Denon AVR-4800 Receiver Page 2

Denon has shown due diligence here in making the 4800 as futureproof as possible. Not only will it pass both composite and S-video, but it will pass component video (two inputs, one output). I ran the component signal from a DVD player through the 4800 to a professional-grade, color-calibrated studio monitor. There was no discernible signal degradation when the signal was switched through the 4800. The Denon also has an external eight-channel analog input and eight-channel pre-output for future multichannel formats like SACD, DVD-Audio, and any other format that may have up to eight discrete channel outputs.

In the audio department, the 4800 offers 11 sets of analog inputs, five optical digital inputs, and three coaxial digital inputs. Even the most fervent A/V junkie is going to have trouble using all the input options this receiver makes available. Denon makes a point of declaring that the 4800 is as good as separates. Much of the unit's structure is designed to make it a contender against the perceived sound improvement that comes with high-quality separates. Its THX Ultra-certified, all-discrete power section pushes a reported 125 watts through each of the five main channels. This is typically more than enough power for the average home theater setup.

The unit's "assignable" amplifier function enables you to take advantage of THX Surround EX in a number of system configurations. For instance, a mono or stereo amp can be connected to push the surround back speaker(s), or the system can be configured to use the internal front left and right amplifier channels to drive the surrounds, with an external two-channel amp used to drive the front-stage stereo channels.

The technical résumé of this receiver is quite extensive. Denon has gone to great lengths to use excellent parts to create an awesome whole. It employs dual Analog Devices SHARC 32-bit floating-point DSP processors and eight channels of Analog Devices AD-1855 24-bit/96-kilohertz integrated filter/digital-to-analog chips.

Setting up the 4800 to take full advantage of everything it can do is a daunting task. The icon-based onscreen user interface makes it easier than you'd imagine; however, with so many variables and controls at your disposal, it's still a serious endeavor. Put aside a full afternoon for setup. The remote control is a programmable, learning unit that comes preprogrammed with hundreds of codes from other components' remotes and can also be programmed for macro operation. The remote's buttons have different shapes and are color-coded by function. Navigating the remote is reasonably easy, but (as you can imagine) the unit is quite button-heavy. Like many components out there, the 4800 offers you the ability to control much of your system through the receiver's one remote. Removing remotes from your system is always a plus, and the 4800, if set up to do so, goes a long way toward reducing remote-control clutter. The remote also features Denon's Glo-key illumination that automatically activates in dark rooms. A small detail, perhaps; however, when you find yourself scrambling around in the dark to either locate the remote or operate it, this feature is one you'll appreciate. I certainly did.

AVR-4800 Receiver
(973) 396-0810