Denon AVR-689 7.1 A/V Receiver




Of course, as with any receiver review, the real important question is “how does it sound?”  The overall performance of the AVR-689 was quite good.  I pulled out the Pixar classic A Bug’s Life from my DVD collection as it has some wonderful surround channel activity.  This receiver did not disappoint.  The beautiful score played with strength and clarity from the opening credits.  The scenes in the Bug “City” put you right in the action with the crowds buzzing in your ears from behind (pun intended).  The climactic scene with the rain storm sounded fantastic as well.

For two channel music, the AVR-689 was also an admirable performer.  I played several of my favorite albums, both in MP3 format and a couple of CDs, and was fairly impressed.  I was able to drive my speakers as loud as I would ever want to listen to them without any signs the receiver was reaching its limits.  My only complaint here was that without anything playing there is definitely some audible noise.  I use a balanced power conditioner, and do not have this problem with my everyday receiver.  It wasn’t distracting though, as I really only heard it if the volume was set very high with nothing playing, or I was really close to a speaker.  It isn’t anything significant enough on which to base your decision whether this receiver is right for you, but I must note it in my review.  To summarize, my overall opinion of the audio quality of this unit is very good, provided that you test out all your options and choose what sounds best for you.  As I mentioned previously, I really played around with all the available Audyssey modes, surround modes, and the combination thereof, testing with my favorite music and film passages.  Once I made my choices I was quite happy with the results.