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Denon X-Series Introduces the World's First 8K-Ready AV Receivers

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Denon AVR-X2700H AV Receiver

Denon AVR-X2700H AV Receiver

Summary

  • Product Name: AVR-X6700H, AVR-X4700H, AVR-X3700H, and AVR-X2700H
  • Manufacturer: Denon
  • Review Date: June 04, 2020 14:00
  • MSRP: $849 - AVR-X2700H, $1,199 - AVR-X3700H, $1,699 - AVR-X4700H, $2,499 - AVR-X6700H
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • Buy Now

Executive Overview

Denon AVR-X6700H AV ReceiverWith the 2020 CEDIA Expo Show cancelled, COVID-19 running amuck, and rioting in many cities across the U.S. we're in need of some good news. Denon provided us with some this week with the announcement of the worlds first 8K-ready AV receivers. Building on its renowned line of X-Series AVRs, the Denon AVR-X6700H, AVR-X4700H, AVR-X3700H, and AVR-X2700H usher in the next generation of home theater receivers designed to upgrade gaming, home theater and music to a whole new level.

This is a very big year for Denon. Not only are we introducing the first 8K-ready receivers, but we’re also celebrating our 110th anniversary. This company has been on the forefront of technological advancements throughout its entire existence, and the introduction of 8K is the next exciting chapter in our history of excellence. 8K certainly is an exciting update and the new X-Series AVRs offer a suite of new features that gamers, home theater enthusiasts and music lovers can implement straight away. If you’re serious about upping your 4K game and getting your home theater ready for 8K, these are the best AV receivers money can buy.

- Jake Mendel, Product Marketing Manager for Denon AVR & Hi-Fi components

Denon 2020 X-Series AV Receiver Features YouTube Discussion

The top model in this new series; the AVR-X6700H will support 11 channels of amplification with 13.2 channel processing, the AVR-X4700H and the AVR-X3700H support up to 9 channels of amplification and 11.2 channel processing. The AVR-X2700H supports up to 7 channels of amplification. A feature breakdown of all the new models is tabulated below.

Denon Receiver Feature Matrix

Denon 2020 X-Series AV Receivers Feature Comparison Chart

Video Technology

The new Denon X-Series AV receivers will take advantage of the latest HDMI technologies. This will include a dedicated “8K” HDMI input enabling 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz video pass-through, new HDR format support including HDR10+ and Dynamic HDR, and a new HDMI feature called Quick Media Switching (QMS), which allows a source to instantly switch the resolution or frame rate to eliminate screen blackout. The latest X-Series models will still support HDR10, HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) and Dolby Vision, as well as 4:4:4 Pure Color subsampling and BT.2020 pass-through. The Denon X-Series can also upscale existing HD and 4K content to 8K to compatible 8K ready TVs so more people can experience the power of 8K resolution.

Check out: Everything you Need to Know about HDMI 2.1 for more information.

New Gaming Technology

Several new features give gamers an edge on their competition, including 4K/120Hz pass through and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) to reduce frame tearing and improve overall precision. This technology will allow you to get a jump on the competition with Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Quick Frame Transport (QFT), each designed to reduce lag and improve stats. With these new improvements you can see the enemy before they see you all with stunning 8K picture quality.

Stream Movies & TV With Top-of-the-Line Audio Quality

The new Denon X-Series AVRs will continue to support eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel), which delivers uncompressed and object-based audio from the TV to the receiver via a single HDMI cable. TVs can play video directly from TV apps at best available picture quality—either 4K or 8K—while the receiver identifies the best available surround format for decoding. With eARC and the latest HDMI connectivity up to 8K Ultra HD, the new X-Series AV receivers will help to provide a seamless connection with the latest 8K TVs, streaming devices, gaming consoles, and other source players.

DTS:X Pro

Support for virtually all 3D audio formats is available with the Denon AVR-X6700H and AVR-X4700H, including Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology, DTS:X, DTS Virtual:X, IMAX Enhanced and Auro-3D out-of-box. The AVR-X6700H will also support DTS:X Pro, which will allow users to enjoy up to 13 channels of DTS:X decoding with speaker configurations such as 7.2.6 or 9.2.4. Listeners can also enjoy the latest in IMAX Enhanced films in 7.2.6 or 9.2.4 speaker configurations thanks to newly adopted 13.2 channel processing capabilities with external amplification. The DTS:X Pro feature will be delivered via firmware update later this year. Auro-3D engine is supported by the AVR-X6700H and the AVR-X4700H. IMAX Enhanced decoding is supported by both receivers as well as the AVR-X3700H.

