Denon AVC-A1H: the ultimate AV receiver


Mis à jour le 10 May 2023.

The Denon AVC-A1H AV receiver is the Japanese manufacturer’s most powerful model and promises an uncompromising cinematographic experience. Designed for the most sophisticated installations and private cinemas, this receiver can power up to 15 speakers in a 9.4.6 channel configuration to enhance multichannel formats such as Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, DTS:X Pro and Auro 3D. Its compatibility with 4K/120Hz and 8K/60Hz streams as well as VRR, QFT and ALLM gaming technologies make it perfect for both movies and video games. Are these specs enough to make the AVC-A1H the ultimate solution for powering home theater speakers?

The Denon AVC-A1H AV receiver promises a unique cinematographic experience thanks to its very high output, support for all multichannel formats, 15.4 channel amplification and UHD 8K compatibility.

Denon AVC-A1H: packaging & accessories

The Denon AVC-A1H comes in a large box weighing over 38kg. The accessories include a remote control and batteries, a power cable, a microphone for the acoustic calibration and a quick start guide.

Denon AVC-A1H: presentation

The Denon AVC-A1H AV receiver is a premium model designed to replace the Denon AVC-A110, which was created to celebrate the brand’s 110th anniversary (discover the history of Denon). It tops the new Denon AV receiver range by offering an even more advanced solution than the Denon AVC-X8500HA. This flagship device stands out with its 15 amplification channels and carefully selected components. It benefits from the largest power transformer ever used in a Denon receiver, coupled with new capacitors to maximize current capacity. As a result, it is able to develop up to 150W per channel into 8 ohms (2 powered channels) with dynamism and energy to maintain a very high volume during an entire a movie. 

The Denon AVC-A1H receiver stands out from all other models with its huge power supply and hi-fi quality components to ensure a dynamic and precise reproduction over every channel.

The 15.4 amplification channels (up to 15 speakers and 4 subwoofers) allow the Denon AVC-A1H receiver to command the most sophisticated home theater installations. Its state-of-the-art dual-core processor ensures comprehensive processing of the various Dolby and DTS formats, notably Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and DTS:X Pro tracks. The Auro 3D format is also supported. It is therefore perfectly suited for use in a home cinema installation with a vertical dimension (immersive 3D sound).

9.4.6 channel compatible with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D, the Denon AVR-A1H AV receiver is perfect for creating a comprehensive and incredibly immersive home theater system.

The Denon AVC-A1H AV receiver is also characterized by its four separate LFE outputs to connect as many subwoofers. It is therefore possible to increase the power of the lows and, as a result, the impact of action scenes during movies. Each subwoofer can be adjusted separately during the acoustic calibration or from the receiver’s settings.

The AV receiver features four XLR and RCA outputs to connect four subwoofers and enjoy ultra powerful bass, even in large rooms.

The Denon AVC-A1H is halfway between the worlds of home theater and hi-fi, with components usually reserved for hi-fi amplifiers. In particular, it is equipped with an audiophile quality two-channel DAC for each of its 15.4 channels, combined with AL32 processing. This technology, inherited from the brand’s most prestigious CD players, such as the Denon DCD-A110, uses data interpolation algorithms to obtain a waveform close to that of the original analog signal. This allows the digital stream to be optimized before conversion and ensures a very high quality reproduction.

The Denon AVC-A1H AV receiver benefits from components and technologies that are usually used on the brand’s hi-fi devices to increase the precision of the sound reproduction.

HD streaming

The Denon AVC-A1H AV receiver’s hi-fi components have allowed it to receive the Hi-Res Audio certification. It also supports PCM steams up to 24-bit/192kHz, as well as DSD 5.6MHz files. These formats are upsampled to 32 bits and can be played from a USB device or via DLNA. In addition, the integration of the Heos ecosystem provides access to many streaming services including Deezer, Spotify, Amazon Music and Tidal. However, Qobuz is still absent!

Thanks to its Heos and AirPlay 2 compatibility, the Denon AVC-A1H receiver can also be added to a multi-room group. This allows you to listen to online music services or enjoy the sources connected to the receiver with other compatible amplifiers or speakers. Unfortunately, Denon still doesn’t allow you to use Heos multi-room speakers to reproduce surround sound effects, unlike Yamaha.

