“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

Denon AVR-X7200WA Features and Immersive Audio

By

Immersive audio is core to the X7200WA’s design philosophy and it starts with room correction.  Denon continues its commitment to using Audysey’s room correction with the X7200WA. Audyssey MultEQ XT 32 (Pro ready) room calibration with Sub EQ HT and LFC is standard.  The Denon comes equipped with four DSP (Digital Sound Processing) engines that enable the AVR-X7200W to run an Audyssey-calibrated 5.2.2, 5.2.4, 7.2.2, and even a full 11 channel (7.2.4 or 9.2.2) Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and 10.1 Auro-3D setup. Note that there are two subwoofer outputs and Audyssey can calibrate both subs independently and then EQ them as a group (an approach we’ve long advocated for). 

 

Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 Config

The AVR-X7200WA supports Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 configurations.  Illustration courtesy of Dolby.

Speaking of Dolby Atmos and the other immersive formats, you can support 5.1.2 - 7.1.4 channel setups, though you’ll need to use an external power amplifier once you opt for configurations beyond 9 total channels.  Note that while there are 13 possible output channels on the X7200WA and while the system’s GUI will even show you the potential of configuring up to 13 channels, it can be a bit misleading (it was for me during this review period!). You can only have up to 11 active channels at any one time. Nevertheless, if you want to knock yourself out with speakers galore, the X7200WA has you covered.

The AVR-X7200WA is one of the few products on the market to round out support for every available immersive audio format by including an optional upgrade to Auro-3D—and do so at a reasonable price.

DTS:X is included but will require a future firmware upgrade to activate it.  As of this writing, the DTS:X decoder is not yet available.  When the DTS:X firmware is released, the X7200WA will support only the speaker layouts outlined in the menu or manual.  In other words, you’ll need to set up your DTS:X system according to an Atmos or Auro3D layout.  Denon isn’t supporting DTS:X’s claim that you can place your speakers anywhere in the room.  At Audioholics, we’ve been highly skeptical of this claim and when we covered the DTS:X launch, even DTS had a symmetrical layout for their speakers. 

The AVR-X7200WA is one of the few products on the market to round out support for every available immersive audio format by including an optional upgrade to Auro-3D—and do so at a reasonable price.  Auro-3D first started in Europe.  Consequently it has a larger installed base and support there.  Auro-3D is only now trying to gain a foothold in the US and there aren’t any major titles available in Auro-3D.  I was supposed to receive an Auro-3D Blu-ray disc to test it out but it did not arrive in time for this review.  Consequently, I had to evaluate Auro-3D using the Auro-3D up-mixer.  

Unlike Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, Auro-3D takes a slightly different approach to immersive Audio.  Auro-3D uses a channel-based as opposed to an object-based approach for audio.  It includes a height speaker above the existing floor-standing speakers in a traditional surround setup.

Auro-3D

You'll be able to add up to Auro 10.1 support with the X7200-WA

Adding Auro-3D to the Denon is easy, but it costs you.  The $199 firmware upgrade can be done from the unit’s menu. From there, you’ll be able to support up to a 10.1 channel configuration.  Auro’s 11.1 (adds a center height channel above the center channel speaker) and 13.1 (adds rear left and right surround channels) configurations are not supported.

It should be emphasized that Dolby Atmos and Auro-3D do not have compatible speaker configurations.  (At Audioholics, we’ve suggested a universal, immersive speaker format solution that you can read here at: http://www.audioholics.com/audio-technologies/immersive-audio-loudspeaker-layouts) To address this, Denon has provided a hybrid option so that you can run concurrent Auro-3D and Dolby Atmos setups with the AVR-X7200WA. To use Denon’s hybrid setup all you need to do is install front height Dolby Atmos speakers above your front left and right speakers.  By doing so, you can then support both an Auro-3D and Dolby Atmos configuration. Denon’s option will only work with discrete speakers and it’s not compatible with Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers that bounce sound off the ceiling. 

