Denon AVR-S700W& Envaya Bluetooth Speaker Reviews 
Home Theater AV Receivers AV Receivers
Written by Andre Marc   
Tuesday, 12 August 2014

D&M Holdings has been on a tear recently. The company that owns Denon has been flooding the market with products chock full of cutting edge features, and priced at amazingly reasonable price points. They must be keeping their engineers pretty busy as it seems they are keeping one step ahead of most of the competition. And, with economies of scale, their ability to innovate is certainly impressive.

I recently reviewed the DHT-S514 soundbar, which I really liked, and the fabulous DA-300USB DSD DAC and headphone amp. I found both products well made and engineered. The DA-300USB came in very handy as a reviewing tool, with its high resolution, universal format decoding, and great ergonomics.

These days, we have seen the market shift to a demand for products that can become the center of a domestic entertainment system. Fast changing technologies, versatility and ease of use seem to be paramount. Denon seems bent producing components packed with features that make one’s head spin. The subjects of this review are two products Denon kindly sent for evaluation. First, the AVR-S700W home theater receiver, and the Envaya Bluetooth speaker. This will be the beginning of a series of Denon reviews in the future, as the company is covering just about every market segment.

AVR-S700W


The AVR-S700W is a 7.2 multi channel entertainment hub that retails for an astonishing $450. The S700W is beautifully made and, out the box, looks like a far more expensive component. The packaging is excellent and the unit comes with everything you need to get started, including HDMI and analog cables, and a setup guide.

The feature set is off the charts, to put it mildy. Here is a brief summary of the basics:
  • 7.2 channels
  • 75 watts per channel
  • Built-in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and AirPlay
  • Six HDMI inputs
  • Built-in support for DLNA 1.5, Pandora, Spotify Connect, and Sirius XM
  • Native playback of MP3, WAV, AAC, WMA, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF, and DSD files
  • Audyssey MultEQ, Dynamic EQ, Dynamic Volume
  • Front panel USB input
As you can see above, there is essentially no stone unturned. Plenty of power on tap at 75 wpc, support for popular streaming services, and high resolution music file playback, including DSD. Holy cow.

Set Up & Use

The AVR-S700W took up residency where my reference Marantz 7000 series separates usually reside in my 5.1 system. I used my usual set of Kimber and QED cables, a full set of Paradigm Monitor 5 series speakers, and an Oppo BDP-103 Bluray player, along with HD digital cables.

After making all connections, the first thing I did was use the supplied microphone and tripod to use the Audyssey system to take measurements from the listening positions, using the on screen set up. In a matter of minutes all measurements were stored, and then I chose the setting on the Dynamic Volume menu, which evens out levels between channels and allows dialogue to be heard clearer. Then it was set it, and forget it.

From a video standpoint, the picture quality was superb. Switching between HDMI inputs was instant, and the supplied remote is well laid out and easy to navigate, no magnifying glass needed. HD digital cable was pristine, and consistently vibrant, sharp, and had depth. We watched dozens of movies, hundreds of hours of HDTV, especially sporting events, and were impressed with the consistency.

Denon AVR-S700W

Blu-ray discs on the Oppo were also spectacular from a visual standpoint. Really the only way to experience better quality video would be to buy a new TV, but my Vizio 55 inch set is quite excellent. Another impressive aspect of the AVR-S700W is the sheer amount of inputs as well. A family with gamers, DVD, CD, and Blu-ray players will want for nothing.

And the sound... In a word, breathtaking. The sheer power, control, and weight of the multi-channel performance is unprecedented at this price point. The AVR-S700W consistently laid out a realistic soundstage, with all dialogue crystal clear, sound effects strikingly real, and a very palpable weight to the presentation. One can only do better by significantly upping the power rating. But as for clarity, the AVR-S700W gets you close to the best.

I attempted to try every feature the AVR-S700W is equipped with, but fell short. I used the AirPlay function with an iPad, and was able to stream music files with ease. You can also stream audio while watching a video on the iPad. I also connected an iPhone via Bluetooth with ease and was able to listen to tunes within seconds. The Denon mobile app is quite nice. It allows control of the unit from a tablet or phone. This makes using online music streaming services a breeze.

