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Denon AVR-S700W 7.2 Channel AV Receiver Review

Denon AVR-S700W A/V Receiver

Denon AVR-S700W A/V Receiver


  • Product Name: AVR-S700W
  • Manufacturer: Denon
  • Review Date: July 23, 2014 09:00
  • MSRP: $499
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Amplifier Power: 7x120 watts (1kHz, 0.7% THD @ 6 ohms), 7 x 75 watts (20Hz-20kHz, 0.08% THD @ 8 ohm), Class AB, discrete amplifiers
  • HDMI 2.0 for 4k Ultra HD 60 Hz, 4:4:4 Pure Color and 21:9 video pass through
  • Powered Zone 2 audio capability
  • Wireless networking and Bluetooth A2DP, including Airplay and DLNA
  • Pandora, Spotify, Sirius/XM, Internet Radio, Flickr
  • Audyssey Bronze Built-in (MultEQ, Dynamic Volume, Dynamic EQ)
  • Dimensions: 5.9" H x 17.1" W x 13" D
  • Weight: 22 lbs
  • Includes: basic remote, AM/FM antenna, Audyssey microphone and cardboard tripod, quick start guide

Denon’s AVR-S700W helps usher in the new era of 4K video and networked media.  Part of the new 2014 S-series, the 700W features HDMI 2.0 for next generation 4K Ultra HD content and built-in wireless networking. It offers plenty of power and features like Audyssey to make sure everything sounds great.  All of this is easily accessible with an intuitive menu system, quick-select buttons, and a simple, graphic setup.

 Denon AVR-S700W A/V Receiver Video Review

Set up and Configuration

I decided to approach the Denon the way most consumers would: I simply plugged it in without even looking at the quick start guide.  Setup was the part of this review that I was dreading the most.  I’m not going to lie; the last Denon I worked with, a 10+ year-old model in my dad’s theater, was a pain.  Setup of this older unit involved counter-intuitive buttons and menu options buried many levels deep.  With their latest models, Denon has really turned it around from an ease-of-use standpoint and deserves major kudos for this improvement.

Upon starting the receiver, the user is greeted with a step-by-step graphical setup that not only gives easy instruction on setting levels, Audyssey MultEQ, and network connectivity, but even includes diagrams and some advice on physically setting up speakers in your room, just in case you missed Audioholics in-depth Speaker and Sub positioning videos.  The only changes I needed to make from the basic setup were to change my front speakers to "small" and set all crossovers to 80Hz.  Even as an advanced user, I liked this simple approach, and was always given the option to skip.  Thanks for this much-needed improvement, Denon.


We found Denon's step-by-step setup to be straightforward and easy to follow.

If you do decide to read the full manual, available online, that ease of use carries over to the clear and simple guide for operation in thorough, plain language.  In fact, the manual might be a little too thorough, clocking in at 250 pages with an entire page dedicated to instructions on how to apply the included wire labels, you know, just in case you weren’t allowed to play with stickers as a kid.  For the record, I read every single page, so great is my dedication to this review.

Wireless Networking, Apps & Power

The wireless networking features of the Denon AVR-S700W worked great, offering access to automatic updates and media apps. However, more connected users should temper their expectations: Denon doesn't offer apps for any video services other than Flickr, so you won't find YouTube or Netflix built into the 700W.  This is probably wise as those features are best added through a Roku or other media streamer.

Instead, Denon has chosen to focus on audio-only network features with service from Pandora, Spotify, and Sirius/XM, as well as access to a variety of internet radio stations, podcasts, and your own audio files, including HD Audio up to 192/24.  These features can be accessed through an onscreen menu, but can also be navigated fairly well using only the built-in display; no TV needed.  The 700W will even remember your last setting. If you were listening to a particular Pandora station when you turned off the AVR, it will start playing automatically and quickly when you turn it back on.  I could get from “off” to streaming Pandora with one button press in less than 10 seconds.  This effectively puts the final nail in the coffin of AM/FM.  Accessing your internet content is now as quick, easy, and flawless as tuning in a radio station, with far more options and mostly better sound quality.  Denon even offers a website, radiodenon.com, to search and store your favorite Internet radio stations. 

