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

Denon AVR-X7200WA Setup and Use

By

When Denon shipped me the AVR-X7200WA, the first thing that struck me was the size of the box. I’m not speaking of it being huge.  It was physically smaller than I was expecting.  Once I unpacked the Denon and placed it in my steel APC rack, I noted that it was neither much taller nor deeper than the receiver previously occupying that spot.  Let me explain why I was so happy to see that.  

First off, that’s not a knock on the Denon’s build quality—it’s excellent. The lack of chassis bloat is due to the fact that Denon has jettisoned the major legacy connectors you likely weren’t using and were never going to use.  Thank God, S-video inputs and outputs are all gone.  RCA and Toslink S/PDIF and connections are now kept to a bare minimum.  May we see this trend continue in future models!  The end result is that the Denon AVR-X7200WA is a monster receiver that is all muscle with very little extraneous fat. 

Easy Networking Setup

Configuring the network is incredibly easy—and brilliant.  The Denon automatically copied all my network settings from my iPhone.  In a matter of seconds I was done and the AVR-X7200WA was online

Speaking of build quality, the Denon is a hefty 37.7lbs, but it’s in the details where you see the company’s flagship strut its feathers.  For example, the five-way binding posts are high quality and sturdy.  Rear inputs and outputs are cleanly laid out.  And Denon’s front panel? It is a wife’s dream. It creates a sleek, clean look to the receiver by acting as the doors of a sleek armoire, hiding a potentially unsightly array of inputs and buttons. This isn’t like the plastic panels other receivers have.  No, no, no.  Just touch that solid, all-metal panel and you feel it effortlessly slide away.  It’s so smooth.  It just screams build quality and pride of ownership.  

I powered up the X7200WA and immediately went through the standard setup, which includes selecting what speakers you have.  Someone at Denon did some serious user interface and focus group research because I’ve never seen an easier to use step-by-step in any product.  It takes you through everything, from how to strip speaker wiring to which terminals the wire should be connected to and where that speaker should be placed in the room; and at each point asks you to validate that the speaker is correctly wired by playing a sound through each speaker. If you have a mismatch, it shows you which terminal the speaker should be connected to.  It’s amazing.  As someone who manages software development and graphic design, I tip my hat to the time and effort that went into this.  

Denon Setup

Denon's step-by-step setup is thorough and complemented with lots of precise graphics

While novices will fall in love with this, the simple setup is so basic and thorough that if you’re a seasoned home theater guy like me, you will want to scream and poke your eyes out.  Thankfully, Denon thought of us veterans.  Simply exit out of the simple setup and go immediately to the manual setup where you can just select your total speaker configuration and set the amplification assignment with a few clicks. I congratulate the team at Denon for giving both pros and novices exactly the menu panels they need for their particular needs.

I chose to start with a 7.1.4 configuration.  My review setup consisted of seven SVS Ultra speakers on ground level, an SVS PB13-Ultra sub, and four 6” Beale Street Audio front and rear in-ceiling Atmos height channels (we will have a full review of the Beale Street Audio speakers soon). Since my configuration went beyond 9 channels of amplification, I had use an eternal Emotiva two-channel stereo power amplifier for the rear height Beale Street Audio channels.  I want to note that the X7200WA gives you the ability to use external amplification for any or all of its channels.  In other words, you could even use the X7200WA strictly as a pre-amp.  Therefore, if you have hard-to-drive speakers or prefer particular amplifiers, you can bypass the internal amplification and use an external amp.

Audio & Setup Calibration Lessons

Once the channels were properly assigned, I started the standard Audyssey calibration.  The X7200WA gives you the option to upgrade to Audyssey Pro. I did not test the pro kit with this review.  Among its benefits, the pro kit gives you a calibrated microphone, before and after graph results, and more measurement positions.

Now that I mentioned the calibrated microphone in the pro kit, I do wish that Audyssey would bundle a calibrated microphone for MultEQ XT 32-enabled units or a microphone that you could use with a microphone stand and boom arm. I just don’t like the cheap plastic microphone it comes with or the cardboard microphone stand. I used a professional camera tripod to keep the microphone level across all the measurement locations and I strongly encourage prospective buyers to do the same if they are not having a custom installer do the calibration for them.

