Whereas soundbars might be efficient for enhancing TV sound, nothing beats a great A/V receiver and a discrete encompass speaker system on the subject of actually immersive encompass sound. A/V Receivers (AVRs) not solely present higher sound high quality, additionally they sometimes provide better flexibility with a great deal of inputs in addition to assist for the most recent audio and video codecs and codecs. Denon’s AVR-S760H is a budget-priced A/V receiver (MSRP $599) which offers all of the necessities for a starter or price range residence theater system with immersive encompass.
The AVR-S760H helps each Dolby Atmos and DTS:X immersive encompass codecs. And it does this with actual 7-channel processing and amplification, not digital encompass. With seven channels of amplification on board, the Denon can energy a 5.1.2-channel Dolby Atmos system, a normal 7.1 channel encompass system or a 5.1-channel system with energy left to spare for a pair of audio system in one other room. It’s rated for 75 watts per channel which is sufficient to fill a small to medium sized listening room with sound assuming your audio system are moderately environment friendly.
Connectivity Up The Wazoo
By way of inputs and outputs, the AVR-S760H has loads of these. The unit consists of six HDMI inputs, three of which assist 8K decision, the opposite three assist as much as 4K. All are HDMI 2.1 with assist for HDCP 2.3. It consists of one HDMI output with ARC and eARC so you may get sound – even Dolby Atmos encompass sound – from the streaming apps in your TV or projector, assuming your show additionally helps ARC or eARC.
The receiver consists of two fiberoptic digital inputs and one coax digital audio enter in addition to two composite video inputs and one output. A USB port on the entrance of the unit helps connection of a USB thumb drive with digital music information (PCM, MP3 or DSD format). Vinyl lovers will probably be joyful to see that there’s a turntable enter right here which helps shifting magnet cartridges. This implies you received’t want a separate phono preamp, except you could have a shifting coil cartridge. (Vinyl Curious? Check out the difference between a moving magnet and moving coil cartridge).
The receiver additionally affords built-in Wi-Fi community connectivity for listening to music from a networked PC or supported streaming providers. Should you want a hard-wired community connection, there’s an Ethernet port on board as effectively. Both method, the community functionality permits easy firmware updates in addition to integration with Amazon Alexa or Google voice assistants. Apple AirPlay 2 assist allows you to stream from an iPhone or iPad. Two-way Bluetooth functionality is inbuilt so you possibly can join a cellphone or pill as a streaming supply or you possibly can join the receiver to a pair of wi-fi Bluetooth headphones for personal listening. There’s additionally a normal 1/4″ headphone jack on the entrance in case you need to join a pair of conventional wired headphones.
At 19 kilos, the receiver feels stable with out being overly heavy. If you first flip it on, an in depth set-up information walks you thru all system and speaker connections with on-screen footage and directions. I used to be in a position to get by way of the whole speaker setup together with Audyssey calibration in about half-hour. Denon even features a cardboard tripod you should utilize to carry the mic throughout calibration when you don’t have a tripod. The enter setup course of recognized every supply by its HDMI EDID handshake: an Apple TV 4K, XBOX One X and a Samsung 4K Extremely HD Blu-ray Disc Participant. It routinely labels every enter to match the supply, however you possibly can override these supply names within the set-up menu when you want.
For audio system, I did a number of my listening with the super-affordable Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 Premium Immersiuve Speaker System from Monoprice (accessible from Monoprice and Amazon). It’s a full set of 5 audio system with a powered subwoofer and separate upward-firing drivers on the entrance left and proper audio system to replicate from the ceiling to supply the peak channels for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. The entire speaker system sells for $250 and typically goes on sale for even much less. Audiophile permitted sound? Maybe not, however it’s a punchy and dynamic system with a good frequency steadiness and spacious soundstage at a ridiculously low value.
Towards the top of the evaluation, I swapped in a costlier (however nonetheless price range pleasant) 5.1.2 system from NHT. Each techniques have been pretty low in effectivity with a rated sensitivity of 88 dB for the NHT satellites and 89 dB for the Monoprice system. This could make them a little bit of a problem to drive at excessive ranges however the Denon AVR-S760H was in a position to drive each techniques loud sufficient for a reasonably cinematic sound expertise in my roughly 16×16 foot listening room.
I Stream, You Stream…
If you wish to use the built-in streaming or multiroom music features on the Denon receiver, you’ll want to put in Denon’s HEOS app for iOS or Android. Once I downloaded the app, it discovered my receiver on my residence community and instantly carried out a software program replace, which rebooted the receiver. The replace took about 10-Quarter-hour. The identical was true once I linked the app to my current receiver in one other system. Utilizing the HEOS app was fairly easy, although perhaps not fairly as much as the Sonos normal for ease of use.
