Since Denon has long dominated the market for home theatre receivers, it can be simple to forget what makes the company’s AV amplifiers such a popular option.
There isn’t much obvious evolution when comparing Denon’s most recent model, the AVR-X2800H, to its predecessors. Denon has a confident, “it ain’t broke, don’t change it” attitude and steadfastly sticks to its brushed black finish and monochromatic display, unlike other brands who have sought to add a touch of beauty to the noticeable heft that a home cinema amp provides.
Since the AVR-X2800H, like its predecessors, has one of the best feature sets of any AVR at this price point and is made to appeal to both serious gamers and movie buffs while bringing future-proof capabilities to an inexpensive price point, it is a kind of confidence that is well deserved.
The HDMI board of the AVR-X2800H has been modified for this model to feature three HDMI 2.1 ports capable of 8K@60Hz or 4K@120Hz video pass-through at up to 40Gbps, giving it a generous six inputs and two outputs. However, all inputs include 4:4:4 chroma sub-sampling and are compatible with a variety of HDR codecs, including HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and Hybrid Log-Gamma. The three remaining HDMI 2.0 connections offer a bandwidth of 18Gbps (HLG).
With VRR, QFT, ALLM, and FRL (Frame Rate Link) on board for a more streamlined playing experience, gamers are well taken care of. The Quick Media Switching (QMS) specifications for HDMI ORG have recently changed, and the AVR-X28000H supports the previous standard (exactly as the AVR-X2700), but not the most recent modifications. However, we don’t anticipate that this will cause any immediate issues for anyone. Additionally, eARC (Enhanced Music Return Channel) allows for the delivery of uncompressed audio over a single HDMI connection, and 8K upscaling is available on all inputs.
The AVR-X2800H supports Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Roon, and HEOS for wireless music playback. HEOS is Denon’s multi-room software that integrates streaming services like Tidal and Deezer and enables users to stream compatible products from anywhere in the house. Additionally, Bluetooth connectivity and a Bluetooth Audio Transmitter enable users to concurrently listen to speaker playback and wireless headphones on their own.
A USB port for a mass storage device is located on the front panel, and it supports the playback of high-resolution file types such as FLAC, ALAC, and WAV files as well as DSD 2.8/5.6MHz. For those who prefer physical music formats, there is a phono input, and radio enthusiasts will be happy to learn that the AVR-X2800H has a sister model with a DAB module.
The redesign of Denon’s graphic user interface to 1080p from 480p is another useful usability improvement for this model. We believe it’s a good addition that helps users understand the options available, especially if they’re not having their AVR professionally installed. Many brands don’t offer a full-screen video output for access to settings at all.
Users can use Audyssey MultEQ XT calibration technology through the new, classy-looking interface. In order to maximize performance, this software recognizes the size, kind, and arrangement of the speakers and measures their response in the space. The Audyssey MultEQ Editor software, which is available for purchase on iOS and Android, allows users to further customize settings, and a Dual Speaker Presets feature enables users to store and switch between two distinct speaker configurations and Audyssey settings.
A basic, step-by-step calibration process is always a welcome feature for those tuning the amp themselves, even though Denon’s more expensive AVRs include a more sophisticated version of this software and an optional upgrade for rival software from Dirac.
2800 can be set up to drive a 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos or DTS:X system because it has seven channels of amplification and 7.1 channels of processing. The DTS Virtual:X and Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization technologies, however, allow those without vertical channels to reproduce 3D audio for 7.1, 5.1, or 2.1 speaker configurations.
When compared to 2700, where they virtually sit on top of one another, the powerful synth parts of the soundtrack, piercing brass, and booming sounds have greater separation in the dramatic scene where the sandworm first emerges from the sand. On some sound systems, this scene can be unimpressive and practically choke, but 2800 provides each aspect some room for a more cogent, dramatic portrayal. Additionally, it seems like there is a little bit more dynamic headroom, bringing out more detail and assisting in generating impact through means other than just pure bass.
The Bene Gesserit whispers, whirling sands, and other high-frequency surround effects are sharp and clear, contributing to the development of a broad soundstage that feels precise but not too dispersed. Naturally, the dense presentation and pleasant sound for which Denon AVRs are renowned are still present, but with a somewhat diminished bass presence. The compromise appears to have produced snappier timing and a more balanced top end, even though some people might not notice its enormous impact in large explosive moments. 2800 performs more musically than its predecessor due to its enhanced timing. When the whole arrangement begins, space is provided to each instrument, and the rhythmic flow is strong.
The AVR-specifications X2800H isn’t all that much altered from those of its predecessor. But in part, that’s because the AVR-X2700H was already among the most feature-rich, cost-effective AVRs on the market.
With more HDMI 2.1 inputs, a redesigned user-friendly interface, and most significantly, a more responsive, coherent, and spacious sound, the AVR-X2800H raises the bar. Denon’s distinctive authoritative weight is still present, but it has been refined and balanced with a bolder top end that can better represent music and movies. It’s comparatively simple to use and well-equipped with its inbuilt room calibration software and a modernized full-screen interface. The AVR-X2800H maintains its position at the top of the class, just like its outstanding predecessor did, despite the price increase.