What the AVR-1912 lacks in operational slickness it makes up for in performance, with a sound that’s richer and smoother than a cup of Nescafe Gold Blend. But that smoothness doesn’t translate into excitement, not when compared with the rip-roaring thrills offered by Onkyo’s latest models, or even the Marantz NR1602.
Listening to The Dark Knight on Blu-ray, there’s plenty of bass weight, with the barrage of booms and bangs sounding deep and tightly fused to the rest of the sound. Effects are cleanly and enthusiastically presented, while the Denon steers effects around the room with admirable accuracy and speed.
But when you’re looking for it to really rip the roof off – when The Joker blows up the hospital, for example, or during the breakneck bike chase through Gotham’s streets – the Denon’s inherent politeness dampens the dynamic punch of the roaring engines and bazooka blasts. That’s not to say it’s poor, far from it – everything is relayed with the sort of effortless composure and crispness we’ve come to expect from Denon, but it lacks the wow factor offered by some of its midrange rivals.
But keeping with the positives, the AVR-1912 has a masterful way with words – dialogue sounds clear and full-bodied, with no sibilance. The Joker’s evil growl is perfectly captured, likewise Batman’s roaring tones, and it even makes Jim Gordon’s moustachioed mumblings audible. Add to that some dazzlingly detailed high-frequency reproduction, and remarkably grown-up music playback, and you’ve got yourself a very impressive performer that would be a shoo-in for your cash if it existed in a vacuum. As it stands though, other models offer greater excitement.
Onkyo must be a real thorn in Denon’s side right now. If it weren’t for the mind-blowing feature list and thrilling performance offered by the brilliant TX-NR609, we’d now be hailing the AVR-1912 as the ‘everyceiver’ to beat in the midrange market.
As it stands though, the Onkyo trumps the AVR-1912 on every level, offering loads more features, more connections, a smoother user experience and a more exciting sound with Blu-ray soundtracks. But judged in its own right, the AVR-1912 is still an impressive beast, and in AirPlay it offers the one thing Onkyo lacks, which might just be the deciding factor for hardcore Applephiles.