42 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Another outstanding Denon product
, May 23, 2013
This review is from: Denon AVR-X2000 7.1 Channel Integrated Network AV Receiver with AirPlay (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I've been a big Denon fan for the last three years... after giving up on Sony after two-decades, I bought a lower-end Denon receiver for my office and was very happy with the unit. After three other Denon products, I began looking for a replacement for my aging Sony high-end home theater receiver. It was the last of my older equipment and the only component left that wasn't HDMI compatible.
Out of the box, it's an impressive unit... outstanding quality construction. The buttons and knobs all feel quite solid. The remote looks a bit too simple, however upon inspection I found that every function I really needed access to was accounted for. Setup was a breeze... plug the unit into a wall, connect it to your TV and the on-screen guide will bring you step-by-step through hooking the rest of it up. The Audyssey audio setup has you plug an included microphone into the receiver and place it in various listening positions (such as where people will be sitting on your couch). It then goes through a quick set of 'pulse' noises through each speaker to calculate levels and distances. This is done once per 'listening position', of which I only needed to set up two, so it was completed far quicker then the suggested 15-minutes. I later double checked the distances that the receiver came up with and found they were dead-on.
One thing I was concerned with out of the box was the barren rear of the unit... I'm much more accustomed to an obscene number of connections and ports on the back, but after hooking up all my equipment I found that there was plenty of places for all my components, and plenty of extra. Previous receivers I've owned may have had five different inputs for a single source, and you simply connect what you have available, and ignore the extras. This receiver skips redundant inputs by giving you all HDMI inputs, then offering a limited number of older connection types, all of which can be reassigned to any source. There is an Input Assign 'chart' in the settings menu that allows you to reassign any audio or video input... for example, the optical input is labeled 'TV Audio' on the back, but you can assign to any source, such as the CD player. Have a game system that uses three analog RCA-type wires (video, left audio, right audio)? Plug the video into the the DVD analog input, the audio into the CD analog inputs, and tell the receiver where to look for the signals in the Input Assign menu. So any labels on the back are nothing more then a reference to the default setting and every one of them can be reassigned to how you see fit. It's an incredibly versatile and easy to follow system.
The speaker setup allows you to connect five speakers in standard surround arrangement (center, two front, and two surround)... there's an additional two pairs of terminals that offer you an option of three different setups: A pair of front height or surround rear speakers for extending to 7.1 audio, or a pair of secondary speakers for placement in another room as a second zone. I opted for the rear surrounds and installed two additional speakers in my living room. The receiver immediately recognized my network and connected to my media server, so I was playing music within minutes. The album cover and song information is displayed on the TV while the song name is displayed on the receiver's display.
One thing I really like about this unit is how it works with my TV... I use to have everything run through my TV, and then the audio is fed separately to the receiver. If I wanted to watch TV using the receiver's audio, I would either have to mute the TV or turn off the audio in the options menu. Now, it's much simpler... all equipment runs through the receiver and the receiver decides what goes to the TV. With the receiver off, the receiver will allow a signal to bypass it and go to the TV (you can choose which signal in the options menu). If I'm watching TV and the receiver is off, the audio comes through my TV... if I turn the receiver on, the receiver automatically cuts the audio to the TV and directs it through the system's speakers. For me, that's exactly how I want it to work and my last receiver would not do.
I noticed you could control the receiver through a smartphone app. I figured it was a bit of a gimmick, as I've seen these apps before and they don't work very well. I installed it and tried it out, and to my surprise, it works great! Response to my selections are instant and I have one-touch access to the main power button, zone control, inputs, and the volume level/mute. This is a GREAT app if you set the system up with two zones, so you can control the receiver from another room.
Now, being considerably cheaper then my last receiver, this unit is missing a few features... first and foremost, a dedicate second zone (rather then having to choose between a second zone or 7.1 audio). You do have the option to send the signal out through the pre-outs on the back to an external amplifier, so all hope of using my kitchen's speakers are not lost. The display on the receiver itself is also a bit cramped... there's a single line for the source and audio type, so watching a blu-ray in DTS-HD Master Audio ends up displayed as 'DTS-HD MA B-ray'. This is probably a personal preference and most other people wouldn't care. A learning remote would have been nice, but like the other missing features here, I can't expect Denon to cram everything into this receiver without raising the price... they have to save something for the higher-priced models.
This unit is rated at 15w per channel lower then my last receiver, however the difference is not noticeable at all. This is likely because I have a powered subwoofer... the bass is not relying on the system's output power.
The one thing I am disappointed with is the lack of a switched outlet... I use to have my subwoofer and cabinet fans turn on automatically when the receiver was switched on. Over the last few years Denon has been using a trigger system in place of actual outlets that allows you to use an external switch to turn on components. Not as convenient, but it's cheaper for Denon and works just the same. This receiver has neither... if you want this simple feature, you have to jump up to the next model, the AVR-X3000, for an extra $250. Very disappointing, but I really can't complain too much as I was well aware of this fact before ordering.
Finally, my one and only true complaint about this unit, which cannot be dismissed by the unit's price tag, is the user manual. Aside from a very simple start-up guide, which provides minimal information, the only option you have is a PDF file on the included CD. If I want to check something real quick, I have to go to my computer, or pull out my laptop and bring up the manual. It's easy to browser through once you have it up, but for a receiver, I always want a hard copy that I keep in a draw in my entertainment cabinet for reference. The only option I have is to print the 225-page manual.
The next level up AVR-X3000 offered a couple of nice improvements that I considered... a trigger for turning on an external power source, a second HDMI output, and HDMI InstaPrevue, which allows you to see what's playing on other sources before switching to them. It also offered an additional 10-watts per channel and a few extra connectors for older components... neither of which I needed. Frankly, these improvements aren't significant enough for me. The only real step up is the Denon AVR-X4000 which is in a completely different league, with a price tag to match.
Denon has never failed to impress me, and this home theater receiver is just another example of their amazing line of home audio equipment. Considering the price, my minor complaints concerning the comparison to my last high-end receiver (that cost nearly double the price of this one) are easily overlooked. It's setup is simple enough for anyone to get amazing sound from their home theater, but offers complete control over the unit through its settings menu which would make any home theater tweaker very happy. For the price you absolutely can't beat it... this receiver is superb.
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