Denon AVR-X6700H AV Receiver Backpanel

Denon AVR-X6700H AV Receiver Backpanel - note 13CH preouts, 11CH amp built-in

Pre-Amplifier Mode

Denon AVR-X4700H Inside ViewWe've been asking for it, and FINALLY Denon now also supports a new “Pre-Amplifier” mode for the AVR-X3700H, AVR-X4700H and AVR-X6700H, previously only found on Denon’s flagship AVR-X8500H. Pre-Amplifier mode provides a clear signal path and more tolerance in clipping levels by disconnecting internal amplifiers when the receiver is used as an AV processor and all speakers are powered by external amplifiers.

After years of testing and measuring AV receiver performance, Gene determined the reason why the preamp outputs on most receivers showed high distortion in an FFT plot when driven above 1.2Vrms. The unloaded amplifiers were being driven into clipping causing distortion to be feedback into the signal chain. This can be seen most recently in our measurements of the Marantz SR8012 as well as many other brands and models we've reviewed over the years.

We pleaded with AV receiver manufacturers to offer a "preamp mode" that physically disconnects the signal path to the amplifiers for those wanting to use their receivers as a dedicated preamp by connecting external amplification.  Denon is the first company to heed our call by offering this feature on ALL new X-series AV receivers. Bravo!

Streaming Features & Set Up Assist Updates

Roon Tested and Hi-Res Playback

Denon X-Series AVRs are Roon Tested certified so users can get more out of their music libraries through the advanced Roon music interface on their PCs and smart devices. Denon Roon Tested AVRs can be found and setup easily by Roon via AirPlay 2 or hardwired into a Roon Core device. Each receiver features a front-panel USB port that offers convenient audio playback of MP3 and high-resolution audio formats (WAV, FLAC, ALAC and DSD 2.8/5.6 MHz files).

Voice Enabled Enhancements

We saw a big push at last years CEDIA show for smart home automation and voice controlled devices. The Denon X-Series AVRs work with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Josh.ai, and Apple Siri for voice control. Listeners can use Amazon Alexa for a variety of commands, including switching inputs for different media players, while the Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri can be used to adjust the volume, skip to the next track, and more. Josh.ai offers custom integrators greater control over voice integration into a variety of existing smart home platforms.

HEOS Multiroom Music Listening

The new X-series from Denon will come with HEOS Built-in. With HEOS you can stream music wirelessly across compatible HEOS components from a variety of free and premium streaming services, including Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music HD, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, SoundCloud, SiriusXM, TIDAL, and more. You can also enjoy your favorite music in any room of the home wirelessly. Play the same song in every room or select a different song for each connected room via a variety of streaming sources. Add Denon Home speakers to more rooms and control it all with the HEOS app. Apart from HEOS, Apple AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth are also supported. Apple Music streaming is supported through AirPlay 2.

Denon Setup Assistant

We've like Denon's setup assistant in the past. It does a good job of visually guiding you through each step in the setup process. Because every home theater is unique, Denon uses Audyssey's premium room calibration technology to automatically take precise measurements and optimizes the receiver’s performance. Audyssey then tailors the 3-D experience to the acoustic properties of the space. The AVR-X2700H supports Audyssey MultEQ XT while the rest of the lineup supports Audyssey MultEQ XT32, as well as subEQ HT for independent subwoofer calibration for more balanced and controlled bass performance. The Audyssey MultEQ Editor app is available for purchase for those who want more customization options.

Dual Speaker Preset Mode

The 2020 X-Series models also now support the newly adopted Dual Audyssey Preset function which allows you to store and instantly switch between two Audyssey configurations. For example, you can store both the Audyssey calibration result straight from the receiver and a customized MultEQ curve or frequency range made through the Audyssey MultEQ editor app on the receiver simultaneously, allowing you to easily compare differences and select their preference. Listeners can also perform Audyssey measurements for two different speaker settings, including 2.0 for music listening and 5.1.4 for movie surround.

