Denon X3800H versus Denon X4800H


I find Denon’s 2023 line-up a little bit confusing, especially with regards to which features they will support in terms of Dirac Live – more on that in a moment.

However, the most confusion is between the Denon X3800H and the Denon X4800H. This is because – at least on paper – they seem to be feature-matched.


Denon X3800H: $1699 at the time of writing. Check current price Here

Denon X4800H: $2499, at the time of writing. Check current price Here

Features in Common

In terms of features, the two units are near-identical, and this is because the processing chip – the Sharc Griffin Lite XP – is identical. So both support:

  • 11.4 channels of output including 4 subwoofer outs – the 4th subwoofer out can be dedicated to bass shakers. I am personally using the BST-1s and the TT25s, which I wrote about previously. (Please note than only 9 channels are powered. You need an external amplifier for the last pair.)
  • Advanced pre-amplifier mode where individual channels can be disconnected from the power amps to allow for a cleaner signal when using external amplification for only some of the channels. Of course, you can also disconnect all the channels using a pre-amp mode. If you do this, enable eco mode which will reduce power consumption and heat.
  • Auro 3D, MPEG-H and 360 Spatial Audio join DTS:X and Dolby Atmos (DTS:X Pro is only needed for more than 11 channels of processing so it isn’t needed here.)
  • IMAX Enhanced certification and sound mode (I am not a big fan – read about my opinion about it here)
  • Dirac Live Upgradability

Also, both of these units will receive a March firmware update with some new features, some of which I’ll touch on below.

Auro 3D

With the March firmware, Auro 3D can be used with Dolby Atmos speaker configuration options. Previously, this was not possible. Please see the below slide for more.

Dirac Live Upgradability

Dirac Live will be rolled out in stages. First, only room correction and then Dirac Live with Bass Control.

Please note that these units will NOT support Dirac Live Active Room Treatment (Dirac ART), as confirmed by Sound United. Even though they have not committed to a release yet, theoretically the A1H from the current line-up supports it. The X6800H may also support it but we don’t know yet until it is announced.

Update 13 May 2023: there has been a lot of discussion that all the current line-up from the Denon X3800H up to the A1H uses the same 1Ghz DSP chip, which in theory means all these units should support Dirac ART, if it is ported to the DSP. The issue is that Sound United representatives have given some throw-away comments saying that they think only the flagship units might get support for it. This could mean that either…

  1. There is some technical limitation we don’t know about
  2. There is a sales strategy they are not yet sharing
  3. They don’t actually have full information about this and they are simply guessing

After having reviewed this a bit more closely, I am starting to think that it is either option 2 or option 3. The reason option 3 is possible is that there were other things they got wrong with regards to Dirac Live, so it is more than likely, they are not fully informed about what’s coming the line.

It is also entirely possible that things will change in flight, meaning Sound United may still decide to only release Dirac ART for the next line of receivers as a way to encourage new sales. Dirac may also be looking at sale numbers for Dirac Live before they commit to porting Dirac ART to this new DSP. As you can see, a lot of things are still unknown, and all of it speculation even within Sound United / Masimo, until decisions are made one way or another and those decisions are communicated officially. So don’t base your purchasing decision on Dirac ART, as the situation is likely still fluid.

What Are the Differences?

Ok, so what makes the Denon X4800H special?

The big headline is that it is made in Japan and has better quality-control than the X3800H. But there’s both processing and hardware differences.


The X4800H gains 32-bit processing (called AL32 and HD32 by Denon) which is supposed to provide more precision when processing the audio signal. Of course, Audyssey is limited to 24bit processing so while the Denon will be able to provide better input into Audyssey processing, and then provide more precision as it does the rest of the processing, the difference might not be that earth-shattering once you’ve put the signal through Audyssey. If you are not using Audyssey, then it could.

