Looking for a powerful and versatile AV receiver? Check out our in-depth Denon X4800H review, where we explore its features, performance, and overall value. Discover if this model is the right fit for your home theater needs.
For the next part of our series on Denon’s products, we’ll be checking out one of their newest AV receivers, which came out sometime between the years 2022 and 2023. In this review, we’ll put the new Denon AVR-X4800H through its paces and evaluate how its 9.4-channel receiver system stacks up against the X4700H and the recently reviewed X3800H.
In any case, before we delve into the X4800H’s AVR capabilities and performance, let’s get a sense of the system’s overarching layout. Up to 9.4 channels can be powered by the AV receiver’s internal amplifiers, and all 11.4 processing channels can handle up to 125 watts of power. In terms of audio, you can choose from a wide variety of codecs and technologies, including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, IMAX Enhanced, Auro-3D, 360 Reality Audio, and MPEG-H Audio. Dolby Surround, DTS Neural:X, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization and DTS Virtual:X are also frequently used virtual and up-mixing technologies.
Future updates will add support for Dirac Live, four dedicated subwoofer outputs, High Resolution Audio, HEOS technology, AirPlay 2, voice control, integration, bi-amp capabilities, multi-room zones, Bluetooth audio transmission, an advanced pre-amplifier mode, seven full 40Gbps HDMI 2.1 ports, and HDMI upscaling to the already impressive list of features.
Design And Build
A breakdown of its proportions The X4800H is nearly identical in size as the X4700, measuring 17.1 x 15.3 x 9.3 inches (434 mm x 389 mm x 236 mm), with the added feature of being able to lower its height from 6.8 inches to a more manageable 6.6 inches by orienting its dual antennae horizontally (167 mm). The X4700H’s weight has been reduced to 29.1 lbs. (13.2 kg), which is barely perceptible. The X4800H AV receiver is quite large, so it’s important to make sure there’s enough of airflow wherever you decide to set it up.
As we discussed, the visual difference between the two is negligible at best. The X4800H maintains its premium status by replacing the X3800H’s plastic front panel with one made of metal. To change the volume and choose an input, use the huge knobs on either side of the centred large display (2-line FLD vs. 1-Line FLD on the X3800H). While the remainder of the controls are hidden by a flip-up panel, one power button may be discovered under the left knob. The hidden buttons are the same as before.
Using the buttons at our disposal, we are able to control areas 2 and 3, move quickly around the interface, and make snap decisions. There is a USB connector and a port for a calibrating microphone in addition to the usual headphone jack. The X4700H has been largely unaltered save for the removal of an HDMI port. We think this is a big flaw, and we expect Denon to address it in the near future.
After inspecting the outside, we may go on to the interior, where things are likely to be more interesting. The X4800H appears to be a hybrid model, as it shares characteristics with both the earlier X4700H and the more modern X3800H. Denon states that because the AVR-X4800H is manufactured in their own Shirakawa Works factory in Japan, as compared to the X3800H, which is still built in Vietnam, they were able to make some design changes.
As compared to competing products, which use discrete high-current amplifiers on all channels but do not have low-impedance driving capability, the unit stands out due to its Monolithic Amplifier design. The new X4800H is an improvement over the X4700U in terms of crosstalk and vibration isolation due to the use of individual power amplifier boards for each channel (one board for 5 channels, one board for 4 channels).
The X4800H, like the X3800H, employs a single 2-core SHARC Griffin Lite XP DSP and TI (Texas Instruments) 32-bit/192kHz digital-to-analog converters. A fire at the AKM factory a long back necessitated the usage of alternatives, therefore a DAC switch was necessary until production could resume at regular levels at all factories.
While AL32 processing is only one of the improvements available on the X4800H over the X3800H, it is a notable one. The Denon receiver’s AL32 Processor supports 32-bit extension and 192 kHz sampling. This method drastically lowers the noise floor associated with D/A conversion, allowing for crystal-clear reproduction of low-level signals and full sonic nuance to shine through. When we say that AL32 Processing is multi-channel, we mean that it is applied to every single input and output.
