Denon AVR-987 7.1 Channels Receiver Reviews
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Denon AVR-987 7.1 Channels Receiver

1 ratings (1 Epinions review)
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Versatile High Quality Receiver

Jan 4, 2008
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Sound:
  • Ease of Use:
  • Durability:

Pros:Sound quality, auto set-up, user modes

Cons:A couple unexplained quirks, menu navigation

The Bottom Line: A great receiver for an audiophile, but perhaps not for the rest of the population. I would recommend to a knowledgeable friend, but not to my mother!


This is the first "high end" receiver I've owned. I bought it at Circuit City for $950 in July '07. I purchased the receiver a couple of weeks after buying a new set of Axiom speakers. I bought the Denon primarily based on advice from Axiom. The speakers weren't cheap, and I wanted to make sure they sounded as good as possible. I powered the Axiom speakers on my old 100 watt per channel, entry level JVC 5.1 receiver for the first few days. After hooking them up to the Denon receiver I noticed a subtle difference. Not being an audio expert, it's hard to describe. In a nutshell, think about how someone sounds on the telephone vs. in person. That's an exaggeration of the sound difference, of course, but it's as close as I can describe the difference in what I heard. I've read terms such as "cleaner sound", and perhaps that's the difference I'm hearing.

The back panel of this receiver has plenty of inputs and outputs. For video, you have the option of HDMI, component, and RCA inputs. All of these inputs are upconverted and sent (for me) via HDMI to your TV. Audio inputs are RCA, digital co-ax, digital RCA and HDMI (HDMI carries both video and audio signal.) A very nice feature is that you can run all of your video and sound to the receiver and set up modes. All of the video is routed to a single input on the TV and the video/sound source is switched on the receiver by using the mode buttons on the remote. For example, hook up your satellite TV audio and video feeds to the appropriately labeled inputs on the back of the receiver. Press the TV button on the Denon remote and the receiver switches to those inputs automatically. There are 3 pre-labeled modes, and 3 user selectable modes (set up any video/audio source to switch to for these modes). Compared to my old JVC, this is a very nice feature. It eliminates the need to change the input on the TV and receiver separately. It's a one button change to DVD from TV, etc.

The receiver also comes with a microphone that you place in seating positions once you have your speakers in place and connected. You can then go through an automatic set up. It will determine the number of speakers in the room as well as the distance from each speaker to your listening area(s) and will adjust the delays and volumes accordingly for best sound. Unfortunately the auto set-up reduced the volume of our subwoofer by 21 db during this process. I suppose that means we had the subwoofer volume too high for their taste! It wasn't a big deal; once we discovered the sofa wasn't trembling during action scenes we re-adjusted the volume.

The 987 has a TON of features that I can't possibly go into, namely because I probably haven't used a third of them. To make navigation easier, the receiver will display a navigation menu on your TV and most everything can be accessed/changed/tweaked from your remote. That's very nice since you don't have to squat next to the TV and use the front panel buttons to scroll through the options on the receiver (although if you want to you can).

There are a few quirks that I haven't figured out yet. One of them is the fact that the aforementioned subwoofer volume sometimes reverts back to the -21db reference volume seemingly on its own. Another is that sometimes the sound suddenly stops playing when switching between sources. I believe it has something to do with analog vs. digital sources. This phenomenon is hard to reproduce, so I'm still not quite sure what is causing it. I have to go into the set up and specify a digital signal again, and I hear the sound again. I figure a lot of these things would make more sense to me if I ever read the manual, but the manual is a terribly dry read and can be very technical. Navigating the menus and finding what you're looking for can also be a challenge since there are MANY menus and lots of ambiguously named settings. Furthermore, it seems that there are buttons on the remote that access certain settings that don't appear as options on the main navigation menu (maybe they are buried somewhere in a sub-menu instead). Denon could definitely stand to improve in that department. This receiver isn't exactly user friendly, but it still seems to be on par to others in it's price range. I think the only way I can truly understand the manual & settings is to research audio nomenclature more thoroughly, and I would already consider myself more informed than the average bear.

In summary, I have no doubt that this Denon is a higher quality piece of equipment than a lot of what's out there. I heard the difference with my own relatively untrained ears. BUT, managing it is no walk in the park. For every day use, the receiver is great. It's not every day that one goes digging through all the hundreds of settings this receiver has. At some point (maybe when your sound cuts off for seemingly no reason), you'll have to dig in though. If you aren't technically inclined (I'm an engineer), you may want to investigate other options very thoroughly before deciding on this receiver.


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 950


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