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Denon AVR-X3600H AV Receiver Review

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Denon AVR-X3600H 9.2 channel AVR. It was purchased new by a kind member who drop shipped it to me. It costs US $1,099.

From outside the AVR-X3600H seems like any other AVR:

Denon AVR-X3600H AVR X3600 Home Theater Dolby Atmos AVR Review.jpg

But the controls feel a lot better than some other AVRs. The volume control rotary encoder has the right stiffness and feels good to manipulate.

The back panel has the usual connectivity including some useless ones such as component video:

Denon AVR-X3600H AVR X3600 Home Theater Dolby Atmos AVR Back Panel Connectors Inputs Review.jpg

But there is one thing that is special about this AVR: if you set it to 11 channel mode which is more than the number of amplifier channels it has, it lets you disconnect the internal amplifier and route that to pre-out. This means that you don't have to deal with that amplifier clipping and reducing DAC performance when you use an external amplifier. This has been the weakness of most AVRs I have tested. We will see later if it works in measurements.

A downer is the low resolution of the on-screen user interface. I think it is SD resolution. Not a big deal in practice but in this day and age it should at least be 1080p.

For this testing, I only used the coax input for digital source. If I have time later, I will also test HDMI. I don't think it impacts anything but jitter performance.

One other nice thing about this AVR: it has a "real" extruded aluminum for the amplifier heatsink. Most AVRs have these flimsy spring iron with no mass and hence high thermal impedance. It got the hottest in the middle which fortunately is where there is a fan underneath. Even though the amp got quite warm after my testing, I was surprised the fan had not come on. So I suggest giving it plenty of ventilation.



AVR DAC Audio Measurements
As usual we start by evaluating the Digital to Analog Converter by feeding the AVR a 1 kHz tone using Coax input and measuring what comes out of pre-out. At first I tested it in normal mode and it could only go up to 1.5 volt before the amp clipped and sunk the DAC performance with it. When I enabled the 11 channel mode and redirected the amp from left and right channel, that problem completely vanished:

Denon AVR-X3600H AVR X3600 Home Theater Dolby Atmos DAC Audio Measurements.png


When I first ran this test, I had set the sample rate to 48 kHz by accident and SINAD, for the first time in any video product, went up to 103 dB! Sadly and for unknown reason, setting it to 44.1 kHz increased second harmonic causing SINAD to drop to 99 dB. Still excellent though for an AVR:

Best home theater receiver review 2020.png


But oh so close in beating all dedicated high-end home theater processors! Amazing what a little analog switch and trivial software allows.

I wanted to show what the SINAD would be relative to output level but the curve there was highly dependent on the volume setting. I picked a random, 85 on the volume indicator and got this:

Denon AVR-X3600H AVR X3600 Home Theater Dolby Atmos DAC THD+N versus Level Audio Measurements.png


Notice that even with 44.1 kHz we get a SINAD of 103 dB. The reason that is higher than the dashboard is because the digital input is lower value in this test than full 0 dB used in the dashboard.

Notice slightly better performance for 48 kHz as I indicated (in red). Since majority of video content is produced at 48 kHz and multiples of it, that is not a bad thing although you could argue when you want the best performance, it would be for music content. Either way, strange to see the output of the DAC be better at 48 kHz. I wonder if some format conversion is occurring internally for 44.1 kHz. Test of the filtering did NOT show this as the output seems to be different for 44.1 versus 48:

Denon AVR-X3600H AVR X3600 Home Theater Dolby Atmos DAC Filter Response Audio Measurements.png


Dynamic range was better than I expected:

Denon AVR-X3600H AVR X3600 Home Theater Dolby Atmos Dynamic Range DAC Audio Measurements.png


32-tone test which is at less than full digital level shows the better performance of the DAC yet again in that situation:

Denon AVR-X3600H AVR X3600 Home Theater Dolby Atmos DAC Multitone Audio Measurements.png


Linearity was also surprisingly good:

Denon AVR-X3600H AVR X3600 Home Theater Dolby Atmos DAC Linearity Audio Measurements.png


Intermodulation test showed the advantage of low noise floor (for an AVR):
Denon AVR-X3600H AVR X3600 Home Theater Dolby Atmos DAC IMD Audio Measurements.png


Jitter test showed some issues though over coax input:
Denon AVR-X3600H AVR X3600 Home Theater Dolby Atmos DAC Jitter Audio Measurements.png


By the way, I played with Direct and Pure Direct modes and it made no difference in any of the above tests. The same was true of the amplifier tests below.

