Denon AVR-5308CI (A)

A real high end model, the Denon AVR-5308CI (A) AV receiver is the latest must have gadget to hit the home theater market while carrying a huge price tag. Why don’t you just settle for a cheaper alternative especially since there are now numerous AV receivers to choose from? What is the significance of the (A) in the name? This article aims to uncover the pros and cons and help you decide whether this could be the receiver you have been looking for.

Denon AVR-5308CI (A) Receiver

Denon AVR-5308CI (A) Receiver | More Details Opens in new window

Design

On removal from the box, it is instantly clear that this is a Denon by its distinctive design. The large, thick and chunky shape identifies it as such and it is certainly an eye pleaser. However, that said, it could be a little disappointing as there is nothing to identify it as distinctly, the Denon AVR-5308CI (A), despite this being the top model in Denon’s range of AV receivers. You are more than likely going to have to drop it into the conversation which, let’s face it, just isn’t as cool as a distinctive piece of kit that screams its own merits without you having to speak. A keen Denon follower may spot that this is deeper that most of the other units, but the button layout follows the standard convention, and the colors are the same throughout the range.

Performance

This is supposed to be a top of the line receiver, hence this is not for the home entertainment virgin. It requires an almost professional level of set up that can only be achieved by the professional or by a real home enthusiast who has keen knowledge on the intricacies of an AV receiver and an entire home theater system.

The Denon AVR-5308CI (A) extremely good. In fact, it is very, very good, and it is almost no wonder when you look at the amount of top rated technologies that have been crammed into the hefty 75-pound black box. Let’s start with the (A), and why this has been added to this model. Well, this is the revision and means that on top of all the other features we will look at next, the technical team at Denon just thought that this clever box was not quite complete until they added the ability for it to stream Sirius radio straight out of the box, and that it just needed that extra sound quality so they also added Audyssey Dynamic sound. In fact, this receiver is so good, there isn’t anything else you’d want from it. It has just about any available feature a receiver could have.

There are the standard features that one would expect to find on a unit of this caliber. This is just one model down from their solid gold, with nothing beating this top of the range AVP-A1HDCI that to be honest is almost too expensive for its own good. You would expect the Denon AVR-5308CI (A) to pack quite a punch, and to our relief it certainly does. It has impressed the notably un-impressible boffins at THX and can now proudly display their highly coveted, rarely awarded Ultra 2 Certification, which means the Denon AVR-5308CI (A) has met their standard which says that in order to receive this award the kit must produce high volume levels, to play at a low levels of distortion, and to disperse sound in specific ways, as well as to have extremely low noise and behave in a stable and predictable way. Whilst we are not as highly skilled as they are at spotting these criteria, we did find that the higher volumes were excellent and distortion free, so we agree with them.

There doesn’t seem to be any form of media that cannot be attached to the Denon AVR-5308CI (A), including wireless connectivity making connection to your laptop for streaming internet content a stroll in the park and negating the need for trailing wires.

The fact that the Denon AVR-5308CI (A) also has features like dual HDMI outputs helps it stand out when compared to other models. On the downside though, there are just 3 minor shortcomings. In terms of video output there is no anamorphic output scaler, which isn’t really a problem and most people won’t actually notice or even understand what that means. Secondly, the back of the unit is more chaotic than any seen before. There are holes everywhere – in more technical terms there is a vast array of connectors on such a grand scale it is hard to imagine why anyone would ever need so many. However, never let it be said that Denon will let a customer be left holding a lead with no where to put it. Lastly, this receiver comes with 2 remotes, a main one with a display screen that controls the sub-menus and a “sub” remote that enables full control of the system. Pretty daunting figuring out what the buttons do at the beginning, but that said, this is a minor shortcoming.

Conclusion

You would have to fork out quite a lot for a receiver of this caliber, though in our opinion, it is worth every cent. However, for the serious AV receiver user this is a pedigree pooch. It has just about every functionality that one could possibly expect, whilst delivering excellent audio and visuals. Therefore, if you are seriously interested in boosting your home theater system to a whole new level, the Denon AVR-5308CI (A) is a definite must-buy!

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