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Review: Denon AVR-X6400H 11-channel AV receiver with HEOS

Denon AVR-X6400H
We tested Denon AVR-X6400H Premium 11.2 channel AV Surround Receiver with monolithic amplifier design and built-in HEOS technology.

A year ago we tested the Denon AVR-X6300H. This was the first 11-channel AV receiver of the brand, equipped with HEOS multiroom streaming. Denon recently launched a new version of this model the Denon AVR-X6400H. Apart from some minor improvements, the two receivers match, but what about the performance?

Denon AVR-X6400H – Specifications and features

If we just look at the specifications and features, then the AVR-X6400H does not differ much from its predecessor. The 11-channel amplifier block of the new model contains separate amplifier cards for each channel – monolithic construction – while the ports for the power supplies and outputs of each amplifier are equally long for accurate signal matching. Differential transistors are used in every amplifier for stability and consistency. The tailor-made high voltage transistors are used for temperature stability. A larger mains transformer and massive capacitor with a diameter of 5 cm give the AVR-X6400H larger power reserves.

The AVR-X6400H has 11 amplifier channels, each delivering 205 W, for up to 7.1.4-channel setups. The receiver is equipped with Denons AL32 Multichannel Processing and DDSC-HD32 (Dynamic Discrete Surround Circuit) for optimal resolution on every channel. The new model can play music both from the network and from internet sources, as well as high-resolution files such as FLAC, ALAC or DSD (up to 5.6MHz). Airplay and Bluetooth are also provided to play audio from any portable device. Thanks to HEOS integration, the receiver provides direct access to Internet radio and streaming services, including Deezer, Spotify, Tidal and SoundCloud. With optional HEOS speakers you can stream audio throughout the house.

The AVR-X6400H features the latest features and functions, including Dolby Atmos and DTS: X and built – in Auro-3D , 4K Ultra HD with HDR (High Dynamic Range) (HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision), as well as Audyssey MultEQ installation and -optimization. The receiver is also compatible with the Audyssey MultEQ Editor App, which gives you more control over the sound settings. The receiver comes with 8 HDMI inputs, including 1 on the front panel. The video part supports Full 4K Ultra HD, HDCP 2.2 , HDR (High Dymanic Range), BT.2020, wide color gamut and 4:4:4 Pure Color subsampling passthrough. In the area of ​​HDR, the receiver is suitable for Dolby Vision and HLG(Hybrid Log Gamma) pass-through. There are three HDMI outputs that allow you to play audio / video in a second room via HDMI while using dual screens (eg TV and projector) in the main room. The models will be equipped with eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) via a future firmware update to receive 3D audio formats from TV apps via a single HDMI cable.

Audyssey MultEQ XT32 calibration and set-up is possible for an automatic installation. The Audyssey features package also includes Audyssey LFC and SubEQ HT. The receiver contains bass synchronization, which allows you to compensate for the lack of synchronization between the LFE channels (sub-bass) and the other channels on some discs. And for those who want to connect their AV receiver to a different installation, the AVR-X6400H offers IP control, infrared remote control, 12V trigger, RS-232 connection and Creston Connected compatibility. The Denon AVR-X6400H has a suggested retail price of 2,599.00 euros.

AVR-X6300H vs AVR-X6400H

But, what exactly are the differences with last year’s model? As mentioned above, the differences are minimal, but that small difference can make the difference for a potential buyer. These are the differences between the AVR-X6400H and AVR-X6300H.

 

Feature AVR-X6400H AVR-X6300H
Auro 3D Including Only through upgrade
Mono Block power amplifier surface No Yes
DDSC HD Digital Yes, 32-bit Yes
Processing AL32 Processing Multichannel AL24 Processing Plus
ALAC 192/24 Yes No (96/24)
EnhancedARC (eARC) Yes, via update No
Dolby Vision and HLG Yes No
Bass Sync Yes No
Video out multiroom: video / HDMI No Yes Yes Yes
Gold-plated / normal screw No Yes Yes No

The main differences are in the support for HDR. The AVR-X6400H comes with the latest formats, including Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log Gamma. If you already have a player and a display that can handle this, support on the receiver is also desirable. However, Denon has already announced that last year’s models also receive an update that adds this support. In addition, eARC is supported so that the latest hi-res audio formats from the TV can be sent to the receiver.

