Could Denon's X2000 be the AVR bargain of the year?
What is the Denon AVR-X2000?
Denon have been on something of a roll recently, producing a number of well specified and great sounding receivers.So with their entry level X2000 currently available for £299 it looks, on paper at least, like something of a bargain. Despite the seriously tempting price, Denon certainly haven't skimped on the features, so you get a fully discrete 7-channel amplifier that can handle all the main audio formats. There's also Audyssey MultEQ XT and you can assign two of the channels to another room if you like. If that wasn't enough you get seven HDMI inputs, along within 4K upscaling and passthrough.There are high performance 192kHz/24-bit DACs for all the channels and if you enjoy high resolution audio, the X2000 also supports FLAC-HD up to 192kHz/24bit and gapless playback of WAV and FLAC files. The receiver is DLNA 1.5 certified and supports AirPlay, Windows 8, Internet Radio, Spotify, photo streaming and flickr. That's enough to keep just about anyone happy, so if the X2000 can deliver a performance that's even close to that of its big brother, the X4000, a Best Buy could well be in the offing.
Denon AVR-X2000 Design and ConnectionsThe X2000 won't be starting any revolutions in terms of its design but it's functional and attractive in equal measure. The construction is actually rather good for a receiver at this price point and the black finish is traditional but still eye-catching. There's the usual large volume dial on the right hand side and an input dial on the left, whilst sandwiched between the two is a large, informative and easy-to-read display. Below this are some simple control buttons and extra inputs for HDMI and USB, along with a headphone socket and the connector for the setup mic. Denon are clearly looking to make the front facia as simple and easy-to-use as possible, which makes sense considering who the X2000 is aimed at.
This approach towards simplicity and ease-of-use also applies to the rear connections, which have sensibly been stripped down to the ones that people might actually use. Not only does this make the X2000 easier to setup but also a lot less intimidating to those taking their first tentative steps into the world of the AV receiver. The emphasis is on HDMI, with six inputs (seven if you include the one on the front) and one HDMI output. There's also some legacy connections, an FM aerial socket and an Ethernet port. The speaker terminals are laid out in a row, making them easier to access and they are colour coded as well. The remote control has also been simplified, retaining all the key controls you need without being overly complex or cluttered but there's no backlight.
The X2000 sensibly emphasises simplicity and ease-of-use, making it less intimidating to consumers.
Denon AVR-X2000 MenusThis policy of simplification also extends to the setup process, so there's a clear, concise and intuitive menu system. After connecting the X2000 to your display via HDMI and wiring up your speakers, all you need to do is turn the Denon on and follow the Setup Assistant. First you select the correct language and then follow the simple instructions displayed to set up the speakers, calibrate the speaker system, set up input sources, the remote control and the network. The X2000 includes Audyssey MultEQ XT room correction and Auto Setup, which uses a provided microphone for measurements. As a result, getting the best out of your new Denon couldn't be easier and the receiver is quite flexible in terms of its basic setup.
The Setup Menu itself offers six basic sub-menus - Audio, Video, Inputs, Speakers, Network and General. The Audio and Video sub-menus will be discussed later but the Inputs sub-menu obviously allows you to assign inputs; rename sources; hide them; adjust the playback level; and combine the video of one source with the audio of another. The Network sub-menu includes options to display the network information; to set the network function; change the name of the receiver shown on your home network; select the settings for a wired LAN and set whether or not to display Last.fm on the menu. Finally, the General sub-menu allows for selecting the language; setting up and renaming the second zone; adjusting the brightness of the front display; and updating the firmware.
Despite its attractively low price, the X2000 still offers an extensive set of features.
Denon AVR-X2000 FeaturesThe X2000 has seven discrete channels of amplification, which are rated at 95W each, and it uses 192kHz/24-bit DACs for each of those channels. There's decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, along with support for Dolby Pro Logic IIz processing and there's Audyssey MultEQ XT for automatically setting up and EQing your speakers. There are plenty of next-generation lifestyle features clearly geared towards making the receiver easy to integrate into a modern networked home. Whilst there's no WiFi or Bluetooth, the Denon can be connected to your home network using a standard Ethernet cable, making streaming audio and internet radio simplicity itself. It is also DLNA 1.5 compliant, allowing for content to be easily streamed and you can of course hardwire your iDevice into the receiver’s USB inputs and control music playback via the remote.
In terms of file support the X2000 is fairly comprehensive, providing DLNA streaming and playback for formats such as MP3, AAC, WMA and FLAC and WAV up to 24-bit/192kHz, with gapless playback for the last two. There's also support for Last.fm, Flickr and Spotify, with the addition of the latter being useful because it means you have access to a vast amount of music, as well as certain aspects of your account like pre-saved playlists and any music you've "starred". You can't access your imported music this way, but since the X2000 can connect with your home network via DLNA, you can easily listen to your own music collection. In addition to the built-in FM tuner, there is a full suite of internet radio stations, which means access to literally thousands of global channels and, if you find any good ones, you can save them to your favourites. There's also a very good free control app for both iOS and Android.
