Sie sind auf Seite 1von 5
84 DENON AVR-1909 £450 Approx www.denon.co.uk Enter the equalizer This weighty Denon has aural grunt
84 DENON AVR-1909
£450 Approx
www.denon.co.uk
Enter the equalizer
This weighty Denon has aural grunt – but prefers movies to games
Tech Labs
D enon’s middle-weight AV
receiver comes to our
grouptest carrying a little
comes back
with a muscular
Wave
machine:
Manufacturer’s specifications: 90W
x 7 channels (into 8 ohms)
The curved
sound and bass to wobble your
gizzards. The guttural growling of the
monsters in PS3 game Viking: Battle
for Asgard is crafted with real
presence and power; the clattering
metallic effects of sword and axe
against armour have a fast, zingy
edge and the dialogue is none too
shoddy either. The dubiously-
design of
130W (2 channels driven, 8
more round the midriff than the
others. It’s the biggest, weightiest
and most expensive here by a fair
margin but, dammit, you sure know
Denon’s AVRs
is distinctly
,
0.5% THD)
138W (2 channels driven, 4
upmarket
you have bought a serious bit of kit.
Equipped with Audyssey RoomEQ,
video upscaling to 1080p and three-
in/one-out v1.3a HDMIs, it gets
,
0.5% THD)
112W (5 channels driven, 8
0.5% THD)
,
50W (5 channels driven, 4
0.5% THD)
Fidelity firewall:
,
120W (0.042% THD, 8
,
a
double thumbs up. And, compared
to a couple of the boring black boxes
assembled here, it’s no moose to
look at, either.
The Audyssey MultEQ setup isn’t
going to win any gold medals for its
alacrity. The full multi-position setup
accented Norse voice-over (with a
hint of the Welsh valleys early on and
more than a touch of Mumbai in
places) projects well into the room,
but the Denon is not kind to its edgy
recording, highlighting the sibilance.
In fact, the Denon is far more at
1kHz)
THD @ 50W: 0.0127% THD
(1kHz, 8
)
is
on par with, say, plate tectonics
speed-wise, and the dull menus
mean it’s right up there with paint-
drying for edge-of-the-seat
entertainment. And just when you
are debating if there is more chance
of the PS4 or even PS5 being
available before the AVR-1909 gets
its well-equipped backside in order,
home with a big movie, and the
recent re-release of Fifth Element on
Blu-ray finds it in its, er, element. The
pace is fast and the sheer scale of
the soundstage is huge, with the
balance crisp at the top and weighty
at the bottom in equal measure. It’s a
bit lighter through
the mid-range than
Frequency response 20Hz-
20kHz: +/- 0.05dB
Impressive figures for output power,
fidelity firewall and frequency
response confirm the subjective
impressions, but Denon weren’t joking
when they specified the speaker
impedance range as 6-16 ohm – try it
with 4 ohm speakers, and
performance is dramatically curtailed.
it
declares fait-accompli and
suggests you check the settings –
don’t do it! If you do, it promptly locks
you into speaker-check menu pages
with no viable means of escape from
the remote short of powering off
ideal, but nothing
engaging one of
the Audyssey EQ
settings doesn’t
cure. Korben Dallas
can be proud
which loses the settings. You have
to start the whole epoch-length
process again. Arrrgghh!
Having only narrowly avoided a
rock ‘n’ roll style exit from a first-floor
window at this point, the Denon
that he was
instrumental in not
only saving the
Earth, but saving
the Denon from
a long drop, too.
HOME CINEMA CHOICE NOVEMBER 2008

HCC161.gt

84

9/9/08

11:56:58 am

    ONKYO TX-SR576 £300 Approx www.onkyo.co.uk 85   Crisp audio from Onkyo Does its
   

ONKYO TX-SR576

ONKYO TX-SR576 £300 Approx www.onkyo.co.uk 85

£300 Approx

www.onkyo.co.uk 85

 

Crisp audio from Onkyo

Does its lack of HD audio decoders limit this Onkyo’s cinephile appeal?

of HD audio decoders limit this Onkyo’s cinephile appeal? O nkyo has been driving the cutting-edge

