Denon AVR-X1200W AV-receiver

The £300 price tag implies Denon’s latest entry level AV receiver should be a no frills affair, but that’s not the case. This can be a budget attribute-seeker’s dream, with more badges on the front than a Cub Scout’s jumper.

The largest bonus only at that price is the inclusion of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support, the latter courtesy of " you imagined it " a forthcoming firmware upgrade. However, if you’re kitted out with in-ceiling fancy and or upfiring speakers cocooning yourself in audio, then the AVR-X1200W spoils you for choice. The Denon does’t skimp on wireless attributes either, with built in Bluetooth and Wifi. The latter enables you to stream music via DLNA, AirPlay, Spotify Connect or internet radio. 192kHz/24-bit DACs pave the way for hi-res music playback (FLAC, WAV, ALAC, DSD, AIFF) while the Audyssey Silver processing package throws automatic calibration, optimisation and volume-levelling into the bargain.

As a seven-station event, you can put it to use in the conventional manner with surround back channels or serve up 5.1.2 Atmos.

Denon yells a 145W-per-channel power amount, which sounds meaty for a £300 amp.

A quad-core 32-bit DSP engine handles overall and the sonic magic the receiver. Burrowing through the onscreen menus looking for music on my NAS drive " even with a great 1,000 records on there " the Denon to believe cease scroll through the list.

Having said that, the menus are dull as dishwater and the remote’s plasticky layout leaves a lot to be desired " mercifully there’s more fantastic control program that is smartphone.

The basics are covered by connectivity but it’s far from exhaustive. You can find six HDMI 2.0an inputs (one on the front, five at the back), with support for 4K/HDR and HDCP 2.2, plus two optical and two analogue inputs, Ethernet and a front-mounted USB port. MHL support and 4K upscaling are missing, and there’s only one HDMI output signal.

Get down with Jurassic World on Bluray and the Denon delivers a more controlling functionality than you might anticipate. There’s enough juice here, although it’s not a monstrous power pusher.

As the gyrosphere is attacked by the Indominus Rex, the AVR-X1200W makes the competitive effects snap. It brings tension and drama in scale " the creature, to not mention prosperity sounds tremendous as it lunges and roars around.

But the real skill of this receiver is how it serves all the delight up with neutrality and composure. The Denon does skew the balance to make things or ’t seem to visit a specific nature bassier or brighter. I did’t need to keep fiddling with the EQ or turn the volume down to avoid brashness " I just allow the film play and the straight-edged without giving dynamism or energy presentation gave a clear, faithful reproduction of the soundtrack. It pulled me into the movie easily.

Sharp detail replica and important dialogue enhances the amp’s gift for sonic picture painting. Changed to the Dolby Atmos-encoded Mad Max: Fury Road, the Denon proves canny at three measurements too, sending cars careering overhead easily while orchestrating the earthbound carnage with carefully controlled vigour. Definitely, Atmos-enthusiasts are better served by a ninechannel AVR, but this will do the job, if your budget/space is pegged.

The audio functionality alone would be enough to make the AVR-X1200W a worthy purchase. Add in the jam-packed feature list (including next-gen format support) and classy design and this Denon appears nothing short of superb affordability.

Denon’s Atmos amp defies the low price tag with a solid sound quality that is spec and dazzling. Excellent alternative for budget buyers.

Denon AVR-X1200W AV-receiver photo