The trickle down of high-end features continues in Denon home theatre receivers, with HDMI now making it into the $1,500 category, in the form of the AVR-2307.
In addition, the unit extends its video conversion so that all analog video inputs can be output via HDMI, easing your wiring woes.
The receiver is rated at 100 watts output with high fidelity specifications for each of its seven channels. Usefully, it has 7.1 channel preamplifier outputs, so you can upgrade the power amplifiers in the future, while retaining use of the front end as a surround processor.
Denon has also included a phono preamplifier, which is useful for those who still have a turntable. It also has a Dock Control socket for use with Denon’s iPod dock (not included). Rather than having a dedicated input, you use a pair of normal audio inputs and this connection delivers menus to your screen, and your commands back to the iPod.
My only real concern is that with the HDMI inputs limited to two, the receiver is likely to eventually become frustrating. If you want easy access to all the high definition goodness now available, you really require three of them: one for a Blu-ray player, one for HD DVD, and one for a HD digital TV receiver. The enthusiast may well also want a fourth for a dedicated HDMI-equipped DVD player, so that he or she can also play DVD-Audio and SACD discs.
The receiver, as is increasingly common, comes with automated installation. Stick the supplied microphone where your head would normally be, plug it into the receiver’s front panel, and run the auto setup. A few minutes later all the level and so forth settings have been made. Do take a moment to check the results: I had to do a couple of minor tweaks for my system, but it ought to deliver a solid setup for the majority of systems.
Other aspects of setting up were straight forward, with a logically organised menu structure, and all the necessary settings, including audio delay to overcome lip sync problems.
One thing we’ve come to expect from Denon over the years has been a top-notch audio performance, and this receiver was no exception. Once I had it set up it powered my surround speaker system very nicely indeed, providing plenty of volume and a pleasing sound where demanded by music, and a strong home theatre presence with movies.