HDMI inputsx 6
HDMI outputsx 2
HDMI 2.1 featuresVRR and ALLM on all ports, 4K 120Hz/8K 60Hz on two inputs and two outputs
HDR formatsHLG, HDR10, Dolby Vision
Audio formatsDolby Atmos, Atmos Height Virtualization, DTS:X, Sony 360 Reality Audio
StreamingAirPlay 2, Spotify, Chromecast Built In, Works with Sonos, Bluetooth
Voice assistantsGoogle Assistant
Verdict Sony's successor to the excellent STR-DN1080 is a brilliantly balanced, spacious and precise-sounding AV amp that has immediately won us over and continues to impress us every time we use it.
- Spacious presentation
- Precise and detailed sound
- Impressive dynamics
- Some rivals are better equipped
- Set up is more involved than some
HDMI inputsx 6
HDMI outputsx 2
HDMI 2.1 featuresVRR and ALLM on all ports, 4K 120Hz/8K 60Hz on three inputs and two outputs
HDR formatsHLG, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision
Audio formatsDolby Atmos, Atmos Height Virtualization, DTS:X, DTS Virtual:X
StreamingAirPlay 2, HEOS, Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, Bluetooth, Roon Tested
Voice assistantsAlexa, Google Assistant, Siri
Verdict The Denon AVC-X3800H's rich and muscular sound secured it a spot on our 2022 Awards list, although its performance comes at a more premium price.
- Refined, warm sound
- Choice of calibration software
- Future-proofed connectivity
- Bland exterior
- Some rivals have more sonic drive
- Higher price than predecessor
Sony's latest AV amp, the TA-AN1000, has already gone head to head with the Denon AVR-X2800H, coming out victorious thanks to its excellent sound performance. Beating an Award-winning AVR is an impressive feat in its own right, but what about the more expensive Denon AVC-X3800H?
The Denon is more powerful and features more channels of amplification, which means it should be better right? Well, it's not as straightforward as that, as we found in our review, so how do these AV amplifiers actually compare to one another?
Sony TA-AN1000 vs Denon AVC-X3800H: Price
Sony's first new AV Amp in nearly seven years (for the UK and European markets at least) is unfortunately double the price of its previous model, the STR-DN1080. It will retail £999 / €999 when it launches in June, which comes out to roughly $1250 in the States and AU$1885 in Australia. There is a similar model in the States called the STR-AN1000 which costs $800; however, we cannot confirm if its performance matches that of the European variant.
The Denon is available to buy right now, so unlike the Sony, you won't have to wait around if you need an AV amp right now. It launched roughly six months ago for £1499 / $1700 / AU$2550; however, it has since been subject to price reductions and sales, so it can now be found for closer to £1200 in the UK.
That being said, even with its price reductions, the Denon is still more expensive than the Sony, so if you're on a budget, the Sony is the better choice.
**Winner: Sony TA-AN1000**
Sony TA-AN1000 vs Denon AVC-X3800H: build
As to which of these amplifiers looks better is down to personal taste, as neither are the most eye-catching pieces of equipment that we've ever seen. These monochromatic metal boxes are both rehashes of previous designs, with the Sony using an almost identical design to the STR-DN1080, while the Denon is eerily similar to its AVC-X3700H predecessor in looks.
Both are sturdy and well-made, with a good amount of functionality without looking cluttered. You'll find shortcut buttons to enable stereo mode, switch inputs and navigate menus on the front facias of both AV amps, as well as a port to connect the included microphones for automatic calibration. It's worth noting here that both offer intuitive set-up processes, with the Sony arguably being the more involved of the two thanks to its additional measurements – you'll need a tape measure on hand for set-up.
Neither of these AV amps are the pinnacle of design; however, if we have to pick one, it would have to be the TA-AN1000. We feel that Sony's slightly edgier aesthetics give it a bit more personality, with its split-level aesthetic and asymmetrical dials – but your opinion may differ.
**Winner Sony TA-AN1000**
Sony TA-AN1000 vs Denon AVC-X3800H: features
While the Sony is no slouch in the features department, its clear that the Denon costs more for a reason, as it includes more of practically everything. The Sony TA-AN1000 features seven channels of amplification which can be configured up to a 5.1.2 or 7.1 arrangement. The Denon AVC-X3800H, on the other hand, ups this to 11 channels of amplification, with a maximum configuration of 7.1.4. This makes it a no-brainer for those who don't want to choose between rear surrounds or the additional height channels.
