Denon AVR-X4800H 9.4 Ch. 125W 8K AV Receiver with HEOS - A Feature-Rich and Flexible AVR

Manufacturer & Model
Denon AVR-X4800H Receiver
MSRP
$2,499.00
Link
https://prf.hn/l/wz01Xv4
Highlights
Nine Channels of High Current Amplification 125W/Channel at 8 Ohms (2 Channels Driven w/THD 0.05%)
Eleven Channels of Processing Power
3D Audio – Dolby ATMOS, DTS:X, IMAX Enhanced, and AURO 3D, 360 Reality Audio and
AURO-Matic Upmixer
Legacy Audio Support – Dolby Surround, DTS Neural:X,
High-Resolution Audio – Up to 24bit/192kHz
Audyssey MultiEQ Room Correction
DIRAC Live ready (License Available for an Additional Fee)
Super flexible routing and switching options.
8K video support on all seven HDMI inputs and two of the three outputs!
Advanced video support with HLG, HDR, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and Dynamic HDR Pass-Through
HEOS streaming and muti-room technology built in.
Sooo Much More!
Summary
This flexible and feature-rich receiver packs so much into its resume that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to detail everything it is capable of within the scope of this review! But, in short, this receiver has you covered with everything up to 11.4 processing (only missing wide ear-level speaker support) and has nine built-in amplifiers to power it all. If you want to make full use of all that processing power, you will have to add two channels of outboard amplification. Add to the mix a plethora of available High-Resolution audio formats, all the surround/3D audio modes you could need, full 8K video support and upconversion, HEOS internal streamer, Audyssey Room Correction, and DIRAC Live available for an additional licensing fee, and you have a very complete and functional receiver in an attractive 30-pound package!
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The Review
Denon is now part of the Masimo Consumer family but has been manufacturing quality electrical and electronic products in Japan for over 110 years! Yes, Martha, I said one hundred and ten years! Founded in 1910 by American entrepreneur Frederick Whitney Horn in partnership with Japanese Nippon Denki Onkyō Kabushikigaisha (which translates to "Japan Electric Sound Company"), they began by manufacturing the newfangled Gramophone-Style disk recorders.

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By 1930 the name of the company officially changed to Denon (Denki Onkyō, or the Electric Sound Company) with an expanded range of product offerings.

For more on the fascinating history of Denon,
click here for the official version.

I am no stranger to Denon, having started my foray into the higher end of the home theater universe in the early 2000s with the brutish AVR-4802 AV receiver.

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The AVR-4802 featured 125W/Channel into 8 Ohms and was the first receiver to feature both the DTS-ES and THX surround processing modes. It also was one of the first THX Ultra Certified receivers produced. With no such thing as HDMI video at the time, the AVR-4802 contained a veritable cornucopia of video switching and processing capabilities in step with the times. It featured composite video and S-Video on every channel and four pristine channels of beautiful Component Video! I kept the Denon AVR-4802 as a pre-amp/processor for some time and even added Parasound New Classic 2250 two-channel and 5250 five-channel amplifiers for a little more oomph. I sold the AVR-4802 with the advent of HDMI and higher-resolution video sources.

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Today, I continue to use a Denon AVR-1912 as the heart of my secondary system in the living room, and I am still delighted with that piece of kit.

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So how does the thoroughly modern Denon AVR-X4800H stack up to its elder namesake, the AVR-4802? For the answer, please read on!



Delivery Day
One sunny day our phantom FedEx driver dropped the Denon AVR-X4800H on my front porch and vanished without activating my Ring Doorbell. Why and how do they do that? The box was in almost perfect shape and was happily devoid of the usual assortment of FedEx-applied dings, dents, rips, and tears.

I tore right into the box that proudly proclaimed its contents and found the unit well and adequately packaged. The box was a double-walled, corrugated, heavy-duty cardboard container. Inside I found the AVR-X4800H securely nestled between four formed Styrofoam holders, two on the bottom and two on the top. Most of the accessories were sitting atop the upper Styrofoam pieces in niches. Lighter accessories, such as the paperwork and antennas, were in plastic bags resting on the receiver between the Styrofoam caps.

In the box along with the receiver were: the remote and a pair of batteries, two antennas for the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, an FM antenna, an AM antenna, the Audyssey Calibration Microphone, the cardboard rocket ship mic stand, a handy peel-off wire marker label sheet, a 16 AGW two-wire power cord, and a quick start guide.

No manual was included, but it is available for download here or by scanning the QR code on the QRG.

The receiver itself was wrapped in a soft plastic baggie.

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First Impressions
Once all the "bragging strips" are removed, the AVR-X4800H displays the now traditional sleek and spartan Denon look, with only three controls visible on the front panel, volume, source selector, and an on/off button with a pilot light above.

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The large FLD sits atop a drop-down panel that hides all the front panel inputs (USB-A and calibration microphone), output (headphones), and many less frequently used push buttons duplicated on the remote control.

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Construction and Design
The Denon AVR-X4800H weighs in at 29.1 pounds and appears to be, as are all Denon products I have encountered, to be built like a tank! The exterior fit and finish of the unit were flawless.

