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Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen
Great automatic calibration feature
11.2 channels without needing an external amp
Includes preamp outputs if you need
Useful internet music button
Massive and very heavy
Audyssey app is too expensive
The Denon AVRX6400H is a truly impressive receiver with a fantastic feature set and a price to match.
The Denon AVRX6400H is an iterative improvement over Denon’s earlier AVRX6300H, using the same outer shell and a lot of the same guts, but adding in a bunch of new components and features. This 11.2 channel receiver is packed with features, including HEOS compatibility and support for Auro3D, and it’s powerful enough to drive every speaker in your setup without the need for any external amplifiers.
Eager to see what this beast is really capable of, I hooked one up in my home theater and ran it through its paces, testing things like audio response, ease of setup and use, and how well the network features work. Keep reading to find out whether or not the Denon AVRX6400H has really earned its premium price tag.
The Denon AVR6400H is the quintessential modern AVR on the outside. It’s a big black box, with emphasis on the big, and the front of the unit is just about as minimalist as you’re likely to find. It features two chunky adjustment knobs, a power button, a large display, and a flip-down cover that conceals a bunch of other controls. The operation of the cover is buttery smooth, helping to convey a premium feel to go along with the premium cost of this unit.
The back of the unit is the polar opposite of the front, which is to be expected from an 11.2 channel receiver. All 11 channel outputs, from front right to the second left height channel, march across the bottom in color-coded fashion. That’s to assist in the setup process, which is a nice touch.
If you’re working with limited space, this receiver could pose problems. And weighing in at over 30 pounds, you’ll want to lift with your legs and make sure you figure out where you’re putting it before you pick it up.
The rest of the back side is sprayed with dozens of inputs and outputs, including connections for the Bluetooth/Wi-Fi antennas, 4K UHD HDMI ports, analog audio inputs for all of your devices, analog video inputs for older devices, and even preamp outputs for all 11.2 channels.
I’ve already mentioned that this unit is big, but it’s important to stress that it really is big and heavy even for a high-end AVR. If you’re working with limited space, this receiver could pose problems. And weighing in at over 30 pounds, you’ll want to lift with your legs and make sure you figure out where you’re putting it before you pick it up.
Denon usually knocks the setup process out of the park, and this is no exception. You’ll need to connect the unit to a TV or monitor first, but a helpful onscreen interface will walk you through the rest of the process once you do. It runs through everything from how and where to connect each speaker to the receiver, to speaker positioning, and even helps you get your subwoofer levels set right.
Once you have everything set up, the built-in setup program makes sure that all of your device inputs are assigned correctly. If there are any issues, and there were a few in my case, you can change your device names using Denon’s app.
My one real complaint with the setup process is that the room correction system uses Audyssey, which requires the purchase of an additional $20 app on top of the cost of the receiver. The app itself is a bit of a pain to work with, and prone to failure, which puts a bit of a damper on an otherwise joyful setup experience.
Over the course of the weeks I spent with the Denon AVRX6400H, I put the unit to the test with a number of Dolby Atmos Blu-rays, gaming on my Xbox One S and PlayStation Pro, movies on my Fire TV Cube, and music of several different formats. Across all of those different uses, I found the sound quality to be uniformly fantastic.
Everything is crisp and clear when it’s supposed to be, gritty and grungy when it’s meant to be, and everything in between.
When viewing movies, I never had trouble picking dialogue out of even the busiest of scenes. Everything is crisp and clear when it’s supposed to be, gritty and grungy when it’s meant to be, and everything in between. The Dolby Atmos Blu-rays I tried out, including the fantastic John Wick triple pack, Ready Player One, and Saving Private Ryan came across particularly luxurious, but I have absolutely no complaints about how this unit handled audio when streaming content from Netflix and Amazon either.
For music, I dialed the receiver back to a stereo mix and loaded up Iron & Wine’s Our Endless Numbered Days in the Apple Lossless format over the network connection. The nimble guitar really popped over Sam Beam’s soft, soulful vocals as On Your Wings rolled by, and I drifted off into sonic bliss to the melancholy tune of Cinder and Smoke.
With that aperitif out of the way, I switched to something a bit heavier in Kittie’s Brackish off the album Spit. As much as the AVRX6400H excelled at picking details out of the slow, dolorous melodies of Endless Numbered Days, it blew me away with the faithful reproduction of the driving guitars and Fallon Bowman’s rapid-fire backing vocals layered on top of Morgan Lander’s lead vocals, which came through clear as a bell.
The nimble guitar really popped over Sam Beam’s soft, soulful vocals as On Your Wings rolled by, and I drifted off into sonic bliss to the melancholy tune of Cinder and Smoke.
Overall, I was very impressed with the sound quality of the Denon AVRX6400H across all of the different types of media I tried, including movies, gaming, and music.
