Whether as a first receiver or sound-system upgrade, the 1912 is well worth the relatively modest cost. With an editor's choice award, it's bound to please you, your family, and friends as you gather for a great home-theater surround-sound experience.
You'll get great 7.1 channel surround-sound with all the latest features and functions. With this receiver you'll get the best from your existing speakers, directly connect to online radio without dedicating a PC, and have easy access via your Apple devices. You'll also be getting image upscaling and enhancement along with 3D capability.
The 1912 if finally available at less than the list price. Over 1/4 off, in fact (see below).
As a mid-priced receiver you may find some aspects a bit basic, but Denon packs it with all the important capabilities:
- great sound
- HDMI switching and up-scaling
- 3D compatibility
- the latest Dolby surround-sound processing
- Audyssey audio enhancement
- video enhancement
- network interface for internet radio
- iPhone and iPod compatibility
- Apple Airplay
With a list price of just under $550 it's not yet discounted at any of the major vendors, but we have found a free-shipping deal.
1912 versus 1911
It's easy to think of the upgrade from 1911 to 1912 as just having AirPlay enabled as part of the base price. But Denon doesn't make it that simple. You also get a network interface (yaay), a nicer GUI (meh), and FLAC no-compression support (huzzah). On the other hand you loose HD radio (Grrrrr).
Lets start with the key audio specs. This 7.1 channel surround-sound receiver drives 90 watts into each of 7 8-ohm speakers plus a separately powered woofer. As a unique feature, each channel has its own discrete amplifier and power supply. The basic configuration is the same as 5.1 channel systems – a pair of front speakers, a pair of rear speakers, and a center-front speaker. This model lets you use the remaining pair in several ways. Dolby Pro Logic IIz processing can add a vertical dimension by mounting above the main front pair, or you can simply place them further left and right. You also have the option of using them as a separate stereo zone, and this zone can even have a separate audio program from the main room.
For video, you'll have 6 HDMI 1.4a inputs and one output to save wiring clutter and handle the many A/V sources many people have these days. Plus everything's 3D capable (pass-through). Both analog and digital sources are de-interlaced and up-scaled to 1080p. Video enhancement includes picture noise reduction, advanced color features, and “auto lip sync” to keep the video and audio processing in sync. So you'll get more vibrant and more lifelike color, along with blu-ray high-definition audio formats.
Denon AVR 1912 Features
My favorite special capability is the built-in network interface for internet radio. I adore Pandora so this is a must-have feature for me. I just don't bother with broadcast radio anymore. There's also built-in support for Flickr, Pandora, Rhapsody/Napser, and others, and you can also access just about any online radio station or digital audio file on your home network. You'll also be able to use Windows y audio and photo streaming. You can also control this receiver from anything on your home network that has a browser. Once you've run an ethernet cable. Fortunately the AVR 1912 works with common wi-fi adapters, so you're not stuck with buying something only from Denon. But they're so cheap now days I think they should have included it.
For Apple fans, Airplay is built in. Once your system is set up you can be streaming Pandora (did I mention I like Pandora) from your iPad in just a few minutes. Which is especially important since the USB interface doesn't seem to support iPads. Grrr. Denon's Airplay is compatible with iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPod Nano and iTunes library. There's also a USB port for direct iPod and iPhone connection. This link includes a compressed audio restorer for crisp and clear MP3s.
In addition to all the latest Dolby processing, you get advanced Audyssey surround-sound processing. The standard Audyssey setup is can be easy – just let the on-screen user interface guide you through it. What does that get you? Automatic MultEQ equalization will custom-tailor the receiver's response to your speakers and room audio response. If you haven't had a system with Audyssey or something similar before, you'll likely be amazed with the sound quality you get, even from your existing speakers. This processing also gives you more distinct surround-sound, especially at low volumes.
For video sources, the 1912 supports blu-ray high-definition formats, Dolby trueHD, and DTS-HD Master Audio. There's also FLAC HD decoding for uncompressed playback.
Owner Comments and Tips
As a popular receiver, there's already been ample time for feedback, both good and bad. The good stuff is in the specs and features, so lets touch on some notable drawbacks.
Like several other Denon models, the 1912 gets mixed reviews on setup and documentation. Some users say it was a quick and easy breeze, others have cursed it for hours on end. My own take is that you should just use the quick setup. Be sure to hook up a TV so you can get all the on-screen prompts. Leave the CD ROM manual alone until you're ready to start some advanced fine-tweaking.
There have been reports of overheating (and also reports of no overheating problems), so be sure there's plenty of circulation around the chassis and be certain the fan is operational – it may be slow or even off at very low audio volumes. There's also been some compatibility with older iPods and older Roku boxes.
I personally wish the network interface would work with internet video services, like Netflix and Hulu. But then again many HDTVs include a networking feature for this. (My Panasonic plasma is almost -gasp- 5 years old!). Some blu-ray players incorporate this, and I'm currently watching Hulu via my PS3.
Overall, people are really happy with their 1911s. This model received an editor's choice award on CNET, and nearly everyone is extremely satisfied with the high-quality sound and ample power. One user commented that even without calibration the sound was “big, dynamic, enjoyable” as well as “beautiful … gorgeous” with clean channel separation.
Speakers for the 1912
Like me, many people are a little cautious buying just a receiver rather than a box with speakers included. So I've been keeping an eye out for which speaker systems look like good matches.
- BIC Forumla line with BIC Satellite
- Bose Acoustimass Series 15
- Klipsch HDT-300 system
- Polk Audio 5.1 TL1600
- Polk Audio RTI A3 pair
Despite a few complaints, the advanced features actually make installation and setup easier, so you shouldn't shy away because of complexity. Just follow the quick guides and make use of the TV on-screen display and you'll have a system that goes way beyond a HDTV's built-in speakers or conventional stereo system.
- HDMI makes cable hookup much easier. Just one cable per device, all the same type of cable.
- Although it takes a little while, Audyssey will automatically fine-tune the audio. You'll get the best possible sound from whatever speakers you have.
- For standard configurations, access from your Apple devices, including AirPlay functionality, is straightforward.
- An network connection and on-screen GUI make internet radio a snap. Pandora, Rhapsody/Napster, and more are directly supported.
- Video processing enhances everything, including old VHS tapes, to look as good as possible on your HDTV.
- 3D HDTVs, cable boxes, and disk players plug in just like everything else, future proofing your home entertainment system.
Top Ten Reviews lists the 1912 as the #1 AV receiver with perfect scores in:
- input-output ports
- audio technology.
They also note that it's satellite-radio and bluetooth ready. And, finally, some decent discounts... and then short supply -- I've only been able to find 'em on Amazon (click here).
The 1912 is a great value, and has already developed a devoted following. Although none of the audio specs stand out, the sound is indeed outstanding. The Audyssey and Dolby surround-sound processing will pull the best out of your speakers and room acoustics, and the video section will make the best of just about any video source. You're also likely to enjoy the built-in internet radio and Apple Airplay capabilities. You may find set-up a bit perplexing, and might run into some heat problems, but otherwise this model is nothing but thumbs-up. The 2-year warrant is twice as long as some other leading brands. If you're like most people you'll find the Denon AVR-1912 great for music as well as movies and gaming.