All higher-end Denon products, including the X4800H, use the same D.D.S.C. -HD32 technology. In a “Dynamic Discrete Surround Circuit,” no integrated chipsets are used for any portion of the audio processing. Hence, Denon can pick and choose the components necessary to achieve the desired effect.
A Clock Jitter Reducer is also included in the X4800H. In the case of digital-to-analog conversion, jitter in the clock used as a reference makes it impossible to reproduce a waveform accurately. The Clock Jitter Reducer takes a look at the phase mismatch between the input and output signals to cut down on jitter.
The PCB layout of the X4800H has been revised and improved upon significantly more than that of the X3800H and the X4700, demonstrating the significant extra time and care Denon invested in developing it.
The RC-1252 remote for the X4800H is almost identical to the RC-1250 remotes for the X2800H and X3800H, with the difference of the inclusion of Zone buttons and the addition of input buttons. On the whole, though, things are the same. A different design was used for the X4700H’s remote, and while this one is not drastically better in terms of functionality, it is an upgrade nonetheless. Playback, quick selection, and sound mode options are at the bottom, while standard inputs like HEOS and Bluetooth are up top.
Like with the rest of Denon’s offerings, this remote has some fundamental flaws that we hope the company will address in the future. Also, it would be great if the product came with motion-activated lighting, which has been standard on products in this price range for a while now but is still appreciated. As the only thing Marantz did differently with their new designs was to include a button to activate the side lights, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that Denon will improve upon their previous designs with their next redesign.
The AVR-X4800H features a number of upgrades from Denon, all of which are limited to the hardware. The new X4800H’s revolutionary digital signal processor (DSP) and monolithic amplifier design may get the most interest, but it also includes a number of other noteworthy enhancements.
The only notable variations between the X3800H and X4700H are the former’s higher power output and the latter’s additional HDMI port. Do not be fooled by the glasses; other changes are discussed in the following paragraphs.
This area of our review will be very similar to what we saw in the X3800H review because, while the X4800H seems to have many changes and tweaks over the X3800H, it seems that both come with the same additions and features. We will emphasise any differences we find.
Our first stop will be the system for adjusting the volume of sounds. Like other brands, Denon’s return to the Audyssey system has been fine-tuned to meet the specific needs of each model in terms of cost and performance. The X4800H comes with the industry-leading equalisation software from Audyssey, MultEQ XT32. If you’re looking for a more accurate calibration, this one has the highest resolution filters.
The XT32 includes not only the usual Audyssey MultEQ XT32 features, but also Audyssey LFC, a sub EQ HT, Dynamic Volume, and Dynamic EQ. This version of Audyssey, with the help of the included microphone, can analyse up to eight different listening positions and provide precise digital filters, allowing it to deliver the best possible sound quality in any given space.
We get Dynamic EQ in addition to the regular arrangement, which is great for watching at night because it keeps the audio’s clarity and dynamic range intact at lower volumes. Dynamic Volume, on the other hand, can even out the volume changes that can occur in the brief moments between TV episodes and ads.
In addition, Audyssey LFC uses state-of-the-art psychoacoustic algorithms to improve full-range balance, including deep bass, without disturbing neighbours or people in other rooms of your home, and Audyssey Sub EQ HT enables individualised digital signal processing (DSP) tuning of each subwoofer in a multi-subwoofer setup to achieve deeper bass with enhanced definition.
You may calibrate Audyssey using either the on-screen wizard or the Audyssey MultEQ Editor app (available for both Android and iOS). Those who wish to fine-tune their system from their mobile device will find the latter software very helpful.
Just keep in mind that this software requires a one-time fee, which is unfortunate considering how much the receiver itself costs. The system’s default settings are flexible enough to meet the needs of most users while still providing a solid foundation on which to build.
Dirac Live will soon be supported on the X4800H, the X3800’s replacement. Dirac Live, an audio calibration method, will be included in the new device by the time it is released in the early spring of 2023. From there, you can either stick with the free, bundled Audyssey system, which has been factory-tuned to sound amazing across all of your equipment, or invest in a Dirac Live licence for infinite customization.
