Sure, it's great to be an "early adopter" of new technology. You get to play with the latest, coolest gear before any of your oh-so-20th-century friends, and you can learn about new trends as they emerge, transforming yourself into a thundering bore . . . er, valued cocktail-party guest.
Denon's Award Winner81757508087DenonAVR4308CIDenon has forged a reputation for producing excellent A/V receivers, a status that only gained renown some 3 years ago with the debut of its gargantuan flagship,
At some future date, someone, somewhere, will come up with a bigger, heavier, more powerful, and more fully featured A/V receiver than the one reviewed here. But until then we'll just have to make do with Denon's AVR-5800 - all 62 pounds, 1,190 watts, and seven THX Ultra-certified channels of it.
Don't buy this receiver if you have a bad back, a rickety rack, or a bulging credit limit. Because Denon's latest flagship, the AVR-5805, is as tall as many receivers are deep, as deep as many are wide, as heavy as a pair of many other flagship models - and as expensive as a two-year-old Kia.
AT A GLANCE Plus
Very solid amplifier performance
DTS:X, Dolby Atmos on board with seven-channel power and nine-channel processing
Good streaming-audio client performance and ergonomics
Firmware/feature upgrade process is clumsy
Denon’s latest-generation upper-echelon AVR does all of the most current modes, sources, and processings very competently indeed, with ample audio power and fully up-to-date video abilities.
Full disclosure: Denon holds a special place in my hi-fi heart, because the brand’s former parent company, Nippon Columbia, brought me to Japan for my first time, on a sort of mini–press junket cooked up by the firm’s U.S. marketing guru. When I say mini, I mean it: It was just myself; Ken, the marketing guy; colleague Ken Pohlmann; and the late consumer electronics editor Bill Wolfe, whom I already knew well through long associations at titles like Video, Car Stereo Review, and (Plain Ol’) Stereo Review (S&V’s precursor).
Audio Performance Video Performance Features Ergonomics Value
AT A GLANCE Plus
Dolby Atmos surround
4K-ready/upscaling with HDMI 2.0
Nine channels of flexible power
Top-tier Audyssey room/speaker correction
No HDCP 2.2 for future UHD content
Fairly basic supplied remote
Some mode-selection options a bit cumbersome
Outstanding audio capabilities and thoughtful ergonomics underpin our first Dolby Atmos–capable A/V receiver.
It’s been several years since I’ve had the opportunity to “do” a big Denon A/V receiver. So when a sample arrived of the company’s behemoth AVR-X5200W, one of the very first receivers ready to decode and distribute Dolby Atmos in a home theater setting, I was ready to begin. Atmos is the San Franciscans’ latest, “object-based,” scalable-multichannel surround format.
Photos by Tony Cordoza My old man told me I'd get nowhere trying to be all things to all people, but Denon appears to have done pretty well by flouting this adage with its new DVD-2900. (I always knew Dad was full of it.) It plays optical discs in just about every current video or audio flavor.
Earthquake Sound's origins are deep in the world of 12-volt (that's car stereo to you and me), where they take their bass, and their SPLs, very seriously. So while I was a bit dismayed by the size of the carefully shrink-wrapped pallet that its Titan Telesto-based speaker system arrived on - it could easily have contained a whole-house stand-by-generator - I was not particularly surprised.