Denon AVR-X2000 Video Review
Denon AVR-X2000 Video ProcessingThe X2000 includes the same excellent video processing found on the more expensive Denon models, with 4K scaling, pass-through, switching and GUI overlay, thus providing a degree of future proofing. The receiver also includes the ability to process connected video devices and within the video sub-menu there are options for Picture Adjust, with controls for adjusting contrast, brightness, saturation (colour), hue (tint), noise reduction and edge enhancement. However all of these controls can be found on your display and any adjustments are best done there. If you leave the resolution output on the default auto setting, the X2000 will match the output resolution to the native resolution of your display.
The X2000 can output at 480p, 576p, 720p, 1080i/p, 1080p/24 and 4K, which covers all the current resolutions. When it came to handling standard and high definition content, the Denon was very good, deinterlacing 480i, 576i and 1080i signals and scaling up to 1080p over HDMI; whilst it also passed through 1080p/24 and 3D signals from Blu-rays without any problems. We were pleased to see that the X2000 also had no problems detecting both 3:2 and 2:2 cadences, as well as scaling standard definition content without introducing unwanted artefacts or jaggies. As long as you left the picture adjust controls in their default zero or off positions, then the X2000 could pass-through the video signal without tampering with the original image accuracy.
The X2000 delivers a great audio performance and, at its current price, you simply can't go wrong.
Denon AVR-X2000 Sound QualityThe X2000 has seven discrete channels and an output for a single subwoofer but there are no other pre-outs (aside from the subwoofer and the second zone) so you can't increase the amount of amplification and add height or width channels. However this is unlikely to matter to most people and neither is the absence of a second subwoofer output or a second HDMI output. For the kind of person buying the X2000 it has all the amplification they will need and the ability to use two of the channels for another room is a nice option. In terms of audio formats the X2000 has all the main ones covered, giving any potential buyer their first taste of the joy of a truly discrete, high resolution multi-channel sound system.
The first point to make is that despite Denon's claims of 150W per a channel, the reality is obviously far less than that when driving seven speakers at 8 ohms. However no one is expecting a huge multi-channel output from a £299 receiver and in actual fact the X2000 can deliver more than enough power for the kind of rooms it will be used in. Since this is a Denon receiver it comes as no surprise to discover the performance was very typical of the manufacturer, with a bright and lively sound that was always enjoyable. The X2000 was particularly effective with movie soundtracks, delivering an enveloping and detailed sound field with good localisation of effects and precise imaging. Sound effects panned around the room smoothly, the front soundstage had width and dialogue was anchored to the centre speaker.
Despite its relatively limited power the X2000 can still deliver a room filing sound and there's plenty of bass although, like most Denon receivers, the low frequencies could sometimes have been better integrated. The Denon managed reveal a wide dynamic range and showed plenty of detail during our listening tests. As a result, the X2000 did a great job of delivering the complex and very directional soundtrack to Gravity, whilst the more bass heavy soundtrack to The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was also entertainingly rendered. The titular dragon was particularly well represented, with Benedict Cumberbatch's vocal performance being highly effective thanks to some very low frequency processing.
The X2000 was also quite effective with two-channel audio and whilst the Denon would struggle to compete with a similarly priced dedicated stereo amplifier, for an AV receiver the performance was very good. The power with only two speakers is obviously bigger and the Denon's inherent energy and sense of detail shone through. It could sometimes be a little bright, especially with female vocals and strings but overall the X2000 delivered a very capable all-round performance. There's no doubt that anyone buying the X2000 will be especially pleased with its performance on both soundtracks and music and frankly at this price you won't find much better.
- Enjoyable sound
- Plenty of bass
- Easy to setup
- Attractive design
- Good connectivity
- Great price
- Not much at this price
Denon AVR-X2000 AV Receiver ReviewWhen you take into account it's £299 price tag, it's hard to imagine how the Denon AVR-X2000 could be much better. It has the classic Denon looks but with a simplified and far less intimidating front facia; whilst the build quality is very good for the money. There's an informative and easy-to-read display, a less cluttered remote, an intuitive menu system and a simplified set of connections that sensibly concentrates on HDMI. Setup is straightforward, thanks to the inclusion of Audyssey MultEQ XT and there are plenty of lifestyle features as well. There's DLNA 1.5 compliance and support for AirPlay, Windows 8, Spotify and various high resolution audio formats. There's also a good selection of video processing features, including 4K upscaling and passthrough.
There are seven discrete channels, with 95W per a channel, and 192kHz/24-bit DACs for each of those channels. The X2000 supports all the main audio formats and if you want you also have the option to use two of the channels for another room. In terms of the audio performance, the X2000 is clearly a Denon receiver with a bright and lively sound that is hugely enjoyable, especially with film soundtracks. There's plenty of bass, although it could have been better integrated and the X2000 sounded good with music, given the limitations of its design. So, if you're looking for an AV receiver with a great all-round performance at a knock-down price, you really can't go wrong with the Denon AVR-X2000 - an easy Best Buy.
Value For Money10
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