Denon AVR-1913 AV-receiver

st as much as the phrase "plug and play" has saturated the electronic equipment world to the point of near-ubiquity, it's not a label we've ever seen applied to the giant wreck of inputs, outputs, and speaker connections that identify the A/V receiver. That's not to say that Denon is labeling the AVR-1913 as such, but you could make the case. Or, or even plug and play, possibly plug and poke and plug and poke and plug and poke and play.

We have come quite a distance considering that the days, not too long ago, when the graphic interface on Denon's A/V receivers looked just like a relic of the Commodore VIC-20 operating system, and the back panel of even the lowliest version was so packed with esoteric connections that the typical consumer (not counting Home theatre readers, obviously) almost surely had to telephone a friend (almost surely a Home Theater reader) at least twice to get things up and running.

Denon's AVR-1913, much like the rest of this year's line, is a noticeable departure from those good days, having a set up procedure so simple, even your granddad could get it done, and an unfussy, uncluttered back panel that focuses only on the essentials. It's also an astonishingly feature-packed receiver only at that price point, which places it on a fascinating and somewhat equivocal precipice.

No matter how you view it, the AVR-1913 isn't lacking in the doodads section, which may come after a peek at the back panel as a bit. It is sparse back there, with only one component video in and no component video monitor output one of the AVR-1913's attributes is its analog-to-digital audio/video abilities, which convert the analog video input signals for output to your TV via HDMI. You will find four pairs of stereo RCA inputs for those analog sources, two composite video inputs (and one composite video out--shocking, I know), an FM antenna jack, one each coaxial and optical digital inputs, loudspeaker connections, a solitary subwoofer output, five back-panel HDMI input signals, and one HDMI output signal with Audio Return Channel capacities. And, obviously, an Ethernet network jack.

Move around to the front, and you'll find another HDMI input, one composite video and stereo RCA input, a jack for the set up mike, along with a USB connection with iDevice connectivity that is complete.

What you will not find everywhere are S-video inputs and outputs, but rumor has it that if you send Denon a mimeographed request, and'll fax you an order form for last year's version.

Let us get back to the network jack get an instant, however, because that is the doorway to the soul of all of the AVR-1913's characteristics. The AVR-1913 is said to be compatible with most third-party wireless solutions, although it doesn't feature built in WiFi, and Denon doesn't offer a Wi-Fi dongle. If you can add one, or get a Cat-5/Cat-6 cable to the back ofyour equipment stand, it's worthwhile for the wealth of characteristics it unlocks in the receiver. Are a good variety of music streaming services that contains SiriusXM, Pandora, and Internet Radio plus DLNA support to bring in content or network drive. Denon recently added the Spotify service that was popular, and the AVR-1913 boasts Apple AirPlay support.

Even as the lowliest guy on the Denon 7.1-channel totem pole, the AVR-1913's two additional amps (all are rated at 90 watts) are assignable as back surround channels, height channels, dual-amp front channels, additional front-channel channels, or a powered second zone. But if you want preamp outs for the second zone to feed a a power amplifier that is dedicated, you are out of luck. You're equally out of chance in case you're considering using the AVR-1913 as a preamp that is committed, as there aren't any preamp outputs beyond the subwoofer out. And, without any multichannel analogue in, this lack of luck additionally extends to anyone wanting to join a high resolution sound source with 5.1- or 7.1-channel analog audio output signals. On the other hand, whining about such would be missing the point: This AVR's very raison d'etre seems to be simplicity of operation and setup for a reasonable cost, and in that respect, it excels. Case in point: The provided hard-button remote is even less comprehensive and equally as sparse as the back panel than the accessible iOS control program, offering few of another myriad functions typically included in an AVR remote. It's fairly similar to the next, stripped-down control occasionally contained with gear that is better in order not to confuse the less inclined in the family. But it offers everything you'd typically need once you get everything set how you want it. Meanwhile, I found the iOS app rather slippery and easy to use, if additionally somewhat simplistic.