The Denon also has the Sony beat when it comes to HDMI 2.1 connectivity, with the Denon possessing three HDMI-in connections and seven HDMI out, all of which support 4K/120Hz or 8K/60Hz. The Sony, in comparison, has two in and six out, with only two of the HDMI 2.1 outputs supporting 4K/120Hz or 8K/60Hz.
HDR and audio support are much of the same, with the Denon just edging out the Sony with its feature set. Both AV amplifiers support HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG, however, the Denon throws HDR10+ into the mix, which should please Samsung TV owners. Both AV amps also support Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, although the TA-AN1000 gets Sony's 360 Spatial Sound Mapping feature, which uses phantom pseudo-speakers in order to enhance verticality and create a pleasing bubble of sound around the user.
Wireless connectivity on both amps is excellent, with the Sony offering Apple AirPlay, Chromecast Built-in, Spotify Connect and Works with Sonos – which allows you to integrate your home cinema set-up into a Sonos multiroom set-up if you have one. The Denon drops the Sonos compatibility, but it does have HEOS, Denon's streaming platform that allows you to directly link music streaming services, including Tidal and Deezer – which the Sony is missing.
The AN1000 also features an intuitive and brisk automated set-up process using the included microphone. It does ask you to take some additional measurements before you can start this process, which is much more involved than other AVR set-ups we've done before; this includes measuring the height of your ceiling, the distance between your seating position and the TV and the height of the TV, so be prepared for that.
The Denon uses anAudyssey-backedautomated system which can take up to eight different measurements based on microphone positioning. This does require you to move the microphone around the room, but it doesn't ask you to measure your space beforehand. Both systems have their quirks, but they're both useful in their own rights and didn't require much manual tweaking.
It's safe to say that the Denon wins the features battle, however, this is to be expected with the higher price tag. The Sony is still a well-kitted-out AV amp with plenty of functionality, but it can't quite compete with the Denon.
**Winner: Denon AVC-X3800H**
Sony TA-AN1000 vs Denon AVC-X3800H: sound
Here's where things get interesting. At the end of the day, sound performance is the be-all and end-all of these devices, and luckily they're both excellent-sounding amps. One is a 2022 Award-winner, the other a successor to a Hall of Fame entry, so there are certainly high expectations, and they both deliver. That being said, they go for two different approaches, and when comparing them side-by-side, we felt there was a clear winner.
Starting with the Denon, its muscular, powerful and smooth sound ticks many boxes when we consider cinematic sound. Bass in particular is powerful, although not overdone, and there is a nice spacious feel to the sound overall.There isn't much to particularly criticise about the Denon's warm and refined sound; it's rich, muscular when it needs to be, and an overall crowd-pleaser.
The Sony, however, pushes the boat out with every aspect of its sound presentation. It features a detailed, precise and articulate sound that is both insightful and engaging. The real highlight of the Sony its expressive dynamics, which add a splendid sense of weight and punch to car crashes and explosions. Bass is taut and snappy, which can be attributed to the Sony's precise nature, and everything from vocals to instrumental arrangements is beautifully textured and emotive.
Both AV amps offer a spacious arrangement of sound, but it's the Sony that feels slightly more enveloping. This is heightened (quite literally) with the 360 Spatial Sound Mapping feature turned on. However, this does result in a slightly less precise sound – although it certainly elevates moments of big-scale action.
Put simply, the Sony demands attention with its truly engaging and energetic performance. In contrast, comparisons prove that the AVC-X3800H can't hold the room in the same way. The likelihood is you won't be listening to these amplifiers side by side, so if you already have the Denon, you shouldn't feel pressured to upgrade, as it's still an Award-winning AV amp.
That being said, the Sony is the clear winner when it comes down to sound performance, with its meaty and textured performance that is the definition of cinematic.
** Winner: Sony TA-AN1000 **
Sony TA-AN1000 vs Denon AVC-X3800H: verdict
With its outstanding sound and cheaper price, the Sony is the obvious choice here. Despite the Denon taking the edge in the features department with its additional channels of amplification and 4K/120Hz HDMI connections, it's the Sony's powerful, dynamic and balanced sound that had us entranced during our testing.
The caveat, of course, is that the Sony isn't commercially available quite yet, so if patience isn't your forte, then the Denon can be yours much quicker. However, we certainly feel like the Sony is worth the wait.