Dirac Live will be released in two parts. As promised, in the early spring of 2023, the first installment will go live with two room correction bundles (one with little bandwidth and one with high) and two different speeds (limited and full). Somewhere around 2024, the second stage will roll out, bringing with it improved bass control management for a single subwoofer or an array of them. Sound United has come clean about the fact that, in their opinion, Dirac is the one who decides how much each package will cost.
We will surely test out Dirac Live whenever it is ready, as it is one of the most anticipated and desired new features.
With this AV receiver, Denon has created a new, free app. If you want to control your AVR from your phone or tablet, the Denon AVR Remote app is a great option. If you’re tired of the included remote and want something more modern, this is a fantastic and vitally free alternative. We advise downloading the app on an Android or iOS device and giving it a try to see whether you like it.
An improved user interface has also been released this year. We have long complained about the Denon AV receivers’ dated control schemes. It was perfectly at home in the early 2000s, with its old 480p display and rudimentary navigation options.
It would appear that Denon has listened to our calls for a revamp and is now offering one. The menus are organised and laid up in a very similar fashion. The features you can use are the same as before, but the higher quality of 1080p makes them look much better. Although it’s not as cutting-edge as other smart TVs, the quality we’re getting now is vastly superior to what we had previously.
Denon’s usual streaming and multi-zone functions are included in the receiver as well. With its support for HEOS and Airplay 2, you may utilise it to distribute music from many streaming providers across your home. Spotify Connect, Pandora, Amazon Music HD, TuneIn, Deezer, SiriusXM, and TIDAL are just few of the services that offer music streaming.
In order to use HEOS or Airplay 2 on your mobile device, you can download the corresponding apps from the app stores. The AVR-X4800H supports wireless connections via its front panel AUX and USB inputs, as well as wireless connections via its rear HDMI and Zone 2 pre-outs. When compared to the X3800H, which only offers one analogue pre-out, the X4800H appears to be more flexible in this respect.
So, you can bypass the internet and stream music directly from a local network drive or NAS server. The USB port allows you to listen to music stored on a flash drive or other external storage device while you’re on the go.
At long last, Bluetooth makes it possible to wirelessly link your mobile device to your speakers so that you can play music from your smartphone. Airplay 2 isn’t just for video, though; it can also be used to wirelessly stream music from your Apple device.
Keeping on topic, the X4800H also includes a feature that seems to be the norm: the receiver can transmit audio in both directions through Bluetooth. Even in a completely silent room, the X4800H may transmit sound through its speaker terminals or to a Bluetooth headset, enabling for continuous playback. This is a great thing to have if someone in your household has problems hearing.
Please keep in mind that this is intended solely for music and not for viewing movies. The Bluetooth transmitter in the AV receiver is using the SBC codec, rather than a more competent variant like aptX Low Latency, which is built for this exact reason. This function works best for listening to music, which can tolerate a slight delay in the sent sound due to Bluetooth’s limited transmission speed.
Denon has always included the most popular voice control technologies, and the X4800H is no exception. This receiver is compatible with the three major voice assistants: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri through the Airplay 2 app, and the state-of-the-art automation system Josh.ai.
Using the TV’s remote to control the AV receiver is convenient if the TV has a feature called HDMI-CEC. This is helpful because it reduces the number of remotes needed for the home theatre system. Apart from the fact that it simply unlocks the receiver’s most basic functionality, this setting can save a lot of time under typical conditions.
We’ll try to provide as many possibilities as we can, but know that there are always more out there. The SR7012, with its HDMI and analogue inputs, can upsample videos to 8K resolution, but the X3800H could not.
Our new receiver is “Roon Tested” certified, and it also features an ECO mode that may regulate its power usage to lessen its environmental impact.
There appears to be some confusion about this last one because there are two separate certification paths. All the groundwork for using Roon has been laid, and it has been thoroughly tested. Although Roon will run on the AVR-X4800H, the quality will be substandard, as is the case with other Denon AV receivers that have been “Roon Tested.” As a result, the greatest possible bitrate when using Airplay is 16 Bit/44.1kHz. If Roon is particularly important to you but you still want high-quality streaming, you should keep that in mind.
