The Denon AVR-A1H, introduced in 2023, serves as Denon’s flagship AV receiver, with a price tag of $6,500 USD at the time of writing. It features 15.4-channel processing with 15 channels of amplification, providing the capability to drive a speaker setup of up to 9.4.6 channels. In addition to the large channel count, Denon has implemented internal improvements that result in better dynamics, reduced distortion, and more stable power in the amplifier and power supply.
The AVR-A1H comes with a new power amplifier design that delivers 150 watts per channel (at 8 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, THD 0.05%, 2-channel driven), a new DAC design focused on reduced ground noise for all 19 channels, and larger capacitors that are 50% larger than the AVR-A110 to help improve the dynamic range and stability of the power delivery.
Along with the above, it receives a powerful dual-core, 1GHz digital signal processor (Griffin Lite XP) that can handle the latest surround sound formats like Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Auro-3D, and others. It is also equipped with the latest HDMI standards, including 8K video pass-through and 4K/120Hz gaming, and has a redesign of the user-friendly interface for easier setup. Expand the below section for the full run-down of its specifications.
To shop for more Denon Receivers check out their Amazon store Here.
A Focus on Better Dynamics and Reduced Distortion
Denon aimed to improve the dynamics and reduce distortion in the AVR-A1H, which was achieved by making various improvements to different components of the unit. These improvements led to a reduction of approximately 5dB in total harmonic distortion (THD) compared to Denon’s 13.2 AVR, the AVR-X8500H. Additionally, the unit exhibits improved jitter performance compared to the AVR-X8500H, resulting in cleaner, more dynamic, and more detailed audio playback compared to previous models.
New DSP Chip: Griffin Lite XP
To help get better distortion levels, Denon used their new DSP chip, the Griffin Lite XP. This single chip replaces the need for two separate chips used in prior models, harnessing 32-bit processing capabilities. It can also handle all of the latest audio formats.
The 32-bit processing, referred to as AL32 and HD32 by Denon, is aimed at enhancing precision during audio signal processing. It is important to note that while the AVR-A1H strives for this precision, if using Audyssey, which is limited to 24-bit processing, it may not yield a dramatic audible difference.
Dedicated DAC Power Supply
Another noteworthy feature of the AVR-A1H is the introduction of two distinct power supplies for the DAC and buffer amplifier, a departure from the previous single power supply design. This alteration serves to isolate the digital signal ground from the analog signal ground, effectively reducing the electrical noise that can be introduced into the audio signal. This has the effect of producing a cleaner audio signal with better clarity and more detail, further improving the dynamic range and clarity of the audio.
To accommodate the increased number of amplified channels, Denon had to increase the efficiency of its power supply circuit, ensuring it can deliver ample power to all 15 potential speakers. As stated before, this AVR is rated at 150 watts per channel (at 8 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, THD 0.05%, 2-channel driven). Driving all 15 channels simultaneously represents a substantial load for a single AVR, as most typically struggle with half that number. Fortunately, Denon has made significant improvements, including upgrading the transformer and capacitors to better manage the increased power demand and enhancing the power supply’s response time for more effective handling of heavy loads.
The transformer, now weighing in at an impressive 29 lbs (13 kg), will help provide stable power to all 15 channels when necessary. While the maximum output of this AVR when all channels are driven remains to be seen, Denon’s internal tests indicate that the AVR-A1H is capable of delivering 70% of its 2-channel rating even with 9 channels driven, amounting to an impressive 105 watts per channel. However, a more comprehensive review testing all channels simultaneously will provide a more complete evaluation, and I will update this article when those details become available.
Along with the transformer upgrade, the AVR-A1H features larger capacitors with a capacity of 33,000 uF. These larger capacitors help to quickly deliver power to the transistors, enabling the AVR to change the amplitude of the signal rapidly and not overwhelm the transformer during more dynamic scenes.
To further improve the performance of the AVR-A1H, Denon made efforts to improve the heat management system and create more efficient and effective PCBs. They introduced a copper plate between the monolithic amplifiers and the heatsink, with the transistors mounted to that plate, contributing to efficient heat dissipation even under heavy loads. This should ensure that the transistors do not heat up too much where they will start to introduce noise into the audio signal.
The AVR-A1H also features upgrades to the PCBs with larger traces for the high current circuits and increased layer count to four layers for further signal separation. Larger traces allow more current to flow with less resistance which allows the system to operate more efficiently with less losses and more power. Meanwhile, the increase in board layers allows sensitive circuits to be separated to reduce electrical interference between different parts of the AVR. These design improvements further contribute to the receiver’s ability to be able to push more power to the speakers with low distortion.
Assignable XLR Outputs
I would like to emphasize a consumer-centric feature that has been added to the AVR-A1H. On the rear panel of the AVR-A1H, you will discover four XLR pre-outs. What makes this feature particularly noteworthy is its assignability; these pre-outs can be assigned to any of the four subwoofers or the main front channels (Left, Center, or Right speakers).
This level of flexibility shows that Denon understands that not everyone’s needs are the same. This was also a simple feature to add that will give the end user much more flexibility when setting up their system.
The Denon AVR-A1H offers the flexibility of using two room correction software options:
- Audyssey MultEQ® XT32: This software comes pre-installed and is included with the unit, providing effective room correction capabilities out of the box.
- Dirac Live Upgrade: Users have the option to upgrade to Dirac Live. There are two options available:
- Room Correction Limited Bandwidth- $259 USD
- Room Correction Full Bandwidth- $349 USD
Utilizing room correction software is vital for home theater calibration, as home environments introduce sound anomalies like echoes, reverberations, and frequency imbalances that can profoundly affect audio quality and immersion. Software such as Audyssey MultEQ XT32 and Dirac Live critically address these concerns by analyzing room acoustics and autonomously adjusting audio settings; ensuring a faithful, balanced, and immersive listening experience in alignment with content creators’ intentions, whether you are engrossed in action-packed sequences or delicate musical performances. To learn more about the benefits of room equalization, refer to our article on the topic here.
If you have been following our content for some time, you know we are passionate about video and audio calibration. We believe it is the ultimate method to optimize your equipment’s performance and provide the best value. While professional calibration services are an excellent choice, there is also great value in learning the basics and making your own adjustments. This not only saves time but can lead to significant long-term cost savings. Moreover, mastering calibration is an incredibly rewarding pursuit, which is why we have created comprehensive guides to aid your audio calibration journey.
For further details, please refer to the guides highlighted below: