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101 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comparision vs. Denon AVR-4311ci
I think a lot of people whom are considering this class of AVR are coming from last generations 4 series (avr-4311ci), so this review will cover differences for those people.

FOR those who DON'T currently own a 4 series, let me just say it's an amazing receiver, IF you are building a serious theater room or listening area it's WELL worth the money (relative)...
Published on November 10, 2012 by kamiraa

versus
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing reliability
I really would like to give this receiver the highest praise, but: I can't.

It is great when it is working, but it has not been working enough hours/days since I owned it. Meanwhile I am on my 3rd replacement (all under warranty), AND an additional 2 repairs. All this less than 6 months after my initial purchase.
I just received it back from the latest...
Published 13 months ago by A. Raffel


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101 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comparision vs. Denon AVR-4311ci, November 10, 2012
This review is from: Denon AVR-4520CI Networking Home Theater AV Receiver with AirPlay (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I think a lot of people whom are considering this class of AVR are coming from last generations 4 series (avr-4311ci), so this review will cover differences for those people.

FOR those who DON'T currently own a 4 series, let me just say it's an amazing receiver, IF you are building a serious theater room or listening area it's WELL worth the money (relative). It is one of the very few receivers that can handle 11.2 channel DSX and with it's additional capability, features, and quality it is truly currently the king of all receivers in 2012.

FOR AVR4311ci Folks:

First off, the amplification circuitry looks to be about the same, same power ratings.

They tweaked the Audyssey even though Denon claims they didn't, because I'm getting significant different results from my AVR-4311ci in the same room, same speakers, same everything. They tweaked it for the better, because everything sounds to blend perfectly, and the eq's records dead on once I mic'd the room using an external source. AFTER enabling the XT32 results and the response curve is perfect. This is to verify for the folks out there, LEAVE the Audyssey XT32 EQ on, it works PERFECT, I'm hoping my extra steps of measurement will save you time in your setup if you question what it's doing. Just make sure to perform Audyssey DSX property and use all 8 listening locations as it is measuring the acoustics of the room NOT seating locations. Even if you have a single chair in the room, use all 8 locations to measure the acoustics around the room per Audysseys recommended locations.

I had to adjust the levels of the surround speakers and sub since I always consider those levels too low for my taste (a preference thing). The EQ remains in tact with these manual adjustments.

The screen settings are all the same, but way snappier, this unit has better micro controllers handling the work, so everything including calculating results is much quicker.

Denon moved away from their "NASCAR" days and simplified the front of the their receiver with less logos, instead they are on the top plate now. I hated all the logos.

They removed the Audyssey DSX blue light when on, that was sad, I enjoyed that blue light.

New features include:

NEO:X which is a different 11.2 implementation (it's worth trying to see your preference)
4k up-scaling for when those 4k displays come down in price
Intstapreview (much like a picture in picture, but 4 views from your sources VERY cool)
Built in 4 port Hub (10/100mbps) actually very useful since everything now a days is Ethernet based
They moved over to THREE 32bit DACs to decode the audio, so we gain a better resolution in your music / movies!!
Apple Airplay built in

Network streaming (works great, my Samsung GS3 android didn't need additional software it just saw the receiver and asked if I wanted to play music on it instead of the built in speakers on the phone). I was VERY surprised this worked out of the box with my phone and receiver, then the volume control of my phone was controlling the reciever!! Very cool!!!

Ability to customize what amplifier circuits do what. Pretty amazing if you have a unique listening room or multiple seating locations and want multiple side surround speakers.

Audyssey LFC which modifies the subwoofer frequencys and amplitudes in a such a way you can still use your sub but it won't rattle the walls or get too loud. This feature is for people with kids or living in condos / apartments so they don't wake up people at night or bug their neighbors. I heard great things from other people with this receiver but I don't use this feature.

4 Zones of control including video on a few!! Pretty crazy. They designed this receiver to be in a rack somewhere and control everything in your house from audio to movies to different tv layouts. If you use it to it's full capability it can help you save money by just using a single unit for multiple rooms.

New Physical layouts include:

1 inch taller
Heavier
Less logos on the front face (classier)
Much nicer banana terminals on the back
Everything gold plated

Everything else remains from the AVR4311ci.

Overall I'm VERY happy to have upgraded, the Audyssey result differences alone was worth it, the extra DACs, network streaming, 4k upscaling to protect for the future, and other features was just icing on the cake.

