Denon AVR-2309CI 7.1 A/V Receiver


Remote Controls

The main remote control included with the AVR-2309CI is identical to that of the one included with the AVR-689 I reviewed a few weeks back, so this section may sound familiar to some of you.

The remote 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, there is a large door that swings open to the side, revealing more source selection controls, as well as the surround controls. I found it 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 as well. 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.

One thing I noticed while reviewing the 2309CI is the very useful Video Select button on the remote. Denon receivers have long been able to play the audio from one source while playing the video from another, however, historically there was no button included on the remote control to do this. You had to get up off the couch and do it the old fashioned way – using the front panel controls. Still, the feature was not much more useful with the remote control button in my environment because it does not work with HDMI sources. So much for that. Also included with the 2309CI is a secondary remote control for zone 2 control.

Many home theater enthusiasts use universal remotes or perhaps even more elaborate control systems. Personally, I have a Logitech Harmony 880. For those unfamiliar with the Harmony line, it uses a web based system for selecting the source components to program the remote. This makes it very easy to quickly add a new component and integrate its control into all of your pre-built activities (basically, in the Harmony world, an activity is a macro that will turn on the appropriate components and select the proper inputs with the touch of one button).

I did just that when I started testing the AVR-2309CI, for which Logitech’s website already had the remote codes. It took no more than 20 minutes to get the remote working the way I like with this receiver, and all the functions I needed were easily mapped to the soft buttons.