Denon AVC-X8500H 13.2 Channel AV Amplifier Review & Comments

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Steve Withers, Feb 28, 2018.


    1. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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    2. RickyDeg

      RickyDeg
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      Excellent review!

      Now all we need is a matching Denon UHD BD player! ;)
       
    3. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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      That would be nice.
       
    4. Jules

      Jules
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      Obviously an excellent unit, but I doubt many would need or want any more than 7.1.4.

      Which makes me wonder how this compares to the Marantz SR8012 sonically.

      Is the Denon better sounding then the £700 cheaper Marantz?
       
    5. Abacus

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      But does it make the Tea? :D

      Bill
       
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    6. Toon Army

      Toon Army
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      Absolute beast!
       
    7. Captain Ron

      Captain Ron
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      Does it have adjustable audio delay when passing Dolby Vision content through it and is the audio delay configurable per source device and signal format? My current Onkyo (TX-RZ3100) does not and if Onkyo don't get their finger out and fix this shortly I will be seriously considering trading up to this Denon if it does have solid AV sync management across source devices and signal formats.
       
    8. ivagiglie

      ivagiglie
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      It should be noted that the receiver doesn't (can't) use the front wides except for Dolby Atmos content, so with a 7.1 Dolby TrueHD track you'll get two silent speakers.
      DTS:X is still limited to 11 channels at the moment and the DSU from Dolby it's designed not to use front wides except with Atmos (so it won't likely change in the future).
      Even with Atmos what you get from the front wides can vary, at times being barely perceptible.

      Users on another forum over the pond (!) have reported the lack of front wides usage as a major disappointment, as seems it was promised in the pre-launch material, until a "typo" was corrected from official documentation, if I recall correctly.

      Said that, I bought it anyway!! :)

      It was a due update from my good ol' Onkyo 705, and I'm quite happy with last weekend testing of Atmos movies with a 7.1.4 configuration and, eventually, the capability to specify a 2-channel setup when playing stereo content (so I can set the front speakers to large and avoid using the subwoofer, which is the setup I use for movies/multichannel).
       
    9. Amar

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      Ah dammmm. Awesome review but now I want 13 channel surround.
       
    10. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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      I completely agree that very few people will need or want more than 7.1.4 but for some it will be nice to have the option of 9.1.4 or even 7.1.6. As for the SR8012, it's a great sounding AV amplifier and it does share some design features with the X8500 but in terms of its internal architecture the latter is also very different and I think it does sound slightly better. Having said that, if you only need 7.1.4 then you could get the SR8012 and use the money you've saved to buy an Oppo UDP203 and still have a great sounding amplifier.
       
    11. RickyDeg

      RickyDeg
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      Unfortunately I keep hearing rumours Denon are exiting the player market.

      Hope it isn't so, but wouldn't surprise me. Not that one can't be content with an Oppo-player of course, but for those looking to visually match their systems and are fans of a particular brand, the option to do so would be ideal. In the past the likes of Denon, Marantz, NAD and Pioneer always gave us that option. Naturally, as times change the market and demand does as well. Not to mention R&D costs.
       
    12. Ste7en

      Ste7en
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      .. from the East :)

      Looks gorgeous. I want one.
       
    13. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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      I did point out in the review that DTS:X is limited to 7.1.4 or 5.1.6 and that the DSU doesn't use the surrounds but thanks for your feedback, it's always good to hear from an actual owner. Like I said in the review the addition of the front wide speakers aren't a night and day difference but I found them to be useful. There's also the option of running a full 7.1.6 Auro-3D setup once the firmware is updated, although I appreciate that there's not much movie content for that format.
       
    14. ivagiglie

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      Hi Steve, thanks for the reply.

      Another item I didn't see mentioned in the review is the commitment by Denon to offer (a paid) HW upgrade capability to HDMI 2.1 in the future.
      This for me was the main deciding factor in going for the purchase, I've been waiting for the 2.1 for a while already.

      Ah and internet radio is nice, beautiful to have a one-click solution to start streaming in the morning while making coffee.
      Amazon Prime Music is working but bare bones on HEOS, very primitive if compared with the capabilities of the native Amazon Music app (on iOS/Android/web)... still a nice addition if you are a Prime member, not many receivers support Amazon Music natively yet.
       
    15. badman

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      Great review , I've been waiting to upgrade my pioneer lx82 for a while now due to it not supporting the latest formats.

      I might pull the trigger on this beast.
       
    16. Rick84

      Rick84
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      Is a review planned for the Marantz av 7704?

      It would be interesting to know if the 7704 plus amplification would be sonically superior?
       
