A one-box solution with multiroom capabilities
What is the Denon AVR-X6300H?The Denon AVR-X6300H is the latest high-end AV Receiver from the manufacturer and although the AVR-X7200WA remains the company's flagship surround sound model, the X6300 includes a number of features not found on the more expensive AVR. First of all the X6300H has 11 channels of built-in amplification, which means you can run a full 7.1.4 immersive audio setup right out of the box. Secondly the new receiver supports Denon's HEOS multiroom system, hence the 'H' suffix on the model number, and finally it will be compatible with the new Audyssey app once it's released early next year. In terms of HEOS, Denon are also including a HEOS1 HS2 wireless speaker free of charge to purchasers of the X6300H to help get their multiroom system off the ground.
The X6300 also includes all the features we have come to expect from Denon, with support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, as well as an upgrade option for Auro-3D. There's built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, a high performance 192kHz/32-bit DAC, DDSC-HD with AL24 Processing Plus and Audyssey MultEQ XT32/LFC room equalisation. There are 8 HDMI inputs and 3 HDMI outputs, all of which are HDMI 2.0a with support for 4K 60Hz, Rec. 2020, High Dynamic Range and HDCP 2.2. However despite all these features the price of the Denon AVR-X6300H is a very reasonable £1,999, which includes a HEOS 1 HS2, as at the time of writing (November 2016). So is the X6300 as big a bargain as it looks on paper and should it be your next AV Receiver? Let's find out.
DesignDenon haven't deviated from their classic AVR look when it comes to the design of the X6300H but then, why reinvent the wheel? So you get a standard layout at the front, with a large source selection dial on the left hand side and an even larger volume dial on the right. There's a power button to the bottom left, underneath the source selection dial, and a large, informative and easy-to-read display in the middle. We have always liked the way that Denon's displays show what type of signal the AVR is receiving and what it is outputting – very useful. You can also choose to display the volume as an absolute scale or as a relative one against the reference level. The front plate is made of metal and the overall build quality is excellent with an attractive brushed finished.The X6300 retains a minimalist appearance at the front because the majority of the controls and additional connections are behind a drop-down flap. Here you'll find all the controls you need to setup and use the receiver, should misplace the remote or not have it to hand. There are also some connections including an extra HDMI 2.0a input, a USB port, a composite video input, a stereo analogue input, a headphone jack and a connector for the Audyssey setup microphone. There's a rigid, double layered bottom chassis and a high density construction to minimise resonance and improve stability. The X6300H measures 434 x 339 x 167mm (WxDxH) without the rear antenna and 434 x 393 x 235mm (WxDxH) with them attached and weighs in at 14.5kg. The receiver comes in choice of black or premium silver.
Denon stick with their attractive design and solid construction but then, why re-invent the wheel?
Connections & ControlThe majority of the connections are at the rear and an impressive selection it is too, with just about everything you might need. First of all there are eight HDMI inputs, seven at the rear and one at the front, as well as three HDMI outputs. There is an output for your main monitor, which also supports ARC (Audio Return Channel), an output for a second monitor and an output for a second zone. All of the HDMI inputs and outputs are HDMI 2.0a, which means they support 4K at up to 60Hz, as well as High Dynamic Range (HDR), Wide Colour Gamut (specifically Rec. 2020) and HDCP 2.2.
In terms of legacy connections there are six stereo analogue inputs, as well as a phono stage for vinyl fans out there, two coaxial digital inputs and two optical digital inputs. There are also two component video inputs and one component video output, along with four composite video inputs and two composite video outputs. The X6300 has built-in AM and FM tuners and comes with aerials included, as well as two antenna that you connect to the rear for boosting the WiFi and Bluetooth reception. The receiver includes dual band WiFi (2.4GHz and 5GHZ, IEEE802.11a/g/n) for improved stability and performance and uses both antennas in a 2 x 2 MIMO (multiple-inout and multiple-output) configuration.
If you prefer to use a wired connection, there is also an Ethernet port, along a proprietary Denon Link HD connector, two 12V triggers, IR in and out and an RS232 serial connector. For custom installers, the X6300 also has native connectivity to a Crestron control system, which is easier and more direct with no need for program modules or development effort. You can also monitor the receiver on the network using Crestron Fusion RV.
