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Denon AVR-1611 review

Denon's budget beast delivers mature multichannel sonics

Our Verdict

The AVR-1611 is a fine performer and gives its competition plenty to worry about.

For

  • Delivers a smooth, dynamic sound
  • four HDMI inputs
  • speaker terminals all binding posts

Against

  • Occasional harshness
  • crowded remote control

This five-channel amp tries to bring Denon's legendary sound quality to a low price point without greatly compromising on cutting-edge features.

As such, the AVR-1611 boasts 3D compatibility through its four HDMI v1.4 inputs, and chucks in a few other unexpected frills such as Dolby Pro-Logic IIz, which expands the soundstage to include front height channels – as long as you have another amp to run the signal into.

What you also get is Denon's impeccable sense of style. The unit's stylish black finish cleverly camouflages the buttons on the fascia, which gives it a clean, uncluttered look and the large display panel provides a lot of information.

The rear panel seems sparse at first glance, particularly when compared with the brand's pricier models, but it covers all the basics and, thankfully, the speaker terminals are all binding posts. Unlike the Yamaha, the AVR-1611 can decode Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA soundtracks, and offers seven DSP modes to spice up music and movie playback, including a Virtual surround mode.

Installation is aided by Audyssey's auto setup mode, as well as a group of technologies (MultEQ, Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume) designed to monitor the sound once optimised.

Denon avr 1611

Operation is hugely simplified by the onscreen menus, although the graphics are so dated they make Pong look like Call of Duty. Still, at least they're easy to follow and cover all the essential audio and video tweaks.

The remote features glow-in-the-dark buttons, most of which are intuitively arranged but the bank of keys at the bottom is a bit cluttered and many of the sound modes get lost in the crowd.

The AVR-1611's power rating is quoted at 5x110W, and with movies it's certainly a powerful performer, taking huge dynamic shifts in its stride and handling the explosive carnage at the end of Avatar with neighbour-waking potency. It harnesses that power in a controlled and measured manner, too, and as a result the sound is mostly easy on the ear.

That may not suit those who like a bit more bite and aggression to their home cinema sound but it makes for a smooth listen. Crank the volume up too high and a few cracks begin to show – one or two screeching creatures tip the sound into minor harshness – but on the whole, audio is remarkably refined for an entry-level product.

It also rains down detail from every speaker, dredging up Pandora's gentle ambience and distant noises, while delivering speech with clarity and authority. All in all, the Denon AVR-1611 is a fine performer that gives its competition plenty to worry about.

Tech Specs

Product TypeA/V Receiver
Frequency BandAM, FM
Audio Channels7.1
Operating Power Consumption450 W
RMS Output Power75 W
iPod SupportedYes
Number of S-Video Inputs1
Number of Digital Optical Inputs1
Number of HDMI Inputs4
Number of HDMI Outputs1
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)0.1%
3D Type3D
Sound SystemDolby TrueHD, DTS HD, Dolby Pro Logic IIz, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital Surround EX, DTS-ES Discrete, DTS-ES Matrix, DTS Neo:6, DTS 96/24, Virtual Surround, Dolby Digital, DTS, Audyssey DSX
Brand NameDenon
HDMIYes
Upscale Scan Format1080p
Height170.2 mm
Width434.3 mm
Depth381 mm
ColourBlack
ManufacturerDenon Electronics (USA), LLC
Product ModelAVR-1611
Product NameAVR-1611 A/V Receiver
Manufacturer Part NumberAVR-1611
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://usa.denon.com
Marketing Information

Full Suite Of Surround Sound Decoders
The AVR-1611 features the latest high resolution audio decoders, including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, formats found on Blu-ray discs, and is also equipped with Dolby Pro Logic IIz, which provides the option of front height effects channels, for a dramatically expanded front soundstage. There's also Denon's exclusive Compressed Audio Restorer, which provides superb fidelity with your favorite portable music device.

Easy Setup With Automatic Room Acoustic Correction
Audyssey MultEQ dynamic room acoustic correction system features a microphone (included) to automatically measure the speaker configuration and provide acoustic tailoring for the best surround sound experience. Dynamic Volume helps eliminate jarring volume jumps during commercials, and Dynamic EQ provides a rich tonal balance at any volume level.

Weight (Approximate)10.21 kg