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170 of 181 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid receiver, with some strong competition
Customer Video Review     Length:: 5:51 Mins
This is a nice receiver that does a lot of things well. It's at the top of Denon's lower line of network receivers, and is very similar to (but slightly less feature-rich than) their AVR-X2000 model. By itself, while having a few shortcomings for my needs, it's overall a solid unit with some really neat features. At its price point, though, it...
Published 15 months ago by Adam Wood

versus
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good receiver with possible bad network support
In general the Denon receivers are a great buy for price/support/features. Recently I bricked 2 e400's by simply doing a firmware upgrade. I performed the firmware upgrade for 2 reasons. First the internal Pandora software constantly paused and queued. Secondly I was advised by Denon support that the upgrade would resolve the issue. I have installed many of these...
Published 7 months ago by startagl


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170 of 181 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid receiver, with some strong competition, June 1, 2013
This review is from: Denon AVR-E400 7.1 Integrated Network AV Surround Receiver with Airplay (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Length:: 5:51 Mins

This is a nice receiver that does a lot of things well. It's at the top of Denon's lower line of network receivers, and is very similar to (but slightly less feature-rich than) their AVR-X2000 model. By itself, while having a few shortcomings for my needs, it's overall a solid unit with some really neat features. At its price point, though, it has some strong competition from other major brands that have put out less expensive receivers with similar power ratings but with more connections and features. This review is a bit lengthy, but I think that $500-$600 is a lot of money, and I hope that you find it helpful in your search for a new receiver.

I read about and discuss receivers on an audio/video forum (Audioholics) a lot, and the things that I recommend that you look at when shopping are: connections (does it have everything that you want/need), auto calibration (a huge plus, IMO), features (can it do everything that you want), power (can it play as loud as you want and still sound good), ease of use, and the remote control. Price, of course, also weighs into it - I never want to spend more than I have to in order to get what I want, but I don't want to spend less and then be unhappy for years because I bought something that doesn't do what I want. This Denon doesn't do everything that I want, but it might be perfect for you depending on your needs.

The video provides an overview of the receiver, including a look under the hood. The main review is below.

SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
-----------------------------------------
I'm going to compare this against similarly priced network receivers from Onkyo, Pioneer, and Denon because I have recent experience with those brands. I can only go off of specs on the other brands, and those are readily available online to check out (and I recommend that you do check out the specs from the manufacturers to make sure that a receiver can do what you want).

This Denon has all of the connections that I need, has plenty of power for me, and does really well in the initial setup and overall ease of use. Where it falls short for me (but maybe not you) are (a) the Audyssey auto calibration can't store multiple configurations, such as for different locations in a room, (b) it can't decode DSD from SACDs, and (c) the remote control can't operate any other equipment like a blu-ray player or TV even though it has all of the needed buttons.

My overall recommendations are:
(*) If you are open to other brands and aren't set on getting Audyssey, then I highly recommend that you check out the Pioneer VSX-1123. While it has a higher MSRP, I've seen it for $430 at Newegg in the past week. It has more connections, can store up to six different configurations for its auto calibration system, can decode DSD from SACDs, has equivalent power ratings, and has a more capable remote control. I didn't notice any features on the Denon that are lacking on the Pioneer, but there are probably some.
(*) If you are open to other brands but are set on getting Audyssey, then I recommend that you check out the Onkyo TX-NR626. It is less expensive while providing more connections, the exact same Audyssey capabilities, can decode DSD from SACDs, has Wi-Fi and bluetooth, has equivalent power ratings, and has a more capable remote control. Plus, you can access the menu from the front panel. Having used both receivers, I do think that the Denon menu system is overall nicer and easier to use, and I also like that the Denon doesn't have a fan. They both have their pros and cons, but I think it's worth comparing the two for yourself.
(*) If you are set on getting a Denon and this receiver has what you want, then I'd say compare this against the Denon AVR-X2000 or (while supplies last) the AVR-2313CI. The X2000 is very similar, has a few more features, has Audyssey Multeq XT (one step up), and currently costs about $50 more. The 2313 currently costs the same and has some more features.

DETAILS
----------
First, a quick description of my setup and experience to set the stage. I have a 7.2 speaker setup using surround back channels and two powered subs. I have six matching bookshelf speakers for fronts and surrounds and the matching center channel. My current receiver is a Pioneer Elite VSX-23 bought in 2009, before that it was a Pioneer VSX-1015 from 2005, and before that a Yamaha RX-V992 from 1997. For over five years, and up until a month ago, I was also running two external power amps (200W for front speakers, 150W for all others). The first auto calibration system that I'd ever used was on the VSX-1015, and ever since, I've been a HUGE fan of that capability. It made a big difference in the quality of sound in my setup, both accounting for room interactions as well as tonal differences between the bookshelf and center channel speakers. I've lusted after a Denon receiver for well over a decade, and I also wanted to check out Audyssey after reading about how it (in theory) is superior to Pioneer's MCACC system. Below are my opinions on various aspects of this receiver.