Auro 3D purchase

You can easily add Auro-3D 

Using the hybrid setup isn’t really an ideal scenario as it does involve some potential compromise. For example, you can’t use the top center, “voice of God” speaker that is characteristic of Auro-3D’s overall philosophy.  Denon indicated to me that in 2016, there will be updated firmware that will allow a more advanced, single layout for both formats that will add rear height speaker support. Hopefully that new firmware will be another step forward in this contest for immersive audio supremacy.

For purposes of this review, I did not test the hybrid setup. I used completely independent and textbook setups of Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 and Auro 3D 10.1 arrangements powered by SVS Ultra floor standing speakers and in-ceiling speakers provided by Beale Street Audio with their Sonic Vortex technology.

Digital Media and Lossless Support

Any receiver sold today must deliver the goods on streaming sources.  The Denon doesn’t disappoint in any sense.  It offers some of the widest support for digital connectivity and streaming one could ask for. USB, Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth, DNLA 1.5, Internet Radio, and Apple’s AirPlay (among others) are all standard.  Some manufacturers chose to forego AirPlay support and I commend Denon for supporting it.  AirPlay makes WiFi streaming from any iOS device or Mac a breeze and it eliminates many of the problems and limitations inherent in Bluetooth audio streaming.

 I will strongly caution, however, that these streaming technologies that Denon supports are a nod towards convenience not audiophile quality.  I’ve personally had some sub-par experiences with many of them and I would not consider them for serious, reference listening. 

Hi-res music support is impressive.  Perhaps most notable is support for all the major lossless formats including FLAC, ALAC, and DSD (up to 2.8 MHz .dsf files).  The AVR-X7200WA will support PCM up to 24-bit/192kHz and provides 32-bit/192kHz digital-to-analog converters for all channels.  The AVR-X7200WA clearly puts some serious focus on high-resolution and multichannel audio. 

My only observation is that for such an apparent emphasis on hi-res music support, the Denon’s signal-to-noise ratio and dynamic range playback are… well… pedestrian.  The signal-to-noise ratio is spec’d at 102 dB and dynamic range comes in at 100 dB.  

I/O Connections & Features

There are eight HDMI 2.0a inputs, one of which is on the front of the unit. The Denon features an HDMI standby passthrough option. If you have non-techie family members (or in-laws) who may not know how to turn on the entire home theater setup just to watch TV, then this feature is like having an in-house negotiator to settle potential family AV feuds.  With HDMI standby passthrough, you can set the unit to send a default HDMI signal (like a cable box) from a specified input on the X7200WA to the TV even when the unit is turned off.  Anyone can then watch TV normally without needing to know which remote to use for what, how to power up the Denon, and how to switch inputs.  Household peace at last!

Denon X7200WA three HDMI outputs

The X7200WA sports three HDMI outputs.  Monitor 1 and Monitor 2 are parallel and Zone2 is independently switched

Custom installers will find rich, varied options with the X7200WA.  There are three independent zones. The Main Zone and Zone 2 support audio and video via HDMI.  Zone 3 only supports audio. The three HDMI outputs are comprised of a set of mirrored HDMI outputs for the Main Zone (typically used for a TV and projector) and an independent Zone 2 HDMI output allowing you to watch a separate source from the Main Zone.  

Two trigger outputs are standard. A legacy RS-232 control input is included for interfacing with high-end, custom installation systems such as Crestron and Control4 among many others.

I was also pleased to find a very rich IP-based command set including the option to power the unit on via IP.  I say that because early IP-based command sets from many manufacturers wouldn’t let you power the unit on via IP—a silly omission.

I could go on and on about the features of this unit. All I’d do is sprain the fingers of every mobile user out there from the scrolling torture I’d induce.

I tested IP-integration with the Denon and it was great.  Out of the box, I was able to find the Denon on my home network and instantly add it to my SimpleRemote iOS home automation control system.   I added the Denon to core automation activities without any problem.  I had access to an extensive command set for every zone and I could have easily integrated the Denon into a complex automation environment.  

