This may just be one of the most versatile AV receivers we have looked at to date. It not only has a wide range of connection options but it is also catered for the basic and professional user at the same time. You can choose to set it up as a simple AV receiver or with a little know-how, it can become the centre of your AV universe.It is definitely designed to be primarily used with full HD equipment or that the very least with HDMI enabled components. It comes with five HDMI ports but also has Component, Composite and S-Video as well. It also has connection for the optional iPod dock so you can play your music directly from your MP3 player.
The rear has a plethora of connections. Whether you have a 5.1 or 7.1 system, each speaker port is labelled so setting up the receiver doesn’t require a PhD. The on-screen menu will also help quite a bit in the placement of speakers in the room and you can choose whether the front speakers are ground or height mounted so the best sound possible is achieved. The receiver comes with a microphone which, when connected, is used to precisely calibrate the output of each speaker so that the surround effect is optimal for your home theatre environment.
The microphone is positioned in six different listening positions in the room, as laid out in the manual, and measurements are taken. The receiver then uses an algorithm to balance the speakers. The process is very simple and easy to follow although it is quite tedious to set up.
Unlike simple surround sound receivers, the AV3310 works best when used for both audio and video connections. It can upscale standard resolution analogue signals, making the images look quite impressive. Obviously, running a Blu-ray will look better but if you have a massive DVD collection, it’s good to know it won’t go to waste. The Denon also has its own on-screen menu too making configuration a breeze.
The sound quality is excellent. We didn’t test with high end speakers, unfortunately, but it was still remarkable. The audio we pumped into it all sounded accurate without any fidelity loss. We tested with a 5.1 set up and a 7.1 and found that the system performed well when playing back in 5.1. The 7.1 sounded better but if you only have a 5.1 speaker set up, this receiver will still sound quite good. We definitely recommend you take advantage of the audio calibration microphone when setting up though as it makes a huge difference.
You can also hook up the receiver to your home network and stream music and photos to it as it is DLNA compliant. You can also access Internet radio stations as well. We found setting up the networking features to be quite simple and the sound quality of the audio files to be exceptional. Naturally, this will entirely depend on the quality of the source recordings but even lower bit rate MP3s still sounded quite good. The receiver also has USB functionality so you can play files from a USB hard drive if you wish. You can also set up the receiver so you can control it from a PC using a browser.
The AV3310 also has multi-zone output too. This is for those that want to play music in other rooms in the house from devices connected to the receiver. There are three zones in addition to the main multi-channel sound zone. The extra zones are stereo only but you can play music from separate devices in each zone if you want to play the same source in multiple zones. Each zone can be individually controlled via the secondary remote control and you can save presets for each device and zone as well.
The isn’t much to the design of an AV receiver aesthetically as most look alike. However, when it comes to build quality, the AV3310 is one of the best we have looked at thusfar. Some of the inputs and functionality are hidden behind a door on the front of the device which flips down for access. We would have liked this to be a little sturdier, but this is really the only complaint we have about the unit.
The Denon AV3310 has a slew of features and can produce excellent audio and video quality. It isn’t terribly expensive for what you get and is quite versatile. It is one of the best AV receivers we have reviewed.