Denon was diligent and worked hard over the past year, her AV receiver division. The launch in February was the flagship AVC-X8500H (test in 3-2018), which is inspired by the design of the brand new Denon AVR-X2500H. As part of this facelift, the bezel around the display and front panel fell away and the control buttons close to the display almost invisibly. Overall, the front – which still consists of plastic – looks calmer and more elegant than before.
On the back of the Denon AVR-X2500H we spotted the added phono input to connect a turntable, which are back in fashion. Very nice! The Japanese also put their hand on the video board, which now allows menu overlay for Dolby Vision and HLG signals. The improved Eco mode “Auto” is to counteract strong heat development and thus hot housing covers. In addition, the amplifiers, DACs and DSPs have been optimized for even better sound. Via firmware update, the web interface for setting or operating the device via a classic Internet browser should be possible again in the future. The feature fell under the microscope when HEOS was introduced. The integration of Apple’s AirPlay 2 via later firmware is also planned.
The Denon already has the new sound decoder DTS Virtual: X on board, but its use does not work in conjunction with the Audyssey automatic calibration system. Of course, Dolby Atmos and DTS: X as well as their Upcomers Dolby Surround and DTS Neural: X are included. Both allow cross-format upmixing, but not with native 3D sound. The Auro decoder is available at Denon only in larger models. Not least, the receiver is fit for voice control with Amazon Alexa, but for which an “Alexa” -compatible speaker is needed.
Denon: The remote control is clearly structured, meaningfully subdivided and fits well in the hand. Lighting would be desirable.
DTS Virtual: X – the artificial 3D sound
3D sound without height boxes? And surround sound without rear speakers? – The new surround sound decoder “Virtual: X” by DTS should make it possible.
The name already indicates how this should work, namely virtually. So-called psycho-acoustic computational algorithms manipulate sound signals in order to fool the ears into sound sources that do not physically exist. The concept is not new, soundbars have been using the technology for years to create surround sound from a single box – usually with a rather modest result. Virtual: X goes further and wants to get immersive surround sound into the living room regardless of the number of speakers present. Music and film sound should sound like the same with virtual: X from stereo speakers as from a 7.1.4 set – so at least the advertising promise.
The Denon AVR-X2500H has DTS Virtual: X already on board. However, in the Tone Dial menu, the decoder will only show up if no height boxes have been activated in the speaker configuration.
Incidentally, Dolby sound is not supported by the DTS Virtual: X decoder at the behest of Dolby. Only PCM and DTS signals of any channel configuration, including DTS: X sound, are detected. However, if you change Dolby sound in the player to PCM format, you can also use the Virtual: X decoder with Dolby signals.
Denon AVR-X2500H equipment and technology
Except for the already mentioned phono input nothing has changed in the connections: 8 HDMI inputs and 2 HDMI outputs are neat, the abundant presence of analogue YUV and CVBS video jacks is untypical, but pleasing for an entry-level receiver. On the other hand, we find the suboptimal lack of a digital coax input, there are two Toslink sockets.
Rear panel: 7 HDMI, 2 S / PDIF and 4 analogue inputs are sufficient for most home theaters, the phono board is pleasing, which allows the connection of a turntable without preamp. Height boxes for 3D sound must be connected to the “Surround Back” terminals. The antennas for WLAN and Bluetooth are screwable.
Like the Denon AVR-X2400H, the successor comes with 7 discrete power amps that allow for 5.2 operation two additional treble channels or two surround back boxes. Alternatively, you can bi-amps the main speakers or actively play two speakers in another listening room; The latter is also possible via pre-outs. For height boxes there are no pre-outs, which is why 5.2.2 layouts are over. The two height boxes can be defined as front or middle ceiling boxes as well as front height speakers or as add-on speakers (Dolby enabled) for the front or surround speakers; On the other hand, top back or height back positions are not available. The two connectable subwoofers can not be controlled separately.
Box setup: Maximum 7.2 or 5.2.2 channels are possible. Ceiling boxes can sit in front or in the middle.
At the speaker configuration we have nothing to criticize, the level and distance steps fall out with 0.5 decibels respectively 1 centimeter exemplary, the crossover frequencies can be selected separately between 40 and 250 Hertz for all speaker groups. The levels of all speakers as well as bass / treble can also be stored separately and separately for each input source; You can access the corresponding menus via the “Option” button on the remote control.
Changes and improved components on the power amplifier, DACs and DSPs are designed to optimize the sound of the X2500H.
Audysseys MultEQ XT is responsible for automatic sound correction, taking into account up to 8 measurement points, providing 3 target curves, as well as Dynamic EQ (Loudness) and Dynamic Volume sound circuits. To set up the measuring microphone, Denon packs a cardboard stand. As suboptimal we feel the equalizer, which regulates only from quite high 63 hertz and excludes the woofer; Also, the EQ does not work with active calibration system. These weaknesses, however, can be handled with the 20-euro “Audyssey MultEQ App”, with which one can manipulate various parameters of the Audyssey measurement and draw target curves themselves.
Video and multimedia
The video board accepts 4K / 60p images with HDCP 2.2, HDR-10, HLG and Dolby Vision. The 4K scaling converts incoming HDMI signals up to 4K, but does not work with analogue pictures. The video equalizer sensitively controls many image parameters, and there are six image modes, two of them according to the ISF standard.
The media player understands Hi-Res audio with FLAC, ALAC, WAV and DSD files. The networking to music is achieved via DLNA, AirPlay and Bluetooth, the control is most conveniently via the HEOS app. Denon has integrated Tune-In as the web radio, streaming services like Spotify, Juke !, SoundCloud, TIDAL, Deezer, Napster and Amazon Music have been outsourced to the HEOS app.
Denon AVR-X2500H Sound Quality
When measuring power, the Denon AVR-X2500H achieved slightly more watts than the previous year’s model on all 6 ohm loads (7.1, 5.1, 2.0); 82 Respective 68 watts in 5- or 7-channel mode are neat. At 4 ohms, the values dropped slightly, from 98 (5.1) and 73 watts (7.1) to 91 and 68 watts, respectively. Remarkably: The Eco mode (“On”) reduces the average power consumption from 283 to an economical 123 watts.
In the listening test, the Denon enraptured with its silky, pleasant yet fine-resolution playback, which allows stress-free listening even at high levels. With classical recordings such as the cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach in DSD 5.1, the far and neatly illuminated room also surprised, making instruments and voices easily audible. However, our player had to convert the DSD stream via HDMI first into PCM sound, otherwise the Denon remained silent.
The Audyssey setup worked fine. All parameters were plausibly set, resulting in more control in the bass and a bigger sound. The loudness circuit “Dynamic EQ” provided for more volume and shine, but also loud surround speakers and covered basses. In addition, dialogues went down a bit. Audyssey Volume audibly reduced dynamic peaks in both DTS and Dolby sound.
With Dolby Atmos material the Denon spanned spacious and gapless sound fields; Effects were clearly traceable and locatable on the height boxes – although not as precise as it is the case with four top speakers. The effect orgy in “Battleship” from the DTS: X demo disc thundered as forcefully as spatially, but the gentle mind of Denon lacked some dynamically gripping temperament.
Whether Metal, Pop, Electro or Classical – in Pure Direct mode, Stereo music always sounds cultured, finely resolved and silky over Denon, allowing for stress-free long-term listening. The Klangbühne was also convincing in width and depth.
Denon’s AVR-X2500H brings improvements in both hardware and software, and the design is also new. The price of 700 euros remained the same. Thanks to extensive multimedia equipment, full 4K support and good sound, the little Japanese wins the test victory, albeit conceivably tight.