DENON AVR-X1800H AV Receiver Review

Your next home cinema upgrade may cost you less than you think, buzzes Steve May as he gets a taste of Denon AVR-X1800H. Tested at $559.
DENON AVR-X1800H front view
Home Cinema Choice Verdict: Best Buy
10/10 (Expert Score)
This budget-friendly receiver is a peerless home cinema upgrade that won't break the bank. Quite how it sounds so good for the cash is borderline miraculous.
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When Jason Statham Lays waste to a phishing call centre in The Beekeeper (Sky Cinema), I fear the incessant gunfire erupting in my movie room is going to alarm the neighbours. Denon’s new entry-level Dolby Atmos AVR is to blame, hitting hard like our titular hero.

What Is the Denon AVR-X1800H?

On paper, the AVR-X1800H doesn’t appear the most muscular of receivers. Sure, discrete high-current amplifiers on all channels claim to deliver up to 145W per channel, but that’s a single-channel, 1kHz, 6ohm measurement at a high THD of 1%. Denon’s full-band 80W/8ohm figure, with two channels driven, is more indicative of its inherent power, the amp’s exclusive retailer in the UK.

But in my average-sized listening room, it translates to a whole heap of real world slam. Its delivery sounds dynamic, gutty, visceral and oh-so satisfying. As the Stath tears through numerous heavily armed assailants, the AVR-X1800H elicits grins of approval all round. There’s a feral quality to its transients that suits action movies down to the ground.

Video Review

New 7.2 Channel AV Receiver - Denon AVR-X1800H Review (2023 Model)

New 7.2 Channel AV Receiver - Denon AVR-X1800H Review (2023 Model) | 80W/Channel, Wireless Streaming via Built-in HEOS ...

Denon AVR-X1800H A/V Receiver Unboxing, Install, and Initial Thoughts

An unboxing, install, and my initial thoughts on my brand new Denon AVR-X1800H A/V receiver. Below are links to more ...

Features

In Denon’s AV arsenal, the AVR-X1800H is positioned just below the AVR-X2800H, a comparable seven-channel design but with a higher power output, and the more overtly pricey AVC-X3800H AV amplifier, which has nine channels of amplification and 11.4-channel processing.

But don’t be undersold. Beneath the hood, this bottom-of-the-rung model uses the same power supply capacitors as its step-up sibling, and comes with similar bespoke sound tuning, courtesy of Shinichi Yamauchi, Denon’s ‘Sound Master’. And even at this price engineers have adhered to the company’s minimum signal path design philosophy, and implemented a separate preamp circuit.

We even get claims of an upgraded HDMI audio performance, made possible by new jitter suppression technology; Denon says its new implementation vastly improves the noise spectrum on the AVR-X1800H when compared to its X1700H predecessor. Good to know, as Statham blows up another building.

And while this receiver is a budget buy, that doesn’t mean it’s short on features. It’s HEOS multiroom enabled, and there’s support for 4K/120Hz and 8K sources. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, hi-res music playback, Dolby Vision/HDR10+ passthrough and more goodies are all onboard.

With its seven channels of amplification, the receiver is good for either a 7.2 or 5.2.2 speaker configuration (I opted for the latter). If you don’t have dedicated height channels, you can employ Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization technology or DTS Virtual:X to create the illusion of overhead audio, sans physical speakers.

Build and Design

Inevitably, this AVR’s build and finish reflect its price tag. It’s relatively light at 8.6kg, and employs a generic Denon design. The front fascia has standard source and volume knobs, arranged either side of a clean status display. There’s no drop-down flap or front-mounted HDMI input. Instead we have a visible line of touch-sensitive buttons, plus headphone jack, setup microphone input and USB ports.

Controls on Denon's RC-1257 remote include keys for source (including HEOS) and sound mode
Controls on Denon’s RC-1257 remote include keys for source (including HEOS) and sound mode

8K video is available via three of the receiver’s six HDMI inputs (specifically HDMI 4, 5 and 6). Such compliance promises considerable longevity, and will doubtless appeal to those with next-gen consoles. On the solitary HDMI output, there’s eARC.

Clearly, the provision of a single HDMI out indicates the AVR-X1800H isn’t intended for home theatres where a receiver might feed video to both a flatscreen TV and a projector. The limitation also shuts the door on second zone video.

The X1800H's front panel display sits between source and volume rotaries
The X1800H’s front panel display sits between source and volume rotaries

That said, you can connect a pair of stereo speakers in a second zone, while still providing 5.1 in your main space. If you do need two HDMI outputs, then the aforementioned AVR-X2800H model will oblige.

Additional connectivity includes two optical digital inputs (there’s no coaxial option), a pair of analogue stereo inputs, and a phono MM input for vinyl enthusiasts. Dual subwoofer outputs are provided if you want to double down on your LFE.