I loved the design aesthetic of the uncomplicated front panel with the drop-down door closed. The back was only a little crowded with the ins and outs necessary for a receiver that offers the connectivity the AVR-X4800H does. Despite the number of connectors, the back panel was well-organized, with comfortable access to everything.

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If you have legacy video devices, you will be happy to note that one assignable Component Video input is present, and two assignable COMPOSITE VIDEO inputs! Sorry, there is no support for the S-Video lovers out there. Likewise, there are no legacy video outputs.

For video, there are seven 8K v2.1 HDMI inputs along the top edge and three HDMI outputs, two of which are 8K for the main room display(s), and the third is a 4K output for Zone 2 use. One of the two designated for the Main Zone is ARC/eARC capable.

Legacy audio is covered with five assignable RCA stereo inputs, two coaxial digital audio, two optical digital audio inputs, and a fixed assigned moving magnet phono input. And a complete set of processor pre-outs are present via RCA jacks for the mains, Zone 2, and Zone 3. The pre-outs include four (4) independent subwoofer outs.

The onboard Audyssey MultEQ will actively set up four separate subwoofers. Dirac Live is currently available but optional. License keys are available direct from Dirac for an additional fee. Dirac Live room correction with limited bandwidth will set you back $259.00, and the full-range suite will run you $349.00. You can also upgrade from limited to full for $99 after purchasing and installing the limited bandwidth version. Denon claims a bass management suite/upgrade release for the Dirac Live option will be released next year to allow for enhanced bass management of all four subwoofer outputs. However, details on the release date and pricing are sparse.

The nine onboard amplifier speaker binding posts are arrayed across the bottom of the back panel. The binding posts are thumbscrew 3-way connectors accepting banana plugs, bare wire, or wire-mounted pins. Spade lugs need not apply.

There are two Mini-BNC jacks for the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth antennas, an F-Connector for the FM antenna, and two bare wire connections on a "push-clamp" terminal block for the supplied AM antenna.

A complete set of control concessions round out the back panel, Ethernet port, IR In/Out, RS-232 control port, and three 12-volt trigger outputs.


Technical Highlights

I'm going to hit the tech highs first. To do that, I'm breaking this into, what I consider, the "most important "technical sections for this type of product.

  1. Surround Processing/DSP
  2. Audio
  3. Network, Wireless, and Internet - Digital Audio
  4. Amplification
  5. Video and HDMI
So much technology is packed into this receiver that your patience is requested as I muddle through it. Please fasten your seatbelt, and let's take a gander inside!

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The interior of the AVR-X4800 is super clean and well-organized, as can be seen above.

Surround Processing/DSP
DSP Processing and Surround are handled by a single 2-core Analog Devices ADSP-21593 SHARC Griffin Lite XP DSP chipset and the Denon implementation of DDSC-HD32 technology (Dynamic Discrete Surround Circuit). If unfamiliar with DDSC, a brief explanation from the Denon website can be found here.

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So, what surround sound schemes can this receiver process? I refer you to the list below.

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That's a lot of "Yes's," and, when looking at this list, it becomes evident that the Denon AVR-X4800H WILL decode whatever you throw at it. It is worth noting that the three "No's" on the list will still be decoded and processed just fine by the newest of the Dolby ATMOS and DTS- HD Master protocols. In addition, this receiver can do a respectable and convincing job of upmixing stereo and even MONO(!) sources to a very palatable surround-like sound palette, with a solid center channel emulation using the Auro-Matic Upmixer feature (and any other surround sound scheme as well).

Audio
The DACs used are the highly regarded Texas Instrument (Burr-Brown) PCM5102A[YY1] (384 kHz/32 bits, two channel DAC x 8 devices) and are configured to pass and process everything up to 192kHz/32bit. DSD audio streaming is also available at 2.8/5.6MHZ. The receiver is primed and ready for just about any HD audio format except for the now-defunct MQA format.

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The AVR-X4800H provides processing for high-quality playback of virtually all lossy or lossless high-resolution digital formats available today, including the high-resolution audio formats of DSD (5.6 MHz) and FLAC 192 kHz files. See the chart below for a more complete breakdown.

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Network, Wireless, and Internet - Digital Audio
This receiver is filled to the brim with wireless network power! Refer to the extensive list below, and I'm sure you will find your favorite internet/wireless listening option!

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If you are unfamiliar, TuneIn is an interface and GUI for "Internet Radio." I have found that an astonishing number of terrestrial radio stations worldwide are rebroadcasting/streaming on the web and can be accessed through the TuneIn interface.


Amplification
The Denon AVR-X4800H AV receiver features a Class AB power amplifier section utilizing discrete high-current power transistors in the tried-and-true push-pull configuration. The nine Class AB amplifiers are rated 125 watts into 8-Ohms, 20-20kHz, with 0.05% THD (2-channels driven), or 165 watts into 6-Ohms @1kHz with .7% THD (1 channel driven). No rating is given for the now typical 4-Ohm speaker load.

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Video and HDMI
I couldn't determine the chipset that handles the HDMI and Video Processing (HDMI v2.1), but it is one powerful set of silicone! The HDMI suite features seven HDMI 8K inputs, all on the back of the unit. In addition, there are two selectable 8K HDMI outputs, one with eARC/ARC for the mains and one HDMI 4K output for Zone 2.