Audyssey Microphone included with the AVR-X7200WA

Unfortunately, the basic Audyssey microphone included with the AVR-X7200WA is not a calibrated microphone. To get a better microphone and more features with Audyssey, you need to upgrade to Pro, which the Denon thankfully supports.

During calibration, Audyssey noted that my SVS Ultra Towers had phase errors. I have experienced this issue before with room correction solutions.  This is normal with the SVS Ultra Tower speakers because the SVS Ultra’s upper midrange and tweeter are wired out of phase with lower drivers for proper acoustical summation.  This is why Audyssey reads the entire speaker as being out of phase (when it’s not).  I just clicked through that error and completed the calibration without further notices.

The Denon can natively support two subs or up to four subs with two unbalanced audio Y adapters for a theoretical maximum of a 9.4.4 setup. Just note that if you choose an Auro-3D 10.1 configuration, Subwoofer Output 2 serves as the Auro-3D overhead “voice of God” speaker. You can therefore only support up to two subs via a Y-adapter in an Auro-3D 10.x setup.

When I tested the setup post-Audyssey, the bass from the PB13-Ultra was too anemic.  I ran into a peculiar issue with Audyssey.  Audyssey would only start calibration if I set the sub's volume at -18.  Knowing the merciless, subterranean assault that the PB13-Ultra can dish out—and how reserved it was post-Audyssey—I had to manually increase the sub’s output by over 4db to get it back to normal (I want to give a nod to Ed Mullen at SVS for serving as a great sounding board to confirm all this).

Denon Setup2

Denon gives you extensive options for Dolby Atmos to fit a variety of real-world audio setups

One final note about Audyssey, if I wanted to switch to my dedicated Auro-3D speaker layout, I needed to run Audyssey again on that setup.  Switching between the two is a bit of pain.  The team at Denon indicated that I could re-load my Audyssey calibration but it would take 10 minutes to do.  I know that people with concurrent Dolby Atmos and Auro-3D setups like me will be in the extreme minority—you can probably count them on two hands.   I just wish that there was an easier way to switch between the two.  If you’re serious about supporting all three immersive setups: Atmos, DTS:X, and Auor-3D then you’ll want to use front and back angled height channels per Denon’s recommended hybrid setup.

With calibration out of the way, I easily added the Denon to my password-protected WiFi network.  I was able to see the Denon as an AirPlay speaker and added the Denon to my Simple Remote home automation network. As you’d expect in a flagship receiver, I could rename inputs at will, assign what input is associated with a particular source, and set triggers and other standard automation tasks.  

All of these details just show how the AVR-X7200 can fit right at home in even complex environments and then grow with you as you integrate home automation aspects to your setup over time.

The AVR-X7200WA has a quick select feature that allows you to make different audio and video presets on the same input and then easily recall them by pressing a single button.  This is an absolutely essential feature in a flagship receiver.  I could assign a day mode and then a night mode to the Blu-ray input, for example, and then tailor the video settings based on the time of day or ambient light.  Likewise, I could adjust the audio preferences for a given source.  Initially, I didn't see this feature when testing the unit and was frankly baffled as to how something like this could have been omitted.  I want to thank and give a shout out to Paul Belanger at Denon for bringing this to my attention.  

The AVR-X7200WA allowed me the option of defining a specific startup volume so that when I powered up the unit, it would always default to that volume regardless of where it was when I turned it off.  I also had the option of restricting a maximum volume level.  Denon then went one step further: 

I had the option of tailoring the volume control readout to my heart’s content.  I could choose the home theater standard where -0 is reference or use a relative volume level.  With the relative volume level, the numbers increase as you get louder.  This setting must be for all those who have gotten confused by the volume numbers going down to zero to make the unit louder. Once again, Denon’s UI touches and attention to detail were everywhere.

The AVR-X7200WA is ISF certified and comes with built-in default “Day” and “Night” modes. To take full advantage of the ISF capabilities of the Denon, you’ll want to get an ISF-certified calibrator to come and conduct a full calibration on each of your sources.  Speaking of which, a nice feature of the Denon is the ability to set different calibration settings for a particular source.   All of these details just show how the AVR-X7200 can fit right at home in even complex environments and then grow with you as you integrate home automation aspects to your setup over time.

 

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