With the AVC-A1H, Denon announces a new version of its premium Home Cinema amplifier. On the menu, 15 channels of amplification, four independent subwoofer outputs, fully functional integrated HDMI 2.1 connectors, a completely redesigned user interface and a host of welcome new features to offer the best of current technology.
Returning to the HDMI 2.1 standard, the seven inputs and three outputs benefit from 40 Gbps connectors and support all the features of the standard: VRR, ALLM, eARC, QMS, QFT, Ultra HD 4K at 120 fps and UHD 8K at 60 frames per second.
Denon AVC-A1H, main development
In terms of new features on board this AVC‑A1H, there is therefore, thanks to the presence of fifteen discrete amplification channels, support for a Dolby Atmos 9.1.6 configuration. An installation that can still be developed with the connection of four subwoofers through several independent outputs. Similarly, the Dac has improved, the ESS Saber ES9010 (192 kHz/32 bits, 8 channels) has been replaced by the ESS Saber ES9018K2M specimen (384 kHz/32 bits, 10 channels).
For its part, the double DSP Analog Devices ADSP‑21573 Shark+ is replaced by ADSP‑21593 Shark+ and the capacitors are two in-house models with a capacity of 33,000 microfarads. Also note a pre-amplifier mode that allows power amplifiers to be connected to individually selected channels. Finally, the compatibility of, on the one hand, the 360 Reality Audio sound processing developed by Sony, on the other hand, the Mpeg-H standard (a group of international standards that includes a video compression standard, an audio compression standard, a container. format as well as related documents), required. That is, the Dirac Live calibration process is planned through a future Firmware update.
Denon AVC-A1H main specifications
For the rest, the Denon AVC-A1H completely takes the design of the Denon AVC-X8500H that appeared in 2018 and is brought up to date in 2021 with the Denon AVC-X8500HA. There is also the Imax Enhanced label, Auro 3D functionality, Upscaling of 1080p sources in UHD 4K (2160p) and UHD 8K (4320p), HDCP 2.3 certification for all HDMI sockets, HDR10+ and DTS compatibility: X Pro and the Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer functions.
The rest of the technical characteristics have not changed, namely a triple layer chassis (thickness of 1.6 mm for the bottom layer), cast iron feet (329 g each), access to web radios, the Bass Sync process to adjust the LFE channel in some multi-channel tracks where it is small (this happens often), and DTS Virtual X mode to turn any soundtrack into a DTS:X track. This 15.4 model delivers a power of 15 x 150 W under 8 ohms (11.5 kg R‑Core high-current transformer) and includes a transcoder from analog source to HDMI. Ditto for managing DSD streams (up to 5.6 MHz) through HDMI connectors, assigning one of the three HDMI outputs to HDMI zone 2 to broadcast an audio-video signal different from the room. Of course, in addition to the Dolby Atmos 15.1.6 feature already mentioned, Dolby Atmos 13.1 (7.2.6/9.2.4) and DTS:X 11.2 (7.1.4/9.1.4/5.1.6) and Auro 3D 13.1 ( 7.1.6) is still valid. In other words, the seventeen terminals on the back of the amplifier allow, once all are connected to a speaker, to quickly switch from one decoding to another, each requiring a specific configuration.
Denon AVC-A1H, Heos multiroom function
In the menu again, the Heos multiroom functionality, the management of HDR10, HDR10 +, HDR HLG and HDR Dolby Vision technologies and the BT.2020 root. To return to the Heos, this amplifier can easily be transformed into a link in a larger audio chain, with genuine Denon Heos speakers to increase the sound of a home.
We also note ISF certification, integrated Bluetooth compatibility, zone 2 and zone 3 stereo audio management, Audyssey MultEQ XT 32 acoustic correction and Audyssey Dynamic Volume, Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Audyssey LFC processing. The latter allows each sub to be configured as part of a dual-sub installation, for deeper and more accurate bass.
Denon AVC-A1H, connection
Still available in the Denon AVC‑A1H menu, an Audio Restorer mode for optimizing the sound rendering of compressed audio files, audio-photo UPnP (DLNA) multimedia gateway related to MP3, WMA, AAC, Wav and Flac compatibility and AirPlay certification. There is also Wi‑Fi compatibility, a powered USB Host port on the front with direct and digital management of an iPod/iPhone (iBidule charging guaranteed), the possibility to enjoy online music services such as Spotify (compatibility Spotify Connect ) or Last .fm streaming, Gapless function and AIFF format support. We also noticed the Roon Tested label (the Roon application therefore supports the product and adjusts the quality of the audio stream read by the capabilities of the device).
Of course, Dolby TrueHD and DTS‑HD decoders are also available, not to mention the Auto LipSync function or the possibility of controlling the amplifier from an Android/iOS smartphone or tablet via the Denon Remote application. Similarly, an Audyssey application (paid, €20) can be used to optimize settings and save many complete settings on a smartphone/tablet or in the Cloud. Also outstanding is support for 4 ohm loudspeakers for more advanced ergonomics and DDSC HD compatibility with the new AL32 multichannel Processing Multi Channel.
