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Denon AVR-1911 - Performance and Verdict

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Among the other features is Dolby Pro Logic IIz processing, which allows you to use the surround back channels as front height channels, giving the soundstage a greater sense of horizontal and vertical envelopment. You also get a range of Denon Original Surround Playback modes that emulate different environments such as Rock Arena and Jazz Club, but for purists there are Direct and Pure Direct playback modes, the former playing the signal in its original form, the latter turning off the display and analogue video circuitry. The AVR-1911 also decodes Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio soundtracks, and musters a mighty 125W per channel.

When you load up a Blu-ray disc – in this case Hellboy II: The Golden Army – you can really hear that immense power bursting from the speakers. There’s a richness and authority to the bangs and booms as the Elemental wreaks havoc near the Brooklyn Bridge, which makes for an enthralling, pulse-racing listen. Low-frequencies are wonderfully tight and expertly controlled, but the bass channel’s excellent integration with the other speakers prevents it undermining the harmony of the soundstage.

Denon AVR-1911 full front

The AVR-1911 backs up this muscle with exceptional smoothness. Loud treble sounds, which can appear grating and hard through lesser receivers, are silky and easy to digest but never flat – high frequencies like tinkling glass and the delicate rustling of the Elemental unfurling his leafy limbs really sparkle from the speakers, while half-heard voices and screaming women in the background come through crystal clear.

There’s much more to admire, such as the open, expansive soundstage, fluid steering between channels and precise, confident placement of surround effects. It takes sudden dynamic shifts in its stride and delivers speech in a clear and intelligible tone. But when the action takes a back seat the Denon doesn’t, continuing to tease out background minutiae and ambience with a deftness and eye for detail that only a company at the top of its game can deliver.

It’s a similar story with music – its heart-warming smoothness works a treat with pop tunes, particularly ones with delicate female vocals a la Corinne Bailey Rae. Her take on Editors’ Munich is an absolute delight through the Denon, which conveys her breathy voice and acoustic guitar with a purity of tone that’ll leave you wanting more.

Verdict

Denon upholds its enviable reputation with yet another admirable AV receiver. The AVR-1911 packs plenty of power, serves up a modest array of features like 3D compatibility and is generally easy to use, but the real reason to give it a whirl is its stupendous sound quality, the sort you’d expect from a more expensive amp.

However, for all its brilliance it doesn’t quite do enough to dethrone the Onkyo TX-SR608, and we’ll tell you why – not only is Onkyo’s receiver cheaper, but it also offers more features, more connections (including 6 HDMI inputs), a higher power rating, THX Select2 Plus certification, a superior remote, a prettier onscreen interface and a similar level of sound quality. But if for some reason you still end up taking the Denon home then you’ll still have bagged yourself a very impressive AV receiver.

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Performance 10
  • Value 8
  • Features 7
  • Design 8

Michael McG

September 17, 2010, 1:16 pm

hi guys, apart from the HDMI 1.4 how does this compare to last years 1910?

2db

September 17, 2010, 1:37 pm

Have to say, I considered the 1911 side by side with it's predecessor the 1910, and give the much better input selection on the 1910, can thoroughly recommend that instead. Clearly you loose the 3d capabilities, but if you're ok without that, in my view, a much better buy.

PGrGr

September 17, 2010, 5:58 pm

Been doing some web searching, trying to decide between this, and the Onkyo TX-SR608. It seems they're very similar. When I say I've been doing some web searching, what I mean is that I've spent the entire morning on an obsessive hunt for information to differentiate the two items. What I've come up with is this:





1) there seem to be a few reports about poor Onkyo QA and customer service. Of course, that's impossible to cover in a review unless you are unlucky enough to get a faulty unit in the first place, but it's enough to make me nervous.





2) Some people are complaining that the HDMI throughput (or whatever it's called) degrades video quality in the Onkyo.





3)A lot of reports say that the Denon just sounds better. I am drawn towards the fact that the Denon uses Audyessey's MultiEq system for adjusting the accoustics to the room, whereas the Onkyo uses the cut down 2Eq version. I can't help but think that any audio processing that helps take account of the fact that I am going to be using this in a relatively small cluttered living room, and also helps eliminate sweetspots, is going to be of disproportionate value. I'd be interested in the opinion here, of anyone who has had experience of both Audyssey systems.





4) I note that the Onkyo has better connectivity. For me, that's not an issue. I have one PS3, and one TV. Maybe in the future I'll have one YouView box too... I think four HDMI inputs should cover it!

LetsGo

September 18, 2010, 1:19 pm

@Bluepork I was in the same situation a couple of years back, The Denon got my cash even though it was the more expensive solution.





I trolled through AVforumns, then travelled to Shropshire to listen and decide which unit to buy.

septimus1

January 8, 2011, 5:10 pm

I read the reviews on the SR608 and the Pioneer in the same price range,decided on the Onkyo, but got a listen to the SR708(didnt have an SR608 in stock) the pioneer and the 1911 in the shop. It was a close call between the the Onkyo and the Denon, the pioneer had no bass through stereo speakers only, didnt do surround sound with a sub for the comparison. The Denon had the edge though, more clarity at all frequencies. As a bonus, the Denon ended up being ~£100.00 cheaper when it came to pay, there seemed to be a round of discounting on that unit at the time. now it's home, I'm totally happy, the auto setup works well.

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