January 29, 2008
| by Gordon Jones
It’s easy to get lost between the 150-inch plasma and the uber-speaker big enough to be buried in. But that’s what often happens to the home theater’s middle child - the receiver. So much time is spent debating plasma vs. LCD / ribbon vs. wood and far too little effort is put into choosing the right “brain” to handle your rig.
As for Denon, they’ve been building receivers for some time, and although they might not be in league with the afore mentioned equipment, their reputation is solid among home theater enthusiasts. The AVR688 is an example why, a respectable set of features at a reasonable price, especially with this deal: 75 watts x 7 channels (enough for most small-medium rooms); 1080p compatible HDMI 1.3a video switching with deep color support; Serial IR remote ports; the standard Dolby and DTS decoding; and 2 source 2 zone switching. If you want to loop your iPod into the system you can also add the (optional) ASD-3W/3N iPod docks and control with the Denon remote. It’s also XM Satellite ready and includes a microphone for Audyssey MultEQ calibration.
Per user reviews, there are two main gripes with this unit: 1) horrible documentation and 2) no audio via HDMI. There are optical and coax hookups, but that does seem a strange bug for a box in this market.
Sale price: $313.99
Deal ends: unknown
Buy now: www.thenerds.net