Denon AVR-3312CI A/V Receiver

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Price: $1,100 At A Glance: Discrete amplifier circuitry, 125-watt channels • CI customintegrator features • Full Apple and Audyssey suites

Denon has long been among the most nimble of the major manufacturers of audio/video receivers. If a feature of any significance raises its head above the parapet, Denon nails it faster than just about anyone—and often spreads it among many models. You might quibble over the value of, say, the company’s quick and near-universal inclusion of multiple height-channel surround enhancements. But as one of Denon’s CI-series models, the AVR-3312CI also has a substantial array of features designed to make life easier for custom integrators and their clients. It sure doesn’t hurt that the receiver is Apple-hip.

Lest you think Denon neglects the fundamentals in favor of fripperies, its rated 125 watts per channel arrive via discrete amplifier modules. The internal layout follows a simple and straight philosophy that keeps signal paths as short as possible to avoid degradation. Denon has also exerted itself to suppress vibration, with the power supply mounted to a rigid chassis. So unless you go berserk and connect it to speakers that need way more than a moderately priced receiver can be expected to provide, your system should achieve liftoff and be orbiting the earth in no time.

Pick One of Three
Denon’s current line breaks down into a half-dozen CI (Custom Integration) models and another four without CI features. The AVR-3312CI falls in the middle of the CI series. It is the highest seven-channel model in the line, with the three above it going to nine channels. The extra channels in the nine-channel models enable users to engage two out of three potential surround enhancements: height, via Dolby Pro Logic IIz or Audyssey DSX; width, via Audyssey DSX; or traditional back surround, best enjoyed with software so encoded. With the 7.2-channel model under review, you have to pick one of the three to use—but with 11 sets of speaker terminals, you can connect all three and switch among them as desired. The “.2” part makes it a little more interesting by simplifying connection of a second subwoofer. Given how hard it can be to achieve uniform bass coverage with a single sub—even one ideally positioned—this extra flexibility is a good thing.

As a CI model, this receiver is Control4 certified, enabling it to function within that widely accepted home-automation standard. Other CI features include IP control for third-party controllers such as AMX, Crestron, RTI, URC, and Savant. With remote access via the Internet, your CI can manipulate the receiver settings without making a house call. Denon’s CI certification and training program had 1,350 registered in-person members as of 2011, while the CI Portal website had 5,000 registered users.

In Denon-speak, the AVR-3312CI is also an IN-Command model. This catchall designation brings together numerous network-enabled features. They include Apple AirPlay, Windows 7 Play To capability, both Pandora-personalized and conventional Internet radio, Napster and Rhapsody music streaming, Flickr photo sharing, and DLNA 1.5 certification for media sharing. If you’re connecting a USB device to play music, this receiver supports FLAC, the popular, lossless, open-source codec in addition to the usual lossy and/or Apple-approved suspects. Over-the-air HD Radio is present along with conventional AM/FM. For more information about IN-Command and other Denonphilia, see the Denon microsites at,, and

The combination of AirPlay and DLNA gives you two approaches to playing music via the network: push or pull. With AirPlay, you can push music from your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch to the receiver. When these Wi-Fi devices send signals to the router, the Ethernet-connected receiver will automatically power up and go to the AirPlay input. Or you could use DLNA to burrow into the receiver’s menus to pull music (and photos) out of your router-connected PC.

You’re also free to plug your iOS device directly into the receiver’s USB input without resorting to a dock. But using AirPlay would give you the added opportunity to simultaneously use your iThing as a remote with the Denon Remote App. It is not the slickest or most full-featured AVR control app out there, having earned only two and a half stars in the Apple App Store. The receiver can also be controlled via a Web browser.

Although Denon’s remote control and Remote App are just so-so, the Setup Wizard makes your first few minutes with this receiver as ergonomically painless as possible. It steps through language select, speaker connection, Audyssey speaker calibration, setup of source components, and network connection in an orderly fashion. It’ll even help you set up the remote control to handle your entire system. The version of Audyssey it uses is MultEQ XT, second from the top out of a series of four. Its high-resolution filters are not as good as the ultrahigh-resolution filters in MultEQ XT32, but better than the midlevel and basic filters in MultEQ and 2EQ. Denon made the appropriate choice for this price point.

The connectivity suite is up to par with a couple of notable exceptions. This is one of the few receivers I’ve seen recently with S-video inputs (two). Denon’s inclusion of a moving magnet phono input is also worthy of a manufacturer on top of the latest trends. While there is a set of 7.1-channel analog preamp outputs, which potentially might turn this surround receiver into a surround preamp-processor, there is no corresponding set of 7.1-channel inputs, so forget about plugging in a pre-HDMI universal or other disc player.

(201) 762-6500

msardo's picture

Just curious as to why there was no "Top Pick" designation for this receiver? Reading the review, it sounds like it met all of the criteria (in my understanding, which could very well be wrong). Please know that I do understand that most products do not get the "Top Pick" designation while at the same time, they remain to be excellent products.

