Denon AVC-X6800H 11.4 Channel AV Receiver Review

Posted on 5th July, 2024

Denon AVC-X6800H 11.4 Channel AV Receiver Review

Tony O'Brien enjoys the sound of this highly capable new 11.4 channel AV receiver…

Denon

AVC-X6800H

11.4 Channel 8K AV Receiver

£3,000 RRP

Denon AVC-X6800H Review

It is encouraging to see a growing number of audio brands return to their roots. Denon is one such company, as its mid-to-high-end receivers are now produced in its Shirakawa facility in Japan. This move has seen not only the return of the 'mega-receivers' in recent years but also a shakeup of the whole Denon line. The new AVC-X6800H now sports the same monolithic amplifier design as the former champ of the Denon line, the AVC-X8500H.

It also features separate amplifier boards for each of its eleven channels, each mounted on a copper plate with an extruded heatsink. The manufacturer says it has an upgraded power supply with 160-watt power transistors and a 15,000µF capacitor developed specifically for Denon. It gives the unit a very respectable claimed 140W per channel into 8 ohms, or nearly 100W, with all channels driven.

Meanwhile, the preamplifier section has also been drastically overhauled from the AVC-X6700. It features a new printed circuit board for the analogue section and can decode up to 13.4 channels with external amplification. It has a 32-bit ESS DAC with a separate DAC for its subwoofer outputs, which have now been extended to four. The fourth output doubles as a dedicated output for tactile transducers.

Denon AVC-X6800H Review

Processing power has also been given a boost, courtesy of the ADI SHARC+ (2 core, 1GHz) DSP. The AVC-X6800H supports 8k video on its seven HDMI inputs and HDR, HDR10+, Dolby Vision and HLG. It also supports Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Quick Frame Transport (QFT) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM). In typical Denon fashion, it supports a wide range of audio codecs, including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Imax Enhanced and Auro 3D, as well as being compatible with high-resolution audio formats, and lossy formats such as MP3, WMA, WAV, MPEG- 4/AAC, FLAC, DSD and ALAC.

The AVC-X6800H is equipped with built-in HEOS, enabling wireless music streaming. Additional HEOS-compatible speakers can also be added for wireless multi-room audio. Wired speakers can also be added for up to three zones, with the ability to play independent sources in all zones. Smarts come in the form of support for Alexa, Apple HomePod and Google Voice Assistant. This receiver is also Bluetooth-compatible and provides both wireless and wired network connectivity. It boasts Audyssey's Premium MULTEQ and Dirac Live room correction software, and Bass Control can be added at an additional cost.

Denon AVC-X6800H Review

UP CLOSE

Where many manufacturers have adopted a slim-line design with touchscreen panels, the AVC-X6800H sports a more traditional look. Even so, clutter has been kept to a minimum, and its controls are hidden behind a pull-down door. In addition to dials for volume and source selection, it hosts a large and informative LC display.

Save for a USB input, all of its connections are at the back and consist of seven HDMI inputs (HDMI 2.1/HDCP 2.3) and three HDMI outputs (ARC/eARC). There's also an additional USB input and thirteen pairs of gold-plated speaker binding posts. It also offers six analogue inputs, dual coaxial and TOSLINK inputs and outputs, two multi-room analogue inputs, 13.4 multichannel pre-out and four subwoofer outputs.

Denon AVC-X6800H Review

While the AVC-X6800H may not have the swanky touchscreens of its rivals, it's a beautifully built piece of machinery that oozes quality. And whereas the boxing of some products can feel like an afterthought, the packaging and accessories are thoughtfully laid out here. In addition to the receiver, the carton includes a remote, Audyssey Microphone, cardboard microphone stand, power cord, rabbit ears and quick-start guide.

Measuring 434x167x1,378mm, the Denon is easy enough to accommodate, although, at 19kg, I recommend seeking help manoeuvring it into position. Depending on your confidence, you can dive straight in and hook up your gear or connect the AVC-X6800H to your display and follow the on-screen instructions. Regarding on-screen set-up guides, the Denon and Marantz camps have long been ahead of the pack, and I'm pleased to report nothing has changed. The small GUI makes the process a little more pleasant to look at and ensures that everything from connecting speakers to calibration is a doddle.

Denon AVC-X6800H Review

If you're a novice, follow the on-screen calibration guide and call it a day. Otherwise, feel free to choose your own adventure. Audyssey, in its basic form, is included for free, or you can spring a few dollars for the improved functionality of the app. Or, should you want to dive into the Audyssey rabbit hole, Audyssey Pro can be purchased at an additional fee. On the other hand, if you want to try your hand at Dirac, both Dirac Live and Dirac Live Bass Control can be purchased at an additional cost. And that's exactly what I opted to do, calibrating the AVC-X6800H with Dirac Live Bass Control.