In my opinion, the only cutting-edge feature missing from the X7200WA is support for Denon’s Heos wireless music system.  Denon has positioned Heos as a direct competitor to Sonos and Yamaha’s MusicCast by offering an entire line of wireless WiFi speakers and soundbars.  However, to take advantage of Heos, you need to invest in the $349 Heos Link wireless preamplifier.  Sure, that’s easy enough and you can use the Zone 3 output to accommodate this for some incredible flexibility.  However, now that Yamaha has announced MusicCast as an integrated part of their product line, I’m hoping that Denon will think about adding Heos to their receivers. 

I could go on and on about the features of this unit. All I’d do is sprain the fingers of every mobile user out there from the scrolling torture I’d induce.  If you are captivated by this unit’s feature set, then download the digital technical manual for some bedtime reading (Denon’s gone green and there is no printed user manual accompanying the X7200WA).  Suffice to say, if there’s a feature you’re thinking about, the Denon likely has it.  If the Denon doesn’t have it, then you probably don’t need it.  

On to the hands-on and listening!

 

Confused about what AV Gear to buy or how to set it up? Join our Exclusive Audioholics E-Book Membership Program!

Recent Forum Posts:

AcuDefTechGuy posts on April 28, 2017 12:46
PENG, post: 1184850, member: 6097
I agree with TLSG that with so many things jammed in one box will likely affect it's longevity but I am confident if use normally it would last longer than 5 years. I also agree with you that one should not pay full price for such flag ship unit, especially now when the updated model will be out within months. $1,500 is probably my upper limit too.

The Outlaw won't out perform the Denon but has much better chance to live twice as long.

I would just wait for Amazon to sell the X4000 series for $799 brand new.
PENG posts on April 27, 2017 16:01
AcuDefTechGuy, post: 1184814, member: 26997
Yeah, I would just get the Denon 7200 without any external amps.

I agree with TLSG that with so many things jammed in one box will likely affect it's longevity but I am confident if use normally it would last longer than 5 years. I also agree with you that one should not pay full price for such flag ship unit, especially now when the updated model will be out within months. $1,500 is probably my upper limit too.

The Outlaw won't out perform the Denon but has much better chance to live twice as long.
AcuDefTechGuy posts on April 27, 2017 13:07
Yeah, I would just get the Denon 7200 without any external amps.
lovinthehd posts on April 27, 2017 12:56
Asif1980, post: 1184678, member: 82490
How do we compare emotiva XMC-1 vs Denon X7200WA??

I understand one is pre-processor and other is AV receiver with Immersive audio format support.

Lets set aside amplifier/immersive audio section in denon and compare both products processing capabilities.

Will denon+outlaw 7140 power amplifier out perform emotiva XMC-1+outlaw 7140 and which is worth the money spend?

Denon has more channels of processing so would depend on the speaker set you desire to an extent. Dirac gets good reports, but Audyssey XT32 works very well. If using the same amp then performance should be equal in that respect (and the 7140 is not much different from the onboard amps in the 7200). Cost for the Denon vs XMC1 plus amps would be the better comparo.
AcuDefTechGuy posts on April 27, 2017 12:51
That Denon will be sweet if Amazon has their 50% off sale when the new models roll out.

In Direct Mode (no EQ of any kind), they will sound the same if played at the same exact volume.

Whether one is better than the other, it depends on what you do with them. The big difference among AVR and processors will be the features and EQ.

For example, I would unequivocally take the Denon over anything else that does not have Audyssey Dynamic EQ (DEQ).

AFAIK, the only new products that have Audyssey DEQ include Denon, Marantz, and McIntosh.

But some people prefer ARC (Anthem) or DIRAC (Emotiva) or other EQ systems.

So the salient difference is DIRAC vs AUDYSSEY (for me it's the DEQ), not Emotiva vs Denon or Pre-pro vs AVR.

But you might want to keep an eye on Amazon or Fry's during the late Summer, or Fall & Winter. You might see the Denon 7200 for $1,500 brand new.

So to answer your question, I would take the Denon over Emotiva.
Post Reply