8K UHD and 4K HDR

The Denon AVC-A1H AV receiver is equipped with 7 HDMI inputs, all of which are compatible with the HDMI 2.1 standard. The latter ensures support for video streams up to 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz. The HDR10+, Dynamic HDR and Dolby Vision standards are also supported to guarantee that programs with a wide dynamic range are displayed correctly.

Designed for modern sources, the Denon AVC-A1H receiver features seven UHD 8K and 4K compatible HDMI 2.1 inputs. Two of the three outputs are also 8K/60 fps and 4K/120 fps compatible.

The HDMI 2.1 standard also enables the Denon AVC-A1H to offer many benefits to gamers. They can enjoy crisp motion and optimal responsiveness thanks to support for 4K Ultra High Definition at 120 fps and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) to reduce image tearing. Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Quick Frame Transport (QFT) are also included so that the TV can adjust the frame rate in real time to reduce lag and optimize player performance.


All the sources connected to the Denon AVC-A1H receiver’s seven HDMI 2.1 inputs can be transmitted to the two main HDMI outputs, which are also 8K compatible. The receiver also features a Zone 2 output with a maximum resolution of 4K. These connectors are accompanied by four digital inputs (2 optical and 2 coaxial), as well as an XLR input and six RCA inputs, including a phono input to connect a turntable. 15.4-channel preamplification outputs allow you to connect one or several power amplifiers. Conveniently, there are also RCA and XLR subwoofer outputs to ensure compatibility with any model.

The Denon AVC-A1H AV receiver benefits from a very comprehensive set of connectors that allow it to be placed at the heart of your installation to easily centralize all your audio and video sources.

A hefty 32kg

The Denon AVC-A1H AV receiver’s many electronic components are housed inside a thick chassis that has a similar design to the Denon AVC-X8500HA, Denon AVC-X6700H and Denon AVC–X4800H. The size of the chassis is almost the same and the controls, which are hidden behind a panel on the front, are identical. However, the Denon AVC-A1H differs in that it has a thicker chassis and extremely thorough vibration control. In addition, its colossal weight of more than 32kg is a testament to the superior quality of its power supply and embedded components.

The Denon AVC-A1H has the same design as the Japanese manufacturer’s premium AV receivers. The front panel has a hinged cover that hides a full control interface, as well as a USB port.

Remote control and app

The Denon AVC-A1H receiver comes with a large backlit remote control equipped with all the essential features. The upper third contains the receiver’s power/standby button and source selection. The middle section contains mainly the menu navigation controls as well as the play/pause, next track, previous track and repeat/shuffle buttons. The lower third contains the audio settings buttons and a number pad that can be assigned to the associated TV.

The infrared remote control regroups all the essential features to ensure perfect control of the Denon AVC-A1H AV receiver.

In addition to its remote control, this Denon receiver can also be controlled using any smartphone or tablet. To do so, there are two apps: Denon Remote and Heos. The first has the main functions of the remote control, with source selection, volume control, video output control and access to certain settings. The Heos app is dedicated solely to streaming. It provides access to compatible online music services, music shared over the local network and web radios.

Denon AVC-A1H: configuration

Focal 300 ICLCR5 architectural speakers and Focal 100 ICW6 Atmos speakers. After that, we tested it with a Dali system that included Dali Phantom M-250, Dali Phantom H60 and Dali Phantom E60 speakers. Each installation included two Rel and Dali subwoofers. We also used the Denon AVC-A1H receiver in a stereo setup with Cabasse IO3 speakers and Klipsch floorstanding speakers. For our sources, we used the Sony UBP-X800M2 and Reavon UBR-X200 UHD 4K Blu-ray players, as well as an Apple TV 4K. Lastly, the main HDMI output was connected to an Epson EH-TW-9400 projector, then to the LG HU85LS short-throw projector.

We tested the Denon AVC-A1H AV receiver in several configurations, for both home theater and hi-fi. Here, it is placed beside the LG HU85LS short-throw projector and Cabasse IO3 speakers.

When the Denon AVC-A1H receiver is first switched on, the user is prompted to enter the menu language and then to specify the speaker configuration used. Denon then offers to perform the Audyssey MultEQ XT32 acoustic calibration. This involves connecting the supplied microphone and placing it in the listening position, at ear level. The microphone needs to be moved several times during the calibration. The sounds, their volume and their reverberation in the room are then measured and analyzed to perform an acoustic correction according to the properties of each speaker and/or the listening room. Note that a paid update allows this calibration to be performed using Dirac Live technology.

