This is a little long, but I urge you to take the time and enjoy the journey. I have owned the Denon AVR-1912 for two months now and these are my reactions to using it on a daily basis: combined with an Energy Take Classic surround-sound system, it produces a full and nuanced spectrum of sound that represents solid value for the quality level. I especially enjoy the ability to play music through the amp from my networked MacBook Pro or my iPhone (although it occasionally cuts off a tune mid-song, particularly when I'm playing classical and the song has a natural orchestral pause, and the Denon sometimes has difficulty recognizing the computer or cell at all).
Recommend this product?
That said, the equally priced competitor that I considered, a Pioneer rated its peer by CNET, dropped by $200 at Amazon three weeks after I bought the Denon, and I strongly considered going through the hassle of a return but didn't. And why not? Because the set-up of this product was mind-bogglingly confusing and I didn't expect the Pioneer's set-up to be any easier, so once was more than enough.
Some of the set-up was as simple as 1-2-3; pinging the surround-sound speakers was straightforward and intuitive, for example. But other aspects of the set-up left me wondering which alternative from the on-screen choices or the pdf user's manual to select. When I followed the guidance of the on-screen choices that Denon highlighted as the recommended setting in several instances, the amplifier was unable to produce sound from my HDTV; I was only able to resolve this through trial and error, because the user's manual is pathetically disorganized and unhelpful.
Here's what you can expect in the 129-page manual, starting with a seemingly simple, 1-page Setup Wizard. Each of six elements on the Wizard page refers you to sub-elements on an ensuing page (or more) that provide further instructions, and when you jump to those pages, they in turn refer you even deeper into the instruction manual. If you take the bait and proceed, you have entered the Instruction Manual Labyrinth to Hell (too bad the Setup Wizard doesn't include a footnote to forewarn that YOU must be a Wizard).
Example 1: "Source Setup" tells you to "Set the connecting terminals for each device to be set, and connect to the terminals." (The obtuseness of that sentence should be ample warning of what you're getting into.) It then says "These settings can be changed in the following menu..." and points you with a fickle-finger illustration to "page 97 - Input Setup" - "Input Assign." When you reach p. 97, you're indeed at "Input Assign," where you'll read about three different types of input connectors "that are assigned to the input sources in default settings." Under setting details, you'll find six bulleted items, among them instructions that send you scurrying to p. 86 to deal with the possibility that "When `HDMI Control' is set to `On,' HDMI input connector cannot be assigned to `TV'." Damn the luck! So you go to p. 86 and you will find another instruction to refer to p. 58. And so on and so on. Stick with it and you'll have read all 129 pages and finished a quart of scotch in short order, after which you'll need a nap to clear your mind before starting over.
Example 2: p. 6 describes "Connecting an HDMI-compatible device." Here you will learn that "This unit supports the following HDMI functions" (I'll only list a few):
"Deep Color (fingered to page 119)" -- as opposed to superficially inadequate color?
"Auto Lip Synch (fingered to pages 86 and 119)" -- apparently offering you the opportunity to entertain yourself with, say, Marley speaking the words of his insipidly sensitive owner, the better to make the movie tolerable?
And my personal favorite: "`x.v.Color', sYCC601 color, Adobe RGB color, Adobe YCC601 color (fingered to pages 119, 120 and 121)" -- which left me in wont of "the color my TV uses."
Bottom line: this product deserves two ratings:
4.5 for its capabilities and quality
-9.9999 for the pain its user manual puts you through.
If you are more than 50 years old, invite your grandchild over to set it up for you by handing him or her the remote and leaving the child alone with the amp for about 30 minutes; you'll thereafter be quite pleased with the product you selected. If you don't have grandchildren, buy another product.
Amount Paid (US$): 475