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There is a lot of processing power in this section, and most, but not quite all (hey, if you are still watching standard VHS or Betamax, 240 and 250 lines of resolution respectively, or S-Video at 400 lines of resolution, this won't be the receiver for you). Supported video resolutions include 480i, 480p, 576i, 576p, 720p@60/50Hz, 1080i@60/50Hz, 1080p@120/100/60/50/24Hz, 4K@120/100/60/50/30/25/24Hz, and of course 8K@60/50/30/25/24Hz.

The video processor can upscale 1080 and 4K video to 8K. My 4K projector reports that a 1080p input to the receiver is being received as 4K at the projector.

One of the two main 8K HDMI outputs support ARC/eARC if your TV has the Audio Return Channel feature available.

Besides the many resolutions supported, the Denon receiver supports a bevy of video enhancement schemes. These include HLG, HDR, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, iMax Enhanced, and Dynamic HDR pass-through.

For anyone still grooving to 3D movies, the Denon AVR-X4800H has you covered and is 3D Ready.



Setup
Setup was easily accomplished using the supplied Quick Start Guide (QSG). Since this setup was not my first rodeo," I only scanned the QSG to see if there were any special considerations to be aware of, there were not, and I connected my sources, antennas, ethernet, and speakers without issue.

Firing up the receiver for the first time prompts you to follow a beginner-level setup routine displayed on the GUI that culminates in the Audyssey room calibration. In the first part of that instruction set, the user is instructed to strip and insert the speaker wires into the binding posts and how to accomplish all other connections as well. I ran through the entire routine and found it was a solid tutorial for the uninitiated and somewhat tedious for the experienced. It is important to note that no current is flowing to the speaker terminals during the full live setup, and it should be safe to connect the speaker while looking at the on-screen display.

I set up the speaker complement as a 7.4.4 configuration using seven of the nine onboard amplifiers and used the pre-outs to send the four Height/Overhead channels to my Parasound ZoneMaster 450 four-channel amplifier powering my Polk in-ceiling Atmos speakers.

A Tale of Two Different Room Calibration Systems
I had the unique opportunity to test two very different room calibration systems using the Denon Receiver: Audyssey MultiEQ XT32 with Sub EQ HT, which provides individual calibration for four subwoofers, and the optional Dirac Live 3. I also had the opportunity to check the calibration results using the AVR-X4800H's four separate subwoofer outputs via both calibration schemes as they stand right now. According to Denon (and Marantz), a more advanced bass management module is in the works for Dirac, with a possible release date in 2024. This new implementation of Audyssey with the Sub EQ HT provides individual calibration for four subwoofers, and the optional inclusion of Dirac Live 3 in the Denon receiver also opened the door to look back at the results from my Marantz AV7703 Audyssey MultiEQ XT32 calibration using four subwoofers on two subwoofer outputs to see how this less-than-ideal configuration compared to the latest implementation of the room correction applications on the Denon.

To enable a comparison, Denon was kind enough to supply a license key for the full-range version of Dirac Live 3, allowing me to perform a "Head-to-Head" comparison of these two competing room correction systems.

First up was Audyssey, and I'll get to the Dirac Live shortly. Using the Audyssey MultiEQ app on my iPad, I calibrated the room to the maximum of eight measurement positions. Contrary to what I usually do, I accepted the Audyssey results "in toto" with only one small change. I flattened the Audyssey imposed high-frequency roll-off on the main right and left channels and extended the high frequencies.

The Audyssey MultiEQ XT32 in the AVR-X4800H with Sub EQ HT calibrated the four subwoofers separately on the first pass and then as a unit of four through the subsequent iterations of the calibration routine.

When it was all said and done, I was impressed with the tightness of the overall sound, especially on the low end. I felt it was noticeably better than the calibration of the Audyssey MultiEQ XT32 provided in my older Marantz AV7703 with only two subwoofer outputs!

As a baseline, I am providing the room measurements using my Marantz AV7703, and I will compare them to the newer measurements and calibrations of both Audyssey MultiEQ XT 32 with Sub EQ HT and Dirac Live 3, using the Denon AVR-X4800H.

Figure 1 below is the front right and left speakers using the Marantz AV7703 with four subwoofers on two active subwoofer outputs. Illustrated on the left of each graph is the raw input that was measured by Audyssey, and on the right of each graph is the target curve to which Audyssey is attempting to correct.

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Looking at the right/left and the subwoofer's pre-filter application measurements on the left side of the charts shows the rough spots I expect to see based on previous room measurements. You can also see on the right where Audyssey is trying to adjust for those shortfalls. Look at the Subwoofer target curve on the right side of the curve, and you can see where Audyssey has made a decent effort to fill the room node dips at 40Hz and 110Hz, but the dips remain noticeable.

Figure 2 (below) shows the actual room response measured using REW and a MiniDSP UMIK-2 microphone from the Marantz AV7703-based system. All-in-all a nice room curve for the limited bass management. I realize that four subwoofers paralleled on two subwoofer outputs is not the cleanest or best way to do this. But in my case, you can see that it works reasonably well. I'm sure that better phase alignment between the four separate subs would result in a much tighter, more coherent sound. But for now, this is what I use.

