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Denon AVR-X3700H AVR Review

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K Home Theater AV Receiver (AVR). It is kindly loaned to me by a local member and costs US $1,199.

Visually, if you have seen one AVR, you have seen the look of the AVR-X3700H:

Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K AV Receiver Dolby Atmos Audio Video Review.jpg


The input selector is plastic and while rotating it feels fine, the plastic feel is a bit jarring because you expect it to be metal. AVRs though are universally used with remote controls so this is just a minor nit.

The back panel has the typical connectors including the single new "8K" capable HDMI Input:

Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K AV Receiver Dolby Atmos Back Panel Inputs HDMI Connectors Audi...jpg


The 3700H is lighter than its higher end siblings which I personally appreciated as I lugged it around.

In use, the unit was quite robust, never shutting down no matter how much I pushed its amplification in my standard tests. Other AVRs can be very sensitive, constantly shutting down when pushed, often requiring a power cycle. Not here.

The 3700H does run warm and I will show the thermal imaging of it later.

There is a lot of anticipation for this review as I gave its last year mode, the AVR-X3600H my best rating of any AVR tested. Alas, I reviewed that late in its design cycle so availability is very poor. Hope is that this replacement unit doesn't regress in measured performance while adding features. So let's get into that.

Note: Denon engineering was kind enough to review these measurements and confirm that they match their expectations.

AVR DAC Performance
As usual, when we have pre-amplifier output functionality on an AVR, we feed the unit digital 1 kHz perfect sine wave and see what it outputs in analog domain (amplifiers shut off):

Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K AV Receiver Dolby Atmos HDMI Input Audio Measurements.png


Ah, that is a sign of relief. SINAD which is the sum of noise and distortion is in the same ballpark of AVR-X3600H:

Best AVR DAC.png


One to two dB difference is to be expected so no cause for concern. I also tested Coax input (not shown) and it had the same performance.

My standardized tests use 2 volts output but since you can't turn off the amplifiers beyond 2 or all channels, let's see what the performance is like for other output levels before the amplifiers clip and drag down the performance of the DAC subsystem:
Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K AV Receiver Dolby Atmos Coax Input THD+N vs Level Audio Measur...png


As you see, peak performance with the amplifiers off is around 1.1 volts with SINAD of 101 dB which is excellent for an AVR. With the amps on, you are OK up to 1.4 volt output before it nose dives. So when selecting an external amplifier for channels beyond fronts, make sure it can output its maximum power at or below 1.4 volts (usually specified as "sensitivity").

Signal to noise ratio is about the same as 3600H as well:
Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K AV Receiver Dolby Atmos HDMI Input Dynamic Range Audio Measure...png


32-tone test signal which simulates "music" shows more intermodulation distortion than the 3600H:
Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K AV Receiver Dolby Atmos Coax Input Multitone Audio Measurements.png


Here is the 3600H for reference:



The 3700H though evens the match by producing near perfect linearity (accuracy) score:

Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K AV Receiver Dolby Atmos HDMI Input Linearity Audio Measurements.png


Back to intermodulation distortion, here is how it varies with level:

Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K AV Receiver Dolby Atmos HDMI Input IMD Audio Measurements.png


Jitter performance is the same as 3600H in both good and bad ways:

Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K AV Receiver Dolby Atmos Jitter Audio Measurements.png


Coax/Toslink inputs generate a ton of jitter and spurious sidebands (tones). Levels are very low though so more of a visual distraction than what is audible. HDMI achieves a lower noise floor which indicates the other inputs suffer from random/broadband jitter. However, the HDMI jitter profile is different (blue) showing that better care could be put in there to isolate the DAC from what is around it.

The filter performance is decent:
Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K AV Receiver Dolby Atmos HDMI Input Filter Audio Measurements.png


The attenuation here is better than what we get in the higher end AVR-X6700H which is an interesting "reversal of fortunes:" (label on graph is wrong -- should say AVR-X6700H)



Poor attenuation usually makes our broadband distortion+noise versus frequency worse. So good thing the filtering is better in 3700H:

Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K AV Receiver Dolby Atmos HDMI Input THD+N vs Frequency Audio Me...png


HEOS Streaming Performance
Here is a quick test which shows streaming performance to be similar to HDMI/Coax inputs:

Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K AV Receiver Dolby Atmos HEOS Input Audio Measurements.png


AVR Amplifier Measurements
I have been testing Denon AVR amplifiers using CD input which I have found to not be digitized allowing us to see the true performance the amplifier rather than any processing blocks. Question has been raised as to what happens when you turn on signal processing such as bass management. Here is the answer:

Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K AV Receiver Dolby Atmos CD Input Frequency Response Pure Direc...png


The answer is naturally, the AVR will digitize such analog signals the moment you do that. As it should. Fortunately the Pure Direct button overrides that as show in red graph. Digitization is at high sample rate of 96 kHz which is nice. Note that level changes a bit so be careful if you are doing AB tests.

For the rest of these tests I will be using CD input in pure-direct with speakers set to large.

