Denon AVR-X500 AV-receiver

When we consider budget products for home-theatre, Denon is definitely not one ol the first names that would come to your mind. But in the last couple of years we have been consistently getting entries from Denon. It looks like the Japanese electronic giant has understood the pulse of the Indian market and is accordingly up lor the "price sensitive" tug of war that happens on a daily basis here. We have an AV receiver called X500 from them. Let us see how it fares.


Budget means cost cutting and most manufacturers tend to cut on aesthetics and same is the case with the Denon X500. It is not that there are any drastic design changes as compared to other Denon receivers that we see but there is a definite difference in terms of looks and styling. The AVR-X500 is more of a subdued and a subtle version ol the glossy and shiny mid and hi end AV receivers from Denon. The build quality is as usual strong and sturdy, though a tad less in weight.


The X500 is an absolutely basic entry-level 5.1 channel AV receiver with an output power of 140 watts per channel. Consider the price-tag that the AV receiver comes with, we were actually assuming it to be h;ilf the power rating than what it actually gives. So, 140 watts per channel is a good deal il you compare the pricing with the output power of the AV receiver. But an even bigger surprise was the fact that the X500 also houses a 3D pass through HDM! port that makes it the only AV receiver option to offer 3D support at this price point. We know that 3D would not be a priority lor many budget consumers, but the fact that the feature is now made available looks like a promising sign, which will eventually make the technology affordable to everybody. Connectivity, the most important aspect ol an AV receiver, seems to be rather limited on the AVR-X500. While the basic connectivity needs are taken care of by four HDMI ports along with two optical inputs and the regular analogue I/O options, there is absolutely no support for network features. Now this was a shocker for us. While even the smallest of manufacturers are prioritising networking and wireless connectivity options; Denon has comfortably decided to not include even a wired network option, leave aside Wi-fi connectivity. This is something that we absolutely did not like.

It feels like Denon wants us to go back to the good old days where AV receivers were considered only to be multichannel amplifiers and not an AV hub as they have become now.


The remote just like the AV receiver is pretty basic and comfortably houses solutions for all the tasks that the AV receiver can perform (which are very few anyways). It runs on two AAA batteries and is easy to operate.


We were not surprised to see no solution at all for auto calibration of the setup, after all this is a budget product. So, we decided to do the basic calibration on our own which did not take more than five minutes. The setup interface is very' simple and intuitive-even if you are using an AV receiver for the very' first time; you can easily get what the options at offer can do for you. Moreover, the 140 watts per channel specification of the AVR-X500 was very tempting anyway, so we connected a pair of Pioneer S-F52 floorstanding speakers to the X-500 as the fronts and had an assortment of DALI, Astonia Audio, Energy speakers and Yamaha as centre, surrounds and subwoofer in different combinations.

We started our review with the newly launched 3D Rluray of 'Jack The Giant Slayer', which has a great scope for testing any surround sound setup, particularly for the sound FX and omnidirectional treatment that the engineers have managed to generate. The Denon AVR-X500 was all up for it with a very powerful and loud audio performance. By loud we don't mean that the AVR-X500 was loud and harsh, instead, we were very comfortable to reach very high volume levels, without any stress or audible distortion. In fact, what we liked even more was the fact that at very' high volume levels the AVR-X500 was able to maintain a considerable amount of dynamic range. In terms of codec support, the X500 supports both Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master HD Audio-a great feature if you consider budget products. With both the codecs being processed at the receiver-end, you can go for an absolute budget Blu-ray player which possibly will not offer any decoding for HD audio codecs. But having said that, we really missed the networking options, if that was present then the AVR-X500 would have been a complete AV receiver for today’s times.

Denon AVR-X500 AV-receiver photo