Upgrading a simple home theater system that is several years old doesn’t sound like an easy task since you essentially have to replace every component with a modern one. While there are several companies that sell home theater system bundles, you still need an AV receiver to keep your components organized and ensure that their audio capabilities are maximized. When looking for an AV receiver, you might find some brands that you are not familiar with because brands like Denon focus more on AV solutions and audio components. The Denon AVR-2113CI is one of the high-end AV receivers that can actually serve as the first step in upgrading even a small home theater system as long as you plan on upgrading your other components in the future.
Denon brings the dual knob configuration to AVR-2113CI models and above where right knob is for the volume and the left knob lets you conveniently select the source. The four quick select buttons are still available in case you need to make your favorite settings easier to access. The various ports like the USB, HDMI and AUX inputs can be found just below the buttons and info panel. It is a generic design with Denon’s smooth finishes and it may look uninspiring to people that has seen lots of older AV receivers but it works.
The back of the AV receiver doesn’t look very overwhelming which is good for people that never installed an AV receiver before. Each set of ports has its own group so it should be easy to find the connections you need for your home theater components. There are 5 HDMI inputs available and a single HDMI output so it should be enough to connect a couple of media players along with a gaming console and cable box.
The Denon AVR-2113CI is primarily designed to work with the latest components including the 3D-enabled ones. Each of the 7 discrete channels is powered by 95 watts which is just enough to get a nice dynamic surround sound experience. This is essential if you will be watching the latest 3D movies although you must have 3D Blu-ray player as well as a 3D HDTV. If you plan on investing on a 4K display or projector, the Denon AVR-2113CI is ready to upscale any DVD and Blu-ray videos to the massive 3,840 by 2,160 resolution.
Many Denon models have both 3D and 4K support as well but the AVR-2113CI is more emphasized on the audio capabilities including the multi-room support. All you have to do is set up the speaker system in the other room and then make the appropriate connections to the Denon AVR-2113CI. This will result to 2 of the 7 channels being assigned to that zone. Another possible configuration is to connect another amplifier to the Zone 2 stereo outputs on the back so you can still enjoy the 7.1-channel surround sound experience in your main room while being able to output another audio source to the other room. Dolby TrueHD, dts-HD Master Audio and Dolby Pro Logic IIz are all supported.
Audyssey MultEQ XT is another technology that is incorporated in the AVR-2113CI which is designed to fix any acoustical problems that your current setup may experience. This means that you have the freedom to make the best arrangement for your room and then you can use this feature to make the appropriate adjustments to the acoustic profile. Thanks to the high-resolution equalization filters, this calibration feature ensures that the sound is clear and balanced even if you have a large or oddly-shaped room. Other Audyssey technologies that are part of the Denon AVR-2113CI also include Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume so you can enjoy the clear sound quality across all volume levels. This is useful if you are found of switching channels or input sources where you may need to turn down the volume.
The HDMI and USB ports on the front are useful if you want to easily hook up camcorders, smartphones and iPods without making a mess on the back of your home theater system. The USB port can also read USB flash drives in case you want to play back audio or video files from your portable storage.
The friendly graphical user interface makes it easy to setup the AVR-2113CI as well as use these extra features. But owning a modern Android or iOS smartphone can give you even more control of the Denon AVR-2113CI wirelessly. The Denon Remote App is compatible with Android and iOS devices just in case you want to control the AV receiver from another room. Perhaps the best wireless feature is the AirPlay support so you can use your iPod, iPhone or iPad to stream the entire iTunes library to the AV receiver. This is great if you have an advanced HDTV or Blu-ray player that lacks these AirPlay capabilities since the AV receiver acts as the hub anyway. It is also DLNA 1.5 certified so Windows 7 computers can join in on the media library sharing.
Unfortunately, there is no built-in Wi-Fi capability for the AVR-2113CI so you are stuck with figuring out how to connect your AV receiver to your router by means of an Ethernet cable. But once you successfully make the connection, you can also access several online services like Flickr, Pandora and SiriusXM.
The Denon AVR-2113CI is a nice premium AV receiver that delivers on its sound promises and only asks for $649. The support for 4K displays is a nice bonus because many of these displays will be out by the end of 2013 and it is quite possible for these displays to get even cheaper later on. Built-in Wi-Fi would have really made this an excellent AV receiver but you can still maximize the networking capabilities if you make some room adjustments. After all, the AVR-2113CI is still easy to calibrate and you can even set up the AV receiver for home automation if you use the built-in IP Control features and RS-232 port.
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