However, where I think there could be audible differences between the X3800H and the X4800H is with the jitter reduction circuitry, which is in the higher-end unit. Unfortunately, digital signals through an HDMI port aren’t immune to jitter and depending on the source device, it could provide a benefit by re-clocking the incoming signal. I do find this makes a difference in my own setup as I have a Lumagen that does this re-clocking and it makes a subtle but appreciable difference in terms of clarity and precision of the sound.


So I think the BIGGEST difference between these two units are the amplifier modules.

Firstly, they provide a bit more power on paper at 125 watts per channel instead of 105 watts for the X3800H.

Secondly, and more importantly, the X4800H inherits the amplifier design from last year’s X6700H! Considering the price of the X6700H, the X4800H looks like much better value now. But also quite a bit of a price hike from last year’s X4700H.

However, the amplifier design is much more solid, as it is a monolithic design, which means each amplifier module is on a separate board and uses more components which are also higher quality. This is in contrast to the X3800H – and the X4700H – both of which use the same PCB for multiple channels.

What the new monolithic amplifier design in the X4800H can result in is better dynamics and better separation (or lack of crosstalk) between the channels. It can ultimately lead to a cleaner sound in favour of the X4800H.


If you are planning to use the AVR’s internal amplifiers, then the X4800H is a better value in my opinion. However, if you are planning to connect external amps and use the AVR as a processor, then the X3800H is arguably the better value. That is unless you are concerned about jitter from your sources and buy into 32-bit expansion of 24bit signals. Ultimately, will you hear the difference between the X4800H and the X3800H as a processor will largely depend on the quality of your source devices and how sensitive you are to jitter in my opinion.

Considering I have a Lumagen to do my “de-jittering”, I could save the money and go for the X3800H. However, if I didn’t have the Lumagen, I might choose the X4800H for my own use – or wait for the X6800H on the off chance that Dirac Live Active Room Treatment will even come to Denon receivers in 2024. By then, there might be another round of receiver updates, though, and we missed a full year. I am not sure if it’s worth the wait, especially if you need a receiver now.

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The slides were taken from Sound United’s training video here

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28 thoughts on “Denon X3800H versus Denon X4800H

Add yours

    1. Anthem and ARC are good if you are listening at loud volumes in a dedicated home theatre. Otherwise they lack loudness compensation so low-volume listening isn’t going to be nearly as good.
      I know people who moved to ARC and then came to my HT with a Marantz or Denon set up and were blown away with the sound. So I think it’s more in the skill of the setup than any particular brand or room correction. I hope that makes sense. 🙂

  1. Dear Roland, thank you for this comparision, I am about to pull a trigger on X4800h hoping for Dirac ART, but I have never found definitive answer about lack of ART for x4800h series, where did you find this info that Dirac ART won`t be supported on 3800h and 4800h?

    1. Hi Krzysztof,
      Denon reps mentioned this during one of their training sessions. They believe neither the X3800 or the X4800 have the extra resources to support it. The only ones would be the top models but it will depend on Dirac themselves if they wanted to support it.
      Of course, things can change but I wouldn’t count on it.
      If you are in the US, and planning to purchase on Amazon, please consider using the link at the bottom of the article. Thx 🙂

      1. Thanks for answer, I will take a risk with x4800h, because I have found out that both x4800h and top tier A1H share the same processor which is 2-core SHARC Griffin Lite XP DSP, so I am assuming that there is no difference in processor power in terms of implementing of Dirac ART, (there is only need of 20% extra taxation on CPU comparing to DLBC). And I feel in my bones that they have to add something extra for x4800h because it is too similar to x3800h in terms of features and they have to distinguish more between those 2 models. And last but not least I`ve heard somewhere rumors that beta tests of ART have been made at A1H

      2. No worries. Yes, they share the same processor but what we don’t know is whether the chips are lower grade, run at reduced power, have parts of them disabled (due to the binning) or they doubled them for the A1H.
        Again, I’m not sure why Denon reps would say what they said without knowing something we don’t. So if you are expecting ART, do it at your own risk. 🙂

    2. Hi Roland, there was a rumor on audioholics that the x3800 (and presumably 4800) being the first Dirac receivers to have loudness compensation, can you confirm this?

