Customer Reviews: Denon AVR-E300 5.1 Channel 3D Pass Through and Networking Home Theater AV Receiver with AirPlay (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on October 29, 2013
This receiver does everything it's supposed to, sets up beautifully, sounds great, is perfect, etc, except for one thing that (in certain specific cases) will really let you down. Denon receivers (not just this one) seem to have a problem decoding Dolby Digital Plus. What is Dolby Digital Plus (or DD+) you ask? Well it just happens to be the audio compression used by Netflix for 5.1 surround sound. If you plan on watching your Netflix videos through any devices that have HDMI passthrough (Playstation 3, WD TV, Chromecast, etc) then you will find your movies and shows sounding pretty crappy.. hissing, audio dropoff, artifacts, garbled dialog, etc.

I've been in contact with Denon, who say they are working on recreating the problem, but even if they do identify it, then you're gonna be waiting for a new firmware to be written, proofed, developed, tested, and rolled out... that's up do you, but I think it might be too much for me.

UPDATE 3/3/2014: Denon has rolled out a big firmware update (about 25 minutes to install) which has completely fixed this issue. I will leave the old review up so people can understand what WAS happening, but it is completely fixed. The receiver is now an awesome entry-level surround HDMI receiver which I would recommend to anyone - not to mention that Denon customer support took a customer issue seriously, followed up, stayed in contact and fixed the issue. 10/10 would complain again.
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on March 25, 2014
I just got this, mostly because I had been eyeing a new receiver for a while and the price dropped quite a bit to make this a great deal. Word is Denon is coming out with several new models this year, which is likely the reason for the drop in price. It's still a great receiver but a couple of things were surprising to me - first, the remote is not programmable. My fault for assuming it would be, but no where does the manual (which I had to download because it doesn't come with anything more than the set up manual) say whether it is or isn't. At any rate, I assumed a new receiver would have a programmable remote - that's one reason I wanted a receiver, to cut down on multiple remotes. Now, I have to buy one. Not the end of the world, but buyers should know. Second, it has to plug into your network/router in order to be hooked up. This too was surprising since every device I have has WiFi. I can understand why you need to hard wire connect, but my router is nowhere near my receiver, so it's not an option for me to plug my network into my new receiver. Part of the problem is my internet, it's satellite, so the router is limited to my office/plug in. But again, seems odd this doesn't have WiFi option. While the 'specs' say something about 175W, the max per speaker is 75W. It's clever 'marketing'. Really, you want at least 100W per speaker, but I don't spend thousands of dollars on speakers so again, this one is good enough for me. All in all, it's still a really good receiver at a great price. It's VERY easy to set up, which is great. It's sleek, will really help consolidate all of my devices (TV, DVD, Directv, Wii, etc.) and will work well for me. But I thought I would share a couple of things that may influence your purchasing decision.
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on June 30, 2014
I purchased this receiver to replace an old Onkyo home theater from the mid-2000s along with a set of JBL 5.1 Channel SCS145.5 Surround Cinema Speaker System. The combination easily matches and exceeds the old system, almost amazingly so.

One of my favorite features of this receiver is the Audyssey technology, which makes setup a breeze. Basically, you plug in the attached microphone, and move it to some sitting locations in your room while test tones sound. The whole processes takes maybe 15 minutes total, and makes a HUGE difference in quality. Compared to my old receiver's variety of menus and confusing settings, Audyssey basically sets everything up for you: crossovers, speaker size and distance, levels, etc.

Additionally, the Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume do an amazing job of processing different sources, and evening out content levels. This isn't like the "late night" setting on my old receiver, or the volume limiter on your TV. The Denon receiver seems to be actively processing all of the audio passing through the unit, making every source incredibly... easy to listen to. It just sounds right.

Another great feature of this unit is the inclusion of Apple's AirPlay technology, making streaming from iTunes on your phone or laptop a snap. Unfortunately, the display menus from the Denon are decidedly low-res 480p, but that doesn't detract from the listening experience. There is also a companion iPhone app to control the receiver which works seamlessly for me, as did the internet-enabled apps like Pandora and Spotify.

