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!”

Sound+Image - - Contents -

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

JUDGES’ COM­MENT

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