Connections: 4 Stars
While I initially thought it was lacking because the back panel looks pretty barren compared to my previous receivers, it actually has everything that I need these days. With the exception of the optical audio output from my TV, all of my other gear uses HDMI. Of course, you've got to make sure that it has what YOU need, because that is probably different than what I need. I did take a star away because one of the push-in speaker connectors is very poorly placed for people who use banana plugs (shown in detail in the video). I happen to have some plugs small enough to slip into that one connector, but my regular plugs are too large to fit. Also note that you can't connect an external amplifier, and it only have one HDMI output.

Auto Calibration: 3 Stars (might be 5 stars for you, though)
Auto calibration is a wonderful thing, and if you've never used it, I think that you'll love it. Audyssey seems to work pretty well and sounds good in the location where I set up the mic and ran the calibration. My biggest complaint, and why I won't be using this receiver, is that it cannot store multiple configurations. In my room, I have two main seating locations - one is centrally located relative to the speakers, while the other is off to the side. The relative distances between the speakers and those two locations (and hence the optimal timing and volume levels for each speaker) are significantly different. MCACC (at least the version on my Pioneer and the VSX-1123) can store up to six configurations, so I can have one for the central location and another one for the side location. Audyssey, at least on this receiver, can't do that. I can place the mic in both locations during setup, but it still sets the timing based on the first mic location. If you have a seating arrangement in your room where everyone sits pretty close, then this might not matter to you, and you very well might consider Audyssey to be a five star system. A lot of people love it. I just didn't realize that it couldn't do multiple configurations until I started using it, so I wanted to point it out. That was a big disappointment to me. One other note - while it will ask you during Audyssey setup if you want to turn on Dynamic Volume (which applies dynamic range compression), it automatically turns on without asking Dynamic EQ (which is a more advanced version of the old Loudness controls). If you don't like Dynamic EQ, you need to disable it individually for every input.

Features: 4 Stars
It has pretty much everything that I want except it won't decode DSD from SACDs. This is a downer for me, but probably won't matter to most of you. I love the ability to rename the inputs (e.g. "PS3") and select which inputs get cycled through when you use the selector buttons on the front panel (my Pioneer also has this). For example, if you only have four components connected, you can set in the menu that you only want to cycle through those four instead of having to cycle through all of the inputs (including several that you never use) just to get to the ones that you want. VERY nice. HDMI pass through in standby mode is also very nice. The networking features (like internet radio and DLNA) are also cool, but not something that I'll use often. I might use the DLNA a lot if it could handle video files, but based on the manual and my own checking, it will only stream audio files. As far as I saw, you can't access the menu system from the receiver itself, so you need the remote to do that - I like that the Onkyo TX-NR626 can access the menus from the receiver itself.

Power: 5 Stars
This has plenty of power for me. I don't tend to listen very loudly, so I don't need a lot of power. However, I checked out its capabilities at pretty loud volumes (0 dB, or reference level, on the volume control). One of my test cases to check out power is Fleetwood Mac's "The Dance" DVD. I know, I know..."How old is this guy?" :D I use it because it's 5.1 and therefore uses five of the amp channels to some extent, and because it has short dynamic power requirements for things like guitar string plucks. The reason that I added a power amp to my first Pioneer, besides the real reason of just wanting to try one out :), is that I could tell that the music wasn't as crisp and clear at high volumes. For lack of a better word, it sounded muffled. The dynamics just weren't there, and it's because that Pioneer didn't have enough juice for the peaks (like guitar string plucks and cymbals) at higher volumes (at my normal listening volumes, though, that Pioneer was fine). So, I tried that exact same disc with this receiver - and it did great. Even at a setting of 0 dB on the volume level (so, reference level, and MUCH louder than I'd ever normally listen), the dynamics were still there. No need for any external amplification in my case, which is nice because this amp doesn't support that capability.

Ease of Use: 4 Stars
Honestly, I have no trouble using receivers that some other people consider complicated, so I'm probably not the best judge. This receiver, though, does seem very easy to use. I love that the OSD (including the setup menus) will overlay on top of what you're watching and let you keep watching. The OSD is also graphically nice and laid out well. I took away a star because, even though it's intended to be very easy to setup and use with Denon's onscreen assistant, there are a couple of hitches. First, the onscreen assistant steps you through connections that you really should have made before you ever get to the point that you could see the assistant, at least if you have this in an entertainment center. Obviously, you need to have the HDMI output connected to the TV before you could see the assistant. Also, it steps through how to connect your speakers, but besides those being on the back side which you might have already blocked in an entertainment center, you shouldn't connect speakers with the receiver on (although, I don't remember if the Denon had the power to those terminals shut off during the setup, so maybe it was okay). One other thing is that there are commonly used features that you wouldn't realize how to use without reading the manual (or getting lucky), such as needing to hold down the sound mode buttons for a couple of seconds in order to see a menu of available modes. However, outside of that, the setup assistant was really nice. The Audyssey setup is also a breeze.