O nkyo has been driving the cutting-edge of the budget AV receiver market of late

and in terms of bang-per-buck the company has seemed unbeatable. But not only has the competition

stiffened these days, the TX-SR576

that leaves you in no doubt that you are deep into the game. The metallic effects have a good leading-edge attack and the echoes ring out into the back of the room. This AVR has plenty of oomph on tap but it gets very, hot at high volume. Switch to movies and it is so easy to see why Onkyo has been on fine form. Fifth Element is presented with considerable scale, enormous effects and crisp dialogue. However, the centre channel is a little laid- back for my taste and the Audyssey EQ is not easy to tweak using the amp’s only interface – the fascia display. Fiddly ergonomics aside, the sound is thoroughly enjoyable, albeit not possessing the clarity of the similarly-priced Sony STR-DG820 or the Panasonic SA-BX500. But while pushing the volume to its limits, the amp section gets hot near the HDMI board, and it wasn’t long before I began to fear that the receiver was heading for a

Hard target:

You can only tweak the Audyssey EQ settings via the fascia display

Tech Labs

Manufacturer’s specifications: 130W x 7 channels (into 6 ohms)

43W (2 channels driven, 8 0.5% THD) 58W (2 channels driven, 4

, 0.5% THD) 81W (5 channels driven, 8 0.5% THD)

,

,

52W (5 channels driven, 4 0.5% THD) Fidelity firewall:

, 1kHz)

THD @ 50W: 0.67% THD

)

,

85W (0.06% THD, 8

(1kHz, 8

Frequency response 20Hz- 20kHz: +/- 0.019dB Tests suggest that it doesn’t reach anything like its rated power, and there are odd anomalies in the power of 5- channel compared to 2-channel performance, identical on two units tested. However, fidelity firewall and frequency response results are good, suggesting a clean and undistorted sound to the limits of its ability

a clean and undistorted sound to the limits of its ability is already looking long in

is

already looking long in the tooth

(it’s been at least six months since launch) and may seem at a bit of a disadvantage compared to the newer kids on the block; it

a

doesn’t give too much away in terms of core power and performance

statistics, but it only has v1.2 HDMI connectivity and a serious dearth of decoding for new HD audio formats – no Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio, here. But, before you turn the page in disgust, hang on a moment. Sony’s PlayStation 3 can decode both Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio into LPCM, meaning that all HD audio soundtracks on Blu-ray disc can be sent to the receiver. So does not having HD audio decoding really matter? Well, not

lot in this grouptest. Good job then

that it offers adequate power (81W with all channels driven), Audyssey 2EQ RoomEQ/auto setup and pretty decent connectivity. The sound is everything I’ve come to expect from contemporary Onkyo AVRs, fighting well above its price

meltdown. Onkyo’s are traditionally hot to trot. None more so than this model. That said, this model appears a solid offering if you intend to base your system

to trot. None more so than this model. That said, this model appears a solid offering

point in drive and clarity. The denser

cut-scenes of Viking

are laid out in

a

huge room-filling wall of sound

around the PS3.

 

NOVEMBER 2008 HOME CINEMA CHOICE

HCC161.gt

85
85
room-filling wall of sound around the PS3.   NOVEMBER 2008 HOME CINEMA CHOICE HCC161.gt 85 9/9/08

9/9/08

11:57:0 am

room-filling wall of sound around the PS3.   NOVEMBER 2008 HOME CINEMA CHOICE HCC161.gt 85 9/9/08
room-filling wall of sound around the PS3.   NOVEMBER 2008 HOME CINEMA CHOICE HCC161.gt 85 9/9/08

86 PANASONIC SA-BX500

£360 Approx

www.panasonic.co.uk

Digital crankification

Panasonic’s AVR has HD audio-decoding, cool-running digital amp modules

Tech Labs
Tech Labs

Black box:

T he SA-BX500 is the Amy Winehouse of the budget AV receiver market: incredibly

talented but not without its issues or outright weirdness. For starters, the case is almost the same size as Sony’s STR-DG820 but seems to weigh less than a DVD sleeve

the lid there is enough fresh air to fill

a

wholly reflected in the frugal features count. No RoomEQ, no onscreen display and no video upscaling. On the upside, there are plenty of operational tie-ins and one-button features between this receiver and Panasonic’s latest BD players and Viera plasma TVs, plus wireless rears

if

without a disc in, at that. Beneath

small woodland park and this is

you buy into Panasonic’s digital

transmitter option. Setup is a doddle, although the segmented fluorescent display is strangely devoid of useful info.

of a complete rainbow of LEDs on the fascia. But then it cracks out an

electrifying edition of Rehab and you can forgive it all the misgivings Viking: Battle for Asgard has an immediate, upfront and spacious sound backed by fairly enthusiastic LFE which the BX500 nails perfectly.

