The Denon AVR-1611 is a step down from the AVR-1911 and is targeted at the budget-conscious. This mid-priced model offers you good overall performance and surround sound, though it is inevitable that some of its features and specs will not measure up to the AVR-1911.
The Denon AVR-1611 has a subtly curved and sleek black dashboard. Its layout is similar to the other Denon receivers, so existing users ought to find it relatively easy to operate.
On each side of the LED display panel, there are two knobs – the SOURCE SELECT knob on the left and the MASTER VOLUME knob on the right. Below it, the TUNING PRESELECT and the ZONE2 SELECT buttons can be found.
Besides that, there are other buttons to ensure convenient access of the receiver’s functions. Cursor dials can be found directly below the display, with MENU, ENTER and RETURN buttons close by. Furthermore, there are three QUICK SELECT buttons, which allows you to choose from three custom settings preset beforehand.
Additional shortcut buttons are also available, such as the RESTORER button, which restores input media to conditions near those of the original format before compression and corrects the sense of bass volume to obtain fuller and richer sounds. Buttons to toggle DYNAMIC EQ, DYNAMIC VOLUME and MULTEQ settings are also provided.
The AVR-1611 has connection options on both the front and rear panel. On the front panel, there is the headphones jack, the dedicated setup mic jack and V.AUX connectors to hook up your camcorder.
At the back, it sports a rather simple socket layout. Four HDMI input ports are provided, saving you the hassle of constantly switching cables. 5 analog audio inputs, 3 composite video in, 1 component video in, 1 digital optical and 1 digital coaxial audio inputs are also included.
If you have an iPhone or iPod, it can be connected to the receiver with an optional control dock from Denon. REMOTE CONTROL jacks are available too should you need to connect an infrared receiver, so that you can tuck the receiver unit out of sight and still operate it.
This AVR-1611 uses the latest HDMI 1.4a standard, so you can enjoy the Full 3D Pass Through and the Audio Return Channel Support features. Seven DSP modes are also provided to spice up movie and music playback. Furthermore, it decodes both Dolby TrueHD and dts-HD Master Audio signals, plus handle mutlichannel PCM over HDMI. Dolby Pro Logic IIz and dts Neo:6 surround digital matrix decoding technologies are also assimilated to ensure that you fully enjoy your home cinema experience.
Audyssey technology is also capitalized upon, with the amalgamation of Dynamic Volume and MultEQ, such that the problem of large variations in volume level is solved. By analyzing the audio characteristics of your speaker system and listening environment, the system will automatically tailor the sound for better audio fidelity too.
There is the Personal Memory Plus function too, which allows the receiver unit to store surround modes, level settings for all the speakers, and delay time. You can then activate these custom settings at the push of a button.
Denon utilizes the GLO-KEY technology as well in its remote controls. With glow-in-the-dark keys, you can easily find your way around the remote without worrying about hitting the wrong button.
“This is a great addition to any home theater setup. Easy to setup and control…LOVE the Audyssey for the correct calibration of your speakers. Great customer service at DENON.” – R. Rowe (USA)
Setup & Performance
Setting up the AVR-1611 is easy with the step-by-step instructions found in the user manual.
Calibrating the receiver is also a piece of cake once you plug in the supplied setup mic and start Audyssey’s auto-calibration routine when prompted to by the system. The auto setup takes only a short while, after which Audyssey’s MultEQ, Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume will continue monitoring the audio output and tweak the settings automatically. While this works perfectly, an on-screen setup menu is available for you to alter the settings manually.
Using James Cameron’s Avatar Blu-ray release, we find the picture quality impressively good for a lower-end model – the colors were detailed, deep and rich. Every detail in each cut was captured perfectly, such that you really had to open your eyes bigger to take in as much as you possibly can before the next scene. Textures, such as the wet, rubbery skins of the Pandoran wildcats and the luminescent Pandoran forests, were brought out so nicely that it was as if you were right there in the movie.
The accompanying dts-HD Master Audio 5.1 was also excellently decoded and handled. The explosive carnage at the end of Avatar was dealt with commendably, with the loud gunfire, missile explosions and amazing surround effects harnessed in a measured and controlled manner. Detail in sounds was also evident, with the capturing of the distant noises and gentle ambience on the Na’vi planet, while delivering speech with clarity. However, a few cracks will begin to show once you crank the volume up too high. Nevertheless, the audio is remarkable considering the AVR-1611 is an entry-level product.
Berliner Philharmoniker’s recording of Beethoven’s Symphonie No. 9 was used to conduct further checks on the audio performance. It was arguably one of the best amongst inexpensive receivers. The nuances of the music and tumultuous emotion it evokes was fully captured. Channel separation was good as the noiseless surround channel was reproduced with smooth steering to achieve an extensive and enveloping soundstage.
The Denon AVR-1611 has a few shortcomings that are unavoidable given its budget price tag. However it incorporates many features which serve to make it a strong rival to many of its competitor’s models in the same price range. With four 3D-ready HDMI inputs and the latest Audyssey technology, this AV receiver is certainly a great deal for budget-conscious, entry-level consumers.
More user reviews:
• “The instructions are simple and clear. The included mic for speaker setup saves hours in setup time. The HDMI input/output makes easy work of all the connections. Only negative: The 2nd room setup uses the rear output speakers. Would have preferred separate outputs or low level outputs. Great low cost Home Theater recever” – Oscar Briones (USA)
• “After a few year’s with an Onkyo TX-SR605, I was disappointed with its overall sound reproduction for both for movies and music… simply didn’t measure up to my past Denon receivers. The Denon sound is rich rather than tinny. The bass is full, not like a boombox. The FM reception is far superior to the Onkyo. I have Denon Mythos speakers and they match perfectly with my new Denon. I highly recommend this receiver for your home theater system.” – D.T. Beer (Seattle, Washington)
• “My wife bought this unit for me for an early Xmas present, I’ve been researching A/V receivers for a few months now and I was almost going to purchase the Onkyo TX-SR608 100 Watt per channel, but there seemed to be alot of issues with HDMI boards burning out and such. so I went with the Denon, due to the CNET review and other consumer. I used to work in the High End A/V business and sold Denon receivers so I knew the quality of the product ( I just couldn’t afford it at the time ). I’ve had a Sony Receiver Dolby Digital/DTS receiver for the last 6 yrs and it wasnt a bad unit, but I needed to “Upgrade” to the new HDMI inputs and newer DTS-HD and Dolby TRUE HD formats.
I opened the box , hooked up the speakers using the Banana plugs and the HDMI for Blu Ray and Coax for my Cablevision Box ( I used the HDMI from cable box Directly to the TV ). Then I set up the Audyssey Sound Equalizer which provides advanced audio calibration. this took around 10 minutes to do.
I put in Toy Story 3 for a demo and I was amazed the quality of sound that was coming from my Sony Full range speakers! My Velodyne Subwoofer sound (VX-10) was incredible too! the soundstage is amazing with this receiver which only pushes out 75 watts per channel vs my Sony 100 watt receiver.
Also the Sound quality of just Dolby Digital 2.0 using the Pro Logic II was awesome too! For the price this receiver is worth every penny. The room is 10 x 15 and it had plenty of power! I couldnt put it past -5db on the amp!
I am very happy with the unit so far!” – R.M. Lisanti (New York, USA)
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