Remote: 3 Stars
Okay, I hate that this thing isn't a universal remote. The remote's simplicity is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that the buttons are large and easy to find/push, and the remote isn't bulky so it's easy to handle. The curse is that it's pretty limited. It operates the receiver well, although some things like changing the sound modes are more difficult than I think they should be. The killer for me is that it can't operate any other equipment. My past three A/V receivers, stretching back to 1997, have all had remotes that could operate other gear to some extent (two had learning remotes, and the latest has a preprogrammed universal remote). Given how inexpensive it is to include that ability, I'm surprised that Denon didn't. The remote even has the buttons that you'd need for common equipment - you just can't use them. It's annoying to me to have to reach for another remote just to change channels on my TV when the Denon remote has buttons for changing channels, and another remote for my blu-ray player when the Denon has all of the buttons already there. I figure that if the receiver is marketed as the audio/video hub for all of your gear, then it should have a remote that can operate the most common features of common equipment like TVs, disc players, and cable boxes.

Build Quality: 4 Stars
Overall, a nice solid unit. I docked it a star because the center front plastic panel on mine creaks when I put light pressure on it, which detracts from the overall pride of ownership for me. I noticed the creak when I went to lightly brush off some dust, so I wasn't putting much pressure on it at all. That aside, everything else seems really sturdy. The connectors on the back are all solid, and the push connectors for the speakers don't jiggle at all.

Packing: 5 Stars
Okay, I know that you won't be packing and unpacking this often, but I want to give Denon credit for a top notch job of packing this thing. It stood out to me as being nicely thought out. Give this as a gift or get it for yourself, the box is graphically nice and will probably inspire a little excitement. Inside, everything is logically placed and secured. I LOVE that they went with foam end caps around the receiver that have top/bottom pieces so that you can lift out the top two end pieces, exposing the receiver that you can then lift out and off the bottom end pieces without any end caps still on it. So, you can sit the receiver down without having to pull the foam end caps off in mid-air as you juggle and balance it. Some receivers, like the Onkyo 626, have one-piece end caps that are more difficult to remove when unpacking.

Overall: 3.5 Stars
I can live without (but miss) DSD decoding, and I can put up with (but dislike) the remote. However, the inability to store multiple configurations for Audyssey in my living room is too big of a drawback for me and why I gravitate to Pioneer's MCACC system. Those of you who don't care about DSD, don't need a universal remote, and that sit in one location wouldn't have any of those complaints and might just love this receiver. This is a good receiver with some nice features, plenty of power, and an excellent GUI - but there are very similar receivers from other brands that you should at least consider before buying. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I'll respond as soon as I can. Thanks.
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I wanted. Works great., May 1, 2013
This review is from: Denon AVR-E400 7.1 Integrated Network AV Surround Receiver with Airplay (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I feel obligated to write this review, since there's another review up here by someone who does not own the product. Not only did I "think before you buy", but I also thought before I wrote this review. I just hooked mine up, so this is early impressions.

I just setup a 3D home theater, and discovered that my Sony STR-DA3400ES 7.1 Channel AV Receiver does not pass the 3D signal. It downgrades the signal to non-high speed. So, the Denon AVR-E400 is its replacement in this setup. I chose the E400 over the E300 for its video up-scaling and up-conversion. That's one feature of the Sony that I really like - only connecting a single HDMI cable to my projector, and all non-HDMI inputs are up-converted to HDMI.

Setup was extremely simple. This receiver is made for HDMI, so Denon got rid of a lot of useless ports on the back. Just one component video input, no s-video, etc. I much prefer that over the Sony with its massive switchboard of ports that I'll never use. The Wii uses component video, and an old camcorder uses composite if I need it. One gripe is that the speaker connections do not support banana plugs, so I had to pop those off my speaker wires. I also hooked up a wired network connection, from an gigabit switch, to take advantage of the network features of the receiver.

Once powered on, the onscreen setup wizard is easy to use. I skipped the automatic speaker adjustments for now. After I get all the boxes and such out of the room, it'll be ready for acoustic optimization. Be aware that the default volume level is completely turned off. The speaker test tone won't make a sound during setup until you raise the volume. In general, the onscreen menu is very easy to read and navigate. It overlays on top of my cable tv signal. (BTW, that cable standby pass-though is very cool. Before I even turned the unit on, it was passing the tv signal to my projector.) The menu is a bit simpler than I expected (this is my first Denon). On the network setup step of the wizard, the receiver connected to the internet without asking for anything, and played an internet music station to verify - awesome.

Be aware that if you want the full manual, you have to download it or copy it from the supplied CD. There's no printed manual, just a quick setup guide.

Right now my receiver is downloading a firmware update. I checked for an update on the menu, saw that there was one with an estimated download/install time of 41 minutes. I'm about to check on it. If I update this review using ALL CAPS like some maniac, then you know my receiver has been bricked and I'm pissed. Otherwise, I'm off enjoying a movie.

*** Update: May 10, 2013 ***

Just a quick update to point out how slick the music streaming is. I didn't think about using it until I right-clicked a song on my computer and noticed "Play To" on the menu. There is one sub-menu option, "Denon AVR-E400". I did not have to install anything on the computer; the Denon was automatically found on the network. When I click that option, the E400 automatically turns on and starts playing the song. How cool is that? This was done from the Windows 8 desktop, so it should also apply to Windows 7.

That firmware update went down without a hitch, obviously. I'm going to experiment more with the "Play To". I see that pictures also have the "Play To --> Denon AVR-E400" option.

