Denon Throws Down the AV Gauntlet, Introduces Forward Thinking X-Series AVRs

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(June 4, 2020) If it feels like home theater has been stuck in rut for the last six months, you’re not dreaming. Bogged down by the dreadful impacts of COVID, the AV world has been relatively stagnant and bleak, which makes today’s featured news all the more enticing. Thanks to the fine folks at Denon and Sound United, a new era of mid-priced AVR performance has been established... let the games begin!

Denon’s all-new X-Series is comprised of four highly competent models, giving enthusiasts access to powerful technologies across a range of price points. The 13.2-channel AVR-X6700H ($2,499) headlines the group, boasting 11 channels of onboard amplification (140 watts per channel, 8 ohms, 2ch driven) and dual independent sub-outs. Next in line is the 11.2-channel AVR-X4700H ($1,699) and AVR-X3700H ($1,199), both of which possess 9 channels of power (125 watts and 105 watts per channel, respectively). Much like the X6700H, these models also carry dual independent subwoofer outputs. And, finally, Denon anchors the new models with the affordable AVR-X2700H ($849), which delivers 7.1-channels of output backed by 95 watts per channel. The 2700H also carries dual sub-outs, but these are presented in parallel, representing a slight downgrade from its X-Series mates.

For those of you wondering, Denon’s AVR-X800H (reviewed here) will remain king of the X-Series hill, serving as the brand’s flagship AVR for the remainder of the year.

On the streaming front, the new X-Series gives you everything you’d expect, including Sound United’s excellent HEOS Built-In platform, in addition to Roon Tested capabilities. Of course, wireless features also include Bluetooth and Apple’s AirPlay 2, along with onboard access to popular streaming services like Amazon Music HD, TIDAL, Pandora, Spotify, and more. While HEOS Built-In is designed around an intuitive and user-friendly app-controlled music playback experience, it also allows owners to build and manage a complete whole-home wireless audio system comprised of other HEOS capable equipment and wireless speakers.

While most home buyers won’t be moved by custom integrator features, Sound United’s engineers have injected all four models with several integration tools such as an 8K HDMI diagnostic mode (for troubleshooting cables and other HDMI issues) and SRM Remote System Monitoring (Domotz Pro or OvrC). Additionally, the models carry a “Sports Bar” mode that allows for an HDMI input source to be combined with multiple audio sources.

In terms of notable new tech – and this might be one of the most exciting features – the AVR-X6700H will ship with DTS:X Pro decoding. This makes the X6700H one of the only (if not the only) sub-$2,500 AVRs to have this level of DTS:X functionality. The “Pro” version boosts overall support from 11.1 to a mammoth 30.2 channels of output. Of course, this only matters for enthusiasts operating six or more immersive height channels, but it’s a huge step forward for the DTS:X platform and a noticeable gain for systems that already enjoy 7.1.6 Atmos playback. Additionally, the X6700H’s 13.2 channels of processing allow owners to build multi-purpose system layouts capable of supporting every immersive format (including Auro-3D and IMAX Enhanced).

Speaking of IMAX Enhanced, the format is finally enjoying mainstream attention thanks to blockbuster titles (as opposed to documentary and educational media). Unfortunately, the X2700H does not carry IMAX Enhanced support (nor does it support Auro-3D). Buyers looking for IMAX Enhanced will need to bump their budget $350 higher for the X3700H or $850 higher if Auro-3D playback is desired.

Audyssey’s top-flight Mult-EQ XT32 room correction is included with every model accept the X2700H, and is now capable of storing two sets of Audyssey data for different listening scenarios. For example, a system can be calibrated to accommodate an audience in a wide seating area, while simultaneously maintaining the ability to re-tool performance for a single listening position. Additionally, the X3700H, X4700H, and X6700 all have a “Pre-Amplifier” mode, which provides a clear signal path when external amplifiers are used.

