Flagship AV receivers can surprisingly cost more than $2,000 but very few buy these types of AV receivers because they do not have highly sophisticated home theater systems like the ones that utilize 9.2 or possibility 11.4 channels. This may seem pretty sensible if you have multiple rooms to power but the AV receiver itself will consume a lot more electricity than a standard AV receiver. While the Denon AVR-3313CI isn’t really Denon’s most expensive AV receiver model, it is a pretty interesting model that may have a few premium features that perfectly suit your needs so you won’t need to shell out thousands of dollars to power your system.
Unlike most of the Denon AV receivers, the Denon AVR-3313CI actually looks pretty sleek as you won’t see anything but the info display, power button and master volume and source select knobs. Pull down the metal front panel below the display and you can see the main controls and several inputs in an organized layout. The directional buttons on the center make navigating the simple GUI rather easy and you can quickly toggle the Zone 2 and 3 settings from the front panel. The four customizable quick select buttons are present as usual in case you want to put other functions. Like most other midrange and high-end AV receivers, an HDMI port, phones jack, aux ports and USB port are readily accessible from the front.
But it is the back of the Denon AVR-3313CI that has all the unique goodies. The main highlight in terms of connectivity is the presence of 2 HDMI parallel outputs and a single discrete HDMI output. Having 2 HDMI outputs is already considered a premium feature because there is that enthusiast crowd that likes to output videos to two displays or have an HDTV and home projector setup. But with the third HDMI output, you can send two different feeds simultaneously to these two displays and still have one available. This can actually save money because this type of setup normally requires pricey external switches if your AV receiver does not have additional outputs. There are also 6 additional HDMI inputs on the back so small home theater systems have plenty of room for growth.
The “CI” suffix of a Denon AV receiver means that the AV receiver is “Custom Integration-Friendly” which is just the thing that custom integrators need when setting up the AVR-3313CI. It has the same friendly GUI as other Denon AV receivers so expect the Setup Assistant to guide you throughout the setup process. After you made all the important connections, you can dive into Audyssey’s award-winning technologies starting with the Audyssey Pro installer package. Using a maximum of 32 positions, the Denon AVR-3313CI can figure out the best sound quality settings by measuring the ideal sonic performance. It utilizes the Audyssey MultEQ XT setup process so all the necessary tweaks are applied automatically. All you have to do is position the calibration mic as instructed and everything should be taken care of providing that you finalized your setup. The nice thing about this technology is that it works in virtually any type of room even if the room shape is asymmetrical. You can even turn down the volume if your speakers are too loud because the Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume technologies also provided by Audyssey add clarity to the audio fidelity.
Because of the Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby Pro Logic IIz support, various speaker setups can be achieved with the AVR-3313CI without compromising any aspect of the audio and video experience. With its 7.2-channel specification, you can utilize the pair of surround back channels for powering the front height speakers to broaden the sound envelope. In addition to enjoying two different HDMI sources at the same time, you can expand to three zones where you can have a main room independently playing back music while two other rooms are playing back entirely different content.
Although there are Zone 2 and Zone 3 controls, controlling all aspects of the AV receiver can become cumbersome but there is a special Denon Remote App that puts the touchscreen of your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet to good use. This app is completely free and it has a very friendly interface for adjusting the settings for each zone. This app also allows you to configure some of the main settings as well. The only catch is that the Denon AVR-3313CI must be connected to the Internet and an Ethernet connection to the wireless router is the only way to make it possible.
But making a connection to the router opens up other possibilities as well. If you have any Apple device running iOS 4.2 or greater, you can use your device’s AirPlay feature to send your iTunes libraries directly to the AVR-3313CI without the need of plugging it to the USB port (although USB is still supported). Modern MacBooks with AirPlay can do this as well. Windows 7 users are not left out either because the DLNA compliance also allows audio content to be streamed to the Denon AVR-3313CI. No Internet browser is present so the Internet features are quite limited. Fortunately, you can still access some services like Flickr as well as a couple of online audio streaming sites including Pandora or SiriusXM.
On the video processing side, the AVR-3313CI has enough power to upscale any video source to 1080p. If you connect a 3D display to one of the HDMI outputs, the Denon AVR-3313CI can process that content through 3D pass-through technology as well. Then when it is finally time to buy that expensive 4K display, you can go ahead and do so without the need for replacing the AVR-3313CI because it can upscale video to that resolution too.
Perhaps the most attractive thing about the Denon AVR-3313CI is its price. For a reasonable $1,200, you pretty much get an AV receiver with 3 HDMI outputs as well as futureproof support for 4K video. Then you get the Audyssey audio enhancements that pretty much make AV receivers in general good. As long as you have plans to use the extra features as well as the home automation features, the value canít get any better.