Denon AVR-2313 AV Receiver Review

Steve Withers takes a look at Denon's brand new mid-range receiver

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Recommended
Denon AVR-2313 AV Receiver Review
SRP: £799.00

Introduction

We've recently reviewed a number of AV receivers from the likes of Anthem, Onkyo and Sony, all of which are in the £1,000 - £2,000 price range and with performance to match. But what about the bigger and even more competitive sub-£1,000 market? This, after all, is the barrier below which the majority of receivers are sold and the £500 mark is the entry level for most people stepping up to separates for the first time. Well Denon have just launched their new AVR-2313, which at £799, sits firmly in the sub-£1,000 market but offers a feature set that can appeal to both the novice and those looking for a step-up from their existing AV receiver.

Considering its price, the Denon AVR-2313 offers a genuinely impressive list of features including 7-channels of amplification, high definition audio support and 3D pass-through. It also includes 4K upscaling and more importantly 4K pass-through, as well as 7 HDMI inputs and 2 HDMI outputs. There's enhanced network capability including internet radio, Spotify, high-resolution audio support, DLNA compliance and Apple's AirPlay. For the novices out there there's an easy to follow setup wizard and Audyssey MultEQ XT software, along with Audyssey DSX and 7.2-channel pre-outs for the more experienced. Of course, as always the ultimate test will be how the AVR-2313 sounds, so let's plug it in, set it up and find out.

Design and Connectivity

The Denon AVR-2313 won't be winning any design prizes but then again, if it aint broke, don't fix it. The basic appearance is the classic black AV receiver look with a source selection knob on the left hand side and a large master volume control on the right. Also on the left is the on/off button, whilst in the middle is the display and below that some additional buttons and front panel connections. The display is well laid out, informative and uses large characters that make it easier to read from a distance. The display can also be dimmed or turned off completely, which is useful if positioned at the front. The front panel connections sit behind a removable cover and include a headphone socket, an additional HDMI input, a USB port for connecting an iDevice and a jack for the setup microphone. The buttons positioned below the display, relate to the built-in tuner, the second zone, the status of the receiver and dimming the display.

Denon AVR-2313

The build quality of the AVT-2313 is reasonably good but doesn't match the industrial bulk and overly engineered feel of the more expensive receivers. There is a slightly plastic feel to the front panel buttons but obviously if Denon are going cram so many features into a receiver at this price point, some compromises will need to be made. Still, on the plus side, it makes the AVR-2313 considerably lighter at 10.9kg and its sensible dimensions (435 x 167 x 382mm) make it easier to install in the average living room, which is its intended market.

Denon AVR-2313

The AVR-2313 has an excellent set of connections at the rear and we're glad to see that Denon has dropped a lot of the unnecessary legacy inputs in lieu of more useful ones. There are six HDMI inputs (seven if you count the one at the front) and two HDMI outputs which should be enough for most people. There are also component and composite video inputs and outputs, along with stereo analogue audio inputs and two optical and two coaxial digital audio inputs. Although it is worth pointing out that there are no multi-channel analogue audio inputs. The AVR-2313 does however have 7.2-channel pre-outs, along with an RS232 connector for serial control, an Ethernet port, IR in and out, a 12V trigger and an FM aerial socket. As seems to often be the case with AV receivers there is no built-in WiFi on the AVR-2313, which is a shame given its excellent networking and internet features.

The remote control that comes with the AVR-2313 is one of the better designed AV receiver remotes that we've seen lately and it tries to avoid the normal pitfall of being too crowded. Instead Denon has sensibly taken the approach of keeping the remote clean and making the most common controls like volume, easy to find and use. The remote itself is made of a glossy black plastic, comfortable to hold and intuitive to use. It has all the controls that you would need, allowing you to select sources, control the radio or a connected device, change sound mode and navigate the menus. Our only complaint would be that the remote lacks a backlight, which makes it harder to use in the dark, although the buttons do glow which helps a bit.

Setup and Menus

Denon has placed a lot of importance on the AVR-2313's 'right out of the box' ease of use and this is reflected in the design of the front display and remote, the connections at the rear and the menu system. After connecting the AVR-2313 to your display via HDMI and wiring up your speakers, all you need to do is turn the receiver 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 network.

Thanks to the inclusion of the Audyssey MultEQ XT room correction software, getting the best out of the AVR-2313 couldn't be easier and the receiver is quite flexible in terms of speaker layout. The AVR-2313 offers a choice of configurations, starting with a basic 2-channel setup, with or without a subwoofer, and moving up to a 5-channel setup which leaves two additional channels of amplification spare. If you so wish, you can use these two channels for running A and B speakers at the front, or running speakers in another zone or for bi-amping the front left and right speakers. If you choose a 7-channel configuration, then you can either have two back channels or two front channels, with a choice of either height or width speakers.

