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Yes, I had a Denon for years, it had very positive reviews and was highly recommended, but always sounded “lifeless”, thin is a good word for it. Went through three different speakers in that time also and it made no difference. Switched to a Luxman last year and could not believe the difference. Wish I had changed it out years ago. As for why, it could be so many reasons, someone else might be able to pinpoint it.
Maybe they're heavily tuned for movies, but even for that, they sound bad. One had to boost the center volume to at least 5 dB to hear the dialogue clearly. Had issues on Netflix too where I had to raise the volume to 60, but then the sound effects got so loud. It also sounded muffled at times. Yamaha does a much better job than Denon for both movie & Music. I think the enhancer feature does work pretty well for any source.
Denon Flat sounding & Lifeless compared to YamahaThat’s my experience too. I worked for Magnolia and got to compare Yammy, Denon, Marantz, and Arcam AVRs back to back in 2-channel with a pair of $9000/pr. B&W 804D3s using my own “audiophile” demo material, and by a good margin I preferred the Aventage (in pure stereo — I didn’t compare HT performance) over all others. It was more transparent, neutral, natural, and offered the clearest picture of a 3D soundstage. In short, it did the best imitation of decent separate stereo components whereas the others fell short of that in one way or another. Comparatively, the Marantz sounded richer but veiled with upper-octave detail, the Denon sounded “processed” and weak, and the Arcam’s imaging was flatter and overall less clear. Frankly, I went into the comparison thinking the Arcam would be the best, and I was very positively surprised and impressed by the level of performance offered up by the Yammy. Add in that Yamaha is the most reliable of the four as well and, to me, it’s a no-brainer top choice until you get up to Anthem at the next price level. (BTW, all models were the top level of their respective lineups as of early 2020). Just my experience FWIW.