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Denon AVR-4306 Receiver Overview

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 To start off, here is a brief feature comparison (things we thought would be of particular interest):

AVR-3806

AVR-4306

AVR-4806

120wpc rating

130wpc rating

140wpc rating

- -

- -

THX Ultra-2 Certified

EI core transformer

EI core transformer

toroidal power transformer

- -

- -

Dolby headphone

- -

- -

IEEE 1394 (Firewire)

2 digital outs

2 digital outs

3 digital outs (incl. Zone 2)

2 HDMI inputs

3 HDMI inputs

1 DVI input, 3 HDMI inputs

2 component video outputs

2 component video outputs

2 component video outputs

time base correction (TBC)

time base correction (TBC)

time base correction (TBC)

analogue to HDMI upconversion

(source match only)

analogue to HDMI upconversion

(480p/720p/1080i)

analogue to HDMI upconversion

(480i to 480p)

- -

video upscaling to 720p/1080i

- -

Denon Link III

Denon Link III

Denon Link III

Assignable 12V triggers

Assignable 12V triggers

Assignable 12V triggers

Fixed Zone3 preamp out

Zone2/Zone3 preamp outs

Zone2/Zone3 preamp outs

38.6 lbs.

40.8 lbs.

50.8 lbs.

17.1" W x 6.7" H x 16.9" D

17.1" W x 6.7" H x 16.9" D

17.1" W x 6.9" H x 20.5" D

Right off the bat we see that one of the things the AVR-4306 has going for it is that it is the only receiver in Denon's lineup that features video upscaling to 720p/1080i. It also offers two component video outputs and 3 HDMI inputs, making it a truly useful audio-video processing machine. It offers an additional third HDMI input over the AVR-3806 as well as a second component video output, variable Zone 2/3 preamp outputs, and 12V triggers.

Upgrades, Upgrades, Upgrades - The Game is Afoot

The AVR-4306 sets a new price point for Denon... at least of late. It kind of replaces the AVR-4802 series but that's also like saying the 2005 Mustang "replaced" the 2004 Mustang... It's really a completely different car, people - hotter and with much more appeal. The AVR-4802, for example, had no digital video inputs (they simply weren't popular then), only 1 (50MHz) component output, no DenonLink, and no 12V DC trigger (just RS-232C control). Dolby Pro Logic IIx had not been integrated as of then and about the only feature it had over the current AVR-4306 was THX Ultra2 certification and post processing.

Stacking Up Against the Competition - Let's Examine the Marketplace

At the risk of offending just about everyone, let's get a quick snapshot of the AV receiver market as it stands today (May 2006) to see where the AVR-4306 sits amongst the competition. The Denon AVR-4306 now competes directly with the Yamaha RX-V4600 ($1999) and the Pioneer VSX-74TXVi ($1500), though it has far more capabilities and features then either of those receivers. I would say that its closest market competitor is the Yamaha RX-V2600 ($1400) which has nearly identical video processing capability, but differs in configurability, power and features. Harman Kardon is just getting into HDMI upconversion after a year sabbatical - but at a somewhat lofty $3500 price point. Marantz is doing sophisticated video upconversion, but only with their flagship model. Their SR8500 receiver is priced lower at $1300 but provides only DVI switching, similar to what you can find from Outlaw Audio, lacking upconversion or scaling. JVC, Onkyo, Rotel, and Sony have also begun their forays into digital video with simple HDMI conversion (no scaling). Other manufacturers like NAD, Sherwood Newcastle, and B&K aren't even going after the feature-craving market. OK, there it is. I'm sure I missed a few manufacturers and that people will read this review online six months from now and yell at me for not including "Company XYZ". For those readers, please forward your eagerly-awaited suggestions and comments to [email protected]

 

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