Bluetooth and Apple’s Airplay are also onboard to offer even more playback options.  With my Moto G in my pocket, I had to reach the furthest corners of my house or go outside and exceed 30 feet away before the Denon’s bluetooth signal was broken.

For power under the hood, Denon’s website lists 120 watts into seven channels with a 1 kHz signal, 6 ohms, at 0.7% Total Harmonic Distortion.  Full-bandwith specs list 75 watts per channel at 8 ohms, though this is likely only with two-channels driven.  Of the seven powered channels, two can be used to power either rear surround channels, height channels, or a 2nd zone.  However, the 700W doesn’t have zone2 or height pre-outs, so you can’t do more than one of these options. 

Most home theater owners, myself included, are still running only 5.1 channels, and we don’t see folks hurrying to add more speakers for Dolby Atmos, height channels, or similar more-speakers-is-better technologies, so this isn’t a huge drawback.  If you’re honest with yourself, and don’t get caught up buying specs that you’ll never use, a 5.1 system with the option of adding 2 additional channels is more than most of us will need, and the 700w fits the bill.

de_avrs700w_front de_avrs700w_back

Front and rear views of the Denon AVR-S700W.

Making the AV Connections

Keeping with the theme of simplicity, the back of the Denon AVR-S700W is remarkably sparse.  While there are five HDMI inputs, and three digital audio inputs, there are only two analog audio and component video inputs.  HDMI upscaling of the two composite inputs is not available; sorry VHS hoarders.  Personally, I say “good riddance,” though I will need to grab a component to HDMI adapter for my Nintendo Wii.  Horizontal 5-way binding posts with a notch for pins or wires make the use of any type of connector or bare wire very simple and secure.


Close-up of the Denon AVR-S700W's binding posts.

A big focus in the design of the 700W is on power-efficiency.  My older Onkyo used hundreds of watts at idle.  The Denon uses only 45.  Denon also offers an eco mode which reduces the available power limiting max levels, but drops idle power to 30 watts.  This not only saves you money on electricity, but keeps the AVR running cooler.  That being said, I never found the unit hot to the touch, and 45 watts is still sipping power by AVR standards, so I left the Eco mode off.  I did appreciate the auto standby feature that automatically turns off the AVR after a pre-set time without a signal.  Several times, I've gone to bed without turning off my AVR, which keeps my electric meter spinning all night.  That isn't a problem with the Denon, and at 3 hours per day, running the 45 watt Denon vs. my 300 watt Onkyo would save me over $30 a year.  Think of it like getting 3 free months of Netflix, or half of a lifetime PlexPass.

Audyssey Room Correction & Listening Tests

Denon has included Audyssey technology for room correction and other functions.  Audyssey is a fantastic company focused on giving you better sound, but with more than a dozen different technologies for home, mobile, and cars, things can get confusing quickly.  Denon has smartly combined these technologies into four simple “Audyssey Built-In” levels for their products, and I really hope other manufacturers follow suit.

audyssey built-in

The AVR-S700W offers Audyssey's Bronze Built-in package.

The AVR-S700W incorporates the bronze-level Audyssey package with MultEQ as the cornerstone.  This is the lowest level Denon incorporates, but it still much more advanced and effective than what some other manufacturers include.  Where some other Auto EQs might only use a single measurement point, or apply EQ only to speakers and not the subwoofer, Audyssey MultEQ uses measurements taken at six different positions around your seat to apply FIR (finite impulse response) filters to your subwoofer and speaker channels to give you the best response possible from your system, even if your speakers aren’t in the most ideal location.  MultEQ offers three EQ curves to account for various room sizes and types.  In my larger room, I chose the recommended reference curve, which targets a mostly flat response with a slight high-end rolloff.  This allows for a proper balance of reflected high frequencies in a large, mostly undamped room.

The most noticeable changes were in the bass frequencies.  From my listening position, what started as good bass response became much better with more punch in the drums on Morcheeba's "Blood like Lemonade," a tighter kick on My Brightest Diamond's "Be Brave," and a tighter control of the sweeping bass lines of Soul Coughing's "Misinformed.”  Measurements showed that MultEQ introduced a slight boost between 40 and 60 Hz, accounting for more present bass weight and another boost between 100-200 Hz for a little more mid-bass detail compared to when MultEQ was turned off.

