Denon's AVR-X2500H receiver is a 7.2 channel receiver that is on the entry-level side of Denon's X-series. Priced at $799 (but selling for as low as $549 in recent months), this is an everyman's AV receiver that comes packed with many of the features that you get on the bigger receivers, with a few key exceptions. If you are going to do object-based surround like Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, you are limited to a 5.1.2 system (5.1 + two height channels), but depending on the depth of your room, that may be exactly the right number of speakers.
The receiver comes with a whopping eight HDMI inputs (and two outputs, all with HDCP 2.2 compliance), meaning you'd have to work pretty hard to tap out its digital AV connectivity. Perhaps buy every streamer (AppleTV, Roku, Amazon Fire) on the market, a UHD Blu-ray player, a PlayStation, an Xbox, a satellite receiver, and maybe a cable box too so you can watch USC and Dodgers games if you live near me. It takes some effort to get to eight HDMI sources, but this Denon is up to the challenge.
Streaming music into your Denon AVR-X2500H is a simple process, even though, as a creature of habit, I often use Roku for my streaming needs. The X2500H is more than capable of picking up that task, though, with support for popular apps like Tidal, Spotify, and my own personal favorite, Pandora, which--despite its lower resolution--features excellent AI for playlist building. The AVR-X2500H also features HEOS connectivity, so you can use it as part of a wireless multiroom distributed audio system that also includes some nice standalone speakers, as well as other Denon and Marantz AVRs. No punching holes in walls. No sanding. No painting. No calls to the custom installer.
While I am not personally a fan of voice-controlled AV components, they are all the rage in the marketplace today, and the AVR-X2500H is so-equipped. You can yammer commands at your receiver and it will listen via Alexa or Google Voice Assistant, as well as Siri via the receiver's AirPlay 2 connectivity.
HomeTheaterReview.com Senior Editor, Dennis Burger, is normally our go-to reviewer for top performing AV receivers, and he just completed his evaluation of the Denon AVR-X4500H, which is the sweet spot for what most AV enthusiasts want and need from a receiver. He's also got Marantz's SR8012 reference receiver in for a test drive, with a review pending in the coming weeks.
Both of the aforementioned AV receivers are much bigger and more feature-laden products, with prices starting at triple that of the X2500H, but what struck me personally in my working with the more approachable X2500H was how cool the setup process was.
Granted, my setup in this case was pretty simple: one HDMI out went to a 55-inch Sony 4K set for video. HDMI inputs connected a cable box and an Oppo Digital UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray player. I configured a 2.1 speaker setup with "large" front Polk floorstanding speakers and a Polk subwoofer, which I bumped up +1dB for a little extra bottom end in the room. Even if my setup hand been more complicated, though, I feel pretty confident in saying that anyone could have handled the configuration, thanks to the on-screen setup wizard that Denon has developed in recent years. It's downright simple to use.
Click over to Page Two for Performance, Measurements, The Downside, Comparison & Competition, and Conclusion...
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