Best Denon Receivers
For quite a long time, AV receivers have occupied the position of the leading home media center. This is not surprising since these devices combine excellent video and audio performance. Now receivers are gaining more and more popularity, and competition in the market is becoming more and more. In this review, we will look at each best Denon AV receiver.
The history of this company is over 100 years. Throughout the entire duration of its activity, the company does not change its principles, the main of which are quality and reliability. And that’s why I did a detailed top Denon receivers review in order to choose a fantastic receiver.
Denon AVR-X3700H – best overall
Let’s begin reviews with a review of Denon’s mid-range flagship AVR-X3700H. This unit can handle 9.2 configurations directly (and handle up to 11.2 through external amplifiers) at 105 W at 8 Ohm or 135 W at 6 Ohm.
The X3700H handles the latest useful HDMI features. This contains an 8K at 60Hz and 4K at 120Hz video bandwidth. In addition, I discovered HDR10+ and Dynamic HDR support here. An essential option, dubbed QMS, which allows the source to immediately change the resolution or frame rate to eliminate screen blanket, is not realized in competing models. I also noticed that this 8K receiver could also upscale existing HD and 4K content to 8K, so more people can experience the full power of the 8K source.
This model supports all modern audio files available with DTS and Dolby in all their flavors, including the height virtualization feature. And therefore, there is an opportunity to imitate the sound environment in the surroundings.
I have calibrated the test system before a test. After a quarter of an hour or so, the calibration system finished its work, and this new Denon played with its full power, capturing my attention to the solid sound quality of the movie during testing. When I listened to the audio compositions, the high performance also surprised me. The sound is mighty, yet clean and crisp. It’s a combination of solid dynamic expressions that excites each vocal part.
The presence of power and clarity allowed me to dive deeper into the soundtrack and capture each instrumental part. However, with streaming services, the receiver does not cope so well. I could clearly hear a stutter during playback. And the overall sound quality was poor – low detail and lack of pronounced highs and lows.
- The virtual speakers fit perfectly into the sound stage.
- The image after up-scaling looks prime quality on a level with native 4K.
- Audio streaming from Amazon Music and Tidal is poor quality and stutters.
Denon AVR-X4700H – Top Denon AVR under 2000 dollars
The Denon AVR-X4700H is a mid-budget receiver that can satisfy even the most demanding music lovers with its sound. However, the X4700H is the transitional link between Denon`s top-end and mid-range receivers and already has a killer sound and feature set.
The AVR-X4700H`s video path is based on the latest HDMI video features such as 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz with both pass-throughs but only works on one input and 8K up-scaling. And like most similar models, it has Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and HDCP 2.3 support on all HDMI inputs.
With nine power amplifiers (125 W at 8 Ohm or 165 W at 6 Ohm), the AVR-X4700H delivers advanced productivity due to the 11 channel processing and surround decoders Dolby and DTS: X, and Auro-3D.
And I’d like to add to what has already been said. There are IMAX Enhanced-based decoders. Of course, all audio decoders such as Dolby Surround, DTS Neural: X, and Auro-Matic are here too.
When I started testing the unit’s capabilities with a movie, a high-definition sound stage combined with spatial effects immediately surrounded me. Each action on the screen was accompanied by sound with appropriate positioning. Unfortunately, I didn’t leave the feeling that I was watching a video, not at 60 Hz, but much lower, at a frequency, somewhere around 30 Hz.
Denon handles musical scores confidently: impulse fidelity, excellent coarse dynamics, and high spatial density provide a high perceptual ratio. The 4700H is powerful enough to properly deliver detailed sound in the range from high to low frequencies. This works well in a nearly 30 square meter listening room with no compromise or even can deal with additional rooms in case of a wired multiroom. Otherwise, in order not to burden the device, you can use the HEOS protocol and make a wireless multi-room.
- Virtual DTS/Atmos work creates an entire 3D sound stage.
- It is possible to create a multi-room system from several HEOS wireless speakers.
- High-definition video streaming did not go smoothly, and sometimes to a complete lack of images.
Denon AVR-X2700H – top model unde
The Denon AVR-X2700H is a capable 7.2-channel home cinema media unit with HEOS wireless multi-room technology.
The sound quality is genuinely immersive due to the significant performance of 95 W at 8 Ohm or 125 W at 6 Ohm per channel. And I’m talking about both Hi-Fi and home theater with 3D sound. Best of all, this unit is 8K compatible. I have no doubts about its versatility because it is fully compatible with the essential advanced music features by Dolby and DTS.