Very happy with this purchase.

(BTW - This "Play To" feature is provided by Media Player. There's a Microsoft page with more details. Search their site for "Using the Play To feature to stream media".)
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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pricey, but full-featured receiver with easy setup., June 11, 2013
This review is from: Denon AVR-E400 7.1 Integrated Network AV Surround Receiver with Airplay (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have owned a sizable number of home theater amps over the past 18 years: 1 Sony; 3 Harman Kardon's; 4 Yamaha's; & 3 Denon's. The Denon AVR-E400 is my 12th receiver, and arguably the most technologically advanced and full-featured, though not the best sounding. Despite the huge number of features present on this unit, I can honestly say it was probably the easiest to setup. I've been out of home theater for a while, due to a shortage of both physical space, and interest in the hobby, so I was a bit rusty on the initial setup procedure involved. I was VERY grateful for Denon's On-Screen GUI w/ Setup Assistant that pretty much walked me through the initial steps without having to refer to the owners manual continually. I would, however, have liked to see the 8 point Audyssey MultEQ XT or XT32 room equalization instead of the more basic 6 point Audyssey MultEQ version this receiver has. The MultEQ XT or XT32 has you place the microphone in up to 8 different positions around the room to truly account for the varying acoustics of large or unusually shaped rooms. But the 6 measurement calibration the E400 performed sounded pretty darn good, though.

When I saw this receiver had Push-Button speaker connectors I almost didn't buy it for that reason alone! I have struggled for years with the pathetically weak and always too narrow spring loaded connectors of numerous vintage amplifiers and receivers. Well, these are not your Daddy's spring loaded connectors! The Push-Button speaker connectors on the Denon E400 are big and fat, and hold both 12 AWG bare wire and banana connectors like a pit-bull. It did get a little crowded on the front right channel when using the banana plugs, but everything fit in the end. I would like to see all manufacturers switch to these dual purpose connectors, as long as they are high-quality.

Handheld Devices
The E400 has an incredible compatibility with numerous Apple and Android technologies. Alas, I'm a dinosaur when it comes to these devices, I presently own only a lowly 3rd generation Nano which I don't use very much. However, the built-in incorporation of an Apple AirPlay receiver on the Denon has gotten me seriously interested in perhaps upgrading to a Touch or iPad to wirelessly manage my current CD and FLAC file collection in high-definition ALAC format. From what I've read the initial conversion can be time consuming, but you only have to do it once. (Honey... guess what I want for my birthday??)

Two glaring oversights on this receiver are no wireless Bluetooth or Wi-Fi capability. I don't own any devices that would benefit from Bluetooth so I didn't personally mind that, but the Wi-Fi would have avoided yet another cable snaked from my dining room to the living room. (But in retrospect it was nice not to have to deal with any Wi-Fi configuration headaches - which seem to plague many wireless printers and other devices.)

Sound Quality
Being a mid-priced, home theater receiver, I wasn't anticipating any high-fidelity miracles to come pouring out of the E400, and I got pretty much what I expected. Very clean, low current power, with limited speaker driver control, and a somewhat narrow, less articulated soundstage. That being said, this is a home theater receiver, and that is exactly what I would expect from this unit - it is NOT a 2 channel amp made solely for music reproduction. Movies (especially Blu-Ray's) sounded life-like and very immersive. I had the Denon mated with Sonus Faber Concerto's in the front, Solo center channel, Concertino's for the surrounds, all paired with a Polk PSW505 sub for the low-end. That Sonus Faber array is notoriously tough to drive with anything less than top dollar equipment, so I was somewhat impressed the Denon sounded as good as it did. I just have to be careful to keep the volume at a reasonable level or some speaker-cone damaging distortion can be easily produced. (I think my girlfriend really appreciates this limitation!) I'm quite sure most popular home theater speakers like Polk's and Def Tech's won't have the same difficultly being driven by this Denon that my Sonus Faber's have.

A Note on Power Ratings
Denon and other manufacturers are playing the numbers game (again/still) with their overblown "Maximum Power per Channel" ratings. This receiver claims 185 Watts/channel which is ridiculous from a 20 lb. mid-level receiver. Amazon contributes to this hype by not including the "real" power specification which is 90 Watts/channel (90 W + 90 W - 8 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz with 0.08 % T.H.D.). I had to go to the back of the (PDF-only) owners manual to find this info. 90 Watts is nothing to sneeze at, it's a respectable power rating, but when you play the numbers game with your competitors, 185 Watts "sounds" so much better even if it's a complete exaggeration! (Federal Trade Commission where are you??)

Remote Control
This unit comes with a pretty basic but user friendly remote. It only controls the E400 and not any other components like your TV or Blu-Ray player. In my opinion this is fine, as I have rarely bothered to program those universal remotes, instead relying on using several remotes. The E400 remote has nice big buttons, and glows in the dark which is handy in a dimly lit room.