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FIGURE 2









Figure 3 (Below) is the calibration using the Denon AVR-X4800H and Audyssey MultiEQ XT32 for the front right and left speakers and four subwoofers on four discrete outputs. As before, the left side of each graph is the raw Audyssey measured input and is very similar to the issues reported by the Marantz AV7703. The right side of each graph is, once again, the target curve that Audyssey is attempting to correct to.

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Figure 1 and Figure 3 "Before" measurements are essentially the same for the front right and left speakers and the subwoofers. The "After" or "Target Curve" for the front speakers is somewhat different when comparing the two processors. The Left speaker using the calibration from the Denon is much smoother in appearance.

But the most significant difference is in the subwoofer target curves. Using the Marantz (four sub subwoofers on two outputs) calibration shows pronounced room node dips at around 40Hz and 110Hz in the raw data graph ("Before") on the left, and a still prominent but much-reduced dip at 40Hz on the right side ("After") target curve.

However, consider what Audyssey tries to do on the Denon AVR-X4800H (four subwoofers on four outputs) calibration results. That dip at 40Hz is still there on the target curve, but it is tiny, and the 110Hz is essentially gone from the subwoofer graph!

Let's look at the REW room measurements taken at the primary listening position using the Marantz and the newer Denon configurations (Figures 2 - Above and 4 - Below) to see if all that math and filtering made a difference!


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Figure 4

Looking at the room curve above in Figure 4, you can see that Audyssey made a valiant effort to flatten the measured dip at 40Hz but could not match the "Target Curve" it was shooting for. Everything else was flat out to 20kHz with substantial energy extending beyond the UMIK- 2 upper-frequency limitations.

So, what about Dirac, you say? Let's look at the system calibrated using Dirac Live 3.

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Dirac supplied more information in the graphs, including separate results for each of the four subwoofers. Essentially Dirac noted the same 40Hz and 110Hz dips and tried to correct them.

And the Room curve after Dirac Calibration? See Figure 6 below.


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FIGURE 6

Dirac tried but was only somewhat successful in eliminating the 40Hz dip (just more proof it is a room issue) but completely erased the 110Hz dip. The frequencies above the bass region were slightly smoother using the Dirac Live calibration. But would be enough for me to hear a difference.

In this case, the Audyssey calibration, using either processor, did a slightly better job than the Dirac of smoothing the bottom end. At least room measurement-wise!

BUT! Hearing-wise, did I hear a difference? Yes! The Denon calibrations (either the Audyssey or the Dirac) brought, what seemed to be, a markedly smoother and tighter low-end to the table, with the Audyssey calibration holding an audible edge over Dirac. With the Denon's Audyssey calibration, I noticed no difference in the measurements or audible changes with the mid-range and highs compared to my older Marantz AV-7703 Audyssey calibration.

The room curve for the Marantz Audyssey (Figure 2) calibration was reasonably flat across the curve, with a notable boost in the lower frequencies. However, the curve doesn't show the almost 10dB of cut I had to add to the lowest frequencies to preserve a measure of balance. I'm still working on the subwoofer integration and may go to a four-channel MiniDSP rig or a new Pre/Processor with at least four separate subwoofer outs!

Surprisingly, the most significant improvement I heard from the Dirac calibration was in the mid-range and the hi-end. The sound, for lack of better descriptors, was more "Coherent" and more "Open" than the Audyssey calibrations provided.



Features, Operation, and Listening
My goal when reviewing this type of equipment, electronics, is less about the measurements and more about the features, function, operational aspects, and, lastly, a subjective judgment of the "sound" character of the piece. With that in mind, let us dive into how this receiver works!

Set up and Menu Structure
The GUI and the intuitive and to-the-point menu structure easily accomplished the setup. Anyone having previous contact with either Denon or Marantz products from the last several years will be instantly both familiar and comfortable navigating and using the comprehensive yet operationally simple menu system. I had no issue navigating the extensive menu structure using the GUI display on the big screen or the two-line display on the front panel.

Using the front panel button array for setup is doable but was a tad awkward. The easiest way to access everything is to use the supplied remote control and the GUI (on-screen display).

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Remote Control
The supplied IR remote, labeled Denon RC-1252, is undoubtedly comprehensive enough and well laid out. It functions as it should and features direct access buttons to the three zones supported by the receiver, all fifteen(!) source possibilities (if you include the wireless/Bluetooth inputs), Channel/Page Up/Down, Volume Up/Down, a selectable (through the Menu system) level of Muting, a typical navigation and selection cluster surrounded by four setup and option buttons. Just below the nav cluster is the transport controller section that will work when playing music using HEOS, AM/FM preset tuning, or internet radio. An HDMI Out selector and the Sleep button controlling the Sleep Timer/Auto Shut Off is below. Lastly, two rows offer a "Quick Select" function for four devices after setting up in the menu, and the Sound Mode selector buttons below allow the cycling of the available surround/sound modes for Movies, Music, Game, and the Pure Direct function.

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The remote is not a learning style remote. It is, however, the best way to accomplish or make changes in the setup.

A second "remote controller" can be installed on your mobile device by downloading and installing the free Denon AVR Remote App. I downloaded the app onto my iPad and found it almost the same in operation as my Marantz AVR Remote App.

