What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Thu, 2 Feb 2012, 10:52am

Denon DNP-720AE

Tested at £250
80100
4

A bargain for features, but those who spend a bit more will get better sound

Write your own review

For

  • Affordable
  • fluid, weighty sound
  • great features, including Last.fm, Napster and AirPlay

Against

  • Clearly lacks the detail, dynamics and timing of top rivals

This unit launched at £430, but now it is widely available for just £250 - an astonishing price for a music streamer with 'proper' hi-fi credentials.

It's nicely built, and the large display and simple menu structure mean you'll quickly be connected to your network via either wi-fi or ethernet.

Select an uncompressed FLAC, and initially there's nothing to complain about with Wild Beasts' Deeper flowing nicely. This is a weighty, smooth, refined and deep delivery, lending a suitably sultry dimension to the track.

There is, however, a nagging sensation that there might be a little more drama lurking somewhere.

And a switch to the Cambridge Audio NP30 proves it, bringing the track to life with more precision, clarity, detail and dynamics.

It's like switching from a pair of slippers to some trainers - there are times you'll prefer the slippers, but the trainers are more exciting, and far better all-rounders.

A smooth operator
Other than the faintest smidge of hardness (not brightness) to the treble, the Denon is a smooth deliverer of tracks, even heavily compressed or badly recorded ones.

That makes it a fine foil for MP3s and streamed content from Last.fm and Napster. You also get AirPlay, and its inclusion at £250 could seal the deal.

Compared with the direct digital USB connection on the front, AirPlay sounds a tad hard, but it's not worlds apart, and given the convenience of the streaming solution we can see lots of people going for it.

This Denon is cheap, has loads of features, and is a fluid deliverer of music. It can't match rivals such as the Marantz NA7004 for sound quality, but it's a compelling budget option.

See all our music server/client reviews

Follow whathifi.com on Twitter

Join whathifi.com on Facebook

 

Latest offers