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Denon AVR-2105 review: Denon AVR-2105

Denon keep upping the ante with more advanced features packed into its new AV surround receivers to satisfy demanding home theatre enthusiasts, plus lowering price points to maintain competitiveness. The AVR-2105 is a great example of what you would want and expect from an advanced 7.1-channel surround receiver in terms of value for money. This new addition sits in the middle of the range, but is definitely not middle of the road.Design
The AVR-2105 is typical of Denon's AV receiver design, with fairly standard component dimensions of 434 x 171 x 417mm but substantial heft at 13.3kg. Available in silver and black, the AVR-2105 has a freshly designed front panel with two main dials located either side of the large central display section. The left dial selects the source while the right controls the volume and below this is a smaller dial is used to switch between different sound field modes. A number of small function buttons also adorn the face in a neat and ordered fashion below and around the display.

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Denon AVR-2105

The Good

Automated speaker set-up. Wide ranging adjustment. High specifications and decoding options. Effortless power and punch. Excellent value.

The Bad

Display flicker and audible click when switching sources. Switching delay between source and sound modes.

The Bottom Line

The new Denon AVR-2105 has it all where it counts: high power, extensive decoding options, excellent connectivity and simplified set-up. Combine this with its superb build and sound quality and you will be hard pressed finding better value for money.

While the layout would not be too challenging for an advanced user, newcomers would almost certainly have to refer to the thick manual to learn to make the most of its features. These features can be accessed directly or through the full function remote control, which while logical, takes some time in becoming familiar.

Having said this, perhaps the most advanced and outstanding features of the AVR-2105 is its automatic speaker and time correction function. The receiver comes equipped with an auto set-up calibration microphone to ensure the best performance from the speakers in whatever environment it is installed.

Features
The AVR-2105 has an impressive specifications list beginning with seven channels of 90 watts continuous into 8 ohms including the two surround back channels. High quality sound reproduction is entrusted to a new Analog Devices Hammerhead SHARC high resolution 32-bit floating point DSP with advanced surround sound format decoding including DTS-ES 6.1, DTS 96/24 5.1, DTS Neo: 6, Dolby Digital EX and Dolby PLIIx. There are also a number of other sound field modes to choose from for your different sources.

Connectivity options are equally impressive with 9 analog audio inputs including an RDS tuner, phono, and auxiliary front inputs, 5 digital inputs divided into 1 coaxial and 4 optical, plus 6 analog multi-channel inputs for high resolution SACD and DVD-Audio formats, which can take advantage of the wide spectrum 10-100 000Hz frequency response. Add to this 1 analog audio output, 4 recording outputs and 1 optical digital output and you have a comprehensive receiver that should accept all the components that you could possibly connect to it.

The AVR-2105 also has an adjustable crossover with 8 frequencies to choose from that offers excellent flexibility for any speaker system used. There are 3 component video inputs and with 5 composite and S-Video inputs, along with 1 component video plus 3 composite and S-Video monitor outputs. Monitor outputs also support OSD menus so that setting up and adjusting the system can be easily done while watching the monitor, rather than using the small receiver display.

Perhaps the best of the new features is the previously mentioned auto set-up function, which includes a microphone to calibrate the speakers. It tests for speaker connections, phase, size and frequency response as well as placement and distance, to optimise the levels and sound delay for simple yet sophisticated configuration. These settings can also be manually adjusted for those who prefer fine tuning and manual control.

Performance
The AVR-2105 has ample power to drive speakers anywhere from high-end compact satellites to even the hungriest towers, without exertion or skipping a beat. The large aluminium heatsink inside means that the receiver only gets warm, rather than hot like similar competitor models. Sources that require different settings benefit from its source memory, however when switching between sources there was a pause, click and display flicker, the latter of which was a little annoying.

The receiver was tested with a Denon DVD-2910 universal disc player, which proved the perfect combination in delivering pure audio and video. During testing the AVR-2105 provided consistently high quality sound reproduction at all volume levels. A full gamut of media including DVD-Video movies, DVD-Audio, SACD discs were used in multi-channel digital and analog testing, which was high in definition and impact.

A few token regular Audio CDs were also tested in 2-channel stereo mode, and while sound was not as enveloping as the high fidelity formats, playback was still nothing short of superb. Overall, the AVR-2105 is very hard to fault with advanced features and very easy set-up and use.