I made my way step-by-step through the comprehensive menu structure and found that each selection was meaningful to the operation and setup of the receiver. Every virtual button had a brief note pop up on the main display accompanying each choice with information about the function or expected result. There was nothing redundant, and nothing was unclear or unexpected.



Listening, Watching, and Practical Operations
I did a lot of listening to both movies and music while putting the receiver through its paces.

To test the ATMOS/Object-Based Surround decoding of the receiver, I dialed up the "falling rain" scene toward the end of the first John Wick movie. The drenching rain that begins midway through the final fight scene was enveloping and convincing.

I then cued up the bee scene (around 1:41:00 into the movie) in the atmospheric and moody Blade Runner 2049. The brief interlude with the bees was subtle and rendered with hyper-realism to the point that the flight path of individual bees could be followed in the overheads and extending down into the main space.

For my final ATMOS test selection, I played the intro to the first (production-wise) Star Wars movie, Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope. This version playing on Disney+ has been remastered into Dolby ATMOS to good effect. The overheads and the subs got a great workout as the star destroyer slid into the film's opening scene.

With each of the selections above, I cycled through the available surround modes and found each to accurately decode the scenes, with the clear winners being the native Dolby ATMOS and Auro 2D.

While listening to the surround modes, I checked whether the Denon would upmix stereo or mono movie soundtracks to anything listenable. First, I played one of my favorite early Sci-Fi movies, 1956's Forbidden Planet (in glorious Stereophonic Sound!). The best result was using the AURO 3D to upmix the sound. The AURO 3D created a solid center channel sound and a wide enveloping quasi-surround envelope. The other surround modes had similar effects but were less impactful.

I also sampled a portion of the 1936 masterpiece, The Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, and Claude Rains, on iTunes in MONO (well, Dual Mono, anyway). The best rendition was again from AURO 3D AURO-Matic upmixer surround mode. A solid center channel was created, and while not surround sound, a somewhat spatial spread was distributed through the rest of the speakers around the room. The significant action and dialog remained firmly anchored in the front speakers as they should have been.

The Denon AVR-X4800H was impressive in its ability to decode and deliver beautifully rendered movie and television surround sound with every source and variation of material I threw at it.

Music and Multi-Channel Music were eminently listenable. I tried multiple sources, including Bluetooth (from my iPhone), direct streaming via the built-in HEOS system (Amazon Music UltraHD) operated through my iPad, and SACD disks played on my OPPO UHD-503 player.

Multi-Channel music sounded great, and the steering to the surround channels seemed appropriate. I have no other HEOS-enabled speakers, so the HEOS multi-room features were not tested.

I didn't stop there! I listened to the digital optical input using my ancient Yamaha CDC-755 CD player. The result was a warm, beautifully rendered sound. Curious, I connected the analog output of the Yamaha to one of the analog inputs on the Denon and found that the sound was even a tad warmer and a little softer around the edges than the digital optical input. At the time, Yamaha was touting their component line's "Natural Sound" profile. In other words, a warm analog sound, not a "harsh" digital sound. So, that said, the warm, softer sound characteristics displayed were just as I remembered them.

I also spun up some vinyl using my Pro-Ject Debut Carbon with the Ortofon Red 2M cartridge and found the phono pre-amp sound to be good, if a bit thin. The background was black and quiet, with no noise present without a record playing. The overall character of the sound was solid, with crisply rendered highs (and the ever-present vinyl noise), a clear but slightly thin-sounding mid-range, and a solid but limited bottom end.

Multiple HDMI inputs from Blu-ray, Apple TV, and MacBook Pro were tried while switching between different content and resolutions without issue. Switching between active HDMI sources was quick and seamless.

Regular FM/FM HD worked fine, and I did not try the AM radio feature. The Internet Radio feature also worked well with a solid interface and total access to the world of Internet Radio. Pre-sets can be set up for all "Radio" sources, terrestrial or internet.

Lastly, I checked the switching/routing capabilities of the Denon receiver by assigning an analog input from my Mackie 1202 mixer to an HDMI input from my MacBook Pro for a bit of Karaoke action. The Denon had no problems with this configuration, but it failed to make me sound even one iota better (I had hoped it would improve my singing abilities!).



Summary and Closing Thoughts
The Denon AVR-X4800H is a solid, uber-versatile, feature-rich digital and analog receiver with an intuitive and easily navigable menu and an easy-to-operate user interface, all sitting atop a flexible routing and switching system.

Including the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, internet-based digital inputs, and Analog/Optical/Coaxial inputs, I count no less than fifteen "discrete device" inputs switched and available to the user.

1. CBL/Sat 2. Media Player

3. Blu-ray 4. Game 1

5. Game 2 6. Aux 1

7. Aux 2 8. TV Audio

9. Tuner (AM/FM) 10. USB - Front Panel (192kHz/24bit)

11. CD 12. Bluetooth

13. HEOS 14. Phono (MM)

15. Internet Radio


With seven 8K capable HDMI v2.1 inputs, five stereo analog, two digital coaxial, and two optical digital connectors, all assignable to any of the internal input points, and the separate phono connection, the receiver has excellent flexibility and configurability.

