Our brand-new Denon AVR-3805 receiver Level 2 modification
We have played with the Denon AVR-3805 receiver and believe that it is a superb value for its $1200 retail price. It outperforms all the $1500 models from the competition. It is very nice for video but leaves a lot to be desired if used for music. The video section use the same Hammerhead Sharc chipset and processor as the $4300 AVR-5803 and is a tremendous value. It offers a feature set that is hard to approach at the price. Our Level-2 mod turns this excellent video receiver into an exceptional audio product that sounds great on audio as well as video. The modification was designed by Chris Johnson, the founder and former president of Sonic Frontiers.
Our Level-2 mod covers upgrading of all critical signal path components in the analog audio path, from a pair of analog inputs (DVD in), to the main left and right channel pre-ou's. We also upgrade the front left and right speaker outputs as well as critical parts in the power amplifier.
The following details our very comprehensive Level 2-mod ($1,400 + shipping retrofit, $1,990 + shipping new):
- We upgrade the hypercritical input buffer op amps (2 duals). These replace the cheap, stock surface-mount parts (currently about $1 parts from Burr-Brown) with the very best op amps made for audio, also by Burr-Brown. We take their OPA-627-AUs and mount them to special smt-to-smt vertical adapters These are 50 times more expensive than the stock part. These parts dramatically enhance both the unit's technical and subjective audio performance. This upgrade alone is analogous to going from a 4 cylinder to a V12 twin-turboe engine!
- The 20 most critical signal resistors are changed to precision 1% Japanese-made Riekn Ohm Carbon comp types with gold-plated copper leads. These replace the cheap magnetic Asian-sourced metal-film stock resistors.
- All critical caps are changed to the best film and electrolytic types. We use 6 x REL-Cap Teflon TFT-Exotica bypasses. These are paralleled with 6 BlackGate N-Series coupling caps. These replace the cheapest quality generic electrolytic caps in the stock unit. This bypass coupling cap hybrid gives us the best of all worlds, bass and dynamics provided by a quality high value electrolytic with the speed, delicacy and high frequency sparkle achieved by adding a Teflon bypass cap.
- Precision 1% polystyrene film and tin foil caps (14) are added throughout, replacing cheap tantalum caps in the stock unit.
- Power supply capacitors have been upgraded with 12 BlackGate N, NX and STD series electrolytic caps. These replace the cheap ceramic and generic electrolytics.
- The analog audio signal currently flows through a minuscule tin/lead plated copper PCB trace. Our mod installs four leads of pure 99.999% 23-awg solid-core silver DH Labs wire with foamed Teflon tape-wrap insulated. This is the very best.
- The input RCA jacks (1 pr.) are changed from the cheap stamped metal (nickel-plated brass) and plastic types to precious machined Vampire RCA jacks. This jack uses a base material of OFC-Copper 3.5 times more conductive than brass,and directly gold-plated with no intermediate nickel. Nickel is magnetic,and not desirable.
- Chassis resonances are dampened with 2 sheets of SoundCoat(1sq. ft.) and external vibrations have been isolated via 4 large compliant EAR Sorbothane isolation feet.
- 9.We upgrade the AC input connector to a premium type Acme Audio that is silver-plated, cryogenically treated and offers a more robust connection to a mating AC power cord.
- We used WBT 4% silver solder throughout.
- The mod takes upwards of 9 hours to complete.
Sonic improvements of the Level-2 modification
The midrange is much smoother with a far more liquid presentation. The solid-state glare of the stock unit is now gone. It is not tubes but much closer to what a tube preamplifier can offer. This alone is worth the price of the mod. Bass is dramatically improved, with fuller weight and authority in the critical midbass region. Bass dynamics are also upgraded. The unit is quieter and blacks are blacker to resolve more low level detail and ambience .
The processor is more dynamic and micro dynamic contrasts are much improved. High frequency response is smoother, with more air in the presentation. It now sounds like high-end separates versus a very good receiver. Transparency is improved and you can now look farther into the soundstage.Images are sized better and are more focused. Stage width and depth improve.The modified unit is now a superb full-featured receiver. It sonically outperforms receivers selling for two to three times its price. It is also a killer preamp/processor if eventually used with a 2-channel hi-powered power amplifier driving your front two speakers.
One year warranty on all mod work. New units also have 90-days on the entire receiver.