We have tested the Denon AVR-X540BT AV receiver!

The Denon brand is not unknown to us, we have already tested several types of AV receivers. Denon products are available at a relatively higher price, but we have now tried a model in an affordable price range. Right at the beginning of our article, it should be mentioned that the AVR-X540BT has all the basic equipment needed to operate 5.2 – but nothing else. Only Bluetooth is available for multimedia / streaming, no Ethernet connection or WLAN module. DTS-HD and Dolby True HD decoders are available, but DTS: X and Dolby Atmos decoders are missing.

Let’s take a look!

Denon-AVR-X540BT-AV-receiver

The appearance of the front of the device is characterized by the well-known Denon design, which has been slightly refined but not significantly changed. Made of good quality plastic. The rotary selector on the source selector is slightly rigid, while the volume control is well designed. There is a large 6.25 mm headphone output on the front panel and a connection for the speaker calibration system setting microphone and a USB port on the front.

The single-line front display displays information in dot-matrix resolution, and the front USB port allows some basic multimedia playback. Many audio file formats such as MP3, WMA, FLAC and MPEG-4 / AAC can be played through this connection. The AVR-X540BT is also compatible with the HEOS link. The brightness of the display can be adjusted or switched off.

AVR-X540BT-receiver-back panel

Denon has provided the AV receiver with plenty of HDMI connections. It has five outputs and three inputs – “Blu-ray”, “CBL / SAT” and “Game” – compatible with 4K Ultra HD, HDCP 2.2, HDR, BT.2020, Wideo Color Gamut, 4: 4: 4 Pure Color subsamples and can also convert 21: 9 video.

In addition, there are 2 optical inputs, 2 FBAS cinch / audio cinch inputs on the receiver, and at least 2 preamplifier outputs on the back panel for connecting active subwoofers.

For easy connection, the AVR-X540BT is equipped with color-coded speaker connectors, and the speaker cables are labeled accordingly. Unfortunately, the connection part of the speaker cable is not very good quality, the cables are cheap and have a poor design.

The front of the AVR-X540BT has four shortcut buttons to switch between the most commonly used input sources. These quick selection buttons are also found on the remote control.

Other features of the Denon AVR-X540BT

The output power (8 ohms, 20 Hz to 20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2-channel operation) is 70 watts. 6 ohms, 1 kHz, 0.7% THD, 90 watts of power for 2-channel operation.

Of course, you can’t expect the best quality parts from such a cheap AV receiver.

The AVR-X540BT is equipped with a measuring microphone that allows you to automatically adjust basic system parameters to suit the speaker system you are using and the room. The calibration process is built into the installation wizard, and the very simple resolution of the fonts also shows that the 540 has a completely different OSD than the more expensive Denon AVR-X models.

The installation wizard is clear and easy to understand, guiding the user through the installation process quickly and easily and making basic system settings. The included remote control gives little cause for complaint visually or practically. It is relatively high quality and at the same time logically arranged. Alternatively, the AVR-X540BT can be controlled with the Denon Bluetooth Remote Control application. To pair, press the Bluetooth button on the remote control for three seconds, then follow the instructions on the smartphone touch screen and 540 display. Functions that work with the Bluetooth Remote App: Power on / off, volume control, mute and source selection. The app is available for iOS and Android devices. Thanks to the HDR (High Dynamic Range) and ARC (Audio Return Channel) functions, the perfect home theater experience is also achieved.

Eco Mode

Eco mode adjusts the power of the amplifier to the volume, thus reducing power consumption.

Easy to set up

The Denon Setup Assistant as well as the Quick Start Guide allow you to easily set up the amplifier.

HEOS Link compatibility

HEOS-app-denon

Thanks to the optional HEOS Link, the AVR-X540BT can play almost any number of online music sources, such as Internet Radios, and well-known music streaming providers, e.g. Spotify, Deezer or TIDAL. In addition, once connected to HEOS Link, the free HEOS application allows you to control certain functions of the amplifier.

On the USB port, the X540BT can handle FAT16 or FAT32 file system mass storage devices up to 2 GB and 2 TB, respectively. Although 2 TB would be enough for a lot of songs, but unfortunately only max. The amplifier will find 999 files, max. Organized into 99 folders.

Although the AVR-X540BT cannot be connected to our computer network, using the Bluetooth feature, you can play virtually any amount of music from a Synology NAS with a Bluetooth adapter. (if the NAS and Denon are in close proximity to each other)

The Compressed Audio Restorer function ensures lossless playback of compressed audio formats (WMA, ACC, MP3). The device is also equipped with a sleep timer. The frequency transmission is 20 Hz to 20 kHz. It measures 434 × 151 × 319 mm and weighs 7.5 kg. It also has an AM / FM radio antenna.

Sound

The Denon amplifier was tested with Monitor Audio Silver 200 speakers in a fairly small room. The acoustics of the audio and hi-fi room created from the guest room were not yet adequate, as the echo caused serious problems due to the close walls. During the acoustic measurement, we determined where, what type of acoustic panels are needed for the ideal sound. Broadband and leather membrane panels as well as 60 x 60 cm diffusers should be placed on the walls, and diffuser front acoustic panels on the ceiling. It is advisable to cover the tile floor with an acoustic carpet. Although almost all amplifiers have an automatic room calibration program, such software alone is not enough to make rooms sound optimal. Room correction programs are only useful if the room acoustics have already been treated with the acoustic panels developed for it, because then only minimal adjustments are required, which can be done with the amplifier’s room calibration function.

We first listened to Mozart’s Requiem and then watched the 2017 American War movie The Wall to take the test in music and cinema as well.

There’s not much to be said for the sound of the av receiver, although it lacks sound quality compared to the more expensive Denon models, especially in the bass ranges, but it’s a compromise in this price range.

Verdict

This device is available at a very affordable price and provides fair performance. Although it is not capable of decoding DTS: X and Dolby Atmos, it is well equipped with HDMI connectors. It does not offer a connection to the network Internet, but you can play and stream music via Bluetooth. It’s easy to set up. If you are satisfied with the features offered by the Denon AVR-X540BT, you can get a great device at an affordable price.

Written by Róbert Polgár