Here is our usual dashboard with 1 kHz tone again:

Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K AV Receiver Dolby Atmos CD Input Audio Measurements.png


Denon once again shows that its amplifiers are above average even though many channels are stuffed in a "mass market" product:

Best Stereo Amplifier Review 2020.png


And within all AVRs tested:

Best AVR Amplifier Review 2020.png


I wish the dynamic range was 6 dB better to clear CD at 16 bits (which the 3600H achieved):
Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K AV Receiver Dolby Atmos CD Input SNR Audio Measurements.png


Crosstalk is a bit disappointing but Ok from audibility point of view:

Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K AV Receiver Dolby Atmos CD Input Audio Crosstalk Measurements.png


Power output versus distortion and noise which is one of the most important metrics into 4 ohm shows respectable results:

Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K AV Receiver Dolby Atmos CD Input Power into 4 ohm Audio Measur...png


Allowing distortion to grown to 1%, we get even more power, continuous or peak:

Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K AV Receiver Dolby Atmos CD Input Peak and Max Power into 4 ohm...png


That's good bit of headroom which is nice to have in any amplifier since peaks in music can be momentary.

Switching to 8 ohm load we get to compare our measurements against the company's spec: (label is a typo: should say 3700H)

Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K AV Receiver Dolby Atmos CD Input Power into 8 ohm Audio Measur...png


Testing frequency sensitivity with full power sweep we get:

Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K AV Receiver Dolby Atmos CD Input Power vs Frequencey vs THD+N ...png


This is a bit less tidy than 3600H but still far better than many other amps, specially the switching/Class D ones.

Note that as is typical, power output drops at 20 Hz (orange) which is where you need it most.

AVR Power Scaling with Channels
There is a shared power supply in all of these AVRs so as you turn on more channels, power you get from each channel drops:

Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K AV Receiver Dolby Atmos Power Per Channel Measurements.png


AVR Heat & Thermal Analysis
Denon & Marantz AVRs tend to run warm especially if used without the ECO mode. The 3700H doesn't get as warm as its larger brothers which is good:

Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2 channel 8K AV Receiver Dolby Atmos Heat Thermal Measurements.png


Can't figure out why the hot channels are in the middle even though the speaker terminals are all the way to the right. So perhaps that is how they are wired.

Conclusions
What a sigh of relief that the Denon AVR-X3700H performns on par with the later year mode, 3600H. The other "2020 year" Denon AVRs we have tested have had worse performance, leaving the 3600H as the best performing AVR until now. So buy the 3700H with peace of mind knowing that it performs quite well (for an AVR). Of course be mindful of what other features the units above it have which you may want, top of which is more power.

I am happy to add Denon AVR-X3700H to my recommended list.

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

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#3
So now the question is X3700H or X4700H for me. Debating if I need the extra features or not. Leaning towards saving the difference and putting that towards a better subwoofer.
 
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#4
Great review Amir! And just in time as I departed my older receiver and I am in the process of adding a new one.
Finally a 2020 model that measure better for a fair price.
Now I can add it on my short list in combo with a stereo power amp for the front LR (too bad that all the channels are not pre-amp assignable independent; the LCR powered by a separate 3 channels power would be great); the second option for the same money is the Nad T778 as I am not sold for the 8K feature yet.
 

Vasr

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#5
So, if the ASR review of the X3600H led to higher prices for it as some claimed, this should crash the price for the X3600H. ;)

Seems like this is a much better value than x4700H since you get all of the latest front-end and pre-outs for external amps for the future if necessary (the differences in build quality not withstanding).

Denon has probably made AC Infinity profitable single-handedly.

It would also be the cheapest decent pre/pro you can get that makes things like Outlaw 976 irrelevant.
 
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#6
So, if the ASR review of the X3600H led to higher prices for it as some claimed, this should crash the price for the X3600H. ;)

Seems like this is a much better value than x4700H since you get all of the latest front-end and pre-outs for external amps for the future if necessary (the differences in build quality not withstanding).

Denon has probably made AC Infinity profitable single-handedly.
I think higher prices are mainly due to supply and demand.
 

dstrinden

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#8
Hi Amir,

Thanks so much for the review. It's a sigh of relief that sound quality has not degraded badly with the addition of 8k in the 2020 model.

Can you confirm whether the X3700H exhibits the same down mixing bug as the X4700H?
 

Matias

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#9
Could you test some cheaper AV receivers? Like some in the $200 to $500 range? eg AVR-X550BT or AVR-X1600H. Dont really have the budget for 1k...
Agreed, specially Marantz NR1711, NR1510 and the other "slim" AVRs in the NR series. I am curious about those too.
 

Baff

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#11
Minor issue (typo or wrong graph):
"The attenuation here is better than what we get in the higher end AVR-X6700H which is an interesting "reversal of fortunes:""
You then show a graph for the X4700.
 
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#12
Thank you Amir for this extensive awaited review.
If I read properly the curves the 3700h has a better SINAD than the 3600h when the internal amplifiers are engaged.
Then it is a "must" buy.
 
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#13
Could you test some cheaper AV receivers? Like some in the $200 to $500 range? eg AVR-X550BT or AVR-X1600H. Dont really have the budget for 1k...
This would be interesting to see how these budget ones compare. But I’m pretty sure people want to see how the flagship compares which is already in the pipeline.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #15
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #18
Minor issue (typo or wrong graph):
"The attenuation here is better than what we get in the higher end AVR-X6700H which is an interesting "reversal of fortunes:""
You then show a graph for the X4700.
Yeh, that was a typo on that graph. I added a note to it as I had done with the 6700H review.
 
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amirm

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Thread Starter #19
does this have the same bug as the 4700h?
If you mean downmixing, I have not tested it here but I am confident it has the same issue.
 

bobbooo

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#20
Brilliant review once again, thanks. Would it be possible to test the output impedance of the headphone out? There's been some debate in another thread about how high this value is on Denon AVRs.
 

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