Denon AVC-A1H, general appearance
Finishing the AVC-A1H is a 100% aluminum front and heavy, steel side panels. The OSD, 1080p color (and not 480p), changes dramatically. A lot of information is now available on the screen, especially on the nature of the input signals and the outputs with, for example, the channels that are really active. The same goes for the four Quick Select buttons on the front, always allowing access to the desired source quickly and easily. Precision, the latter also includes additional functions and modes (Audyssey or multiroom management) for more complete macros.
Denon AVC-A1H, connection
So the connection includes seven HDMI CEC 2.1 inputs, HDCP 2.3 certified and all transparent in 3D, Ultra HD 4K and 8K signals, Deep Color, xvYCC and 1080p/24). As mentioned earlier, the eARC function is also included. There are also two optical inputs, two coaxial, six RCA stereo inputs, one of which is double XLR (the audio CD input), one Phono, one zone 2 stereo output, one zone 3 stereo RCA output, one 16.1 Pre- Out output , two USB Host ports (including one on the front), headphone output, microphone input for Audyssey MultEQ XT 32 automatic calibration and Ethernet port. In addition to two 12V Trigger sockets, one RS-2323 socket and seventeen pairs of terminal blocks. Finally, an isolated control included AVC-A1C.
Also note the different colored terminal blocks that fit the cables, to facilitate connection to the speakers. Finally, Eco mode is still efficient for reasonable listening. Energy savings are on average 40% of this AVC-A1C.
Available in stores, in black or silver, scheduled for March 2023. The indicative price is not yet known. If we know that it should be about € 7,000, the price may still change between now and next spring, depending on the events of the war in Ukraine.
Note on key features of Denon AVC‑A1H:
• Model: 15.4
• Power: 15 x 190 W under 6 ohms, 15 x 150 W under 8 ohms
• Inputs: 7 HDMI inputs (7 x 2.1), 2 optical inputs, 2 coaxial inputs, 6 stereo RCA including 1 doubled XLR (audio CD), 1 Phono input, 1 RS‑232 input, 1 microphone input for Audyssey automatic calibration MultEQ XT 32, 2 USB Host ports (including 1 on the front) and 1 Ethernet port
• Outputs: 3 HDMI 2.1 outputs, two Pre‑Out 2.0 outputs (zone 2 and zone 3), 1 Pre‑Out 16.2 output, 4 subwoofer outputs, 1 headphone output, 2 Trigger 12V sockets, 17 pairs of screw terminal blocks
• Pure Direct
• OSD functions
• Works with UPnP audio gateway (DLNA)
• ALLM functions
Functions of VRR
• QFT functions
• QMS functions
• 4K/120fps Ultra HD features
• 8K/60fps Ultra HD features
• Flac HD compatibility
• 2.8/5.6 MHz DSD compatibility
• Wav compatibility
• Compatibility with Alac
• MP3 compatibility
• WMA compatibility
• AAC compatibility
• DTS:X Pro Audio
• Audio Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer function
• DTS Virtual:X Audio
• Audio eARC function
• Audio Auto Calibration Audyssey MultEQ XT 32
• Audio Processing Audyssey SubEQ HT
• Audio Processing Audyssey LFC
• Multichannel AL32 Processing MultiChannel Processing
• Auro 3D Audio
• Dolby Atmos 9.1.6 audio
• Audio ESS Saber ES9018K2M digital-to-analog converter (384 kHz/32 bit, 10 channels)
• Audio 360 Reality Audio
• Mpeg-H audio (global)
• HDR10 video
• HDR10+ video
• HDR HLG video
• HDR Dolby Vision video
• Video Compatibility BT.2020
• Video Ultra HD Pass-Through Function
• 3D Video Ready
• HDR10+ video
• Video Upscaling Function Ultra HD/8K (24/25/30/60)
• Video Upscaling Function Ultra HD/4K (24/25/30/60/120)
• Imax Enhanced Certification
• Network Control via IP
• Dual Band Wi-Fi network (2.4/5 GHz)
• AirPlay 2 network
• Bluetooth TX network
• Google Assistant multimedia
• Multimedia Amazon Alexa
• Apple Siri Multimedia
• Hi-Res Audio streaming via USB/network: yes
• Internet radio(s): TuneIn
• Hi-Res Audio Certification
• HDCP 2.3 certified
• Tested Roon
• Headphone output: yes
• Other (s): integrated Heos multiroom module
• Dimensions (W x H x D, mm): 434 x 498 X 195 mm (Wi-Fi antennas deployed)
• Consumption: 900 W (0.1 W in standby)
• Weight: 35 kg