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Denon D39 CD receiver

xpressanny

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Jun 7, 2013
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I am very new to this technology. We have just bought a Denon RCD-M39 with Q Acoustic speakers. Everything works okay but does anyone know how to alter the sound or do we just have what we have or do we have to buy something else?
 

matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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Firstly, make sure you switch off the Speaker Optimisation, which is intended for Denon's own speakers. The Qs sound much better with this feature switched off.

If you really want to alter the sound, there are tone controls which can be acessed using the button marked SDB Tone on the remote - a quick read of the manual will tell you what the options are and how to change them.

I'm currently using the same combination and I've got Source Direct switched on (through the SDB Tone menu) and everything else flat. Sounds great.
 

matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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The feature adapts the frequency response of the amp circuit to suit the Denon speakers, but with other speakers it just doesn't sound right andn is best switched off. Certainly I found a big difference for the better when I switched it off.

It can be found in the SETUP menu.
 

matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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I found it slightly more neutral, as you describe, with simpler acoustic stuff, but found a bigger difference with large-scale orchestral stuff where the decreased 'thickness' of the sound opened complex textures up more. Seems a good match with the 2020i to me given the total cost of the combination.
 

dalwen

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Jan 18, 2012
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Hi Matthew, i've noticed that You have a new stereo reciever-cd-player (instead of the PMA720!)

did You lose in terms of soundquality? Or is there not much between them?
 

matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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dalwen said:
Hi Matthew, i've noticed that You have a new stereo reciever-cd-player (instead of the PMA720!)

did You lose in terms of soundquality? Or is there not much between them?
I've still got the PMA720AE, but I'm not using it at present. Its a really good amp, but strangely I'm not missing it, and I'm really enjoying the music on the all-in-one unit, which I've moved from another room. The RCD-M39DAB gets a good sense of scale and detail from the Qs, and it is a very 'together' sound. I would certainly have to think more than twice about paying the money for a budget seperates system if this was all I had. My plan is ultimately to move to active speakers, possibly some Yamahas to start with and the, when funds allow, some AVIs.
 

magnus78

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Jul 14, 2012
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Switched off the speaker optimizer and yes sound quality did improved. :dance: Mine pair with Wharfedale Diamond 121.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Matthew, isn't htere just the same danger you might go from upgradeitis with the actives as you're doing with traditional gear? The Yamahas start from around £350 a pair, then the AVI's are around £1300. I know everyone raves about them for the most part, but actives vary as much as passive speakers do. Ca' canny and all that else you'll still be on a merry-go-round.
 

matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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the record spot said:
Matthew, isn't htere just the same danger you might go from upgradeitis with the actives as you're doing with traditional gear? The Yamahas start from around £350 a pair, then the AVI's are around £1300. I know everyone raves about them for the most part, but actives vary as much as passive speakers do. Ca' canny and all that else you'll still be on a merry-go-round.
Well, I understand your point RS and there is a small danger of that happening. Realistically though, it will take me some time to save up for something like the ADMs and the Yamahas would give me the chance to see how I get on with actives without the more significant outlay. If I do end up progressing to the ADMs I won't be able to afford to upgrade them again. It is as simple as that.
 

cse

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Mar 3, 2008
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matthewpiano said:
Well, I understand your point RS and there is a small danger of that happening. Realistically though, it will take me some time to save up for something like the ADMs and the Yamahas would give me the chance to see how I get on with actives without the more significant outlay. If I do end up progressing to the ADMs I won't be able to afford to upgrade them again. It is as simple as that.
Rather than save, why not just repay them interest free? The only way to really get out of endless upgrading/experimenting is to buy the complete mid-range system upfront in one go. You'll notice people that have done that don't return to the 'debates/individual merits of components' for 10 years (often more) at least, as highlighted by many prevoius posts. They then only return to thinking about their HIFI when something fails.
 

matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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cse said:
matthewpiano said:
Well, I understand your point RS and there is a small danger of that happening. Realistically though, it will take me some time to save up for something like the ADMs and the Yamahas would give me the chance to see how I get on with actives without the more significant outlay. If I do end up progressing to the ADMs I won't be able to afford to upgrade them again. It is as simple as that.
Rather than save, why not just repay them interest free? The only way to really get out of endless upgrading/experimenting is to buy the complete mid-range system upfront in one go. You'll notice people that have done that don't return to the 'debates/individual merits of components' for 10 years (often more) at least, as highlighted by many prevoius posts. They then only return to thinking about their HIFI when something fails.
I'm not prepared to put what is really a luxury on credit, and I'm in no rush. I'm actually thoroughly enjoying my music on the RCD-M39DAB/2020i combination at present and feel like I can take whatever next step I decide on when I can comfortably afford to do so.
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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matthewpiano said:
the record spot said:
Matthew, isn't htere just the same danger you might go from upgradeitis with the actives as you're doing with traditional gear? The Yamahas start from around £350 a pair, then the AVI's are around £1300. I know everyone raves about them for the most part, but actives vary as much as passive speakers do. Ca' canny and all that else you'll still be on a merry-go-round.
Well, I understand your point RS and there is a small danger of that happening. Realistically though, it will take me some time to save up for something like the ADMs and the Yamahas would give me the chance to see how I get on with actives without the more significant outlay. If I do end up progressing to the ADMs I won't be able to afford to upgrade them again. It is as simple as that.
This is something I mentioned a few days ago (most seemed to have missed). With respect, Matthew, I think upgraditis or box swapping is in your DNA. I think even after the AVIs, regardless of how good they maybe, you'll start hankering for the old system, and if you still have them, you'll be going thru "I wonder" scenario.

FWIW I have no problem with box swappers but there'll always be lingering doubts.

Are there any passive brands below the £1000 mark you haven't heard?
 

matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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plastic penguin said:
matthewpiano said:
the record spot said:
Matthew, isn't htere just the same danger you might go from upgradeitis with the actives as you're doing with traditional gear? The Yamahas start from around £350 a pair, then the AVI's are around £1300. I know everyone raves about them for the most part, but actives vary as much as passive speakers do. Ca' canny and all that else you'll still be on a merry-go-round.
Well, I understand your point RS and there is a small danger of that happening. Realistically though, it will take me some time to save up for something like the ADMs and the Yamahas would give me the chance to see how I get on with actives without the more significant outlay. If I do end up progressing to the ADMs I won't be able to afford to upgrade them again. It is as simple as that.
This is something I mentioned a few days ago (most seemed to have missed). With respect, Matthew, I think upgraditis or box swapping is in your DNA. I think even after the AVIs, regardless of how good they maybe, you'll start hankering for the old system, and if you still have them, you'll be going thru "I wonder" scenario.

FWIW I have no problem with box swappers but there'll always be lingering doubts.

Are there any passive brands below the £1000 mark you haven't heard?
I know where you are coming from PP and I agree with you in some ways, but I absolutely cannot continue with it long-term.

On the passive system front, I do like Denon electronics. I've still got the PMA720AE and won't be moving it on any time soon, and I'm really enjoying my music through the little RCD-M39DAB. My biggest regret in hi-fi is not sticking with the PMA1500AE and DCD1500AE I had. Its only since I parted with them and heard so much other stuff that I realise how good they were, and that I'd probably struggle to get better within reasonable financial constraints. Coming back to Denon has got me closer again, although I think if I were to continue building my system around the '720AE I'd need to be getting the matching CD player. I honestly don't think the Roksan suits me. If I had the funds I'd be sorely tempted to get the 1510AE combination now it is on run-out, but I don't at present and the replacement 1520AEs have been priced out of my league.

The thought of actives is quite attractive if they really can give so much greater performance per pound than a passive set-up. I do still need to be convinced of that by extended listenin and I won't be going down that route until I am, particularly as the more affordable actives like the Yamahas would need some logistical thinking to make them a practical proposition.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
matthewpiano said:
The thought of actives is quite attractive if they really can give so much greater performance per pound than a passive set-up. I do still need to be convinced of that by extended listenin and I won't be going down that route until I am, particularly as the more affordable actives like the Yamahas would need some logistical thinking to make them a practical proposition.
Therein lies the rub.

I've listened to loads of actives over the last few years; Genelec, Mackie, KRK, Yamaha, Roland, Adam, and a few others I can't recall. Several Genelecs, a few Yamahas, one Roland (which also housed a DAC - the now discontinued DS7) and a couple of KRKs. They all sounded good. None of them sounded poor, but they were all different.

So when you get down to it, the much vaunted "better" is from a technical merit and not always an audio one. You can speak in absolutes about anything, but it's not as simple as that pound for pound. For £600, I could've bought some great actives, but that only gets part of the picture. What about all the other stuff I need that I need the hardware for, or the functionality? That's why for me, great audio isn't just baout somebody else's idea of how it should all hang together.

