Denon AVR-X1200W REVIEW
THE VERDICT
The Denon AVR-X1200W is a top-flight receiver with top-flight sound quality. With an MSRP of $599 it's one of the better home theater deals on the market. Throw in Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support and the 1200 becomes a no-brainer.
Design8
Features8
Value8.5
Performance9.5
The Good
  • The Denon AVR-X1200W produces powerful focused sound making it a great home theater amp. Its bevy of top-shelf features which include 4K compatibility, WiFi and Bluetooth puts it in an elite category.
The Bad
  • About the only shortcoming of the 1200W is its sparse supply of analog audio inputs. However, with HDMI taking over the world, analog connections aren’t nearly as important as they used to be.
8.5Overall Score

The 7.2 channel Denon AVR-X1200W is smack dab in the middle of Denon’s amp line-up. It’s your typical av receiver, a dash of black with just a touch of blocky. Boasting about 80 watts of power per channel the Denon 1200W should be suitable for most mid-sized home theater rooms.
Denon AVR-X1200w Review

 

On the surface, the 1200 is basically identical to last year’s 1100W. The face is clean with very little button clutter. The brushed metal front panel is interrupted by a small LED panel on the front. An input select and volume knob are positioned on the left and right sides of the front panel. The remote bundled with the 1200 is serviceable. The buttons are large and logically laid out making it easy to use.

 

The amp’s on screen menu is simple and no frills. At first glance this may seem like a negative however, the simplicity of the menus makes navigating through the Denon 1200w’s settings easy. If you want a little more eye candy, you can download Denon’s app from the iOS and Android app store and install it on your smart device. Graphically it’s far more interesting the Denon’s onscreen menus and it gives you basic control of the amps features. It’s not as robust as Yamaha’s or Onkyo’s apps but after using it for a while, it may become your preferred choice for controlling the receiver.

 

Connectivity
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If you have a large number of analog equipment you may feel a little short changed by the Denon AVR-X1200W. On the back it has a total of two analog audio/video inputs, three digital inputs (2 optical & 1 coaxial), two subwoofer pre-outs, one ethernet, a USB input, and one zone two pre-out. A total of six HDMI inputs are available on the 1200W including one input on the front. The HDMI’s utilize the latest 2.0a standard and support 60 Hz full rate video, 4:4:4 Pure Color sub-sampling, HDR (high dynamic range video) and HDCP 2.2 copy protection. The latter of which is needed to handle encrypted 4K video. With this in mind, if you have a 4K TV and you’re looking for a new AV Receiver you definitely want to make sure it supports HDCP 2.2. The Denon 1200W will pass through 4K video, however upscaling is not available on this model. Truth be told the ability to upscale to 4K video is probably not needed on av receivers. Nearly every 4K TV is able to upscale to Ultra HD quality, so even if your receiver has this capability you’ll probably never use it.

 

Once an option, built-in WiFi and Bluetooth are a must on modern AV amps. The Denon AVR-X1200W is no exception as it includes both features. Internet streaming options are pretty robust as it has vTuner, Pandora, Spotify and SiriusXM. Apple’s AirPlay which lets you push tunes from your Apple device to the receiver, is also present and accounted for. DLNA compatibility means you can stream music across your network from sources like a PC or network attached storage device. The simple menus of the 1200 make it easy to navigate and play music from your storage drive.

 

HD music lovers aren’t left in the cold. The 1200W handles DSD,FLAC, ALAC and AIFF audio formats. Plop in a USB drive loaded with your latest Hi-Def files and you can easily play them through the receiver.

 

Newest Sound Formats

It’s no surprise that the Denon AVR-X1200W can handle Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, as they’ve become home theater standards. However, the 1200 can also decode Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Dolby and DTS have been slugging it out for years with each producing competing audio formats. Atmos and DTS:X represent the latest chapter in the slugfest. Both are object based formats that allow sound engineers to use additional audio channels to place sounds at a specific location in space. This is usually achieved through the use of additional height channels to create overhead effects. The 7 channel Denon AVR-X1200W can be setup in a 5.1.2 arrangement.

 

Setup & Calibration

Calibrating the Denon AVR-X1200W is a simple process. The 1200 uses Audyssey’s Silver calibration package to dial-in your speakers and make acoustic room adjustments. Once you start the calibration process you’ll need to place the calibration microphone at 8 locations in your listening area. Luckily, to aid the process, Denon includes a cardboard mic stand to set the mic on top of. After we completed the entire process, the Denon X1200W did an admirable job dialing in our speakers with one exception. Our speaker crossovers and distances were set well however, Audyssey dialed back the sub a little too much which made our system sound a little anemic. It was easy enough to fix by bumping up our sub level in the settings menu.

 

Denon advertises that the 1200W is easy to setup and use. True to their word, WiFi and Bluetooth are a cinch to use. While streaming via WiFi we never experienced any drop outs or delays. Bluetooth also worked flawlessly once we paired our devices with the receiver. As usual with Bluetooth the sound quality isn’t top-tier as music tends to lose some of its dynamics. However, this is more of a shortcoming of the format and not the receiver.

 

Performance

Jupiter Ascending on blu-ray was our flick of choice to test out the 1200. We also used the same movie when testing the step-up model the Denon AVR-X2200W. To its credit, the 1200W sounded nearly identical to the 2200W. Even though it’s a tad less powerful than its big brother it showed few signs of distortion at high volume levels.

 

A welcomed attribute of the 1200W is its neutral sonic signature which doesn’t add coloration to any sound track. With Jupiter Ascending cued up, the Denon AVR-X1200W displayed an aggressive quality that eagerly attacked the fast paced sound track of the Sci-Fi flick. The 1200W’s ability to broadcast a wide sound stage created a tantalizing and engaging surround sound experience. Sound moved smoothly from the front to the rear of our listening area. It’s effortless transitions reminded us of another favorite amp of ours, the Onkyo TX-NR646. The 1200W gave impressive weight to on screen explosions and other bass heavy scenes. Despite this, the receiver displayed extreme detail and focus.

 

Dolby Atmos is a format that many approach with skepticism however, after watching a few flicks with it, I’m a true believer. The format adds a layer of sound that truly envelopes you and puts you in the thick of what’s happening on screen. In Jupiter Ascending’s case explosions manifested overhead and gravity boots seemingly appeared and whizzed above our ears. Everest on blu-ray isn’t on my list of top movies, but listening to the Atmos sound track is worth the price of admission. Listening to the wind whip around and above us chilled me to the bone.

 

Conclusion

The Denon AVR-X1200W is an impressive amp. It has ample features coupled with terrific sound. Its shortcomings are few and far between making it a solid choice for anyone looking for a new 7 channel receiver.

 


Where to Buy:

See Price on Amazon


 


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