For essentially the most half, music performed effectively by way of the streaming service and Heos app by way of the receiver. On Tidal, I noticed a number of songs present up within the HiFi (lossless) tier, with some primary album artwork and title graphics showing on the TV display. I had the choice of synching the identical music on two totally different Denon receivers in numerous components of the house from the app. As with Sonos, you may also buy standalone wireless HEOS speakers and soundbars that work as their very own impartial zones in bedrooms or a kitchen and use the Heos app to play the identical or totally different music throughout your own home.
One glitch I observed when utilizing the Heos app to play music from Tidal was that making an attempt to play again a Tidal playlist made totally of Dolby Atmos music mixes, I saved getting an error message, “Unable to stream from Tidal. Please attempt once more later.” It took some sleuthing and a few Googling of this not-very-specific error message to determine this was being brought on by Heos being unable to assist Dolby Atmos on Tidal. Taking part in the Dolby Atmos combine again from Tidal in different places (like in my automobile) simply defaults to a stereo model, however performs the music correctly. As of now, the Heos platform doesn’t assist Dolby Atmos from any streaming service. If you wish to hearken to Dolby Atmos music from Tidal or Apple Music on a Denon receiver, you’ll must play these again from a separate system like an AppleTV 4K or a FireTV stick.
And talking of Dolby Atmos, I’ve been listening to a LOT of Dolby Atmos since I acquired the Denon receiver in: motion pictures, TV collection and a great deal of music titles. Tons of of TV reveals and flicks can be found in Dolby Atmos on Blu-ray Discs, Extremely HD Blu-ray Discs and on all the highest streaming providers. However I used to be stunned at simply what number of music titles can be found in Dolby Atmos.
Apple Music now has over 60,000 music titles blended in Dolby Atmos. Tidal has a wide selection of music in Dolby Atmos as effectively, although perhaps not as many titles as Apple Music. Amazon Music additionally affords Dolby Atmos however there may be presently no technique to play songs in Dolby Atmos from Amazon Music on exterior receivers. Be taught extra about your choices for Dolby Atmos Music playback in “How and Why to play Dolby Atmos music on your home speakers.”
On Apple Music and Tidal, there are a great deal of totally different genres from which to decide on in Dolby Atmos: classical, rock, various, Hip Hop, pop, electronica, jazz and extra. New albums like the most recent from Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift are each accessible with Dolby Atmos mixes. Additionally, again catalog tracks from artists like Rush, the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Ed Sheeran, Elton John, Pat Benatar and a whole lot extra have been remixed and remastered in full Dolby Atmos encompass sound. A few my favourite again catalog music tracks remixed in Dolby Atmos included 21 Pilots “Burdened Out” and the 80s hit “Tackle Me” by A-Ha. These each take full benefit of the three dimensional area accessible with devices and voices positioned everywhere in the room. Queen “One other One Bites The Mud” will get fairly trippy as effectively, whereas Rush “Tom Sawyer” affords a way more delicate however nonetheless pleasurable sense of spaciousness in its Dolby Atmos combine.
About the one unfavourable high quality within the sound that I observed whereas listening to music in Dolby Atmos was that the receiver took a fraction of a second to lock to every new track in Dolby Atmos, which might outcome to start with of songs getting clipped in playback. However once I dug into this additional it grew to become clear this was not really an issue with the receiver. This clipping solely occurred once I used the Apple TV 4K streaming field for music playback. Once I converted to an Amazon FireTV 4K Max streaming stick, utilizing Tidal because the app, the beginnings of all songs have been excellent in Dolby Atmos, with no clipping. So it appears this subject is definitely brought on by the Apple TV 4K field, not the receiver or app.
I contacted Apple assist about this however they weren’t in a position to resolve the difficulty. Swapping in a more recent Excessive Pace HDMI cable between the Apple TV field and the receiver helped a bit however didn’t fully resolve the issue. It’s value noting that this was solely a problem with music playback. With motion pictures and TV reveals, the receiver and Apple TV field solely needed to lock to the Dolby Atmos sign as soon as after which the sonic expertise was seamless for the remainder of the viewing/listening session.
Surrounded by Water and Sand and the Vastness of Area
Motion pictures and TV collection are equally pleasurable on the Denon receiver in Dolby Atmos. Within the opening scene of the Star Wars episodic collection “Andor,” you’re feeling as if you’re immersed in a light-weight downpour with our “hero” as he braves the rain on a international world to comply with up on a lead. Daring escapes and battle sequences all through the collection take full benefit of the peak channels in fact, however it’s the quieter moments the place Dolby Atmos is used to create an actual sense of environment. Within the closing episode of the primary season, Andor finds himself in dank tunnels beneath town and the water droplets falling from above with their slight echo and reverberation offer you a way of confinement and dread as Andor hides from the oppressive Imperial forces storming town above.
The film “Dune” additionally affords a number of magic moments in Dolby Atmos, reminiscent of the primary time we see the huge sandworm because it assaults the Atreides spice harvester. With a mix of Hans Zimmer’s music, grains of sand blowing within the wind, the rumbling of the beast’s passage and the mystic sounds of a spice-induced imaginative and prescient, the viewer is drawn into the motion fairly successfully. And this immersive soundscape is completely captured by the Denon receiver.