The AVR-S700W is also a DLNA compliant network streamer, and can play files stored on any computer or Network Attached Storage device. All you need is server software on the host device. I am partial to MiniMServer for Mac, and Jriver for Windows. The front panel USB port can be used to play files from an iDevice or thumb drive. Navigation is easy, and file access quick.

Spotify and other commercial online streaming services are a snap to set up. You just need a premium account, and your sign-in credentials. Then sit back and enjoy. Denon realizes that the way most people consume music these days is changing, and they have made it easy to for an owner of an AVR-S700W to choose as they please.

Envaya

Envaya Portable Bluetooth Speaker

The Envaya portable wireless speaker is ergonomically gorgeous. It looks great, feels solid, and is easy to set up. Just like the AVR-S700W, the Envaya is packed with technology and cool features. First, it has built in Bluetooth with a something called, NFC, or Near Field Communications. Most importantly, it has the ever more popular aptX bluetooth technology, which many manufacturers have been incorporating. From what I have heard in other products, it is the real deal, and finally made Bluetooth quite competitive with other wireless formats.

The Envaya uses two 57 mm full range drivers and a 100 mm passive radiator to provide full sounding bass. There is an internal digital amplifier that seems to deliver plenty of juice. The battery life is specified at ten hours, and charge time from empty is two and a half hours. There is a USB port for on the go charging, and a supplied wal wart charger. There is also a mini headphone jack as well. On unit control buttons include Bluetooth, Power, Mute,and Volume up or Volume down.

The Envaya is available in black and white, and is supplied with four grill covers, each in a different color. A nice touch. I was partial to the red. There is also an integrated stand on the back panel, and an optional carry case is available. All in all, a very attractive package.

Pairing the Envaya with both an iPad and iPhone was a snap. The connection proved solid, without dropouts. So how did it sound? The Envaya produced very enjoyable sound that proved addicting. As a matter of fact, my wife hijacked the midway through the review period, using it in just about every room in the house with her iPad and laptop. I was surprised how much bass the unit was able to produce, and the clarity of the midrange.

 

I have to say, I pretty much fell in love with the Envaya and found it a fun product to use. Ergonomically, it is well thought out, and a quick glance at the set up guide is all you will ever need. At $199, I think it is very fairly priced, offering higher fidelity than many other Bluetooth speakers I have encountered, and if feels like a high-class product.

Conclusion

The Denon AVR-S700W home theater/entertainment hub is an amazing bargain. The S700W covers just about every base, looks great, sounds terrific, and offers excellent video quality. At $450, they are practically giving it away when you look at the feature set, build, and execution.

Envaya


The Envaya Bluetooth speaker is a delight to use and pairs perfectly with Laptops, iPads, iPhones, and just about any mobile device. At $199, it is a great gift, and has is very versatile. Lots of fun to use as well.

Look for more Denon product reviews here this year.

 

Specifications



Denon AVR-S700W Home Theater Receiver: $450

Envaya Bluetooth Speaker: $199

http://usa.denon.com/us/home


Review System 1


CD Transport: Musical Fidelity M1 CDT
DAC/Server:  Simaudio Neo 308D
Tape Deck: Revox A77
Headphone Amp: Pro-Ject Head Box II
Headphones: Grado SR60
Preamp: Channel Islands Audio PLC-1 MkII, Tisbury Audio Mini Passive
Amplifier: Audio Research VS 55. Bob Carver Black Magic
Speaker: Thiel CS2.4
Cables:  Stager Silver Solids, Darwin The Truth (IC), Transparent  MM2 Super (IC), Transparent Plus (Speaker) Acoustic Zen Tsunami II (AC),Transparent (AC).Shunyata Venom (AC) Element Cable Red Storm (Digital AC), DH Labs TosLink, DH Labs AES/EBU, Audioquest, Forest, WireWorld Ultraviolet, DH Labs USB(USB) DH Labs (USB)
Accessories: Symposium Rollerblocks and Svelte Shelves, Shakti Stone, Audience Adept Response aR6 power conditioner, Salamander rack

Review System 2


Multi Channel Preamp & Processor:AV-7005
Multi Channel Amplifier:MM-7055
Speakers: Paradigm Monitor 5 series in 5.1 configuration
Cables: Kimber, NuForce, QED, Audioquest
BluRay Player: Opp BDP-103
Cable: Western Digital DVR






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