Most helpful positive review
124 of 128 people found the following review helpful
Feature rich unit, with an aggressive price point.
on June 27, 2013
I have owned a Denon AVR3312CI for almost exactly one year. It has been a great AVR, but when the opportunity surfaced to get this AVR-X3000 via the Amazon Vine Program, I was eager to give it a try, particularly since it has 4K Ultra HD pass-through and upscaling capability.
In case you're not aware, Denon's "X" series is replacing their old lineup of their higher end "CI" series. With the CI series, you would have the model along with the year of production. For example, the AVR3312CI I had was their 33 series that was produced in 2012. This X3000 model replaces their former 2313 CI model, which is a step down from the 3312 (albeit last year's production) I had before.
If you want a more powerful model with more features, then you'll want to look at their X4000 model, which replaces the series I had previously, the 3312CI (the 3313CI for 2013).
After unboxing this unit and making all of the connections, the first thing I did (and I recommend) was to allow it to update the firmware. This went very smoothly, but it took exactly 43 minutes (the unit counts down the time for you while this is taking place).
After that, it asks you a series of questions about your speaker connections. Note that you get the "standard" 5.1 connection, and then you have a choice of where you'll place the next two speakers...surround back, front height, or front wide.
After this, it will ask you to connect the setup microphone, after which you can start the speaker calibration process. You can place the microphone in up to eight different positions for this, stopping at any time after the first position to save and store the data.
During playback of any media, you can change the sound mode (to multi-channel stereo, Dolby cinema, etc.) by holding down one of the movie/music/game buttons on the bottom of the remote. It took me a while to figure this out, since this is a different process than my previous model. And, there is a plethora of choices to pick from.
The "info" button on the remote is also very handy. It will bring up a great graphical display which shows which speaker signals are coming in and which speakers are currently active.
As compared to my old model, I do miss the "umph" that the added wattage gave me. To drive my speakers, the on-screen volume line on this one is well over halfway on the scale. The same decibel level was produced on my older, higher end unit with the volume line about one third of the way. But, and I was honestly surprised by this, I see no difference in sound quality. Both units are superb...really outstanding. I've run several movies through it, several CDs, and Pandora, and just...wow! (I have two tower speakers for the front, and have the 7.1 set up with the high front speaker option).
Also be aware that this model does not offer HD radio, if that is important to you. The next model up, the X4000, does. I primarily use internet radio these days, so that feature is not all that important to me.
I have uploaded a couple of photos so you can see this unit compared to my old one. Size-wise they are the same, but you'll notice the difference in connections on the rear panels...mainly the sparse pre-out connections on the X3000. The 3312CI is about eight pounds heavier than the X3000.
On the plus side, the graphical interface is better...providing more (and clearer) choices and it now overlays on top of the television program you're watching instead of having the screen all to itself. I also like the fact that this receiver is 4K compliant because let's face it, that's the next "big thing" coming.
One really cool feature that the old model did not have is that you can, via the option button on the remote, listen to any music source while watching any video source. We like to run a slideshow of our family vacation photos, etc. with Pandora (or whatever) in the background, and this lets us do that easily. With the old model, I would actually have to connect the BD player directly to the television to do this (via a switcher).
Another great new feature is that all music can now be piped to both zones, including music from an analog input source...very handy!
All in all, I do highly recommend this unit, but if I were in the market to buy, I would look for a price point more around $600 to $700 rather than the list price of $1,000. For the list price, and even at a discount of $100 or so, you can find other makes with a more powerful amplifier, and even more features. The bottom line, though, is that this receiver is rich in sound and rich in features, and effectively delivers what most home theater enthusiasts will require. Being ready for 4K television, which provides future proofing to some degree, is an added bonus.
I hope this review was helpful...if things change I will update it, and if you have any questions please ask and I will do my best to answer. Thanks for reading!