While this is an entry level-priced home theater receiver, the features and sound processing quality make it more a midrange model at a budget price.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a good, entry-level networking receiver. Setup is easy right from the start. The easy-connect speaker connections allow you to insert wires quickly and easily instead of twisting and screwing. The guided setup takes you through connecting your devices and calibrating your speakers using Audyssey.

Video and sound quality is everything you'd expect from a good quality receiver. The front LED text is a nice blue-white hue and fits plenty of text so you can view song names when you are listening to internet radio. There is also an HDMI port on the front of the device, which is convenenient for quickly connecting mobile video devices.

The networking feature allows you to listen to music and talk radio from services like basic internet music and talk stations, SiriusXM, Pandora, and Spotify. However, at this price point I would expect this receiver to have Wi-Fi like other receivers do, and not just a wired Ethernet connection.

Menu navigation is quick and easy. The GUI is simple and it responds quickly to remote control commands. The downloadable smartphone app works well on my Samsung Galaxy Nexus running CyanogenMod 10 with Android 4.2.2. It takes a few seconds to get started when you first try and play internet radio, but I suspect that is because it is downloading station info. Once that is completed, things speed up a bit. You are able to control most aspects of the receiver with the remote app, and you can view the song info and album art for the music you are playing on the receiver.

The reason I am giving this receiver only 4 stars and not 5 is for a few reasons. For the current price at the time of my review (or for a little bit more), you can get a receiver that has additional features that this receiver does not, like:
- Wireless connection using Wi-Fi
- 7.1 surround sound instead of just 5.1
- Multi-zone capabilities
- 4K pass-through for future compatibility
- Bluetooth so you can stream music from your devices

If you would like the above features, I would recommend that you look at the Sony STRDN1030 Wi-Fi Network A/V Receiver or the Onkyo TX-NR626 7.2-Channel Network Audio/Video Receiver. If you don't mind spending a little more and want to stick with Denon, check out the Denon AVR-E400 7.1 Channel 4K and 3D Pass Through Networking Home Theater Receiver with AirPlay.
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on August 5, 2014
So for the first three months I would have given this 4 or 5 stars, but then the 3 month mark hit. I was watching TV when suddenly the center channel started emitting static. I thought it was simply a cross some place so I checked the connections and they looked ok so I tried a different speaker and it was the same static. I didn't have any other speaker wire so I disconnected the center channel and just disabled it in the setup. This worked for about 10 days until I got more speaker wire and hooked the center channel back up and it worked fine for a couple hours, then the static returned. However, this time even disabling the center channel didn't work as all stations in Dolby would have zero commentary because that's usually on the center channel. I tried everything including doing a factory reset and nothing fixed it. I tried to redo Audyssey but the tone was so low that the mic couldn't pick it up. So now I'm sitting here with a receiver that doesn't work so I figure a warranty would be great. Yeah until you realize that the only place near me, that is a Denon Authorized Service Center, is 20 miles away and told me it would take at least 10 days. Ok so I tried to call Denon and after 45 minutes I hung up since it was apparent I would never get through. I'm assuming I can just send it in to their OEM Panurgy in New Jersey but then I have to pay shipping and cross my fingers on when I will get it back. I've had Sony and Onkyo receivers and I've never had one fail but this one didn't even make it past 90 days.

Other than the failure I liked it as the sound was great and Airplay is a fantastic feature. However, the service is quite frankly terrible and I will never buy another Denon product. I'm considering just buying something different and getting this fixed and selling it and taking the hit. It's sad because I really did like it until this nightmare experience.

