Skip to main content

Denon DVD-1940 review

A discernable step up from the Denon 1930 in picture quality, but not sound Tested at £250.00

Our Verdict

While we welcome the small improvements in picture quality, we do notice a drop-off sonically – over to you

For

  • Smart style and good build, as ever
  • class-leading picture has improved yet further
  • plays DVD-A and SACD in solid style

Against

  • Movie sound lacks a little get up and go

So here, we have it – the replacement to the all-conquering DVD-1930 is here. The DVD-1940 has almighty footsteps to follow in, footsteps weighed down by a 2006 Product of the Year gong, no less.

So, what's new? Well, that's a very good question. On the face of things very little has changed. The only visible change in spec seems to be a 12-bit DAC as opposed to the ‘1930's 11-bit version.

Stylish, high quality build
In both black and silver finishes the unit looks nigh-on identical from the front and rear. When it comes to reassuringly good build quality, this is no bad thing, as the Denon remains a well-built, smooth-edged unit.

It still does all the things we'd like our £250 disc player to do, too. It can upscale DVDs up to 1080p via its HDMI out, send multichannel audio via digital coaxial or six-channel analogue outputs and plays DVD-A and SACD discs.

While we had very little to complain about with the DVD-1930's picture first time around, we can discern improvements. Edges seem sharper still, allowing for an improved depth of field, while the picture also seems cleaner in direct comparison, looking a little more vivid as a result. Detail recovery remains excellent, while the picture is stable and skintones are naturally rendered.

Sonically we're less convinced
DVD soundtracks seem somewhat subdued in comparison with its predecessor and indeed class rivals, lacking the dynamic reach to have us out of our seats. It's still detailed, organised and nicely balanced, but it's not quite what it was. Interestingly, we're happier when listening to multichannel audio.

So a curious one: yes, on picture alone we'd undoubtedly recommend you buy this new version – and that must be the main point here. But if you're a real stickler for your surround sound, the older DVD-1930 was better.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, New York and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


Read more about how we test