You might wonder why you would need two presets for a receiver that never leaves the room. Denon presented to us a very real scenario where a user might have a drop down screen for a projector and blinds that close to keep out light.  The acoustics of the room would change significantly when the screen was up and the blinds were open against large sliding glass doors. Before the Dual Preset function, you would have to rerun the calibration of the room every time you open or closed the screen or blinds!  Now this can be customized with the pressing of a button to let you optimize your sound for both scenarios.

Denon AVR-X6700H closeup

Custom Integration

Custom A/V integration professionals will appreciate the X-Series receivers’ smart features, including support for Audio Select functionality or AirPlay OFF feature so it will not appear on every iOS device throughout the home. To best tailor system functionality for each client, integrators can now assign the same HDMI input source over multiple inputs and choose different audio sources for each input. Denon calls it a “Sports Bar” mode. With multizone simulcasting, you can also play full quality surround in the main zone while simulcasting stereo to a second zone or HEOS enable devices.

Integrators can also provide their clients with improved service efficiency and reduced downtime by using Domotz Pro or OvrC remote system monitoring and management technology to remotely monitor and troubleshoot X-Series AVRs. HDMI Diagnostics Mode continues to be available for custom integrators to troubleshoot HDMI-related issues with connected devise and HDMI cables on site.

Our Thoughts...

Denon 6700 KnobWhat DON'T we like about the new Denon X-Series? Not much, especially for the AVR-X6700H, the model just below the venerable AVR-X8500H. For $2,500 you get (out of the box) 11 channels of amplification (140wpc x 11) and 13 channels of processing, 8K/60Hz or 4K/120Hz video, 8K upscaling, and all the newest HDMI functionality. Gamers will love the 120Hz refresh rate along with other features to reduce lag time. The new Denon X- Series A/V receivers are heavy on the V side of A/V, so it will be interesting to see how their competition views the buying trends of the future. Sometimes it's good to be the first product released before the fall lineup. Eight years ago it was all about 3D immersive sound, and for the last few years it was smart home integration and voice control. With Denon's push for video technology improvements tailored for gamers, we're thinking this will inspire big changes in ALL the AV receivers being released later this fall.

Stay tuned for our contest announcement so you can win one of these brand new Denon AVRs on Audioholics!

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

About the author:

Tony is our resident expert for lifestyle and wireless products including soundbars. He does most of the reviews for wireless and streaming loudspeakers and often compares soundbars in round ups and helps us cover the trade shows.

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Recent Forum Posts:

RichB posts on July 07, 2020 13:37
PENG, post: 1402616, member: 6097
The way Amir explained it I think the way tparm interpreted it was correct. Amir disabled all channels except FL/FR, but that is not the same as configuring it to output only 2 channels.

Below is exactly the way he explained it:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/denon-avr-x4700-avr-review-updated.14493/

"I realized that in my testing I was setting the AVR for 2-channel configuration with Front right and left speakers set to Large, and all other channels configured as “None.” The output path form my PC however was 8 channels (determined by Intel GPU HDMI implementation in my Intel CPU). I had turned off all channels beside left and right assuming that would simulate simple 2 channel playback. Well, turned out this was the problem! "

He measured again in similar way and posted the results in post#241 but this this time the AVR was configured for 5.1. SINAD improved to 95 dB, that's much better!

He added that:

“To get to final SINAD of 97 dB and matching coax, I had to go up to 7.1 to match the number of input channels.”

So it looks like until this software bug is fixed, the user could avoid getting lower SINAD performance by making sure the AVR's is configured with enough speakers to match or exceed the number of channels the source player is configured for. In my case, my AVR is always configured for 11.1 so whether I play mono, 2 channel, or all channels it shouldn't matter.

The ASR explanation.

AVRs have channel mapping to deal with configuration differences between input audio streams and playback capability. You may for example use the AVR with just two speakers for living room sound while playing 7.1 channel Blu-ray content. AVR will then use its internal mapping to mix down the high input channel count to stereo. For reasons that are unknown at this point but is being investigated by Denon engineering, when feeding only two channels to AVR but in 8 channel configuration, and the AVR is configured as just Left and Right speakers, the noise level goes up substantially and there is potential for clipping on maximum level signal. The former was responsible for lower performance across many measurements. The latter was responsible for unusually high distortion in multitone test.

