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Denon’s new IN-Command receivers aim to put average users in control

3501 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Ovation123
If you were alive during the good old days, then you’ll undoubtedly remember how easy it was to hook-up a receiver. It involved running speaker wire to two speakers, plugging in RCA cables for your tape player, phonograph, and/or cd player, and attaching a ground wire if you were playing vinyl. Your next step was to turn on the receiver, twist a knob to select an input mode, and then find the volume. If you were feeling particularly moved and wanted to tweak your sound, you’d play with the bass and treble knobs that were planted firmly on the face of your receiver. This was the basic process that your average, non-high end, user experienced. It was fairly straight forward and most everyone was capable of performing the tasks needed to enjoy their music.

Fast-forward to today. Gone are the days of simplicity for the common receiver owner. The backside of an AVR looks like control panel of a rocket-ship and presents users with a dizzying amount of connection options labeled with confusing acronyms and symbols. There are tweak-heavy Graphical User Interface (GUI) menu options, sound modes, room correction software packages, and large button-filled remote controls. Oh, and user manuals are thick and rather intimidating even for seasoned veterans. Just figuring out how to adjust something as simple as the treble can prove to be frustrating (especially if your AVR is in a mode that doesn’t allow that function to be manipulated).

Does any of this sound familiar?

Denon apparently recognizes that AVR set-up for the common user can be a daunting task and has recently announced the release of a new line of network home theater receivers that “make home theater easier and more accessible.” Denon is calling its new series “IN-Command,” a name that definitely implies users can expect ease of use, and they say that the impetus behind the product line is giving home theater fans the ability to enjoy their purchase out of the box.

Denon’s IN-Command AVR series features newly designed 4-way speaker wire binding posts with 12 o’clock wire inputs. Each AVR comes with a Set-Up Assistant that uses a new GUI with “easy-to-follow” set-up instructions, and Denon supplies buyers with a Remote App that is usable on iOS and Android devices. The front panel displays have been redesigned to be easier to read from a distance and the units themselves are built to be smaller and more apt to fit in tight spaces Also, Denon has included front-side HDMI and USB inputs.

The IN-Command series has four models: AVR-X4000 ($1,299 MSRP), AVR-X3000 ($999), AVR-X2000 ($699), and the affordable AVR-X1000 ($499).

The flagship X4000 model is a well-appointed unit. It’s a 7.2 (expandable to 9.2 with an external amp) receiver with a robust 125W of power per channel and gives the option of adding height and width speakers. It offers Audyssey MultEQ XT32 and Sub EQ HT Dual subwoofer calibration software packages, Airplay (for networked PCs), 4K upscaling, and multi-zone playback (just to name a few features). The unit is highly connective with seven HDMI inputs and three HDMI outputs.

Other models in the series maintain some of these features (such as 4K upscaling on the AVR-X3000 and AVR-X2000), while (as expected) offering paired down versions of others (such as room correction packages). If interested, you can easily compare product features across the four units by selecting a model on Denon’s website.

All four of Denon's IN-Command AVRs are available for purchase now.

Image Credit: Denon.com
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This is good news. I have owned a Denon before and I like their receivers.

For me, it isn't a problem to hook up all the wires but I do know a lot of people who would benefit from this Set-Up Assistant. For the non tech savvy home theater consumer, they need all the help they can get. :)
I agree. It's a great concept. In my experience, there are a lot of manufacturers out there that would benefit from making their products more user-centric. I'd even take manuals that are well-written!
I'm curious to read the expert reviews!
The biggest problem I have with new AVRs is the directions are usually very poorly written and sometime outright wrong. The new Denon GUI is great and makes it much easier to setup and operate IMO (I am assuming it is similar to the 4520).
I don't have any issues with connecting and setting up or using the remote features either. My wife on the other hand, bless her heart, if the remote has more than 4 buttons on it ... to put it mildly, she gets flustered.
I think a ton of people are in that boat! It's literally paralysis by technology.

These companies all walk a fine line between tweak-ability and usability. I'm always shocked, however, that some products come with awful/cryptic documentation. I wrote a letter to Pioneer several years ago to express my frustration with their MCACC documentation. I'm sure all the info is there - at least for a basic system calibration - but the advanced features need some work (so much so that their own tech support can't answer a question). On positive side, I've been able to figure it all out with a little trial and error (and online forums)... but it shouldn't require that. On flip-side, a company like Oppo has fantastic documentation.

You'd think that ease of use would be paramount! Hopefully Denon has done it right.
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I don't have any issues with connecting and setting up or using the remote features either. My wife on the other hand, bless her heart, if the remote has more than 4 buttons on it ... to put it mildly, she gets flustered.
I like Yamaha's approach, they issue two remotes- One normal remote and one simplified remote. But this could also be done via 3rd party hardware from URC, Harmony, Phillips, crestron, etc.
But, but, but…this means my friends and family will be able to set up their own gear instead of relying on me. That's…


(and having XT32 at a reasonable price point is great)
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