Archive for category AV Receivers
Denon’s approach to its lower/mid-range AV receivers is to lay on the features and deliver crowd-pleasing sonics. It’s a winning combination, improved by its attention to ease-of-use. The Denon AVR-X2600H is an accomplished all-rounder that’s hard to find fault with (beyond its seven-channel limit and a few streaming omissions), and is a fine option for cinematic audio and music alike. The differences with last year’s model are too limited to require upgrading, though.
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More fun can be had from streamed music. Pioneer doesn’t go in for a plethora of genre/venue-specific post-processing modes (the choices are Classical, Rock/Pop and Unplugged) but that’s of no concern. The same full-steam-ahead approach it shows with film mixes is good for upbeat tracks and electronica, and the Extended Stereo and Extended Mono modes bring your other speakers into play without any enjoyment-robbing pseudo surround pretensions. Digital file playback includes 192kHz/24-bit ALAC, AIFF, FLAC and WAV – plus 5.6MHz DSD – but again I’m not sure if this receiver’s target audience will lap up this functionality.
“And you definitely want to use the app, because it turns Audyssey MultEQ XT32 from a solid room correction solution into a really, truly fantastic one, allowing you to establish your own target room curves, set a maximum filter frequency, and make other tweaks and adjustments that aren’t available via the GUI.
For this review, I tinkered around with a few different max filter frequency settings, but generally kept the filters below 350Hz, except with my surround speakers, where a bit of recent redecoration in this room led to some unevenness in the response just north of 500Hz. Since I couldn’t fix that with placement in short order, I set a 600Hz max filter frequency for those speakers, and noticed no deleterious effects for having done so”
To give the SR6014 an all channels on deck workout, I streamed the final scene from episode two of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan from Amazon Prime Video where the police get ambushed while raiding a Paris apartment. The Dolby Atmos mix here has automatic gunfire breaking out in every direction, with sound bouncing off the walls and ceiling of the small interior spaces in the apartment. As real as it sounded, I thankfully didn’t feel the need to duck and dodge any bullets. The explosion at the end of the scene underscored the Marantz’s ability to convey dynamic slam, even if much of the sound’s weight was delivered by my separate powered subwoofer. ”
The new UHD Blu-ray of Waterworld impresses with a full-bodied DTS:X remix. The attack on the atoll illustrates the kind of bold and cinematic soundscapes the Focal can produce. As the Smokers encircle the atoll, their machine-gun fire has a thrillingly percussive kick, and bullets rip through the metallic structure. Jet skis roar convincingly overhead and explosions are delivered with gusto.
There’s plenty of bass running through the entire film, in part because of James Newton Howard’s drum-dominated score. This is given a solid foundation by the Astral 16, while the built-in amplification showcases reserves of power, easily driving all the channels at once. Subtle effects generate the feeling of being isolated and at sea – water laps and wind rustles through sails – and once again the EQ brings these effects to the fore. Meanwhile, the all-channel soundscapes of the film’s underwater sequences are presented with water-logged realism.