Denon AVR-X4500H review
Another talented AV amp from Denon’s excellent range
It is often said that those who crave power are the least deserving of it, but Denon doesn’t adhere to that tenet. Having over the years produced home cinema amplifiers with more kick than a donkey with a drum kit, the multi-Award-winning manufacturer sated its power-hungry customers yet further when it released its 2018 range.
The AVR-X4500H is part of that range, which already includes two Award-winners, and Denon will be hopeful that it continues the fine form – not least because, unlike its more affordable siblings, which will be replaced at some point this year, the X4500H won’t be relieved from duty until 2020.
Just like the AVR-X4400H before it, the AVR-X4500H boasts 125W of amplification (into 8ohms with two channels driven) across each of its nine channels, giving you native access to Dolby Atmos and DTS:X speaker configurations up to 7.2.2 or 5.2.4, while the 11.2-channel processing means you can go right up to 7.2.4 if you’re prepared to add an extra two-channel amplifier.
Premium 32-bit AKM AK4458VN digital-to-analogue converters serve each channel, while the AVR-X4500H is also capable of decoding lossless files including ALAC, FLAC and WAV up to 24-bit/192kHz, as well as being compatible with up to 5.6MHz DSD files.
The front of the unit is typically Denon; a pair of large dials, for source selection and volume, bookend the amp’s information screen and flap, which conceals a range of control buttons, a singular HDMI and USB connections, and a headphone output. But so is the rear; a glance at its dense population of connections hint at what’s going on inside to justify that price tag.
Among the impressive specs are seven additional HDMI inputs and three out, five RCA terminals and a phono for connecting a turntable, and a pair each of optical and coaxial digital inputs.
But Denon is not selling the ACR-X4500H solely to power your home cinema set-up; it intends it to be an entertainment hub, at the heart of all film and music playback in the house. This means the inclusion of a second zone, whereby you can assign certain connections to feed a two-channel system elsewhere in the house.
But it is also about being part of the HEOS multi-room ecosystem. That means you can link your home cinema and potential second-zone hi-fi system to be controlled alongside any other HEOS speakers you might have around the house – kind of a more audio-serious version of Sonos.
The recent addition of Apple AirPlay 2 to Denon’s AV receivers also facilitates its control via Siri, while the addition of an Amazon Echo speaker or Google Homecomponent would mean those companies’ voice assistants are also compatible with the AVR-X4500H.
Their superior sound quality is our main reason for holding Denon’s home cinema amplifiers in such sustained high regard, but the ease of their set-up is another major selling point – especially for those new to the concept, perhaps upgrading from their TV speakers or a soundbar for the first time.
It is simply a case of plugging the included microphone into the front of the unit and running the Audyssey software built in to the amp. It will guide you through a range of positions to place the mic, and then do the rest for you via a series of test tones and some clever processing. You may wish to experiment with a little fine-tuning afterwards, but rarely do we find ourselves straying too far from the levels Audyssey has discerned.
Not only does that make life easy, it allows you to enjoy Denon’s Award-winning signature sound sooner. Though it was the amps either side of the AVR-X4500H in this range we celebrated at the end of last year – namely the AVR-X3500H and AVC-X6500H – again Denon can claim a class leader at this midway price point.
The AVR-X4500H’s talent will surprise few who know Denon’s range of home cinema amplifiers, but that makes it no less impressive
- Has power and presence
- Expressive and punchy
- Lots of features
- Nothing at this price