Inputs / Ports9.0/10
OS, Apps and Features9.4/10
Price / Quality9.2/10
- Great performance
- Good build quality
- Inclusion of a HDMI 2.1 input
- Huge list of extras and services
- No front HDMI input this year
- HDMI 2.1 has problems with 4K@120Hz
- Audyssey MultEQ Editor app not free
- No backlight on remote
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Either you are a casual or a hardcore user in the home theater arena there is a name that you have definitely heard and this is no other than Denon. Very consistent with their yearly releases especially in the AV receivers segment Denon has managed to make a name for themselves by creating some very good quality units over the years and by pricing them just about right have won a big piece of this market. Today in our Denon AVR-X2700H review we will be looking at their lowest offering in the X series and what it has to offer compared to last year.
Usually with these yearly releases we get small updates with some minor additions with every next outing. You can say that 2020 was a bigger leap as this was the first time we got AV receivers that had HDMI 2.1 with everything that came along with it. This means we also got 8K resolution pass-through, even though content is nowhere to be found yet, along with HDR10+ and many gaming eccentric features like ALLM, VRR, QMS and QFT.
But the AVR-X2700H is not only focused in these as there is a plethora of features already from last year. As such the receiver has 7.2 channels of built-in amplification with 95 watts of power per channel, supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X along with the usual virtual and up-mixing tech like Dolby Surround, DTS Neural:X, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization and DTS Virtual:X, comes with the slightly less capable Audyssey MultEQ XT auto calibration system and is fully packed in terms of extras as we get High Resolution Audio, HEOS technology, AirPlay 2, voice control, custom integration as well as bi-amp capabilities, multi-room zones and HDMI upscaling.
Basically the AVR-X2700H is an enhanced AVR-X2600H with the addition of all the new features the new HDMI 2.1 brought. But does it perform the same and how does it compare to competition? Let’s find out…
From what we have seen Denon has kept the same designs for their 2020 releases and as such the AVR-X2700H features exactly the same shell as its predecessor with only a minor change and that is no other than the missing front HDMI port which seems to become a trend among Sound United brands as exactly the same thing we had seen happening in Marantz AV receivers also. For some reason the arrival of HDMI 2.1 made these manufacturers take out the front HDMI which is a shame really.
But except from that everything else has remained the same including the dimensions and weight of the unit measuring 17.1″ x 13.4″ x 9.3″ (434 x 341 x 237 mm) with the antennas in vertical position. You can slightly minimize its height to 6.6″ (167 mm) if you turn them horizontally without any loss on wireless quality and thus strikes a perfect balance between size and capabilities.
In terms of actual looks, well… this is a Denon receiver so it will definitely not get any awards for design. Featuring straight lines and sharp corners this is your typical black box receiver that sounds much better than it looks. The front, as we already mentioned, features a brushed metal texture with an exact shame layout as their 2019 release.
This means a big central display showing all functions with two big circular knobs at each side for volume on the right and source selection on the left. Under the source selection knob we find the power button while a thin line under the central display houses 10 function buttons that include tuner and zone 2 controls, Dimmer, Status and four quick selection buttons.
Under these buttons, as usual, we get the front ports with the headphones jack and setup microphone port on the left and a single USB port on the right that can be used to stream audio from a USB based external storage like a flash drive. Next to the USB was used to be the front HDMI port but the arrival of HDMI 2.1 seems to be the reason for taking this out. Let’s hope that manufacturers will bring this back in the next releases as it was a very practical port to have for easy and quick access and we totally disagree with them taking this out.
But similarities don’t stop on the outside as the receiver retains much of the same hardware as its predecessor also. Functionality is not all that much different in terms of actual audio performance so there was no actual need for any change. The receiver features discrete high-current amplifiers on all channels with low-impedance drive capability while it’s AKM AK4458 32-bit D/A converters allow for high resolution audio decoding while providing low distortion and the widest possible dynamic range.
The remote we find with this unit is the 2020 RC-1239 which looks very similar to other Denon remotes design wise but comes with a single change in the buttons layout and that is instead of AUX2 we find the 8K input button. The remote comes with all the input buttons at the top along with the HEOS and Bluetooth functions, navigation buttons in the middle along with channel and volume controls while playback, quick selection and sound mode buttons are being placed at the bottom.
