For example, in Chapter 8 of The Missing, a postmodernist western, Tommy Lee Jones tosses a small cowbell to one side. The bell's muted dinging moves from center front to far left quickly but smoothly, and very convincingly - all this for a small, quiet background effect. Nice!
A thunderstorm, galloping horses racing through canyons, gunfire, and dialogue ranging from a whisper to a scream - all the sonic elements of the classic western - come later in the film. The Denon obediently reproduced them all with precision, impact, clarity, intelligibility, and impressive dynamics.
MUSIC PERFORMANCE Listening to music recordings was similarly satisfying. A spacious, clean two-channel production, such as the Bruce Hornsby classic The Way It Is, was beguiling on my 6.1-channel speaker array with the AVR-2805's DPL IIx processing. The sound was enveloping and rich, without any false reverb and no sacrifice in clarity. The modest set of proprietary surround modes Den-on provides are nothing special, but with both DPL IIx and DTS Neo:6, who really needs more music-processing options? DPL IIx is a big advance, and not just for the addition of a back surround channel. It sounds even cleaner and spatially more stable to me than its predecessor, plain ol' DPL II. Playback of Super Audio CDs and DVD-Audio discs proved the receiver to be capable of meeting the six-channel power demands of even the most dynamic recordings.
BOTTOM LINE The Denon AVR-2805 receiver is virtually fault-free. It performed its job with high honors. Power from all channels? Check. Dynamic clarity on music and movies? Check. Stability and imaging from various surround modes? Check. Ease of use and overall ergonomic design? Check with minor reservations - the remote's tiny labels and lack of backlighting.
If you've got plenty of coin, by all means buy a flagship (or cruiser-class) receiver from Denon or one of its esteemed competitors. But if you're looking for serious quality in every key function and honest performance value for the money, check out the AVR-2805.
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