In addition to the license, you'll need a microphone, such as the MiniDSP UMIK-1 and a laptop to install the software. After finding the AVC-X6800H on the network, Dirac is, for the most part, relatively easy to use. The section on channel levels could do with a little more explanation, guiding the user through the automated calibration process and uploading the calibration to the receiver. And, of course, those wanting to get their feet wet can experiment with everything from crossovers – Dirac can calculate the impact of different crossovers – to room curves.

Denon AVC-X6800H Review

For this review, the Denon was connected to VAF Signature i91 front and centre speakers. Four VAF i90s were used as rear surround and ceiling-mounted Atmos speakers, with two Ascendo SV 12 subwoofers making a 5.2.2 Atmos layout. The fourth subwoofer output was connected to a Crowson D-501 Tactile Motion Amplifier, which, in turn, was connected to dual Shadow-8 Dual Motion Actuators placed at the main listening position. Video sources comprised an OPPO UDP-203 and Apple TV, connected directly to a Lumagen Radiance Pro 5348, with a Sony VPL-XW5000ES projecting images onto a Severtson 100” Cinegray 16.9 screen.

Denon AVC-X6800H Review

VISION ON

The AVC-X6800 is a powerful AV receiver capable of huge dynamic swings and never fails to envelop you in sound. The combination of tuning in Denon's Shirakawa facility and Dirac Live Bass Control has created a balanced yet nuanced signature with all of the precision that Denon's surround-sound processors are known for.

I started my auditioning with the dark fairytale of 2011's Red Riding Hood. The DTS-HD Master soundtrack of the Blu-ray upscaled to DTS-Neural X via the AVC-X6800H. Effects moved around the speakers with ease, the Denon creating an excellent sense of width in the front soundstage. They're also delivered with pinpoint accuracy within the soundfield; the combination of the AVC-X6800H and DLBC is seemingly oblivious to the physical placement of my speakers. What surprises, though, is the change in the tonal character of this receiver compared to its predecessor – the new model has a more neutral tonal balance. It's more like the bigger AVC-X8500H, which is more musical without sacrificing the precision Denon is renowned for.

Moving to the Dolby Atmos soundtrack of the more recent Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One allowed this receiver to flex its audio muscles. Happy to oblige, it filled my room with loud and muscular sound. There's plenty of kick from the subwoofers with the opening theme, the transducers adding the secret LFE sauce all the way down to 5Hz. Here, the AVC-X6800H does what it is meant to, with the room curve created in DLBC adding enough bass energy to please while the unit passes unfiltered bass and LFE to the transducers. While that last part may seem simple enough, you'd be surprised how many processors and receivers don't get it right.

Denon AVC-X6800H Review

Meanwhile, the deep drone of the sandstorm buffeted my small home theatre, while the shots of the sniper rifle were both clearly defined and serving up plenty of low-end impact. The AVC-X6800H produces an impressive soundstage that immerses the viewer from every angle. While it couldn't match the scale of the soundstage of my own separates, it's surprising how close the Denon comes at a third of the price.

It's more of the same with the Atmos soundtrack of Halloween Kills. Here, the AVC-X6800 has no problems with the huge dynamic swings, going from the quietest passages to the loudest jump scares with hammer-like precision. Detail is delivered with equal abundance, and the sound of everything from dripping water to footsteps is wonderfully rendered within the sound field.

The opening of Blade Runner 2049 delivers blistering bass. While the AVC-X6800H has no qualms delivering room-energising low frequencies, when combined with Dirac Live Bass Control, it produces a level of articulation that I haven't heard from Denon previously. As K guides his ship into Sapper's protein farm, there's an excellent sense of presence from the height and surround speakers, with the ship seemingly flying around the confines of my listening room with ease.

Denon AVC-X6800H Review

THE VERDICT

Denon continues to evolve from a technological standpoint and in terms of sheer performance. The AVC-X6800H isn't just the same receiver as the AVC-X6500H I reviewed a few years back with a few added bells and whistles; it's an entirely superior-sounding machine. A large part of this is down to the tuning that it has received in Denon's Shirakawa facility, but the addition of Dirac Live is also a major leap forward. The result is a powerful yet articulate home theatre movie experience that performs above its asking price, even factoring in the additional cost for Dirac Live Bass Control. As such, it comes highly recommended.

For more information visit Denon

    Tony O'Brien's avatar

    Tony O'Brien

    Tony is a certified ISF Calibrator by day, and an accomplished Audio-Visual reviewer specialising in theatre and visual products by night. Tony has calibrated and worked with some of the best home cinema designers throughout Australia.

    Posted in:Home Theatre Amplifiers AV Receivers & Processors Applause Awards 2024
    Tags: denon  sound united  masimo 

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