The remote in general is a big one while the buttons have a relatively small size and we would like them a little bigger to be easier to the touch. At least the long distance between them minimizes the risk of a wrong command which can be a regular phenomenon in a dark environment since the remote lacks any kind of backlight functionality. It’s construction is good and feels pretty solid with a nice texture on top to make it look a little more premium.
In terms of build quality Denon is known for their standards and what they offer for the price asked. The AVR-X2700H is not all that different from the 2019 release and keeps the same sturdy design and good quality audio components but certainly looses a few points due to the removal of the front HDMI input. Also at some point we would like to see a new remote design that would offer less buttons but that means a new user interface has to be created similar to what we see in smart TVs nowadays.
The receiver supports the usual Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object oriented audio tracks but along with these we get support for up-mixing and virtual technology features in order to cover all needs and specific room configurations.
When it comes to up-mixing tech we find the usual Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X. What these up-mixing tech are doing is to up-convert stereo and legacy mixes in order to make use of all the speakers you have in your setup. As for virtual tech the DTS Virtual:X is capable of creating sounds that originate from virtual created speakers around your room where there are no physical speakers present.
This virtual tech obviously is not as good and accurate as having real physical speakers and are very much room dependent. Also the sound many times can be heard very over-processed something we were never very fond of. If there is anything missing here that would be Auro-3D along with IMAX Enhanced as both of these are kept for the higher tier releases.
Being the entry level unit in the X series the X2700H comes with 7 channels of built-in amplification and each channel can pump 95 watts of power (8 ohm, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.08% 2ch drive). Obviously you should take this number with a grain of salt as manufacturers always give ratings with only 2 channels driven meaning that when all 7 channels are active this number goes down considerably.
With the supported channels you can go all the way for a 5.2.2 channels audio setup with two dedicated overhead speakers for maximum immersion. For our test we went for a 5.1.2 setup using a single subwoofer and 2 Atmos speakers placed at the middle of our viewing area.
For our first movie testing we went on to try out Greyhound which has aired in Apple TV+ and comes with a jaw dropping Dolby Atmos mix that is every bit as immersive as you would expect from a 2020 WWII navy film. The movie centers around the Fletcher-class destroyer USS Keeling, radio call sign “Greyhound”, as it tries to navigate convoy HX-25, consisting of 37 Allied ships through the Atlantic all the way to Liverpool.
There is plenty of dialogue in the film as the Captain of the destroyer is constantly issuing commands to his sailors but when the action starts things get pretty hectic as it would be easy to loose track with so much aural information to process. Sailors screaming all over the place, the angry waves of the Atlantic ocean scratching the metal body of the destroyer, the Greyhound’s ordnance as it throws everything it has on the menacing German U-boats and all these encompassed by eerie atmospherics and music.
It gets wild at moments but the receiver was able to keep a straight face through all that. The front channels were keeping the tempo and the stage was wide and deep while the very active center channel was kept well defined and isolated from the rest of the action. Surround speakers added the necessary over-the-shoulder activity with some pretty obvious moments especially when cannon fire and machine guns were involved giving you good channel shifting and accurate panning effects.
The Atmos effects complemented the rest of the action nicely even if their activity was not as to the face as the rest of the channels. But they gave the necessary height information to envelope you even further into that world. As for the low end when the cannons of the Greyhound started to fire our subwoofer was like punching us in the face and we were happily asking for more.
Greyhound was one of the pleasant surprises of 2020, if you consider that it was cancelled from theatrical release, but the film deserves a viewing in every Dolby Atmos capable system. As for our case the X2700H came out with flying colors. It never bulked under all this action, it never lagged or stressed and everything sounded as it should for an AV receiver of its class and quality.
We switch gears for our next testing so we take out the 4K UHD of Mad Max: Fury Road with its explosive Dolby Atmos mix. Things get pretty hectic here and its funny as the film is not so much dialogue driven in comparison to other action oriented films. But the movie is far from silent as every shot is an orchestrated cacophony of sounds that kicks you right into its world.
Every car chase is worthy of reference status as the amount of surround activity, front oriented action, panning effects, low end activity and overhead immersion goes through the roof. But the X2700H didn’t seem to bother with all that as it kept the pace with vigor and really orchestrated everything like a master maestro would do with his orchestra.
