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Bringing the feel of the cinema to your own home can be a challenge. There are the easy bits - getting people to obstruct your view, rustling crisp packets and muttering from just over your shoulder. However, achieving the big cinema 'fanfare' at the start of a movie, and maintaining the audience's interest until the end is a different matter altogether.
The Denon AVR-3300 is one component that starts to make this possible for the average houshold. It is a mid-priced receiver that nicely handles a full range of input sources. From an optical or co-ax source from your DVD player, feeding Dolby Digital or DTS signals, all the way through to a phono connection.
Yes, that's right - this is a home cinema receiver that doesn't forget it's roots....your vinyl can snuggle up alongside your video and be given the same royal treatment.
As amps. go, the AVR-3300 is well featured, it has a selection of inputs and input types - composite video, component video and S-video; digital co-ax and optical. It is worth noting, however, that the amp will only switch 'like for like', i.e. S-video inputs are switched out on S-video outputs, and not 'converted' to an additional component output. I have the receiver happily handling a tape desk, CD player, DVD player, video, satellite receiver and a games console.
Output wise, it will power 2 front, 1 centre and 2 rear speakers, as well as providing a sub-woofer pre-out and an extra set of front speaker outputs. The amp is highly configurable, allowing you to specify the performance characteristics of your speakers to ensure you make the most of your sub-woofer (for instance) and don't feed too much bass to speakers that aren't built for it.
Sonically, you have the opportunity to add some digital effects, or just as easily to switch them off completely (another handy feature is to play CDs/vinyl in 'basic stereo', without the subwoofer if you so choose). It could never be termed an audiophiles amp, but for me it has quite happily replaced my previous (Denon again) amp. Purists will likely find it overly warm in some situations, but again you're getting what you paid for - a receiver primarily targetted at handling a range of AV sources...NOT an audio amp.
On the radio side of things, performance is good, with the FM side boasting RadioText as well as RDS - with tuning simple and no problems in picking up all the stations you need.
For those (like me) with numerous boxes stacked around the TV and amp, you will probably also find the imposing remote that comes with this receiver useful - it can learn signals for pretty much all of your other kit, leaving you comfy in your armchair with plenty of room for your popcorn and cold drink.