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Denon vs Parts Express, round 1

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by head_unit, Aug 7, 2020.

  1. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Los Angeles CA USA
    So once upon a time, PE was selling a little amp for $15. $15!!! So I bought two. And with a friend about to swap out receivers, that seemed like a perfect time for a bit of listening comparison.

    In this corner, the Dayton Audio DTA-1, and power supply:
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    and the last picture shows the cable setup. Knowing those expensive custom AudioQuests have a particular resonance, I used and LCR meter and oscilloscope to counter-tune that with the short strands of AWG24 you see in the picture. The trick is in how you wind the stripped ends around the pins, my friends.

    In the other corner, a Denon AVR-X3600H, $1099. Trust me, it's a bit beefier than the DTA-1 :laugh:
    Denon AVR-X3600H (2019 model) 9.2-channel home theater receiver with Wi-Fi®, Bluetooth®, Apple® AirPlay® 2, and Amazon Alexa compatibility at Crutchfield

    In between the corner-or something like that-a pair of Focal 936
    Focal Aria 936 Loudspeakers (each)
    This round, we listened to
    - Lee Ritenour "Night Rhythms" and "Latin Lovers"
    - The Doobie Brothers' "Wheel of Fortune" and "Takin' It To The Streets"
    - Steely Dan "Aja"
    no classical this round, we need to find some common performances we both know well. This round was time limited due to the desire to get the new toy set up and calibrated before LA traffic got sour (yes even in these COVID days it's bad). These selections played from CD (but "Aja" on SACD) via Oppo UDP-203's analog outputs. Volume was set moderately loud on the Dayton, then the output voltage measured with a 120 Hz test tone (1.400V). After the X3600H was set up (no Audyssey or EQ or anything), I set the volume to match (1.375V).

    So as you might expect, the Denon just killed the Dayton. Way more bass, so much more detail and image depth. :sigh: OK, not really. The DTA-1 sounded very good! Nothing to fault, really and incredibly. If we tried to turn it up more than moderately loud, audio would start cutting out, which we assume is clipping. Refer back to the picture of the power supply, and maybe that's not a surprise. It would be really interesting to run this thing with a really massive 12V supply. Anyway at moderate volumes with the DTA-1 you could hear all the different instruments and bass lines delineated, imaging, depth. "Aja" in particular I use as a reference and didn't find anything obscured or lacking. Yow! My friend just wasted like $1200 with tax!!! Well, kinda. After the official testing, of course the Denon can play much much louder. And even at the same volume, the bass was firmer, the images deeper. OR were they? Ah, audio memory is so notoriously fickle. I shall someday have to figure out how to do this with more instant switching.
     
    jbmcb, bluemooze and SpeedMorris like this.
  2. SpeedMorris

    SpeedMorris Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa
    Those little things are amazing for what they are. I bought a Lepai 2020 (maybe 7-8 watts into 8 ohms) with the Tripath chip for my daughter's "2.0 home theater" years ago and had enough fun with it to buy myself one for the desktop.

    I tried it with the NHT SB1, which was fine, but limited in terms of volume with their 85 dB sensitivity. It and my son's 89 dB Polk Rti4s were quite good, the speaker's somewhat flatulent bass still being flatulent, but very nice on the top end. I grabbed some Energy 5 inchers for my daughter, which were better in the bass, while not handling volume quite as well as the Polks. I would like to have tried them with a 6.5" 2 -way with 89-91 sensitivity. (I didn't want to try my SB2s) Something with a mellower treble character might be what the doctor would order.

    At the time, I made what was possibly the worst YouTube demo of all time, just turning on a camera in my son's 8 x 15 basement lair. Even with the awful phone booth recording quality, one can kinda sorta surmise that Steve Tyrell's voice was front and center tangible, Snooky Young's trumpet was well placed left of center and the guitar right of center. The piano had pretty good size and weight. Certainly not what I'd want for a system (though I'd have been thrilled with it in high school), but- gasp- fun to play around with and certainly better than what so many people have (or actually don't have).

    Apologies for unleashing this "skeleton in the closet"...:doh:


     
    head_unit likes this.
  3. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    Hook that little T amp up to a large 12V battery, you'll like the results much better
     
    head_unit likes this.
  4. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    I use similar amps in my mobile system and it sounds really good. No enclosure required!
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa, USA
  6. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Los Angeles CA USA
    You are picking up the link of the GALLERY of photos, not the URL of the actual image. I was having the same problem when I tried to make this thread. I ended up right-clicking to "Copy Image Address" and then it worked (at least out of imgurl)
     
  7. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    Thanks for the heads up
     
  8. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Los Angeles CA USA
    Anyone else compared cheapie amps versus "real" amps?
     
  9. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Los Angeles CA USA
    Nobody? Really?

    One interesting result was we agreed it really brought home how transient, short, and fallible our audio memory is (since the switching was not instantaneous)
     

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