I’d say the AVRX6400H is rock solid, but it’s really more of a boulder. This unit is big, and it’s heavy, and it screams premium before you ever hook up the speakers. The adjustment knobs feel smooth and silky, and the panel that hides a bunch of advanced controls which feel downright luxurious. This is really a receiver that’s built to last, though that’s what you should expect at this price point.
Denon markets this receiver as 250 watts measured at 6 ohms, 1kHz, with 10 percent total harmonic distortion (THD), and driving a single channel. Those are pretty unrealistic numbers, but it still manages to put out a respectable 140 watts measured at 8 ohms, 20Hz to 20kHz, with 0.05 percent THD, and driving two channels. Overall, the receiver definitely has enough power to drive all 11.2 channels without the need for any external amps, although the preamp outputs are there if you want to add some extra muscle.
In terms of inputs and outputs, the AVRX6400H is loaded. In addition to the standard array of amplified and unamplified speaker outputs, you also get three HDMI outputs, one of which is ARC compliant. For analog video signals, it also includes three video inputs and outputs, two component video inputs, and one component video output.
You’ll also find two coaxial digital audio inputs, two optical digital audio inputs, a full complement of analog audio inputs for your devices that don’t use HDMI, and even a dedicated phonograph input.
This receiver ate up all my various devices, old and new, and still had room to spare. It’s pretty safe that whatever hardware you want to hook up, this receiver will allow it.
The AVRX6400H is a flagship Denon receiver, so it’s appropriately packed with features. For starters, it has robust support for a number of virtual assistants. That means you can use voice controls through Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and even Josh.ai if you’re looking to match a truly high-end smart home experience with your high-end AVR.
Virtual assistant support locks into the AVRX6400H’s HEOS functionality, which is a system that allows the receiver to connect wirelessly to compatible speakers throughout your home. Using specially designed HEOS-compatible speakers, this single receiver can play music in your bedrooms, kitchen, living room, and even high humidity areas like your bathroom.
You can use voice controls through Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and even Josh.ai.
If you connect the receiver to the internet via Wi-Fi or the Ethernet port, as I did, you can also stream music from the internet. In fact, loading up an internet radio station is as simple as pushing the internet radio button on the controller. You can also listen through services like Spotify, but only if you have the Spotify app on your phone on the same network as the receiver.
The AVRX6400H also supports AirPlay, although I streamed my music directly from my network-attached storage device (NAS) during testing. So if you are in the Apple ecosystem, you’re covered. And if you aren’t, you’re fine there too. This receiver really covers all the bases.
The AVRX6400H has both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to stream wirelessly if you aren’t able to connect to your network via a physical Ethernet cable. For Wi-Fi, you have the option to connect over either 2.4GHz or 5GHz depending on what works best with the way your network is set up and how your home is laid out, and it uses Bluetooth 3.0 + EDR.
With the features this unit packs in and the high-quality listening experience it provides, it’s definitely worth a look at a $1,500 price point.
In practice, I was able to stream over both Bluetooth and using the Wi-Fi connection without a hitch, but your mileage may vary depending on how your network is set up and how congested it is. The wired Ethernet connection is definitely my choice for streaming lossless content.
The Denon AVRX6400H is a flagship receiver with all the features, powerful specs, and high build quality that comes with that designation, and it’s priced accordingly. The MSRP on this unit is $2,199, placing it firmly in the high-end market, but it’s typically available for closer to $1,500 on Amazon.
With the features this unit packs in and the high-quality listening experience it provides, it’s definitely worth a look at a $1,500 price point. At that significant discount, I’d even choose it over the updated AVRX6500H.
The Denon AVRX6400H and the Marantz SR8012 have a lot in common in terms of features and specifications. They’re both 11.2 channel receivers that deliver 140 watts of power using the same measurements, they both support Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, HRD10, Dolby Vision, AirPlay 2, DLNA, HEOS, and have the same basic wired and wireless connectivity.
In addition to very similar specifications, these units share very similar inputs, outputs, and feature sets. Some of the biggest differences are that the Denon unit has a few little features that the Marantz receiver is missing, like dialogue enhancement, and the Marantz receiver has the IMAX Enhanced certification, which you’ll find in AVRX6400’s successor. The Marantz receiver also has multi-channel inputs, which the Denon unit lacks.
While the Marantz unit does have a slight edge in features, it also has an MSRP of $3,000 and typically sells for about $2,600. Since these units are so close in performance and capabilities, and the Denon unit is so much more affordable, I have to give the win to Denon here.
This receiver is worth a look if you want to beef up your home theater.
The Denon AVRX6400H is the receiver you’re looking for if you’re in the market for an 11.2 channel AVR that has enough punch to power all your speakers without swooning, packs in a massive variety of features, and is surprisingly affordable compared to other premium receivers. You’ll have to upgrade to its successor if you’re after the IMAX Enhanced certification, or look to a different brand if you need multi-channel inputs for some reason, but this beast of a receiver is worth looking the other way on both of those features.
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