Denon AVR-X6400 – First impression

Once removed from the box, the AVR-X6400H looks exactly the same as its predecessor. The receiver is equipped with the well-known Denon design, including the large display on the (black or silver) front, a flap with some buttons and connections, two large rotary knobs, and on the rear space for two antennas that provide an optimal Bluetooth and WiFi signal. Little has changed on that back, except for minor color changes and a component connection less. That there is much the same is no downside. Just like its predecessor, the AVR-X6400H is a premium finish, a stable placement through the damping feet and a high-end look and feel.

Other equipment

In this review we use an LG E6V series OLED TV for the display of video material, Spotify for streaming music, a USB stick with high-res audio, the Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray player for the playback of CDs and (Ultra HD) Blu-ray discs, and the B & W CM S2 series speaker system for optimal playback of the audio.

Denon AVR-X6400H – Operation and installation

We can be quite short in the field of installation and operation. Denon has been holding on to the familiar interface, Audyssey MultEQ for calibration and a remote control or app with which the device can be operated. In terms of placement, you only have to take into account sufficient space so that the appliance can lose its heat, plus sufficient space for the antennas that need to be screwed on the back.

Installation and menus

As mentioned before, the interface that appears on TV with Denon and Marantz has been the same for years. It is a simple interface, with a somewhat old-fashioned design. The simplistic ensures that you immediately find what you are looking for and that the receiver is perfectly tuned in no time. After all, the interface of a receiver has to be functional and clear, without bells and whistles or beautiful graphics.

denon-avr-x6300h-review-menu-2

The installation is a piece of cake, especially in our case since the values ​​of the AVR-X6300H can simply be transferred to the AVR-X6400H. If you start from 0, you will be guided through the most important settings and connections in a few simple steps. Among other things, connecting the speakers, calibrating through Audyssey and linking the WiFi network can be done via the setup menu.

denon-avr-x6300h review menu

Audyssey calibration

You can choose to have the receiver automatically adjust itself using the Audyssey calibration. This means that you place the supplied set-up microphone on the supplied stand and place it in different positions in the room. The receiver will then play test signals and the microphone will catch these test sounds. This data, including the distances of the speakers and reflections in the room, is analyzed and then used to fill in the most important audio settings for you. There are both supporters and opponents of this technique; it remains a matter of taste. This time, however, we have not opted for Audyssey calibration, with the main reason that the new test room is fully acoustically optimized and we have measured everything ourselves (levels, distances, etc.). This manual calibration resulted in a better result in our case.

When using Audyssey MultEQ XT32 on the AVR-X6300H there are two functions that you can switch on and they have a lot of influence on the sound. DynamicEQ and Dynamic Volume. DynamicEQ is a function that only works when MultEQ XT is enabled and must ensure that the dynamics, range and clarity of the audio (each source) is maintained when you listen at a volume below reference level (0 dB). This is done by taking into account the space in which the set stands (the acoustics) and keeping the human perception. This option is also a matter of taste and requires an Audyssey calibration. In our view, in many cases it has added value because the range is much higher, the surround experience is more immersive, subtle details are more clearly present and the general view is more dynamic. Dynamic Volume has been developed to eliminate, in real time, the large variations in volume level between TV programs, films, commercial breaks, etc. and in films, programs and series. We are less fanatic about this option because it does not always work well for normal TV programming and for movies the dynamic range is reduced. But, if you want to watch a movie in the evening without disturbing others, you can use Dynamic Volume.