The front sound stage was alive as the roaring engines were trying to keep the speed of their vehicles on the burning desert, surround activity was very precise and well rendered while panning effects were to the point with no lagging between each shot. The receiver fed our subwoofer with all the low end information needed to shake us and slap us in the face more than a few times while dialogue, even the little of it in the film, was well defined and centered without the rest of the effects overlapping to each other.
Mad Max: Fury Road is a crazy but also vicious aural experience and the Denon receiver did everything by the book in order to throw us right into the middle of it. Nothing more to say!
Naturally High Resolution Audio couldn’t be missing so except from the usual low quality MP3, WMA and AAC the receiver can also playback FLAC, ALAC and WAV files up to 192 kHz / 24-bit as well as DSD for both 2.8 and 5.6 MHz. In our case as we always do in our review we selected a few music tracks in FLAC format that we streamed through the USB port of the receiver for the best possible quality.
Last in our tests is music so we switched to a 2 channels setup and got some tunes to see what the X2700H is capable of doing with music. As we always say it is not only a matter of how good the AV receiver is but also with what kind of speakers you are going to pair it with in order to get the best of results.
The Denon, in our case provided us with an amazing musical stage that felt vivid, alive and realistic. The sound stretched in front of us in all axis with excellent resolution and very nice stereo imaging. Every musical instrument was so well defined and rendered in space that you could close your eyes and almost point their place of origin.
We tried out several different tunes and rhythms and the Denon managed to reproduce everything with excellent clarity and tempo. From raw hard rock tunes to more delicate classical music there was nothing stopping the X2700H from bringing every sound to our ears exactly as it should. Mid-range had a very distinct balance with good high end and thunderous bass. Even with music that had very demanding low end both in terms of tempo and power it was more a matter of how our subwoofer could cope with it rather than what the receiver could actually do.
Obviously if you are a dedicated music lover and want to create a 2 channels music setup there would be no reason to go for the X2700H. But if you are the kind of guy that likes to combine movies and music and you ask something more than the base experience, the X2700H is capable at providing that.
Closing what we can say is that the X2700H proved to be no less capable than any of the other Denon AV receivers we had tested in the past. Yes, it may support only 7 channels and yes it may not be the most powerful of the bunch but if you have a relatively limited space or you are not very demanding in terms of maximum volume then you really don’t need anything more than this one. It offers all the bang you will need in movies and extreme finesse and delicacy in music making it an excellent all-around choice.
Ports and Connectivity
Usually when it comes to yearly releases manufacturers don’t change much in terms of connections. Either they make slight alterations or they leave things exactly the same. The X2700H seems to be a different story as Denon has made some changes to the included ports that is not only focused on the addition of the new HDMI 2.1.
First of all we already mentioned above about the frontal ports that include the Headphones jack, the setup microphone port and the USB port. Here we have lost the front HDMI input so we are already one HDMI port minus.
At the back of the unit the first thing that catches the eye are the 7 speaker terminals placed in a straight line at the bottom which helps a lot with cable management. The terminals are the usual quality we have seen from Denon so all is good here with good quality plastic caps while each terminal has its own amplification.
At the top we find the HDMI inputs and here we see an actual reduction on the number of inputs provided. While the X2600H had 7 inputs (and with the front one 8) the X2700H has a total of 6 from which only one is actually HDMI 2.1. It’s exactly the same doing as we saw in Marantz units this year. For some reason we loose the front and one of the back HDMI inputs in order to switch one of the remaining 6 into the new HDMI 2.1. Well with Sound United owing both Denon and Marantz this doesn’t come as a complete surprise but it’s definitely a bummer. We also get the usual dual HDMI output so no changes there.
As for the rest of the connections we get the same 2 component video inputs and 1 output, 2 composite video inputs and 1 output, 1 Ethernet port, 2.2 channels pre-outs, 4 analogue audio inputs and one more dedicated for phono and the usual FM/AM antenna inputs along with the WiFi/Bluetooth connectors.
What is new in the 2020 X2700H seems to be the addition of a coaxial digital audio input, an RS-232C port and remote IR input and output connectors.
As for the new HDMI 2.1 this supports all the old along with a few new exciting technologies including 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz video pass-through, 4:4:4 Pure Color sub sampling, HDR10, Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), Dynamic HDR, 3D, BT.2020 pass-through, ALLM, VRR, QMS, QFT, ARC, eARC, Auto LipSync and HDMI-CEC.
