Customer Review

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Denon AVR-3311CI, October 2, 2010
This review is from: Denon AVR-3311CI 7.2-Channel Network Home Theater Receiver (Black) (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I am upgrading this unit from an AVR-3805. The main reason for this upgrade had nothing to do with the quality of sound I was getting from the AVR-3805, but to get additional features. Here were the features I didn't have and was hoping to get on the new unit:
1) Had only DVI with fiber/digital. I wanted to go to all HDMI.
2) IPod function to easily watch iPod clips and listen to music
3) I wanted to listen to Internet radio stations and music services.
4) Wanted to access my F drive on my home computer which has all my music stored on it.
5) I presently was using Zone 2 to drive my outdoor speakers on the 7.0 channel and using Zone 3 to go to a Russound audio bus which has its own amplifier and RCA input. The problem was that the AVR-3805 would only take in analog signals and send out analog. This would require every digial input device that I was using such as the computer, DVR, CD, DVD, Game box to have a digital and analog cable. The new AVR-3311CI Zone 2 and 3 were able to take a digital input and output an analog signal and thus get rid of all the bulky redundant cables.
6) I really wanted HD radio.
7) I also hoping to lower wasted heat that gets stuck in my cabinet even with the fan running.
8) I was also saving 1 or 2 inches in the back as I have a cable heat damming problem and more space will only help.
OK, so here is what I got and my thoughts:
I got rid of all the digital cables and RCA input cables. I upgrade my computer and put in a graphics card that has HDMI out and can also send just music without video (make sure you get this feature or it won't work). Everything worked great on my living room and was able to see and hear music digitally and video. The problem came in when I went to listen to my pool speakers or my russound distributed audio system from zone 1 and zone 2 as nothing came out. After talking with Denon, apparently HDMI digital was NOT the digital they were talking about for the two zone digital converters. They were only talking about fiber and coax. This is very disheartening as it now seems that I have to go back and add fiber back to all my input in addition to HDMI if I want to listen to sound on the two zones. They gave me an explanation, but I believe it was a dumbing down of the digital conversion and could have been done.
I am having a problem with my Iphone working on the IPod input as after 2-8 minutes the buffer starts to drop below 100% and eventually goes to 0% and locks up the Denon IPod input. This does not happen if you plug an actual IPod in, only on the Iphone to play music. Denon didn't take responsibility for the problem and told me to talk with Apple. I do not have this same problem on any my car or at the gym IPod readers. Also the on screen readers is very limited and wish it could be graphically improved.
All the network features are amazing to me and make the computer hook up almost obsolete except for watching YouTube clips. The flash upgrades and setting up on my network computer are great. There is much work to be done on their HTML code for the computer interface.
Except for the zone 2/zone 3 digital conversion and the Iphone losing its buffer, I have no regrets and I am happy with my purchase.

UPDATE 1/1/2011: I have been adviced by Denon to ship my unit back for repair now for the following issues: 1) FM radio station keeps doing a 1 second cut out about every minute or so on a very popular local station that my last 3805 got just fine and all my other pocket radios get. 2) I can no longer get internet access or connect through my browser or iphone app. However, you can get a DHCP assigned IP address on it and even ping it. 3) When the internet did work, several of the ip radio stations listed could not connect and would skip to the next station listed. However, Denonradio.com which list their stations can be accessed from my browser.

This unit reminds me of something that has a lot of great specs and looks beautiful on the outside, but the inside has some form of cancer. I can only hope they are able to really fix this stuff when I send it in. I really thought this was the last unit I would ever need and is why I waited so long to upgrade.

UPDATE 2/21/2011: The unit was sent back with only the network card MAC address fixed and a Flash upgrade. I am taking out the issues mentioned in my previous update that there is a problem with the HDMI handshaking. After going around in circles, I finally got a Samsung TV repair guy out and found that I have a faulty board in the TV. That cause sporadic rebooting of the TV. Sorry about any slams on Denon for that one, but it really did seem like it was a Denon issue. Also, the vTuner/Denonradio.com issue has been replicated at Denon's lab for all three of their 2011 series models. They are telling me that it is vTuner's problem as all they are is a link. I am slowly getting vTuner to take a look at it, but they just keep asking more questions. So it seems the only problem I am really having with this unit that Denon needs to fix is the local FM radio issue. The service center has asked that I just send it back for another refurb and hope that the problem goes away. Also there has been another Flash upgrade since receiving this and the rumor is it was to fix the network card issue. BTW: if you turn you main power off you can't access the unit to turn it on remotely as the network card gets turned off ott.
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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 4, 2010 7:06:38 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 4, 2010 7:08:58 AM PDT
Hi,

I was looking at buying this receiver too. Indeed, a quick comparison of Specs on the Denon website clearly states that Zone 2/3 does not have any digital to analog conversion on the 3311ci. However, there is D/A conversion one step up on the 4311ci so you can be assured that Denon support wasn't trying to dumb anything down. But the 4311 is also $800 more retail! Hopefully it wasn't too much of a pain to put the fiber back in place.

