Denon AVR-S720W Review
The Denon AVR-S720W has nearly every feature you'd want in a mid-range receiver. With Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and 4K support the amp is basically future proof. The 720's only real drawback is its lack of connection options. If you can overlook that then you have one of the top mid-range receivers available.
Design8
Features8.5
Value8.5
Ease of Use9
Sound Quality9
The Good
  • The Denon AVR-S720W has great sound quality combined with a good set of features. The amp supports both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. 4K compatibility make it a future proof receiver. Easy to setup.
The Bad
  • The Denon AVR-S720W has a dated looking interface. The app can be a little buggy at times. Limited amount of connectivity options.
8.8Overall Score

The Denon AVR-S720W is one of Denon’s most recent batch of amps. After spending several weeks with the receiver, I can honestly say that it sounds as good as any in its price range. If you consider that it also includes many sought after features that home theater enthusiasts are looking for such as Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and 4K support it ranks near the top of the mid-range receiver list.

 


RELATED: Denon AVR-S920W Review


 

Denon AVR-S720W Design & Appearance

AV makers loath to change the exterior designs of their amps so it wasn’t shocking to see that the 720 looks nearly identical to its predecessor the S710W.  The receiver overall has a clean uncluttered look with a set of input quick select and sound mode buttons on the face. USB, HDMI inputs and a headphone jack round out the connection options on the front.

Denon AVR-S720W Review

The remote bundled with the S720W is serviceable. It’s not as simplified as some of the remotes we’ve seen from Pioneer, Onkyo and Sony this year, but it’s not overly complicated. The buttons are large and well organized so navigating  through the amps features are a cinch.

Denon AVR-S720W Remote

As an alternative, Denon has iOS and Android apps which can control most of the features on the 720. I wish I could say that the app worked perfectly, but the most recent iteration had a few stability issues. On occasion it did freeze-up requiring me to restart the app.

 

Connectivity

The rear of the Denon AVR-S720W has fewer connection options than its bigger brother, the Denon AVR-S920W. The amp only has two analog audio inputs and 3 digital (1 coaxial and 2 optical). If you have a lot of legacy components to hook-up, the 720 could be a little limiting.

Denon AVR-S720W Connections

On the other hand, the importance of HDMI is becoming a focal point of all manufacturers especially where 4K video is concerned. Luckily Denon’s made sure that the 720 is well positioned for this burgeoning format. In total, the 720 includes 6 HDMI inputs (including the 1 on the front) and 1 output. The kicker here is that all of the inputs are 4K video compatible. High Dynamic Range (HDR), 4:4:4 Pure Color sub-sampling, HDCP 2.2 and BT.2020 are all supported by the 720. The 720 will pass through a 4K signal, but it won’t upscale. Most modern 4K TVs are capable of upscaling to UHD quality so in my opinion having this feature on an av receiver is unnecessary.

 

Sound Formats

To stream music to the Denon AVR-S720W you have a handful of options at your fingertips. The receiver includes both built-in WiFi and Bluetooth. Pandora, SiriusXM, Spotify Connect as well as Internet Radio are featured on the 720. If you have an iOS device you can also use Apple AirPlay to deliver music to the AV receiver. One omission from the 720 is multi-room playback. Unlike Yamaha’s batch of receivers this year which are MusicCast compatible, Denon has left multi-room capabilities out of the Denon 720. The receiver does support Multi-zone functions, so its possible to play stereo audio in a second location if you choose.

 

Besides internet streaming, the Denon AVR-S720W can also handle a variety of high resolution audio files such as DSD, FLAC, ALAC, and AIFF. Unlike some manufactures (ahem…Onkyo), Denon has conveniently placed the USB port on the front of the unit which makes it a snap to connect a USB drive or external hard drive and stream hi-res tunes. If you prefer to stream music over your network, you can do that as well since the receiver is also DLNA compatible.
 


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In addition to music formats, the Denon 720 also incorporates Dolby’s and DTS’s newest audio formats, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. My review unit was already equipped to handle Dolby Atmos right out of the box. Once I had the 720 on my network, the 20 minute DTS:X update was ready to be downloaded. The 7-channel 720 can support a 5.1.2 Atmos/DTS:X speaker arrangement.

 

Denon AVR-S720W Setup

Getting the 720 up and running is a painless process thanks to Denon’s AV Quick Start Guide. As soon as you start-up the amp, the on screen prompts walk you through the entire setup process from connecting your speakers to network setup and calibration. Denon color codes all of the speaker terminals, so making the proper speaker connections is a simple process. The guide will also assist you with connecting components such as DVD/Blu-ray players and game systems.

 

Calibration is done using Audyssey’s Bronze package. Denon, like its sister company Marantz, includes a cardboard mic stand. Attach the included microphone to the top of the stand and the receiver does the rest. The Denon AVR-S720W sends out a series of test tones that it uses to set the appropriate distances, speaker levels and crossover settings for your system. If you’re using Atmos enabled speakers, the 720 will also set the appropriate settings for them as well. You can expect the entire calibration process to take you about 15-20 minutes, but once you do, you’re pretty much done unless you throw a new speaker into the mix.

 

It only takes a couple clicks to pair a Bluetooth device with the 720. During my time with the unit the Bluetooth connection was strong and stable for the most part. I had the 720 for over a month and during many hours of music listening there were only a couple instances of disruption in the Bluetooth signal. Not bad in my book. If you have an iOS device, getting the Denon  720 on your WiFi network is incredibly simple since you can share the WiFi settings of your device with the receiver. This eliminates the need to type in your password.

 

Sound Quality

Having just recently listened to the Denon AVR-S920W, the 720’s sound quality is nearly identical.  The 7-channel amp outputs about 75 watts of power at 8 ohms with 2 channels driven. At first glance this doesn’t sound like much, but unless you have power hungry speakers or a large room you’re trying to fill with sound it’s more than enough. During listening tests I managed to push the volume of the receiver pretty hard and the 720 handled it well with little distortion.

 

Warcraft is one of a growing list of Dolby Atmos movies on the market, so it seemed like a good test for the Denon AVR-S720W. It didn’t disappoint.  Battle scenes were expansive and encompassing. One thing that became instantly apparent with the Denon AVR-S720W, is that it doesn’t hold back in the low-end. Bass was thunderous coming from the amp. Initially, I felt the 720’s overhead effects were slightly restrained so I bumped up the sound levels of the Atmos modules which amped up the overhead effects.

 

The Denon 720 made short work of Gods of Egypt’s DTS:X sound track. The amp impressively reproduced the on screen action with sound panning around the room and, on occasion, appearing above my listening spot. Near the end of the movie when the Sphinx confronts the heroes, its voice boomed and reverberated throughout the room. The DTS:X sound track created a 360 degree sound bubble making for an enthralling listening experience. Quiet moments were also conveyed well by the 720 with dialogue sounding crisp and clear.

 

The Verdict

The Denon AVR-S720W is a good choice for anyone looking for a solid sub $500 AV Receiver. Great sound quality, 4K compatibility and Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support make it a complete home theater package. On the negative side, the 720 doesn’t come loaded with a ton of connection choices. Because of this, if you have numerous pieces of equipment in your setup you may find yourself quickly running out of input options.  The 720 usually runs about $100 less than its big brother, the Denon AVR-S920W. All things being equal, unless you need the extra connectivity options afforded by the 920 I would suggest that you save a few a bucks and pick-up the 720 instead.


Where to Buy:

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