Denon AVR-3802 - AV receiver - 7.1 channel review: Denon AVR-3802 - AV receiver - 7.1 channel

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Great sound; impressive build quality; DTS ES 6.1 Discrete processing; seven 110-watt channels; bountiful features and connectivity options.

The Bad Lacks THX certification; tricky setup chores; poorly written owner's manual.

The Bottom Line This receiver's stellar sound will appeal to demanding listeners.

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Denon's sterling reputation among home-theater cognoscenti is based on the superlative sound and build quality of its products, so we had high expectations for the company's popular midrange receiver, the AVR-3802. Did it live up to our hopes? In a word, yes--the 3802 is easily in the top rank of receivers that we've heard. However, we're less thrilled with its user interface. In fact, if it weren't for that shortcoming, we would have awarded this otherwise impressive receiver an Editors' Choice. Denon's sterling reputation among home-theater cognoscenti is based on the superlative sound and build quality of its products, so we had high expectations for the company's popular midrange receiver, the AVR-3802. Did it live up to our hopes? In a word, yes--the 3802 is easily in the top rank of receivers that we've heard. However, we're less thrilled with its user interface. In fact, if it weren't for that shortcoming, we would have awarded this otherwise impressive receiver an Editors' Choice.

Beauty on the inside
On the outside, the 3802 is nothing special. We found its styling uninspired and bland--it's a basic black component. Ah, but when we popped the cover and looked inside the 3802, we noticed a massive power transformer right behind the faceplate. This receiver's innards are jam-packed with circuit boards and quality parts that wouldn't be out of place in a high-end component.

There's plenty of connectivity options here, too--everything from HDTV component-video switching to a phono input for vinyl lovers. It's too bad that Denon didn't squeeze in a set of front-panel-mounted audio/video connectors for gamers or video camera owners.

As noted, however, this isn't the most user-friendly receiver. Setup chores and menu navigation may confuse even fairly experienced home-theater fans, and the remote's ergonomics are only so-so. Also, the owner's manual will be of just marginal help in sorting out the various features and surround capabilities of the 3802. That said, day-to-day operation is straightforward.

Features aplenty!
While many so-called 6.1- or 7.1-channel receivers come equipped just with 5 amplifier channels, the 3802 boasts 7 110-watt channels. Dolby Digital 6.1 and DTS-ES Discrete/Matrix surround processing are handled by Analog Devices' highly regarded SHARC 32-bit processing chip and Denon's proprietary DDSC-D (Dynamic Discrete Surround Decoder-Digital) circuitry. Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS Neo:6 are also onboard to synthesize surround effects from CDs; FM broadcasts; older, stereo DVDs; and videotapes.

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Where to Buy

Denon AVR-3802

Part Number: AVR-3802
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Output Power / Total 770 Watt
  • Response Bandwidth 10 - 100000 Hz
  • Additional Features Midnight Mode
  • Functions AV receiver
  • Sound Output Mode Surround Sound
  • Type AV receiver