Denon AVR-X6400H – In use

Remote control

The remote control Denon provides with the AVR-X6400H is a fairly robust remote control with all the buttons you need for comfortable operation. As with the previous generation of AV receivers, the display is missing and there is no lighting for the keys. Especially the latter we like to see back, especially when it comes to a premium device. However, the remote is well controlled and the receiver responds quickly to input.

Remote App

You may not always have the remote control at hand, the smartphone often does. You can also download the Denon 2016 AVR Remote App for your Android or iOS device. This application gives you access to virtually all settings of the receiver, plus functions for fast and comfortable operation. The app has a good structure, works very quickly and offers access to even the advanced settings of the receiver. So it’s basically everything you need to operate and set up the receiver from the easy chair.

denon-avr-x6300h review app

From the menu in the app you can access all the functions of the receiver, and if there is a source you can use the app to change the volume, select a next song, scroll through lists, search songs, search for radio stations, etc, etc. Actually is the complete operation, with one app.

Dolby Atmos

The Denon AVR-X6400H is an 11-channel AV receiver, with 11 amplified channels. This means that you can place a complete Dolby Atmos setup on the receiver. So you can opt for a 5.1.4-channel setup, a 7.1.4-channel setup or something in between. We use a 7.1.4-channel setup in our test room, with four speakers on the ceiling.

Music streaming

Denon has equipped the AVR-X6400H AV receiver with almost all features and functions to listen to your favorite music. You can of course connect components, such as a CD player or a record player, and there is also a USB port for those who have their music on a USB storage medium. But, under streaming, Denon can not go out and so you have plenty of options to stream music from your home network, a streaming service or the cloud.

You can use WiFi to connect a NAS or other network drive in your home network, you can stream via Bluetooth via all mobile devices and if you have an iOS device you can use AirPlay to play your content via the receiver. If your PC and / or NAS is DLNA-certified and connected to your home network, linking is a piece of cake. The receiver sees the devices within a few seconds so you can get started almost immediately. Depending on the structure you keep on your NAS or PC, files can be found quickly. The support of hi-res audio formats is broad and complete, including now ALAC files in the highest quality.

The media player of the receiver itself was already equipped with a makeover last year. This gives the player something more modern, but do not expect advanced operation or attractive design. The player is characterized by ease of use and overview. What has improved compared to last year is the stability of the player when music is played from usb. With the AVR-X6300H, we sometimes encountered a few interruptions or the USB stick disappeared spontaneously. Fortunately that is no longer the case with the new generation.

The receiver features Spotify Connect allowing you to stream your Spotify numbers through the receiver, while you use your smartphone purely for operation and all other things. If that is not enough, you can search and listen to Internet radio stations, in addition to the traditional AM and FM channels. All these options work smoothly and well, but of course make sure you have a stable internet connection.

Thanks to the integration of HEOS you have the possibility to install the HEOS-app and via this app to get access to even more services. You can play music from your mobile phone via the app or from services such as Deezer, Tidal, Spotify and TuneIn. You do not necessarily need multiple HEOS speakers for this; the AVR-X6400H is seen as a playback point and is therefore sufficient to get started.

Denon AVR-X6400H – Audio quality

With the build quality, the ease of use and the features of the AVR-X6400H it is good, but the most important part is of course the audio quality. In our test room and home cinema, which is fully optimized in acoustics, we have the Bowers & Wilkins CM S2 series, accompanied by four AM-1 loudspeakers for the top channels and two CWM663 loudspeakers for the sides. The subwoofer is the B & W ASW610XP and the Oppo UDP-203 provides the reproduction of films.