On the HDMI front, 2.1 takes center stage, providing the bandwidth needed for true 8K video, top HDR formats, frame rates as high as 120p, 12 bit and BT2020 color, and brightness levels reaching 10,000 nits. While these kinds of capabilities are still developing in the home theater space, upcoming gaming consoles from Xbox and Playstation will certainly benefit as they support 8K/60p and 4K/120p content. Also, Variable Refresh Rate, Quick Frame Transport, and Auto Low Latency Mode performance will ensure modern gaming systems deliver lightning-fast and smooth graphics devoid of noticeable lag.

Home theater enthusiasts will appreciate HDMI 2.1’s ability to handle HDR formats that optimize video on a frame-by-frame basis using dynamic metadata, in addition to the ability to enjoy immersive sound via Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC). Even more exciting is the introduction of Quick Media Switching, which eliminates blackouts when switching between content that contains different frame rates (note, this feature only works if the source, AVR, and display are QMS capable).

If you’ve dabbled in the world of 4K video, then you know the pains of deciphering signal information and equipment compatibility. The X-Series helps eliminate confusion with a straight-forward interface that analyzes and relays key information about incoming video data (resolution, type of HDR, color space, pixel depth, latency, QMS, and Quick Frame Transport), while displaying a television, monitor, or projector’s HDR and resolution capabilities, along with key 2.1 capabilities.

The rollout of new X-Series AVRs begins in June, with the arrival of the AVR-X4700H and AVR-X6700H. The AVR-X3700H and AVR-X2700H are due to begin shipping during July and August.

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Robert Zohn

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Great coverage as usual Todd!

Just built our Denon 2020 webpage with all of the .pdfs. I'm a big Denon fan as they design and build the best price/performance receivers. Great audio fidelity, top features, excellent build quality and very reasonably priced in every category.

The new flagship model, AVR-X6700H is built in Denon's flagship factory in Japan.

These new receivers are packed with HDMI 2.1 features, eARC, 4K/120Hz pass-through, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Quick Frame Transport (QFT)The HDMI bandwidth is 40Gbps.

All of the 2020 receivers support Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, DTS:X, DTS Virtual:X and Auro-3D.

AVR-X6700H Denon 11.2 Channel 8K Ultra HD 140W/Ch AVR with Built-In Heos $2,499.00

AVR-X4700H Denon 9.2 Channel 8K Ultra HD 125W/Ch AVR with Built-In Heos $1,699.00

AVR-X3700H Denon 9.2 Channel 8K Ultra HD 105W/Ch AVR with Built-In Heos $1,199.00

AVR-X2700H Denon 7.2 Channel 8K Ultra HD 95/W/ch AVR with Built-in Heos $849.00

AVR-S960H Denon 7.2 Channel 8K Ultra HD 90W/Ch AVR with Built-In Heos $649.00

The X6700H and X4700H launch the week of June 15th at Value Electronics and later this summer for all other 2020 models.
 

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I can't wait to see what sister brand Marantz drops later this year, hopefully a DTS-X Pro update.
 

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With the XT32 once you calibrate for a wide listening area do you need to recalibrate for a single position or can you go from A to B from there without having to calibrate for a single position?
 

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I have tried both the wide listening area that they use in the setup wizard and a narrow area for a single listening position. I think the wide listening area works better in my room. Here is a nice review of Audyssey Room EQ along with some measurements and setup tips. The reviewer used a Denon receiver for his evaluation:

 

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Denon will have an upgrade for the X8500 to make it HDMI 2.1 and that will give it all of the latest features of Denon's 2020 receivers. The upgrade will require the X8500H to be sent back for the HDMI 2.1 hardware upgrade.
 

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Denon will have an upgrade for the X8500 to make it HDMI 2.1 and that will give it all of the latest features of Denon's 2020 receivers. The upgrade will require the X8500H to be sent back for the HDMI 2.1 hardware upgrade.
So in order to get DTS:X Pro we need to send the unit back for upgrade?

How much will it cost and how soon is it available?
 