When I listened to tracks, the X2700H also gave an excellent result. While there is a difference between CD tracks and streaming, the Denon AVR-X2700H does a pretty exciting job. It generates a dense sound “stage” in the room. This also applies to multi-room capabilities. However, the only drawback of this is the control of additional zones only with the help of the receiver’s UI. I would even say that the unit gives the effect of presence. It reproduces the entire frequency range well, from rich bass to squeaky high frequencies. However, the details of the sound are best captured in the middle register.
The impression it made on me during the test is quite positive. It operates with a rich sound without unnecessary details. In the movie test, I was glad to hear a reasonably high-quality transmission of dialogues. They are reproduced with astonishing clarity. All voices are authentic, and when the dialogue falls into the background of the soundtrack, the clarity of the sound is further enhanced. The Denon AVR-X2700H seamlessly divides the sound into different channels and prevents other effects from drowning out the dialogue.
- Possible to disable the internal amplifier in the Preamp Mode.
- Even under heavy loads, the receiver does not heat up.
- There is no way to control additional zones from the application.
Denon AVR-X6700H – best premium Denon AVR
The AVR-X6700H is Denon’s top premium 8K unit. The top-of-the-line AVR-X6700H comes with an 11.2-channel amplifier module. The power is 140 W/8 Ohm or 175 W/6 Ohm per channel, and I think such an impressive power will be enough to sound even a large room fully. And if you still use two different sets of speakers, then you can create a set of settings for each of them and switch between them.
And when compared to the previous Denon AVR-X6500H, the X6700H has 8 HDMI input terminals and three output terminals, all certified as HDMI 2.1 standard. Thanks to this, the AVR-X6700H supports 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz, which are complemented by the latest video technologies – Dolby Atmos, DTS: X, and even DTS: X Pro. I’d also like to draw attention to the fact that this device can work with IMAX Enhanced (up to 13 channels in 9.1.2 and 9.1.4 configurations).
And as usual, I started the review by watching a movie. I should note that switching from Blu-ray player to TV caused unpleasant picture jerks. The testing unit produced a delightful, clean, and understandable sound, and the dynamics and detail were impeccable. However, as I can tell, the bass could have been a little more intense. And, of course, the best Denon receiver cannot sound bad.
With tracks, I got similar results. The output is accurate and detailed sound, and I had a realistic perception of the sound stage. The bass ranges were also slightly underestimated here, but the subwoofer made up for this trifle.
- The image is cinematic quality because of IMAX support.
- Two presets with different sound settings can be stored in the receiver’s memory.
- Switching from one source to another may cause picture distortion.
- The bass power does not match the high volume of the mid and high registers.
The Denon AVR-X8500H is a particularly fantastic model because of its 13 power levels. This unit develops a 150 W/8 Ohm or 190 W/6 Ohm power per channel. In addition, I must say that in single-channel mode. The functionality is excellent when the device produces an impressive 260 W with an impedance of 6 Ohm. It can be used with major immersive audio standards such as Dolby Atmos, DTS: X, and Auro-3D. With the last, you can configure a 7.1.6 or 9.1.4 surround speaker set by adding a maximum of six additional height speakers.
With HDMI connectivity and HDCP 2.2 protection, I was able to extract the most from an available 4K source. In addition, I note that there is support for HDR, Dolby Vision, HLG, offering the highest image quality not only from modern digital video sources but also from old analog ones.
I heard detailed, light, and spacious sounds during the movie test. The audio of the battle scenes seemed so realistic that I almost became a spectator of the story. I felt a real immersive experience. In terms of Hi-Fi listening, I also got more than satisfactory results. I clearly separated instruments and vocals. Frequencies ranging from high to low sounded nice and clear. I was surrounded by soft and mesmerizing music. I can summarize that Denon also excelled in music.
- Has a 32-bit audio converter for each channel.
- There is full support for ceiling speakers.
- The cooling system of the receiver cannot cope with the load.
Denon AVR-X1600H – best budget Denon receiver
The Denon AVR-X1600H is an affordable classic 7.2 receiver with surround sound capabilities. It has all the valuable features and connections and offers enough power (80 W with 8 Ohm impedance or 120 W with 6 Ohm) to meet modern standards. In addition, a powerful amplifier unit provides another function that is not available to some budget receivers – this is biamping. And besides this, the receiver can work with a vinyl player.
