Our Verdict 
A good all-rounder, but sounds too safe for our tastes
Big, smooth, refined sound
never loses its rag
well kitted out
Lacks agility, clarity and bite
Reviewed on

Like the Pioneer SC-LX71 we've just reviewed, the Denon AVR-2309 is a seven-channel receiver that's made it into our listening rooms for the first time this month. It delivers 100W per channel, and comes with four HDMI inputs, 1080p upscaling and Audyssey Multi EQ auto setup.

Although the '2309 is an unknown quantity, our first impressions are of a receiver that produces a strong, burly sound that's warm and inviting.

You're encouraged to sit back, relax and enjoy the show. This is a receiver that concentrates on delivering a big, smooth and refined sound.

It certainly knows how to keep its composure at high volumes, never sounding harsh or edgy, and it pans surround effects with precision.Untapped potentialBut, compared with price rivals such as the Sony STR-DA2400ES, and even the cheaper Sony STR-DG820, the Denon lacks clarity, agility and dynamics.

Surround effects don't hit you with the same sense of drama, and there isn't the same expanse of sound. It needs to work harder to hold your attention. The truth is that the AVR-2309 sounds overly safe, lacks the necessary attack for film soundtracks and needs more grip in the bass. It's a good all-rounder, but we know you can achieve greater things with a better amp.