THE GOOD:  I’m reluctant to use the word “budget” with the Denon AVR-S510BT because it doesn’t sound like one. It truly sounds as good as some receivers that cost twice as much.

 

THE BAD:  The biggest gripe I have is that the spring clips make connecting thicker gauge speaker wire difficult. Also, it may struggle in large listening areas.

 

SUMMARY: The Denon S510BT is one of the top sounding budget receivers this year. It’s inclusion of bluetooth and HDCP 2.2 make it an excellent value. One of its chief competitors is the Yamaha RX-V379 and honestly speaking, I don’t think you can go wrong with either one. Although, the 510BT gets a slight edge because of its USB input.

 

 

5.2 Channel Denon AVR-S510BT Review

Denon AVR-S510BT Review

Appearance

The Denon AVR-S510BT is basically identical to last years 500BT. The front of the receiver is clean and uncluttered. It has buttons for input selection, sound mode selection etc., but between the remote and the Denon control app that’s available for iOS and Android devices, you’ll rarely have any use for these buttons.

 

The remote of the S510BT has a pretty good layout. None of the remotes we’ve seen this year are as simple as the sweet little clicker that’s packaged with Sony’s receivers. However, the 510’s remote is certainly serviceable.

 

Connectivity

The big feature being touted on AV receivers this year is HDCP 2.2. The Denon S510BT has a total of 5 HDMI inputs. Three of which are HDCP 2.2 compliant along with one HDCP 2.2 output. Basically this means the 510 is well equipped to handle future 4K-UltraHD content.

 

At this price you don’t expect a lot of connectivity options, so it’s no surprise that the 5.2 Channel Denon AVR S510BT has a limited supply of hook-ups. You get a couple of analog inputs and 3 digital inputs (2 optical/1 coaxial) along with 2 subwoofer outputs. The front has a convenient USB input which is great for attaching a USB drive or iPod to. It also includes a headphone input on the front.

Denon AVR-S510BT Review

 

The 510 isn’t billed as a network receiver, so you won’t find an ethernet port or built-in WiFi. However, it does include bluetooth. The Denon 510BT can remember up to 8 bluetooth devices at a time which is great for multi-person households. I was able to have my bluetooth enabled devices up and running in a few seconds without any major hiccups or snafus. Bluetooth typically isn’t a good conduit for transmitting high-end audio so it wasn’t a surprise to me that the audio was just “OK” via bluetooth.

 

Setup

Denon has really put a lot of effort into simplifying the setup process of their AV receivers. For instance, the 510 includes colored labels that you can apply to your speaker wires so you know which is which. All of the speaker terminals on the back are color coded and correspond with the wire labels.

 

The Denon S510BT uses spring clips for speaker connections. Spring clips aren’t as secure as binding posts, but they get the job done. If you have thicker gauge speaker wire, the spring clip openings are a little snug so it may take a bit of effort to get the wire to fit.

 

If you’ve setup an AV receiver before you can go ahead connect all of your speakers and move thru the calibration process unhindered. But, if this is your first receiver, the Denon AVR-S510BT doesn’t leave you hanging.

 

Upon first booting up the 510BT, it will walk you through the entire setup process from connecting your speakers properly to calibration. The onscreen prompts of the 510 are clear and concise and makes the entire process less intimidating for first-timers.

 

Calibration

Connecting the calibration microphone to the Denon AVR-S510BT will cause the receiver to blast out a series of test tones to each of your speakers. Based on your rooms acoustics it will compensate and adjust the speaker levels, crossovers etc. so that you get the best listening experience. The entire process is worth it as it only takes a couple minutes. You could manually make the adjustments yourself of course, but be ready to spend a good bit of time doing so.

 

After doing the calibration I still recommend going in and reviewing the settings. For my setup the 510BT had my fronts mislabeled as large which I quickly went in and switched to small. If this is your first receiver, you may be wondering why this makes a difference.

 

Essentially if the receiver marks a receiver as “large” it thinks the speaker is capable of creating a full-range of sounds from high frequencies to low frequencies. It has nothing to do with the actual size of the speaker. So even if you have big floorstanding speakers it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re “large” speakers. If the receiver thinks the speaker can handle the full range of sounds it will send all the low frequencies signals to the speaker. However, very few speakers are full-range and most are unable to reproduce the low frequencies that a good subwoofer can. Long story short, unless you know that your speakers can dip down to the 20Hz to 40Hz territory you’re better off setting them at small and letting your subwoofer handle the low frequencies.

 

Performance

Last year we felt the Denon 500BT came up a little short in the sound department. With the S510BT, it seems that Denon has corrected the flaws that held the 500BT back last year.

 

Across the board, the Denon S510BT is better. It has better treble response, better mid-range and better bass response.

 

Superman: Man of Steel sounded fantastic on the Denon AVR-S510BT. The battle in Metropolis came alive as Superman battled Zod. The 510’s treble and mid-range displayed excellent detail as shattering glass and falling debris exploded in our listening area.

 

The confrontation between Smaug and the Dwarves in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug sounded remarkable for a “budget” receiver. Smaug’s voice bellowed around the listening area. When the dragon spewed flames from its mouth the room sounded as if it was ablaze.

 

Switching to Expendables 3 on Blu-ray the S510BT’s performance was just as exciting as bullets seeming whizzed past my head. The 510BT proved to me that its capable of providing an exhilarating listening experience. However, even quieter scenes were handled well as dialogue was crystal clear. In fact, for the first time in a while I didn’t have to bump up the center channel level after calibration. The audio was well-balanced with dialogue never being drowned out by heavy on-screen action.

 

Conclusion

I like everything Denon has done with AVR-S510BT this year. They’ve improved upon all the shortcomings of last years 500BT while also adding a few notable items such as bluetooth and HDCP 2.2. We had great things to say about the Yamaha RX-V379 when we reviewed it and the Denon S510BT may be just a tad better.


Where to Buy:

See Price on Amazon



 

Please like & share:

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)