Remember these receivers (4 series) only come out every 2-3 years hence why they changed their model number designator (the 20 in 4520ci) to let customers know this is not a normal yearly released product.

With the features they packed into this receiver, you will not need to upgrade for MANY years.

For those who are considering Audyssey DSX, let me say that I have a 11.2 setup. I will say from a typical 5.1 setup the addition of WIDES will make the biggest audible upgrade. They sound AMAZING and well worth the time and effort to set them up.

The addition of heights next will be an upgrade but not as significant as the addition of the wides

Lastly the addition of surround backs which I think add 5% content to movies, and only worth it as your last possible upgrade.

Good luck folks!!
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent receiver. Big improvement over more recent Denons., December 15, 2012
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Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Denon AVR-4520CI Networking Home Theater AV Receiver with AirPlay (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I used to be really into Denons AVRs. Had several units in pre-HD days and my most recent one before this 4520CI was an AVR-2805 that I loved. Then came HDMI and after having handshaking issues with Denon's initial offerings, I looked elsewhere. Enjoyed an Onkyo TX-NR905 for a while then replaced that with a Yamaha RX-Z7. Both were great. I purchased, tried, but eventually passed on a few Denon models at the time and went for these alternatives simply because in my opinion, they were overall better receivers than Denon's when I factored in sound, feature-set, and overall connectivity ease. While HDMI is still a pain to this day, some receivers handled it better than others.

Recently, my home theater needs have changed and I wanted a more current model that supported the latest fads and gimmicks. Happy with my RX-Z7, I initially decided to step up to another Yamaha, the RX-A3020 from their flagship Aventage line. Fantastic sounding receiver, typical of all Yamaha AVRs I've experienced, but with one big flaw: the HDMI handshaking bug existed in my unit. Without getting into too much detail with that issue, I decided to return the Yamaha and try others. Ordered a Denon AVR-4520CI which showed up DOA after likely being dropped several times by UPS from the damage to the box. This first shipment was not double-boxed like Amazon normally does and the result was apparent shipping damage. Since I was on a roll with my AVR misfortunes, I decided to order several other AVRs so I can try them all out. Ordered another 4520CI from Amazon, and a Marantz 7007 and Onkyo 5010 from another vendor. All arrived in one piece and after a week with these units, one came out clearly on top: the Denon AVR-4520CI.

I've never liked the Denon AVR sound of late because they didn't match well with my Monitor Audio speakers. The Onkyos and Yamahas fared much better in this regard. But with the 4520CI, they sound amazing, for both stereo music and 5.1-7.1 channel movies. I've read other reviews about how the outgoing Denon AVR-4311 model sounds similarly as good, but unfortunately I've overlooked that while my allegiance was in Yamaha mode. The Marantz falls a bit short here for some reason and I doubt it has much to do with the lower power rating. Don't get me wrong, the Marantz sounds good, but compared to the Denon and Onkyo, there's definitely something lacking. Best description I can give is that the Marantz was not as immersive in many of the surround modes, and also lacked impact. Musically however, it was on par. Perhaps it's the higher spec Audyssey XT32 on the Denon and Onkyo that gave them the edge over the Marantz? Whatever it was, the 4520CI and Onkyo 5010 are tops in my book among the latest breed of AVRs. And what sets the Denon apart from the Onkyo are the additional touches: better and more intuitive OSD, Airplay support, and Audyssey LFC (low frequency containment) which I must mention, works amazingly well for watching bass-heavy material late night in my condo building. Additional icing on the cake: the Denon 4520CI even has a 4-port ethernet switch built-in! Yes, it can even help you manage your home network especially after your router has run out of ports to accommodate your other other network-ready devices, consoles, and disc players. Let's face it, as our networked high-definition systems grow and warrant the need for more HDMI inputs, so does the need for network connectivity when wifi just won't cut it.

So the AVR-4520CI is a keeper. It sounds great, has all the features I wanted, and you won't believe how relieved I am that it does not have any HDMI handshaking issues in my system. Unboxed my 2nd unit (after returning the one damaged from shipping), made all the connections, powered up, ran initial setup and audsyssey, and within 30 mins I was up and running in 7.1 glory. Tested all the sources and all video and audio decoding (even high resolution audio like TrueHD and DTS HD Master) worked flawlessly! In this age of highly complicated receivers with long lists of features, gimmicks, gadgets, networking capabilities, and complex audio and video decoding and processing, it's nice to see one that delivers without a hitch right out of the box. In my experience, this is a rarity. I'm very satisfied with this purchase and although I really wanted the Yamaha RX-A3020 to work for me, in some ways I'm glad it didn't otherwise I would've easily overlooked this new Denon model. It just works and works well. Having the best OSD (on screen display) and interface among the other receivers I mentioned on this review doesn't hurt either. Highly recommend it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing reliability, December 11, 2013
This review is from: Denon AVR-4520CI Networking Home Theater AV Receiver with AirPlay (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I really would like to give this receiver the highest praise, but: I can't.