      1. Hi Edward, that’s not the case currently and I’ll believe it when it’s here.
        I know Dirac is aware of the criticism around this including from SimpleHomeCinema as we can see the traffic from their internal Jira.
        The question is whether they want to address it.

        What really upsets me is that Sound United / Masimo isn’t enabling Audyssey DEQ and DVol to be independent of an Audyssey calibration. There is zero technical reason why they should be linked. In fact some receivers – I think it was Onkyo at the time – enabled them without having to do a cal run. It could have been a firmware error but I’m more than certain, even in the code, they are independent technologies. So it’s doable. If the code has been made dependent since then, untangle it now you’re on a new DSP platform. Zero excuse.


  2. Still debating on the two, I have a 7-ch external amp and logically the 3800h makes more sense but not sure if the jitter reducer or build quality will make a difference. The jitter is measurably different between the two from charts on audio science review, but both still below the -100db line and shouldn’t be audible either way, right? As for build, I don’t have statistics on whether made in Japan has appreciable higher reliability or not.

    1. Well, the X4800h has much beefier amps with better channel separation.
      If you have the cash, and you will be using the height channel amps, it might be worth getting the x4800h.

      Read reviews between Marantz Cinema 50 vs Cinema 40 on AVS as the difference in amp design is the same. People can hear the difference even beyond the wattage. The question is how important that is for your height channels / whatever you’re running off the internal amps.

      1. I would be running all channels externally and using preamp mode, what would you advise in that case?

      2. Thanks for your guidance. I’m not sure if they’re great sources but mainly Apple TV 4K and a PS5?

      3. No worries!
        Yeah, they are not the best sources but also not the worst. I don’t think it is such an audible thing at these jitter levels for movies.

        If you are into listening to lots of music or HiFi then it might be, but only with very serious equipment or “serious listening”. Even then we’d have to do a double blind to really prove it. I wouldn’t worry.

    1. Hi Maxime,
      They take a year or so. There might be sales during the holiday rush around Oct to Dec or just after in Jan. But the largest drop happens just as new models are introduced, every 2-3 years.

  3. Just read your Denon 3800 vs 4800; great info. Thx

    I have a question; planning to use a Denon AV on a 9.2 set-up and pre-amp to a Classe CA201 amp to feed the front speakers that are Martin Logan Sequel 2.
    I want to use my older equipment, instead of letting them go for not much $.

    Which one of those 2 AV would you recommend, and do you feel like it will be a great setup.
    Thanks again

    1. Hey Robert,
      If you are only going to be driving the front speakers with an external amp, and you can afford it, I would go with the x4800H.
      The amp section is much more robust plus you’re getting jitter reduction which results in lower noise floor / better transient detail. Many claim they can’t hear it, but I certainly can. The amp changes go towards better channel separation and steering too with a more neutral sound.

      And yes, I think it will be a great setup. I’m enjoying my Cinema 50 a lot but actually, the X4800H might have been a better choice even for me and I’m only driving the 4 Atmos channels with its internal amp. So don’t have a regret later, go for the highest model you can afford.

  4. Thanks for your comment, I appreciate the quick response.
    From that price point, I don’t know if you have tested them both, but would you go with the 4800 or the Marantz Cinéma 50?

  5. Hi Roland,

    Great review. My question is slightly different. Currently running 4 subs (2 SVS cylinders and 2 porter 15” Paradigms; all 4 are different models) using splitters out of a X3600H

    I think Audyssey being able to do bass management on 4 subs independently is a good thing with the 3800/ 4800.

    My question is am I better of getting a miniDSP HD & umik 1 and continue using the x3600 OR I should go for the 3800/ 4800 (between those 2 will depend on the prices/ deals available when I am ready to buy).

