Denon AVR-4810CI

Key Features
• 9 x 140 watts (2 channels driven; 20 Hz to 20 kHz, 0.05% THD) • 6 HDMI inputs (1 on front panel), 2 outputs • Transcodes (bidirectionally) component-, composite-, and S-video to HDMI • Upconverts lower-rez analog and digital video to 1080p format • Decodes Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, and DSD (SACD) • Audyssey DSX and Dolby PLIIz enhanced-surround modes • Audyssey MultEQ XT auto setup/equalization with supplied microphone • Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume level correction • Fully graphical HD onscreen displays • FM/AM/HD Radio XM/Sirius tuner with 56 presets • XM/Sirius satellite radio-ready • Assignable powered zone 2/3 (stereo) or 2+3 (mono); zone 4 (optical-digital); zone 2 component or composite video • 10-component preprogrammed remote, plus secondary remote • IR in/out, 12-v trigger (2), RS-232 serial port Dimensions + Weight 171?8 x 75?8 x 163?8 in; 42 lb

Denon's AVR-4810CI sits near the top of the company's dizzyingly complete line of 13 A/V receivers. At three large, the AVR-4810CI ain't cheap, but because it's nearly half the price of the flagship AVR-5308CI, and has most of the same stuff where I think it counts the most, it was with some anticipation that I unboxed the 42-pound Denon and hefted it onto my equipment rack.

Among the above-cited stuff is the AVR-4810CI's full complement of Dolby and DTS modes, XM/Sirius satellite-radio readiness, DLNA-certified streaming of networked audio/Internet radio, and a full bag of Audyssey DSP magic tricks, including the now-familiar auto-setup and MultEQ XT room-/speaker-correction routines, along with Dynamic Volume and EQ. And then there's the latest Audyssey entity, DSX enhanced surround, which augments standard 5/6/7.1-channel layouts through synthesizing new width and height signals to send to two or four additional speakers. (The AVR-4810CI has nine onboard amplifier channels, plus preamp outputs to drive a separate amplifier in 11-speaker surround setups.) SETUP

As is usual in the HDMI age, the hardest part of setting up an A/V receiver, the DenonAVR-4810CI included, was lifting it onto my cabinet. Speaker wires, HDMI cables, and the subwoofer interconnect - the lone analog-audio cable remaining to most systems these days - were strictly plug and play. I placed a pair of excellent two-way speakers for the Audyssey DSX Width channels outboard and just slightly in front of the main pair; for Height, used by both DSX and Dolby PLIIz, I mounted a similar but smaller pair high in the front corners. This is more speakers than most people have in their homes, summer homes, and cars combined, but what the hey.

Audyssey auto setup handled the rest. This is by now so familiar a part of my setup routine that the resultant improvements in spatial clarity and bass definition and evenness no longer elicit so much as an eyebrow elevation hereabouts. It would be nice if it'd include a robotic microphone that moved itself (to the multiple mic positions MultEQ XT requires for its differential analysis of room effects). You know, something like those automated vacuum cleaners, so you could go out for a latté during the whole tedious "bweep-ing" business as Audyssey unleashes its test tones.