Finally, the Pre-Amplifier mode, now known as Advanced Pre-Amplifier mode, has been upgraded. This allows your Denon AV receiver to double as a state-of-the-art HDMI AV pre-processor.
Pre-Amplifier Mode eliminates the need for the onboard amplifiers, resulting in a more transparent signal path and increased resistance to clipping. With the new Advanced version, you can remove as many channels as you wish from the main unit, allowing you to add external amplifiers of varied power levels to your configuration as your needs evolve.
After that, we’ll go into the science of sound and the many file types used to store it. In addition to natively supporting object-oriented audio codecs like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, the receiver also provides up-mixing and virtual technology features that make it suitable for a wide variety of settings.
Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X are two of the most well-known up-mixing systems available. These up-mixing methods allow you to utilise all of the channels in your audio system from previously recorded mono or stereo material. Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization and DTS Virtual:X, two virtualization technologies, show promise in their ability to simulate the presence of physical speakers.
Because of its extreme sensitivity to the acoustics of the listening environment, it is clear that this computer-generated system is inferior to that of real speakers. As an added downside, we’ve never been fans of the audio’s excessive processing.
Newer Denon versions include Auro-3D, a capability that was previously only found in expensive receivers, while older models gained IMAX Enhanced compatibility. These receivers are identical to the X3800H except that the X4700H supports Sony’s 360 Reality Audio (360RA) over an HDMI connection.
Furthermore, the MPEG-H codec is widely utilised in broadcasting at the present time. It is used by several streaming providers to power their 360 Reality Audio music and is already in use with ATSC 3.0 in South Korea and over DVB in different European nations. Since that MPEG’s popularity is only expected to expand in the next years, the X4800H seems to be future-proof in this regard.
The 9 channels of built-in amplification are capable of delivering a total of 1300 watts of power (8 ohm, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.05% 2ch drive). Keep in mind that this is only for 2 driven channels and that the number drops dramatically for 9 channels. In any case, an additional external amplifier can bring the grand total of channels up to 11. The X4700H and the X3800H stick to the same pattern.
The X4800H is an upgrade over its predecessor because it can power four subwoofers individually, rather than only two. Sound United reports that the use of many subwoofers in a home theatre system is on the rise. Since you have access to four separate outputs, you have a great deal of flexibility in setting things up.
If you have five floor-standing speakers and four ceiling-mounted speakers and use the amplifiers you already have, you might have an immersive listening experience like no other. We could have gone all out with a 7.1 surround sound system for this review, but we opted for a more modest 5.1.4 arrangement instead.
High Definition Audio is a common feature of modern receivers, allowing them to handle higher-quality audio formats than the more common MP3, WMA, and AAC, as well as FLAC, ALAC, and WAV files up to 192 kHz / 24-bit and DSD for both 2.8 and 5.6 MHz.
With the release of the X3800H and X4800H, many consumers are trying to decide which model is ideal for their needs. An additional $800 will get you an extra 20 watts of power, upgraded internal components thanks to the Monolithic Amplifier design, AL32 multichannel processing, 32-bit D.D.S.C. HD Digital, a clock jitter reducer, an additional HDMI 2.1 port, additional connectivity options and analogue ports, Zone-3 pre-outs, and a metal front panel with 2-Line FLD.
Please let me know if you think I’m being ripped off by the increased cost. That’s a decision that’s entirely up to you. As compared to its predecessor, the X4800H is certainly an improvement because to its superior audio capabilities and increased networking possibilities.
Could there be any concerns raised about such a potent AV receiver? Yeah, it’s regrettable but not disastrous that they got rid of the front HDMI connector and reduced the amount of analogue connections. We agree that the main unit and remote feel antiquated after so many years of service, and we find it ridiculous that there is not a free Audyssey MultEQ Editor programme included in the package. Finally, the X4700H’s original retail price was far cheaper than its current price.
We conclude that the Denon AVR-X4800H is a fantastic AV receiver capable of decoding and playing back a wide variety of audio and video formats. Without the availability of the X3800H, a 9-channel AV receiver, we’d recommend this product without reservation. To put it simply, Denon has made a fantastic device.