The user interface is a navigational and aesthetic upgrade over years past, but perhaps the most notable aspect is the only one enthusiasts will see: the Setup Assistant. I was not really kidding with that stopper and poke and play with gag. If you're able to connect an HDMI cable in the AVR-1913 to your display and press the power button, the Helper holds your hand through every other stage of the setup procedure. And I do mean your hand is held by it, prompting one to connect each loudspeaker one at a time (with diagrams), name and connect each source device, and so forth. It is the sort of hand-holding one normally infuriate as an advanced user. But, defying all odds, Denon has managed to craft a Setup Assistant capable of directing pretty much anyone with eyes and opposable thumbs through the legendarily difficult process of establishing an A/V receiver, while managing never to frustrate those of us with years of DIY experience. I nearly want to make use of the word magical. I almost want to, although I won't.

The MultEQ that is bare-bones, although not the more complex XT or XT32, that is more limited in its ability to tune the sound. In typical style, it estimated the distance to my subwoofer spectacularly wrong (which Audyssey urges you simply leave alone), asserted to have detected a stage error with my surround speakers (there wasn't one), set the subwoofer output manner too low (which I couldn't ignore), and latched onto a ridiculously high crossover frequency of 250 hertz (which I dialed back down to 100 Hz, a more acceptable crossover frequency that wouldn't make a gaping hole between the Polk Blackstone TL3s and Sunfire Atmos subwoofer attached to the system). Performance

With Audyssey's settings tweaked as best they could be tweaked by me, I settled down to amuse myself and judge the functionality of the AVR-1913. Well...pretty music.

Unsurprisingly, the AVR-1913 lacked the very last word in oomph and sparkle on known tracks compared with a $2,000 ##them MRX700||Anthem MRX700$ my reference receiver. But don't get one wrong - it ended up being a sound performer, even when it is not my goto audiophile choice for music listening and for $580, you won't probably find many receivers that greatest it.

The AVR-1913 managed that perfectly, taking the blend from a straightforward and flat affair to a funky, room-filling riff without skipping a beat.

The Mines of Moria sequence is a specially favourite test for vocal clarity, as well as for the reason that regard, the AVR-1913 shone, interpreting the dialogue flawlessly even in the midst of the cacophonous, reverberant environments that are subterranean.

I fiddled around with Audyssey MultEQ's various EQ curvature, Dynamic EQ, and Dynamic Volume settings trying to get the oomph I know is there and managed to do so by just turning it all off. Alas, this is my secondary theatre space where I do generally need a weensy little bit of help in the low end from the Anthem's room EQ. With MultEQ off, the sound was somewhat flabby. With it on, it was simply a little too dead. This became clear when things were looking a bit blue and Gandalf tells Gay to assuage his panic. MultEQ especially robbed this scene of ambience and its wonderful airiness, when the activity cranked back up, but the sound got a little too cluttered.

For multichannel music, I also turned to a tried-and-true favorite: the Rumours of Fleetwood Mac on DVD Audio. It's a disc that suffers from a too- high noise floor and a few iffy midrange problems, but it's a record that is rocking and warm with a stunning sound combination that I know well. My preceding assessments of the sound held true with this one as well. In the event you're on a stringent budget, the AVR-1913's sound is very solid for $580, there's little to complain about. The amps are strong enough together with the right speakers for most midsized rooms, and the sound was acceptably dynamic and balanced. But again, one find myself struggling using the Audyssey MultEQ. The music lacked a good little bit of the sparkle one'm used to, while on. Away, I believed it lacked much. Needless to say, you may have better luck in your room than one did, or not require room correction in any way.


This brings me to an interesting final point. Viewed in a vacuum, the AVR-1913 looks just like a good receiver choice. You should be served by the AVR-1913 nicely, in case your financial plan is tight. But if one were seriously in the marketplace for a receiver I would pay the extra $70 for all of this merely on principle.

Denon AVR-1913 AV-receiver photo