Denon has clearly worked hard at improving the user-friendliness of this year’s AV receivers, and in most areas the AVR-1912 is a doddle to operate. Key to this is the presence of onscreen menus, which make everything more accessible than front-panel operation.
Another bonus is the Setup Wizard, a step-by-step onscreen installation guide for all the crucial settings using easy to follow graphics and text. It covers language, speaker connections/calibration, plus source, remote and network setup. But more experienced users can hit the MENU button and go through the sound settings with a fine-toothed comb.
Onscreen presentation is a mixed bag – the setup menu, for instance, looks basic and dated, but does a decent job. The use of white text on black backgrounds for the menus makes them easy to follow and the left-to-right list structure is logical.
Yet the USB/network media playback menus look fresher and more modern, with sharper graphics and text. Navigating through your content is fairly easy, but as we find with many network-enabled devices it can be a chore to search for a particular track if your library is large.
We also found it initially difficult to find our PC in the Media Server menu, despite the rest of the network functionality working OK, but got there in the end. Also playback from our USB stick proved glitchy, getting stuck trying to play certain files we hadn’t selected in the first place. It also kept freezing and defaulting to the network menu after selecting ‘USB’ in the source selection menu.
Elsewhere the prognosis is more positive. AirPlay works beautifully, streaming for long periods without a single drop-out, while internet radio and music streaming sites were similarly slick. The iPad remote control menus are intuitive, plus you can change settings and control the unit through your PC if need be.
The setup process is also simplified by the inclusion of Audyssey’s automatic calibration mode, MultEQ XT, which takes measurements using the supplied microphone and sets the audio parameters accordingly. It takes measurements at up to eight points and subsequently tweaks the acoustics to suit your listening environment, offering continuous frequency correction afterwards to ensure that these results are maintained.
Finally a word on the remote, which is mostly cooperative, but the cluttered layout takes the shine off an otherwise decent zapper. On the plus side there are Quick Select buttons for instant access to favourite sources with your preferred settings. The brushed finish is a pleasant aesthetic touch and glow-in-the-dark keys are useful.