Denon AVR-X3100W Home Theater Receiver Review 
Home Theater AV Receivers AV Receivers
Written by Andre Marc   
Friday, 12 September 2014

Last month while reviewing the amazingly priced Denon AVR-S700W, I wondered how Denon could offer significant performance improvements without a significant increase in cost. Well, here comes the AVR-X3100W. The 700 was was part of Denon’s entry level line, and the 3100 is the top of its mid-level InCommand line.

The AVR-X3100W offers 105 watts per channel, 7.2 channel capability, which allows for dual subwoofer use, and several eyebrow raising features. Like the AVR-S700W, the 3100 aims to serve as a complete home entertainment hub with basically no stone unturned, only with a few more goodies, power, and advanced options like the impressive Audyssey Gold DSP suite, which incorporates MultEQ XT, Dynamic EQ, Dynamic Volume, and Audyssey DSX. Then we have a host of HDMI inputs, a front panel iPod/USB input, Bluetooth, Wifi, Ethernet, AirPlay, online music services such as Spotify, network streaming, and more.

It would take pages and pages to go through all of the features loaded onto the 3100, but below are some highlights:

  • 4K Upscaling and Pass-Through with HDMI 2.0
  • Built-in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay, and DLNA
  • Audyssey Gold DSP with MultEQ XT, Dynamic EQ, Dynamic Volume and Audyssey DSX
  • Dolby Pro Logic IIz, DTS Neo:X, Audyssey DSX Additional Front Channel Options
  • Smartphone and Tablet Apps
  • Front USB Port
  • Powerful 7 Channel Discrete Amplifier with Eco Mode.
  • Multi-Room Listening
  • Dual Subwoofer Outputs
  • External Control and IP Control Capabilities
  • Flickr Photo Streaming
  • Made for iPod/iPhone Certified USB Input
  • I/P Control for Home Automation
  • Web Browser Control and Setup
  • Online Firmware Update Capability
  • 56 Station Auto-Preset Memory Tuning
Denon AVR-X3100w

Set Up

The 3100, following fast on the heels of the AVR-S700W, was inserted into the same home theater system. Paradigm speakers all around, PSB sub, QED and Kimber cables, with an Oppo BluRay player, a Toshiba DVD player,  and a Western Digital HD DVR supplied by Time Warner Cable. All sources were routed via HDMI, and a Vizio 55 inch monitor handled video duties.

Next I used the supplied microphone to set up and calibrate the room EQ with Audyssey, which took all of ten minutes. You then have the choice of Dynamic Volume, which levels out disparate volume levels from channel to channel, so you won’t be jarred out your seat one minute, then pumping up the volume the next. Once the settings are implemented and stored, you are ready to roll. All that was left was to connect to the network and assign the inputs, which took less than five minutes. Remember the days when setting up an advanced multi channel AV receiver was a pain in the neck? How times have changed.

 


Performance

The first thing I noticed was superb picture quality. Input switching was instantaneous, with no lag time. Using multi channel source material from HD digital cable and Bluray showed the 3100 to be an amazingly capable performer. The extra power, over the 700, was appreciated in the added control over the Paradigm woofers, and the extra headroom when wanting to experience realistic, neighbor-rousing volume levels.

DENON REMOTESurround effects are among the best I have heard during movies and sporting events. So realistic, I actually started getting flustered when I could not tell the difference between canned, everyday sounds, like phones ringing and doors opening, from the real thing! On more than one occasion I asked my wife who was at the door.
On multi channel musical material, the 3100 was beyond reproach. Bass was punchy, and the overall presentation was dynamic and convincing. Watching surround mixes on Bluray concert discs and the Palladia HD channel was very enjoyable.

Getting around to testing out all the 3100’s capabilities took some time, as there is very little it cannot do. AirPlay worked great with Apple devices, as did Bluetooth music streaming. Spotify sounded very good (a premium account is required). DLNA streaming was easy as pie. All of these functions are controllable via the Denon app.

The ability to use network and internet connectivity really opens up numerous doors for devices like these, and Denon takes full advantage. Another dandy feature packed into the 3100 is Denon Eco Mode. This can reduce your overall power consumption and features an on screen Eco Meter that lets users see power use in real time. The Auto Eco Mode can be set to automatically switch between normal and Eco modes, depending on the volume level used. This is quite ground breaking

 

Conclusion

As I noted about Denon’s S700W, the AVR-X3100W is a one-box entertainment wonder. It can serve a family’s every possible need. On top of all that, it is stylish if not elegant, does not take up much space considering,and is pretty future proof. It is easier to list what the X3100W doesn’t do than what it does!!

The competition among vendors of high tech entertainment hubs is fierce, benefitting the consumer greatly. As home entertainment technology advances, and mobile and streaming devices/services become more interwoven, compatibility and the ability to sync the needs of an entire household has become a reality. Well done Denon. The X3100W is a very advanced product, and the price is right.

Specifications



Denon AVR-X3100W Home Theater Receiver: $999

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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