In addition to Audyssey MultEQ, Dynamic EQ is also included which helps maintain a perceived neutral frequency response even at volume levels lower than reference.  In other words, movies are mixed at loud theater levels by the men and women up on stage on Oscar night.  At home, you might want to listen at lower levels because you have neighbors or the kids are trying to sleep.  Dynamic EQ keeps everything sounding just like it did in the theater, with a proper perceived balance of low, mids, and highs according to research on loudness curves.  It sounds the same, only quieter.  Switching this on while listening at -10dB re-asserted some bass impact into the mix.

My existing AVR is an Onkyo TX-SR706, which is very comparable to the Denon AVR-S700W.  It also has MultEQ and Dynamic EQ and just a touch more power per channel.  I was surprised that, even with commensurate technology, the Denon sounded a bit more controlled and powerful, dare I say "bombastic,” by comparison?  Perhaps I need to re-run Audyssey on my Onkyo, because I found myself preferring the Denon almost immediately.

Dynamic Volume is also included, which is an intelligent approach to making loud passages quieter or quiet passages louder.  This is perfect for taming obnoxiously loud commercials or making dialogue easier to hear amongst the explosions at low listening levels.  I flipped this feature on and listened to a few highly dynamic passages, like a recent episode of 24, late at night.  This allowed me to keep dialogue discernable without waking up the entire house when Jack Bauer had to clean up someone else’s mess and saved the day.

Remote Control & Interface

Anyone who's seen my reviews knows I’m a stickler for good remotes.  The Denon’s remote is...okay I guess.  On the downside, it’s too light and the buttons are too rigid with an unpleasant texture.  It’s not backlit, and doesn’t glow in the dark.  It’s not programmable or learning, though the AVR-S700W can use HDMI control to minimally work with compatible displays and sources.

Remote Quick Select

Denon's remote isn't backlit, and it doesn't offer learning functionality. However, the quick select buttons are helpful for quickly getting around.

On the positive side, Denon has relegated many non-essential functions to the on-screen settings menu, keeping the compliment of physical buttons to a minimum.  The power-button is small, but easy to find by touch alone.  Commonly used buttons are grouped around the directional pad, and there is a dedicated button for each input, as well as four “quick select” buttons that activate a particular input or service complete with user defined audio features.

For instance, I can “quick select” my HTPC input with Lossless Surround and the Audyssey reference curve, and then, with a single button press, switch to Pandora in stereo with the Audyssey flat curve.  Overall, the quick select feature pushes the remote to an above average B-.  I’d still find a good learning remote and store this one in a drawer.

The android remote app (also available for iOS) offered only minimal functionality that, for the most part, I found better served by the hard remote.  The app did make it easier to navigate networked music without turning on a TV display, and offered one click access to specific sound modes, however, I experienced occasional crashes, and accidentally backed out of an internet service once or twice.  As a free add-on, it’s tough to complain.  Download it and see if you like it.


Denon's Android app.


It’s amazing to see, year after year, how AVRs at all price points continually offer increased performance and more features. At a street price of less than the $499 MSRP, the Denon AVR-S700W really represents an attainable step into serious performance for anyone who wants high-end sound and features in a simple-to-connect and use package.  Fantastic sound quality is surely the standout feature, but next-generation HDMI specs, wireless and bluetooth connectivity, and energy efficiency make the package that much sweeter.  I would have loved if the Denon AVR-S700W had been around at this price when I bought my last receiver.  Based on my experience over the past few weeks, Denon will be at the top of my list when I buy my next one.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Marshall is an Educator by trade, and currently lives in Oregon. He was lucky enough to grow up in a musical household, and though the AV equipment wasn't the greatest, it was always on. His dad introduced him to Queen, Paul Simon, and Sgt. Pepper's, and his mom played Lionel Richie and Disney Soundtracks. When Marshall was 14, his uncle passed down a pair of JBL towers and Marshall finally had his own system. Having enjoyed podcasting and video production over the past 10 years, Marshall is happy to be contributing at Audioholics.

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