With all of the new AV receivers coming down the pike this week, you might almost think we were back in Las Vegas at CES 2013. But the truth is that not everyone brings all of their new toys to that particular show. Receiver manufacturers march to their own beat and seem to prefer CEDIA as the venue to show off the newest wares. Besides, it’s pretty easy to get lost in the zoo that is the world’s largest consumer electronics show.
The past few weeks have been a bit of a coming out party for manufacturers’ new AV receiver line-ups. The latest offerings from Denon, Yamaha, Pioneer, and Sony will not sound the same, but we are noticing some key features getting applied across the board. 2013 is officially the year of the super-affordable AV receiver with next-gen technology. Like its competitors, Denon has added support for 4K/Ultra HD, MHL, AirPlay, and high resolution audio formats to a line of user-friendly receivers with bargain basement pricing. Let’s check ’em out.
Denon has a fairly extensive line-up of AV receivers ranging from its top-of-the-line AVR-4520CI to its brand new AVR-E200 ($250) which just launched today. The AVR-E200 is the baby in the new E-series family of Denon AV receivers and it’s clear that the company is going after college students, recent graduate with new jobs, and young couples looking to power the entertainments systems in their first new home. And, as we intimated earlier, Denon is not alone in this pursuit – all of its competitors have feature-packed, buget-friendly models coming in under $600 .
The new E-series includes three models: the AVR-E400 7.1 Network Home Theater Receiver ($600), the AVR-E300 5.1 Network Home Theater Receiver ($400), and the aforementioned AVR-E200 5.1 Home Theater Receiver. The top two models support Apple AirPlay allowing you to stream music from your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch – which begs the question – why bother with a $250 model that doesn’t?
The top two models also offer support for Pandora, Spotify (which requires a subscription), vTuner, SiriusXM, and allow you to view your photos via Flickr. The E400 and E300 can also be controlled via Denon’s remote app.
All three models feature a redesigned on-screen UI to make set-up that much simpler. The exclusive “Denon Setup Assistant” walks users through the entire setup process (AVR-E300 & AVR-E400 Only). For convenient setup and easy EQ-setting, the AVR-E400 and AVR-E300 both feature Audyssey MultEQ automatic room acoustic measurement and correction system along with Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Audyssey Dynamic Volume for immersive surround sound, even at reduced volume levels.
All E-Series receivers feature Denon’s new color-coded speaker terminals and supplied matching color cable tags to ensure correct speaker cable hookup right out of the box. For even more setup simplicity, Models AVR-E400 and AVR-E300 both feature Denon’s new Easy-Connects “push-in” type speaker wire connections making the task of connecting speaker wires easier than ever before. Why are we just now seeing this?
The new AVR-E400 7.1 receiver can be configured for a full 7.1-channel system or as a 5.1 channel system in the main room with powered support for audio in another room. For total system connectivity, the AVR-E400 is equipped with 6 HDMI inputs including 5 on the rear panel along with 1 on the front panel for easy connection of an HDMI-equipped camcorder, game console or other portable multimedia device.
The AVR-E400’s video processor includes SD-to-HD up-conversion, along with 4K/Ultra HD (3840×2160) pass-through for the next generation of 4K/Ultra HDTVs. The E400 is rated at a maximum of 185 watts for each of the 7 channels but we’re rather skeptical that those numbers will prove to be the case as manufacturers tend to fudge the math when it comes to rating power into more than two channels.
The AVR-E300 outputs 10 fewer watts into all 5 channels and has 1 less HDMI input on the rear panel. The AVR-E200 is a 5.1 AV receiver with 4 HDMI inputs and is rated at a maximum 165 watts for all of its channels.
The new E-series AV receivers from Denon are available for purchase now at authorized retailers.