Now if there is something that we do need to mention is the same HDMI 2.1 problems that plague all 2020 AV receivers that support HDMI 2.1. We have already mentioned this problem in our recent Marantz reviews so we will repeat the same here for anyone who is not in the loop.
It seems that the Panasonic chip that handles the HDMI 2.1 connection cannot process the signal of specific sources that output at 4K/120Hz RGB signal (8-bit, 10-bit, 12-bit) like the Xbox Series X and this results in a black screen. Now there are not many sources that currently support 4K@120Hz with this exact configuration but this is probably a hardware issue and cannot be solved by a simple firmware update.
Now if you are wondering, the X2700H has no problem whatsoever if you are watching movies or playing games at 4K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz YCbCr 4:2:0 signals (8-bit) or anything below that so in most cases you are going to be absolutely fine. In the rare case where the receiver accepts a 4K/120Hz RGB signal (8-bit, 10-bit, 12-bit) this is when this problem will appear and the only current workaround is to connect your source device directly to your TV.
To be honest this is a problem that should not happen in the first place and shows that somewhere there has been a major miscommunication between manufacturers but you should keep in mind that this will probably not affect you as much as you may think of.
Right now this problem seems to affect all new AV receivers in 2020 including Denon, Marantz and Yamaha. All manufacturers have acknowledged the problem but as far as a solution it is still unclear how it will be handled and all of them are currently investigating the problem. In all honesty, as this seems to be a problem on a hardware level, we don’t see anything changing at least as far as the 2020 models is concerned. Hopefully the 2021 release will address this issue once and for all.
Lastly we should say a couple of things about the unit’s wireless capabilities. With it’s built-in WiFi it can connect both in 2.4GHz and 5 GHz networks while it also supports Bluetooth streaming. The X2700H supports Bluetooth 4.2 which is not as efficient as the newer v5 but at least during our testing we didn’t notice any lagging or connection problems.
The X2700H offers all you would expect from the least expensive Denon X model. We are disappointed that we loose 2 HDMI inputs (including the front one) just to get a single HDMI 2.1 from the rest and the small additions they did this year we don’t believe add much value for the masses. Yes they are important mostly for those custom installations but for everyone else the reduction of the HDMI ports is a big deal. Everything else remained the same no real complaints there.
OS, Apps and Features
Next we will be looking at all the extras that Denon has included. The last couple of years there are not any major changes in terms of extra features as most of their offerings are already fully packed so this section of our review will be very similar to other Denon reviews and we will be making changes and additions wherever we deem necessary.
First of all we will talk about the audio calibration system. Denon is using the Audyssey system and as with all manufacturers they scale it accordingly to meet the price and performance standards of each of their models. For the X2700H we get the Audyssey MultEQ XT version which is a step lower than the XT32 version which is their best and most feature complete suite. In comparison this one features lower resolution filters which can result in less accuracy.
The Audyssey MultEQ XT also comes with Dynamic Volume and Dynamic EQ. This version of Audyssey has the ability to analyze up to 8 different listening positions with the help of the included microphone and creates precise digital filters in order to offer the best audio result for your particular space.
But expect from the core system we also get Dynamic EQ which is a feature that is responsible at keeping the clarity and dynamic levels of audio even when you like to watch at low volume, like for night viewings for example. Dynamic Volume on the other hand is capable of balancing sudden changes and spikes in volume that could appear when there are sudden changes from TV broadcasting to commercials.
Going through the Audyssey calibration can be done either through the built-in wizard or if you want to dive deeper into calibrating your system then you can download the Audyssey MultEQ Editor app that is available for Android or iOS and do a more thorough setup with the help of your mobile device. Only keep in mind that this app has a one time fee which is a shame but it is what it is. As for the built-in system this is more than enough for most casual users as it offers almost anything you need to make very good and precise adjustments to your system.
But Denon provides another app for this AV receiver and this one comes completely free. The Denon 2016 AVR Remote app as it is called lets you control the unit with your mobile device through a nice visual interface. If you are tired of the included remote this is a nice and most important free alternative. The app is available for both Android and iOS devices so we suggest you give it a try to see if you like it.
When it comes to the User Interface the one in this unit is pretty simple and straightforward and similar to what we had seen in other Denon receivers so no surprise here either. Although it doesn’t have the visual impact of some other UIs we have seen used in TVs for example it’s layout is very nicely done and you can find all the settings you will need without much effort.