Overall, I really like this receiver. Incorporating the latest technologies in a format I can mostly understand has me finally wanting to step into this decade regarding hand-held devices. (Heck, I still own a non-smart phone!) The easy set-up assistant overcame my reluctance to spending hours pouring over the manual to do the initial setup. The sound quality - though not the superlative, 2-channel high-fidelity of the amps/preamp combos that I've grown accustomed to of late, is perfectly acceptable for what it is designed to do - play movies in crystal clear surround sound. Sure I'd like a little more amperage pumping through the wires, but that's mostly because my speakers are hard to drive.

The exterior of the unit has a high-quality, uncluttered look, and fits in nicely in my rack of all black components. I've read some comparisons/criticisms of the Denon to lower profile receivers like the current Marantz line. I don't know about you, but I'll take my components housed in an appropriately sized enclosure that will provide superior cooling and isolation from EMF interference.

Are there things this receiver should have, and doesn't? Yes, at this price point it should have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Audyssey MultEQ XT or XT32 room calibration, and an actual printed owners manual. And speaking of price, it really shouldn't be quite as high-priced as it is. At it's current price near full retail, it's higher than several of it's competitors. It probably should be $75 or $100 less, and I imagine eventually it will be as the next model comes out in a year. But for me the ease of use, and the right mixture of sound and features, made it worthwhile right now. That $100 spread out over a year is $0.27/day. I wasn't going to lose any sleep over that - and I'm enjoying all the features of my new receiver NOW!

4 STAR - RECOMMENDED!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Denon AVR-E400 Made Itself A Permanent Place In My Studio, May 21, 2013
By 
This review is from: Denon AVR-E400 7.1 Integrated Network AV Surround Receiver with Airplay (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Right off the bat, I have to confess two things:

1. I love to read user guides. Sorry. I just do. However, Denon makes a rather big deal about their receiver being easy to setup and use. They even stuck a big sticker right on the front panel saying "EASY SETUP & USE." (Those are their caps, not mine!) So I determined never to crack the user guide in setting up and operating the receiver. You know what? Everything was easy to figure out and operate. The only issue I encountered is that you have to set up and activate the inputs. This isn't like the old days of plug in and listen. But it's not that hard--especially with a monitor attached and using the decently intuitive GUI interface that Denon provides.

2. I am a Yamaha man. Sorry, Denon. I just love the clean natural sound of a Yamaha receiver. However, my love for Yamaha may be waining. Not because there is anything particularly wrong with the current Yamaha receiver crop. But as it turns out, this is now my second Denon receiver. (My home theater uses a Denon AVR2312CI Integrated Network A/V Surround Receiver.) I have come to love their integration with Apple Airplay and their remote apps for the iPad/iPhone and Android systems. They are pretty cool!

But no matter the features, it's the sound that counts--and that's what I was most interested in testing the AVR-E400 to find out.

I installed the AVR-E400 not in my home theater, but in my production studio. Here I have a bit of an advantage. I am an Internet radio disc jockey and have done professional studio recording (both engineering and producing.) Therefore I have at my disposal first and second generation source material that I could use for the test.

But I started out simply with the built-in Internet radio. That sounded pretty decent on the AVR-E400, so I connected up a Kenwood KX-5530 Cassette deck and put in a cassette dub of one of the mixdown masters that I had professionally recorded. Not too shabby. In fact, it sounded rather nice.

So I decided to go for broke and pull out the powered monitor speakers in my production studio. This normally is how I monitor my board output and off air feed. Instead I connected the AVR-E400 with a set of Monitor Audio speakers and a Pinnacle Subwoofer. These were, in turn, connected to the control room output of the Mackie Onyx 1220i 12-channel Premium FireWire Recording Mixer. Wow! I've never heard the board's output sound like that ever before! Listening to some of the better encoded MP3s--well let me put it this way...I no longer am wearing socks--they been totally blown off!

The Denon AVR-E400 is not a top of the line receiver by any means, but sonically it is a perfectly capable receiver. The features aren't bad either. It doesn't have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth--a bit of an omission especially at this price, but I can live without these in my setup since I have wired Ethernet in my studio.

I am going to make the Denon part of my permanent on air set up and use it both for off the air monitoring and direct board monitoring. And that, is by far the best recommendation that I can offer any receiver.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic sound quality but curious omissions at this price point, June 24, 2013
This review is from: Denon AVR-E400 7.1 Integrated Network AV Surround Receiver with Airplay (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've had Onkyo, Yamaha and Harman Kardon receivers over the years. This is my first experience with Denon, and so far, I'm pretty impressed with the quality.

This is a heavy, well built unit. They are not taking Harman Kardon's approach by changing the power supply to make it more energy efficient (and 75% lighter), which is unfortunate. They're staying with the old big, heavy receiver approach. That's fine - there's plenty of room in my entertainment unit for it.

It comes well packaged with all the necessary accessories (remote, batteries, antenna). It's a very handsome unit, and probably the nicest looking receiver I've ever owned.

Setting this thing up is a breeze with Denon's on screen display. It's unbelievably simple for those that need assistance hooking up all your equipment.

There are 6 HDMI ports and some analog ports. I only have HDMI needs (PS3, DVR, Roku), and only use those. They have these new spring clips that are supposed to be easier to use. However, my banana plugs would not fit, so I had to remove all of them and put frayed bare wire into them. So, it wasn't super convenient for me - I'm not sure how this is a benefit at all.

