The Good: The Denon AVR-S500BT has built-in bluetooth which many of it’s competitors in this price range don’t have. It’s also easy to setup with the included microphone and competitively priced.

 

The Bad: The sound quality is above average, but not great.  Basic Interface

 

Summary: The Denon AVR-500BT has above average sound quality, but it’s built in bluetooth gives it a leg-up on some of it’s competition. However, if bluetooth isn’t a major selling point for you, then you may want to investigate the Yamaha RX-V377 or Sony STR-DH550 which are in the same price range and sound a little better.

 

Denon AVR-S500BT Review

The Denon AVR-S500BT is one of Denon’s newest entry level receivers for this year. In this price range you don’t expect to see many advanced networking features, however Denon does manage to include bluetooth in the S500BT. Unfortunately, after hearing the S500BT in action we were forced to wonder if the inclusion of bluetooth forced them make other concessions in order to keep the price point low.

Denon AVR-S500BT 5.2 Channel AV Receiver With 4K Capability and Bluetooth

Price: $269.00

3.6 out of 5 stars (310 customer reviews)

4 used & new available from $152.00

Design

Denon AVR-S500BT

The Denon AVR-S500BT has a clean simple look. The front panel has a limited amount of button clutter which thankfully seems to be an ongoing trend with receiver manufacturers. The same design philosophy also spills over into the design of the remote control. While the remote isn’t as simplified as the remotes on Sony’s new receivers, it still manages to do away with many of the unnecessary buttons that have plagued previous AV remotes.

 

Overall, the Denon AVR-S500BT has nice array of connectivity options highlighted by 5 HDMI inputs.  It also includes 1 optical and 1 coaxial, 2 analog audio inputs, 2 composite inputs, 2 Subwoofer pre outs and 1 front USB input. In an effort to make the S500BT somewhat future proof, it also supports 4K passthrough via HDMI. The S500BT can decode a wide range of HD formats including; Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS 96/24, DTS Neo:6, DTS-HD Master Audio.

Denon AVR-S500BT

 

When looking at the back of the receiver, you’ll notice that it comes equipped with spring clips instead of 5-way binding post. This isn’t totally a surprise since most AV receivers at this price point use spring clips over 5-way binding post. For the most part the spring clips work fine. Although wires attached with spring clips do have a higher probability of coming loose. Not a big problem, but something you may want to look out for nonetheless.

 

Bluetooth is an added bonus which allows you to stream music from various bluetooth devices. The Denon S500BT is capable of remembering up to 5 bluetooth devices. Once you pair your bluetooth device with the receiver it immediately appears in the list of available devices and streaming music simply takes the press of a button.

 

Once you boot up the Denon AVR-S500BT you’ll be greeted by an archaic but functional user interface. It’s not pretty, but it’s relatively easy to navigate.

Denon AVR-S500BT Setup

Setting up the S500BT is about as easy as it gets. Taking cues from last year’s e-series, the speaker terminals are color coded. The 500BT also includes colored labels that you can attach to your speaker wires which makes identification easier.

 

Calibrating the Denon AVR-S500BT is also a cinch. Once you connect the included microphone to the receiver, it will walk you through the automatic calibration process which consists of the receiver sending out a series of test tones to each of your speakers and then adjusting it’s settings to your rooms particular acoustics. The whole process takes only a few minutes. For the most part, the calibration software did a good job adjusting our speakers settings. The only issue we had was with our subwoofer level. The receiver decided to set it anemically low. Manually going in and configuring it ourselves brought it back up to a more suitable level.

 

Performance

We started our listening tests with the Denon AVR-S500BT by throwing a variety of music at it. Overall we felt that the S500BT just did an OK job with music, but not great. Vocals were crisp and clear, but the mid-range felt a tad thin. We listened to Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 album and although the S500BT produced a clean sound, it wasn’t as full as we would have liked. The bass while detailed, was a little on the mellow side.

 

With movies, the Denon AVR-S500BT turned out to be a slightly better performer. Dialogue was very crisp and clear. The thin mid-range we had noted when listening to music wasn’t as prevalent when watching movies. The surround channels were fairly active. However, when watching several action movies we noted that the S500BT struggled to produce visceral low notes. Explosions didn’t have the necessary thump that you’d expect.

 

One of our favorite scenes from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King is the battle of Pelennor Fields. This act in the film can be brutal on subwoofers and surround channels alike. The active battlefield means there’s a constant amalgam of sound emanating from the surround channels. The oliphaunts marching on the battlefield can sound especially thunderous. The S500BT never seemed to be able to effectively convey the thunderous sound of the oliphaunts as they marched. Even after increasing the levels on our subwoofer, it still didn’t seem to have the punch that we expected.

 

Conclusion

The Denon AVR-S500BT for it’s price point includes some nice features like bluetooth and 4K pass through. It has above average audio output for music. The S500BT sounds much better with movie playback however, despite having detailed bass output, it doesn’t quite have the punch that some action movies need. The Denon AVR-S500BT faces some hefty competition in this price range. Both the Sony STR-DH550 and the Yamaha RX-V377 sound just a little better. If bluetooth isn’t a necessary requirement for you, then you may want to give these two receivers consideration as well.
 


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