Denon PMA-500AE review

The build is as reliable as ever. The sound however falls way below the usually high standard we have come to expect from Denon Tested at £180.00

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Our Verdict

Really poor effort from a company that usually does so much better.

For

  • A classy appearance
  • good range of features covers most bases

Against

  • Again, it's poor sound quality that lets this Denon down

IT GIVES US no pleasure to write this review.

Denon has an enviable record of producing talented hi-fi and home cinema kit. The brand even managed to make micro systems respectable with its multiple generations of class-leading performers.

However, with the DCD-500AE CD player and PMA-500AE amplifier, it has missed the performance target by a massive margin.

Not that you'd guess it by looking at them. Both components are smart and nicely put together for the money. Each unit comes with an easy-to-use remote hand-set and feels classy every time you press a button or use a control.

The DCD-500AE CD player is decently equipped as far as budget CD players go. You get an optical digital output, a headphone socket and a relatively slick transport.

The PMA-500AE amplifier covers all the bases, too, with its complement of moving magnet phono stage, and tone, loudness and speaker switching controls. Little to complain about so far, then.

Struggle with sonic complexity.

Initial sonic impressions are also OK. Listen to In the Ghetto, and Elvis' voice is strongly projected and solidly delivered. There's decent detail, particularly in the midrange, and no shortage of speed when the music demands. But those wanting warmth and smoothness won't find it here.

A lack of refinement is a problem, but not the problem. What these Denons struggle with is organisation of instruments and sounds so the final result resembles the tune originally recorded.

This combo sounds messy, leaving you struggling to make sense of the various strands in a piece of music.

They stutter making sense of simple recordings, and fall apart when asked to replay something demanding like Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. Scale, dynamics and authority are all lacking.

There's no denying Denon builds some great-sounding kit, but this CD/amplifier duo proves that reputation alone is no guarantee of getting a good product. The build, usability and finish on both the DCD-500AE and PMAS-500AE are spot on: the sound isn't.

Specifications

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General Information

Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://usa.denon.com
Brand NameDenon
Product TypeAmplifier
ManufacturerDenon Electronics (USA), LLC
Manufacturer Part NumberPMA500AE
Product NameDenon PMA-500AE
Product ModelPMA-500AE

Miscellaneous

Package Contents
  • Integrated Amplifier
  • Remote Control
Country of OriginChina

Audio

RMS Output Power140 W
Audio Channels2

Physical Characteristics

Width434 mm
Depth337 mm
Weight Approximate6.50 kg
Height121 mm
Dimensions121 mm (H): 434 mm (W): 337 mm (D)

Interfaces-Ports

Number of Analog Audio Inputs12

Technical Information

Impedance4 Ohm
Maximum Frequency Response1 kHz
Total Harmonic Distortion THD0.7%

Warranty

Limited Warranty2 Year