The included wired microphone allows you to carry out Audyssey MultEQ XT32 or Dirac Live (paid service) acoustic calibration.

Denon AVC-A1H: listening impressions

The Denon AVC-A1H AV receiver breathed life into movie soundtracks with transparency and dynamism. On Thor, the spatialization was incredible, and every single detail was correctly positioned. We were at the heart of a sound bubble in which sound effects emerged from all around us and were reproduced with phenomenal power. We felt as if we were actually part of the movie and the action.

On the movie Thor, the Denon AVC-A1H receiver spatialized the soundtrack with great realism and dynamism to bring action scenes to life.

With the movie Godzilla vs Kong in Dolby Atmos, the Denon AVC-A1H showed off its remarkable current capacity by instantly responding to the slightest demands of the soundtrack. The dynamic shifts were striking, causing us to jump with each explosion. The roars of the titanic monsters were impressively realistic and resonated in our chest. The thundering footsteps of the giant creatures perfectly translated their colossal weight.

With the movie Godzilla vs Kong, the Denon AVC-A1H receiver delivers a high energy performance to reproduce the full force and intensity of these mythical creatures.

The Denon AVC-A1H receiver’s excellent clarity also ensured perfect dialogue reproduction. Speech was always clear and well-defined, even when the soundtrack was blasting across the other channels. All the nuances and intonations of the voices were clearly audible, ensuring that we fully experienced the emotions conveyed by the actors.

The Denon AVC-A1H excelled at reproducing the atmosphere of movies. With The Martian, the Denon receiver plunged us into the character’s solitary and harrowing experience. The movie’s soundscape set a tense mood and was packed with details that transported us to the red planet. The sounds of footsteps on the Martian ground, the hissing of oxygen and the alerts of electronic systems punctuated the oppressive silence of the movie. The experience was gripping.

By efficiently placing every sonic detail, the Denon AVC-A1H receiver transported the listener to Mars and provided a unique experience. We felt as if we were part of the movie.

In a stereo setup, the Denon AVC-A1H AV receiver retained its dynamic and transparent qualities. It delivered a smooth, energetic and analytical reproduction. We enjoyed a lot of substance across the entire spectrum, particularly in the lows, which were very powerful. The bass was tight, generous and beautifully deep. The sound message was clear, but seemed to lack a little refinement in certain nuances compared to the more prestigious Denon hi-fi amplifiers.

When listening to music (here with the Cabasse IO3 speakers), the Denon AVC-A1H receiver provided a dynamic, transparent and analytical reproduction.

Denon AVC-A1H: compared to…

It is difficult to compare the Denon AVC-A1H receiver, as it is the only integrated model with 15.4 amplification channels. However, it is possible to pit it against the Denon AVC-X8500HA, which has 13.2 channels and a 15.2 pre-out. It is therefore possible to combine it with an external power amp to power the same number of speakers. Nevertheless, the Denon AVC-X8500HA will be a little less energetic.

The Denon AVC-A1H receiver is the only model on the market capable of powering 15 speakers without using a separate power amplifier.

Denon AVC-A1H: who is it for?

The Denon AVC-A1H AV receiver is perfect for the most sophisticated home theater installations. It will be able to power up to 15.4 channels (9.4.6 channels in Dolby Atmos and DTS:X) with authority and without the need for a separate power amp. This Denon receiver will allow you to enhance all multichannel audio formats, but also make the most of the latest video sources thanks to its UHD 8K and 4K HDR compatibility.

A Denon AVC-A1H AV receiver is perfect for the most comprehensive and demanding modern installations thanks to its 15 amplified channels and its compatibility with the vast majority of multichannel audio and video formats.

Denon AVC-A1H: conclusion 

With the Denon AVC-A1H AV receiver, the Japanese manufacturer delivers an uncompromising all-in-one model. Its greatest strength is its ability to power a very large number of speakers without faltering, where conventional models may need to rely on one or more additional power amps. Perfect for a true cinematographic experience at home, the Denon AVC-A1H receiver offers perfectly controlled spatialization and meticulous placement of sound effects. It’s the perfect way to ensure that the listener is constantly immersed in the universe of the movie or series.

We liked:

  • The impressive dynamism
  • The meticulously placed sound effects
  • The breadth of the soundstage
  • The number of amplified channels

We would have liked:

  • More refinement for hi-fi listening sessions
  • The ability to add wireless surround speakers

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