Denon AVR-S530BT Review
THE VERDICT
Despite being the entry-level unit in Denon’s line-up, the AVR-S530BT strikes an impressive balance between affordability, features, and sound quality.

Design8
Features7.5
Value10
Ease of Use8.5
Sound Quality9
The Good
  • The Denon AVR-S530BT offers great sound at an affordable price. Built-in Bluetooth allows you to stream audio from a variety of sources.
The Bad
  • Only three of the 530’s five HDMIs offer full 4K video support.
8.6Overall Score

Denon AVR-S530BT Design

The Denon AVR-S530BT is the latest entry-level AV receiver to roll off Denon’s assembly line. The budget-friendly 530BT sports a clean & minimal design. The face of the amp has a series of quick select buttons sandwiched between the input select and volume knobs, however, overall the button clutter is kept to minimum. The on screen interface is rudimentary, but serviceable. By today’s standards it looks dated, but its black screen with white text is easy to use and navigate.

Denon AVR-S530BT Review

Its difficult to find anything to complain about as far as the 530’s remote is concerned. It has a good layout with large easy-to-press buttons.  If you prefer to use your smartphone in lieu of the remote, Denon has an AV control app that works via Bluetooth. The app lets you switch inputs, control volume, and change between the amps audio presets. If you need to take a peek at the owners manual, the app also has a built-in direct link to Denon’s online user manual for the 530.

 

Connections

Denon 530BT Rear Connections

When it comes to connection choices, the Denon AVR-530BT has the basics. The amp has two analog inputs and three digital (two optical and one coaxial). The receiver also has dual subwoofer outputs. The 530BT uses spring clips for speaker attachments. This isn’t totally unexpected, however the competing Yamaha RX-V383 uses 5-way binding posts for the front left and right channels. There’s no difference in audio quality with spring clips or 5-way binding posts, but binding posts typically give you a more secure connection.


Along with the above inputs, the Denon 530BT has 5 HDMI ports. Three of the HDMIs support 4K video at 60 Hz, 4:4:4 Pure Color sub-sampling, HDR, HDCP 2.2, and BT.2020. The front of the 530 also has a headphone jack and a USB input that allows you to play MP3, WMA, FLAC and MPEG-4/AAC music files.

 

Entry-level amps typically aren’t endowed with networking capabilities and this holds true with the Denon AVR-530BT. However, this modest AV receiver does include Bluetooth. So if you have a Bluetooth enabled device such as a smartphone, tablet or computer you can easily send music over to the receiver. Denon has also been building up their multi-room audio capabilities.  They currently have an impressive list of Soundbars and wireless speakers that are compatible with their whole house audio system called HEOS.  The 530 doesn’t have HEOS built-in, but if you have the HEOS Link, you can use it to attach the 530BT to your existing HEOS eco-system and send audio to other HEOS compatible speakers in your home.

 

Setup

Getting the 530BT up and running is straightforward. As soon as the unit’s plugged-in the amp guides you through making the correct speaker connections and hooking-up your components. As I mentioned earlier, the Denon AVR-S530BT uses spring clips for speaker connections. If you have heavier gauge speaker cables fitting them inside the clips could take a little work.

 

The 530BT has a built-in calibration system that has the amp pump out a series of white noise type test tones. The included microphone captures the audio and the AV receiver then calculates the appropriate frequency crossovers, distances and speaker levels for your system. After calibration was complete I took a look at the settings the Denon AVR-S530BT prescribed and they were spot on.

 

Audio Quality

The Denon AVR-S530BT sounds bigger than it is. Its power rating is listed at 140 watts per channel, but in the real world its power output is about 70 watts with 2-channels driven. Push all five and you’re probably looking at 40-50 watts per channel. This may not seem like much, but the 530BT makes good use of its wattage. In my medium size room the amp had no problem filling it with sound.

 

When I sat down to watch Kong: Skull Island on Blu-Ray, I pulled up the scene where the helicopter squadron first encounters the lumbering giant. As they surround Kong, the helicopter rotors can be heard panning around the room. When Kong finally unleashed a guttural roar, the 530BT kicked the subwoofer into high gear.

 

When I next cued-up Terminator Genisys, the Denon AVR-S530BT again proved that it could dish out heavy-duty home theater audio. The 530BT easily replicated the grandiose opening assault on Sky Net’s base with explosions and particle blasts ricocheting around the room. Later on in the movie an MRI machine is weaponized in an effort to combat the latest Terminator killing machine. The low frequency hum reverberated around the room. The 530BT wasn’t just full of bluster, it also showed nimbleness and detail. Dialogue was clear and crisp and most importantly, vocals sounded natural coming from the 530.

 

The Verdict

The Denon AVR-S530BT proves you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good sounding amp. It may be light on features, but if sound quality is more important to you than having the latest tech, then the 530BT becomes a no-brainer.


Where to Buy:

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