Denon AVR-X1700H AV receiver review

hcchighreccomendDenon's entry-level X Series AV receiver is also its most advanced in terms of HDMI connectivity. Go figure, says John Archer

Thanks to problems with first-generation HDMI 2.1 ports, the last year was unusually tumultuous for the AV receiver and amplifier world. The late arrival of Denon's AVR-X1700H (sold in the UK exclusively through retailer Peter Tyson) therefore turns out to be quite handy.

Certainly I can say that the X1700H's HDMI setup is now a key strength rather than a cause for consternation. For starters, three of its six HDMI inputs handle the latest gaming features of 4K at 120Hz, variable refresh rates, Quick Frame Transport, and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM). There was only one such input on Denon's first generation of '8K capable' AVRs, from the flagship X6700H [HCC #316] down to the £750 X2700H [HCC #320].

You can now, to be fair, buy a Denon AVS-3 HDMI switching box that lets you connect three HDMI 4K/120Hz devices to these older, otherwise more premium models. But you'll have to find an extra £200 for it, not to mention accommodate another box in your system.


The six HDMI inputs are separated into two trios: 8K and non-8K capable

Another great thing about the X1700H's built-in HDMI 4K/120 or 8K/60Hz connections is that they work right out of the box. The 40GB capacity of the '8K' ports handles everything it's supposed to, including 4K at 120Hz feeds from the Xbox Series X that wouldn't work on the single HDMI '8K' ports of Denon's 2020-released models until an all-new production run began in May 2021. The X1700H, which launched in October 2021, is confident enough about its HDMI prowess, in fact, to display detailed information on the HDMI signal it's receiving. This is very helpful when it comes to knowing if everything is working as it should be.

All of the receiver's six HDMI inputs support 4:4:4 chroma sub-sampling; the full family of current high dynamic range formats (HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log Gamma); 8K upscaling; and the eARC system for receiving lossless Dolby Atmos/DTS:X sound from connected, compatible displays. All feed into a single HDMI output.


Given the rise of interest in vinyl, it's not much of a surprise to find these cutting-edge HDMI ports being joined by a 'retro' phono (MM) input. Other back-panel connections (there's a USB hookup and headphone socket around the front) include coaxial and optical digital audio, Ethernet and twin subwoofer pre-outs.


Note you can spend £50 more to get an X1700H with built-in DAB radio. As you'd expect of a modern seven-channel receiver, even a relatively affordable one, there's support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X (in a 5.1.2 configuration), plus DTS Virtual:X and Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization options for people who don't have height/upfiring speakers. Calibration comes via the Audyssey MultEQ XT system, using a supplied microphone, while Denon's usual installation wizard is ready to guide you through setup.

This will likely include establishing a network connection, either wired or wireless. Do this and there's the multiroom HEOS system to make use of, with its integration of streaming services such as Spotify and Tidal, plus Apple AirPlay 2 and DLNA playback of music files including ALAC, FLAC and DSD 2.8/5.6MHz. Bluetooth provision is two-way, meaning the receiver can be used with wireless headphones, and the X1700H's modern outlook is rounded out by support for all the main voice control systems.

Eager To Please
The X1700H is the entry level model in the X Series, despite its fancy, up-to-date HDMI stage. So: will fans of its trio of 8K-capable HDMI inputs have to swallow a sound quality compromise? Probably not if they're coming from a previous, budget seven-channel model, perhaps even Denon's own X1600H. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X mixes here sound clean, full of detail and nicely steered, creating a soundstage with enough scale to satisfy multiple seating positions in at least a mid-sized movie room.