|Denon AVR-2807 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver|
|Home Theater AV Receivers AV Receivers|
|Written by Yoshi Carroll|
|Friday, 01 September 2006|
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When Denon revealed the AVR-2807 7.1 channel receiver at last winter’s Consumer Electronics Show, it caused noticeable ripples of excitement by redefining what a mid-level receiver is capable of doing. With a retail price of $1,099.00, the 2807 remains affordable, while borrowing advanced features and options from its more expensive siblings, features such as analog to HDMI video switching and up-conversion, Denon’s own Audyssey Room EQ and AL 24 Processing Plus. Also available are ports for optional devices offering advanced iPod connectivity and XM Satellite Radio. Right there, the Denon 2807 already has more going for it than most. Don’t forget all of these features are encased in Denon’s trademark black housing, which at first glance is rather barren except for two rather large dials on its face, which control function and volume. Measuring in at 17 inches wide by a little over six-and-a-half inches tall and a manageable 17 inches deep, the Denon 2807 isn’t quite as massive as some of its competition, but at a hair under 30 pounds, it shouldn’t be taken lightly, either. The 2807’s face is as uncluttered as they come, given the plethora of features and sheer horsepower the receiver has under the hood. The rather large LCD screen provides the consumer with all necessary information, from surround sound settings to set-up assistance. Under the LCD panel rests a trap door that conceals the various manual controls, as well as auxiliary inputs for electronics such as video games or camcorders.
Looking to the back panel, I found all of the connections today’s high-performance home theater buff is looking for, as well as a few you may never have seen before. For starters, there are seven traditional RCA audio inputs and four RCA outputs, with each one assignable to a specific component through the 2807’s set-up menus. Another thing to point out is the 2807’s inclusion of a phono stage and a direct input for traditional two-channel sources, such as your favorite turntable or CD player. The 2807 has 7.1 analog inputs for multi-channel music and movies, in addition to a complete set of 7.1 pre-amp outs. The 2807 also has ample digital audio inputs for your components, with four optical and two coaxial inputs. There are also two optical outs. Two more features not found on most receivers, even in the 2807’s price bracket, are an XM radio input (XM subscription and antenna sold separately) and an iPod docking input, which allows the 2807’s to control your iPod via an optional docking station. Lastly, there are nine pairs of five-way binding posts, which can be somewhat configured to fit the user’s needs.
On the video side of things, the 2807 has six composite and S-video inputs and four composite and S-video outputs. The 2807 has three sets of component inputs and two component monitor outs that allow the user to connect a variety of HD-ready components and to send those HD signals to two standard or HD-compatible monitors. But wait. HDMI is all the rage these days and no receiver is worth its salt without HDMI connectivity. Well, my friends, you’re in luck, for the 2807 has two 1080p-capable HDMI inputs and a single HDMI monitor out. It should be pointed out that the 2807 has full HDMI up-conversion from any of its analog video sources, resulting in only one cable having to run between it and your monitor or projector. It always surprises me how manufacturers are able to fit so many features and connection options into what is, when you think about it, a rather compact chassis. Not to mention a detachable power cord, two AC inputs, 12-volt triggers and an RS-232C port for custom installations.
Ron White says don’t marry for looks alone, because stupid is forever. Well, the Denon 2807 has plenty going for it in the brains department, as well as the brawn. With 110 watts over all of its channels, the 2807 isn’t likely to run out of steam when rocking out or playing your favorite action flick. The 2807 also features the latest surround sound decoding options from Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Prologic II, DTS, DTS ES and a variety of Denon’s own virtual surround settings and direct modes.
The 2807 also features Denon’s own auto set-up protocols, which make installing and calibrating the 2807 relatively trouble-free via the included set-up microphone. Throw in several EQ settings, including an Audyssey Laboratories EQ standard, the MultEQ, which allows for multiple viewers within a home theater or living room space to essentially enjoy the same sonic goodness regardless of their location in the room. On paper, it seems too good to be true, but the writing is on the wall for something truly special.
I can’t forget about the remote, although I wish I could. It is not all that special when compared to the rest of the 2807’s fairly slick design. The remote is rather large, with a barrage of buttons just screaming, “Guess what I do?” Well, due to the labeling being too small and the remote’s lack of backlighting, I’m afraid that’s what I have to do – guess. In full daylight, the remote does put all of the 2807’s numerous controls right at your fingertips, but come movie time, you’re going to be fresh out of luck if you want to make any sudden changes with this thing.
The first obstacle any new piece of electronic gear must pass in my home is a 10-minute out of the box test. I should be able to unwrap and enjoy music or movies within 10 minutes of placing said equipment on my rack. Any more than that and the Christmas morning feeling starts to fade. Yes, I know, it isn’t proper, but honestly, this is how everyone I’ve ever known sets up his or her gear. I believe set-up and connection procedures should be clear enough to allow for the average consumer to enjoy a certain sonic bliss straight out of the box to let him or her know the money hasn’t been wasted. If it sounds like a million bucks with zero effort, imagine how it will sound when completely calibrated. I started by connecting my Denon DVD player to the 2807 using a single HDMI cable from Monster to handle both audio and video signals. Next up was my HD satellite box, which also utilizes an HDMI output, which I connected with Monster cable to the 2807. I chose to connect my VCR and videogame systems to the 2807, using more standard (if outdated) S-Video cables to test the 2807’s switching capabilities. The Denon 2807 was then connected to my trusty Sony SXRD display via a single HDMI cable from Monster Cable for the duration of the review.
Once everything’s connected and turned on, pressing set-up on the remote brings up an easy to follow onscreen menu. Not all receivers can project their menus onscreen when using an HDMI connection, but the 2807 can. Small warning here: once the set-up menu is pressed, there’s a short pause before the menu comes up during which the screen is blank and the receiver clicks a few times. This is perfectly normal operation and nothing to be alarmed about. The basic set-up process is fairly intuitive, providing you’re familiar with the terminology. If not, your best guess will probably be correct. Scrolling to the sources menu, I choose the appropriate video and audio inputs for each source and I’m done. That’s it for the receiver. Depending on your DVD player, there might be an extra step, and that’s configuring HDMI audio in the player’s set-up. For my Denon DVD-2910, this means going into the audio set-up menu, and changing the HDMI setting from “2-Channel” to “Multi-Channel.”
Next, I cued up the 2807’s auto set-up feature to help me tailor the sound to my speakers and room. It should be pointed out that this can be done manually with an SPL meter, if one were so inclined. However, I have to imagine most will opt for the auto set-up, as I did. Once auto set-up is chosen, the receiver emits a series of test tones and, using the provided microphone placed at the listening position, it compares the in-room sound with the ideal generated sound and tries to compensate for the room’s acoustic imperfections. If the room emphasizes high frequencies, and most do, the receiver will try to compensate by deemphasizing those frequencies until the end result you hear is as close to perfect as possible. Think of it as an extremely sophisticated, automated version of those old bass and treble controls.