Media Room Update: Denon 2313 and Steam Big Picture

Since my old Denon 790 decided to self combust (my fault), I decided it was time to finally finish our media room.  The TV is the excellent Panasonic ST50 which I wall mounted a while ago.  The extendable arms are a godsend when you are messing with wires and plugs highly worth it over the standard mounts.

From my Study I ran a 15 meter HDMI cable and a 15 meter USB cable which is connected to the TV.  As you can see, poking through the wall here is a powered HDMI splitter/extender which was required to eliminate Sparkle caused by loss of HDMI signal strength:

Wall plate behind ST50

Unboxing the Denon 2313.


Shiny new Denon 2313.

Denon 2313

The new AUDYSSEY XT Calibration is even better than on the 790 model, I didn't have to tweak anything.

AUDYSSEY Calibration

The Study acts as the information hub with network cables running all through the house, during the build stage I also ran a 15 meter HDMI cable and a 15 meter USB cable (with booster) specifically for PC connectivity.  These keystone wall plates accept standard cables and can be interchanged simply by replacing the type of connection insert.

Study Plugs

And the end result is a seamless Steam Big Picture console type experience for under $50 for the wall plates and cables:

Steam Big Picture HTPC


Denon AVR 790 Unboxing and setup

Recently purchased this little beauty, The Denon AVR 790 as an upgrade for my aging Pioneer.

It is interesting to note as per this AVS forum post from user Batpig that:

Q. What is the difference between the three-digit models (e.g. AVR 790) and the four-digit models (e.g. AVR 1910)?

A: Essentially, NOTHING. Denon puts out two parallel receiver lineups, with four-digit and three-digit model numbers. The four-digit models are generally sold by high end stereo shops and custom installers, and the three-digit models are the "consumer" version sold in retail outlets like Circuit City and Fry's.

However, there is ZERO difference in terms of power, specs, sound quality, build quality, etc. between the two lines. Denon has been doing this for years, it is exactly analagous to the Yamaha HTR and RX-V parallel receiver lines.

Batpig also has a very handy DENON-TO-ENGLISH DICTIONARY Setup Guide and FAQ.  Definitely worth checking out as he has put a significant amount of effort into helping with the Denon setup process.

The Quick Specs

The AVR-790 features the latest high resolution audio decoders, including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, and is one of the first to include Dolby Pro Logic IIz, which provides front height channel effects for an incredibly expansive front soundstage.

The video section features the latest Video Reference Series processor from Anchor Bay Technologies, providing analog-to-digital video deinterlacing and upconversion to HD, with both component and HDMI outputs, and features 1080p 24Hz/60Hz HDMI pass-through, allowing a single HDMI cable run to your HDTV.

Audyssey’s advanced MultEQ room acoustic measurement and correction system analyzes the speakers and the listening room and automatically corrects the response for the smoothest, most natural tonal balance.

Audyssey Dynamic Volume and Dynamic EQ are provided to ensure rich, natural tonal quality at any volume level, and with no annoying volume jumps during commercial interruptions.

On to the unpacking:

Unpacking with the help of my eldest!
Awesome Remote Dad
Some of the AVR-790 contents
Bye Bye Pioneer - you have done well.
Bye Bye Pioneer - you have done well.

My old Pioneer Receiver, never failed and has been fantastic.

Connecting everything up

Plugging in my HTPC, TV and Wii.  Everything is pretty straight forward at this stage.  Just one HDMI cable to the TV.

Almost done!
Almost done!

The Denon Audyssey Setup Microphone
The Denon Audyssey Setup Microphone

The automatic calibration using the Audyssey Setup Microphone is simply amazing - especially if you have not witnessed anything like it before. The official Audyssey FAQ can be found here.

Here is a screen of the setup taking place:

Audyssey calibration in progress
Audyssey calibration in progress
All done, testing some HD audio.
All done, testing some HD audio.

I thought my old Pioneer was good but never realised how under utilised my Subsonic speakers were until testing some HD music and the Batman Blu-ray.  I raised the volume for the Bike scene in The Dark Knight and was completely blown away by the sound quality.  No distortions with the volume up and the surround separation from the Main listening position 1 was spot on.  I pushed it to the point the woofer was blowing the curtains and vibrating the roof but then dropped the volume - kids bedtime 🙂

The sound is as precise as I was after and it is also excellent for stereo and even standard mp3's. The Denon upscales all analogue sources to 1080p which was a straightforward process and works well for the wii console I have connected.  Denon dropped last years Faroudja scaling method in favor of Anchor Bay and proprietary video processing chips - and it shows.  The pulldown Jitter I was experiencing seems to also been eliminated.

Great stuff.

The Denon AVR 790 gets a big 9.5 out of 10 from me.

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