Denon AVR-3313CI A/V Receiver Review - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 1 Old 10-10-12, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
Senior Shackster
 
Dave Upton's Avatar
IT Guy
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 701
Denon AVR-3313CI A/V Receiver Review

Denon AVR-3313CI A/V Receiver Review




MSRP: $1200.00
Feature Set:
Performance:
Ergonomics:
Value:

Overall:

It’s no secret that the majority of the receivers we review here at HTS are very similar products - after all, there’s only so many ways to fit all those features in a rectangular black box. Over the past year we’ve reviewed products from Onkyo and Pioneer that both represented compelling values in their categories but were ultimately separated by different feature sets – namely, Onkyo’s use of Audyssey room correction versus Pioneer’s use of their proprietary MCACC solution.

That’s one of the many reasons I’m excited to be reviewing the Denon AVR-3313CI. Similar to the Onkyo TX-NR3009 I recently reviewed; the AVR-3313CI sits one model below the flagship model and has a rich feature set with many of the same technologies. Before anyone gets too excited I have to forewarn you - this won’t be an apples-to-apples comparison; the MSRP of the Denon is $1200 while the Onkyo retails for $2200. Given the price point of the Denon it still has a lengthy and very complete list of features which can be seen here on Denon’s website.


Features & Ergonomics

Features

The Denon AVR-3313CI comes with a nice assortment of connectivity options from the video side including 7 HDMI inputs, 3 HDMI outputs (2 main zone, 1 zone 2), 2 component inputs and 1 component output. From an audio perspective the AVR-3313CI also comes with optical digital audio inputs (two coaxial, two optical), Zone 2 and 3 pre-outs and a full seven channels of amplifier pre-outs with dual subwoofer outputs. For the custom install oriented the unit also includes 2 12V trigger outs, RS-232C, IP Control as well as remote IR input and output.


The unit measures in at 17.1 inches wide, 15 inches deep and 6.6 inches tall weighing in at a svelte 26.5 pounds. The AVR3313ci is actually fairly standard when it comes to appearance with black anodized aluminum construction and a dual dial faceplate with LCD display and controls in the middle.

Ergonomics

The remote that comes with the 3313ci is nothing special, in fact it’s downright disappointing in a receiver costing this much. The remote is a very boring and standard black rectangle with zone and input selections, a directional control, and Sound Mode controls. If you’re considering buying this unit – do yourself a favor and get a universal remote.


Setup and Calibration

The AVR-3313CI shipped in a standard AV receiver box with plastic covering the receiver itself, high density foam to protect it on the top and sides, and basic accessories including the remote, antenna, Audyssey setup microphone and the manual. As light as the Denon is – it was extremely easy to swap out my existing receiver and connect the new one. All told it took about 5 minutes before I was in business and ready to start calibrating.

After powering on the unit I proceeded to perform my basic setup – setting speaker size and impedance as well as a couple of cosmetic changes (volume display method) before launching Audyssey.


Denon’s Audyssey implementation in the AVR-3313CI is slick with several useful features. First, you’re presented with the option to assign amp channels to an external zone and then select any extra channels to measure. In my case, I entered channel select to indicate I had a 7.1 setup and proceeded to measure the first position.

The first measurement will remind you to plug in the microphone and set subwoofer gain to 50%. It then runs the first sweep and provides a “Speaker Detection” output before proceeding to the actual sweeps. Each sweep is significantly faster than my trusty old Onkyo TX-SR805 and has the added benefit of resetting to the beginning of the measurement you’re on if you hit cancel. This can be very useful if the dog barks or the phone rings during measurement 7 (as I experienced firsthand) and you don’t want to repeat the entire process.


I ran a standard 8 position calibration and agreed to turn on Dynamic Volume after finishing the measurements and calculation. The default crossover selections from Audyssey set my mains to large, so I manually selected an 80Hz crossover for the fronts, 100Hz for the surrounds and 80Hz for the subwoofer.

Listening & Viewing Impressions

With the basic calibration out of the way it was time to do some listening, so I proceeded to turn through a list of favorite tracks, film clips and demo scenes to see what my overall impressions were. For this listening evaluation I used the built in network playback features which worked very well.


I started off my listening with Llove from Kaskade's latest album Fire & Ice – a progressive vocal trance tune that features layers of melodic synths, deep bass and female vocals by Haley Gibby. I’m a particular fan of this song because the entire audio system gets a good workout and requires that the mains and sub blend seamlessly in order to avoid sounding disjointed. My initial impressions with the Denon were that it had plenty of power for the moderate listening levels I normally employ – there was no apparent harshness or distortion and the overall sound was extremely neutral. If I were to offer any commends on the sonic character of the Denon it would be that it was slightly warmer than my typical Wyred4Sound amp.



After my trance listening I decided to move onto something decidedly more restrained – Sophie Millman’s- In the Moonlight (88kHz/24bit) from HDTracks. This is an excellent album with gorgeous vocals and textured, warm instrumentation. I am particularly fond of “Prelude To A Kiss” which has the intimate string bass/piano combination I am so familiar with from my days playing Jazz. Millman’s voice is husky and has that classic Ella like quality that captivates the listener from the first note. Through the Denon this track sounded superb, with great integration between the sub and mains as the bassist strums his part. The imaging is fantastic, with Millman just a few feet in front of you as you sit at the center table – enjoying the music as it envelopes the room.



Finally, I moved on to something a little classic with a FLAC version of RUSH’s “Moving Pictures” captured from the original vinyl. This is an outstanding recording with massive dynamic range – totally devoid of the issues typically seen in today’s “loudness war” victims. I was nodding my head to “Tom Sawyer” before I knew it, mesmerized by the music. Suffice to say, whatever music I played, I had no complaints with the Denon’s sonic capabilities at this point – so it was time to move on to movie content.

War of the Worlds

I suppose it's not surprising that this was one of the first films I selected. With the heavy sub workout that this film provides, it was a prime candidate for me to see how well integrated the bottom end of my home theater was under the Denon’s control. It turns out everything was very well calibrated – with even smoother bass control than my usual setup. I suspect that this newer MultiEQ XT implementation is slightly more sensitive or accurate than the one seen in my Onkyo TX-SR805 – as the bass/mid-bass integration was noticeably smoother with less bloat in the 80 – 150Hz range.

Avengers

A sonic tour de force, the 2012 release of Marvel’s Avengers was a prime candidate for testing out the capabilities of this receiver. As an effects laden film – there was no shortage of interesting and challenging material to evaluate – whether it was Hulk’s roar, Thor’s hammer or Ironman’s thrusters – everything was crisp, clean and detailed. Surround effects in the film are well utilized to involve the audience and I found myself thoroughly enjoying the balance and interplay between the surround channels and my mains – especially as all 7 channels get a solid workout in the final battle.

Video Capabilities

While it offers the standard picture enhancements seen in receivers today, I didn’t enable any of these mods in my theater. The overall picture was pristine with identical quality to what I’ve seen from competitors.

Caveats

No piece of gear is without its list of flaws, and in the case of the Denon 3313ci – the list isn’t quite as short as some might hope. Here are the highlights of my “frustrations” with this unit that may or may not impact you in your daily viewing.
  • The Remote
  • I am not being critical here – it’s a simple fact. In a receiver costing this much money I assume it’s fairly safe to assume most users are going to have a universal remote of some kind. Even so, that is a risky assumption; including an 8 dollar generic remote (think low end Samsung plasma) is an insult to any customer purchasing a high end AV receiver. There are no dedicated Audyssey/Listening mode controls for the most standard situations; instead users are forced to cycle through “Movie” or “Music’ ad-nauseum to select their listening mode of choice.
  • Finally, this is yet another receiver remote without any kind of gyro illumination or backlight button. I understand the goals of cost savings – but I consider these features mandatory, not optional.
  • GUI & User Experience
  • Denon has obviously tried to make the GUI simpler to navigate – and they deserve credit for this! That said – it still baffles me that in 2012 and the age of smartphones and tablets galore receivers are being released that have 8bit color UI’s with slow/unresponsive navigation.
  • It’s past time that Android was leveraged to provide the UI on these devices. I have every confidence that the proper ARM platform could be integrated at a low cost (~$50) and greatly enhance the usability of these products.
Network Connected Features

