May 21, 2008
| by Rebecca Day
Long known for its dedication to sound quality at a wide range of price points, Denon continues that tradition for 2008 with 10 new audio/video receivers and new 2-channel separates.
Denon is sticking to its roots at the same time it’s branching out in new directions to meet the diverse lifestyle audio needs of consumers today. At its 2008 line show this week at the Marriott Dana Point in Laguna Cliffs, CA, Denon gave journalists an earful in demonstrations of its first noise-cancelling headphones and its second surround bar for space-strapped environments. The company also brought down the entry point for Blu-ray Disc players to $749 while packing in many of the features found in the company’s higher end models.
Far from a me-too product in a hot new category, Denon’s AH-NC732 On-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones ($299 when the arrive in August) stand out from the pack thanks to extra long battery life (40 hours from one AAA battery), light weight (5.6 ounces) and their killer app: the ability to function as standard headphones when they run out of juice. The latter is a welcome plus for frequent flyers who, with competitive noise-canceling headphones, have lost the ability to listen to music altogether if they run out of battery power.
The AH-NC732s are like getting two sets of headphones in one. They come with three plug options, two cords and can connect to a headphone jack on a receiver or TV. The 3.5mm stereo plug adaptor works with a portable music player, and the 1.4-inch stereo headphone plug adapter works with headphone jacks on home equipment. The third adapter in the pack is a dual plug adapter for use with airplane sound systems. The headset is also compatible with the Apple iPhone without the need for an additional adapter. Detachable cables come in 2.3-feet and 5-feet lengths.
The DVD-1800BD Blu-ray Disc Player ($749, October) offers full support of Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS HD Master Audio along with a 2-channel analog output. The Profile 1 version 1.1. player packs dual audio and video decoders, giving you access to Bonus View information such as directory commentary without having to leave the movie. Additional features: HDMI 1.3a with Deep Color and 1080p scaling from standard DVDs. The player doesn’t have an Ethernet port to support BD Live, but it has the ability to download additional content (subtitles, audio streams, camera angles, trailers, games, and more) from studio websites, stored to SD card and played back through the player’s SC card slot.
Denon also demoed its most recent surround bar, the DHT-FS5 ($499) which arrived in stores this month. Designed for placement beneath a flat-panel TV, the DHT-FS5 includes Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Digital and DTS decoders, six speakers and a virtual subwoofer. You plug in the depth of the room during setup and a sound calibration system optimizes the sound for the room. Night mode allows you to hear surround effects at low volume. Four surround options are selectable: movie, music, stereo and news.