Denon AVR-2313
Denon AVR-2313

The menu system is well designed, offering clear and concise options that are easy to navigate and intuitive to use. The Setup Menu offers six basic sub-menus that allow you to fine tune and change your setup after the initial configuration using the Setup Assistant. These six sub-menus are Audio, Video, Inputs, Speakers, Network and General - we will cover the Audio and Video sub-menus later in the review. The Inputs sub-menu allows you to assign inputs; rename sources as shown on the display; hide sources that you aren't using; adjust the playback level of individual sources; and combine the video of one source with the audio of another.

Denon AVR-2313
Denon AVR-2313

The Network sub-menu includes options to display the network information; to set the network function on or off when in standby; change the name of the receiver shown on your home network; select the settings for a wired LAN; set whether or not to display Last.fm on the menu; and a maintenance mode for use by a Denon service engineer or a custom installer. Finally, the General sub-menu allows for selecting the language; setting up a second zone; renaming the second zone; creating quick select names; setting the 12V trigger; setting the auto standby; adjust the brightness of the front display (there's also a button on the front panel); show information about receiver settings; set whether or not to check for firmware updates, update the firmware, display the update and upgrade notifications; and lock your setup to prevent accidental changes.

Features

The AVR-2313 uses seven fully discrete and identical channels of power which are rated at 135W each, along with a stable power supply for high-quality sound and picture playback. There is decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, along with support for Dolby Pro Logic IIz processing and Audyssey DSX. There is also Audyssey MultEQ XT room correction and Auto Setup, which uses a provided microphone and allows for up to eight measurement points for better accuracy. Audyssey MultEQ XT includes high level resolution filters for satellite speakers and subwoofers and there is even support for Audyssey Pro.

The AVR-2313 includes video processing with scaling up to both 1080p and 4K and whilst 4K scaling is largely pointless, the receiver does provide 4K pass-through, 4K HDMI switching and 4K GUI overlay, providing a degree of future proofing. The connectivity also reflects this desire for future-ready expandability with HDMI that supports 3D, Audio Return Channel, Deep Color, “x.v.Color”, Auto Lipsync and HDMI CEC control functions. In terms of other features, there are 7.2-channel pre-outs for maximum system expandability, Audyssey Dynamic Volume, for real-time volume adjustment, AMX, and Crestron third party control support, lower power consumption in stand-by (0.1 W) and Auto Power Off.

Denon AVR-2313
Denon AVR-2313

The AVR-2313 comes with a host of next-generation lifestyle features clearly geared towards making the receiver easy to integrate into a modern networked home. The AVR-2313 can be connected to your home network using a standard Ethernet cable, making streaming audio and internet radio simplicity itself. It would be nice to see built-in WiFi but regardless of manufacturer, very few receivers appear to offer that feature. However the AVR-2313 is DLNA compliant, allowing for content to be easily streamed and you can of course hardwire your iDevice into the receiver’s front USB input and control music playback via the remote. In terms of file support the AVR-2313 is fairly comprehensive, providing DLNA streaming and playback for formats such as MP3, AAC, 24bit 96kHz FLACs, WAV and WMA.

This enhanced network capability includes the addition of support for Last.fm, Flickr and Spotify. The addition of Spotify is particularly 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". As you might imagine, you can't access your imported music this way, but since the AVR-2313 can connect with your home network via DLNA, you can also 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.

Denon AVR-2313
Denon AVR-2313

As is the case with just about every other receiver manufacturer these days, Denon provides a remote app to control your AVR-2313. This app has been developed for use with either iOS or Android and it allows for easy selection of input sources, network content, zone control and more. It is available free of charge and we found both versions to be quite effective. The interface is well designed and the app provides control of the basic functions of your AVR-2313 such as on/off, volume, input and surround mode selection. There are eight customizable home screen short cut buttons allowing you to tailor the look and function of the Denon Remote App to suit your needs. There's also a multi-zone control page which lets you adjust power, volume and input selection for all zones from a single screen. You can browse the Internet Radio and preset and recall favourites, as well as access your digital media library with thumbnail browsing, library search and playlist creation. It certainly ranks as one of the better receiver remote apps we have used recently.