A welcome new addition to the back panel bouquet is a 5V/1.5A power USB port, which will juice an Amazon Fire TV or Roku streaming stick. It’s a nicety that will save on trailing cables.

Also fresh on the AVR-X1800H is a BT Headphone Volume Control, which allows you to calibrate volume levels on compatible Bluteooth headphones. Audio can also be heard through speakers and headphones simultaneously.

Also note that while Denon’s higher-end AVC models have done away with built-in FM/AM radio tuners, that’s not the case here.

UI upgrade

Getting going with this AV receiver is a breeze. One of the most obvious improvements over the previous AVR-X1700H is the onscreen user interface, which has evolved from lowly 480p to 1080p hi-def. A graphical Setup Assistant takes you through the process of hooking up sources and loudspeakers, renaming HDMI inputs automatically.

‘As the Stath tears through heavily armed assailants, the AVR-X1800H elicits grins of approval all round’

Denon has refined the circuit layout for this new generation, DENON AVR-X1800H of its X series entry amp
Denon has refined the circuit layout for this new generation of its X series entry amp

For calibration there’s Audyssey MultEQ, via a supplied setup microphone. This is a fairly straightforward process that requires you to measure between three and eight listening positions. You can further tune the system with the Audyssey MultEQ Editor app, but this is an optional (paid) extra.

Not only is the specification impressive for the cash

Post calibration, the X1800H’s sonic steerage is smooth. In episode five of Fallout, when an immobilised Knight Titus is swarmed by giant roaches, the insects scuttle up from the rear of my room and clamber there’s sonic refinement that belies its budget status’ overhead. When Lucy saunters to the rescue, they explode with a juicy splash across the front soundstage.

Naturally Dolby Atmos and DTS:X decoding comes as standard, but the receiver can also be used to great effect upscaling Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio (via Dolby Surround or DTS NeuraLX processing, respectively). In this guise it breathed fresh life into the stunning Daft Punk score, and meticulous sound design, of Tron: Legacy’s DTS-HD MA mix on Blu-ray. When our bemused human hero Sam Flynn is transported to the VR grid, the rumbling thrusters of his transport are neatly transposed to the height channels by the AVR’s DTS Neural:X algorithm.

The clutter-free DENON AVR-X1800H back panel offers colour-coded speaker terminals and a powered USB port
4. The clutter-free back panel offers colour-coded speaker terminals and a powered USB port

The subsequent Light Cycle showdown is a similarly thrilling audio experience, the receiver exhibiting supreme image placement and spatial clarity.

DENON AVR-X1800H Specs

ProductSeven-channel Dolby Atmos/DTS
AVR
PositionEntry model in Denon’s X series, above the five-channel S670H
PeersOnkyo TX-NR6100; Yamaha RX-V6A
Websitewww.denon.com
Dolby AtmosYes
DTSYes
IMAX EnhancedNo
Multichannel InputNo
Multichannel Pre-OutNo
Multichannel Output (Claimed)7 x 80W (8 ohm, 20Hz-20kHz, two-channel)
MultiroomYes. Zone 2 audio plus HEOS
AV Inputs2 x optical digital audio; 2 x analogue stereo
HDMIYes. 6 x inputs; 1 x output
Dimensions434(w) x 151(h) x 339(d)mm
Weight8.6kg
FeaturesAudyssey MultEQ calibration; Ethernet; Wi-Fi; Bluetooth; USB (including powered); FM/AM tuner; MM phono input; HDMI 2.1 on three inputs; 4K/120 and 8K/60 video passthrough; Dolby Vision and HDR10+ passthrough; Dolby Surround and DTS Neural
upmixers; Apple AirPlay 2; VRR, ALLM and Quick Frame Transport; hi-def GUI; Denon AVR Remote app; optional Audyssey MultEQ Editor app; twin subwoofer pre-outs; HEOS music streaming

TESTED WITH

DENON AVR-X1800H Review

TRON: LEGACY: Joseph Kosinski’s highly stylised 2010 sequel to the 1982 Disney sci-fi/fantasy hit remains an AV tour de force. Thanks to futuristic cinematography by Claudio Miranda and a platinum-selling electronic score by Daft Punk, its Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray releases are feasts for the eyes and ears.

Amp with X appeal

Denon’s AVR-X1800H has plenty going for it as a well-specified AV receiver that doesn’t sacrifice features for price. But not only is the physical specification impressive for the cash, there’s a sonic refinement evident here that belies its budget status. Incremental improvements in materials and tuning over the AVR-X1700H have brought an increased dynamic range, more effortless bass and greater musicality, without curtailing the all-action nature that buyers will demand. In other words, it’s exceptional value for money

DENON AVR-X1800H AV Receiver: Price Comparison
Denon AVR-X1800H 7.2 Channel AV Receiver (2023 Model) - 80W/Channel,...
$599.99 $749.00 8 used from $494.01 10 new from $599.99
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