In the world of home theater receivers, manufacturers generally have two options to make every year. They can either play it safe by launching slightly updated models while marking down the prices of older models or switch things up a bit by launching a new family of home theater receivers. Denon chose the latter this 2013 offering a fresh new trio of entry-level home theater receivers called the AVR-X series. Denon plans to expand that lineup in the future but for now, you can get an early glimpse on what the series brings to the table by checking out the most affordable models of the pack. The Denon AVR-X500 is the most affordable of the series but comes with a lot of compromises such as a lack of USB port and inability to automatically calibrate the speakers. But step up to the Denon AVR-X1000 and you get a more complete experience and it only retails at $449.
The front of the Denon AVR-X1000 is minimalistic in a good way. The slim chassis only measures 13 inches deep making it possible to installer the receiver in tighter spaces or possibly a television cabinet. There are no panels to slide or doors to open which can be good for those that may need to occasionally toggle a setting or plug in a device on the front of the receiver. You can change input sources using the source select knob or by pressing one of the three labeled quick select buttons just below the info display. The fourth quick select button can be used to access a source connected to the receiver via network.
The front panel ports are few but most significant for today’s mobile devices. Apple devices and flash drives can access the USB port on the front so any MP3, AAC, WMA and FLAC files can be played back. Last year’s Denon model supported these file formats as well but in the Denon AVR-X1000, the Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) is supported as well. There is an HDMI port too in case you want to output video from a digital camera or camcorder. It would have been great if MHL support was added to this HDMI port.
Although there are only 4 quick select buttons on the front panel, there are 5 additional HDMI inputs on the back so you can hook up a cable box, game console, Blu-ray player and universal DVD player and still have room for 2 additional HD devices. There are no component ports to work with but older home theater components can utilize the limited set of audio and video composite inputs available. Unlike the older model, the speaker connectors are color-coded so you can better distinguish the “Front R” and “Front L” speaker connections, for instance. In terms of looks, the AVR-X1000 looks to be one of the easiest home theater receivers to understand.
Below is the back panel layout. Click on image to enlarge for a clearer view.
The Denon AVR-X1000 may be part of a new series but this particular model has been designed to succeed the AVR-1713 model. The Denon AVR-1713 had a lot of positive reviews by consumers and critics so the AVR-X1000 has some big shoes to fill. The X1000 is a 5.1-channel home theater receiver with a number of solid improvements that is sure to make new customers happy.
To make the Denon AVR-X1000 as easy to set up as it looks, the setup software has been improved with a friendlier on-screen GUI consisting of easy-to-follow text and icons. The Denon Setup Assistant guides you through the placement of the speakers with detailed illustrations.
One of the big reasons to consider the AVR-X1000 over the AVR-X500 is the automatic calibration feature which is necessary if you want your speaker placement to sound as good as possible for your desired listening spot. The Audyssey MultEQ XT technology that handles the speaker calibrations is used by the Denon AVR-X1000 and several other home theater receiver systems. Denon made the right decision to stick with Audyssey’s solution because the software supports 6 to 8 measurement positions for better calibration results. Also being supported in the AVR-X1000 is Audyssey Dynamic Volume which prevents sudden volume fluctuations that can possibly occur when a commercial break is shown or when the receiver switches to another source. The sound quality stays clear across all volume levels thanks to the Audyssey Dynamic EQ support.
Multi-zone support is a great addition for a sub-$500 receiver and unlike many home theater receivers in this price point, the Denon AVR-X1000 allows two different sources for each room. This means you can start listening to your favorite pop music in one room while others enjoy a different playlist through the speakers located in another room.
The AVR-X1000 is network-enabled as well making this receiver capable of streaming audio from online services and other devices in the network. Apple AirPlay is even supported which is fantastic since some receivers released in 2013 still don’t support the technology. AirPlay makes it a lot easier for Apple devices running a recent version of iOS to wirelessly stream any music tracks in the iTunes library. There is also both an iOS and Android app available if you want to use the mobile device as an extra remote control. There is no word if Denon will make a Windows Phone and Windows 8 version of this remote app but at least Denon made the Denon AVR-X1000 DLNA 1.5 compliant which means that Windows 8 and Windows RT computers and tablets can stream music to the receiver too. When connected to the Internet, the Denon AVR-X1000 can access music played by services like Pandora, Spotify and SiriusXM. Unfortunately there is no wireless options for the AVR-X1000 leaving you no choice but to put the wireless router within Ethernet cable reach.
Another interesting addition is the presence of an RS-232C serial port opening up the possibility of connecting the receiver to an automated home control system. Various big names in home automation are supported including Control4, AMX, Crestron and a few others.
It is hard to complain about this receiver because it offers so many nice features for such a low price. Add in the 3-year warranty and you have one of the best bang-for-your-buck entry-level receivers ever released.
Update: There is a newer model > Denon AVR-X1400H