If you peruse the AV aisle at your nearest big box store you’ll notice something. All of the AV receivers basically look the same. They’re all big, black and boxy. Worse yet, they’ve been this way since the first AV receiver landed on store shelves decades ago. The AV industry has been begging for a design shake-up and it looks like Denon may have what the doctor ordered. When describing Denon’s new HEOS AVR I’m going to use three adjectives that I thought I would never use when talking about an AV receiver – sleek, modern, and sexy.

 

The front of the HEOS AVR is void of all buttons. In fact, the only visible method of interface with the receiver is the large volume knob on the right hand side. Being a member of the HEOS family, it uses the same twisty, asymmetrical design of other HEOS speakers.Denon HEOS AVR Preview

Before you run out and replace your AV receiver, there’s a couple of things you need to know about the HEOS AVR. Whereas most AV receivers emphasize home theater performance, the HEOS AVR’s prime focus is streaming. The AVR supports all major streaming services including Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, iHeart Radio, Deezer, Naptster, Tidal, Amazon Music, Sound Cloud and SiriusXM. The streamlined amp can also handle an array of hi-res music files.  The HEOS app is all you need to wirelessly send audio to other HEOS speakers that you have tucked away around your home.

 

In all, the Denon HEOS AVR can pump 50 watts of power per channel. This may not seem like much, but it should be more than enough for the run-of-the-mill home theater.  You can tether your existing speakers to the AVR via the five-way binding posts on the back. If you’re tired of seeing messy cables you can grab a set of Denon’s wireless HEOS 1 speakers and use them as surrounds. You can get rid of one more cable if you add Denon’s wireless HEOS subwoofer into the mix.

Denon HEOS AVR Connections

The AVR supports Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, but with only 5 channels of amplification you won’t get to enjoy Dolby Atmos or DTS:X.  For video, the amp includes 4 HDMI 2.0a/HDCP 2.2 inputs which means 4K video shouldn’t be a problem for this receiver.

 

The Denon HEOS AVR is expected to launch April, 2017 with an MSRP of $999. At this price point, the ultra modern receiver is going to face stiff competition. While it blazes past its competition in the looks department, there are other receivers at lower price points that have equal or better home theater chops. We’ll have to wait and see if the AVR’s performance matches its sexy exterior.
 


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