Home Theater Denon AVR-989 A/V receiver ,Denon has achieved a strong reputation and good enough in the ongoing wrestling match which is AV receiver market for several years. And has done this by sending a stream of well-performing product, especially at rational prices. Denon is the latest from the pressure cooker recipe is the Home Theater Denon AVR-989, which manages to pile on functions and features while coming it at just $200 over the magical $1,000 price point.
The Denon AVR-989 eschews the fancy high def color graphical displays that are becoming common on receivers, contenting itself instead with a rather dated-lookingÂ but perfectly functional black-and-white text menu system. It also omits the home-network connectivity and media-player functionality that is fast becoming standard on up-market receivers.
What this new Denon does offer is the full palette of Audyssey-licensed audio processing. These include MultEQ XT auto setup/room equalization; Dynamic EQ, for massaging equalization and relative channel levels on the fly so that a movie soundtrack will retain its integrity when listened to at lower-than-reference level settings; and Dynamic Volume, a â€œsmart levelerâ€ that adapts the receiverâ€™s master volume setting to changes in the source or program signal (including those damn infomercials).
Audysseyâ€™s MultEQ XT setup routine is by now a familiar one: plug in the mike, call up the home theater setup screen, and hit Go. To perform the second step, you have to invert the Denon AVR-989â€™s remote and flip open the bottom panel to reveal keys that are mostly used for setup and tweaking. The routine includes moving the included mike to various positions (as many as eight) within the listening area. Rinse and repeat.
As usual, MultEQ XTâ€™s results proved reliable, with just about spot-on channel levels and crossovers. The Denon adjusted my dipole surrounds a dB or so too high, but every robotic setter-upper Iâ€™ve used does this. In truth, you almost always have to tweak dipoles by ear anyway.
MUSIC & MOVIE PERFORMANCE
It didnâ€™t take me long to confirm that the Denon AVR-989 maintains the Denon-receiver tradition of excellent-quality amplifiers. Its rated 115-watt (stereo) output proved easily able to drive my medium-sensitivity full-range front speakers to realistic levels with truly elevated sound quality, eliciting the clarity, impact, and detail of which I know theyâ€™re capable. Multichannel music was even better. The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack on the Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds Live at Radio City Bluray Disc is a magnificent surround production. Just listening to the opening crowd noise and then the open-tuned drone introducing Bartender offered enough proof that the Denon was more than capable of reproducing this productionâ€™s spatial and tonal richness.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has a world class soundtrack, and the Denon again handled the DVDâ€™s wide ranging demands, delivering pristine music, dialogue, and effects with ease. For example, the dense spatial activity in the exam-room fireworks scene was wonderfully represented, with outstanding dynamic â€œpopâ€ and transparency.
Denon uses Faroudja processing for the Denon AVR-989â€™s analog video paths, a reliable solution that in this case delivers deinterlacing and rescaling of analog video up to 1080p format by way of the HDMI output. As usual, this processor passed my eyes-on tests without a hitch, delivering crisp, full-resolution, artifact-free images.
Home Theater Denon AVR-989 A/V receiver
The Short Form
$1,199 / USA.DENON.COM / 201-762-6665
Outstanding audio performance outweighs basic onscreen displays
and limited video processing in
Denonâ€™s newest receiver
â€¢ Excellent overall audio performance
â€¢ Good analog-video processing
â€¢ Accurate auto-setup and calibration, and useful room/speaker EQ correction
â€¢ Onscreen graphics are a bit slow, and arenâ€™t available with all video signal formats and inputs
â€¢ Video scaling limited to analog video inputs, with HDMI-only output
â€¢ 7 x 115 watts (1 or 2 channels driven)
â€¢ (4) HDMI 1.3a inputs, (1) output
â€¢ Upconverts component-, composite-, and S-video signals to 1080p via HDMI
â€¢ Decodes Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, and multichannel SACD
â€¢ Audyssey MultEQ XT auto-setup/equalization with supplied microphone
â€¢ Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Loudness level- and volume-correction
â€¢ XM/Sirius satellite-radio-ready
â€¢ iPod input and control via optional dock
â€¢Assignable front biamp or powered
Zone 2 amp channels
â€¢ (3) Quick Select presets store source and mode adjustments
â€¢ IR in/out, 2x 12v trigger, RS-232
â€¢ 17 1â„8 x 6 7â„8 x 10 3â„8 in, 28 1â„4 lb