Things are much less uncertain when it comes to performance – the AVR-1611 plays a blinder. It does a wonderful job with ”Hellboy II’s” centrepiece scene in which our titular hero squares up to a 50-foot tree, getting stuck into the stunning sound design with plenty of gusto. Front and surround effects are feisty and dynamic, while the clean surround channel reproduction and smooth steering help achieve an enveloping, expansive soundstage.
What’s more, the Denon dredges up lots of small sonic details, such as tinkling glass as the Elemental scrunches up cars, or the delicate rustling as plants snake their way up the sides of the buildings. You’re also treated to a hearty helping of taut, expertly controlled bottom end, while clear dialogue reproduction from the centre channel means you’re never straining to hear what Hellboy or Herr Krauss have to say amid the chaos.
The only bad news to report is a slight edge to the sound when the volume is turned up high. The powerful screech of the Elemental sounds ever so slightly harsh, and a few other transients sound a little ripe. The AVR-1911 and other models in this price range like the Onkyo TX-SR608 handle these same effects with a touch more smoothness and body. But that’s the only flaw in an otherwise superb performance.
There’s some stiff competition in the budget-to-midrange receiver market, but with four 3D-ready HDMI inputs, some eye-catching features and impressive performance the Denon AVR-1611 makes a great case for your cash. The onscreen menus need jazzing up and some minor sonic shortcomings betray its budget price tag, but otherwise this is yet another solid AV receiver from Denon that deserves a place on your shortlist.
Score in detail