It is great when it is working, but it has not been working enough hours/days since I owned it. Meanwhile I am on my 3rd replacement (all under warranty), AND an additional 2 repairs. All this less than 6 months after my initial purchase.
I just received it back from the latest repair, and it worked fine for a week.

Now it switches the sound off because it seems to detect headphones (displays "H/P input on/off): this switches randomly within seconds forth and back. Usually sound is lost for minutes.

I am not even going into details of the previous problems with green screen, faulty ethernet panel, ...

Again, if working as designed, I'd give it 5 stars. After all my trips to the repair shop, a 3 star deduction is warranted.

Update: I was so annoyed with the reliability that I felt compelled to write a letter to Denon. Customer service has responded with the best case scenario: the next problem means I get a new unit (originally I had purchased a refurbished one) and my warranty is extended for another year. I'm going to add another star because of this.

Update 2: Of course there was another fault with my unit. Denon stepped up as promised and replaced my 3rd replacement of refurbished units with a brand new AVR and warranty extension. This was over a year ago, and not a single issue has occurred. Because of the performance and Denon's customer service I can finally give the product the rating it deserves.
For the same reason, I added a Denon BluRay player (3313) to my set-up. Naturally, I didn't go the refurbished route this time...
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52 of 66 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beware of service delays, January 21, 2013
By 
Dr. Talk (Cumming, GA United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Denon AVR-4520CI Networking Home Theater AV Receiver with AirPlay (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I got the Denon AVR-4520CI at Christmas after doing MONTHS of research. It worked as expected for almost a month. I had to reset the processor one time, but no big deal. However, not 30 days into ownership and it decided not to play audio from components or within itself (AM,FM,network). Called Denon and they were quick with a service tech to listen to my issue. We spent 40 minutes on phone trying to see if the problem was external to the unit. It wasnt. Now for the kicker...I live in Georgia and they have one authorized service center, though not too far from where I live, the service center said it would take at least a MONTH to fix the unit. I checked around, even discussed shipping to authorized service centers in other states. All were pretty much slammed and said the same thing. If Denon wants $2500.00 for a unit like this, they need to step up and get more authorized repair centers to do warranty work. I have had this unit less than a month and it is going to spend more time than that in the shop. Not good.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Denon has gone steadily down hill from the old days..., November 8, 2013
This review is from: Denon AVR-4520CI Networking Home Theater AV Receiver with AirPlay (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
Pros: Good Price Point for amount of features. Audyssey XT32, Ample HDMI inputs. 4k support. HD Radio. 4ohm compatability. Network hub. Network apps. Network upgradeability. Simple Audyssey setup. Setup mic included.

Cons: No THX certification. 4ohm setting / support. Average sound quality. Sound bleed from other interfaces. Always seems to be doing something quirky. Too simple Audyssey setup.

I am a long time Denon fan since the AVP-8000 days (early 90s), but feel this may be my last. Since the 8000 series, I have owned a 3000 series and a previous 4000 series. I now own the AVR-4520CI, and I am terribly disappointed where Denon has ended up. I actually did a thread on AVS Forums asking for input / alternate suggestions prior to purchase, but you know how those threads go. ;]

I am using the AVR-4520CI in a 7.1 configuration with Miller & Kreisel (M&K) 4ohm S-150THX / SS-150THX Ultra setup in an about 6000 cu ft dedicated home theater. This setup has worked flawlessly with previous Denon configurations. (even ones not rated for 4ohm)

First I immedialy performed a software upgrade. Then I went through Audyssey setup and started watching movies. Something was missing. Movies did not have that "explosive" impact and music seemed to be underpowered compared to my previous 4308CI even though this had more power. After digging, I noticed that channel volumes were limited by default. I had to unlimit for each input, but still didnt seem to have the volume the old less powered model had. Music, radio & HD radio also seemed to not have the volume my old amp had. Removing the limiter helped, but did not resolve all.

