A broken AV receiver can be a huge setback for any home with a nice home theater system because the overall audio experience can be significantly reduced without one. Typical AV receivers provide enough input ports to amplify the sound of several consumer electronics components like DVD players and Blu-ray players. Because of the important role of an AV receiver, these components can be quite pricey. But if you are just looking to improve the audio quality of a 5.1-channel sound system, you do not have to invest in a high-end or even midrange AV receiver. If you do not even know the characteristics of a midrange AV receiver, Denon’s new 2012-lineup makes the selection quite simple starting with the Denon AVR-1513. The features of the AVR-1513 pale in comparison with the other three “core” Denon models but Denon hopes that the price will convince average consumers to consider this particular AV receiver as a modern replacement for their broken or outdated AV receiver.
Despite being the budget model, the Denon AVR-1513 is a massive 17-pound component but it shouldn’t take as much space as a midrange or high-end AV receiver. Denon didn’t really cheap out with the construction just to cut the price as the Denon AVR-1513 was specially made to resist vibrations in order to improve the sound quality. This was achieved by having the power transformers mounted on the bottom chassis. The design also optimizes video playback as well by keeping the signal paths very short to minimize degradation.
It is about 3 pounds lighter than the high-end model and has a simpler looking front-panel that should serve as a friendly gesture for people that have never owned an AV receiver before. The only ports that are present on the front panel are the HDMI, portable in and phones inputs. The small power button is alone on the left while the large master volume control is on the right of the AV receiver. The thin buttons under the central info display are pretty standard like the tuner buttons and source select.
The back of the AV receiver isn’t very busy either. Three HDMI inputs can be found along with a neighboring HDMI out. According to the labels, the AVR-1513 is best used for home theater systems with just a single gaming console, Blu-ray or DVD player and satellite or cable box. Of course, you may have any set of devices you like as long as you understand the 4 HDMI input limitation. The front HDMI input can be useful for hooking up more portable devices like smartphones, camcorders and tablets. Other digital inputs include a single set of coaxial and optical inputs.
Below is the back panel layout. Click on image to enlarge for a clearer view.
One of the benefits of getting a modern 2012 AV receiver is that you are sure to get the latest standards and compatibility regardless of it being entry-level or not. The Denon AVR-1513 proves this by equipping each HDMI port with 3D pass-through technology making it possible for the AV receiver to connect and take full advantage of the latest 3D Blu-ray disc players. The 3D TV can be then hooked to the HDMI output to complete the 3D-enabled experience. If you haven’t purchased a Blu-ray player yet, you won’t need to get the pricey models with dual HDMI ports since the second HDMI port is for systems with older AV receivers. Deep Color and x.v.Color is supported as well which means great looking Full HD imagery.
But what really matters most in an AV receiver is the audio quality and the Denon AVR-1513 delivers with five separate 75-watt channels each equipped each with an independent discrete circuit. The end result is better sound quality when compared to the older models that rely on integrated circuits instead. Like past models, the support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD audio is kept because it is required for decoding Blu-ray content.
The stereo mini jack on the front may seem like an old-fashioned way in hooking up a portable audio player but it is definitely a fact that people still own these players. What is nice about the AVR-1513 is the Compressed Audio Restorer that adds some modernization to these old audio devices. This feature is very useful for people that have lots of average-quality MP3 files which often sound bad on the more sophisticated sound systems. The technology works by restoring the compressed audio source to give the overall audio fidelity a nice boost with enhanced details.
Setting up the Denon AVR-1513 is pretty easy as you are greeted with a simple graphical user interface with large and legible text. Turning on the AV receiver for the first time puts you directly to the Setup Assistant which guides you through the steps in getting started and making sure all the connected components work properly. This is a big deal for people that have never configured an AV receiver before because older models didn’t provide simple interfaces. You can even be more productive if you configure the four quick select buttons on the right side of the info panel as the GUI helps you assign various functions like a favorite volume level or input source to each button. The remote control is easy to learn and can work immediately as the AVR-1513 already comes with a pair of AAA batteries.
The key audio enhancements make the Denon AVR-1513 one of the best budget AV receivers available. Plus, all of these nice technologies are housed in a fine and durable construction. One of the main things that you have to consider before getting the AVR-1513 is the number of components that you plan on connecting to AV receiver. If you won’t exceed 4 HDMI-enabled components and don’t mind the lack of networking features, the AVR-1513 is actually the best choice out of the available Denon models because the power consumption is the lowest. The Denon AVR-1513 is priced at around $250 which is less than half the price of the high-end AVR-1913 model and comes with a generous 2-year warranty.