It

refined and detailed as the Sony

STR-DG820 but expands on the sound-stage in every direction. The sound kicks bass butt with every crunching axe blow. The ropey dialogue in the cut-scenes is a little too smooth but it does at least buff out the rough edges. Switch to Blu-ray movies and the elaborate guffawing of Fifth Element

comes across every bit as classy,

swells into the room with great emotional drive. The bass effect

of every gunshot is utterly addictive. The Diva’s operatic song is strangely enthralling, without

The SA-BX500 is big, but only weighs 4.8kg – a consequence of its digital amplification

Manufacturer’s specifications: 130W x 7 channels (into 6 ohms)

40W (2 channels driven, 8 0.5% THD) 70W (2 channels driven, 4

, 0.5% THD) 40W (5 channels driven, 8

, 0.5% THD) 75W (5 channels driven, 4 0.5% THD) Fidelity firewall:

,

,

65W (14.5% THD, 8

, 1kHz)

THD @ 50W: 3.95% THD

(1kHz, 8

Frequency response 20Hz- 20kHz: +/- 0.66dB Rated at 7 x 130W, our tests show the Panasonic achieves nothing like this, 75W being more realistic. The digital amplification suffers from a lack of poke and poor distortion, but imaging has laser precision. This AVR is utterly confounding. It shouldn’t work – yet it delivers the goods

)

a

ragged edge or

Moreover, there is no easy way to check the speaker parameters after

the auto setup, so you have to trust its acoustic delay measurements. In my listening room it set the centre-channel a little light but there is manual level adjustment

the latter pages of the manual. The front-panel controls are not exactly rock-solid, the remote is festooned with huge legends, its digital amp modules put in a dismal showing in our Tech Labs and its cosmetic appeal is marred by the use

described somewhere deep in

dull tone. A couple of extra dB on the centre channel brings the dialogue up. When the going

gets tough this Panasonic clearly hasn’t got the gumption of the Denon, but what

it

is

round appeal.

does have

genuine all-

tough this Panasonic clearly hasn’t got the gumption of the Denon, but what it is round

HOME CINEMA CHOICE NOVEMBER 2008

HCC161.gt

86

9/9/08

11:57:2 am

    SONY STR-DG820 £320 Approx www.sony.co.uk 87   Refining the art of war With
   

SONY STR-DG820

SONY STR-DG820 £320 Approx

£320 Approx

SONY STR-DG820 £320 Approx

www.sony.co.uk 87

 

Refining the art of war

With best-in-class digital connectivity, does this Sony rule the roost?

digital connectivity, does this Sony rule the roost? F ollowing the Denon onto the test bench

F ollowing the Denon onto the test bench revealed quite how very, very easy Sony’s STR-

DG820 is to set up. By the time you have untangled the Denon’s mic cable the Sony will be up and running and have you half way through Resistance: Fall of Man, searching for Chimera to beat up with your burgeoning arsenal of weaponry. From box to pressing Start, the STR-DG820 is sub one-minute and the automatic test tones, being musical rather than white noise, are rather easy on the ear. Okay, it’s not exactly bristling with features or analogue connectivity, no S-video for example, but four-in, one-out HDMI connectivity leads the pack in numbers and the remote is best-in- class. On the missing list is anything remotely resembling

an onscreen display, Sony apparently preferring to use the front display and saving a few shekels by not bothering with video generating silicon. Operationally, the learning curve is like the north face of Everest, but with day-to-day use it gets easier and easier. Sony has a home advantage when working with the PS3, and it makes the most of the synergy, too. The mood-setting scenes in Fall of Man are full of detail and ambience, creating a seamlessly solid and immersive experience. The STR-DG820 is certainly no overblown power-house, offering

70W with all channels driven – it always errs on the side of refinement above bludgeoning effects. Then again, when you are simultaneously unloading the canon and machine- gun of your M12 tank, do you want to critique the acoustic accuracy of the weaponry’s ballistics or really feel those Chimera exploding? This detailed demeanour pays big dividends with movies. Fine detail and accurate spatial information

Black and

fruity:

The STR- DG820 has come into the world with a mission – claim back market share from Onkyo – but can it succeed?