8-23-2104 Update:

Let me paint a picture of Denon's "factory service." They receive my defective product on August 14. I don't hear anything for days so I email their support on the 17th and they then claim that they received the product on the 18th...Ummm ok... They then say they are testing it after replacing the HDMI board so I hear nothing after that. August 21 FedEx tries to deliver my receiver back to me and of course I'm not home so I have to wait until Friday. Thanks for sending me the tracking number and informing me it was being shipped back Denon. Today I finally get a chance to hook it backup and what do I see... The onlay for the receiver is basically a random set of blue boxes on every input, but hey my sound works now. So I wasted $20 shipping it back and 2 weeks of my life to get back a defective product. I'm behind finished with Denon.

8-25-2014 Update:

I spoke with a Denon representative and I demanded a new unit so of course he couldn't do it so he "escalated" it to tier 2 and gave me a reference number. Of course I haven't been called and it's 8 hours later so hopefully tomorrow. This is by far the worst experience of any electronics vendor I've ever had.
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If you have a receiver that is over two years old you will be pleasantly surprised at the upgrade in sound quality with this Denon unit.
I have a few year old Onkyo that I have had a hate hate relationship with and was glad to see it go. While the Onkyo had more wattage power, the sound separation and detail was just not there. By not there I mean a complete non audiophile would say what the hell just happened if you switched from the Onkyo to the Denon the difference was so abrupt.

The thing that got me is you have to turn up the volume numbers more than on my other unit to get the same loudness. So at around 80 out of 100 you would get the loudness of a movie theatre. Thats no big deal as most theaters now have the volume up too loud to try and compensate for movie goers with no manners and no consideration of others who paid twenty two bucks just to get in the door, and now have to sit there and listen to "that person" talk about how shelby defreineded her on Facebook just because she was hitting on her boyfriend, and if you look at them, they make a scene like they have the right to be as obnoxious and annoying as they please and it you who are the problem.... Why couldn't there be tasers that pop out of your seat back to take care of these nuisances so we all can enjoy the movie?

Anyway the normal sound level you would have it if you were alone is around 65 to 70, Note: dogs and cats will not like it that loud and will be upset. The e300 is not as powerful as say a Yamaha 673 that I was also considering, but the Denon is more shall we say civilized. The setup was painless. Not without time and effort, but its getting better. Not in the realm of Apple setup friendly but heads and shoulders above ANY other manufacturer right now. I was watching a movie that had a scene with a dog barking, my two dogs came in and started barking at the screen. So this Denon will fool animals into thinking the sound is real, for whatever thats worth.

The picture is also better with the e300 over the old Onkyo. I thought passthrough was passthrough. Guess not.

In conclusion I am pleased with this unit. Its smaller than other revievers without any sound sacrifice or deletion of features. The remote is a remote. The iPad and iPhone / Android App is better for sure and has some more sound settings that activate instantly when the buttons are pushed.

This is my first Denon. I was hesitant at first to get this unit thinking that it was just a cheap pos that Denon put out to the un informed masses just to make a buck, and was leaning to getting one of the Denon X series or the Yamaha. The price was just too good not to check it out, especially with Amazons great return policy.

But this unit is for real. On the other hand you will be happy if you get a Yamaha as well. That is the nice thing these days, with quality units like Denon and Yamaha, either way you are right. Some may take a little more setup time but its the experience in the end that matters. The modern easy setup on this Denon over the competition is was what sold me, the sound quality is what kept me.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
UPDATE: I got my first Firmware update notification today! There is hope!

I'm coming to this receiver off the heals of a Sony STR-DN1010 7.1-Channel A/V Receiver which I upgraded to for more HDMI inputs from another previous Sony of an older generation. I have a home created theater system with a Bose center channel, a Martin Logan left & right front channel, a Sony sub and two Sony rear surrounds. My TV is a 50" plasma HP (old!) and I have the system in a space with wood floors, a high ceiling and new drywall walls (for sound reproduction idea).

From a wattage perspective, this receiver brings brighter, crisper cleaner sound through my speakers, especially the Bose center channel and Martin Logans. My previous Sony receiver was 110 watts per channel 7.1 (which I only maxed out at 5.1) while this one is 175 watts per channel at only 5.1. Every part of sound reproduction is cleaner and more precise compared to the Sony which I would have to attribute to the higher wattage for speakers that are able to handle it.