Secondly when turning on the reciever, I would intermitently hear "radio" playing with no source materials playing. It would be on a Game input, and my game console on, but I was hearing music at VERY low levels. (so low I had to walk up to a speaker saying whet the heck is that.) I could never tell if this was a Radio, HD radio, or intenet radio source playing. It eventually goes away on that source, but wierd bleed right?

I have done several microprocessor resets thinking the unit is not performing correctly only to come back where I was originally.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerhouse From Denon, November 12, 2014
By 
Sharkman (Abbotsford, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Denon AVR-4520CI Networking Home Theater AV Receiver with AirPlay (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I picked this model up after research on the web, and after several days am very impressed. I've owned several receivers previous to this one, including 2 flagship Onkyos( 876 and 906) and a Denon 3803. This receiver sounds better than anything I've encountered in a receiver.

I'm a bit of a purist, and don't need some of the highly technical features this unit has, but sound quality counts alot, as does functionality. The 4520 has both in spades. The Audyssey XT32 doe absolute magic with your room acoustics and the amp section lacks nothing at this price point. I went from a separate 7 channel amp with the Onkyo to this(Outlaw Audio 7125) and I'm almost surprised to say that the Denon is so powerful and effortless that I don't miss the amp.

I've watched several movies, and the effects are so well produced and moved around the room the walls just disappear. The sub is integrated into the sound seamlessly and the dialogue is clear and easy to hear, whereas with the Onkyo I tended to increase the center channel.

I don't need video processing, so haven't experimented with it. But several features are cool, including the Low frequency containment, for those with picky neighbours will come in very handy. In direct comparison with the Onkyos, the Denon has superior sound, much quicker HDMI handshake, better volume adjustment, better sub tuning, cooler running and more flexible set up options like assignable amps. Denon has also been much more reliable than Onkyo in the last 5 years. For the retail price this AVR might be too much, but at the clearance prices now available, it's simply a no-brainer. You can find it for over half off the 2500 asking price.

Do note, however, the reason they are being cleared out is the replacement model has been released, and it has Dolby Atmos. Not a big deal for me( a total of 4 movies have been released as blurays with an Atmos track), but if you've gotta have the latest bells and whistles, Atmos might be your thing. After considering it and researching, I decided I'm not going to redo my theater with speakers on the ceiling that Atmos requires. This thing should be on everybody's short list, and it's made in Japan, not China.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sounds amazing!, March 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Denon AVR-4520CI Networking Home Theater AV Receiver with AirPlay (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I recently upgraded from a 12 year old Denon 4802 and couldn't be happier. I removed my rear surrounds and now have 9.1 with height and wide channels engaged. The soundstage is amazing. Very pleased with the purchase.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Was ok while it worked., February 9, 2014
This review is from: Denon AVR-4520CI Networking Home Theater AV Receiver with AirPlay (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I have Vienna acoustic speakers and this system couldn't handle 4 ohm speakers. It stopped delivering any sound or video.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars State of the Art at a Steal!, October 8, 2014
This review is from: Denon AVR-4520CI Networking Home Theater AV Receiver with AirPlay (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
OUTSTANDING!!!

I replaced a Yamaha RXV861 with this and it was a HUGE upgrade. The XT32 room correction lives up to the hype. Light years ahead of the YPAO I was using. Sound is so smooth and detailed, I went from thinking I should upgrade my speakers to thinking that would be a waste of money! It has improved EVERY aspect of sound quality in my system. From dialog to details to surround effects to bass. I have never heard my surround speakers sound so good. The bass from my dual 10" subs is so much deeper and more powerful that I am no longer in a hurry to upgrade them. I simply can't say enough about this receiver.
It is on clearance right now and I got mine for a steal! Unless you plan on putting speakers in your ceiling (I don't) then save your money and get this receiver right now! It doesn't get any better than this!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome! I have a AVR-3310CI (150W + Audyssey MultEQ) ..., January 3, 2015
This review is from: Denon AVR-4520CI Networking Home Theater AV Receiver with AirPlay (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
Awesome!

I have a AVR-3310CI (150W + Audyssey MultEQ) and thought the sound quality between the 3310CI and this 4520CI were about the same given I am using just a set of OK speakers (Polk Audio VM20 + DSW microPRO 1000 subwoofer) and my non-professional ears. Boy was I wrong! Music, songs, movies become LIVE! Suddenly, my favorite music and movies become from great to awesome! Also compared to AVR-3310CI, the remote control from 4520CI is much better and much easier to use especially dealing with multi-zones selection. The iPhone remote app also works great. The AirPlay also works well.
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