Denon's Entry-Level AVR-S510BT Home Theater Receiver

Denon AVR-S510BT Home Theater Receiver
Denon AVR-S510BT Home Theater Receiver. Photo of Denon AVR-S510BT Provided By D&M Holdings

When many consumers think of a home theater receiver, something big, boxy, complicated, and expensive comes to mind. However, in reality, there are a lot of home theater receivers that, although may be a little big and boxy, are not that complicated or expensive. The Denon AVR-S510BT is one good example of a non-complicated, affordable, home theater receiver, that may just the ticket for a first or modest home theater setup.

Clean Design

To start, the Denon AVR-S5100BT has a functional design with well laid out front panel access buttons and connects, as well as a large LED status display. The clean design also carries over to the rear connection panel, where both source input and speaker connections are logically laid out. The only downside to the rear connection panel is the use of clip-on speaker terminals rather than the more sturdy screw-on/banana plug compatible type terminals. The receiver measures 17.1 (W) x 12.6 (D) x 6 (H)-inches and has a weight of 17.4 lbs (which is light by home theater receiver standards). However, it is what is inside that really counts.

Core Audio Features

The AVR-S510BT provides up to a 5.2 channel configuration (left, right, center, surrounds, and up to two subwoofers). Additional audio features include Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding (along with additional audio processing options).

Audio-only connection connections include 2 digital optical and 1 digital coaxial inputs, as well as two sets of analog RCA-style audio-only inputs on the rear panel. Also, there is also a 2 channel preamp output, should you desire to bypass the built-in amps for the two front channels, and use a more powerful external amp instead.

The AVR-S510BT also provides a direct front panel USB connection for accessing music from flash drives, as well as built-in Bluetooth, which allows direct music streaming from compatible portable devices, which includes many smartphones and tablets. However, the AVR-S510BT does not provide Airplay support nor does it include network connectivity or access to internet streaming services.

For music program listening, you will either have to stream your favorites via Bluetooth, USB flash drive, connect a CD or audio cassette player, or listen to traditional terrestrial radio via the receiver's built-in AM/FM radio tuners.

AVR-S510BT also provides easy auto speaker setup. Just plug in the provided microphone and the receiver will send out test tones to each speaker (and subwoofer), analyze the results, and set your speaker levels accordingly for your room conditions. You can also make your own manual tweaks if desired.

Video Support

The AVR-S510BT incorporates 5 HDMI inputs (which can handle both video and audio), 3 of which are HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 compliant. This means that on those 3 inputs, the AVR-S510BT can pass through up to 60fps 4K input, as well as copy-protected, 4K source signals. The remaining HDMI inputs are up to 1080p compatible. All the HDMI inputs are 3D pass-through compatible. However, it must be pointed out that the receiver does provide any video upscaling features.

Note: It is also important to point out that the AVR-S510BT does not provide Component Video connections. Also, the speaker terminals are the "cheaper" spring-loaded clip-type rather than the more heavy-duty screw-on connections provided on most home theater receivers.

Control Options

The AVR-S510BT can be controlled (in addition to the provided remote), via a free downloadable app, from an iOS or Android phone (via Bluetooth). Also, for novices, Denon also provides a downloadable Setup Assistant which visually guides you on how to connect everything up.

The Bottom Line

Denon states the power output capability of the AVR-S510BT as 75 watts-per-channel (measured with an 8-ohm load, with 2 channels driven from 20Hz - 20kHz at .08 THD), which is plenty for a room up 15x20 feet, at average listening levels. For a full explanation of what the power output specifications mean, read Understanding Amplifier Power Output Specifications.

The Denon AVR-S510BT, while not offering an operational flexibility of a mid-range or high-end home theater receiver, provides solid basics for those on a budget, and has more than enough power for 12x15 foot size room.

The AVR-S510BT is priced at $279.00 or less - Buy From Amazon.

For more home theater receiver suggestions with similar features and capabilities, check out my periodically updated listing of Home Theater Receivers Priced At $399 or Less.