There are colour-coded speaker terminals for the eleven built-in channels of amplification, which are presented in a single line to make accessing them easier. These terminals are of decent quality and can accept bare wire, spade connectors or banana plugs. There are also pre-outs for all eleven channels in case you decide to use separate power amplifiers and the X6300H has outputs for dual subwoofers.
There are all the connections you'll ever need and the remote control is highly effective
The universal remote control supplied with the X6300 is simplified to a degree but still retains all the buttons you'll need, which reflects Denon's efforts to make their receivers as easy to use as possible. The remote is made of black plastic, has a brushed metal effect and is light weight but comfortable to hold. It uses a simple button layout that is both intuitive and easy to operate with one hand. All the frequently used commands are kept within easy reach of your thumb and there are direct keys for all the sources at the top of the remote. You also get volume and channel controls, direction buttons for navigation, playback controls, quick select keys and sound modes at the bottom. Overall its a well designed and effective remote control and our only complaint would be the lack of a backlight, although some of the most frequently used buttons do glow in the dark.
As mentioned you could use the controls on the front of the receiver itself but the most likely alternative to the provided remote control is Denon's free remote app. Whether you use an iOS or Android smart device, the app makes a great substitute for the remote control and it solves the problem of not having a backlight when using it in a dark room. The remote app has recently had an upgrade and it now operates in conjunction with the HEOS app, allowing you to move seamlessly from one to the other. This is a nice touch, allowing you to easily control all the functions on your X6300H using the remote app, with all the buttons you need sensibly laid out. However if you want to use the receiver as part of the HEOS multiroom system then you just switch into the HEOS app and then control all the online functions as well as all the devices connected to the HEOS network. It's all very slick and very impressive.
Features & SpecsThe headline feature on the X6300H is the eleven channels of built-in amplification, which uses an 11.2-channel platform with DHCT (Denon High Current Transistors) combined with discrete circuitry. Denon have managed to fit this additional amplification into a chassis that is smaller than the 9-channel X7200, whilst retaining that receiver's monolithic amplifier construction. The X6300 can deliver 205W into 6ohms with just one channel being driven but that drops to 140W into 8ohms with two channels being driven. The receiver uses Audyssey MultEQ XT32 for the room equalisation and includes LFC (Low Frequency Containment) which dynamically monitors the audio content and removes low frequencies that pass through walls, floors and ceilings.
MORE: What is Dolby Atmos?
There’s the option for up to two discrete subwoofers and the X6300H doesn't just include eleven channels of amplification for a full 7.2.4 setup but it also has 11.2 channels of pre-outs, providing an upgrade path should you wish to use separate power amplifiers. There's a new generation 32-bit DAC and DDSC-HD digital circuit board that has been optimised for the new immersive audio formats and AL24 Processing Plus. There’s support for almost every surround format currently on the market, including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, whilst there will be an upgrade option for Auro-3D in the near future. There are gold-plated connections and the speaker terminals are colour coded, with matching tags included to make wiring the receiver easier.
MORE: What is DTS:X?
On the video side, the X6300 can pass 4K 60p, 4:4:4 and 36-bit video, it can also upscale lower resolution video, including analogue video and standard definition content, at up to 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution over HDMI and there are ISF calibration controls. There are eight HDMI 2.0a inputs and three HDMI 2.0a outputs, along with video support over HDMI for additional zones, as well as support for ARC (Audio Return Channel), High Dynamic Range (HDR), Wide Colour Gamut (Rec. 2020) and HDCP 2.2.
MORE: What is Auro-3D?
The X6300 has a newly developed network module with improved processing speed thanks to a highly specified SoC (System on Chip) and high-speed memory, as a result the stability of the LAN and WiFi connectivity is improved. There is built-in Bluetooth and WiFi, both of which were extremely easy to set up. The WiFi is dual band (2.4GHz and 5GHZ, IEEE802.11a/g/n) for improved stability and performance and uses both antennas in a 2 x 2 MIMO (multiple-inout and multiple-output) configuration. The X6300 also supports DLNA, AirPlay and playback of DSD (2.8 MHz and 5.6MHz) and FLAC 192 kHz files over connected networks or via USB. There's also support for ALAC and WAV, as well as gapless playback and all the usual lossy formats; so whether you listen to music over your network, via USB or on a disc of some sort, the Denon can meet your needs.
