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100 years of Denon

Denon will celebrate its 100th anniversary later this year with a bevy of new products.

Denon's 100th Anniversary integrated amplifier, SACD player, and headphones. Denon

Denon will commemorate 100 years of audio innovation with its Anniversary Product Collection offerings.

One might wonder what an electronics company built in 1910, but I never really got a definitive answer at the media event held at the D&M Holdings (Denon's parent company) headquarters in Mahwah, N.J., last Thursday. True, there was some mention of the introduction of Japan's first phonograph (turntable) in 1910, but no one gave any specific information. According to Denon, it was honored to produce the very first audio recording of Japan's Emperor Hirohito's voice at the close of World War II in 1945.

Actually, the biggest surprise of the event, at least for me, was learning that Denon was founded by an American entrepreneur Frederick Whitney Horn. With Denon, he started Japan's first audio company; apparently, globalization isn't a new idea.

Denon focused most of its media event on presenting its Anniversary Product Collection's offerings, which include new amplifiers, SACD/CD and Blu-ray players, a direct-drive turntable, phono cartridge, and headphones. All of the products, except the phono cartridge and headphone, share the same $2,499 MSRP; the phono cartridge and headphone are $499 each. The Anniversary Product Collection models are limited editions and will be sold at 40 specially selected dealers in the United States starting in November. They will all be sold with five-year warranties.

A Denon DP-A100 turntable. Denon

Denon treated the journalists gathered in Mahwah to a preview audition of some of the Anniversary Product Collection's stereo models, including the PMA-A100 integrated amplifier, DCD-A100 SACD/CD player, DP-A100 turntable, and DL-A100 phono cartridge. I expected the speakers in the system would have come from Denon's sister brands, Boston Acoustics or McIntosh Labs, but the speakers were high-end B&W models. Jeff Talmadge, Denon's director of product development and systems integration, explained that the Anniversary Product Collection offerings were "voiced" in Japan with B&W speakers to sound their best, so that's what we were going to hear in Mahwah at the event.

Talmadge first played a Donald Fagen LP, and the sound was quite detailed and clear. It was followed by a high-resolution digital Marvin Gaye disc, and again, the sound was pristine. It was nice stuff, but I was a little disappointed; I was hoping Denon would celebrate its 100th birthday with something more outrageous, perhaps with a sleek $100,000 speaker or a state of the art digital amplifier. Oh well, here's hoping Denon sticks around for another 100 years.

In other Denon news, watch for my and Matthew Moskovciak's upcoming, full CNET review of the Denon AVR-1911 receiver. I loved it!