The Denon AVR-X3000 comes hot on the heels of the recently launched AVR-X1000 and X2000. It sits in the middle of the range of Denon’s new X-series of home theater receivers. Although it is mid-priced, its comes with a feature set that leaves no stones unturned. Featuring the latest advancements in audio and video technologies it also comes with a wealth of connectivity options and seamless integration with mobile devices making it a worthy companion for standard HDTVs and as well as the latest 4K displays.
The Denon AVR-X3000 is a pretty advanced home theater receiver under the hood but the front design doesn’t really show that. It looks like an entry-level AV receiver but it is designed in the right way by putting only the most important connections and buttons on the front panel. The overall layout is pretty generic and you have access to some key controls like the Zone 2 controls and quick select controls. This makes it easy to quickly switch to the desired input source. The quick select buttons are most useful because you can customize them. A single button press can select the input source and at the same time, apply your desired surround mode, volume level and EQ settings.
As far as front panel connections are concerned, Denon is out with the old and in with the present with USB and HDMI ports serving as the main terminals for mobile devices. There is also a setup mic port for calibration purposes and the phones jack which is standard across any AV receiver.
The back of the Denon AVR-X3000 is where things get a bit more exciting. Not only are there plenty of connections available but these connections are grouped to make it easier for inexperienced individuals to set up their home theater system. Connecting the speakers is a simple process since each positive and negative group has its own color coding for each of the color-coded speaker wires that are included in the package. Other connection ports like the HDMI ports, pre out, video inputs and audio inputs are neatly isolated in their own groups so you are less likely to encounter cable tangling issues. The 6 HDMI ports on the back should be sufficient for your stationary home theater components. Any mobile devices that you may have can be hooked up to the HDMI port on the front. Along with the usual HDMI output, there is also another HDMI port for Zone2.
Below is the back panel layout. Click on image to enlarge for a clearer view.
Denon home theater receivers keep on improving in audio performance and features every year. But this year, the X-series are more focused on usability. Even enthusiast-class home theater receivers like the AVR-X3000 have the same focus which is always welcome since it can help people set up their systems even faster. The Denon Setup Assistant is highly comprehensive using the TV’s full display to walk you through the process in setting up things like the speakers. The steps are clear to follow and have some complementary graphics and diagrams to assist you. The interface itself is simple to navigate in case you need to make other setting adjustments.
Calibrating the speakers using the Audyssey MultEQ XT technology is part of the setup process and it is also pretty simple to accomplish. Once setup mic is properly connected, you can simply follow the onscreen instructions to optimally configure each speaker. The process can take a few minutes but it is worthwhile if you really want to witness how capable this 215-watt per channel home theater receiver is.
You can also augment the audio experience depending on your personal needs using Audyssey’s other technologies. This includes the Audyssey Dynamic EQ which you can use to create a nice surround sound effect across all volume levels and the Audyssey Dynamic Volume which eliminates the inconvenience of manually turning down the volume once a very loud commercial suddenly appears.
The Denon AVR-X3000 has 7 channels just like the cheaper but less powerful AVR-X2000. But the AVR-X3000 also gives you access to the DTS Neo:Xupmixing solution so you can create an even deeper 3D audio experience by adding height and wide speakers. Even if the content does not support the soundfield, the results are pretty impressive. The AVR-X3000 is also recommended if you need that second HDMI output so you can create a different audio and video source for a small home theater system located in another room.The Denon AVR-X3000 also has the cool HDMI InstaPrevue feature which lets you check out a preview of an ongoing HDMI source in a small window while you enjoy your current input source. Finally, the AVR-X3000 is the most affordable receiver in the X-series to support custom installations.
Connecting the Denon AVR-X3000 to your home network through the Ethernet cable opens up the impressive networking capabilities of this receiver. iOS fans get the best experience as the built-in AirPlay support makes it very simple for music content to be played back through the receiver wirelessly. Android users can do this too although you need to download Denon’s remote control app first. The app is completely free and also has an iOS version if you prefer using a smartphone or tablet to control the receiver. If you are not the type to store your music collection in a portable device, you can still get access to great music through music services like SiriusXM, Spotify and Pandora.
The Denon AVR-X3000 has better audio quality and higher power than the lower end models. But this may not be the best reason to spend close to $1,000 on this particular receiver. Instead, it serves as a reasonably priced receiver if you have room for creating one big home theater system or 2 ordinary home theater systems accompanied by technologies that is future proofed for many years to come.
Update: There is a newer model > Denon AVR-X3400H