Music

For music playback we used a USB device with hi-res audio files (DSD and FlAC) and Spotify Connect. When using Spotify Connect you obviously have to deal with compressed files and not the highest possible audio quality. But that does not detract from the fact that a receiver can optimize this audio stream for playback. The AVR-X6400H, like its predecessor, deals well with compressed material and manages to get the most out of it, thanks to the Restorer function. Our Spotify playlist includes songs from Muse, Michael Jackson and the Dire Straits. The receiver displays the music with a wide sound field that provides a sleek low and sufficient detail. The real body of the music is missing, just like subtle details that provide more depth and dynamics. Because of this there is some distance between the listener and music. You can open the volume quite far before you get the impression that the sound is getting stressed or starts to come across as loud.

AVR-X6400H review

For the hi-res music we used albums from The Beatles, Muse and Michael Jackson. With high-quality content, the AVR-X6400H immediately shows the flagship model of this year. The music is immediately more colorful, nuanced and more dynamic. The vocals are warmly represented, and the emotion in the voice is convincingly revealed by clearly present subtle details. Both the high and the low is provided in tightly delivered sounds and never is it too much. The Resistance by Muse is the album where we heard the qualities to the fore. The sound field is drawn wide, individual instruments are placed tightly in the room and there is more depth. If we have to mention a minus point, that is the lack of flexibility in the high and the control when fetching in this area. The AVR-X6400H is not a dedicated amplifier for stereo music – and can not be compared with this – but Denon has found a very good balance between optimal multichannel performance and a tight stereo reproduction.

Movie

The AVR-X6400H is not only a receiver for the music lover but also for the film lover. Certainly those who want to work with Dolby Atmos or DTS: X can use it to their heart’s content. We have therefore subjected the receiver directly to the maximum; a 7.1.4-channel Dolby Atmos setup and the Ultra HD Blu-ray disc from Transformers – The Last Knight. To immediately fall in with the door; the AVR-X6400H knows the Dolby Atmos audio track with verve display.

The receiver provides an immersive cinema experience, with clear and tight separation of the channels to an ‘invisible’ positioning of the loudspeakers, allowing audio objects to move smoothly through the room. The action in space is so natural that you can easily follow effects and movements from left to right and from front to back. The receiver finds the perfect balance between the speakers and ensures that you get right in the middle of the action.

No lack of layer in this film and the AVR-X6400H has enough control over it to control the subwoofer accurately and tightly so that we really experience that punch when the debris flies around us. The low tones let you vibrate from the couch without having to search directly for the volume control, and in combination with the realistic surround effects you get a particularly good movie experience.

AVR-X6400H review

The soundtrack does not fall away from the abundance of surround effects, dialogues remain audible and there is convincing depth, height and width in the sound field. In particular, that piece of height is what Dolby Atmos must excel in and as a viewer you get even more involved in the action. All in all, the Denon clearly has the strings in hand, sufficient power and enough computing power to give a chaotic film like this tightly. The receiver has sufficient breathing space to be dynamic and clean, even when we turn up the volume considerably. Even then the audio reproduction remains dynamic and intact.

Denon AVR-X6400H – Conclusion

If we add everything together we can draw almost the same conclusion as we did last year, with the AVR-X6300H. The AVR-X6400H is a worthy successor, but does not have major innovations, so an upgrade compared to last year is not a necessity. He is even 100 euros more expensive than his predecessor. That said, the AVR-X6400H is still an absolute must for those who are looking for the ultimate home cinema experience, good music reproduction and dozens of options to display your favorite music or by sending the rest of the house. All the latest standards and techniques are supported so that you will certainly be comfortable with this model in the coming years.

We could not really detect any major downsides, although the remote control should have been equipped with lighting. The AVR-X6400H offers great ease of use, is easy to set up and leaves a very good impression with both music and film. But – as we said last year – is Dolby Atmos (with 11 channels) still too ambitious, the advanced setting possibilities are not necessary and can you do it with less streaming options? Then there are also very good AV receivers for less money.

Cons

  • No big improvements compared to 2016
  • Remote control may be a bit more premium
  • Interface can use lick of paint

Pros

  • Ultimate Dolby Atmos experience
  • Premium look and feel
  • Richly equipped in terms of features and functions

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