Every conceivable surround mode is provided, and each implementation seems superb. The video handling, pass-through, and scaling are pristine, and the receiver supports all but the oldest video resolutions (think VHS and S-Video). Even assignable Composite Video (2) and Component Video (1) inputs are available for legacy video components, tho I lack access to that kind of older gear, so they went untested. I also lack access to 8K devices, so 8K features also went untested. I can tell you that the 1080P and 4K content I fed the receiver was crisp and beautifully rendered!

Is this a perfect receiver? No, I think not. If there is a downside or weak spot, it resides in the Power Amplifier section. One quoted specification concerned me was the power output and THD at 6 Ohms. The quoted power and distortion at 8 Ohms are a respectable 125 watts per channel with two channels driven with .05% THD. At 6 Ohms, the power was stated as 165 watts with one channel driven and 0.7% THD, higher by 14 times the 8 Ohm rating. My reference speakers (Goldenear Triton One.Rs) are specified as 4-Ohms nominal impedance, raising one of those red flags. A little extrapolation tells me if the Total Harmonic Distortion at 6-Ohms was 14 times that of the 8-Ohm specification, then the 4-Ohm THD could be approaching the 10% mark at the same power rating!

Somewhat higher levels of THD did not overly concern me as most folks can't really hear THD as distortion negatively impacting the sound until it rises above 3%. But the idea that it could rise above that into my 4-ohm load bothered me. And although I played a variety of material utilizing different sources at soft, moderate, and LOUD volumes, I could hear nothing I could identify as distortion. Never. At all. The only thing I could hear that was negative and I could attribute to the power amplifiers was at extreme volumes with a busy soundtrack (think John Wick 1, 2, 3, or 4) was a feeling the amps were running out of gas and possibly compressing a bit. That was it!

To test that theory, I moved the Denon AVR-X4800H into "Pre-out Only" mode for the right, left, and center channels. I reinserted my Parasound Halo A21 (250 watts into 8 Ohms/400 watts into 4 Ohms, 20Hz to 20kHz, both channels driven, <.2% THD at full power) amplifier for the main Right/Left channels, and one channel of my Parasound Halo A51+ (180 watts x 5 into 8 Ohms/255 watts x 5 into 4 Ohms all channels driven 20Hz to 20kHz with <.05% THD at full power) for the center channel (Goldenear Supercenter Reference, 4 Ohms).

After reconnecting, I fired it up, did some level matching, and relistened. "Hmmm…" I didn't hear much of a difference, if any, at lower volumes. The sound was sweeter and more open, something I can attribute to the first few watts of the Halo amps being biased as Class A. As I raised the volume higher and higher, the receiver/amp combination never flagged or ran out of gas and never seemed to compress. In this respect, the outboard amps were the winning combination. Was it a fair comparison? No, not really! But it is another data point in the overall scheme of things.

Having run this little experiment, I deduced that most, if not all, would never notice or hear the higher THD of the receiver without swapping the amps out. As an all-in-one, stand-alone component, the AVR-X4800H will do just fine in almost any room with most speakers at all but the most insane of volume levels!

What is the end judgment for the Denon AVR-X4800H receiver? The all-encompassing Surround Sound modes, High-Resolution Audio handling, extreme connectivity and switching options, pristine video handling, 8K video compatibility, and modern digital connectivity and interface are a definite PLUS!

The fact that Dirac Live is available as an option is a plus. However, the fact that it is a pricey upcharge at the end of the day is a bitter pill to swallow! The onboard Audyssey MultiEQ XT32 does a creditable job and includes a measure of bass management, so purchasing Dirac may become less appealing to some.

In the end, I could find little to fault about the Denon receiver, other than what I perceived as the slightly underpowered amplifier section and too high THD when matched to lower impedance speakers. In operation, I found nothing of any consequence that I could pin on my perceptions of the amplifier section.

Proudly made in Japan, Denon offers a 3-year, parts and labor, limited warranty on the "X" series of components. Operationally and feature-wise, this is a tough one to beat!







Specifications: Denon AVR-X4800H 11.4 Surround Receiver
Amplifiers
  • 9-channel of onboard amplification
  • 125 watts per channel into 8 ohms (20Hz-20kHz) with 0.05% THD, 2 channels driven
Processing
  • Dolby, DTS, and Auro-3D surround sound
    • Dolby Atmos processing for use with in-ceiling or "height" speakers for more enveloping home theater sound
    • Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization and DTS Virtual:X® create three-dimensional effects withoutheight speakers
  • IMAX Enhanced
  • Analog-to-HDMI video conversion (one Component and two Composite assignable video inputs)
  • Audyssey MultiEQ XT32 room calibration included
    • Sub EQ HT provides individual calibration for four subwoofers
    • Audyssey MultEQ Editor app is available for further audio customization (OPTIONAL)
  • 11.4 channels of processing power

Digital and Streaming Music

  • Wi-Fi for listening to music from a networked PC, internet radio, and streaming music services
  • HEOS Built-in technology wirelessly connects compatible HEOS components for whole home audio
    • includes support for Pandora, TIDAL, SiriusXM, Amazon Music Ultra HD, Spotify, and more (subscription is required for some services)
    • Downloadable HEOS app offers easy Wi-Fi control, settings adjustments, and music selection and playback
    • works with Amazon Alexa and Google Home voice control assistants
    • HEOS Multi-Room/Speaker operation with HEOS enabled devices
  • Apple AirPlay 2
    • supports multi-room audio with compatible wireless speakers
  • Built-in Bluetooth for wireless music listening with smartphones, tablets, and compatible computers
  • Bluetooth transmission for sending audio from the receiver to Bluetooth-enabled headphones
    • play audio through Bluetooth headphones only, or through Bluetooth headphones and connected speakers simultaneously
  • plays high-resolution digital music files via USB storage device or a networked computer (PCM up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution; DSD up to 5.6 MHz)
  • Denon's Compressed Audio Restorer
  • Roon Tested as a Roon player (requires subscription and Roon Core running on your network)