Considered one of my Dolby Atmos go-to clips is the start of the movie “Gravity” (Diamond Luxe version on Blu-ray Disc). After a robust, visceral crescendo of white noise, the sound abruptly ends with a large silent shot of the earth as seen from area. Sound slowly grows from the precise aspect of the display because the Area Shuttle seems as a tiny dot and approaches the middle of the display. Sound builds as astronauts keep on a radio dialog with Mission Management again on Earth. Each voice comes from a definite level in area, however these voice objects transfer to trace the place of the shuttle because it rotates the earth. This exact monitoring permits us to choose up on fantastic particulars of the dialog that are more durable to make out in the usual 5.1 combine. The Denon had no bother with this decoding, sustaining the person voices simply as they tracked round totally different positions of the listening room. I did hear some pressure in the course of the earlier crescendo portion which urged that the receiver was working out of steam when driving a multi-channel sign to excessive decibel ranges.
Transferring in Stereo
For 2-channel stereo listening I sampled quite a lot of CDs and high-resolution lossless digital music information in addition to some lossy MP3s. The Denon has just a few music listening modes together with Stereo (which makes use of the entrance two audio system and any linked subwoofer with minimal further processing), Dolby Encompass, which “upconverts” 2 channel or 5.1 channel materials to make use of all linked audio system, DTS Neural:X (DTS multi-channel upconversion) and a “Direct” mode which passes the unique audio sign on to the audio system with no digital processing.
For stereo playback, Direct Mode is just appropriate in case you have full vary left and proper audio system because it doesn’t ship any low bass info to a linked subwoofer. Stereo mode creates a pleasant deep and effectively outlined soundstage on effectively recorded materials. The encompass enhancement modes like Dolby Encompass and DTS Neural:X can add some spaciousness to the sound however I discovered most 2-channel materials sounded higher in Stereo mode. This additionally provides the receiver a bit extra room to breathe because the amplifier solely has to fret about offering energy to 2 channels as an alternative of seven. This gave the general sound extra headroom and mid bass heft which enhanced the general sound high quality.
Lossy MP3s encoded at 256K sounded a bit brittle. The Denon receiver consists of an adjustable “Restorer” mode which the corporate claims will restore the sound misplaced because of lossy compression. I discovered it to assist restore a number of the fullness to the sound, however accessing this mode is awkward because it’s buried deep within the receiver’s sound settings menus. Including a button for it on the distant would make issues easier.
Again in Black (Vinyl That Is)
Along with the plethora of digital inputs (HDMI, coax and fiberoptic), the Denon consists of analog audio inputs as effectively, notably a turntable (phono) enter. This implies you possibly can join a file participant to the receiver with out the necessity for a separate phono preamp. I took this chance to unpack my previous Systemdek turntable with Linn K9 cartridge. It had been sitting in a field since 2001. I put the belt on, spun up the platter and performed just a few traditional discs from the 80s: ASIA, Berlin and Rush amongst them. That heat full analog sound took me proper again to my highschool days, hanging out with associates within the basement and trekking up and down the steps to the lounge sound system each 22 minutes (or so) to flip the file over or placed on a brand new one.
I can simply see why vinyl is making a comeback. There’s one thing supremely seductive in regards to the tactile expertise and full-bodied natural sound of vinyl that units it other than at present’s considerably sterile digital precision. Once more I experimented with the multi-channel “enhancement” modes however discovered that nothing in comparison with plain previous “Stereo” mode for vinyl playback. It was a pleasant journey down reminiscence lane and kudos to Denon for together with a phono part in an already feature-packed budget-priced receiver.
- Wonderful 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos Efficiency
- Loads of HDMI inputs (with HDMI 2.1, HDCP 2.3)
- Clear guided set-up with on-screen directions
- Nice Bang for the Buck
- Strong sound high quality in stereo or multi-channel listening modes
- Intuitive operation
- Contains turntable enter
- Might not be highly effective sufficient for a big listening room or inefficient audio system
- Some constraint in dynamic vary at louder listening ranges (with all channels pushed)
- No preamp outputs, tape loop or room for enlargement past 5.1.2 channels
The Backside Line
With assist for five.1.2 channel immersive encompass sound with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, six HDMI 2.1 inputs with HDCP 2.3 and sufficient energy for a small to medium listening room, the Denon AVR-S760H will get our highest advice for an entry-level residence theater receiver. Add in a price range 5.1.2 channel speaker system and also you’ll have a great-sounding starter residence theater system for much less cash than the price of a high-end soundbar.
The place to Purchase the Denon AVR-S760H:
Word: The Denon AVR-S760H was first launched in late 2021 however remains to be present within the Denon line-up as of January, 2023.
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