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Denon will have an upgrade for the X8500 to make it HDMI 2.1 and that will give it all of the latest features of Denon's 2020 receivers. The upgrade will require the X8500H to be sent back for the HDMI 2.1 hardware upgrade.
I believe there is a feature it will not give in the upgrade...wasnt it the capability of running 2 zones with all channels? I just watched the Audioholics interview this morning and there was a feature on the 2020 models that could not be upgraded on the 8500 as the board would handle it.
 

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This seems to be an endless money pit to get sucked into. Early adopters are paying $$$ for features where there is very little content available. They can't even make a projector that can handle Dolby Vision yet want you to drop kilobucks for an 8K display with 0 content available?
I am fine with 4K/ Atmos for now. Go to a Redbox and there are still very few titles in that format to rent and to buy them costs $. Little by little 4K titles are trickling out for streaming via VUDU or Amazon. Save your $$$ for now.
 

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With the XT32 once you calibrate for a wide listening area do you need to recalibrate for a single position or can you go from A to B from there without having to calibrate for a single position?
Yes, that's what Denon's engineering team relayed during a recent product rollout call.
 

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I understand from the 3700 and up there is the ability to shut the amps off and use it as a pre-pro. Yes it’s always had pre-outs but with the amps off there will be higher voltage out available and lower THD+N. So essentially a great measuring prepro at an AVR price.

They have absolutely everything one could want except the very best room correction. You would have to think really hard if you were to choose between the 3700 as a prepro and say the $4000 excellent (so far) monoprice HTP-1 that actually lacks some of the 3700 features but has Dirac.
 

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It’s now being talked that the upgrade too 2.1 hdmi will cost 700-800 euro ... $800-$900 U.S.dollars! And the understanding I get is that you have too foot the bill to send your unit too them.
 

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Whoa... what? I thought the upgrade was free. Where did you read this?

I'll try to get an answer direct from Sound United.
 

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Whoa... what? I thought the upgrade was free. Where did you read this?

I'll try to get an answer direct from Sound United.
Well it may be less in U.S.A. I took the liberty to translate the Euro cost to U.S. Dollars. From this Q&A article posted in June.
 

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I believe Sound United said that there would be a reasonable fee for the upgrade in one ofthe Audioholic vidoes. I guess this is there reasonable upgrade fee.
 
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Robert Zohn

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Correct, Sound United never promised the HDMI 2.1 upgrade would be free, just reasonable. We don't have a price for the USA HDMI 2.1 upgrade yet.
 

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Ok. I have a 100% accurate current status straight from a Manager at SoundUnited. The HDMI 2.1 board upgrade will definitely be honored on the X8500H (and Marantz AV8805). The D+M group is still finishing up development of the upgrade programs, so nothing is final at this point.

I expect to get a press release this fall (likely October) detailing exact pricing and procedures. They are hoping to roll out the program during Q4.

As of this time, SoundUnited hasn't publicly finalized any sort of pricing for the upgrade here in the US.
 

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I think it depends on what kind of system you're running and what you'll use it for. Eventually... someday... 2.1's immense data pipeline will be used for film media. But, right now, it will be primarily associated with the new playstation and xbox consoles due later this year.

If you're a gamer, 2.1 will be your gateway to improved performance first.

For folks running a projector-based system, 2.1 likely won't have much utility for a while. For those with highly capable TVs (insane levels of light output), perhaps in the next few years?

The biggest issue is... and will remain... content and what your display source is capable of.

A 2.1 upgrade seems to make sense from an equipment longevity perspective. BUT, that's assuming that some other must-have technology doesn't come along in the next few years. Will I do it? Yes... I'll probably roll the dice and get the upgrade.
 

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There is one really nice feature in the 2020 AVRs...you can save 2settings...one for preout, and the other speak out. This means you can have zone 1 and 2 both having mutlichannels.

Does anyone know how many channels thechip can handle? I ask this be ause in one of the videos I saw they talked about DTS Pro having over 30 channels capable. Iam wondering if these can use zone 1 and 2 as one speaker setup.
 

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How important or not important is Pre Amplifier mode when used with the external amp?
 
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