Multi-Room Audio/Video

  • Three-room/three-source output
    • Powered stereo outputs for second and third rooms allow playback in three rooms at once
    • Line-level 2nd- and 3rd-room output for use with one or two separate amplifiers or powered speakers
    • Amp assign function lets you reassign the height channels for bi-amping, or for use in Zone 2 or 3
    • All Zone Stereo mode ensures that all zones stay in sync when playing the same source
    • All Zone TV Audio lets you play surround sound in your main room and downmixed stereo in additional zones
    • Supports both analog, coaxial digital, and optical digital audio connections
    • HDMI dual-zone switching for watching video content from different sources in two zones simultaneously
    • Zone 2 compatible audio sources: HDMI audio, optical/coaxial digital inputs, analog audio inputs, AM/FM tuner, USB, Bluetooth, and HEOS music apps
    • Different USB/Bluetooth/network sources cannot be selected for each zone

Connections

  • HDMI 2.1 audio/video switching: 7 in (assignable), 3 HDMI out (2 main, 1 Zone 2)
    • all inputs and 2 out of 3 outputs support 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz video
    • all inputs and outputs support 4K/60Hz video
    • HDCP 2.3 technology ensures compatibility with Ultra HD sources and TVs
    • HDR-compatible for extended picture contrast and brightness with compatible TVs and HDR-encoded content. Supports HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision®, Dynamic HDR, and HLG
  • 3D signal pass-through
  • Supports ARC (Audio Return Channel) and eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel)
  • 1 component video input (assignable)
  • 2 composite video inputs (assignable)
  • Digital audio inputs: 2 Toslink optical, 2 coaxial (assignable)
  • 5 analog stereo RCA audio inputs (assignable)
  • MM (moving magnet) phono input
  • 11.4-channel preamp outputs
  • Four discrete line-level subwoofer outputs for more precise multi-subwoofer setups
  • Front-panel USB port for audio playback of High-Resolution digital files from USB flash drive
  • Ethernet port for network connection
  • Outputs for 11 speakers (Front L/R, Center, Surround L/R, Surround Back L/R, Height1 L/R, Height2 L/R) with the receiver powering a maximum of nine channels. Outboard amplification is required for two channels to realize all eleven channels of processing.
  • RS-232C, remote (IR), and 12-volt trigger connections for use with optional third-party controller
  • Full-sized, ¼” headphone jack on front panel
  • Removable 14ga, 2-wire power cord

General Features

  • Free Denon AVR Remote app lets you use your Apple® or Android™ device as a Wi-Fi remote
  • Setup Assistant guides you through the initial connection process and settings
  • HDMI standby pass-through allows HDMI switching without powering up receiver
  • AM/FM tuner with available pre-sets
  • Remote control
  • 17-1/8"W x 6-5/8"H x 16-5/16"D (9-1/16"H with Wi-Fi antennas raised)
  • Weight: 29.1 lbs.
  • Warranty: 3 years

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ebrumbaugh

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Great review, thank you! Perfect timing for me as I am looking to update my 4700H and have been looking at the 4800H and the Cinema 40 to take advantage of the 4 independent subwoofer outputs. Both units look to be identical, both internal construction and specification wise, not to mention both are built at the Japan facility, but have a $1K price difference. Personally, I'm leaning towards the 4800H, looks to be a superb AVR and your review confirms it. Thanks again.

BTW, I visited your site, nicely done. I may do something similar now that I am retired and unfortunately widowed a little over 3-yrs ago, but, I digress. Wanted to say I enjoyed your viewpoint on "The Cable Controversy". I hold the same opinion and it is refreshing to see that in print from time-to-time. I see many reviews in print, i.e., The Absolute Sound, or in AV Show coverage and just have to shake my head at the physics / common engineering practices & understanding that the OEMs completely ignore. My theory is that OEMs sell those cables because they have a market, and as long as people are willing to pay ... cable risers anyone!! Ha!
 
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Asere

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Excellent detailed review, thank you! I have been interested lately on Dirac Live and been looking at this receiver and the Pioneer LX805. The LX805 comes with Dirac full bandwidth and upgradable to DLBC but the 4800H does not come with the full bandwidth. I am waiting to see which avr will eventually have the capabilities for Dirac ART.
 

Tom L.

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Great review, thank you! Perfect timing for me as I am looking to update my 4700H and have been looking at the 4800H and the Cinema 40 to take advantage of the 4 independent subwoofer outputs. Both units look to be identical, both internal construction and specification wise, not to mention both are built at the Japan facility, but have a $1K price difference. Personally, I'm leaning towards the 4800H, looks to be a superb AVR and your review confirms it. Thanks again.

