AV Receiver of the Year over $5000
“A new breed of receiver with 13 high-quality channels of power, but also superb connectivity and HEOS streaming & multiroom. A beast!”
So here we see a genuine evolution in AV receivers, brought about by the rise of immersive soundtracks using height channels, notably Dolby Atmos, but also DTS:X and Auro-3D. These soundtracks are also delivered in a new way - not using a fixed channel count but having beds and objects which a receiver can render out to whatever system you have installed. Since this might be a 7.1- or even 9.1-channel system with either two or four height channels, that’ll require 11 or 13 channels of amplification, more than any AV receiver could deliver.
Until now! This is a new awards category for a new breed of receiver. The Highly Commended Marantz goes up to eleven, as Nigel Tufnell would say, while this Denon AVC-X8500H goes to a staggering 13 - enough to fully deliver 7.1.6 or 9.1.4, or something less with the leftover channels used for a second zone, or for the overhead ‘Voice of God’ speaker required in Auro-3D.
And being a premium receiver, these are not piddly low-powered things: each amplifier channel is rated at 150W of output into eight ohms, across the full audio bandwidth, and with just 0.05% THD (measured with two channels running at a time). Denon has incorporated its custom-made DHCT (Denon High Current Transistors) discrete monolithic amplifiers, and all channels support four or six-ohm speaker loads, in addition to eight ohms, via an advanced menu setting.
There are eight HDMI inputs and three HDMI outputs, all specced to UHD at 60Hz including High Dynamic Range compatibility for both HDR10 and the superior Dolby Vision. Other inputs are there many indeed, and again that H in the model number indicates the HEOS streaming and multiroom platform, giving access to Spotify Connect, internet radio, Bluetooth, AirPlay and high-res network streaming, all handled by high-quality DACs within. And HEOS also now allows voice control from Alexa or Google devices.
As the $5999 price indicates, this is a high-end all-in-one AV control centre and amplifier built for users that require the full monty, and then some! It delivered first-class performance in our testing, and is as future-proofed as you could hope for, short of long-term standard changes. A beast, yes, but with a pure heart.
More info: www.denon.com.au