Top critical review
32 people found this helpful
Save yourselves over 2000 dollars
on February 10, 2011
I researched the features of many high end recievers and settled on this one for the many HDMI in and outputs, the wireless, the DLNA, the internet radio. It turned out to be an awesome receiver except for the malfunctioning wireless. The wireless did in fact work properly until it hooked up to the net and downloaded a firmware update.
I set it up to connect to my wireless router right off, using the security settings I had previously used in the Dlink router, with no problem. Once the new firmware was installed the wireless was no longer able to connect to my Dlink router using any security. It would indeed connect using no security but what good is that when everything else on my router uses security. I even tried 2 other routers to ensure it wasn't a router problem. It had to have initially connected properly using security because it downloaded new firmware via the wireless.
I called Denon tech support and was told there was no way to go back to the previous firmware and I could ship it back to be checked out but I was assured no part of the firmware dealt with with any part of the wireless. The box and packaging it shipped in was hardly capable of enduring another trip so I decided to wait till another firmware update was downloaded in hopes of a fix for the wireless function and I am presently using a wired ethernet setup. The box it shipped in seemed sturdy but the interior packaging was broken up during the original shipping making any further use of it very questionable.
The receiver is a very heavy unit due to the hefty components used to build it. Prior to this receiver I have used four Pioneer receivers, two sony receivers, and a Sherwood. This is definitely the most involved and configurable- versatile receiver up till now. This is far superior to anything I have used so far.
A feature I also chose this unit for was the Hi Def FM. I live in a very rural area that can hardly pick up stations using analog FM but this unit receives many digital stations excellently using the included FM "T" antenna. One of the FM features that only work on the most powerful stations are the music information data that streams imbedded in the FM signal. It still picks up many stations with no dropouts, but only shows the frequency used with no other details of song, genre, etc. on the weaker stations.
I am currently only using the main zone set to 9.3 surround. I have 3 subwoofers and have the speakers set up to use the Front Hi and Front Wide extra speakers, for a total of 9 surround sound speakers and three subs. I have plans to use the extra HDMI output to a second room with a separate receiver and TV.
The Denon receiver has so many HDMI inputs that I am not even using the other main feature I bought it for, the up-scaling to HDMI from analog inputs.
The 140 watts per 9 channels is awesome. It runs warm but not hot. There are 9 separate sets of speaker binder connectors on the back plus even more pre in and pre outs for use with other components including pre-out outputs for 3 subwoofers.
The front panel display could seriously be larger to be of any use. I have to stand right in front of it to use the display for settings or information, hence I use the TV on screen display for all settings and usage.
It has two remotes but both are infrared. You would think that the secondary remote intended for use in other rooms would be RF since the unit does have a wireless antenna. In lieu of that the unit should have included an infrared remote extender.
A feature I didn't realize it had when researching is the ability to preset input, audio settings, volume level, and then set all possible settings to a one button choice. You get it set to exactly how you want to recall then press one of three buttons for a few seconds and presto it can be recalled via the front panel buttons or on both the remotes. I really like that particular function since there are so many variable settings you can change.
Overall I can't rave enough about the power, flexibility, configurability, fit and finish of this receiver. The only cons for me are 1- the wireless malfunction, 2- the non RF remote, 3- the shipping box and packaging weren't quite up to handling the heft of this unit.
After using the receiver for a couple of months I am less and less enthused by it. Now the unit will not connect to the internet to receive updates or internet radio. I also cannot connect to the unit via IP address to control it through its built-in webpage. My router shows it has assigned an IP to it but typing that IP into the web browser gets a "cannot display web page error". Also the unit has developed a problem of not switching the HDMI video signal when selecting different sources. I have to switch sources then power the unit off and back on to see video on the TV. This problem is also occuring when switching from non-video sources like Hi-def radio. It seems to have a gradual decay of its features functionality. I may have to end up sending the unit off to a repair facility since 1) denon says to repair the firmware it needs to go to their repair facility and 2) now it cannot connect to the net even via ethernet cable as well as wireless.
Ok, so I paid the 84 dollars to UPS the unit back for repair. (They only pay for shipping back to you) It got there ok and they replaced the DM80 board. That fixed the wireless issue and other things. Now that it is back home it has developed another problem. When I switch channels on my Direct tv box the audio coming out of the Receiver stops, goes silent. Changing inputs the sudio works there so far but I have to power the receiver off then back on to get audio on the new channel of direct tv. What a P.O.S. So do I send it back for more repairs??? another 84 dollars, another 3 weeks without the unit? The warranty clock is ticking, hmmm. More later after MORE issues develop.
Well it has been over 2 years now. The wireless still works, yay!! I have never been able to get the DLNA to work with my PC. It sees my PC as a server but when you select it the receiver just hangs and never sees any songs playlists or anything and you can't back out of the choice until powering down. It can find internet radio stations ok so I know it is on my network. I have tried using wired Ethernet and wireless with no success. It doesn't seem to be able to put internet stations into memory locations. It works reasonably well with my Iphone. It is a bit quirky switching from internet to Iphone. Many times it gets hung and won't connect to any network type device till you power the receiver down and let it take a break. It would probably be ok if it were a 500 dollar POS but it just doesn't have that level of fit and finish to cost over 2200. The adage you get what you pay for really doesn't apply to this receiver.
A year later. I finally figured out the problem with the DLNA. This POS can't maintain the IP address to the router. You can get the IP address once then when you power off it loses the link. I have tried static IP and dynamic on 3 routers. All have the same problem so it's not likely a router problem, eh? There is a setting in the network connection on the POS that says allow network standby. Setting that on or off doesn't change the lost IP problem. Also, when I did get the DLNA to work it was terribly slow to access and change songs. I have tried using my routers built in ability to be a music server (I have the Dlink 868L router)with no discernible difference in speed.
As for playing a USB flash drive or Iphone for MP3 files this POS sounds like they are playing in mono at 64k bit rate. I have ripped all my CD's to FLAC and 320k for the best sound possible. The lowest bit rate I used is 128k for some older MP3's I had. I just hope my review can help anyone else avoid being ripped off for over 2000.00.