Install was very simple. TV output as well as the inputs are clearly marked, as well as the output for subwoofer. The speaker cable connectors were the quick push & insert type, and were lined in a row and labeled above for easy viewing & access. The Sony has some of the inputs stacked and labeled on the bottom, so this was a welcomed change. This is a networked receiver, and it doesn't have wireless but it does have an ethernet jack input. That was the only additional plug I had to do, and everything else was pretty much "unplug, replug" 1:1.


I didn't get the wizard automatically when I started up like the instructions suggested but opening it was not difficult. The audio calibration is essential for a custom home theater system especially if you use a variety of brands for speakers, and in this case the calibration process was far more in depth than the Sony and also told me that I had, ehem, plugged my front right and rear left speaker out of phase (cables reversed). After correcting this I re-ran the calibration and continued on my way to setup. The mic included with this receiver for calibration is a few inch tower style rather than the flat button mic included with my last two Sony devices.

All of the setup was simple and led through menus. The menus were't beautiful. Definitely not iOS or Android running this box, and not even meeting the level of Tivo or even Roku. I'll be honest: The menus look pretty early 90's especially in media streaming spots. This is a major sigh factor for me, and while it does not impact functionality in any way, it made my friends laugh when they saw some of the big block text on the screen.

My Tivo remote had no issues programming to meet the on/off and volume needs of the receiver. Tivo, PS3 and Apple TV all worked well and had no issues.

iPhone App:

Installing the iPhone app was easy, and if you have it on the same network, no password or authentication was necessary. The iPhone app is quite attractive and functional/customization and works quickly and works well.

Experience & Review of the unit: Sound, visuals, performance.

I was completely satisfied with the HDMI video passthrough.

At first, AirPlay was set to a default of "direct" mode, while the Apple TV pushed it's regular digital signal, so I was getting much better sound quality with the Apple TV AirPlay than the built in support for AirPlay. It took some time to discover this settings change so the built in AirPlay didn't sound flat & dull. It would have been easy to simply think that the built-in AirPlay functionality was not good.

If you are interested in this receiver for the wattage, sound, inputs and iPhone app, I would certainly recommend it. If you're interested primarily because of the streaming medias, be forwarned that the menus look quite basic and rudimentary, but on the upside you can choose a different video input, so for example, watch TV while you're streaming Pandora.

I'm not disappointed in this upgrade: The sound is better, and I have an iPhone app. Calibration was better and I'm making better use of the speakers I have. That being said, I will be spending some more time with settings and options to see if it can be firmware upgraded, and if so, pray that someone at Denon is listening and pushes out some visual improvements ASAP!

Finally, the last disappointment: And I'm a picky guy, and most people might not notice this but: The front panel inputs weren't in their holes completely straight. They were tiled up on the left a bit. I took a picture of this (and will upload it), but its difficult to notice. Walking up to or sitting in front of the device it's clear & apparent, and I wasn't pleased about that.

The unit is still new and I'll continue to use & explore it. If you have any specific questions I'd be more than happy to answer, or go test/try and answer the best I can!
1414 comments| 36 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 13, 2014
After researching HTIB sets and components for several months (Onkyo, Yamaha, Denon) I choose the AVR E300 and paired it with the Energy 5.1 Take Classic. Got everything from Amazon, and delivery was great.

After initial set-up, I followed the recommended break-in for the Takes. As others have noted, the volume needs to be dialed up (6-8) with this receiver to be "loud", and even then it seemed lacking. I was disappointed in my choices, but I dug deeper to adjust some settings (used Audyssey, but then boosted all speakers to 120Hz). Now it's starting to perform more as I had expected.

