For the last few years Denon’s AV Receivers have been superb value for money, offering excellent specifications and features, as well as usability.
Over the last few years their AVRX2 range has stayed at the very tasty £500 mark whilst other brands have released their equivalents at a higher price of £550 – £600, earning them What Hi-Fi? awards in 2015 and 2016. The AVRX2400 has a tough act to follow and this price point is very competitive, can the newest model make as big of a splash as its predecessors?
The 2400 has the same input list as last year’s AVRX2300 model; 8 HDMI inputs (7 on the rear and 1 on the front panel) with 2 outputs for dual screens either for another room or for a projector. All are enabled for HDCP 2.2, HDR and BT.2020 colour space meaning that 4K video is taken care of. It’s even capable of showing several different HDR formats such as Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log Gamma via a future firmware upgrade. There’s also an Audio Return Channel for passing audio from a compatible TV and the receiver. For those who wish to use it with older displays, it also has component and composite input and outputs too. 2 digital optical inputs are included to make use of the Denon’s internal DAC but it’s worth mentioning that optical is your only option as digital coaxial is missing from the rear panel.
7 channels of 95 watts of power and 2 subwoofer outputs mean that you can have a variety of speaker setups such as 5.2, 7.2 or a Dolby Atmos configuration of 5.2.2. You have the option of a Zone 2 if you only use 5 channels in your main room but this is largely irrelevant as the AVRX2400 now has support for HEOS (Denon’s proprietary network multiroom system – more on that later).
The Denon’s set up process is extensive with its 8 mic placements but if you’ve not got many seating positions you don’t need to go through all of them before you get a nicely judged sound. The onscreen menus of Denon are one of the more pleasing ones to navigate through (especially compared to some others) with all options and features easy to decipher and clearly laid out.
Starting off with our usual Dolby Atmos demo Blu-ray of Mad Max: Fury Road means that we’re treated to a massive soundstage pretty much from the word go. The haunting dialogue of Max’s deceased family bounces around the room with chilling realism, however it’s soon usurped by the pounding soundtrack and guttural roar of engines racing through the Australian wasteland. Using suitable speaker packages such as Monitor Audio’s Bronze 5.1 along with their CT ceiling range mean that the potential of the Denon is evident for all to hear. The combination means that there’s still an incredibly open spaciousness even in the scenes where nothing is particularly happening above the listener.
As we’re in the West Country and its festival season, we stick on some Glastonbury highlights of the Foo Fighters to see what the AVRX2400 makes of some live music. Although the BBC iPlayer highlights aren’t in HD audio, the AVRX2400 still does a stupefying job of giving us that exciting, atmospheric live sound as the whole crowd sings along to “Time Like These”. It’s exactly the same when we switch over to some rugby between the Lions and New Zealand, the stadium sound from the Denon ramps up the excitement as the game ticks on.
Now to the piece de resistance of the AVRX2400 – its HEOS functionality. It’s a welcome addition to the receiver as we prefer it to the Denon AV app in terms of browsing and choosing our music. It’s quicker, more intuitive and makes streaming a breeze with its slick and straight forward design. It doesn’t matter whether you’re choosing from your own digital library on a NAS drive or using one of the many streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer, Tidal or TuneIn Radio. The HEOS operating system allows you quick and easy access without the lag and delay that less well-designed apps suffer from. You can also use Bluetooth and Apple Airplay which rounds off a comprehensive list of methods to get wireless audio to the receiver. Linking or separating zones is easy thanks to the drag and drop or “pinching” motion that we’ve become accustomed to on smart devices and the wealth of different size HEOS speakers means that you’ll be spoilt for choice when kitting out the different rooms in your house.
Sticking on “Sharp Dressed Man” by ZZ Top shows what a powerhouse the Denon is with its straight ahead driving rhythm coming through solidly whilst the rich guitar riff chugs along happily. More subtle tracks like Mark Lanegan’s cover of “Flatlands” by Chelsea Wolfe stir the soul and the sweeping strings backing the melody are rendered with a great sense of scale and dynamics. Whatever the tune is Denon shows its musical pedigree by handling whatever you throw at it admirably. For those who don’t want separate music and home cinema systems, the Denon certainly throws its hat in the ring for being an all-rounder.
There’s a lot to like about the AVRX2400 and its updates from the AVRX2300 have only made it more of a bargain. Denon have really stole a march on the competition by releasing the 2400 at £499 meaning that value for money is 10 out of 10. Visit your local Richer Sounds and see if it’s the right choice for you (hint – it probably is!).
Author: Steve, Bristol store