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

Denon X4800H: $2499, at the time of writing

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, 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.

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.


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

You may want to check out The Ultimate Denon Receiver Setup Guide

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6 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. 🙂

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