Fortunately the fix was simple. I simply turned on all the speakers for 7.1 configuration while still continuing to feed the AVR the same way I was before. With all channels configured, the stereo audio data was no longer changed since no mapping was required and performance shot way up. Since vast majority of you are using AVRs with multiple channels enabled anyway, the issue that caused the problem should not be something you see.

I believe there are two separate issues. Mapping from HDMI source to 2 channels where downmixing goes wonky and a general slight loss of SINAD can occur when mapping because the signals are attenuated to provide headroom that avoids digital clipping.

- Rich
PENG posts on July 07, 2020 12:24
RichB, post: 1402609, member: 11091
Amir had turned off all channels but FL/FR on the generator and all channels but the FL/FR on the 4700H. For some reason, the 4700H engaged down-mix which caused the error even if the other channels had no signal. It's an unusual case, but may not be the only case.

Still, as you say, not my use case, so not an issue for me once it was confirmed.

- Rich

The way Amir explained it I think the way tparm interpreted it was correct. Amir disabled all channels except FL/FR, but that is not the same as configuring it to output only 2 channels.

Below is exactly the way he explained it:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/denon-avr-x4700-avr-review-updated.14493/

"I realized that in my testing I was setting the AVR for 2-channel configuration with Front right and left speakers set to Large, and all other channels configured as “None.” The output path form my PC however was 8 channels (determined by Intel GPU HDMI implementation in my Intel CPU). I had turned off all channels beside left and right assuming that would simulate simple 2 channel playback. Well, turned out this was the problem! "

He measured again in similar way and posted the results in post#241 but this this time the AVR was configured for 5.1. SINAD improved to 95 dB, that's much better!

He added that:

“To get to final SINAD of 97 dB and matching coax, I had to go up to 7.1 to match the number of input channels.”

So it looks like until this software bug is fixed, the user could avoid getting lower SINAD performance by making sure the AVR's is configured with enough speakers to match or exceed the number of channels the source player is configured for. In my case, my AVR is always configured for 11.1 so whether I play mono, 2 channel, or all channels it shouldn't matter.
RichB posts on July 07, 2020 11:54
tparm, post: 1402606, member: 71264
I thought the issue was sending more than two channel material to the AVR and playing back in two channel…. Either way, not an issue in my case as I play back material in original format or upmix to additional channels. My 4700 will be run in pre-amp mode too, with an Aircom fan as I have it anyway so I might as well use it.
Amir had turned off all channels but FL/FR on the generator and all channels but the FL/FR on the 4700H. For some reason, the 4700H engaged down-mix which caused the error even if the other channels had no signal. It's an unusual case, but may not be the only case.

Still, as you say, not my use case, so not an issue for me once it was confirmed.

- Rich
tparm posts on July 07, 2020 11:37
RichB, post: 1402604, member: 11091
There is still an issue when when sending 2-channel PCM with the 4700H which causes gross distortion. I am not sure what cases could also cause this but it should be fixed.

I just ordered a 3700H to use as a preamp (Amps off) in a vacation home because, the performance is good in this case and it should run cooler.
This AVR has 3 small fans, which is not idea but it is a good solution for this installation and provides fall back internal amps, should there be an issue with my external amp.

- Rich
I thought the issue was sending more than two channel material to the AVR and playing back in two channel…. Either way, not an issue in my case as I play back material in original format or upmix to additional channels. My 4700 will be run in pre-amp mode too, with an Aircom fan as I have it anyway so I might as well use it.
RichB posts on July 07, 2020 11:30
tparm, post: 1402601, member: 71264
Denon's measurement results in response to ASR.
https://usa.denon.com/en-us/data/blog/blog-list/excellence-in-engineering
There is still an issue when when sending 2-channel PCM with the 4700H which causes gross distortion. I am not sure what cases could also cause this but it should be fixed.

I just ordered a 3700H to use as a preamp (Amps off) in a vacation home because, the performance is good in this case and it should run cooler.
This AVR has 3 small fans, which is not idea but it is a good solution for this installation and provides fall back internal amps, should there be an issue with my external amp.

- Rich
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