Read our full Sony TA-AN1000 review
As well as our full Denon AVC-X3800H review
And check out our full list of the Best AV receivers
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Staff Writer Lewis is the newest addition to the What Hi-Fi? editorial team. Previously Gaming and Digital editor for Cardiff University's 'Quench Magazine', Lewis graduated in 2021 and has since worked on a selection of lifestyle magazines and regional newspapers. In his down time he enjoys gaming and regular cinema trips.
3 CommentsComment from the forums
When will you be able to comment on the stability and use of the wireless rears? That is the stand out feature for me.
I'm really curious about the surround performance - Sony 5.1.2 vs Devon (or other) 5.1.4...
I choose the Sony ta-N7b😅
Before we get started, a quick note that Denon makes both AVR and AVC versions of some of its home cinema amps; the only difference is that the R products have an FM receiver built-in and tend to be made for the US market – though the UK does also get some AVRs.Does Denon make good receivers? ›
The Denon AVR-X1700H is our top choice because it's a great-sounding receiver that holds your hand through the setup process and delivers excellent value.Which AVR is best for music? ›
- Best Overall – Yamaha AVENTAGE CX-A5200 + Yamaha AVENTAGE MX-A5200BL. ...
- Best Under $3,000 – Marantz AV Receiver SR8012. ...
- Best Under $4,000 – Denon AVR-X8500HSP. ...
- Best 7.2 AV Receiver Under $2,000 – Lexicon RV6. ...
- Best Under $1,500 – NAD T 758 v3. ...
- Best Under $1000 – Denon AVR-X3600H.
A receiver is an amplifier that has a radio section built in. The radio is selected like any other input on the amp but no other connection is needed other than a pair of speakers. If you have a home cinema amplifier with a radio in, it's an AV Receiver.Is Denon a good brand amplifier? ›
Overall, Denon is a great choice for anyone looking for high-quality audio equipment that's built to last and delivers excellent sound quality.Do expensive AV receivers sound better? ›
If your home theater has poor acoustic nature, and it is not treated better then you will need powerful speakers to fill up the room and for powerful speakers, you will need an expensive receiver. If your home theater acoustics are treated the best, then you will need less powerful speakers and a cheaper AV receiver.Which sound quality is better Marantz or Denon? ›
Denon AV receivers are more detailed, precise, and dynamic, with a focus on accuracy and clarity recommended for the Movie enthusiast. While Marantz AVRs produce warm, natural-sounding audio that is suited for music listening as well as home theater use.Which is best AV receiver or amplifier? ›
An AV (Audio/Video) receiver is an amplifier on steroids. Instead of the usual two channels found on a regular amplifier, a receiver has the ability to output audio into five, seven, 11, or even 13 different channels. It also has the ability to handle video data, usually through an HDMI connection.What is the best amplifier type for audio? ›
Class A design is the least efficient but has the highest sound fidelity. Class B design is a little more efficient, but full of distortion. Class AB design offers power efficiency and good sound. Class D design has the highest efficiency and smallest footprint.What is the highest quality audio output? ›
The best audio formats for sound quality are uncompressed or lossless compression files—think WAV, FLAC, and M4A. That's because these formats retain the original sound quality, though you'll have to put up with the fact these files will be large.
Most recommend between 25 and 400 watts — some even more. Try and pick a receiver that can deliver a constant amount of power within the recommended rating, so if a speaker requires between 25-150 watts, a receiver that can put out 45-100 would suit you very well.Do you need both an amplifier and receiver? ›
While an amplifier is only able to receive and audio signal, process it, and amplify the signal to different speakers. Most all setups will only need an A/V receiver or an amplifier, never both.How do I make my AV receiver sound better? ›
Use quality speaker cables and HDMI cables to get the best out of your system. Try to keep all the speaker cables from tangling with each other too much, to reduce any interference.Which company amplifier is best? ›
- NAD Electronics.
- Cambridge Audio.
- Rega Research.
- Pass Labs.
- Linear Tube Audio.