Two other points:

1. I have this unit's predecessor - the AVR-3311CI. Except for the "setup wizard", and the front of the unit, it sounds (pun fully intended) that these are very much the same two products. Can you tell me if the 3311 has the same construction regarding power supply and vibration that was mentioned in this review?

2. I noticed that this week, Denon has started to release its next round of receivers, the xx13 models, starting with the bottom up. I must say, I appreciate, and feel, that it must be tough for you folks to stay on top and review all of these products while they are still current. Thanks for the work.


Mark Fleischmann's picture
When selecting TPs, I'm not asking myself "why not this?" but rather "why this?" A TP has to be more compelling than a whole bunch of other products, many of them quite good, especially in such a crowded category with so many good choices.

I'm not sure about the build question but I'll put the question to Denon.

Mark Fleischmann's picture
In response to msardo's question about build, Denon says: "Regarding Power Trans we have made minor improvements for better audio quality such as fixing the trans differently to reduce the leakage but basically both are designed the same and equally good."
Mjpearce023's picture

I just recieved the June issue and I am shocked by the 6006 review. I don't understand how the 3312 received 4 out of 5 stars for audio when the Marantz 6006 received 5 out of 5. This is clearly a case of hearing what you want to hear in my opinion. D&M owns Denon and Marantz and is using the same designs in both these receivers. You can look at the insides of the 6006 and 3312 to see that they are virtually identical. With the same amps and same MultEQ XT I see no way that their can be a difference in audio quality between the two. I also see no reason why the 3312 would get 4 stars for value and the Marantz got 5 stars and it's $100 more expensive. The only difference between the 3312 and 6006 that i know of is the case and the 7.1 analog inputs. The weight is the same and the test bench are pretty much identical so I don't understand the difference in scores.

Mark Fleischmann's picture
The two models differ markedly in power specs and have radically different feature rosters. In addition D&M offers this response: "Denon and Marantz share the same parent company as well as several core AV receiver technologies and features. There are, however, significant differences in the overall design, goals and audio circuitry employed by the two brands. Probably the biggest difference is in the somewhat esoteric nature of the overall audio experience. How you listen to music and what moves you is by definition subjective. While neither brand is 'better' per se than the other, they do vary, and each has its own specific 'audio signature.' This is why we encourage potential owners to audition products side-by-side whenever possible. In addition, in most cases Marantz offers more analog audio and video connectivity to facilitate the use of legacy equipment, which has special appeal for a certain type of consumer."
jdwii's picture

Hey I would like to know when the newer pioneer receivers will be reviewed on would like to know if the Pioneer 522-k is the same as the 521-k in terms of audio quality. I would also like to see a review on their new elite receivers that have class D3 amps. SC-61 is only 1100$ and i'm sure by the end of this year i could probably find one for 800$ and that would be one heck of a deal.

Mark Fleischmann's picture
Michael Fremer reviewed the SC-57 and liked it a lot. I have a review sample of another SC Elite receive coming. It will be a lower price point. Look for it in a few months.
byack's picture

After hearing this compared to my current 3808ci I would have to say that Denon has slowly moved in the wrong direction. The amount of HDMI inputs and processing power is great but the amplifier efficiency isn't what it should be for this price point.

HTM_cushman_23's picture

I see that they list the component video in/outputs as 60MHz. Other AVRs I've seen have a 100MHz bandwidth for them. Is this a real limitation for HD content (I assume 1080i).

Another question: does the 2 HDMI outputs work at the same time (i.e. same input to 2 different TVs) or can you assign them to zones (i.e. zone 1 has HDMI 1 and zone 2 HDMI 2 output)? If they are the same output at same time, can one be 1080i and the other 1080p?

Mjpearce023's picture

"The two models differ markedly in power specs and have radically different feature rosters"

I see a 5 watts or so here and there but it doesn't seem to be much difference with the amps. Also the only feature the Marantz has that the Denon 3312 doesn't is 7.1 analog inputs unless there is something I am missing.

"Denon and Marantz share the same parent company as well as several core AV receiver technologies and features. There are, however, significant differences in the overall design, goals and audio circuitry employed by the two brands"

I would love to see some pictures of the 3312 and 6006 with the case off if that would possible to show what different components the Marantz and Denon are using.

"While neither brand is 'better' per se than the other, they do vary, and each has its own specific 'audio signature.' This is why we encourage potential owners to audition products side-by-side whenever possible."

Both receivers used Audyssey MultEQ XT so I don't see how these can have different sound signatures. Doesn't Audyssey use the same curve for the Denon and Marantz or are you saying Marantz has its own house Curve when running Audyssey?

Also I would love to see some Blind A/B test on your receiver reviews. I think it would be interesting to see what receivers would win in a showdown with the nameplate being visible.

Scott Wilkinson's picture

Blind A/B testing is not necessarily as straightforward or revealing as you might think. See the discussion here:

Mjpearce023's picture

I did some googling and found the pics here of the Marantz 6006 and Denon 3312 with their case off. See post #25

I still haven't figured out where the difference in sound quality would come from between the two.