AVR Amplifier Measurements
Let's start with our amplifier dashboard of 5 watts:

Denon AVR-X3600H AVR X3600 Home Theater Dolby Atmos Amp Audio Measurements.png


This is well above average for some 85 amplifiers I have tested so far:
Best Home Theater Amplifier Review Test.png


And the best among AVRs but with small margin of victory:

Besth AVR Amplifier Review 2020.png


Frequency response in all three modes was wide showing no digitization at low sample rate:
Denon AVR-X3600H AVR X3600 Home Theater Dolby Atmos Amp Frequency Response Audio Measurements.png


Crosstalk was fine:
Denon AVR-X3600H AVR X3600 Home Theater Dolby Atmos Amp Crosstalk Audio Measurements.png


Signal to noise ratio was very good, clearing the CD/16-bit hurdle of 96 dB at just 5 watts:

Denon AVR-X3600H AVR X3600 Home Theater Dolby Atmos Amp SNR Audio Measurements.png


AVR Amplifier Power Measurements
Let's start with our 4 ohm load and see how much power we get before distortion goes through the roof:

Denon AVR-X3600H AVR X3600 Home Theater Dolby Atmos Amp Power into 4 ohm Audio Measurements.png


Notice how much lower noise and distortion are compared to the NAD. The amp is not "rated" for 4 ohm by the way due to legalize (keeping the amp from getting too hot during safety testing). But works absolutely fine. To wit, you can push it even harder if you allow higher distortion level or allow burst of power:
Denon AVR-X3600H AVR X3600 Home Theater Dolby Atmos Amplifier Max and Peak Output into 4 Ohm  ...png


Switching to 8 ohm we get:

Denon AVR-X3600H AVR X3600 Home Theater Dolby Atmos Amp Power into 8 ohm Audio Measurements.png


Specification is 105 watts at 0.08% distortion and we are there already at much lower distortion.

Testing power capability and sensitivity to frequency we get very predictable performance:

Denon AVR-X3600H AVR X3600 Home Theater Dolby Atmos Amp THD vs Frequency vs Level Audio Measur...png


You loose a bit of power at 20 Hz and distortion does rise fair bit at 20 kHz but still, I take this over some amplifiers with curves that go all over the place.

Importantly the amplifier did not shut down or complain one bit during this test which pushes the unit to clipping some 7 times with both channels driven.

Conclusions
People think we are hard to please when testing AVRs but we really are not. We like to see the unit properly tested and verified to perform well and the Denon AVR-X3600 gets there with ease. It is clear proper testing was involved even though the "bones" of this AVR may have come from the rest of the corporate parts bin. While I like to see a simple option in the UI that disables the amps from mains, the kludge that is there with 11 channel mode is workable.

Desktop audio products still have nothing to fear from AVRs when it comes to absolute transparency and superb performance. But the Denon gets you a combination of audio/video system with room EQ which enables scenarios they cannot serve.

Overall, I am pleased to put the Denon AVR-X3600H on my recommended list. It is the best of a bunch by a good margin.

The only thing that may be a concern is the Audyssey Room EQ. My past experience with Audyssey has not been very positive relative to more advances systems (Dirac, Anthem ARC). If I have time, I might test it in this incarnation to see where it lands.

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

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MZKM

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#2
The only thing that may be a concern is the Audyssey Room EQ. My past experience with Audyssey has not been very positive relative to more advances systems (Dirac, Anthem ARC). If I have time, I might test it in this incarnation to see where it lands.
The $20 app allows you to disable MRC (the 3dB dip at 2kHz) and adjust the target curve to your liking (3 band adjustment I believe) as well as a frequency cut-off if you want to leave higher frequencies alone.
 
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peng

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#3
The only thing that may be a concern is the Audyssey Room EQ. My past experience with Audyssey has not been very positive relative to more advances systems (Dirac, Anthem ARC). If I have time, I might test it in this incarnation to see where it lands.
Amir, if you are going to test Audyssey XT32 Sub EQ HT, you need the Editor App ($20 if I remember right for either Android or IOS) to limit the range and to disable the BBC dip at 2 kHz. Also the EQ band limit will only work for the reference curve. If you select the "flat" curve it will do full range regardless. If you only plot the 10-300 Hz range or up to 1,999 Hz range then its okay without using the App I guess.
 

Dj7675

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#5
Finally, something that performs well and is reasonably priced. I really do hope @amirm is able to take the time to take a look at Audyssey XT32 with the use of the App. It is very good with multiple subs, so below 300hz I think it is excellent. With the app, and creating a house curve it also does well in my opinion. In my living room, running a pair of revel m106, I ran correction up to 10k to get a downward tilt in frequency response. Our living room isn’t very well dampened so they were a bit bright sounding. After running in up to 10k, it sounds noticeably better in this room.
 
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#6
This is a very welcome test! Audioholics very much recommend this unit and now with these measurements it is even more secure recommendation.
Would love to hear your opinion on this latest Audyssey XT32. Is it still worse than Dirac?