A class D amplifier is the most efficient type of amplifier. In comparison to other analogue classes such as A, B, AB, and C amplifiers, it has the best power efficiency.How do I know if my receiver is powerful enough for speakers? ›
Most receivers have enough power to drive most speakers to a loud level. As long as your speakers have a sensitivity rating of at least 84 dB or so, a receiver with 80 to 100 watts per channel into 8 ohms should be powerful enough.Does adding amp to receiver improve sound quality? ›
The short, simple answer to “do amplifiers improve sound quality?” is no. An amplifier is designed to increase the audio signal levels. However, it is not intended to objectively or subjectively improve the recorded audio nor the reproduction of such audio.Is expensive audio gear worth it? ›
Build quality is much easier to quantify than sound quality. More expensive audio products are likely to be better built and more structurally sound than cheaper ones. This isn't 100% the case, but budget manufacturing usually leads to lower build quality.Why is my Denon receiver so quiet? ›
To correct the volume playback level of the input sources, you need to select "Source Level" from the Setup "INPUTS" screen. To adjust the input source level, press the Setup button to enter the "Setup" menu. Select Inputs>Source level and adjust the volume level.Is Denon high end? ›
Yes, Denon and Marantz can be considered high-end brands. These companies have product lines that meet the highest modern requirements and satisfy the tastes of even the most demanding audiophiles.
The Denon brand came from a merger of Denki Onkyo (not to be confused with the other Onkyo) and others in 1939. In 2001, Denon was spun off as a separate company with 98% held by Ripplewood Holdings and 2% by Hitachi.What is AVC in audio settings? ›
When available, automatic volume control (AVC) adjusts the volume level to compensate for engine noise and road speed noise.What is the difference between AVR and amplifier? ›
An A/V receiver has a built-in amplifier. An A/V receiver is able to receive an audio signal, process it, amplify the signal to the speakers, and allow video to pass-through to a TV or projector. While an amplifier is only able to receive and audio signal, process it, and amplify the signal to different speakers.What does AVR mean in audio visual? ›
An audio/video receiver (AVR) is a consumer electronics component used in a home theater. Its purpose is to receive audio and video signals from a number of sources, and to process them and provide power amplifiers to drive loudspeakers and route the video to displays such as a television, monitor or video projector.What is the best alternative for AVR? ›
World tracking motion controls for mobile VR with ARKit
The best alternatives to Project AVR are Apple, Made With ARKit, and SketchAR. If these 3 options don't work for you, we've listed a few more alternatives below.
600 Hz–3,000 Hz (Mids)—the range that humans can hear the best. The majority of the sound of vocals is here, so EQing this range represents the perfect equalizer settings to play with if you want to affect someone's voice. 3,000 Hz–8,000 Hz (Upper Mids)—most audiophiles handle this range with care.Which audio setting is best? ›
- 20 Hz – 60 Hz: Super low frequencies on the EQ. ...
- 60 Hz to 200 Hz: Low frequencies requiring a bass or lower drums to be reproduced. ...
- 200 Hz to 600 Hz: Low mid-range frequencies. ...
- 600 Hz – 3,000 Hz: Mid-range frequencies. ...
- 3,000 Hz – 8,000 Hz: Upper mid-range frequencies.
The highest quality audio format is 16 bits. What is this? 44100 Hz, 24-bit Studio Quality: The 24 bits settings are for studio sound quality for standard speakers with approximately 48 dB. 48000 Hz 24-bit Studio Quality: 48 kHz is way better than the CD quality audios and some studio audios.Do amplifiers sound better than receivers? ›
The stereo amplifier is specially designed to function as the regulator and connection hub for an audio-only listening experience. Therefore, if you are more interested in the audio quality of your music, it is advisable that you go for a stereo amplifier rather than an A/V receiver.
While expensive amplifiers can offer exceptional sound quality, it's important to consider the various factors that contribute to sonic performance. These include components, circuitry, build quality, and craftsmanship.
Take into account the startup power motor consumption by adding a buffer (typically x3). For example: We calculated a 368 Watts power consumption previously. When we multiply this by 3, we get 368W x 3 = 1104 Watts. Choose an AVR or Power-on-Delay that is equal to or higher than the calculated power consumption.Does AVR affect sound quality? ›
Receivers allow you to manage the audio across more speakers, taking advantage of 5.1 and 7.2 channel audio options, while also amplifying that sound, and even performing single room correction on the signal, all of which improve sound quality.Is AVR obsolete? ›
The former AVRASM distributed with AVR Studio® 4 has now been obsoleted and will not be distributed with current products.What are the 4 types of AVR? ›
We've explored 4 of the most common AVRs; servo, magnetic induction, static tap switching and ferroresonant.Do I still need to use an AVR? ›
No. The purpose of an AVR is to regulate the input voltage entering your appliance. It is not meant to help save electricity, but it will help you save money in the long-run as it protects your appliances from damage caused by voltage fluctuations.