 

Tech Labs

Manufacturer’s specifications: 100W x 7 channels (into 4 ohms)

102W (2 channels driven, 8 0.5% THD)

,

(into 4 ohms) 102W (2 channels driven, 8 0.5% THD) ,   136W (2 channels driven,
 

136W (2 channels driven, 4 0.5% THD)

,

70W (5 channels driven, 8 0.5% THD)

,

78W (5 channels driven, 4 0.5% THD) Fidelity firewall:

,

95W (0.02% THD, 8

, 1kHz)

THD @ 50W: 0.0074% THD

(1kHz, 8

)

emerge from the speakers in spades. The dialogue is natural without any chestiness and only a restricted soundstage stops the DG820 being the home cinema bargain of the decade; as the bullets fly around the Floston Paradise spaceship in Fifth Element, you can place every one in the scene. However, the ‘boom!’ in the ballroom never really lives up to its

billing as the largest indoor explosion ever created in a movie. And there’s the hitch: subtlety, refinement and detail are desirable attributes for a home cinema amp pressed regularly into serious thrillers, dramas and chick flicks, but for action movies and games, I simply want more blood and thunder. Call me shallow.

Frequency response 20Hz- 20kHz: +/- 0.36dB Sony’s budget ‘Onkyo-buster’ has a few obvious omissions but it performs adequately in our labs. Two-channel performance is well over spec, although in multichannel mode it falls predictably short. However, fidelity firewall and distortion results are respectable, suggesting that for the money this receiver is unlikely to disappoint in terms of performance

results are respectable, suggesting that for the money this receiver is unlikely to disappoint in terms
 

NOVEMBER 2008 HOME CINEMA CHOICE

HCC161.gt

87
87
unlikely to disappoint in terms of performance   NOVEMBER 2008 HOME CINEMA CHOICE HCC161.gt 87 9/9/08

9/9/08

unlikely to disappoint in terms of performance   NOVEMBER 2008 HOME CINEMA CHOICE HCC161.gt 87 9/9/08

11:57:3 am

unlikely to disappoint in terms of performance   NOVEMBER 2008 HOME CINEMA CHOICE HCC161.gt 87 9/9/08
88 GROUPTEST Final standings T here’s little doubt that everyone of these budget AV receivers
88 GROUPTEST Final standings T here’s little doubt that everyone of these budget AV receivers
88 GROUPTEST Final standings T here’s little doubt that everyone of these budget AV receivers
88 GROUPTEST Final standings T here’s little doubt that everyone of these budget AV receivers
88 GROUPTEST Final standings T here’s little doubt that everyone of these budget AV receivers

88 GROUPTEST

Final standings

T here’s little doubt that everyone of these budget AV receivers is capable of seriously upping the ante with PS3-delivered entertainment, assuming you

partner them with a decent 5.1 or 7.1 speaker package. But each model has its strengths and weaknesses and this may sway your judgement depending on whether

your PlayStation is used primarily as a games machine or

a Blu-ray movie-player.

The Onkyo is a cracking amp to partner a PS3 despite being on the technological back-foot by not having v1.3 HDMI or HD audio decoding on-board. But multichannel LPCM audio is all you need from the PS3, and its sonic character is one of the most forthright here – ideal for both games and action movies.

The affluent choice would undoubtedly be Denon’s substantial AVR-1909. It is the

best equipped in this group, most powerful and blessed with a classy, refined sound that can be considered arthouse home cinema. As a standalone receiver (without the dual role gaming/movie facet taking into consideration) it would certainly scoop top honours. But it is perhaps a little too polite for gaming action and at £150 more than some others here, that’s a lot of games and Blu-ray movies you could otherwise buy.

The big two

Sony’s home-turf STR-DG820 sounds very much like

big two Sony’s home-turf STR-DG820 sounds very much like a smaller, less expensive Denon. It too

a smaller, less expensive Denon. It too has very clean

processing, a richly-detailed sound and no shortage of subtlety and ambience. It has a financial advantage that nudges it into my second spot but, like the Denon, you can’t help but want to hear a little more mindless violence from PS3 games. Which leaves Panasonic’s SA-BX500 as something of a surprise winner. While others here excel in certain areas and are weak in others, the Panasonic has an all-round appeal that is impossible to criticise, despite it’s lack of absolute power. Stick on a movie and its neutral, open balance seems to extract all the detail and effects you could want. Switch to a game and its reserves of bass and penchant for high-speed fun are guaranteed to put a smile on your face, disc after disc. And it’s brilliant value, too

your face, disc after disc. And it’s brilliant value, too Panasonic: consistency helps elevate the BX500

