Denon AVR-2307CI A/V Receiver Page 3

HUMAN FACTORS A/V receivers are complex, and getting more so. Designing one to be easily operable by mere humans is no trivial task, and so far, nobody has done a perfect job of it at any price. So salt the following niggles accordingly.

Denon's onscreen menus and displays for the AVR-2307CI are complete and informative; they're also straightforward and text-based for the most part. Unfortunately (as I've already mentioned, and as is true of many or most receivers at this level), they display in 480i only, which in my A/V life means a screen re-sync whenever invoking or releasing the displays. Under ideal conditions, my screen itself requires about 2 seconds to re-sync: painful but bearable. But with the Denon in the loop, onscreen appearance/disappearance when watching 720p or 1080i sources induced a blank screen for 5 full seconds, every time. Perhaps more seriously, I encountered HDMI-audio and even PCM dropouts when bringing onscreen menus up or down. When a source's HDMI link was connected and selected as the digital-audio source, bringing the OSD up or down caused digital audio to mute altogether for as long as 4 or 5 seconds; even with a coaxial digital input selected, if HDMI was connected from the same source, audio still muted for a second or two.

The remote packed with the 2307CI is new and quite clever. It seems to offer just a basic set of keys, well laid out and ergonomically sized, textured, and located (though with dismally small black-on-silver graphics). But flip the handset over and pry open its right edge and you reveal a whole new remote, with buttons for setup, Zone 2 operations, selecting surround modes and adjusting channel levels, numeric keys, and more. This is a novel solution to the too-many-buttons syndrome and one with real potential. But relegating such important functions as surround-mode selection or numeric-key input to the secondary remote might require a rethink, though I concede that you can't have all things all ways. At a more personal level, the left-hinging door discriminates against lefties (I'm consulting my attorneys about possible class action ...).

Okay, this is too much negative talk for a receiver that I consider to be fundamentally highly excellent, so don't hear me as discouraging any potential owners from scoping it out. (The stronger the core performance, the more you tend to poke and prod the performer.) In most real-world operations the Denon AVR-2307CI A/V receiver acquitted itself very well indeed, and its audio and video quality are solidly above reproach.

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