Let’s start with video capabilities. On the back of the Denon AVR-X1600H, there are five more HDMI ports (only 6 in total) and an ARC output. All HDMI inputs accept 4K/60 Hz, HDCP 2.2, HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG. And thanks to this set, I have not experienced problems with compatibility with UHD TVs, as well as Blu-ray players that already support higher resolutions compared to classic Full HD.
When it comes to music, the functionality is excellent – listening to Hi-Fi on the Denon AVR-X1600H and listening to streaming music work very well. However, as soon as I increased the volume above average, distortion appeared and detail was lost. The sound is just as fantastic, crisp but less loaded with low frequencies than before. The vocal parts sound distinct, and the high frequencies of the strings sound very natural. This all gave me the impression of a rich sound stage around me.
To get excellent results from the test, I have tuned the entire audio system using the auto-calibration system. And as I expected, the sound was delightful, and the movie soundtrack reproduction was crystal clear and amazingly detailed. The sound is expressive and agile, with good bass reproduction.
- There is a possibility of bi-amping.
- Supports connection of a turntable
- There could be more connections.
- Distortion of high volume.
Denon DRA-800H – good stereo receiver
Denon DRA-800H is specially designed for stereo music lovers. And with FM and DAB + radio tuners, dedicated headphone terminals, Wi-Fi, and multiple digital inputs, including HDMI, I got excellent stereo sound with preamp support and home cinema functionality.
The DRA-800H offers five HDMI inputs and one HDMI output supporting 60Hz Full 4K Ultra HD video resolution with support for all the latest video technologies. There is also HDMI ARC, which ensures smooth sound transmission directly from the Smart TV to the receiver via a single HDMI cable.
I can note that this model develops the power declared by the Denon company – 100 W/8 Ohm or 120 W/6 Ohm per channel using proprietary audiophile-grade resistors and capacitors. It also uses AKM AK4458 DACs. And I checked it out and can say that DRA-800H decodes HD signals from a wide range of lossless file formats, including ALAC, FLAC, and WAV, up to 24-bit / 192 kHz.
I started my Denon DRA-800H test by playing a movie on a 4K TV. Only the receiver had to be set up manually. Despite the stereo configuration, the sound was smooth, low frequencies pushed, and the sound stage was excellent and comprehensive. Dialogues were quite naturally separated from the background.
However, where it really stops is listening to Hi-Fi music. I was pretty impressed with the naturalness of the sound. The sound stage was quite broad, and the instruments sounded “authentic.”
And I was also not disappointed when listening to wireless audio from streaming services, despite the compression of the audio stream. The sound sometimes lacked clarity and nuance, but it was still relatively smooth and pleasant. It appears that the Japanese receiver does not accentuate compression defects.
- It is possible to connect a vinyl player.
- Soft and balanced sound.
- No decoder for Dolby Digital or DTS tracks.
- There is no room acoustic corrector in the receiver.
Difference between budget and premium Denon AV receivers
Every manufacturer of home theater receivers, and Denon is no exception, offers a wide variety of models that could find their buyer in each range of market prices, offering the best Denon receiver in its scope.
That is why this species of model raises many buyers` questions. And it’s worth understanding this in more detail by disassembling each component of a home cinema receiver.
I should start with corps and frame. Maybe, the first feature that people look at when buying a new device. The more costly the AVR, the more exquisite it appears to be. And this can be seen from the plastic of the front panel and other external details of the case. More expensive receivers are also distinguished by a reinforced frame, which serves as a mount for a heavy transformer. It also dampens component vibrations.
The second item to examine, in my opinion, is connection specifications. In this regard, manufacturers outfit high-end receivers with the most up-to-date audio and visual functions. These types always feature a more significant number of digital and analog interfaces. For example, only in top-end models is HDMI 2.1 for 8K video streaming with HDCP 2.3 protection. The same is true for wireless protocols, the more expensive the model, the newer technologies will be used there: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, others.
Receiver components also have a significant impact on their price. The more powerful the transformer is, the more expensive the device itself, but at the same time, we have better audio specs at the output. However, do not forget about capacitors, resistors, DACs – all these components also increase in quality with an increase in the receiver’s class.
The most recent technology, as well as fantastic sound, are not inexpensive. The quality and power of the DSP area and the number of channels are also responsible for this.
Key points to pay attention to when choosing a receiver
How many watts per channel do I need
The critical point for a home cinema receiver is the amplification power. In other words, it is the number of watts that are supplied to one channel. This is a delicate point that we must pay special attention to, as lack of power is one of the key factors that most affects the final perceived sound quality.