    Thank you so much!


    1. Hi Robbie,

      I have tested Audyssey / Dirac handling the subs versus MiniDSP (with MSO) and then overlaying Audyssey or Dirac.

      The second option is miles better. So if it’s only that feature you want, I’d recommend you save your money. 4 sub outputs will be useful for Dirac Live Bass Control which will attempt to do what MiniDSP + MSO does – for a cost. But if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, you can do that now with MiniDSP + MSO and it’s compatible with both Audyssey and Dirac.

      So while I have a Marantz Cinema 50, I’m only using one sub output into the MiniDSP and then one into my transducers. But multi-sub support is currently useless to me otherwise. Save your cash, get a MiniDSP and learn to use MSO. Unless you want to hang around for DLBC.


  6. Great Comparison! I have been trying to find someone that compares these 2 without simply relying on the spec sheet. I’m currently using the Yamaha RX-V3900 I bought in 2009. I have absolutely loved this receiver and have had no issues with it aside from network connectivity and app challenges. It is getting long in the tooth though.

    I just finished my basement and ran 4 in ceiling speakers in anticipation for adopting Atmos. I currently have a 5.1 setup, but will have a 5.1.4 setup once I have a receiver that can accommodate the ceiling speakers. I have never owned a Denon before, but from the research I’ve done I’m attracted to the user interface and the ability to easily configure the AVR. I know next to nothing about configuring audio equipment, even though I’m a computer engineer.

    I have always been happy with the sound quality of my RX-V3900 and don’t want to purchase a new receiver that doesn’t sound as good. I have thought the 4800 would be more comparable to what I currently have than the 3800, plus it has a component input, which I would be sad to not have.

    After I purchase my new receiver, I am planning to eventually purchase a 5 channel amp and possibly an additional 7 channel amp, because eventually I want to move to separates. Probably not for 5-7 years though. Since these Denon receivers have the ability to shut the amps off and essentially run as a processor, I thought this was a good upgrade path.

    Knowing what I currently have, and where I eventually want to go, would the 4800 be a good choice? or would the 3800, or even a different receiver altogether, be a better option.

    All of my speakers are currently klipsch Icon W series, that I want to eventually upgrade as well. my in ceilings are klipsch cdt-5800-c ii

    If you have the time to give any input that would be greatly appreciated. thanks!

    1. Hey there,
      No worries at all.
      If you are coming from a Yamaha, I would not go with anything below the 4800H. Yamaha has more robust amp sections and regardless if you are using external amplification, you are unlikely to be happy with the X3800H pre-amp and build quality coming from a Yamaha. I know because I had quite a few Yamahas myself.

      Now, the 4800H did inherit the amp section from the x6700 so you can buy with confidence as long as you are ok with the number of channels.

      1. Roland,
        I thought I replied to this a couple days ago. maybe It didn’t post. Either way, thank you for responding so quickly. I thought because this was an older post I wouldn’t get a response. I appreciate it.

        I went ahead and got the 4800h and set it up yesterday. I noticed right away that it was quite a bit lighter than my Yamaha RX-V3900. I imagine that’s because of the larger amp section. Visually it’s nearly identical to my 14 year old receiver, though it strangely looks “nicer”, maybe more premium, with the finish and how the buttons/knobs feel. It definitely looks better in person than in the pictures. The remote weighs next to nothing and looks like a toy next to my Yamaha remote. And for some reason only one button lights up, despite the majority of the buttons looking like they “should” light up.

        Setting it up was a breeze, it just took a long time with Audyssey and the fact I didn’t know what I was doing. There are a lot of settings I’m not sure about and will have to do more digging. It was nice to hear my Atmos speakers working how they should. Prior, on my Yamaha, I had the front atmos speakers set as “Presence” and the rear speakers set as “surrounds”, with my rear surrounds set as “Surround back”, so essentially a 7.1 system, with front presence.

