At last, the Death Star *my living room* is fully operational. All nine of my speakers (plus the .1) now emit sound. For the last year or so I had a 9.1, or as it’s better known a 7.1.2 set up in the living room. However, the Yamaha receiver was only capable of sending signals to seven of the speakers. What a colossal waste! And then…over there on the horizon came a new hope. The head of this here household approved an acquisition of the way more than adequate Denon AVRX4300H.
This fine piece of equipment was waiting for me when I got home tonight. There is nothing quite like the feel of something new. After I got everything ready for the transfer, the first step was connecting all the speaker wires. I love the fact that they put all the speaker connections in one row. There aren’t any stacked on top of one another. This may seem like a small thing at first. But, messing around in the semi-dark behind the entertainment center is a challenge without that extra space for your fingers to work. Whoa, interesting phrasing there.
All the wiring taken care of, it’s power up time. Immediately…well, after turning on the TV, a very intuitive set up guide popped up on the screen. It takes you through just about everything, including the speaker wire connections I just finished. Past experience has taught me to do all that before plugging the thing in. Trying to do otherwise has caused some shocking results. I’m sure the receiver let’s you do it this way without actually activating the speakers, but better be safe than sorry. Besides, I know where they all go. It’s easy enough to skip through the steps during set up if you’ve already completed them.
Using the included microphone to set up optimum sound for your listening space is a bit tedious and takes about 15 minutes. I recommend taking the time to do this because it does a much better job than most of us would fooling with the levels on ten different speaker channels.
They give you this cardboard tripod thing to mount the microphone on. I passed on that and decided to just hold the thing in the eight different locations necessary to properly set up speaker levels. The room has to be silent while this is going on of course. Biggest challenge of my day with the dog and kids around. Got it done though, and it was well worth the effort.
Connecting to the wifi was a snap using my iPhone. It was pretty much just an automatic process. So, now we are ready to go right? I tried to find something with good sound, like an action movie or…crap! Firmware update. Ok, no problem should only take a few minutes. Yup, not too bad. Now we are really ready to go.
I started with Directv now and found that newer Mad Max movie on SyFy channel or whatever. Awesome, not much happening when I tuned in but already it sounded great. And, commercial. Okay moving on, there was some Mission Impossible thing with Tom Cruise. And, commercial. Screw this, on to iTunes. Ahh, Rogue One. Holy Moly! I am surrounded on all sides by delicious sound effects and beautiful noise. From behind, and the left, to the right, front and above comes a tapestry of lovely angel trumpets and devil trombones.
Scared the crap out of the kids with the cacophony. Guess it was best I put on something more tame, like Shimmer and Shine? God, even that sounded great. Can you believe this receiver had the nerve to tell me my subwoofer was turned up to high? Ha, no chance! It’s all about that bass.
It’s pretty early on here and it still has that new tech smell. I haven’t even watched anything in true Dolby Atmos yet. But, I’m telling you this is a buy. If you have or can get the speakers set up in your space, I say go for it. This is the most affordable option of any Atmos receiver, but you can also check out some of the others I’m considering for my future home theater here.
Update: I had the chance to watch Empire Strikes Back with the new Denon and all my speakers working. Oh my God! The beginning when the Empire launches all those probes into space…I swear I was ducking to avoid them as they flew just over my head and past my ears. Also, that THX test thing was absolutely amazing. I was completely enveloped in sound.
“I am one with the force, and the force is with me.”