Denon AVR-689 7.1 A/V Receiver



Remote Control and Miscellaneous Features

The remote control included with the AVR-689 has a unique, but somewhat puzzling design.  It has the main features on the front, including source selection, volume, and tuning controls.  It also has the ability to control source components with the standard transport controls.  In addition, you can manipulate the Audyssey settings and speaker levels.  But where are the surround mode options?  Flipping the remote over, I found a large door that swings open to the side, revealing more source selection controls, as well as the surround controls.  I find it very odd that Denon would choose to put these controls on the back of the remote hidden behind a door, while the speaker level and Audyssey settings remain easily accessible on the front.  You are much more likely to make adjustments to the surround parameters during normal every day use than to mess with your calibration settings.  Still, there are things to like about the remote.  The volume buttons are large, and the Volume Up is convex, while the Volume Down button is concave, making it easy to distinguish one from the other in the dark.  Similarly, the other buttons are different enough that it would be rather easy to learn your way around the remote by touch.  The overall size and weight are comfortable, but I just wasn’t thrilled with having to open a door on the bottom of the remote to access some of the basic functions. (When you click on the small photo to see the larger version, depending on the dimensions of your computer monitor, there may be a small square in the bottom right corner that you then have to click to see it full size.)

The Denon AVR-689 does include some other useful features which some people may find interesting.  There is Sirius Satellite Radio compatibility with the purchase of an external tuner/antenna.  Also available for separate purchase is an iPod dock which allows you to control and listen to your iPod through the AVR-689.  Along those lines, the receiver includes a Restorer function that is intended to improve the audio quality of your compressed MP3 collection.  The benefits of this are debatable, but it’s there if you want to try.  I did test it out with my iPhone connected through a standard 1/8” to RCA style adapter, but really didn’t sense much difference between the various restorer modes of which there are three.  The differences in those modes are based on the weaknesses inherent to the compressed audio files being played.