For many years Denon has been at the forefront of home theatre technology, providing exceptional solutions for driving multi-speaker setups. The Denon AVR-S760H fills a very specific niche with its compatibility with the latest console systems, making it potentially the best bang per buck for those looking to maximize impact for movies, music, and gaming. Can this model do the trick? Let’s find out.
Specifications for the Denon AVR-S760H receiver
- 75 W/ch
- 1″ x 13.3″ x 8.5″ (434 x 339 x 215 mm)
- Dolby Atmos/DTS:X
- 6 HDMI 2.1 Inputs (3x 8K 60HZ compatible)/1 Output with 4K/120Hz pass-through and VRR
- HDR10/10+/Dolby Vision/HLG compatible
- 2 composite video inputs, 2 analogue audio inputs, MM phono input, 2 optical/1 coax audio input
- HEOS multiroom audio platform
- 7 speaker terminals, 2 subwoofer RCA outputs
- Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Ethernet
- FLAC/ALAC/WAV 192kHz/24Bit, DSD 2.8/5.6 MHz.
Design of the Denon AVR-S760H receiver
For almost as long as I’ve been using their products, the Denon line has been built using a handsome but hardly groundbreaking aesthetic. This receiver is constructed with a simple black faceplate, large knobs for volume and input selection, a few sporadic buttons for key features, headphone and USB inputs (no front HDMI, alas) and a pixelated blue info panel that seems pretty unchanged since at least the 1980s. This is designed in the best of ways to blend in with the rest of your equipment, perfect for a home theatre setup where the screen is the show rather than your fancy new receiver.
Around back you’ve got a well laid out series of inputs, beefy banana plug-compatible speaker ports, and a pair of WiFi antenna that can thankfully be nicely tucked away if using the preferred Ethernet jack. 6 HDMI inputs and one output, as well as a smattering of composite, analogue, and digital inputs, including moving magnet phono, round out the rest of the panel. The power cord is hardwired to the back rather than being a standard IEC, a clear indication that this is a set-it-and-forget it model meant to serve you without fuss. The remote is light, plastic, and sufficient for its purpose.
Sound of the Denon AVR-S760H receiver
Often receiver manufacturers rate the power output of their receivers based on 2 channel operation versus all channels driven, so one should always take with a grain of salt those numbers when used in real world circumstances. Thus, while 75W/ch seems more than sufficient for moderate sized rooms, when blasting out movie or game soundtracks you’re going to want to ensure you’re driving relatively efficient speakers. Thankfully, there are very few surround setups that wouldn’t benefit from the sweet sound from this Denon unit, so for the vast majority of users there’s more than enough oomph here to do the job.
The AVR-S760H receiver can be configured either for a 7.1 channel setup, with front/center/right/side surround/back surrounds, or a 5.1.2 setup, with front/center/right/surround, and two amplified ceiling speakers to get the most out of dedicated Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks. This is the preferred configuration, as, if your setup can accommodate it, the addition of height speakers does wonders to modern mixes, and even streaming services accommodate these more robust surround implementations. Unfortunately there are no descrete outputs for rear surrounds for use with additional amplification, meaning you can’t use the AVR-S760H as a base 7.1 processor with amplification for Atmos/DTS:X accomplished with another unit.
When playing back robust mixes like Mad Max: Fury Road on 4K UHD, or streaming Obi-Wan from Disney+, the AVR-S760H performed well within its intended use, filling the room nicely without any distortion or obvious strain. When doing more critical music listening the differences between it and my reference system were more evident, but without this direct A/B comparison most would not notice what they’re missing from a more substantial upgrade.
Audyssey MultEQ room correction is provided, which is a quick, no-nonsense setup mode using an included calibrated microphone. I used this to setup speaker size/distance, but my personal preference is to treat the room as best as possible and turn off artificial processing, especially when listening to music. I’m pleased to see that through use of an app you can tweak various settings, a great improvement on the implementation on my reference setup.
Video playback on the Denon AVR-S760H receiver
It’s with video that the main selling feature of the AVR-S760H shines, with its three 40Gps HMDI 2.1 inputs that allow for 4K 120Hz/8k 60Hz switching and pass-through with variable refresh rate. With three of these ports you’re maximizing what today is the highest bandwidth for gaming needs, getting the ultimate soundtrack from your Xbox or PlayStation setup without any compromise to the visuals. For video from Blu-ray or 4K disc these ports are overkill, and the three other HDMI ports are more than sufficient for even the most robust of disc playback formats.
The unit will upscale your HDMI inputs to 8K, but for those with televisions with that resolution it’s often superior to send the signals natively and have your monitor’s own scaling algorithms tackle the heavy lifting. Still, it’s a nice thing to have, even if you disable it in the menu. The unit also supports the major high dynamic range formats (HDR, HDR10+, HLG and Dolby Vision), making it ideal for just about any television you plug into its output port.
Additional features of the Denon AVR-S760H receiver
As with most modern receivers, the Denon is compatible with the various voice control platforms such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. People running Roon audio systems will be able to stream through this model, but you’re limited to CD resolution for most implementations. You can stream from a constellation of services, including Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music HD, TIDAL, etc., controlled in integrated fashion via Denon’s own app. The unit can be used to connect to wireless speakers via HEOS, Denon’s proprietary multi-room solution, and iOS and Mac users can use Airplay 2 to stream directly. If all else fails, you can simply connect via Bluetooth to the unit and blast whatever you’d like out of your mobile device.
In fact, the unit can even transmit, not simply receive Bluetooth signals, meaning you can connect headphones or an additional Bluetooth speaker with ease. You can even transmit while still having the audio amplified from the speaker terminals, ideal if someone is hearing impaired and requires the Bluetooth signal to be send to their personal hearing apparatus.
I applaud the inclusion of a moving magnet phono input for those who listen to vinyl, and the inclusion of RCA composite inputs means that even relatively ancient technologies like old game consoles, VHS, or even Laserdisc can be used with this model. As a home theatre receiver is meant to be the heart of any such system I’m gratified that there remains a continuation beyond the digital HDMI input solutions in 2022.
The setup screens on the Denon, as with all models from this manufacturer, feels the most dated, with pixelated text and very generic layout. That said, it’s extremely quick and easy to navigate, the layout is clear and coherent, and I’d much rather drop the pretty graphics in favour of such clarity.
Final thoughts on the Denon AVR-S760H receiver
In many ways the Denon AVR-S760H receiver is the ideal model for any modest home theatre setup. It performs well, it’s relatively easy to setup, has plenty of capabilities and does its job without fuss. Its biggest selling feature is the ability to handle full bandwidth HDMI 2.1 4K 120Hz, making this perfect for a game system that doesn’t need some of the other elements found in higher-end solutions.
While this is not a model to use for eventual expansion, and limits you to its core functions and channels of amplification, this is more than sufficient for the vast majority of consumers. It’s a solid, robust model that, with a good set of speakers, will provide a sound experience far superior than just about any soundbar solution, and thanks to its integration with numerous audio streaming services and robust video capabilities, it will easily provide excellent performance for those that give this model a chance.
The Denon AVR-S760H receiver is available now on bestbuy.ca
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