One of the biggest features of the AVR-2313 is the inclusion of Apple's AirPlay which allows you to stream iTunes music from your PC or Mac via your home network, to the receiver. From the AVR-2313, artist information, album art as well as elapsed time can be accessed and you are also able to control some major navigation features of your iTunes account from the AVR-2313. In addition, Apple offers a free-of-charge app called 'Remote' for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, which allows you to control the content of your complete iTunes library, as well as the volume of the AVR-2313 itself. The AirPlay connectivity worked very well and once we had configured the unit over wired Ethernet, we had no problems streaming music from various AirPlay-compatible devices and the AVR-2313 even displays album art on screen whenever available.

Video Performance

The AVR-2313 includes various video processing features, such as video switching, deinterlacing, scaling and picture adjustment controls. The obvious headline video feature is the addition of 4K scaling but if you own one of the very few 4K displays currently available, the built-in scaling will be just as good, if not better, than the AVR-2313. Of far greater use is the inclusion of 4K pass-through, 4K HDMI switching and 4K GUI overlay, which helps to provide a degree of future proofing. Within the Setup Menu there is a Video sub-menu that provides a number of options including controls for adjusting the picture; setting the HDMI video/audio output; changing the output settings; choosing where to display the master volume level; whether or not to show the status display; how long to display the menus when the input source is Network, iPod/USB or FM; and to set the TV format.

Denon AVR-2313
Denon AVR-2313

When it came to handling standard and high definition content, the AVR-2313 delivered an impressive performance, deinterlacing 480i, 576i and 1080i signals and scaling up to 1080p over both component and HDMI. It will also passed through 1080p/24 signals from Blu-rays without any problems and happily passed a 3D signal as well. We were pleased to see that the AVR-2313 had no problems detecting both 3:2 and 2:2 cadences, as well as scaling standard definition content without introducing unwanted artefacts or jaggies. The Picture Adjustments sub-menu includes various image controls such as Contrast, Brightness, Saturation (Colour) and Hue (Tint), along with an Enhancer (sharpness feature) and Noise Reduction. It is best to leave all these controls in their default zero or off positions and if you did the AVR-2313 could pass-through the video signal without tampering with the image accuracy. Thanks to the inclusion of two HDMI outputs, you can also use the AVR-2313 to feed a signal to two different displays, perhaps a TV and a projector.

Audio Performance

As mentioned earlier, setting up the AVR-2313 is straightforward thanks to the combination of Setup Assistant and Audyssey MultEQ XT but there is a dedicated Audio and Speakers sub-menus that allows for manual setup and other adjustments.

Denon AVR-2313
Denon AVR-2313

Within the Audio sub-menu there are controls for adjusting the surround sound parameters; changing the tone; setting the dialogue level by adjusting the output from the centre channel; setting the subwoofer level; enabling the Restorer feature which is designed to expand compressed audio; adjusting the audio delay, if necessary; setting the main zone volume level; selecting the Audyssey MultiEQ XT, Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume settings; and using the graphic equaliser to adjust the response of each speaker.

Denon AVR-2313
Denon AVR-2313

Within the Speakers sub-menu there are a series of screens dedicated to different aspects of speaker setup. Whilst these are setup automatically by Audyssey, you can manually adjust or fine tune the settings, if you so desire. The first screen relates to the speaker sizes and configurations and allows you to input your layout and the type if speakers in your system. The second screen relates to the distances in metres of the speakers from the main listening position. The final screen uses test tones to set the levels of each speaker from the main listening position. If you're going to do this manually, then you will need a sound pressure level meter.

Denon AVR-2313

For the purposes of reviewing the AVR-2313 we used a number of Blu-rays allowing us to gauge its performance with both both Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio soundtracks. We also tested the receiver with stereo and multi-channel PCM from a number of sources, along with Direct Stream Digital (DSD) from a number of SACDs. We also streamed various music files to the AVR-2313 over our home network and via AirPlay. Overall the AVR-2313 proved to be a very competent performer, taking every format we tested in its stride. There's no doubt that anyone looking for a well-rounded and capable receiver will be very happy with the AVR-2313 but we did feel that it lacked the presence and authority of some of the more expensive receivers.

With film soundtracks the AVR-2313 certainly handled itself well, reproducing all the detail inherent in the audio design and delivering an effectively immersive surround field. In both the 5.1 and 7.1 configurations, the AVR-2313 could replicate the subtleties of the surround mix on movies such as Prometheus and The Hunger Games, with some precise imaging and clear dialogue. The use of Audyssey to correct for the room certainly helped as well, giving the system a more integrated feel. As we have discovered with other receivers, switching to Audyssey DSX and a 7.1 configuration with additional width channels at the front really paid dividends in widening the soundstage and aiding front to back pans.

