Denon AVR-S710W 7.2 Channel Receiver Review
THE VERDICT:
One of the Denon 710’s top competitors in this price range is the Onkyo TX-NR545. Both receivers have good dynamics. However, throw-in Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, HDCP 2.2 and it’s overall good sound quality means the 710 edges out most of the competition.

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Design7
Features9.5
Value8.5
Sound Quality8
The Good
  • The Denon AVR-S710W has an aggressive edge to it with a spacious sound stage. Dolby Atmos makes for an immensely enjoyable home theater experience.
The Bad
  • The 710’s treble reproduction could use a little more detail.
8.3Overall Score

Denon AVR-S710W

Denon AVR S710 Review

AV receivers have been stuck in time. Receiver manufacturers apparently loath to change the design of their amps. That being said, the Denon AVR-S710W is nearly identical to last years AVR-700. The front panel is mostly button clutter free. You do have a few buttons for input selection and sound modes etc., but for the most part the 710 has a minimal look and feel.
 


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The remote for the Denon S710W is more usable than most that you’ll find packaged with an AV receiver. The buttons are well laid out and fairly large which makes it easy to make selections.

Denon Remote App

Denon Remote App

If you’re still not a fan of the remote, Denon has a control app for Android and iOS devices. Unlike Yamaha’s, Onkyo’s and Pioneer’s apps, Denon’s isn’t as feature rich, but it allows you to control the basic functions of the receiver.

 

Denon AVR-S710W Inputs

The Denon AVR-S710W gives you a decent supply of HDMI 2.0a inputs with a total of six and one output. The HDMI’s are HDCP 2.2 copy protection friendly and support High Dynamic Range (HDR). Other connection options are a little sparse with only two analog audio connections and no component. This isn’t all that surprising as many manufacturers are phasing out analog inputs in favor of digital inputs which are becoming vastly more popular on electronic devices. The Denon S710 also comes with three digital connections (1 coaxial and 2 optical) and a USB input on the front.

 

Denon AVR-S710W Wireless Connectivity

For music streaming, the Denon AVR-S710W is DLNA 1.5 certified so you an easily stream music from a networked PC or MAC. Built-in WiFi and Bluetooth allow for wireless network music streaming. The Denon 710’s dual antennas provided a stable WiFi connection when I tested it which allowed for lengthy uninterrupted music streaming sessions. Baked into the 710 are a robust supply of music streaming apps such as Pandora, SiriusXM and Spotify Connect. Apple’s AirPlay service ,which allows you to push tunes from your Apple device to the amp wirelessly, is also supported by the 710.

 

Audio Formats

The Denon S710 can handle several hi-res audio formats (up to 24-bit/192-kHz) including FLAC, WAV lossless and DSD. For multi-channel home theater situations it’s equipped to tackle Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio formats. However, under the hood the Denon AVR-S710W hides a quad core 32-bit DSP processor. This processor helps the 710 tackle two new audio formats, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Both of these two new formats are object based which allows sound engineers to create near “3D-like” sound effects thru the use of additional channels.

 


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In Atmos’ case this is usually achieved thru the use of ceiling channels or specially designed Dolby Atmos speaker modules. The Denon AVR-S710 is ready to rock n’ roll with Atmos right out of the box. DTS:X is expected to be available as a firmware update any day now. As of the writing of this review it wasn’t yet available for download.

 

Setup

Denon has done a bang-up job the past couple years simplifying the setup process for their receivers. The back of the Denon AVR-S710W is clearly labeled and color coded. When first booting up the amp, the 710 will also assist you with step-by-step instruction on getting everything up and running.

 

Denon uses Audyssey’s Bronze package for calibration. Plug in the included measurement microphone and the receiver takes care of the rest. Denon includes a cardboard mic stand that the microphone sets on top of. The Denon AVR-S710W gives you on screen prompts for placing the microphone at six different location. Test tones are blasted thru your speakers and captured by the receiver which then uses these measurements to adjust your speakers based on your room’s acoustics. The entire process consumes about 15 minutes.

 

As usual, I always recommend that you check the settings after calibration. Audyssey set my fronts and rears to large.  Switching them to small and setting the crossover to a THX recommended 80Hz created a more dynamic listening experience.

 

Denon AVR-S710W Sound Quality

If I could use one word for the Denon 710’s sound quality it would be aggressive. With action movies it doesn’t hold back. Mad Max: Fury Road was a brutal assault on my ears with bullets ringing in all directions. The audio track for this crazy flick has a persistent rumble that permeates nearly every scene and the 710W reproduced it with joyous enthusiasm. When watching it with Dolby Atmos the sound stage immediately opened up with voices and explosions appearing overhead.

 

Switching to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Atmos immediately makes the listening area sound taller. The Turtles movie was one of the earlier movies to encode Atmos on Blu-ray, so I personally feel that it was underutilized. However, when it is used the Denon 710 immediately shows the benefits and future potential of the new format.

 

Avengers: Age of Ultron runs the gambit of sounds. The Hulk and Iron Man going at it in the middle of a city gave the surround channels plenty of work with debris seemingly raining down in my listening area. Each of the Hulk’s punches landed with a gut wrenching, but satisfactory thud. The Denon AVR-S710W also showed good detail with every click and clank of Iron Man’s metal uniform being easily audible. Edge of Tomorrow is another movie that really pushes the surround capabilities of an av receiver. When comparing the Denon 710 to the Onkyo TX-NR646 which I demoed a few weeks ago, the 710’s transitions from the front speakers to the rears isn’t as smooth. It’s good, but just not as good.

 

The Denon AVR-710W’s  musical performance, while good, is just a notch away from being great. The 710 provided an exciting and powerful performance across the board with all genres of music. It’s lack of detail was its greatest weakness. For instance, on Miles Davis’ My Prince Will Come, the instruments lacked separation and distinction.

 

When compared to playing music directly from a USB or via a network storage device, bluetooth had less depth and clarity with vocals sounding slightly recessed. This is more of a shortcoming of bluetooth technology rather than the receiver since I’ve experienced this on nearly every bluetooth enabled receiver I’ve tested.

 

Conclusion

The Denon AVR-S710W is a quality mid-range receiver. Its aggressive and exciting sound reproduction make it a great amp for home theater use. While it sounds great, it’s transitions from the front speakers to the rear speakers aren’t as cohesive or as smooth as class leaders like the Onkyo TX-NR646. That being said the Onkyo 646 also costs  $200 more. When compared to Onkyo’s step-down model, the Onkyo TX-NR545,the playing field is just about equal. However, the Denon AVR-S710W may have a slight edge because of its inclusion of DTS:X.


Where to Buy:

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