Yes, the HDD Audio folk are all very well informed, but there's is but one aspect. Somebody on that site when I used to frequent it said top me, when I mentioned how pleased I was with the Tannoys I use, "yes, but they're still passives". That summed it up for me; it ididn't matter what the merits of the Tannoys were, they were either passive and crap, or actives and by default, excellent. Wrong mindset to use.

So try them out, give them a spin, the Yamaha HS50 is alright as you've heard, but I think Genelec would be better for your tastes. Nearer the Denon sound and without the neutrality of the Yammies, good though they are. You'd still need a preamp/DAC and you'd still need a source player too. You gain some things with actives, I mean as well as the hyperbole some people bring with them, but not, by the same token, as much as you might be led to believe.

Horses for courses, ultimately.
 

John Duncan

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Jan 8, 2008
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Therein does, indeed, lie the rub. I installed an active speaker in my kitchen yesterday (a Sonos Play:3). Whilst the comparison may be ridiculous, is it better than the passive setup in the living room? No, and no one here (I hope) would expect it to be.

Whilst I agree that 9.1s with a sub would, on the face of it, suit you very well, I'd be cautious about thinking that any active system will immediately solve all the perceived ills of a passive system.
 

plastic penguin

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There is also another realistic problem: Managing expectations. Everyone tries to shuffle nearer to hi-fi utopia, yet, like the end of the perverbial rainbow, when you think you're closer, it moves.

Hi-fi has always been and will always remain a tantalising conundrum.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
plastic penguin said:
There is also another realistic problem: Managing expectations. Everyone tries to shuffle nearer to hi-fi utopia, yet, like the end of the perverbial rainbow, when you think you're closer, it moves.

Hi-fi has always been and will always remain a tantalising conundrum.
I think much of that shifting comes from people wanting it to move rather than being happy in what they have!
 

cse

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Mar 3, 2008
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matthewpiano said:
On the passive system front, I do like Denon electronics. I've still got the PMA720AE and won't be moving it on any time soon, and I'm really enjoying my music through the little RCD-M39DAB. My biggest regret in hi-fi is not sticking with the PMA1500AE and DCD1500AE I had. Its only since I parted with them and heard so much other stuff that I realise how good they were, and that I'd probably struggle to get better within reasonable financial constraints. Coming back to Denon has got me closer again, although I think if I were to continue building my system around the '720AE I'd need to be getting the matching CD player. I honestly don't think the Roksan suits me. If I had the funds I'd be sorely tempted to get the 1510AE combination now it is on run-out, but I don't at present and the replacement 1520AEs have been priced out of my league.

The thought of actives is quite attractive if they really can give so much greater performance per pound than a passive set-up. I do still need to be convinced of that by extended listenin and I won't be going down that route until I am, particularly as the more affordable actives like the Yamahas would need some logistical thinking to make them a practical proposition.
Why did you sell the Denon package? It had SACD playback as well, so good for classical, pretty unbeatable at the price,but deserves high quality revealing speakers.
 

matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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cse said:
matthewpiano said:
On the passive system front, I do like Denon electronics. I've still got the PMA720AE and won't be moving it on any time soon, and I'm really enjoying my music through the little RCD-M39DAB. My biggest regret in hi-fi is not sticking with the PMA1500AE and DCD1500AE I had. Its only since I parted with them and heard so much other stuff that I realise how good they were, and that I'd probably struggle to get better within reasonable financial constraints. Coming back to Denon has got me closer again, although I think if I were to continue building my system around the '720AE I'd need to be getting the matching CD player. I honestly don't think the Roksan suits me. If I had the funds I'd be sorely tempted to get the 1510AE combination now it is on run-out, but I don't at present and the replacement 1520AEs have been priced out of my league.

The thought of actives is quite attractive if they really can give so much greater performance per pound than a passive set-up. I do still need to be convinced of that by extended listenin and I won't be going down that route until I am, particularly as the more affordable actives like the Yamahas would need some logistical thinking to make them a practical proposition.
Why did you sell the Denon package? It had SACD playback as well, so good for classical, pretty unbeatable at the price,but deserves high quality revealing speakers.
Right now I can't think why CSE. It was a stupid move and the one thing I never gave it was a pair of high quality enough speakers to do it justice.
 

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