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We Brits are a peculiar bunch. Obsessed by the weather, guzzling down fish and chips like there's no tomorrow and fanatical about a game where 22 men lump a ball around a big patch of grass - idiosyncrasies that sound strange to outsiders but make us the great nation we are.
Just like our tastes in home cinema in fact. We have very specific ideas about how we like our movies to sound, and that's something Denon has recognised with its latest range of AV receivers, two of which have been tuned specifically for UK ears.
The AVR-2310 is the most advanced of three new sub-£1,000 models launched by Denon this year, alongside the entry-level, 550W AVR-1610 (£349) and the step-up 840W AVR-1910 (£479). Both the AVR-2310 and the AVR-1910 are 'UK Tuned', which means that Denon's Japanese engineers have conducted extensive listening sessions with Denon UK's audio gurus and tweaked the sound until everyone in the room is happy. It's hard to say exactly what the 'UK sound' is, but it lies somewhere between the upfront brashness favoured by Germans and the softer, detailed sound that delights Japanese eardrums.
What UK buyers also love is a lengthy list of cutting-edge features to play with, and the AVR-2310 goes far and beyond the call of duty, offering a range of goodies that'll make any self-respecting home cinema fan feel like a kid in a sweet shop on pocket money day.
More on those later, but first let's talk aesthetics. Denon sent us the Black version but it's also available in Premium Silver if that floats your boat, and in both cases the company has crafted an undeniably attractive unit that doesn't rely on lights 'n' logos to underline its cutting-edge credentials - this earns aesthetic brownie points with a classy, understated look that Denon always does so well.
The vibration-resistant casing - bolstered by a rigid bottom chassis set on cast-iron feet - is reassuringly sturdy and the unit is surprisingly compact, slotting into the space normally occupied by my beloved AVR-3802 with loads of room around the edges.
Every aspect of the front panel is tasteful and user-friendly, the standout feature being a huge display window that presents the key info in large letters. A row of buttons is almost invisibly integrated along the bottom edge of the display panel, while all the other keys (governing menu control, surround modes and more) are tidily arranged along the bottom. You'll also find satisfyingly big dials for volume and source selection, plus S-video, composite, stereo audio and optical digital audio inputs.
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