You can set this up to 7.1 (7 speakers and a sub), or 5.1 plus 2 additional speakers in a separate room. I'm not really sure why you'd want to listen to speakers where the receiver is in another room, as you'd have to go to the next room to adjust the volume. The way bluetooth technology keeps developing, I use one of 4 bluetooth speakers instead, which is much easier.

The sound quality from this unit is fantastic. It's on par with my HK unit, and a little better than Yamaha. The sound is full and balanced, and good for both home theater and music.

The receiver has a few curious omissions. To start, there is no bluetooth or wifi built-in. For $600, you can easily find a competitor that offers these. Another strange omission is that it only powers one subwoofer. Why this isn't 7.2 is beyond me, as many HT enthusiasts prefer 2 subs in their setup.

This has an ethernet jack to listen to pandora and spotify, but I haven't used it. I use a bluetooth adapter (the Belkin Bluetooth HD Music Receiver) to stream all the music I want. But it's there for those of you that want it.

The unit gets quite hot, as most receivers of this magnitude tend to do. Make sure you have ample space above for ventilation, and I do not recommend keeping this in a closed cabinet.

Overall, I'm impressed with the quality of this unit. It's easy to set up, it sounds great, and is well built. I'm baffled by the omissions of built-in bluetooth, wifi, and not offering a 7.2 setup, however. That makes me feel this receiver is overpriced compared to the competition, and that you're mainly paying a premium for the Denon name. It just depends on how important that is to you, and what features you're looking for.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a Keeper!, July 2, 2013
By 
Will Irace (Portland, OR USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Denon AVR-E400 7.1 Integrated Network AV Surround Receiver with Airplay (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I don't need much in an AVR. I need it to route AV signals from my components to my TV over HDMI. I need it to connect to my home LAN so that I can control it over IP using the Roomie iPhone App. I need it to make good-sounding noise come out of my 7.1 speakers. And I need it to not bug me. By these standards I'm thrilled, but I do think it's a bit overpriced.

There's one thing I need to get out of the way. The speaker connections are of an interesting design: they accommodate bare wire or banana plugs in the same spring-loaded holes. Either way you insert the speaker leads downward while pressing the plastic thingie into the unit. There are two problems with this, one minor and one stupid. The minor problem is that it's slightly less convenient to use banana plugs with this AVR than you're used to: you don't just jam in the plug, you press the spring, insert the plug at an awkward angle, and release the spring. The stupid problem is that if your banana plugs are made of metal, the front right speaker plugs will short against the RCA audio inputs (remember those?) and cause the AVR to shut itself down. Somewhere there is an engineer at Denon who had a good facepalm over this error. Thankfully I didn't brick my E400 after several head-scratching shutdowns, and eventually I figured out the problem, removed two out of fourteen banana plugs and I was good to go.

Ok. Had to get that off my chest. What else? It doesn't bug me and it sounds great.

I'm assuming a few things about your needs below. If my assumptions below don't describe you, then this isn't the AVR for you.

* 5 HDMI inputs in the back, one in the front.
* Only 4 sets of stereo RCA inputs. It's 2013. You probably need zero of these.
* Only two digital audio inputs, one coax and one optical. It's 2013. You probably need zero of these.
* Only two composite video inputs (yellow RCA connections). It's 2013. You don't need these either.
* Only one component video input. It's 2013. You probably don't need more than one, if any.
* Only one HDMI output. Why would you need another?
* Only one line-level subwoofer output. One is plenty.
* 3D supported over HDMI. And 4K. If you can afford a 4K TV now then you aren't buying this AVR. But if this AVR survives long enough for you to take the 4K plunge, you'll theoretically be ready.
* Nice UI, both in the setup menus and in the heads-up display. Much nicer and more modern looking than the Onkyo TX-NR616 that died a premature death in my media room.
* Sounds great. I have a decent set of speakers in my 7.1 system. Mine is not a particularly discerning ear, but if you're a real audiophile you're probably not looking for an AVR at this price point anyway.
* It can do "night mode" to compress the dynamic range of incoming signals for use at lower volumes. It has several levels of compression, and it can even apply this compression to TrueHD and DTS-HD signals, which is something my Onkyo couldn't do.
* It has Airplay support, which I like.
* It can play audio from one source while sending video from another source to the TV. That's another feature I don't think is common.
* It can show you exactly what kind of signal it's receiving from its audio source (stereo, 5.1 AAC, DTS-MA 7.1, etc.), and tell you exactly what audio processing algorithms are involved (Dolby PL IIx, DTS Neo6, direct, etc.), and exactly what speakers are active in this mode. I love this because it helps me be sure I've selected the right sound mode for what I'm watching or listening to.

Victory is mine, I love my E400. Great sound, great design (except for that thing about the speaker connections), great firmware. If you have questions about something I haven't covered, ask and I'll try to answer.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Addition to Home Theater System, May 28, 2013
By 
This review is from: Denon AVR-E400 7.1 Integrated Network AV Surround Receiver with Airplay (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Denon AVR-E400 is a network home theater receiver at the top of the entry level E-series. The next step up is the X-series of receivers. Don't let this model being an E-series receiver fool you into thinking it has entry level performance, however. The AVR-400 offers a lot of features making it a worthy central hub of the home entertainment system.

