Please don't flame me for my opinions!! I own an Outlaw 950 and a Parasound HCA-855a amp. The Outlaw has a ton of people who have never heard it that constantly bash it and the Parasound has an 85X5 power rating (It was bench tested at a dealer and put out 93 X 5 with all channels driven 20-20k). Last week I bought a Denon 1804 to put in the family room theater. It is rated at 90X6 and states "equal power amplifier section" in its features.
I tested the Denon against the Outlaw/Parasound Combo. Granted, the Denon was $500 and the Outlaw/Parasound combo set me back over $1300, but given the way people rag on the 950 and rave about Denon, I thought I would give my first hand impressions.
The Denon does not drive my speakers as well as the combo. At medium levels it just plain runs out of juice. It is quiet and really sounds pleasant, and it has the latest bells and whistles. The sub distance can be set (the Outlaw does not have this feature), but the Denon does not have the bass management capabilities of the 950. The 950 has a great remote compared to the Denon, and is MUCH easier to use than the Denon, and I have been an audio enthusiast for over 20 years, so I'm no newbie! I use a Home Theater Master MX-500 to better work the Denon system, but because it is not OEM like the 950's HTM SL-9000 remote, it still takes a little more to switch from, say, DVD to cable.
My speakers are M80s, VP-150, and QS-8s.
I sure hope this helps. The Denon is a decent receiver (better than I expected), but it does not match the 950/Parasound combo, and I think the 950 and 7100 combo would do well against any of the receivers in the price range.
I know the 1804 is not a 3804, but if they work similarly, I would suggest considering a 950 and perhaps the Outlaw 7100 amp. I know they have a special on them right now, which makes the price very competitive with the Denon 3804/ 3805.
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