BTW, I visited your site, nicely done. I may do something similar now that I am retired and unfortunately widowed a little over 3-yrs ago, but, I digress. Wanted to say I enjoyed your viewpoint on "The Cable Controversy". I hold the same opinion and it is refreshing to see that in print from time-to-time. I see many reviews in print, i.e., The Absolute Sound, or in AV Show coverage and just have to shake my head at the physics / common engineering practices & understanding that the OEMs completely ignore. My theory is that OEMs sell those cables because they have a market, and as long as people are willing to pay ... cable risers anyone!! Ha!
Thanks for the kind words! I’m really happy that the review was helpful! It does look like the specs for the Marantz are identical. I’ve seen the same happening with the various sister companies such as Marantz/Denon and Pioneer/Onkyo. It just makes sense when resources and engineering is shared.

And a big thank you for visiting my website! I use GoDaddy as a host and found that their included website builder has become much better and more powerful over the last few years. I was using Adobe DreamWeaver and moved to Adobe Muse. Alas, Adobe junked Muse and I had to move to something new. The GoDaddy app fit the bill, and has an easy learning curve!

Yeah, cables! I am a cable agnostic at this point, and remain convinced that while there may be audible differences between cables, there should not be. To me quality materials and solid construction are what should define a “good” cable.

Cheers!
 

Tom L.

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Excellent detailed review, thank you! I have been interested lately on Dirac Live and been looking at this receiver and the Pioneer LX805. The LX805 comes with Dirac full bandwidth and upgradable to DLBC but the 4800H does not come with the full bandwidth. I am waiting to see which avr will eventually have the capabilities for Dirac ART.
Thank for the kind words! If interested I did a review for the Pioneer VSX-LX305 Elite receiver a few months ago. Sort of a lite version of the 505 :-) That review can be found here!

the Denon, Marantz AV 40, and the Pioneer VSX-LX505 Elite, have similar feature sets and roughly the same power. With the Denon, I just love the 4 subwoofer outputs that are available!

The higher channel count and higher power (with a higher price) of the Pioneer VSX-LX805 Elite make it a good choice As well. There are four subwoofers outputs on the 805 but I could not confirm they are independent outputs from the specs.

Cheers!
 

Sonnie

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Excellent detailed review, Tom. Lots of features for a $2500 AVR, with most likely an even better street price if you call around.

I'm somewhat surprised to see an AVR with both Audyssey and Dirac Live available... perhaps this is going to become a standard similar to streaming options available in AVRs and preamp/processors.

I'm with you on the cables too. I do like cool-looking cables, and I even add Techflex to my custom cables as it makes them create more air between the notes. :whistling:

I don't think I've ever paid much attention to your room, but I did take a minute to check out your website and found a couple of videos of the room. I assume it is still the same with both subs up front on the inside of each front speaker?
 

Tom L.

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Excellent detailed review, Tom. Lots of features for a $2500 AVR, with most likely an even better street price if you call around.

I'm somewhat surprised to see an AVR with both Audyssey and Dirac Live available... perhaps this is going to become a standard similar to streaming options available in AVRs and preamp/processors.

I'm with you on the cables too. I do like cool-looking cables, and I even add Techflex to my custom cables as it makes them create more air between the notes. :whistling:

I don't think I've ever paid much attention to your room, but I did take a minute to check out your website and found a couple of videos of the room. I assume it is still the same with both subs up front on the inside of each front speaker?
Hi Sonnie,

‘Thanks for the kind words!

The newer Denon and the Marantz receivers and processors are now featuring Audyssey included and Dirac as an option. Denon was kind enough to supply a key for the full range version of Dirac Live for testing. In this case I found the Audyssey worked better integrating the four subwoofers, and Dirac came up with a more coherent and open high end.

I’ve always made my own cables when possible, and will likely continue to do so until analog sources are a thing of the past, or Techflex becomes unavailable:cool:

Yes, the room is still set up as you saw in the videos. There are actually four subs across the front as the GE Triton one.R’s have subs built in as well. The Rythmik F18’s are placed at the 1st quarter an 3rd quarter spots along the front wall and do the heavy lifting. The subs in the GE’s are dialed in as fill for the home theater. There are probably better placement options to eke out higher levels of bass, but I love musicality and tightness of the Rythmik F18‘s when listening to music so I leave them up front. There is a slight room node suck-out at 42hz but the bass is still tight, tactile, and has real punch with home theater or music.

Thanks for taking the time to check out the website!

T
 

JStewart

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In this case I found the Audyssey worked better integrating the four subwoofers, and Dirac came up with a more coherent and open high end.
I think you found the exact reason to include both.

Dirac doesn’t do multi-sub integration without the Dirac Live Bass Control add-on. To use Dirac for multI-subs and no DLBC one could use a MiniDsp and present an already “aligned” sub array. I’ve done that and it works. It’s just not the easiest for for someone to learn and implement. Audyssey will be a better option for most of the uninitiated.

Does Denon plan a firmware update to allow this processor to run DLBC or Dirac ART at any point in the future?
 

Tom L.

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Apparently, there is a plan to add the Dirac bass management module, possibly sometime early next year, for an unnamed additional charge. Right now, it seems that Audyssey has the best bass management solution for these receivers and processors.

T
 
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