One of the first things I noticed about the setup of this receiver is it lacks multi-channel analog inputs. With the prevalent method of connecting devices being HDMI, this is unlikely to cause concern for most users, as it is mostly a point of backward compatibility with older analog-only gear. While I think the current trend of HDMI is overall very convenient, it has a much higher and less controlled jitter problem when compared to other methods of digital audio transfer, such as optical or coaxial. I suppose that's the tradeoff for convenience and reduction of birdnests of wires.

Anyhow, the Denon AVR-E400 easily let me integrate my entire home entertainment system into it. The television, Blu-Ray player, computer, stand-alone CD player, DirecTV box, and Sirius tuner all connected effortlessly. Attaching my speaker system with bare-ended 14-gauge speaker wire was easy as can be with the new push-in terminals. While these new terminals don't offer the convenience of banana plugs, I have no issue with using bare wire ends, and the new style of terminal holds the wire securely. Still, I would have preferred to have had 5-way binding posts.

The on-screen setup displays nicely on a television set, which allows making setup and adjustments very easy. Adjustments can also be made via a network connected computer by accessing the LAN IP of the Denon receiver. In fact, the receiver can easily be controlled from across the house by a laptop computer; turning the unit on or off, adjusting the audio settings, changing the audio source, and so forth. Very nice!

I do not like how Denon is advertising the power ratings on this new receiver; 185-Watts per channel? I don't think so! Maybe this receiver is capable of 185-Watts per channel for a micro-second before it fries its amplifier stage, but in reality the output is far less. The power draw of the AVR-E400 is rated at 460-Watts; that amounts to 65-watts per 7 channels, and likely that is what it'll produce on peaks at -20dB reference levels. You can expect around 35-watts or less per channel output on a 7.1 speaker configuration at average volume levels. I would really appreciate it if Denon and other manufacturers would quit letting their marketing departments play number games and have power-wars in an effort to make the receivers seem more appealing, everyone appreciates honest advertising more than being played off as just another one of P.T. Barnum's suckers.

As for the sound quality, it is excellent, and on par with other a/v receivers in its class. Let the Audyssey MultEQ do a bit of its room correction and speaker timing magic, and it outputs a warm, pleasing sound that is much less sterile and harsh than the basic, uncorrected settings. While MultEQ won't fix a bad room, it can help make it more tolerable, or at least give the user a good starting point in figuring out what needs further correcting.

The Denon AVR-E400 allows HDMI-pass-through when in standby mode, so you don't have to turn the receiver on to watch TV if you don't desire. The AVR-E400 also does a very good job at up-converting video signals to 1080p. Much can be said about the benefits and pitfalls of up-conversion, but for my particular setup, I find the ability to up-convert video to 1080p and nice convenience.

The internet and network audio streaming capabilities of this receiver are great. I really like how I can listen to my favorite internet music stations without having to be on the computer, and the same with the music stored on my network drives. So convenient! The AVR-E400 also does a good job of smoothing over lower bit-rate audio streams to make them more tolerable.

Not to be overlooked is the remote control. It is not packed with an excess of buttons, is well laid out, and easy to use. The buttons also glow in the dark. None of the buttons are clustered too closely together, so it is easy to press the buttons without accidentally mushing the surrounding ones. This is probably one of the most well thought out, easy to use remotes for an A/V receiver that I've seen in a long time.

My biggest gripe of the Denon AVR-E400 is it runs HOT. Ever had toasted skin from a too-hot laptop computer? That's how hot the top surface of the AVR-E400 gets, too hot to hold your hand against. When you set this receiver up, make sure you give it at least the minimum recommended amount of air space on the top and both sides, and try to have some active airflow in that area. This thing runs so hot it really needs a built-in cooling fan. I'm afraid the heat level this receiver produces is going to significantly reduce its lifespan.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This receiver is better than some reviews state., December 17, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Denon AVR-E400 7.1 Integrated Network AV Surround Receiver with Airplay (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
This is an awesome receiver. I was reluctant to purchase it after reading some of the negative reviews. Honestly some of the reviews are completely wrong. One states the sub-woofer level is too low. Actually the sub-woofer level can be increased, or decreased 12db in manual settings to suit one's needs via audio setup on the AVRe400.. I have no problem driving my Polk 505 Sub to it's max.,with a 3db increase in level (as I said 12db is available) Also manual settings can be used to adjust all speaker levels, either as a "whole" or "Individually" . . Another review states that streamed music can only be played in stereo. That too is wrong. The default setting is "stereo". The bottom four buttons on the remote can be used to switch the audio from stereo, to Multichannel Stereo,, to Dolby D, pll, DTS etc, as the user chooses. .And this can be done for each type of input, such as bluray, tuner, game, TV, Media server, etc. By simply pressing the corresponding button til the desired type of sound is chosen. I normally do not post reviews on Amazon...But this receiver certainly is not crap. I suggest everyone read the user manual (CD pdf file) completely..if not sure of the capabilities of the receiver.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A receiver that runs hot and horrible customer service (UPDATE), January 16, 2014
By 
Mike (Menominee, MI) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Denon AVR-E400 7.1 Integrated Network AV Surround Receiver with Airplay (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
***Update
I received the replacement about 2 weeks after writing this review and while the new unit runs hotter than I'd like, it has yet to shut down on me. Although I haven't cranked it up as loud as I used to keep the Yamaha, it's been set well past -16 DB without shutting down. I also notice on the replacement that the audio quality is slightly better (mostly on lossy formats like netflix streaming) and it also is quite a bit louder set at lower volumes than my Yamaha/first Denon were. My thoughts on this product have changed because I must have gotten a lemon the first time around. Therefore I have to be true to the rules of product rating, and change it to four stars (from two.)