The amplification power that the receiver can supply to each channel is a significant point when choosing. Since it is the lack of energy that is one of the factors that most of all affects the resulting sound quality.
The power of a receiver must always be considered with the impedance at which it operates. For example, the Denon AVR-X8500H has 150 W/channel at 8 Ohm or 190 W/channel per channel at 6 Ohm. This means it will work just fine with 8 ohms or 6 ohms impedance speakers. However, if you connect a loudspeaker with a higher impedance, the receiver will no longer have enough power, and you will get terrible noise.
The power given in the example will be quite enough for sounding large rooms (40 m3 and more). So, you need to look at the impedance of your speakers and the size of the room when choosing a receiver for power.
How many channels do I need?
When choosing a receiver, you should have a good understanding of where you are going to install the home theater system, in which room, what dimensions it has, the space available for placing speakers, etc.
On that basis, it will be easier for the user to determine how many channels need to use (usually 5.1 or 7.1). Currently, most mid to high-end receivers you find on the market are 7.1 or higher compatible, with 5.1 equipment falling into the budget bands. And you should understand that the more channels the receiver has, the more area it can sound.
And if you don’t have a budget issue, I recommend that you opt for at least 7.1 receivers because while you can’t help but use all channels right now, you will have these additional channels for future home theater upgrades.
Determine what you will connect to the receiver
Communication with external devices makes a home media center out of the receiver. You need to study this direction carefully.
Speaker terminals and HDMI I/O are crucial for any receiver. The number of connectors for the connection of speakers depends directly on the power of the unit. The number of HDMI ports varies from model to model. You have to be careful and look at the version of these ports – HDMI 2.0 is now the most common and will allow you to transfer 4K content.
If you want to transmit signals digitally, then you should pay attention to the presence of optical and coaxial ports.
I also want to note that many new models still have analog RCA kits for connecting all kinds of equipment to the receiver. And this point will be especially important for vinyl lovers because the Pre Out outputs are just implemented through analog RCA.
Also, do not forget about wireless technologies. In today’s reality, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are absolutely essential. The first will enable us to use streaming services directly from the media device. The second will allow you to stream music from your mobile devices directly to the receiver.
Apple owners should pay attention to the presence of AirPlay or AirPlay 2. This is also used for streaming music.
And if you want to create a multi-room space, then you need features such as HEOS or Music Cast.
There are some functions that are implemented in most receiver models.
4K is now the generally accepted standard for high-definition video. Almost every model of modern receivers, from budget to expensive, has support for this format. The only difference is the refresh rate. 60Hz frequency is ubiquitous in models, but you can find 120Hz only in models with HDMI 2.1 support. However, the 8K format is only gaining popularity. This resolution has four times higher image clarity than 4K. And it needs high HDMI 2.1 bandwidth to run at 60Hz.
HDR and HDR 10+
The HDR technology dramatically expands both contrast and color! Bright areas of the picture can become much, much more colorful than on a regular TV, so the picture looks “deeper” and more realistic. The color palette expands with deeper shades of reds, greens, and blues – and all possible combinations.
Along with HDR came a new standard for the Rec. 2020, which contains such shades that it was simply impossible to reproduce them on an ordinary TV. However, Understanding the following – HDR video allows you to see the picture exactly as the manufacturer (film company) intended is crucial. Video with HDR should accurately reproduce the atmosphere planned by the author.
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
Both technologies provide complete immersion in sound systems but achieve it in different ways.
Dolby Atmos does not allow the soundtrack to be captured channel by channel, but instead puts the sound objects in speakers in a room, as the sound engineer intended. The Dolby Atmos processor recreates the recorded surround sound picture in Real-time, depending on the number of speakers utilized in the system.
DTS X audio is an open-source audio format of the next generation. DTS: X can place sounds over the whole room, like its competitor Dolby Atmos, in contrast to traditional surround sounds technologies.
Multi-room features help listen to music or view a film in numerous rooms simultaneously. The simplest multi-room (for example, for a one-two-room apartment) you can organize on the basis of a multi-zone receiver that you decided to purchase for a home cinema system in the living room. In this case, the model of the receiver must be selected, taking into account the availability of exceptional audio, and for some models, video outputs to additional zones.
Moreover, there is an alternative. A multi-room system can be based on self-contained sound devices, consisting of several active components (speakers, amplifiers, switches) that can receive and distribute multiroom audio both in wired and wireless modes. Some models of receivers have support for one technology or another – HEOS, Sonos, Music Cast.