    17. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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      I wasn't aware Denon had made that commitment, they failed to mention it to me, but I guess that's in keeping with the upgrade path originally offered with the X7200.
       
    18. dante01

      dante01
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      I think that they've committed themselves to providing a firmware revision that should bring with it HDMI 2.1 advances, but there's no mention of any plans for an hardware upgrade program? What the firmware revision will actually yield isn't even revealed by D&M. I think it is already within most manufacturers capabilities to include chipsets that can facilitate an HDMI v2.1 update without need of hardware revisions and new chipsets being installed? Let's face it though, most of the HDMI 2.1 abilities will not be required for another 2 years and this will be pretty close to when the receiver will be coming up to being replaced.
       
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    19. ivagiglie

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      I've done a lot of googling before the purchase, avidly reading all material about the x8500h, the sentence "charged upgrade service" and the fact that was a HW upgrade was in many of the articles.

      Can't find where the original statement came from though.

      To be clear, not sure I'll ever upgrade (the 2.1 main feature I was actually interested in was the eARC, that will come soon as a FW upgrade only), but knowing I'm a bit "future proof" made me go for it instead of waiting for another year.
       
    20. Bish

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      "However in pure sound quality terms, nothing can beat the Arcam AVR850 with it's Class G amplification and Dirac Live room equalisation. Yes it only has 7 channels built in, so you'll need to add four more channels for a full 7.1.4 setup, and it does cost £4,499 but in pure audio terms, the AVR850 is the best sounding AV receiver we've tested to date."

      - Still baffles me why you only gave the AVR850 a "9" for sound quality then? Nothing can touch the Arcam in terms of pure sonic attack and soundstage - yet this Denon gets a "10"?
       
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    21. Simon D

      Simon D
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      That the important piece of information that I was looking for as well.

      I am looking to upgrade from my AVR-4520 which is running as 5.1.4 at present but I am ready to go with 7.1.4 to match with my B&W CM's, PSB Imagine XA Atmos speakers setup this year.
       
      Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
    22. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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      I agree and looking back now I should have given the Arcam a 10 but these things are always easier in hindsight.
       
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    23. dante01

      dante01
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      It is apparently stated within an Audioholics preview article that the receiver would be getting an HDMI 2.1 paid hardware upgrade option:


      Not sure if I'm allowed to post the link, but it is listed within the AVForums thread here:
      Denon AVC X8500H Owner's thread
       
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    24. LicensedTaximan

      LicensedTaximan
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      Thanks for the review Count, as I have already stated on another thread regarding this AV amp the quality of its surround was (almost) a given as "Denon" have always delivered. It's the review on the quality of this beast's straight hi-fi stereo sound which is important to me, and whilst I will still garner other reviews on this particular aspect of the X8500H it was good to read that from your point of view it gives a very good account of itself.... as it should do at circa £3k. When I (eventually) go for this amp I will be replacing my (as new and still great) AVC-A11XV(A) as this will enable me to go for an Atmos / DTS:X 7.1.4 setup as opposed to my present, up to, 7.1.

      There is also the matter of connecting my two BD players (one an LG 2D and the other a Panny 3D ) plus my new Panny BD recorder all via HDMI inputs as opposed to a plethora of (on the LG player) eight analogue inputs plus the other inputs such as the coaxial / optical connections as these can be used by my other hi-fi components. As I have also mentioned, and one of the reasons I have not changed my present amp, is the happy "exclusion" of a tuner as I have a separate "Denon" DAB / FM / AM tuner and it's no longer a big deal with regards to the lack of "THX" certification, even though my present amp is "THX Ultra 2" specified. This is only applicable (as far as I know) to DVD lossy sound anyway when the preset "THX" button is engaged for "THX"5.1 or "THX Surround EX" which shows up on the display as opposed to the standard DD / DTS or DD 6.1 Matrix or DTS 6.1 Discrete readouts. Thanks again Steve. ;)
       
      Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
    25. badman

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      Just ordered one!
       
    26. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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      I'll need to check about adjusting the audio delay whilst passing Dolby Vision but I can confirm that the usual Audio Delay settings are stored for each input source.
       
    27. geogan

      geogan
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      Just FYI, the back of this amplifier has 65 phono connectors that 99.9% of buyers of this will never use once :eek: :laugh:
       
      Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
    28. dante01

      dante01
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      It looks good if you've a revolving equipment stand though :lesson:
       
    29. usman24

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      Does the x8500 sound more transparent and neutral than a x7200? Better sound quality?
       
    30. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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      Yes it does on both counts and I can say that for certain because I actually have an X7200.
       

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