The best home theater systems use a speaker system powered by a receiver. Among AV amplifier manufacturers, two brands stand out above the rest: Yamaha and Denon. Denon is beating Yamaha, sells more and takes more prizes, and if we add to its units those of Marantz (a brand twinned with Denon whose AVs use the same technology) the leadership of Denon, or D&M, is even clearer. .
We recently echoed the new Denon models for 2020 and 2021, but what are the keys to their superiority? As we'll see, it's a combination of its state- of-the-art connectivity (which already includes HDMI 2.1 ), its sound processing technology (the latest formats) and also Denon's 110-year heritage of making sound equipment.
1: Full connectivity and 8K
We already pointed out that in the presentation of the new Denon models that HDMI 2.1 was one of its key points. Right now only if you have an 8K TV or projector and you get something from Netflix or Amazon Prime in 8K, test broadcasts aside, you will appreciate this. But as soon as the Playstation PS5 or its rival XBOS Series X appears, everything will change ... and without the latest HDMI connection you'll be missing things.
Audio and video processors of a Denon receiver
In addition to the latest HDMI connections (or their number) the Denons have everything you could need in audio and video , analog or digital inputs . And maximum network connectivity, compatible with all online sound services or with specialized music systems like Roon. Also with AirPlay 2 , and compatible with Alexa or Google assistants. Plus, with the assurance of being backed up: Denon releases helpful firmware updates that add features. Also some models receive hardware updates so as not to be left behind: whoever invested thousands of euros in their flagship (AVC-X8500H) for example will be happy to know that they will be able to install an HDMI 2.1 board.
2: Ease of use
There comes a point where home theater receivers have become "monsters" for their capabilities. Just take a look at the rear panel for the uninitiated to freak out at the sight of so many connections. But Denon has also improved how anyone can get down to business installing it in their home. With clearer instructions, but above all with interaction and "guide" systems in which the device itself helps us to take the first steps ... and to the end.
Part of that help is the Audyssey acoustic calibration and correction system in its different versions. It is responsible, once the equipment (speakers and cables) has been “physically” installed, to check that everything is properly connected. Adjust the level of each speaker so that the effects do not lose their immersive effect, and detect resonances and other acoustic problems in the room to correct them automatically.
3: Premium sound
Denon has been making sound amplifiers for over a century, and they know how to design great-sounding products. Their experts help them, or their tuning room in Shirakawa (Japan) with a 7.2.6 system of the highest level. They carry out fitting and demonstration sessions in different parts of the world and all that information ends up being reflected in their products for the public. In the fall of 2020 Denon turns 110 and they plan to launch a commemorative device then.
There are different key points that differentiate the best amplifiers: one is the power when many speakers are fed, as in these home theater systems. Stating " 100 watts per channel " is easy when measuring just one, but when the soundtrack "blows up" and there are five, seven, or more channels or speakers calling for power, that figure often drops below 50 percent. Denon guarantees 70 percent of total power .
4: All formats
Sound formats for home theater have not stopped evolving. Since Dolby Digital and DTS appeared in the 90s , these “rival” formats have been adding features, more channels, less compression, more resolution ... In the middle of 2020, Dolby advances with its Atmos in multiple configurations, while DTS- X Pro does the same with your system.
Over the years the advanced Auro 3D system has been added , which may have its own speaker requirement (ceiling placement). Denons are able to take this into account and, in semi-professional or dedicated installations, use the speakers for each system. Also the “ IMAX Enhanced ” certification has been in the market for a while, and Denons are compatible or meet those demands. On the other hand, they logically support their own multi-room sound system ( HEOS ), which opens a world to home sound.
The quality standards of Denon receivers have reached very high levels. In such complex systems, it is important that design and quality controls do not leave room to chance . User surveys show the high level of satisfaction of those who bet on Denon for their home theater. Just as they include always the latest features, it is a good detail to note that they detect what is superfluous or falls into disuse to avoid unnecessary complexities. The new receivers this year, for example, dispense with the high-end FM receiver that involved certain commitments and that according to their surveys already used less than 5 percent of users.