

  • Phono MM Input Sensitivity: 2.5 mV / 47 kΩ
  • Phono MC Input Sensitivity: 200 μV / 100 Ω
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 13.6” x 10.5” x 4.9”
  • Weight: 16.53 lbs

DNP-800NE Network Audio Player

  • Dac: Burr Brown PCM1795, 32bit/192kHz
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 115 dB
  • Dynamic Range: 108 dB
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 17.1” x 12.3" x 6.7”
  • Weight: 8.6 lbs

DCD-800NE CD Player

  • Dac: Burr Brown PCM1795, 32bit/192kHz
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 115 dB
  • Dynamic Range: 101 dB
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 17.1” x 10.5” x 4.5”
  • Weight: 9.9 lbs

Executive Overview

Denon is known for embracing new technologies, but also for making dependable, well-built gear that stands the test of time. (My AVR-4308CI receiver is no longer cutting-edge when it comes to features, but it has worked flawlessly for ten years). Now the company is offering a blend of the old and the new with its 800NE series integrated amplifier, network audio player, and CD player. These new components have the look and feel of traditional hi-fi gear, while offering all the modern conveniences of streaming music, whole-home audio, and voice control.

At the heart of the 800NE series is the PMA-800NE integrated amplifier ($699), which pumps out 50 watts per channel into 8 ohms, and 85 watts into 4 ohms. The amp is designed for operational stability with a wide range of speaker types and impedances, according to Denon. Like most integrated amps these days, the PMA-800NE features digital inputs. There are three optical inputs and one coaxial, supporting PCM signals up to 24 bit/192 kHz. Vinyl enthusiasts will appreciate the built-in phono stage, which supports both MM and MC cartridges — a rarity at this price. According to Denon, the high-gain phono equalizer features a straightforward design with short signal paths, resulting in better sound quality than the looped circuit board patterns found on lesser gear. When playing music from an analog source, the user can select the amp’s Analog Mode, which disables all digital inputs and allows the PMA-800NE to operate purely as an analog integrated amp. This mode shuts off the power to the amp’s dedicated digital power supply, reducing high-frequency noise that might adversely affect the analog circuitry. The PMA-800NE’s chassis design has also been optimized to reduce vibration, thus preserving detail and lowering the amp’s noise floor. In order to suppress vibration created by the power transformer, the transformer itself is mounted on a 1.6mm-thick steel plate. The transformer also has separate coiled wires for the audio circuits and the control circuits, to eliminate interference. The control circuits are governed by a micro-processor with a “Stop Mode,” which automatically ceases all operations of the micro-processor when it’s not needed for playback. By stopping the oscillation of the micro-processor clock during playback, Stop Mode protects the audio signal from external noise.

Denon 800NE Components

Denon 800NE Components with Definitive Speaker

Denon’s new amp is joined by a new network audio player, the DNP-800NE ($599). The DNP-800NE offers gapless playback of high-resolution audio, and music streaming with a variety of playback options, including built-in support for Spotify, Tidal, Pandora, Amazon Music, SoundCloud, and others. The player connects to your home network via ethernet or Wi-Fi, and can stream files (including MP3, WMA, AAC, FLAC, ALAC, and WAV) from your home library, up to 24-bit/192kHz PCM and DSD 2.8 MHz/5.6 MHz. The DNP-800NE uses a 32-bit Burr Brown PCM1795 dac chip and Denon’s proprietary “Advanced AL32 Processing Plus” analog waveform technology to make every digital source sound its best. Like the PMA-800NE integrated amp, the DNP-800NE features a headphone jack for personal listening, but the network player can also provide tunes to the whole house via built-in support for Denon’s HEOS multi-room audio system, and Apple’s AirPlay 2 protocol (which also adds access to the Apple Music streaming service, and countless others). Android users can stream from their smart devices via a direct bluetooth connection. Lastly, the DNP-800NE features Amazon Alexa voice compatibility for easy, seamless control. Outputs include one set of stereo analog outputs (RCA), and one optical digital output.

The last member of the new 800NE series is a fairly simple CD player called the DCD-800NE ($499). In addition to playing CDs, the DCD-800NE features a front-facing USB port which supports high-resolution file playback (up to 24-bit/192kHz PCM and DSD 2.8 MHz/5.6 MHz) from an attached drive. The player uses a “DAC Master Clock” design, which treats the DAC as the master when clock signals are supplied. The DCD-800NE can be operated in Pure Direct Mode, which bypasses any unnecessary processing in order to deliver the purest possible signal. In addition to stereo RCA outputs, the DCD-800NE has one optical and one coaxial digital output.

All three components are expected to ship very soon. Will Denon’s new 800NE series components strike the right balance between classic style and contemporary features? Share your thoughts in the related forum thread below.

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About the author:

Jacob is a music-lover and audiophile who enjoys convincing his friends to buy audio gear that they can't afford. He's also a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles.

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