The competition for mid to high end AV receivers above $1000 is fierce, and quite often we are faced with newer models not living up to the mark. Denon’s new range of X series receivers, of which the Denon AVR-X4000 occupies the pole position in the range, attempts to pip all its predecessors to the finishing line by packing new features not found at this price point and enough processing and raw amplifier power to satisfy even the most discerning audiophile.
The Denon AVR-X4000 looks as if it deserves to be placed in another category of Denon’s home theater receivers. It has a clean and minimal look with just the two knobs and screen shown. You won’t find any thin buttons right below the display. Instead, there is a retractable aluminum cover that reveals all the buttons and connection sockets. Unlike the other Denon AVR-X receivers, the Denon AVR-X4000 offers more connection options on the front so you can hook up older portable gadgets to the composite ports or new ones to the HDMI or USB ports.
Moving on to the back of the receiver, there is a lot to like for home theater enthusiasts. The most noticeable of the connection ports are the speakers because there are dedicated ports for the front wide and front height channels. Even though the AVR-X4000 still counts as a 7.2-channel AV receiver spec-wise, these channels are still worth noting because cheaper models including the AVR-X3000 lack these ports. In addition, these ports are color-coded to make installation quick and simple. There is also an organized arrangement of composite ports including some ports for Zone 2 and Zone 3. 6 HDMI inputs grace the top section of the back along with a trio of HDMI outputs. RS-232C, IR and Trigger Out ports are located on the left which is a nod to custom installers. You may find ports like these in other home theater receivers as well, save for one proprietary port on the back of the Denon AVR-X4000. The Denon Link HD port is there to reduce jitter which is something that the audiophiles will really appreciate.
The AVR-X4000 is also the only Denon AVR-X receiver to have phono inputs.
Below is the back panel layout. Click on image to enlarge for a clearer view.
The Denon AVR-X4000 has 125 watts per channel making this receiver a bit more powerful than the AVR-X3000. Other than that specification and vast number of connection ports, the main advantage of getting the AVR-X4000 over the other AVR-X receivers is its support for 3 zones. You may have a solid 5.1-channel home theater system in the main room and set up a standard 2.1-channel speaker system in another room. The second zone HDMI out also lets you output another video source to a TV located in a different room. The Denon AVR-X4000 has the necessary connections to accept separate power amplifier so you can set up the third zone.
Another feature that is exclusive to the AVR-X4000 is an enhanced calibration technology by Audyssey. MultEQ XT32 is Audyssey’s newest and most advanced room correction solution which makes some great improvements to low frequency ranges. It makes use of thousands of control points to address all sorts of speaker setups regardless of the type of room. Even subwoofers are included in the calibration process. If your setup consists of 2 subwoofers, the Audyssey Sub EQ HT can make the appropriate corrections. Another unique Audyssey technology that is present in this receiver is Audyssey LFC or Low Frequency Containment which is a nice option if you want to minimize the bass impact for optimal listening at night.
Although the Denon AVR-X4000 primarily targets audiophiles, the receiver still manages to be user-friendly thanks to the intuitive Denon Setup Assistant. You can breeze through the setup process in just a few minutes thanks to the detailed step-by-step instructions and graphical diagrams. The receiver comes with color-coded speaker cables too so it is highly unlikely to make mistakes during the setup process. Once your connected a lot of HDMI components, you might find yourself in a bind when you need to switch to a certain source. With the HDMI InstaPrevue feature, you can see a thumbnail of the HDMI source so you can get a glimpse of what is going on before you make the switch. You may also assign your favorite sources to special Quick Select buttons which also have customizable presets.
The AVR-X4000 supports the standard high resolution decoders including DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD so Blu-ray content sound great. The support for Audyssey DSX, DTS Neo:X and Dolby Pro Logic IIz means that you can further improve the quality by adding front height or wide speakers. Combined with the strong capabilities of this receiver, this setup should give your living room a more cinema-like feel.
The networking features of the Denon AVR-X4000 are the same as the other network-enabled Denon receivers. It is a bit of a letdown though for Denon to not include any onboard wireless LAN capability which is something a lot of home theater receivers are getting. But once you manage to connect the LAN cable to the wireless router, you can enjoy all the nice networking extras.
With AirPlay support, iOS users have a very easy means for streaming music directly to the AVR-X4000. There is also an iOS and Android app that allows other supported devices to stream music. This Denon app also enables you to control the receiver from the smartphone just like a standard remote control. This is most useful if you are in another room with a connected speaker system and you wish to adjust the settings for that particular zone. An active Internet connection also enables you to access music services including Spotify, Pandora and SiriusXM without the need for a PC. In addition to this, the Denon AVR-X4000 has a built-in HD radio tuner.
Denon hit all the right notes with the Denon AVR-X4000. It is more than just a spec boost just for the sake of the numbers game. For $1299 you get a whole lot of useful features like top of the line Audyssey MultEQ XT32, seamless integration with mobile devices, great list of network streaming sources, superior multi-zone configurations plus Denon’s renowned audio quality that audiophiles crave. It is definitely one of the best receivers at this price point.
Update: There is a newer model > Denon AVR-X4400H