If creating a surround sound system from separates seems too much like hard work, and you want better sound quality than you get from a one-box Blu-ray system, then Denon’s DHT-1312XP might be the perfect solution. It’s an AV receiver and 5.1-speaker system combo that aims to bring you Denon’s famed sound quality in a single affordable package – just add a Blu-ray deck and you’re ready to roll.
For under £400, the DHT-1312XP pairs Denon’s current entry-level AV receiver, the AVR-1312, with its SYS-1312 5.1-channel speaker system. Considering the AVR-1312 alone costs £250 and upwards online, it’s looking like a great deal already. Among the system’s many talents is full 3D passthrough capability thanks to its HDMI v1.4 sockets, Blu-ray HD audio support and an onscreen user interface.
Because of the low price, both build quality and aesthetics are a little below par, but that’s inevitable. It’s still perfectly pleasant to look at though. The AVR-1312’s unpretentious black finish and clean lines allow it to blend in with other black boxes in your system, and for an entry-level product it’s incredibly well built, boasting sturdy, vibration-resistant aluminium bodywork and robust controls on the front panel. These include four ‘Quick Select’ keys that offer easy access to connected sources, plus buttons that control the radio tuner and an iPod. You’ll also find composite, analogue stereo and 3.5mm minijack inputs.
The SYS-1312 includes four identical SC-F1312 satellites for the front and rear channels, an SC-C1312 centre and the DSW-1312 subwoofer. The bookshelf satellite speakers are fairly large compared with sats from KEF and Cambridge Audio and their shape is unremarkable, but the gloss black finish looks great, with a cloth grille covering the front. However, pick one up and the cabinet feels light and sounds hollow when tapped, but again that’s the nature of the budget beast.
Talking of beasts, the subwoofer’s big and bulky cabinet might make it tricky to hide away in a corner, but the downward-firing, front ported box is styled in a neutral black finish and build quality is solid. The centre speaker is the same size and shape as the fronts and rears but turned on its side for ease of installation.
The AVR-1312’s connections are limited due to its entry-level positioning, but the provision of four HDMI inputs and one output – all v1.4 – should be enough for undemanding setups. Inputs include two digital audio (one coaxial and one optical), three analogue stereo, two composite video and one S-video.
There’s also a composite video output, analogue stereo pre-outs for connection of powered surround back speakers and a subwoofer pre-out, plus a port for connecting Denon’s optional iPod peripherals (ASD-11R, ASD-51N/W).