        After all the setup was done I noticed no quality difference in the audio. What I did notice was I had to turn the Denon’s volume up quite a bit to match the Volume of my Yamaha. I would rarely turn my Yamaha up past -30db. I would occasionally turn it up to -25db to -22 db when watching a movie I wanted a lot of volume with. Easy listening I would set it to -40db. On the Denon, when I went to watch a movie last night I had to turn it up to -10db and it still didn’t seem loud enough for a good movie watching experience. It also felt like something was missing and didn’t quite sound right, almost….hollow. I was streaming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. My wife said she barely noticed a difference between this receiver and my old one, other than it didn’t get as loud. She didn’t notice any atmos effects that stood out. We only watched the first 45 minutes before going to bed. I Tested Ready Player One, from a 4k disc for the first 5 minutes of the movie and it sounded a lot better. The Dialogue was up front and center and sounded better than I ever heard it before. Hearing Dialogue in movies was always a challenge for both my Wife and I. Ready Player one seemed like it turned my Center Channel into a PA system. That was cool, but so far, the only instance I was impressed with this receiver so far. This gives me hope, that as I learn the receiver better, I can get everything to sound this good.

        I noticed something weird with the HDMI switching. I turned my Chromecast on and it switched over to my PS5. I pressed the “Media Player” button and it switched over fine. I try to replicate this and sometimes my PS4 turns on automatically for no reason, and sometimes my PS5 does as well, but nothing automatically switches inputs. It only auto-switched the one time. Manual selection on the remote works fine.

        I also purchased the Klipsch RP-1200SW and it came in at the same time. I set both of them up together and I have not been impressed at all with it, over my 14 year old Klipsch RW-12D. I barely hear anything out of it. I just noticed that Audyssey set my sub to -0.5 db, while making me set the volume to 3 on the subwoofer, in order to level match I assume. That may be why I barely hear it. I will play with that later.

        Please forgive this long post. I had a lot in my head after playing with this thing for a good 4-5 hours last night. lol. Do you think the difference in volume has to do with the lower wattage of the Denon? Would an external amp fix this?

      2. Hey JL,

        Technology has come a long way since your Yamaha. Some of the components are now ICs and / or more efficient. Plus this is a midrange receiver so weight reduction for shipping is a critical aspect. The equivalent build quality to your Yamaha would be an RX-X6800h which hasn’t been announced yet. But the 4800H has the equivalent amp section (from X6700H which is what matters.)

        Nope, it’s not the amps. The Denon will set up reference level correctly. The issue is Disney’s mastering for GOTG 3 for example. There might also be a bit of an issue with how Atmos is handled with Dialogue Normalisation especially on the Apple TV and the container it uses for Atmos. I have a strong feeling it’s applying Dialog Norm before sending it to the AVR.

        I wouldn’t worry about it. It’s just handled differently.

        I’m not trying to self-promote here but If you haven’t got Secrets of Audyssey, I would, as it will help you get maximum out of Audyssey. It’s years of experience condensed into an ebook which I can’t convey on a blog, an email or a reply ok here. Otherwise start here…

        Also here:

        Don’t be afraid to increase your sub’s volume but only after you set up Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume correctly, as they will adjust it based on content. But beyond that, don’t be afraid to increase the sub to where you prefer it.

        Most of all, enjoy. It sounds like it will sound clearer than your Yamaha, as it should.

        I will be on holiday for next week so replies might be after I’m back.

  7. You never mentioned another difference, the x4800h can assign 2 extra channels to any speaker , this way i can complete my Auro 3d 10.1 setup ( with Voice of God) using another amplifier… This cannot be done with the 3800h.

    1. Hi Vasilios,
      The amp assignment should be the same between the two units if you look here:


      You can only drive a maximum of 11 main channels with either unit. But you can connect up more if you are using the pre-outs. Active channels will be switched automatically based on content.

      Unless I misunderstood what you are saying. Apologies. Let us know which part of the manuals you are looking at.

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