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First thigs first, if you have suffered a back problem or a hernia than do not attempt to lift this monster. (29Kg) Once hoisted out of the box, first impressions is that this is a real quality piece of equipment! The weight and the gold finish give all the right signs of a top notch piece. Connecting your components can be daunting, but if you are spending this amount of money, most people should know what they are doing! Anyway, if you are not that experienced, the Denon is well layed out and logical, to a certain degree!
Right the beast is ready to be fired up; the recevier comes with a standard power cable, throw this away and buy a new one, even if it is as little as £70! It makes a huge difference. That done and I brace myself as i push the heavy weight power button. An array of lights greats me and a couple of clicking noises. Wow. Now, the on screen menus are very logical but you really need to be very experienced in order to complete the set up in all its awe and glory. Things like the speaker delay and size etc are straight forward, but more heavy weight tasks can be very complicated with features including THX calibration which can effect your overall sound greatly! Try and avoid patching your video sources through the receiver as this can dramatically reduce the quality!
The first film that i tried was Bad Boys II. The opening scene really puts some amps under pressure with the heavy bass sound track and the treble lines which can be harsh. The Denon handles the bass with great poise and precisition. The low end might is controlled and very strong, with the feeling that the only restricting factor is your ears! The next victim was Saving Private Ryan. The film contains a very difficult sound track that includes explosions and bullets whizzing around. The Denon shrugs its shoulders and gets down to work, no problem, the effects are steered around the room as if you were in a sphere of sound.
Musical reply is average, there are certain imaging problems, instruments are not placed as preciely as they should be at this money and the bass can sound over blown and flabby even in direct stereo mode.
The receiver does have an excellent DAC, it uses the highly acclaimed AL-24 Bit decoding process, which i have to say is very impressive. Multi-channel music play back is wonderful, SACD and DVD-A is much better than CD reply, also the difference can be heard, a very rare occasion!
This amp is a wonderful piece of home cinema kit, though to be used by an expert and a very wealthy one at that it is head and shoulders above the top Pioneer and Sony's of this ever changing world!
The remote control is a flash LCD tough screen job. This is extremly difficult to use, but once mastered it works a treat, and is compatible with just about everything! Great, even electric screens for example.