One of the biggest new features on the X6300H is the inclusion of Denon's HEOS multiroom system, which provides access to a wide array of music services (Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Prime Music, TuneIn, Soundcloud, Pandora, Napster, Deezer, iHeartRadio, Rhapsody and SiriusXM). It also allows seamless integration into the HEOS multiroom eco system and fast and intuitive control of any online or legacy source vial dual apps. The X6300 can be grouped with HEOS speakers and can be either a group leader (master) or a group member (slave). The behaviour of the receiver is the same as any other HEOS speaker, as a result legacy inputs (CD, TV etc.) can be distributed throughout the house to other HEOS speakers which can access the inputs on the AVR as sources. The dual app approach means that you can seamlessly move between the AVR app and the HEOS app. For the next three months, Denon are also including a HEOS1 HS2 free of charge with every purchase of the X6300H.
If you're wondering how the X7200 differs from the X6300, the former has 210W per a channel, although in reality the difference is more than the 5W the specifications would suggest. The X7200 is also larger and heavier, with a mono block construction, DDSC-HD32 with 32-bit DACS and AL32 processing. The more expensive receiver also comes with a superior remote control that is backlit and includes an LCD window. However in most other respects the X6300H is the equal, if not superior in some areas, to the flagship receiver.
The X6300 is bursting with features but, thanks to an intuitive menu system, it's also easy to setup
Setup & TestingDespite all the technology and features on the X6300 it is extremely easy to setup thanks to Denon's excellent Setup Assistant, which takes you step-by-step through the entire process. The Setup Assistant offers simple, clear and concise instructions to the end user, making the X6300 far less intimidating to anyone who might be unfamiliar with multi-channel AV receivers. The Setup Assistant covers everything from choosing your speaker layout to setting up your various inputs and outputs and any additional zones. It also checks the polarity of your speakers and the volume of your subwoofer(s) before taking you through the Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room equalisation process using the included microphone.
If you have a tripod you can attach the microphone to that but if not, you can use the included cardboard microphone stand which Denon humorously refer to as the 'rocket'. The audio calibration process takes readings from up to eight positions in order to measure test tones from all the connected speakers and any subwoofer and thus determine the sizes, crossovers, distances and levels, before equalising for the effects of the room itself. Although for most people we would recommend using the Audyssey software to setup their X6300H and perform the room equalisation, there's also the option to perform a manual setup.
One of the new features included on the X6300 is support for the Audyssey MultEQ App. As a long time partner of Audyssey, Denon has developed this app with them as a way of extending the calibration options beyond those available with the AVR itself. This app has been designed with both professionals and enthusiasts in mind, it will guide the user through the measurement and calibration process via detailed in-app explanations. The app shows a graphical representation of the before and after measurements, as well as offering the ability to select target sound options, add mid-range compression, edit custom curves and change the roll-off of the frequency range. There is no additional equipment needed and the Audyssey App will be available in early 2017 from both the App Store and Google Play for €19.99.
In testing we started with a basic 2-channel setup, before moving on to a 5.1-channel speaker configuration and then a 7.1-channel setup. After that we tested the X6300 immersive audio capabilities with both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. We used a full 7.2.4 speaker configuration with three front channels, two side channels, two rear channels, two subwoofers and four overhead speakers. We used a range of content including movies and music in 5.1, movies in 7.1, Dolby Atmos soundtracks and DTS:X soundtracks. We used CDs, SACDs, DVD-Audio, Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray as our primary sources along with high resolution audio files and various streaming services including Tidal.
Denon AVR-X6300H Video Review
PerformanceWe kicked off our review of the X6300H by listening to some lossless 5.1-channel mixes using both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks. The Denon handled these with ease, delivering the sound design with accuracy but also with a genuine sense of fun. The receiver produced an open front soundstage with music and effects spread across the left, centre and right channels, whilst dialogue remain focused to the action on the screen and was always clear and defined. The effects were steered around the room with precision, whilst the tonality of the entire sound field remained balance, resulting in an experience that enveloped the viewer. The lower frequencies and the LFE channels were well integrated with the rest of the speakers, underpinning the audio without overstaying their welcome.
A film that we use quite a lot in reviews is Interstellar because the soundtrack is not only aggressive in places but also has moments that require real dynamic range, going from silent to very loud in an instant. The X6300 handled these transitions well, proving responsive and able to shock you as the sound field suddenly bursts into life. The escape from the gravitational pull of a black hole is particularly great for audio and the scenes inside the spaceship have sounds rattling all around you. When we moved on to 7.1-channel, we switched to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, another of our regular test discs. The opening scene is a brilliantly conceived piece of layered sound design and the Denon rendered the subtle mix with skill, picking out the breathing of the apes, the rain, the sound of them moving through the trees and the choral music in the background. There is a moment where the hunt suddenly begins and the entire sound field bursts into life and once again the receiver handled the dynamic range well.
The X6300H includes upmixing capabilities in the form of Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X, both of which proved very effective. You can now use either upmixer on both Dolby and DTS soundtracks and although we couldn't say that one was better than the other, both were very capable of taking the 5.1 or 7.1 source and upmixing it to use all 11 channels. In the opening scene of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes for example, the sound field does open up with either upmixer and the sound of thunder and rain is coming from the overhead speakers. We don't usually approve of processing a soundtrack to make use of more speakers, although some DSP settings can work quite well, but we definitely found that these upmixing features are able to create a greater sense of immersion without adversely affecting the overall sound experience.
As good as these upmixing features are, as soon as you start listening to a genuine multi-dimensional soundtrack, you realise how truly immersive they can be. The object-based nature of these soundtracks means that sound designers can position sound effects within three dimensional space in a way they never could before. The fact that X6300 can run a full 7.2.4 configuration means that it can take full advantage of these immersive audio soundtracks, using all the channels to their full effect. A film like Gravity is a great example of a multi-dimensional soundtrack that can transform your viewing experience. Gravity has a very directional soundtrack and the use of Dolby Atmos allows the sounds to move around you in a seamless manner. Whilst Dolby Atmos isn't just about sounds overhead, that doesn't mean the sound designers can't take advantage of these extra channels.
There are definitely certain sound effects that really lend themselves to Dolby Atmos, such as overhead thunder, planes or helicopters flying overhead or rain falling down. We watched the Ultra HD Blu-ray of Independence Day: Resurgence and in scene where a spaceship flies through the debris field left by the mothership destroyed in the first film, the sounds of debris hitting the outside of the ship came from the sides, rear and overhead. We also watched Star Trek Beyond and again the X6300H handled the Dolby Atmos soundtrack very well, immersing the listener with effects during the attack on the Enterprise. We don't have anywhere near as many DTS:X discs as we do Dolby Atmos but a regular DTS:X test disc is Crimson Peak and the Denon did a marvellous job of bringing its complex and aggressive sound design to life.
Our only criticism would be that when running all eleven channels the Denon doesn't have quite the headroom of more powerful AV receivers but that's to be expected when you consider what they are cramming into the chassis. It can certainly handle a normal sized room and the receiver can go loud without distorting but if you have a particularly large room then you might consider something with a little more oomph. We normally run an X7200Wa in a 7.2.4 configuration with a separate power amplifier handling the front left and right channels and this definitely delivered a more powerful immersive experience with grater headroom. However this combination would set you back more than £3,000, so if you're you looking for a cost effective single box solution to a full 7.1.4 immersive audio setup, the X6300H has to be top of your list.
Finally we moved on the stereo and multi-channel music and the Denon didn't disappoint in this area either. We listened to Suede's Dog Man Star, easily their finest album, and enjoyed the complexity of Bernard Butler's guitar work combined with Brett Anderson's soaring vocals. There is an epic quality to the music that the X6300 really managed to reproduce. We also enjoyed listening to tracks by Sigur Ros and M83 using Tidal and again the receiver did a marvellous job, whilst the addition of the HEOS multiroom system added to the potential musical sources. The AVR also handled multi-channel music such as Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips on DVD-Audio and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon on SACD, reproducing the enveloping musical mixes with precision. Ultimately the X6300H is a fantastic performer with both movies and music but it's the receiver's ability to so effectively handle a full 11-channel configuration right out of the box that sets it apart from the competition.
