The Denon DHT-S216 is a sleek soundbar without a subwoofer, but with enough options that can make it interesting. Moreover, you also do not pay the main price for the speaker. The DHT-S216 has a suggested retail price of € 219.
Denon DHT-S216 – specs and design
Because televisions that stand on feet get lower over time, soundbars manufacturers must respond to this by keeping the soundbars low . This brings challenges: a small sound box does not always guarantee a great sound. The Denon DHT-S216 is 6 centimeters high and therefore fits under the majority of TVs that are on their own feet. The compact yet complete system has two downward facing 3-inch subwoofers, two midrange dual drivers and two 1-inch tweeters.
The DHT-S216 is also equipped with a Pure mode. This reduces the surround processing and prevents adjustments in film, music or night mode – you get the sound as it was recorded. With the choice of three different sound modes (film, night and music), you can tune the sound to the occasion. You can also connect your smartphone or tablet to the soundbar using Bluetooth to stream your favorite music.
The soundbar can be mounted on the wall or placed on a cupboard. You get all the supplies for this. It offers support for 4k at 60 Hz, hdcp 2.2 and hdmi audio return channel (an input and an output with arc). Once connected via HDMI arc, the soundbar can be operated with the remote control of a TV; otherwise you are dependent on the optical connection. An HDMI cable is included, but the soundbar does not have a subwoofer. You could still connect it separately.
Denon DHT-S216 – installation and use
Connecting and commissioning the Denon DHT-S216 is not at all difficult. You can link the soundbar to your television in two ways and both the ways speak for themselves. If you choose to use the optical cable, don’t forget to switch off the speakers on your TV. If you choose the HDMI cable, you don’t have to think about it; then it is important that you choose the TV port with HDMI arc on board. So you can control the soundbar with the remote control of your TV. Useful for volume control.
The system automatically switches between the sound from the TV and the HDMI port, for example, so that you do not need the remote control for that. If you want to play music via Bluetooth or switch to sound mode, simply press the appropriate button. The remote control itself is not very attractive and is also not very nice in the hand, but you can fine with it. The buttons are large enough and are far apart, so you never accidentally press the wrong button.
The most annoying thing about a soundbar like the Denon DHT-S216, a similar competitor, is that there is no display. Now you have to do it with small LED lights that show how high the volume is and which source is selected. But in many cases it is not immediately clear and it is difficult to estimate how loud the sound is. That is why you suddenly hear loud sound when you switch sources, because you cannot adjust the volume well in advance. Those small LED lights give too little feedback.
Denon DHT-S216 – audio quality
You can say a lot about the range of small, narrow or slim soundbars. But when they are able to get goosebumps from your favorite songs or music, we quickly conclude that the quality is okay. During the long guitar solo by Metallica’s Halo of Fire we have been enjoying the details we heard on both the foreground and background, while the volume increased. We have not heard a squeak or a beep, but we noticed a limitation.
If the sound is too loud or the music gets too busy, it seems as if different tones are starting to fight for attention, so in some cases (with Halo of Fire noticed that it can sound less crowded. Busier than musicians intended. That is something that you simply have to take into account when you opt for smaller audio products, since the sound literally does not have enough room to perform well at that moment. If you find that annoying, then you have to dig deeper into the pouch.
In this case, the Denon DHT-S216 was not in music mode. That is one of the modes that you have at your disposal, with which you can very easily set the sound reproduction based on the content you are watching or listening to. There is also a film mode, which puts more emphasis on bass and voices, and an evening mode, which deliberately limits the overall output of the sound. This can be useful for example not to wake the children up in the evening. Or to give the neighbours some rest.
However, none of those modes convince. The sound is often distorted in such a way that there is no clear improvement. That’s okay, because you don’t need those modes at all when you press the Pure button. Pure mode is one that sends the sound through the speakers unprocessed and undistorted and that is in many cases the best. The sound reproduction is perhaps somewhat less broad, in the literal sense, but the balance between the different tones and channels is much, but really much better.
In addition, the Denon DHT-S216 has two more assets in hands: the dialog enhancer and adjusting the bass volume. The first is important if you do not understand what is being said. Unfortunately, the voice is clearly compartmentalized, which means that other sounds have less room. And despite the fact that there is no separate subwoofer, the soundbar has quite a lot to offer. But a too high output can cause an ugly sound, so it’s nice to have an influence on it yourself.
Denon DHT-S216 – conclusion
In the soundbar segment below 400 euros, competition is fierce. This is evident from our file where we awarded the main prize to the Panasonic SC-HTB510 . That is not only because of the number of options that you have available, but also because of the sound quality. The Denon DHT-S216 is somewhat cheaper, but at the bottom it saves a few tens (depending on the store). The question is more than once: what exactly are you looking for? Do you want more options or do you want better audio quality?
That is often no longer a hassle in the higher segments. If you are willing to spend more than 600 euros, then in many cases you can have it all (we consciously mention that amount, because of the JBL Bar 5.1 Surround . You often make decisions underneath: what do I surrender if I go for soundbar x compared to the soundbar I now have or soundbar y? Do you find it important that there is WiFi on board or do you prefer HDMI-in? And what do you think of a soundbar without a subwoofer? All important questions before you buy a soundbar.
We can state that the Denon DHT-S216 can offer a decent audio quality for the relatively low amounts compared to the Panasonic SC-HT510. In addition, it is nice that an additional HDMI port is present, so that you can connect another device to it. The many audio modes are not convincing, but the option of being able to manually adjust the sound here and there (also in Pure mode), is very comfortable. If you don’t think wifi is so important, then the Denon DHT-S216 is more than an excellent option for you.