Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tech Review: Denon AVR-S530BT

So, recently in the process of moving stuff from an entertainment center into one built into the backside of a closet, the failing sound system that was previously being used failed completely. It was just turning itself off at random, but now it just says "Overload" and turns off. So began the quest to find a cheap replacement that would require as little effort as possible. And that meant me not having to run new speakers or mount anything again or make cable ends.

So the first step of the quest took me to Amazon, where I was spectacularly disappointed by the prices and offerings. I have a limited budget with plenty of unexpected costs and just spent around $100 punching a hole in the wall for the start of this project already. So I decided to go on to Google and Best Buy came up as the top result. Personally, I have been avoiding Best Buy because the majority of the store just seems like a bad joke to me. My in-laws have had their crews install systems for them to be given an unmanageable mess.

You see, I have very simple standards. Get from A to B in as few steps as possible. I don't want to turn on the TV, then a system, then the sound, then select the input. I use HDMI control so that I turn on a device, it turns on the TV, the TV then routes the sound via S/PDIF optical and I didn't have to do much of anything. Now I digress back to the quest.

Upon looking at Best Buy, they had a Denon AVR-S530BT for like $250 with the right inputs and outputs I needed to do as little work as possible. The price and the effort plus a rating above 4 stars was an instant sold! By now you should realize, I didn't read up on any of the features or specs. You see, as long as the sound isn't too much treble or bass when I get it adjusted, I'm fine. Seriously, people that just crank up the bass as high as it goes to "show off" their sound system piss me off. You need to balance the bass and treble.

So fast forward to the system being home and installed. First thing to get out of the way, the auto setup is a piece of trash. It did not work. At all. That being said, the sound system works and it sounds just fine. So, let's fast forward to the features found on it.

First thing I noticed was that it was connected with an HDMI cable as well. Could it be? Could I finally have gotten a sound system that turns itself on and off with the TV and use the TV remote for volume control? In the settings I found HDMI Control, turned it on and we were in business. So the TV turns it on, off, and adjusts the volume.

The next thing to notice was the bluetooth options. That means I can play music from a phone without turning on the TV. That's okay and all, but the more interesting part was that it has a bluetooth remote control. That makes it even more worth it since my phone is generally within arms-reach... unless someone may be calling, then it's in another room where I can't hear it.

Another added benefit to the sound system is the HDMI ports on the back. The TV has long since been out of HDMI ports, but with the extra ports it is now like having even more ports! Some other features I don't really care about them being there are an AM and FM radio.

The main point and conclusion on the device it that it works well and at the price, you really can't beat it. I'd say it's a great value.

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