Denon’s annual update to its AV receiver range is imminent, and we have news on the first two 2019 models announced.
The Denon 145-watt-per-channel AVR-X1600H (£449) and 150-watt-per-channel AVR-X2600H (£599) - which replace the AVR-X1500H and five-star AVR-X2500H introduced in 2018 - support 7.2-channel surround sound and are compatible with many of the latest technologies in home cinema.
While last year’s models boasted AirPlay 2, Amazon Alexa voice control (via an Amazon smart device) and Denon’s HEOS multi-room, hi-res network streaming platform (all of which are present and correct in these 2019 models), the AVR-X1600H and AVR-X2600H also bring new up-to-date functionality onboard.
Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) support was introduced in Denon’s AV line at the £900 mark last year, and now it has trickled down to entry-level territory. The main benefit of eARC is a big boost in bandwidth and speed, allowing the more efficient pass-through of higher-quality audio (including up to 32 channels of Dolby Atmos or DTS:X) from your TV to, for example, a soundbar or AV receiver.
A new Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) can allegedly benefit gamers if the receiver is paired with the compatible Xbox One and a supported TV, while compliancy with the February-introduced HDCP 2.3 HDMI standard ensures the protection of 'HD and Ultra HD uncompressed audio-visual content' transmitted through HDMI.
In addition to native support of Dolby and DTS’ next-gen surround codecs, both newcomers benefit from DTS Virtual:X for up-mixing of DTS content. Also coming via a future firmware update is Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology, which adds virtual height and surround effects to traditional stereo or surround content, as well as Dolby Atmos content while using fewer speakers.
Apart from the slight discrepancy in power output, the differences between the two AV receivers lie in HDMI input (6 compared to 8) and output (1 compared to 2) count. The AVR-X2600H sports an advanced user interface, four as opposed to two analogue inputs and 4K upscaling, too.
Like their 2018 predecessors, both models sport a phono input for a direct turntable hook-up.