Denon has a long and distinguished history in the home cinema market and its AV receivers are revered the world over, particularly its high-end and reference models. But in the budget to mid-range bracket, Onkyo currently rules the roost with models like the brilliant TX-SR608, which means that Denon has its work cut out trying to convince punters that it's still the brand to back.
To do so, it has come up with a solid range of receivers for 2010 – coincidentally the year of Denon’s 100th anniversary – ranging from the entry-level AVR-1311 up to the 7.1-channel AVR-3311, with new high-end models to follow later in the year. The 7.1-channel AVR-1911 sits somewhere in the middle, offering enough features to please enthusiasts without the wallet-draining price tags of its high-specced models.
And with 3D being big news this year, the AVR-1911’s most eye-catching feature is the inclusion of HDMI v1.4 sockets, which means you can feed full HD 3D signals to it from a Blu-ray deck and pass them onto your 3D TV, dropping off HD audio signals along the way. They also support the Audio Return Channel and will therefore accept sound signals from HDMI v1.4 TVs. Whether you already have a 3D system in place, want to add it in the future or wouldn’t touch it with a 10ft barge pole, it’s nice to know that the Denon is sufficiently future-proofed.
We’ll get to the rest of the features in due course, but first let’s talk design. Actually, there’s not much to discuss – the AVR-1911 is a smart, functional-looking receiver (only available in black) that prefers to blend in rather than stand out. Denon doesn’t go overboard on the front panel – it’s quite busy but the buttons are discreet and tidily arranged, plus like most receivers the volume and input selection dials are large and prominent.
We like the unit’s massive LED display panel that shows information clearly. A row of buttons is tucked along the bottom edge of this, providing up-close control for the unit’s sound processing features. Front panel connections include a USB port, composite video/analogue stereo audio inputs and a headphones jack, but there’s no HDMI input.