Denon AVR-4806CI 7.1-channel Audio Video Receiver Page 3
I also briefly switched the Denon to output 1080i instead of 1080p, leaving the JVC to do the work of de-interlacing the signal, and although the results were close, I gave the Denon a slight edge in this department.
When I reviewed the Pioneer Elite VSX-84TXSi, video converted from any analog format to digital HDMI was nigh unwatchable. The Denon, for the most part, had no such problem. Component video from my Xbox 360, for instance, looked just as pristine viewed from the 4806CI's component output or the HDMI output. The one notable exception was S-Video from my standard definition TiVo. Whether upconverted to analog component output, or digitized to the HDMI output, the image would jump horizontally every five to ten seconds. If I sent the TiVo's signal out the Denon in its native S-Video format with no cross-conversion, however, it was as clean as a whistle. As a result, I'd recommend you run any S-Video sources through the Denon's S-Video output, assuming you even have a need for S-Video these days. Or you could do what I did. I canned the standard-def Tivo and upgraded to a DirecTV hi-def DVR. No one said this hobby was going to be inexpensive.
Let Your Fingers Do the Walking
Beyond the S-Video snafu and the calibration bug-a-boo, I'd say the Denon performed almost flawlessly. A couple of times I ran into picture-no-sound situations that were clearly reflective of a bug in the system. For instance, when I first hooked up the Bravo D2 via coax I heard no sound. I reassigned that coax input from the DVD player to the CD player in the setup menu – mind you, without physically changing the cables or anything – and then it worked. Putting it back to DVD, it continued to work, but that was only after an hour of rug rutting, dust bunny inhaling, fat guy sweating cable tracing in Braille.
Denon tells me afterward, that there's an easy "reboot" of the setup, but you have to run through everything in the setup, and I mean everything, again. No thanks, guys. You fix it.
Movies, Music and Magic
The Denon was never harsh or etched sounding, in fact, just the opposite. The sound was warm, but extended, with no hint of brightness. Forced to compare this Denon to my memory, the Pioneer Elite VSX-84TXSi may have had just the slightest edge in clarity and air, and even a bit more jump. But the Denon countered with a more forgiving, but hardly saccharin sound that was always enjoyable and equally visceral.
The combination of the Denon receiver and the Hsu HB-1 speakers is an easily recommendable solution for someone who wants great sound. I'm sure Denon envisions its $4,000 receiver being used with much costlier speakers, but there was little getting around the fact that the Denon's high power rating and Hsu's relatively high sensitivity put the receiver in an operating range where it was just idling most of the time. The sound was immensely agreeable, to the point where music listening starting to cut into my TV time. Imagine that!
My MartinLogan speakers are a tough load for any receiver. The Denon never winced, though. If I really cranked things up intentionally to see if I could stress the Denon AVR-4806CI, sure, I could induce some hardening of the sound with the Prodigy speakers. But even with shoot-em-ups like Mr. & Mrs. Smith, with the volume set to be more than generous with dialogue (meaning way too loud with effects), the Denon performed flawlessly.
There are a lot of great receivers out there these days. It used to be that only separates from small companies could provide the level of performance that the high end-demands. But with the introduction of high-definition video, video cross-conversion and scaling, and more surround modes than you can shake a stick at, only large, integrated corporations seem to be able to come up with the products that the market demands. The Denon is certainly at the top of the list in my view, particularly if you want the best in video performance.
The AVR-4806CI is not perfect, but what is? At my day job, me and the boys write programs for a living and as soon as you're done, you're ready start adding more features. So on the next release, yes, I'd like to see better speaker terminals and a second HDMI output, and I'd like to see Denon's programmers do as good a job as mine. But until then, the AVR-4806CI is the best combination of audio and video performance (with a capital "P") that I've come across in a modern day receiver. Boo-ya! Highly recommended.
Best video upconversion and cross conversion I've seen in a receiver, bar none.
How cool is the remote? Try "Fifth Element" cool!
Audio sounds great and has no problems with tough speakers.
Price is $4,000
Coupla bugs in the ole op sys
Speaker terminals suck
No built-in iPod connection