Denon AVP-A1HDCI AV Processor Review
- Unprecedented benchmark level of performance and refinement
- Virtually unlimited configurability options
- Lacks nothing in features to minimize obsolescence
- Audyssey and other processes can limit max volume
- Complex setup
Denon AVP-A1HDCI Introduction
Maybe you should wait another 3-4 years until Denon comes out with a replacement to the AVP-A1HDCI A/V processor / preamp. While you’re at it, you might as well wait on purchasing a new car. By then, the car industry would be releasing an affordable sports sedan that gets 100mpg running on plant algae with a 0-60 time in under 5 seconds and Denon would have added yet another must have feature not currently found on this model. After all, this bad boy won’t network with your “smart” refrigerator or stove top despite it has an Ethernet port and is WiFi capable, nor will it run on solar power as going “green” hasn’t hit the A/V marketplace yet as it’s barely reached out to the car industry. You can wait, and wait or be content with the fact that the AVP-A1HDCI will decode and process every current A/V format unadulterated and leave room for future ones via external inputs and/or firmware upgrade options to ensure what you buy today won’t double as an expensive door stop tomorrow or the days that follow shortly thereafter. As for the fuel efficient sports car….don’t hold your breath….
Denon took a hiatus from making dedicated pre/pros for longer than I can remember. Instead, their focus was on bringing to market some of the most feature packed performance receivers in efforts to become one of the dominant players in the receiver market. Their efforts have paid off and they proved they could dominate market share at all price levels and even push the envelope with their introduction of the $6k AVR-5805 multi functional “super receiver” which to date, in my opinion, is still one of the best performing A/V receivers ever built! The AVR-5805 had a good run for 4+ years but has since than been replaced by a scaled back successor – the AVR-5308CI. While the AVR-5308CI has virtually all of the same features found on this processor, it lacks the balanced circuitry design, class A audio drivers and a host of other component upgrades (some of which I found measurable differences during my preamp testing of the two units). Considering the AVR-5308CI sells for about $2k less than this preamp and has nine respectable built-in power amplifiers, I’d say it makes it quite a bargain.
Denon has aimed its sights higher with the introduction of their AVP-A1HDCI (A/V pre/pro) and POA-A1HDCI (10 channel power amp) separates solution which goes up against the likes of Krell, Lexicon, Classe, etc. These are not value products, but instead statement pieces to show off Denon’s engineering prowess and legitimize their brand into the high end market segment. The question remains however, will this separates solution deliver the goods and carry enough prestige to justify the $14k price tag? Read on to find out….
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