If you took a straw poll of five people and asked them to name an AV receiver manufacturer, it’s likely you’d hear the word “Denon.” The company has been at the receiver game for a long time, and this year’s AVR-S730H hits the current sweet spot between features and price.
At $479, it’s one of the best values among feature-packed receivers we’ve seen yet. (UK and Australian pricing and availability have yet to be announced, but expect a similar figure in pounds and double it in dollarydoos.) The recipe? Take two spoonfuls of atmospheric audio — bothflavors — add a good splash of 4K compatibility and glaze with lashings of multiroom audio.
While sound quality doesn’t quite top our current favorite, the $600 Sony STR-DN1080, and the Sony has more versatile Google Cast streaming, it also costs more than the Denon. That’s not to say the S730H doesn’t sound good — if you’re looking to enter the world of Dolby Atmos and 4K movies without breaking the bank, it’s a great place to start.
Take a look at a stereo receiver from the ’70s, or even the first AV receivers from the ’80s and what do you see? Knobs, dials and more knobs. Compare that to today’s models — especially the new Denon HEOS AVR — and you’ll find that a lot of that functionality has been lost: relegated to remotes or even worse, phone apps.
Not so the Denon AVR-S730H. It’s a big black box brimming with both buttons and dials, yet still has a modicum of style. Denon and Onkyo are two of the only receiver manufacturers that include separate input buttons on the front panel. If you find yourself constantly losing the remote these buttons can be a godsend. Otherwise the design looks pretty much like every other Denon in recent memory with a large volume button on the right and an LED display in the center.
Here in 2017 we hoped blocky white menus on black screens had gone the way of the Bush administration, but nope, they’re still here. While the Denon’s menu works just as well as any other, that pixelated lettering will look pretty terrible on your new 4K screen.
A couple of years ago, Denon switched its remote design to the style favored by its sister brand Marantz — a good thing, too. The remote that comes with the AVR-S730H is a friendly little bar with a sensible number of buttons and conveniently placed volume controls.
For less than $500, the Denon pulls out all of the stops when it comes to features. First off, this the most affordable receiver with Dolby Atmos/DTS:X yet. It comes with seven amplified channels (rated at 75W each) of which two can be pushed into duty as overheads. Or alternatively used as a second set of rears in 7.1 or even a Zone 2.
Secondly, the AVR-S730H is the cheapest receiver to come with Denon’s proprietary HEOS music system. With HEOS comes the ability to stream to multiple speakers around the room from multiple services, including (in the US) Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn Internet radio, Amazon Prime Music, iHeart Radio, Sirius XM, Sound Cloud, Tidal, Rhapsody and Deezer.