Denon AVR-X5200W AV-receiver

From traditional formats of surround sound the industry actively begin to go to new and more advanced "objective" creation systems of three-dimensional sound field. So, designed for public cinemas advanced technology Dolby Atmos is already embedded in AV receivers. The companeDenon has equipped a new model AVR-X4200W by such decoder.

The latest Dolby system is fundamentally different from all previous "surround" formats by the fact that a soundtrack is not recorded channel-by-channel in the 5.1 layout but in the form of set of individual sound objects with information about the location of each. And the processor, decoding the signal, realizes their distribution depending on in what quantity and what configuration the speaker systems are placed in a room. By the way, the last circumstance has ceased to be of fundamental importance. However, the system 5.1 is not enough for realization of Atmos benefits - 5.1.2 is required and, better, 7.1.2 or even 7.1.4. The digit after the point here means the quantity of "high" speakers which are designed to expand the resulting effect from 3D audio.

It's a pity that we can talk about it only in theory. There are lots of films and entertainment content in the newest format; however, for home use it is just beginning to publish on Blu-ray. Therefore, the test of new receiver Denon we have to conduct by part-time program.

AVR-X5200W is the current flagship of the X range (the oldest model, X7200, is expected to be at the end of the year), and when its facade with huge handles or back panel, dotted with connectors, open to view, doubts in the class of the receiver does not occur. Acoustic terminals (by the way with gilt contacts) are stretched in the form of endless succession of eleven (!) pairs from one side to the other.

Built-in switch-board serves eight HDMI inputs and seven analog video inputs, a signal from whose is directed to video scaler counting the original SD or HD video into 4k/60Hz format. It is removed from one of three HDMI output terminals. Needless to say, digital video section of the receiver completely meets modern standards of 3D and advanced color reproduction.

There a lot of sound inputs: a pair of digital coaxial and optical, USB p ort for connection tablets, smartphones, players and external hard drivers, seven linear... However, there are few outputs - only analog one for one of the three serviced areas and no any digital. The developers decided that it is more important for Atmos receiver to have expanded set of "preouts" 13.2 (is configured as you like: 5.1.2, 5.1.4, 7.1.2, 7.1.4, 9.1.2 and so on) than several fixed outputs on recorders.

As befits to a flagship all network and wireless functions are developed in AVR-X5200W. External management is conceived too. The device can be integrated into smart homes, controlled by RS232 bus or by IP through web-interface. Management from mobile apps for Android and Apple-devices is also provided.

In audio path of the receiver a digital processor with firmed technology AL24 Processing Plus and multi-channel calibration of sound field AudysseyMultiEQ XT32 are used. Back end sections, which are made in the form of "monolithic" amplifiers on discrete elements and custom high current transistors, are interest. In all there are nine such blocks with a nominal power of more than 140W per each in AVR-X5200W. Four of them allow reconfiguration of the load. Remote terminals can be assigned through the control menu to a separate stereo pair or to realization of bi-amping connection of front speakers.

The sound of the receiver is remembered by not quite typical for Denon smoothness and tonal richness. While using analog inputs there were questions to building of sound stage (images are enlarged, there is no full depth), but at the transmission to digital interfaces or playback "over the air" with a help of AirPlay or Windows PlayTo sound space lined up precisely and stably. Tonal gamma is neutral and has many subtle music nuances. Middle register is transferred harmoniously, with deep and pronounced micro-dynamics. There is no any hint of dryness in the upper range, the dynamics is well manifested. Air plumes are worked out cool. But bass register, as I thought, a little bit needs hardness. But if you connect speakers through bi-amping lower registor will sound tighter and more dynamic.

I couldn't resist from experiments with additional front and top channels, all the more so the bass-manager of the receiver allows using very different schemes and installations. Connecting an additional pair of monitors I tried to do all the settings manually but just wasted my time - auto calibration did all the same but with better result and less hassles.

To be honest, I was not counting on some audiophile result for transition from classical stereo configuration to artificial "multi-front" operating mode, which turns on only at certain DSP modes. But the sound, which in the result I achieved from the system, forced to think. Without compromising the integrity of stereo picture and accuracy in the transmission of tones audio system moved me into another dimension - a feeling appeared that from modest by sizes room I got to a big hall. But most importantly that it didn't look like virtual surround or some illusion of volume, which the modes of stereo widening usually contribute. Any introduced reverberation responses were added, images in the scene were not blurred... Everything sounded like good, real stereo only in more sizeable and clear form and also with pronounced hints on the vertical localization.

Denon AVR-X5200W AV-receiver photo