Denon AVR-4310CI

Denon has had much success in the past few years in becoming the dominant name in entry-to-mid-level AV receivers. The aesthetics, features, and sound quality of their AVRs have been widely praised and similarly well received by critics and home theater enthusiasts alike. The new Denon AVR-4310CI pushes the envelope with a slew of cutting edge features not seen in a receiver of its class.

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Design

Aesthetically, the Denon AVR-4310CI hasn’t changed much from its predecessors. It is finished in black brushed aluminum panel, matched closely in design with Denon’s own blu-ray players. Source selecting and volume controlling is easy with large knobs on the left and right. In addition there are some small buttons used for source select and sound processing modes.

Similar to the AVR3310CI, the 4310CI has front connections and some other audio controls underneath a front panel door. The layout of these buttons is also similar with the navigation buttons found on the center to control the menus along with the zone output functions and surround mode options on the left with the phones jack. More connections are found on the right with an HDMI input complementing the USB port, S-video port, and aux inputs. To the left of the front panel is where the power button is while the right offers the same three quick select buttons that are present in their other models.

Features

Denon is known for their emphasis on providing top notch audio performance to match the video department. The audio features are now more extensive than ever. Denon has included Audyssey DSX, as well as Dolby ProLogic IIz (which allows for 2 additional front height speakers). Dolby Pro Logic IIz does not require special content. According to Dolby, the decoder identifies and processes low-level uncorrelated information in two- and multi-channel content, such as ambiance and effects like wind and rain, and directs it to the front height speakers. The result, according to Dolby Laboratories, is greater spaciousness and realism with both movies and music.

Much to the delight of audiophiles, the AVR-4310CI now includes Denon Link 4th, a new generation jitter-eliminating feature. When hooked up with a compatible Denon blu-Ray player like the new Denon DBP-4010CI, the 4310CI will share the same master clock thus eliminating digital jitter rather than merely reducing it.

Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume work well together in delivering pristine audio quality at all volume levels while balancing them at the same time to avoid huge volume deviations. “Dynamic Volume” dynamically adapts loud movie soundtracks for lower-volume listening in a home environment. “Dynamic EQ” adjusts tonal balance based on listening level so that sound remains full at modest volume levels.

And something new is Audyssey’s cutting edge DSX technology which stands for Dynamic Surround Expansion. It adds height and width enhancements for a more enveloping soundstage. The MultEQ technology found in lower models is enhanced with Audyssey MultEQ XT room correction which allows the setup microphone to take measurements from up to eight listening positions. Other high-resolution audio decoding like Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio now comes as standard feature for all new Denon receivers.

The Denon AVR-4310CI is also strong in video features as it includes two HDMI outputs while the other 6 HDMI inputs and analog signals all support upconversion to 1080p using the Anchor Bay VRS processing.

XM radio and Sirius satellite options are also provided and the built-in HD Radio delivers slightly better fidelity. These network functions are great for casual listening.

Performance

As with any mid-to-upper-range Denon product, the sound quality is stellar. It’s not going to compete with other higher priced options out there, but it’s certainly no let-down. When handling 5.1 HD material like blu-ray movies, gunshots and explosions were delivered with power and precision. With 7 channels of 130 watts on tap, the booms and bangs of The Dark Knight were thunderous and scores high on realism.

My overall enjoyment increased considerably when I switched on Dynamic Volume and Dynamic EQ with the master volume closer to mid level. I didn’t need any further master volume adjustments between loud and soft passages. These features made it much easier to catch the dialogue, made worse by Christian Bale’s low rumbling voice behind his bat-mask, and let me get more immersed in the story.

For music playback, with Pure Direct mode selected, acoustic music sounded clean and warm. Well recorded concert programs like Shakira’s Oral Fixation Tour was sonically satisfying with thumping bass, fiery guitar solos and clear vocals. In Chick Corea’s Live in Montreaux blu-ray disc, the AVR-4310CI resolved every note on Stanley Clarke’s slapping double bass solo on track 10. This receiver clearly has lots of juice in its power reserve.

Bottom Line

The Denon AVR-4310CI is highly recommended for anybody that has plenty of different media equipment regardless of their age as it should support enough connections whether it is HDMI or component. Any connected devices will see improvements in both video quality and sound quality thanks to the advanced processing technologies. This is a superb receiver with fabulous sound quality and an almost endless array of useful AV processing features, all tied together with an excellent interface.

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