See 2nd highlight under <Connectivity> @

http://usa.denon.com/us/Product/Pages/Product-Detail.aspx?CatId=3d9614d1-8000-4106-ab91-8192242cab83&SubId=40b5820d-83c2-4e93-9909-60aae60e0bdd&ProductId=b44a517c-7e15-493c-8373-dbd2a1f57f63

Regards

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2010 1:35:43 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 4, 2010 1:37:23 PM PDT
I will say that is weird as I never saw that before. Look a couple of lines down and you will see a check mark next to: Digital to Analog REC Out, which to me means the same thing as D/A output. Also before I purchased the unit I sent an e-mail asking which unit will have the Analog output on zone 2/3 with digital only input. They replied back that the 3311CI will do what I wanted. After the HDMI thing didn't work I contacted the same guy and he said he misunderstood my question and again said that the coax and fiber digital input can convert to analog on zone 2/3, but HDMI won't. He did apologize for the misunderstanding. You got me wondering if this has been added since my conversation with them, but that would be a conspiracy statement.

The other thing that is strange is that when I listen to music on the computer HDMI on the Denon with the receiver in the 7.2 mode I get sound out of the speaker if I hook it up to that speaker. reassign the receiver to a 5.1 and the two extra channels as Zone 2 and now I don't get any output.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2010 9:46:25 PM PDT
Geez! I feel you man! I've learned over the years to pour over manual details with a fine tooth comb. I knew about the D/A conversion before I read any reviews and sure enough someone got pinched by this feature (or lack there of). "It will do what you wanted" is a pretty vague statement! I wish you would have specifically mentioned HDMI instead of the word digital. Are you outside of the return peiod?

As for 5.1/ Zone 2/ no sound, go into the options Menu on the Denon & try

1. In Audio options - for Zone 2 /3 setup - choose Analog only or Auto

if those options aren't available, try...

2. turning Zone 2/ 3 off if you're not using them and see if that restores your computer sound

Posted on Dec 13, 2010 11:19:45 AM PST
J. Katz says:
I had the identical problem with my I-phone.
This was eventually solved only by downloading the latest upgrades to the AVR-3311 and updating the phone software to 4.2
My current AVR-3311 was replaced as the older unit would not play songs from the I-phone at all

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 1, 2011 10:08:18 AM PST
You had to replace your AVR-3311 after updating the the firmware and Iphone or before? The fix would have been nice to know about.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 3, 2011 6:55:40 PM PST
Very helpful review, Vero.
I am in the same position with a Denon AVR-3805, possible looking to upgrade to the AVR-3311.
My main reasoning is so I can have HDMI as my main input source.
Currently the all of my components are hooked up via component and/or composite video and audio cables.
I use Zone 2 to control 2 outdoor speakers.
Are you saying that if I upgrade to the AVR-3311 and connect all my devices via HDMI, that I won't get any sound on my outdoor speakers without ALSO running a composite audio cable as well?
Thanks for your help!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 3, 2011 7:04:27 PM PST
That is correct, You can also run a Toshlink or Digital Cable which would be perferred. However, HDMI only works on the Main Amp. You won't know this without looking at the manual in one of their footnotes.

Posted on Jan 26, 2011 4:12:05 AM PST
IndySSD says:
So if you set your DCX3400 Box resolution under the STB maintenance menu to "Native" it will work properly with the Denon3311. The issue with your box HDMI negotiation isn't an incompatibility, it's a settings conflict.

Best of luck,

IndySSD

Posted on Feb 4, 2011 11:26:37 AM PST
FunShop says:
I had my 3311 fail 2 months after purchase. The networking features stopped working (like all others have reported). The 3311 is in the shop for repair. I have also read that a replaced network card can fail after 60 days. Not sure how they can keep selling this unit.

Posted on Jul 29, 2011 9:40:36 AM PDT
S. Bachman says:
Thank God you're here. I am in the same dilemma as you were. I have a 3806 which I have had and loved for around 5 years now. Sonically, has been a very good receiver. I actually came from 2 channel and tubes so the first leap into video was painful. I have since adjusted and no longer worry about swapping tubes, etc. (Wife made sure of that) I am now looking to upgrade so I have all of the latest technology as I am going to upgrade my TV to 3D and go to BluRay as well. Did you find that the 3311 to be as sonically sound as your 3805 was? That is my biggest concern or do I bit the bullet and just move up to the 4311? Thanks again for a well written review.
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Location: Vero Beach, FL USA

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