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Denon AVR-S910W review: Midpriced receiver flexes home theater muscle

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The Good The Denon AVR-S910W offers a muscular home theater performance with a wide soundstage and sparklingly clear dialogue. There are plenty of features for the price, including eight HDMI inputs plus HDMI 2.0a, HDCP 2.2 compatibility, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and dual subwoofer outputs. The remote control and Denon Remote app meaningfully enhance the usability of the system.

The Bad The Denon doesn't partner well with bright-sounding speakers. It's not as talented with music as its competitors.

The Bottom Line The Denon AVR S910W comes fully loaded with up-to-the-second features, and delivers highly transparent sound.

7.9 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 8
  • Sound 8
  • Value 8

Over the years Denon has been among the most popular names in home theater receivers, and offers models to suit budgets large and small. The AVR 910W sits in the middle of the price range, offers energetic performance and includes the features most people are looking for, including Bluetooth wireless audio, compatibility with 4K video sources, and the latest Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround formats.

Whereas sister brand Marantz is focused on music replay, this Denon performs better with movies than music. The AVR S910W provides an exciting listen with a tremendous openness to its sound that not even the impressive Onkyo TX-NR646 can match.

While you have to be careful with speaker matching -- the Denon was too bright for the Klipsch RP160M standmounters, for example -- the AVR S910W is capable of home cinema authority while also offering simplicity of use.

Design

Sarah Tew/CNET

While other home cinema components have gone through multiple design changes in the last few years, receivers still look roughly the same as they did 20 years ago. The Denon AVR-S910W has had a few tweaks over this time, but appears identical to last year's AVR-S900W .

Sarah Tew/CNET

The front boasts four source shortcut buttons and a few other functions, while the traditional volume knob sits on the right and the knob to select the rest of the sources on the left. The display is a one-line, blue LED which indicates the input and Dolby or DTS soundtracks.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The menu system offers full-color backgrounds and helpful illustrations when you're setting up your speakers.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The remote control design is borrowed from sister-company Marantz and offers a simplified layout and friendly, colored buttons. Compared to the multibutton monstrosities of yore, it's a joy to use.

Features

The Denon AVR-910W is a 7.2 channel receiver with compatibility with both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. It gives users the option of two sets of surrounds (Surround and Surround Back) or an Atmos setup with front height channels.

Sarah Tew/CNET

It boasts eight HDMI inputs and the first three offer 2.0a compatibility with 4K standards including HDCP 2.2 and 60Hz content. You also get Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity which comes bundled with Pandora, internet radio, Spotify COnnect, SiriusXM and DLNA.

If you have a smartphone and want to use it to listen to music there are a number of options available to you, the most convenient being Bluetooth.

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