Panasonic: consistency helps elevate the BX500

HOME CINEMA CHOICE NOVEMBER 2008

VERDICT VERDICT Denon AVR-1909; £450 Price check: www.techradar.com Highs: Solid build; weighty sound with good
VERDICT VERDICT Denon AVR-1909; £450 Price check: www.techradar.com Highs: Solid build; weighty sound with good

VERDICT

VERDICT VERDICT Denon AVR-1909; £450 Price check: www.techradar.com Highs: Solid build; weighty sound with good scale;

VERDICT

Denon AVR-1909; £450 Price check: www.techradar.com Highs: Solid build; weighty sound with good scale; great with movies Lows: So good with movies you will forget to play games on your PS3

Onkyo TX-SR576; £300 App Price check: www.techradar.com Highs: Crisp sound; well specified for its price Lows: No on board HD audio decoding; v1.2 HDMIs; our sample overheated under pressure

Performance:

Performance:

Design:

Design:

Features:

Features:

Overall:

Specifications

Dolby TrueHD: YES DTS-HD Master Audio: YES Multi-channel audio: YES 7 x 90W amplifiers Multi-channel input: YES 7.1 analogue input HDMI Switching: YES 3-in 1-out, v1.3a HDMI audio: YES bitstream and LPCM Room EQ: YES Audyssey MultEQ Auto set-up: YES Video upscaling: YES to 1080p Dimensions/weight: 434(w) x 377(d) x 171(h)mm; 11.5kg

Overall:

Specifications

Dolby TrueHD: NO DTS-HD Master Audio: NO Multi-channel audio: YES 7 x 130W amplifiers Multi-channel input: YES 7.1 analogue input HDMI Switching: YES 3-in 1-out, v1.2a HDMI audio: YES but LPCM only Room EQ: YES Audyssey 2EQ Auto set-up: YES Video upscaling: NO not here Dimensions/weight: 435(w) x 379(d) x 150(h)mm; 9.8kg

here Dimensions/weight: 435(w) x 379(d) x 150(h)mm; 9.8kg VERDICT VERDICT Panasonic SA-BX500; £360 App Price
VERDICT VERDICT Panasonic SA-BX500; £360 App Price check: www.techradar.com Highs: All round performer; good
VERDICT
VERDICT
Panasonic SA-BX500; £360 App
Price check: www.techradar.com
Highs: All round performer; good
Panasonic-link features
Lows: Surreal operation system;
full of fresh air; dodgy remote;
no RoomEQ
Performance:
Sony STR-DG820; £300 App
Price check: www.techradar.com
Highs: Clinically clean sound; fine
with dramas; simple setup
Lows: Too clinical for game mayhem;
no S-video, upscaling, or analogue
multichannel inputs
Performance:
Design:
Design:
Features:
Features:
Overall:
Overall:
Specifications
Specifications
Dolby TrueHD: YES
DTS-HD Master Audio: YES
Multi-channel audio: YES 7 x 100W
amplifiers
Multi-channel input: NO via HDMI only
HDMI Switching: YES 4-in 1-out, v1.3a
HDMI audio: YES bitstream and LPCM
Room EQ: YES DCAC
Auto set-up: YES
Video upscaling: NO sadly absent
Dimensions/weight: 430(w) x 318(d) x
158(h)mm; 8.4kg
Dolby TrueHD: YES DTS-HD Master Audio: YES Multi-channel audio: YES 7 x 130W amplifiers Multi-channel

Dolby TrueHD: YES DTS-HD Master Audio: YES Multi-channel audio: YES 7 x 130W amplifiers Multi-channel input: YES 7.1 analogue input HDMI Switching: YES 3-in 1-out, v1.3a HDMI audio: YES bitstream and LPCM Room EQ: NO do it yourself Auto set-up: YES Video upscaling: NO not here Dimensions/weight: 430(w) x 339(d) x 159(h)mm; 4.8kg

do it yourself Auto set-up: YES Video upscaling: NO not here Dimensions/weight: 430(w) x 339(d) x
do it yourself Auto set-up: YES Video upscaling: NO not here Dimensions/weight: 430(w) x 339(d) x
do it yourself Auto set-up: YES Video upscaling: NO not here Dimensions/weight: 430(w) x 339(d) x

HCC161.gt

88
88
YES Video upscaling: NO not here Dimensions/weight: 430(w) x 339(d) x 159(h)mm; 4.8kg HCC161.gt 88 9/9/08

9/9/08

YES Video upscaling: NO not here Dimensions/weight: 430(w) x 339(d) x 159(h)mm; 4.8kg HCC161.gt 88 9/9/08

11:57:4 am