Whilst the subwoofer felt well integrated with the rest of the system it was with louder and more bombastic soundtracks that the AVR-2313 was found a little wanting. It just seemed to lack the impact and response we have experienced with other receivers and despite the rated 135W per a channel, it also lacked power at higher volumes. Movies like Battleship just didn't feel like the sonic assault that they had with other receivers and we found the overall experience less visceral. To be fair the AVR-2313 is designed more as a lifestyle receiver to be used at sensible volumes in the average living room and in that sense it was ideal. However, if you like your soundtracks loud and brash or intend to use the AVR-2313 in a larger room, you might want to consider something with a bit more kick.

When it came to music the AVR-2313 was again a competent performer, especially with multi-channel recordings such as Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' on SACD and The Flaming Lips "Yoshimi versus the Pink Robots' on DVD-A. Again, the AVR-2313 was effective at delivering the subtle parts of the recordings and imaging the instruments and effects well but lacked impact in the lower frequencies. With stereo recordings the experience was similar, with the AVR-2313 handling the brighter higher notes of a recording like Adele's 'The One and Only' whilst missing the deeper growl of something like Nick Cave's 'O Children'. As is often the case with Japanese receivers, the AVR-2313 lacks the musicality that you would get with something like an Anthem receiver but it does offer a massive amount of flexibility and convenience when it comes to streaming music.

Verdict

7
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

Pros

  • Comprehensive connections
  • Impressive video processing
  • 4K pass-through
  • Easy to setup and configure
  • Good internet and networking features
  • AirPlay compatible
  • Good remote app

Cons

  • Surround playback lacked some impact
  • Stereo playback not as musical as other receivers
  • No multi-channel analogue inputs
  • No built-in WiFi
  • No backlight on remote control

Denon AVR-2313 AV Receiver Review

The Denon AVR-2313 uses the classic AV Receiver design, with the black chassis and the twin knobs but it's a tried and trusted look and works, so why change it? The build quality is reasonable, even if it lacks the industrial bulk of more expensive receivers, but clearly compromises had to be made to reach the lower price point. However, given the AVR-2313's intended market, the smaller chassis and lighter weight will undoubtedly be preferable. The central display is well laid out and informative and Denon have sensibly used larger characters to make it easier to read from a distance. The remote control is also well designed, comfortable to hold and easy to use - it's just a shame there's no back light. At the rear are a decent set of connections and, again, Denon has sensibly dropped unnecessary legacy inputs for more useful ones, so we get 7 HDMI inputs (6 at the rear and one on the front) and 2 HDMI outputs.

Thanks to the setup wizard and Audyssey MultEQ XT software, combined with a clear, concise and intuitive menu system, the AVR-2313 is a doddle to setup. There are a number of speaker configurations that you can choose and you can customise other aspects such as inputs. There is no built-in WiFi but there is an Ethernet port for connecting to a home network, making streaming audio and Internet radio simplicity itself. You can also wirelessly stream music from your iDevice using Apple's AirPlay and if you prefer a more physical connection, you can connect your iDevice, MP3 player or tablet into the receiver’s front USB input and control music playback via the remote. The AVR-2313 includes a built-in FM tuner, as well as easy access to Internet radio, Last.fm and Spotify. Denon also provide free remote apps for both iOS and Android devices and overall we found them to be well designed, responsive and quite effective.

The AVR-2313 includes some effective video processing, performing well in our deinterlacing and scaling tests and whilst the inclusion of 4K upscaling remains little more than a gimmick, the ability to pass-through native 4K content is important and something that the more expensive Onkyo TX-NR818 couldn't do. The AVR-2313 can handle both Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio and also includes Dolby Pro Logic IIz and Audyssey DSX, giving you the option to drop the back speakers in favour of either height or width channels. In terms of audio performance the AVR-2313 was a very capable performer, especially with movie soundtracks, but at times it felt rather pedestrian, lacking the presence and impact that the better receivers offer. Whilst rated at 135W per channel, the AVR-2313 felt slightly underpowered in our home cinema and is definitely better suited to the smaller living rooms for which it was designed.

Overall, the Denon AVR-2313 offers fantastic value and a great all-round performance, with a genuinely impressive set of features. The video processing is good and despite some reservations about a lack of power in certain circumstances, it can certainly hold its own in a normal living room. If you're looking for your first dedicated AV receiver or thinking of upgrading your existing one, then the AVR-2313 is certainly worth considering - Recommended.

Recommended

Scores

Sound Quality

.
.
.
7

Features

.
.
.
7

Connectivity

.
.
8

Build Quality

.
.
.
7

Value For Money

.
.
8

Verdict

.
.
.
7
7
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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