Product Review

Denon AVR-5805 Sixteen Channel A/V Receiver

Part II

May, 2005

Piero Gabucci


On the Back

The rear is intimidating but has a logical layout. I particularly like the left channel speaker posts on the “left” side of the receiver while the right channel speaker posts are on the, you guessed it, the “right” side, as seen when you bend over the front and reach the rear panel. You’ll appreciate that as you lean over the unit when making connections, and you can’t quite see back there without spinning the 97 pound chassis. All input terminals are gold-plated, and the sturdy speaker posts can accept bare wire or banana clips. I’ll get into all the connections available later.

Click on the photo above to see a larger version.

Between the speaker post arrays, there are rows of connections starting at the top with a row of DVI and HDMI jacks: one each DVI- and HDMI-out and one DVI- and three HDMI-in. Directly below is a row of five component-in video connections, and a component-out. A second component out is provided for the second zone. I’ll discuss the up-conversion later.

The video connections continue on the next row down with twelve S-Video and twelve  RCA inputs corresponding to the source input, and three S-video outputs, two each S-Video/RCA connections designated for additional zones 3 and 4.

There are eight audio inputs for video sources, from DVD to four VCRs. Not surprising, there are four audio outputs for VCR. Three additional audio inputs for audio sources such as CD, phono, and CDR/tape are included.

The 5805 is equipped with two sets of analog external input terminals, one for 9.1 channels and the second for 5.1.

As a the 5805 can operate four separ
ate zones, stereo pre-outs are provided for Zones 2, 3, and 4, while the main zone has pre -uts for fronts, surrounds A and B, center, and subwoofer. Because a second complete surround configuration is available in Zone 2, an additional set of pre-outs purely for another room is provided. Depending on how many channels (up to nine) and subs (you can actually have three) wanted in the main zone, you’ll need to sacrifice surrounds B (by connecting a line out for each sub) in a 7.1 setup. If you want the full gamut - a 9.3 setup in the main room - you’ll give up the pre-outs in Zone 2. Configure to your hearts content.

Four-12V trigger-outs are rated to deliver up to a very high 250 mA. Including source, zone, and surround modes, the 5805 powerfully moves screens, drapes, and whatever else you might want. The Denon 5805 is exceptional in this department.

The 5805 has 3 AC outlets that are assignable for source and zone.

Denon recommends speakers with impedance between 6 and 16 ohms
. Although I can tell you I’ve been running 4 ohm speakers for this review with hardly a glitch, I think Denon needs to re-think this issue especially for pricey flagship receivers where consumers will spend more money on higher end speakers, usually rated at lower impedances. It could be something as simple as a switch on the back for 8/6 ohms vs. 4 ohms.

The Technology

THX Certified and Dolby/DTS

The AVR-5805 is a THX Ultra2 certified receiver, meeting the strict standards for power amplification and sleuth of other parameters THX demands before they allow you to stamp their logo on your component. Mandatory is a pair of back surround speakers, and THX promises to blend the sides and rear surrounds for an optimized experience. Similarly, in Music mode. THX processing is applied to 5.1 music sources (DTS or Dolby Digital) to improve the rear soundstage. THX Game mode can be selected for operating either 5.1 or 2.0 sources.

It also features THX 4.0/5.1/6.1 post processing with additional DSP modes.

Along with all Dolby Digital processing, including EX, and Pro Logic IIx, the 5805 naturally has DTS ES Discrete 6.1, ES Matrix 6.1, and DTS 96/24 for video processing. Throw in Dolby headphone capability.

Audyssey’s MultEQ XT

Truly the big breakthrough in this receiver is the Multi-EQ. Unlike the AVR-3805, this is not a parametric EQ. Audyssey Laboratories licensed and developed for Denon a first in room acoustic correction technology. It does this in two significant ways: first, it establishes a base curve for the room, and secondly, it takes readings from multiple listening positions to calculate the best overall settings. In fact, the process encourages taking eight readings around your listening room.

The analysis is not unusual for a typical Auto-EQ setup. It determines how many speakers you have, the size, correct phase, satellites, or subwoofers. It also measures distance, speaker levels, and it detects the proper crossover setting as well as corrects frequencies for all listening positions.

Audyssey employs Texas Instrument DSP processors along with DACs to help it define the best sound quality for your environment. Do keep in mind this can all be disabled and recalled with a touch of a button on your remote, so you can compare the sound with and without Auto-EQ.

The 5805 allows you to copy the base curve analysis and subsequent settings configured by Audyssey and manually make your own adjustments, however this manual setting would only apply to one sweet spot.

Audio Processing

The AVR-5805 is equipped with Denon’s DDSC, (Dynamic Discrete Surround Circuit). For surround sound, Denon employs high quality Burr Brown PCM-1792 24-bit/192 KHz DACs for all 16 channels and 32-bit floating point DSPs for both the main and second zones.

Denon’s exclusive Alpha technology, also know as AL24, digitally upsamples for the first time from 16-bit to 24-bit from all source signals, allowing the “DA converters to work at the highest capacity”.

Video Processing

Faroudja’s integrated video scaling using DCDi (Directional Correlation De-interlacing) technology and 12-bit/216 MHz video DACs to upconvert interlaced 480i sources to 480p, 720p, and also 1080i.

The HDMI firmware software is currently version 1.1

IEEE 1394 and Ethernet Connectivity

Denon uses BridgeCo.’s processor/firmware components for IEEE1394 and Ethernet connectivity. Although it’s already used by Denon for the DVD-5900 and DVD-3910, the AVR-5805 is the first Denon receiver to support Ethernet connectivity, with two ports supplied. What this means is through one single FireWire or I Link, all audio formats can stream from those Denon DVD players to the receiver. Indeed, this makes the Denon compatible with any other manufacturer’s components that feature this industry design standard.

Of course, the other main application here is the interaction with your PC, as the 5805 is capable of playing compressed MP3 and WMA audio files directly from your computer.

Denon Link 3

Those with issues about Denon’s proprietary Link technology might find some comfort in knowing that Link 3 can now pass SACD signals digitally, unlike the predecessor Link 2. Although there is now an agreement in place, switching this process on will still take some time, which the AVR-5805 is capable of delivering through an upgrade.

Future Connectivity

As I’ve mentioned, the future capabilities of the 5805 are not totally known at this time; however look for internet radio and PC compatibility, such a song lists, genre, and type streaming on the OSD of the receiver. We are not necessarily talking about satellite radio sources, XM, or Sirius radio, yet. The soon to be released AVR-4806 will be XM-ready however.

More things are to come we’re assured, but Denon isn’t ready to talk about them. I’m told a microprocessor reset is one idea.

The Remote Control

The remote control supplied with the AVR-5805 is the same that comes with the AVR-3805, Denon’s RC-995 universal learning Electro-Luminescence remote control, with a few improvements. Obviously the 995 is upgraded to handle the
increased demands of the 5805, more zones, user modes, and Audyssey EQ.

However the improvements are in the operations of the remote. First, the color is blue, not the aqua from the previous model, which is much easier to see. Secondly, the text is much larger, a big improvement as far as I’m concerned. The chassis of the unit is identical, satin finished and about 9” long. All the same features: An automatically lit display when the unit is moved, which can be set to stay on in 5 second increments, set-up, source, and volume levels, inputs, etc. for all four zones.

The photo on the right illustrates the remote previously supplied with the AVR-3805 (shown on the left), and the improved version included with the AVR-5805 (shown on the right).

Click Here to Go to Part III

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