The performance with music and movies was fantastic, especially when it came to immersive audio
- Great all-round performance
- 11 channels of amplification
- Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D
- Superb set of features
- HEOS multiroom support
- Easy to setup and intuitive to use
- Attractive design and well made
- Great price
- A bit more power in the amps would be nice
- No backlight on the remote
Denon AVR-X6300H 11.2 Channel AV Receiver Review
Should I buy one?
If you're looking for single-box solution to a full 7.1.4 immersive audio configuration, then the simple answer is yes. The Denon AVR-X6300H does everything an AV Receiver should do and it does it very well. Denon have thought of every tiny detail when designing this receiver, right down to the included accessories and even how you unbox it. The X6300 is familiar in terms of its layout but remains attractive, well engineered and solidly constructed. The drop down flap keeps the front panel clean, whilst the display is large, easy to read and very informative. The rear panel has all the connections you could ever need but it is sensibly laid out, making it straightforward to install. There are 8 HDMI inputs and 3 HDMI output, all of which support 4K/60p, HDR and HDCP 2.2, whilst the 11 speaker terminals are colour-coded and easy to access. The remote control is simple in its layout, making it comfortable to hold and intuitive to use. Our only complaint would be the lack of a backlight but there is the option of the excellent remote app instead, which is now seamlessly integrated with the HEOS app.
The inclusion of Denon's HEOS multiroom system is a major new addition to a receiver that is already packed with features and the inclusion of a free HEOS1 HS2 is an added bonus. There's dual-band WiFi and Bluetooth built in, along with high resolution audio support and effective streaming capabilities. However despite all these features, the X6300H is easy to setup thanks to the excellent Setup Assistant, which uses an intuitive graphical interface to take you through every aspect of the setup. The Denon uses Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room equalisation and includes a dedicated microphone and cardboard stand, with results that can be very effective. There is also a new Audyssey App, which will be available in early 2017, that will allow far greater flexibility in terms of the Audyssey set, including custom curves. Although if you prefer the manual approach, the menu system is as well designed as the rest of the receiver, using a simple and understandable layout that includes an informative graphical interface. Denon have invested a lot of time and money in making their receivers as easy to setup and as simple to use as possible – other manufacturers could learn from their efforts.
Of course the big selling point of the X6300 is the inclusion of 11 channels of built in amplification, which means you can run a full 7.2.4 speaker configuaration right out of the box. The Denon supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, whilst there's the option of adding Auro-3D for a small fee. The X6300 proved to be a marvellous performer, regardless of whether we were listening to 2-channel, 5-channel, 7-channel or a full 7.2.4-channel setup. The receiver did an excellent job delivering both stereo and multi-channel music but where it really excelled was with film surround soundtracks. It delivered an open front soundstage, focused dialogue, good tonal balance and superb steering of effects around the room. The bass was well integrated and the sound field was suitably immersive, even with a 5.1 mix, although it was with Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks that it really had a chance to show its full capabilities. The receiver also includes upmixing capabilities (both Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X) which proved very effective at creating a more immersive experience from 5.1 and 7.1 mixes.
If we had one complaint it would be that the receiver was a little lacking in headroom compared to a receiver like the X7200 but given how much amplification is crammed into the chassis that's hardly a surprise. However the X6300 is a class act in every respect and if you're looking for an 11-channel single box solution then it's quite simply the most obvious choice – there is nothing else that comes close in terms of design, features, performance and especially price. As such the Denon AVR-X6300H offers an unbeatable combination of exceptional performance and value, making it a worthy winner of an AVForums Best Buy badge.
What are my alternatives?
Despite the previous paragraph, if you aren't convinced by the charms of the X6300H and would like some alternatives then other manufacturers do make 11-channel AV receivers. There is the Pioneer SC-LX901 and the Onkyo TX-RZ3100, both of which are similar to the Denon but offer a bit more oomph. However both receivers also cost more with each having a listed price of £2,499. The other current alternative is the Anthem MRX 1120, which not only includes 11-channels of built-in amplification but also Anthem's excellent ARC room correction software. However whilst the MRX 1120 sounds great, it also costs £3,999 and the X6300 is half the price, has more features and sounds almost as good. So you see, bang for buck you just can't beat the Denon.
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