On the back, the socket selection is fine but not quite as abundant as we expected for the money. You get four HDMI inputs and a monitor output, which is great news for owners of multiple HD sources, but you only get a single set of component inputs and no outputs, plus two composite inputs and one output. On the audio side, the choice of two digital audio inputs (one coaxial, one optical) is unusually limited too, although the five analogue inputs should suffice for the rest of your audio kit.
The speaker terminals for all seven channels use binding posts, not springclips for some channels like the Pioneer VSX-520, while the surround back terminals can be used to send a separate stereo signal to a second zone. There are aerial sockets for the built-in FM/AM radio tuners, a single subwoofer output and two ports for connecting a Denon iPod dock. Alternatively, you can use the USB port on the front to play music directly from an iPod, iPhone or USB storage device. The Denon accepts WMA, MP3 and unprotected AAC from USB devices.
Setting up the AVR-1911 is a piece of cake. There’s an Audyssey auto setup feature that chooses suitable settings for your room based on its acoustic properties. For that reason, you’ll find a microphone in the box that plugs into the front panel and picks up test tones played by the receiver. It takes six separate measurements to calculate the best overall settings for the main listening position. After it’s completed, Audyssey’s MultEQ, Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume keep tabs on the sound, not only maintaining the auto calibration settings but also keeping volume at a respectable level. They can be bypassed in the setup menu if you wish.
Talking of which, it’s great to see that you can view the AVR-1911’s setup menu on your TV screen. It’s an incredibly rudimentary menu though, using chunky old-school text against a murky grey background. Thankfully it’s responsive and easy to follow, plus it covers every manual tweak you could wish for, including speaker setup, for those who want to give their sound settings a more personal touch.
Aside from sound optimisation, you can set how the HDMI outputs behave and easily assign inputs to certain sources, plus there’s a range of options relating to the AVR-1911’s built-in video upscaling to 720p, 1080i and 1080p. The unit also features video conversion, channelling video fed into the component, S-video and composite inputs to the HDMI output. When watching video through the S-video or composite connections, a status display pops up on screen every time you change input or change the volume.
The newly designed remote comes with a preset code memory for controlling other components, and sports banks of 'Glo-Key' buttons that unsurprisingly glow in the dark. As such the buttons boast large bold lettering so they can be read within the glowing buttons. The central cluster of menu controls is ideal, with the volume controls conveniently placed just above them, but the bottom section is overly cluttered. Last year’s zappers were much better.