Denon AVR-S720W and AVR-S920W Home Theater Receivers

Hitting the sweet-price spot - Denon's AVR-S 20W series AV receivers

Denon AVR-S720W and AVR-S920W Home Theater Receivers
Denon AVR-S720W and AVR-S920W Home Theater Receivers. Images provided by D&M Holdings

There are dozens of home theater receivers to choose from with prices ranging from below $250 all the way up over $2,000 dollars. However, for most of us, a nice mid-range home theater receiver will do the job. Two examples that may be right for you are the Denon AVR-S720W and AVR-S920W.

As with most home theater receivers from other brands in their price class, you will find that many features and specifications of the 720 and 920 are similar, but there are few differences.

Denon AVR-S720W and AV-S920W Shared Features

On the exterior AVR-S72OW and S920W front, it is hard to these two receivers apart. They both have a large center-placed status display framed by large rotary input select and volume controls, as well as smaller buttons below the display for access to commonly needed functions.

However, on the rear panels, the number of connection options is different, but they both feature a practical horizontal speaker connection layout that is much appreciated.

Beneath their similar exteriors, both receivers incorporate the following features.

  • Audio Decoding: Built-in Audio decoding is provided for most Dolby and DTS surround sound formats including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X Audio (depending on manufacturing date DTS:X many need to be added via Firmware update) Additional Audio processing options include Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume, which aids in inproving sound quality in real time.
  • Speaker Configuration: The AVR-S720/S920 both provide up to 7.2 channel speaker configuration (5.1.2 for Dolby Atmos).In addition, both receivers provide Powered Zone 2 capability. However, if you opt to use the Powered Zone 2 option, you will not be able to use a 7.2 or Dolby Atmos speaker configuration at the same time.
    • For ease of speaker setup, Denon as provided two things: An easy to connect horizontal speaker terminal layout that runs along the bottom rear panel (see photo attached to this article), and the Audyssey MultEQ automatic speaker setup system which in which a provided microphone works in conjunction with the receivers' built-in test tone generator to set optimum speaker levels based on speaker size, distance, and other room characteristics.
  • HDMI Connectivity: One of the core features that all home theater receivers have these days are HDMI connections. Both receivers incorporate 4K, 3D, HDR (High Dynamic Range) and expanded Color Gamut (BT.2020/Rec.2020) compatible inputs (HDMI ver 2.0a) with HDCP 2.2 Copy-Protection. What all that tech stuff means is that the AVR-S720W and S920W will accommodate any HDMI source, including 4K streaming media and Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc players, as well as expanded brightness/contrast and color formats.
  • USB: Another connection convenience is the inclusion of a front panel USB input for connection of compatible USB devices, including flash drives, iPods, and iPhones.
  • Bluetooth and AirPlay: Built-in Bluetooth is provided for direct wireless streaming from compatible portable devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Also for those that have iOS devices, Apple Airplay is also included.
  • Network/Internet Connectivity: Ethernet and WiFi are both included for access to content stored on PCs, Media Servers, or other network-connected media devices, as well as Internet Radio and other compatible streaming services (Pandora, Spotify, SiriusXM). Depending on the stability of your WiFi signal, sometimes Ethernet is the most stable option, but that does mean an extra cable - the choice is yours.
  • Hi-Res Audio: Hi-Res Audio playback from compatible via local network and compatible USB devices is included. If you haven't explored this music listening option, it is worth checking out.
  • Multi-room Audio: Wireless multi-room audio is becoming a standard feature on many home theater receivers. The S720W and S920W can both be integrated into Denon's HEOS multi-room audio system via HEOS Link (additional HEOS Link controller and HEOS-branded wireless speakers required).
  • Control Options: A standard wireless remote control is provided, but both receivers can also be controlled by compatible smartphones using Denon's Remote Control App for iOS and Android.

Denon AVR-S920W Enhancements

As you see from the above descriptions, both the AVR-S720W and AVR-S920W offer a lot of shared features that will satisfy most home theater needs, but the AVR-S920W takes it a step up with the some of the following enhancements.

  • HDMI Extras: The S920 provides 8 HDMI inputs and 2 parallel HDMI outputs (the AVR-S720W has 6 HDMI input and 1 output). The 2 parallel HDMI outputs allow users to send the same HDMI output source to two different TVs or TV and Video projector.
  • Video Extras: The S920 provides both Analog to HDMI Video Conversion, as well as up to 4K video upscaling. Also, 2 sets of component video inputs and one set of component video outputs are provided. The AVR-S720 does not have component video connections.

The Bottom Line

The Denon AVR-S720W has a stated power output of 80 watts-per-channel and has an initially stated price of $479.99 - Official Product Page

The Denon AVR-S920W has a stated power output of 90 watts-per-channel and has an initially stated price of $579.99 - Official Product Page

NOTE: All power ratings stated above were determined as follows: 20 Hz to 20 kHz test tones running through 2 channels, at 8 Ohms, with 0.08% THD. For more details on what the stated power ratings mean with respect to real-world conditions, refer to our reference article: Understanding Amplifier Power Output Specifications

Depending on your needs, the Denon AVR-S720W may be just enough, but you want a few more perks, you can also consider the AVR-S920W. No matter which you choose, they fit into a nice price sweet spot that most can afford. These receivers were introduced in 2016. For additional suggestions, also check out our list of Best Mid-range Home Theater Receivers.