There is still no excuse for the runaround I had to put up with to get a replacement. Not only was I ignored for weeks, but never got an apology from the representative but was blamed several times because the link was 'probably in my spam folder the whole time.' Horribly long story short, it was never in my spam folder because they didn't send it to me for 5 friggin' weeks. I had to listen to my Vizio tv speakers for a ridiculous amount of time and it was horrific.

I stand by my words that this will be the last Denon I buy. Not because I bought a lemon, but because I was treated like I didn't exist. Swapping out a product that is under warranty should not take two months.

***Original review
I purchased this receiver on accessoriesforless.com which is supposed to be partnered with companies like Denon and Marantz to sell discounted refurbished units. I had no problems whatsoever with accessories4less. After unboxing the unit and hooking it up, I noticed something peculiar about the receiver, it was running pretty warm with no sound coming out of it. I should note that it was well ventilated. So the first day I had it turned it up to -16 which is where I would always keep my 3 year old Yamaha when I watched tv, but after 10 minutes the unit shut off because of the overheat protection. I was able to keep my old (much less expensive) Yamaha at reference level, or 0, for hours on end with no problems shutting down. So I tried remedying the problem with only having it in 2 ch mode but turned up a bit louder, but it still kept shutting down. I put a box fan inches away from the unit, same thing.

The biggest problem here is the horrific (that's right) customer service. It could be that I am just dealing with the worst rep in the industry and the rest of them are not half bad, but my first phone call to Denon was December 6th. They didn't get a shipping label emailed to me (to return my refurb and get another refurb) until December 23rd. That was after several phone calls and probably 8 emails.

So after having the E400 boxed up for 3 weeks, I can finally send it back in. Yesss! So I did and they received it on December 31st. I waited what I thought was a reasonable time of 10 business days before emailing and getting an update on what's going on. No response (so far there are 5 emails sent with no response.) I skipped the email and called in, to my surprise they had received the amp two weeks ago but haven't sent a new one out.

So I turned from the nice guy just trying to get his home audio hooked back up :( to the POed guy who is a little more demanding. We'll see how far that gets me. When I do get my new unit I'll update if my review and possibly give it the 4 stars it might deserve. One thing is for sure, THIS IS THE LAST DENON I WILL EVER BUY. I have never dealt with such shady customer service.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great receiver - network astute., June 27, 2013
This review is from: Denon AVR-E400 7.1 Integrated Network AV Surround Receiver with Airplay (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This Denon is an easy decision for a mid-size room 7.1 speaker system. I am using it to power (7) 8"in wall speakers.

I had an existing Onkyo tx-nr616 that was very quirky so all of my connections were ready to swap quickly. The speaker terminals don't accept banana plugs horizontally, but will do so vertically and have effective space on the back to make this possible without covering other jacks. The only other jack that I ran into problems with was the CD audio... so I insulated with tape to prevent inadvertent contact. I first I didn't like this approach, but it certainly reduces the depth of the cabinet for supporting banana plugs.

In addition to my 7 speakers, I plugged in two HMDI sources and the hdmi TV output to a Samsung 60" PN60E7000 plasma display and a cat5 network cable. Turning on the receiver for the first time, it connected to the network and identified an update with a timeframe of 41 minutes. Accepting this update takes the 41 minutes that it claims, which is mostly tied to the update process, not the firmware download.

I had read about this unit before purchasing, so instead of using the remote for setup, I found the Denon on my computer's network folder. Double clicking this opened my browser to the control page for the Denon. This made setup 100% easier than mashing remote buttons. Spotify and Pandora account email and passwords take 2 seconds through this network connection. The unit is default set to support 5.1 with secondary zones. I changed this setting through the network, and plugged in the audessy mic for initial speaker setup. It's a traditional setup process, allowing for measurement at more listening positions than I need, effectively adjusting tone and volume.

The remote isn't much to write home about and I don't really intend on using it since the receiver will accept 2 way hdmi commands from the TV.
Pandora was quick and easy and playing my mix in no time... and as others have said, from a Windows 8 PC, you can select a file and choose to "play to" the receiver. This works great with audio files mp3/mp4.. I don't know if video works - I usually stream video straight to the screen.

Sound is great and has autoleveling to deal with crazy TV loud commercials. I love it... the onkyo tx-nr616 is going on craigs list.
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