THE GOOD:
The Denon AVR-S910W boasts excellent sound quality and features. Only the Onkyo TX-NR646 and the Sony STR-DN1060 are on the same level as the 910.

 

THE BAD:
The 910’s mid-range could use a little more warmth.

 

THE VERDICT:
The 910 boasts a healthy set of features which include HDCP 2.2, WiFi, Bluetooth, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.  Couple this with its fantastic sound quality and the 910 is near the top of the list of mid-range receivers.

 


RELATED: Denon AVR-S920W Review


7.2 Channel Denon AVR-S910W Review

Denon AVR-S910W Review

If the Denon AVR-S910W and last year’s 900W were side-by-side you’d be hard pressed to tell the two apart. If it wasn’t for the 910 emblazoned on the front, the two receivers would be nearly identical. The face of the 910 is relatively clean and uncluttered. The receiver has a series of  “quick” select input buttons nestled underneath its front display. Below that are pre-programmed sound mode buttons. The knob on the far left lets you cycle through the input options while the far right knob controls the volume.

 

The remote for the Denon AVR-S910W is one of the few remotes that I actually like. The button layout is simple and the buttons are large enough that you can comfortably press them without accidentally hitting the adjacent button.

 

For additional control, Denon has a remote app that’s a free download from the Google Play and Apple stores. The app gives you a decent amount of control over the receiver’s options although it’s not as robust as some competing apps it’s still pretty good.

Denon Remote App

Connectivity

The 910W has no shortage of connection options with it’s 8 HDMI inputs and 2 outputs. Even more impressive is that each input is HDCP 2.2 compliant with 4:4:4 Pure Color subsampling and High Dynamic Range (HDR). Comparing this to our other favorite receiver, the Onkyo TX-NR646, only three of it’s inputs feature HDCP 2.2 compatibility. Future 4K video may be encrypted using HDCP 2.2, so if you have a 4K TV you’ll almost certainly want a receiver that can handle this encryption tech.

Denon AVR-S910W HDMI Inputs with HDCP 2.2

 

The Denon 910  has a healthy supply of component, analog and digital inputs. Considering that these inputs are slowly dwindling on modern amps in favor of HDMI it’s good to see them have a healthy representation on the 910. Rounding out the connections are dual subwoofer pre-outs, an ethernet input and a front side USB input.

 

Wireless Capabilities

WiFi and Bluetooth are present and accounted for on the 910. Both are simple and easy to setup. The Denon AVR-S910W also has an ample supply of music streaming options available some of which include Pandora, SiriusXM and Spotify Connect. DLNA compatibility means you can stream tunes from a networked connected device or computer. Those with Apple gadgets also have the option of transmitting music to the amp via Apple’s AirPlay.

 

Audio Formats

The Denon AVR-S910W can handle an impressive selection of hi-res audio files including FLAC, WAV lossless PCM, as well as DSD. Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio are both staples in the home theater arena so the 910 of course decodes both of these formats.

 

Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are new formats which are making waves in home theater circles this year and the Denon 910 is capable of decoding both. Out of the box, the 910 decodes Dolby Atmos. However, DTS:X will be unlocked with a future update from Denon. Originally, the update was expected to come at the end of 2015, but evidently Denon’s pushed back availability of the update until early 2016. Both formats are object based sound formats which allow sound designers to create “3D Like” audio.

 

Setup

Upon initially booting up the receiver you’re greeted with full color on-screen illustrations that will walk you through your speaker and component connections step-by-step. The speaker terminals on the rear of the Denon AVR-S910W are also color coded and labeled which makes connecting your speakers a painless process.

 

Like it’s sister company, Marantz, Denon provides a cardboard calibration mic stand. Once the mic is placed on top, the amp uses it’s Audyssey Bronze calibration system to dial in your speakers based on their performance level and the acoustics of your room. The entire process only takes a few minutes and is well worth it to maximize overall system performance. Like most calibration systems you’ll want to check the settings to verify their accuracy. Our results with the 910’s calibration were pretty good. The speakers distances it chose were spot-on. The only problem we encountered with the setup was that it set our speakers to “large”. Nearly every calibration system we’ve used has done this, so we’re used to having to go in and correct it.

 

Audio Performance

First up with our listening test was Jupiter Ascending on Blu-ray. Jupiter comes packaged encoded with Dolby Atmos. Before we cued up the movie with the extra Atmos channels, we wanted to see how the 910’s Non-Atmos performance was. Suffice it to say, the Denon AVR-S910W was impressive on nearly every level.

 

Right off the bat, it was evident that the 910W is a precise and articulate receiver. When watching Jupiter Ascending, it’s level of detail was borderline remarkable. On top of this, the Denon AVR-S910W cast an impressively wide sound field that only a couple mid-range receivers we’ve heard this year have been able to match. Our favorite mid-range amp this year was the Onkyo TX-NR646 and I would say that the 910 is it’s equal.

 

Kicking over to the additional Atmos channels the sound stage opened up even more with the 910. Jupiter Ascending was one of the first Atmos movies to really show the potential of the new audio format. Towards the end of the movie as pieces of the Alien spacecraft are raining down, the sound of falling debris seemingly appeared overhead and smoothly transitioned from the front  to rear. Throughout the movie, in fact, Atmos is used to create a sense of depth and volume that can’t be achieved with normal HD formats.

 

John Wick
Switching over to another Atmos movie, John Wick, the effects are far more subtle. With John Wick the Dolby Atmos effects are used to create ambiance. This is also where the Denon 910’s attention to detail comes into play. Rain falling from the sky has height and weight thanks in part to Atmos, but also because of the pristine level of detail that the 910W produces.

 

The Denon AVR-S910W is also nearly as adept with music playback. Alabama Shakes Sound and ColorAlabama Shake’s Sound & Color CD had a spacious sound. This wasn’t a complete surprise since the 910 also provided the same wide sound stage with movies. Brittany Howard’s raspy vocals were sharp and clear. The only real flaw I found with the 910’s music reproduction was that it was almost “clinical” in its music playback. As far as sonic accuracy the 910 was spot-on, however there was a slight lack of warmth from the 910’s audio performance which meant some of the rawness from Howard’s vocals were slightly diminished.

 

The Verdict

The Denon AVR-S910W is a solid amp. With an MSRP of $579, the 910 is an excellent mid-range receiver. Across the board it checks off everything on the list; HDCP 2.2, Bluetooth, WiFi, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and most importantly good sound quality.


Where to Buy:

See Price on Amazon




Please like & share:

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)