The other day, I was reviewing the settings and I came across something that really made a difference: On the Set-up Menu, go to Inputs, then select Source Level. The factory default setting is -0db-, but there is an adjustment range of -12db to +12db that will allow you to futher fine tune your volume settings. You will need to do this for each source.
Oh, my room size is 12'x15' (listening area) is actually larger extending another 12' into the kitchen with wood floors and 9' ceilings - hardly an ideal area for sound. It is filling it up now!

So far, I'd have to say I'm pleased with the performance of the AVR and speakers together, and I would recommend them to anyone.
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on January 23, 2014
I upgraded from a 1991 RCA AV system that still runs great. I use it now in my office as a secondary receiver.

I needed a receiver that had HDMI selector inputs. That was my primary concern. This unit has 4 inputs. Perfect for what I need. The cable pass through (HDMI 1) is great as well. I can watch tv without powering up the unit. It has RCA legacy inputs as well so I could connect my bluetooth receiver for my iPad. I was surprised that was not a built-in feature for the Denon but since I already had what I needed this was only a minor annoyance. I was also surprised by the lack of WiFi. It has an ethernet connector but since this is nowhere near my router I will be ordering another NETGEAR WNCE2001 Universal WiFi Internet Adapter for it - I have one on my tower PC and works great. So as of this review I have not upgraded the firmware or used any of the built-in internet functions.

The setup was extremely easy. The on-screen menu walks you through connecting each speaker and the Audyssey automatic volume setup makes it sound incredible. I did try it as it sat but the stereo sounded flat and out of sync. Using Audyssey for 15 minutes really made a huge difference in quality of sound.

I paired this with the Energy Take Classic 5.1 speakers based on a few reviews here and on CNet. They sound great!

I have a small living room (15'x15') so while this would be underpowered in a larger area it is perfect and more than I need for my space.

Pro: Cost effective upgrade. Easy setup. RCA inputs for legacy components. HDMI switcher built-in.

Cons: Underpowered for larger living space. Seems to need more external components than you'd originally think to get the most out of it - no built-in WiFi and no built-in Bluetooth as examples.
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on December 25, 2013
This is my second receiver, but first network receiver. Denon has a good reputation on so I looked for one in my price point and felt this was a good place to start. The model below this (E200) shouldn't really be a consideration when you compare price and features. The E300 has MUCH more features even if the price differences are sustantial. For me the features on the next couple models up were not important to me (4k upscaling, 2 zones, wifi, 7.1, and a few others). The X series gets a another year on the warranty but I felt that the price increase just isn't worth it since from my experience these things should last 20 years which is longer than I will probably use this before I get something with new features that aren't invented yet.

- Audessey set up, very easy. Made sure room was silent (kids asleep) and followed all instructions.
- Lots of HDMI ports, pass through is nice as well as we can listen to music and not leave the static screen UI on our plasma TV for a long time (possible burn in problem over time).
- Good power, runs cool, and rather compact.
- Denon Android app, it works real well and allows me to keep the unit in another room in the house. The only thing in our TV room is the TV and 5.1 system.
- Pandora app, no subscription required. Just log in once and you are good to go.
- Easy set up.

- User interface is too simple and boring looking, not a deal breaker but it does have a old feel.
- No printed manual, I know we're trying to save trees and all but I like having a printed version so I can make notes and circle bits that I want to follow up on.

Lastly, app won't control my blu ray player, maybe I'm doing something wrong or maybe not but the Denon Android app lets you drill down into the Blu Ray player remote control interface and shows buttons like PLAY, FF, STOP, SUBTITLES, ECT but when you select them nothing happens. Right now all of my devices are connected to the network (Panasonic TV, PC, Denon AVR, Panasonic Blu Ray) and I can use a variety of apps to control everything from my smartphone EXCEPT for the BluRay player. Again all of the components aside from the TV are in another room so having to go to that room to do anything BlueRay related isnt ideal, and the Panasonic 2013 BluRay models do not have an Android app like they did in 2012. As a result I am in the process of looking at RF remote controls so I can sit on my lazy butt and control everything on my couch.
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