I hope in the next generation Denon adds some physically dis-connectable amps (to kill their power consumption at idle when using pre-outs) or do something else to lower the power consumption.
 

maty

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#8
Denon AVR-X3600H 9.2CH IMAX Enhanced AV Receiver Offers Best In Class Features
https://www.audioholics.com/av-receiver-reviews/denon-avr-x3600h

[ What We Think


For $1,100 the Denon X3600H comes with 11CH of processing to do a full 7.1.4 speaker system with the addition of a 2CH external amplifier. The only other receiver that offers this capability is the Onkyo TX-ZR830 which is being discontinued as we await announcement of the TX-ZR840 replacement model. The Denon is the only model in this price class that allows you to reassign unused amplifier channels so you can add a 2CH power amp to the front channels and run a full 7.1.4 or 11CH speaker surround system.

Denon has dropped the gauntlet with this model having most of the feature set of it's more expensive brethren, the AVR-X4500H. The AVR-X4500H offers slightly more power (125wpc vs 105wpc), and Auro 3D processing but if those features aren't important to you, then the AVR-X3600H is your ticket. The AVR-X3600H truly offers best in class features at this price point. Impressive. ]
 

peng

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#10
This is a very welcome test! Audioholics very much recommend this unit and now with these measurements it is even more secure recommendation.
Would love to hear your opinion on this latest Audyssey XT32. Is it still worse than Dirac?

I hope in the next generation Denon adds some physically dis-connectable amps (to kill their power consumption at idle when using pre-outs) or do something else to lower the power consumption.
Actually if you use it as prepro only, you can set ECO on and it will get you very close, say half way there.
 

RickSanchez

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#11
Thanks for the review Amir.

For those who have this amp (or pretty much any recent Denon amp) one feature to be aware of is ECO Mode. In theory this feature reduces power consumption + heat at lower listening levels, and when set to "Auto" will drop out as you get to higher listening levels. I have no idea if or how this mode might affect the measurements that Amir found in testing. If you're concerned about a negative impact to SQ just set it to Off.


AVSForum discussion
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/90-r...86-denon-s-eco-mode-what-does-do-exactly.html


User manual

http://manuals.denon.com/AVRX3600H/NA/EN/HJWMSYqdgglnxg.php

denon_avrx3600h.PNG
 

gvl

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#12
Can this be used for bi/tri-amping? I'm thinking sending multi-channel PCM over HDMI might do the trick? @amirm, any chance you can spot check audio performance over HDMI? Dashnboard/jitter ?
 

Dj7675

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This is a very welcome test! Audioholics very much recommend this unit and now with these measurements it is even more secure recommendation.
Would love to hear your opinion on this latest Audyssey XT32. Is it still worse than Dirac?

I hope in the next generation Denon adds some physically dis-connectable amps (to kill their power consumption at idle when using pre-outs) or do something else to lower the power consumption.
The Denon X8500 does this. You can disconnect or reassign any amp.
Edit: I don’t know if it actually turns the amps off to lower consumption or not on the disconnected amps.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #14
Can this be used for bi/tri-amping? I'm thinking sending multi-channel PCM over HDMI might do the trick? @amirm, any chance you can spot check audio performance over HDMI? Dashnboard/jitter ?
Yes I will try.
 

Dogen

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#15
Gratifying to see good performance at a reasonable price! Finally an AVR that might justify an upgrade at some point.
 

peng

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Thanks for the review Amir.

For those who have this amp (or pretty much any recent Denon amp) one feature to be aware of is ECO Mode. In theory this feature reduces power consumption + heat at lower listening levels, and when set to "Auto" will drop out as you get to higher listening levels. I have no idea if or how this mode might affect the measurements that Amir found in testing. If you're concerned about a negative impact to SQ just set it to Off.


AVSForum discussion
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/90-r...86-denon-s-eco-mode-what-does-do-exactly.html


User manual
http://manuals.denon.com/AVRX3600H/NA/EN/HJWMSYqdgglnxg.php

View attachment 59178
Yes, that's why I said if you used it as prepro turn ECO on because the preamp won't affected. If the speaker terminals are used, output will be limited by a lowered rail voltage once the volume is above a certain point. You can find out where that point is by turning the volume up until you hear the relay "click". Again, pre out is not affected at any volume.
 

maty

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#19
Cheap denons are awesome! Got 4300 used couple of years ago for $500, inside and outside looks exactly the same as this thing. Same power, same 11 preouts, 2 subs, I would guess 90% same internals, Xt32 with app, same low res UI.. They are mass producing these, I doubt they design them from the ground up. I would also advise looking into last year's comparable model which is going to be 2/3 the price and (just guessing here) perform comparably.

Did it get hot while measuring? Mine gets hot even when running just stereo preouts and 2 subs, but it never showed any signs of strain in subjective performance.
 

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