Could the Denon AVR-X4100W Receiver Be Your Last?
The Denon AVR-X4100W receiver is possibly the perfect 7.2-channel AV receiver on the market right now. At $1299, it has a price point and feature set that is tough to top. Right off the bat we can see that Denon is tossing off its gold accented bling color scheme for a more subdued silver. In terms of video features, the AVR-X4100W comes with support for the new HDMI 2.0 format and full 4K Ultra HD. And that’s not just pass-through of those formats, the AVR-X4100W will actually take anything fed to it and upconvert to 4K for the newest displays on the market.
Streaming Takes on a Whole New Meaning
The word that comes to mind with the Denon AVR-X4100W and its streaming media capabilities is “universal”. You get integrated WiFi, with dual antennas on the back that pick up just about anything you want to send it from a local wireless network. There’s also Bluetooth streaming, so virtually any tablet, smart phone, or connected mp3 player can connect to the receiver and feed it audio. If that weren’t enough, there’s AirPlay for connecting any iOS device and streaming media from apps such as Spotify, Rhapsody, Pandora, or any other supported software. Plus, you can also stream music from your home network—so all those downloads you paid for on your desktop computer are fair game for your listening room. On the front, a single USB port lets you stream and charge your iOS Devices simultaneously.
Of course, wiring up physical media is nearly limitless, with the Denon AVR-X4100W providing 8 HDMI inputs and three outputs. That second HDMI can mirror the first, and the third can send a completely independent source to a second zone. That means you can use the Denon AVR-X4100W to run two complete surround rooms (one with up to 7.2 and another utilizing a sound bar or other system that can strip audio from an HDMI feed). All in all, you have the capability to support two full zones with nearly anything you want to watch. If you’re a subwoofer nut (or bass-head as we affectionately call them), you’ll enjoy the dual subwoofer outputs that let you run two gut-busters without having to use a Y-cable. This is no different from the former AVR-X4000, but where it does differ is in the preamp outputs. The AVR-X4100W actually has them—all 7.2 to be exact, so you can feed a preamp output to an external 7-channel amplifier if you so desire. Denon’s latest AVR-X4100W also includes a component video output that can even be assigned to a second zone.
Custom Installation Options
At $1299 I expect a bit more than just two zone HDMI. If that’s the only custom install feature you have, you’ll be wanting the second you move to an advanced control system. The Denon AVR-X4100W also includes a RS-232C serial connection as well as dual 12V trigger outputs and a remote control loop. And it’s fully IP controllable, a fact that is illustrated to a great extent through the use of the company’s tablet and smart phone apps.
Tech Tip:Video Capabilities The video processor on the Denon AVR-X4100W is equipped to handle 4K Ultra HD 60 Hz signals and features 4:4:4 Pure Color 4K sub-sampling pass-through. It’s also certified by the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) for video quality, and comes with the full suite of ISFccc advanced video calibration controls.
Power to the People
This receiver includes a 7-channel amplifier with high current discrete power output devices for each of its 125 watt channels. The Denon AVR-X4100W is also now built so that it can drive 4 ohm loads without shutting down. The former AVR-X4000 was only spec’d for 6-ohm speakers or higher. Denon did something unique with its amplifiers, too. They introduced an Eco amplifier mode. It’s a button right in the middle of the remote. It’s even green. This automatically adjusts power output based on volume level. You can even access an on-screen Eco meter so you can see the power consumption savings in real time. Let me make this perfectly clear: If you do this, you’re a dork. Turn this mode off as all it does is artificially lower your amplifier power, and you want that power when it’s needed. If you want to run it at night when the kids are in bed…have at it. Other than that, turn it off.
Audyssey’s Platinum suite is included on this receiver, giving you access to MultEQ XT32 automatic room correction. Audyssey Dynamic Volume and EQ level out the peaks of movie soundtracks as well as those annoyingly loud commercials that blow out your system when you’re watching TV. It also gives you a better sense of bass and clarity at lower volumes, so when you dial it down you still get a soundtrack that’s closer to what the rerecording (mix) engineer intended when he put the film together at reference volume levels. MultEQ XT32 gives you 32 times more resolution on your main and surround speakers compared to the base MultEQ system. You can also measure from up to 8 positions in the room (32 with the Pro kit). Audyssey DSX (or Dynamic Surround Expansion) lets you add front height or front width (wide) speakers for greater immersion in movie soundtracks. Dolby Atmos is also onboard, and this is the first AV receiver in Denon’s line-up to support the new surround format.
The amplifiers in this Dolby Atmos Receiver are fully assignable. You can use the two Surround Back channels to drive front height or width (wide) speakers, or you can run a full 7.1 or 7.2 home theater and connect an external stereo amplifier to power another pair of front height or width speakers.
There are a lot of really cool features on the Denon AVR-X4100W receiver that make it easy to setup and use—far easier, in fact, than ever before. And Denon is second only to Sony in the complexity of its configuration procedures. With great power comes great responsibility—or confusion…I can’t remember how it goes. But now Denon includes an on-screen Setup Assistant that walks you through the basic things you’ll need in order to get up and running. When you’re done, you can control just about everything using a web browser or Denon’s iOS or Android Remote Apps. They even created a new tablet app which makes better use of the larger real estate afforded buy iPads and larger Android tablets. For your physical speaker connections, the speaker terminals are color-coded and are set up to work with nearly any sort of speaker cable termination you may want to use (bare wire, banana plug, pin, etc). Denon even throws in speaker cable labels so you can ensure you only have to go through this hassle once.
So why is the AVR-X4100W the last receiver you may ever need to buy? It’s powerful, supports 4K, provides for height and width channels. You can calibrate it to your heart’s content, and it has enough power to drive nearly any speaker I can imagine you putting into your room. And if you need more power you’ve got those preamp outputs. It’s got WiFi, Bluetooth, 8 HDMI inputs and support for any sort of whole home A/V control system you can throw at it. At under $1300, this is pretty much it for the bell curve. If you want more power, upgrade to either the AVR-X5200W or wait a bit for the upcoming (rumored) X6000 series receiver.