The receiver comes with the usual streaming as well as multi-zone capabilities that Denon includes in almost all their units. As it supports both HEOS and Airplay 2 you can either stream music online from one of the available online streaming services that include TuneIn Internet Radio, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music HD, TIDAL, SiriusXM, Deezer and Napster among others or create your own multi-room environment with the use of appropriate wireless speakers. Both the HEOS and Airplay 2 apps are available for downloading from their appropriate stores for use with your mobile device. But if you prefer a wired connection the X2700H also supports Zone 2 for your convenience.
Now as far as streaming, online is not the only option you have as you can stream audio from a network drive or NAS server if it happens you to have one connected to your local network. Also with the included USB port you can stream music through some connected external storage or flash drive. Lastly if you prefer a more wireless way of streaming your music there is Bluetooth available for connecting with your mobile device. If you use Apple devices then Airplay 2 can also be used to stream music wireless through it.
And since we mentioned Bluetooth there is a new addition in the X2700H as far as audio output as it seems that the receiver can output audio in two different ways using its Bluetooth transmitter. The X2700H is capable at streaming audio to Bluetooth enabled headphones for a completely silent house experience or it can also output sound from both its speaker terminals and to a Bluetooth headset. This can be particularly practical in case there is a member in the family that is hearing impaired.
Denon is known for including all known voice control platforms to most of their models and the X2700H is not any different in this regard. As such there is support for both most known ones with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant but there is also support for Apple’s Siri through the Airplay 2 app and the advanced automation system Josh.ai making this receiver complete in every way.
Another handy feature that we do find is HDMI-CEC and this one lets you use the TV remote to control the AV receiver if the TV also supports this. You can understand the practicality of this as this way you can reduce the amount of remotes you will need to have in your home theater. Obviously this feature lets you use only the most basic functions of the receiver but for everyday use it can be a very time saving one.
But extra features don’t end here so let’s see what else is included. The receiver supports video upscaling to 8K resolution but the limitation compared to the more premium offerings is that the X2700H can do that only through its HDMI ports. We also get bi-amp capabilities which is a favorite among home theater fans, an ECO mode that can regulate the receiver’s power usage for a more environmental friendly power consumption, custom integration for Domotz Pro, OvrC and Control4 SDPP as well as being “Roon Tested” certified.
For this last one there seems to be a bit of confusion as there are two types of certifications. Roon Ready and Roon Tested. The X2700H, as with many other similar receivers like Marantz, is Roon Tested which means while Roon will work on this unit you will not get the highest quality possible. So for example if you use Airplay, audio quality is limited to 16 Bit/44.1kHz. Keep that in mind in case Roon is specifically important to you but also want your files to be streamed in their original quality.
Denon continue to offer consumers excellent releases and the 2020 X2700H is one of them. As the lower denominator in the X series the X2700H managed to be a very respectable entry for anyone looking for a good 7.2 channels, Dolby Atmos capable AV receiver as it has both the performance and features to satisfy even the most demanding of users.
But as we very frequently mention these yearly releases usually fall short as there is simple very little time between them to ensure many new features. But the X2700H along with many other 2020 units mark the beginning of 8K and HDMI 2.1 in the AV receivers market and thus can be considered a bigger leap. The new HDMI 2.1 is big as along with it come a pretty impressive list of new technologies and features. As such this year we also get 8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz video pass-through, HDR10+, ALLM, VRR, QMS and QFT. Lastly we should not forget to mention the new ability to stream to Bluetooth headphones alone or in parallel with the main speakers.
In all these you can include a very good build quality and a wealth of features including a wide range of audio support like Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and various up-mixing and virtual technologies, High Resolution Audio, HEOS and Airplay 2, online, USB and Bluetooth streaming and many more minor features adding so much value in this unit.
Is there anything bad to say? Well the most obvious one would be the shaky HDMI 2.1 release. And the problem is not only that the receiver cannot support specific 4K/120Hz signals but Denon also had to cut 2 HDMI inputs in order to switch one of the remaining 6 into the new 2.1. This meant loosing the one at the front and another one at the back which seriously limits the amount of devices you can connect on the receiver now. Also we would like the Audyssey MultEQ Editor app to be free and lastly a better remote design would be desirable.
But even with these small missteps the Denon X2700H remains a very stellar release and can be a perfect choice for anyone looking for a Dolby Atmos capable 7.2 channels receiver that packs a lot of features but doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Highly recommended.
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