Denon AVR-1909 review

Good as it is, when compared with the best the Denon doesn’t display the same level of clarity with Blu-ray or DVD soundtracks and lacks the agility a Tested at £500.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

The Denon may no longer be a five-star product, but it remains talented enough to warrant serious consideration


  • +

    Robust design

  • +

    rich presentation

  • +

    weighty sound


  • -

    Not as dynamic, detailed or musical as the very best

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Back in our September issue, Denon's AVR-1909 wrestled with the Onkyo TX-SR606 in a Group Test, and eventually emerged the winner. But, in this month's Supertest, we've seen fit to strip the Denon of a star.

Before you launch a volley of rotten tomatoes in our direction, please let us explain.

The AVR-1909 is still a very capable and good-value receiver. It is sturdily built and there are numerous bells and whistles to admire, including 1080p upscaling, bi-amping of your front speakers (when using a 5.1 surround system) and onboard decoding of high-definition audio codecs (DTS-HD Master Audio included).

It pays to set it up properly
To aid set-up, the Denon uses an Audyssey auto-calibration system that caters for six listening positions. Sitting through the set-up and moving the mic around can be laborious, but it pays in the long run, especially if the whole family like to get involved.

The receiver's on-screen menus aren't the most sophisticated or colourful of the amps on test, but they're functional and do a job. The remote is intuitive and uncluttered: all the major buttons glow in the dark, while buttons used less frequently are banished behind a panel.

Fire up the Denon and skip to the warehouse scene in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. As the Russians chase after Indy, the AVR-1909 keeps the explosive action under control.

There's a comforting lack of brightness as gunfire rains down on our intrepid hero, with the Denon's rich tonal balance removing the potential for any earache.

Lacks agility and outright dynamics

However, when compared with the best the Denon doesn't display the same level of clarity with Blu-ray or DVD soundtracks. It lacks the agility and outright dynamics of either Yamaha, while it can't quite match the Sony for timing and detail with CD playback.

In isolation, the AVR-1909 is very easy to listen to and its relaxed character will be the ideal tonic for any sprightly speaker packages. If you own such a package and are a Denon fan, this could be the the amp you are looking for.

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, Reading 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.

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