Denon’s IN-Command series of receivers are designed to be media aggregation devices in your home, featuring AirPlay, native applications for both iOS and Android – and a full suite of streaming content integration with services such as Spotify, Flickr and Pandora.

While I will openly admit that I’m a technology junkie – I have rarely used these features to their fullest potential. With the AVR-3313CI it’s hard to ignore that one of the biggest value propositions is the ability to independently route inputs to each of the three zones (Main, Zone 2 and Zone 3). The capability of pulling your phone out of your pocket and starting a Spotify stream in the back yard is a pretty compelling argument to most of us, and I think Denon has taken this area and made it the strength of this generation of receivers. Since I don’t have an iPhone to demo AirPlay or a second Zone in my main theater room – I’m going to share some images shamelessly borrowed from batpig over at AVS that do a great job showing off the iOS application. Please expand the spoiler tag to view the images.

Spoiler







The Android application is largely the same as the iOS version – though obviously missing AirPlay integration. I didn’t have a chance to test the standalone doubletwist app to see if their AirPlay implementation would work – but I suspect it would work just fine.

Conclusion

Available online for as low as $900 dollars - the Denon AVR-3313CI brings a lot to the table in terms of price and performance. The audio and video performance of this receiver is excellent; and it comes bundled with a very comprehensive list of features mostly seen in higher end units.

The base feature set includes multiple zones, dual HDMI outputs and a full suite of network connected apps and features – in short, the AVR-3313CI represents an excellent value in its class. While some competitors have additional amplification or some more esoteric features – the average home theater enthusiast will be extremely satisfied with the Denon AVR-3313CI. The only caveat I will offer before giving a glowing recommendation for this product is for those who have multiple subs or strongly favor advanced room correction. For those individuals – I suggest increasing your budget slightly to purchase a receiver that has the higher resolution MultiEQ XT32 implementation of Audyssey technology. For everyone else looking for a new receiver in this price range – the Denon AVR-3313CI is an excellent contender and unreservedly deserves a shot at being your next A/V Receiver. Recommended.

Please see the Denon AVR-3313CI A/V Receiver Review: Discussion Thread for Questions and Comments
Dave Upton is offline  
Closed Thread

Bookmarks

Tags
a or v , airplay , audyssey , avr , avr3313ci , denon , marantz , onkyo , receiver , recommendation , review

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now




PLEASE COMPLETE ALL REQUIRED FIELDS BELOW... THANKS!

REQUIRED FIELDS ON THIS PAGE
YOU MUST COMPLETE ALL OF THESE

Username
Password
Confirm Password
Email Address
Confirm Email Address
Random Question
Random Question #2




User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
PLEASE READ BELOW PRIOR TO ENTERING AN EMAIL ADDRESS!

ATTENTION!

YOU MUST ACTIVATE YOUR ACCOUNT!

Activation requires you reply to an email we will send you after you register... if you do not reply to this email, you will not be able to view certain areas of the forum or certain images... nor will you be able download software.

AN INVALID EMAIL ADDRESS WILL CAUSE YOUR ACCOUNT TO BE DELETED!

See our banned email list here: Banned Email List

We DO NOT respond to spamcop, boxtrapper and spamblocker emails... please add @hometheatershack DOT com to your whitelist prior to registering or you will get nowhere on your registration.


Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML is not allowed!
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 


For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome