When I was a teen, I thought good sound meant you could never have enough bass. A friend worked at Radio Shack and boasted he could sell any cheap-ass sound system to novice customers by cranking the bass and turning the treble to 0, then shouting, "feel that bass!" To ... Read full review
When I was a teen, I thought good sound meant you could never have enough bass. A friend worked at Radio Shack and boasted he could sell any cheap-ass sound system to novice customers by cranking the bass and turning the treble to 0, then shouting, "feel that bass!" To our amusement, he made a ton of sales with that pitch, though it obliterated all vocals, guitars, and other instruments, but put out an incredible, floor pounding bass. Another friend tried to impress me with his incredible car stereo, using the same technique. Back then, people seemed to think that a great sound system was one that put out unlimited, wall shaking bass, to the detriment of anything else. The result is that it's damn hard to get any sound system today that doesn't put out a ton of bass, so seeking this is a moot point. What you do need to look for is something that can emphasize all frequencies, to provide a full rich sound. I chose a Denon because I assume it would deliver this.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. The Denon S-32's sound settings seem designed for those who think that the more pouding bass you have, the better the sound quality. Incredibly, I listened to 2 minutes of one of my favourite songs on internet radio before recognized it, because the vocals, mids and highs were so drowned out. When the chorus kicked in, I suddently realized what it was. I paid $700 CAD for a basic radio system, with no CD, that has no EQ settings, and no EQ presets? Wha?? Even my cheap MP3 player has this, as does my TV, my home stereo tuner, and my cheap armband workout radio (granted, some only have a few presets, not full EQ capability, but at least I have SOME choice).
This is one size fits all sound, which definitely does not fit all. I want rich bass, sharp treble, and audible mids. I want a full sound that highlights every instrument, including vocals. And I want to be able to adjust things to my taste. Is that so much to ask? Apparently, Otherwise, this is a great unit with great features. It's my fault -- I didn't even check if you could adjust the sound quality as I assumed this was a given. This is the first sound device I've had that has no way whatsoever to adjust at least the basic bass and treble balance. Instead, the manual says that it adjusts automatically to optimize the sound -- but for who? For what style of music?
To be clear, I listen to everything, but I'm a fan of metal, industrial, funk, jazz and punk music. I'm no stranger to bass heavy, guitar heavy, in-your-face music. And to me, the sound is muddy muddy muddy.
Otherwise, this has great features, is a great looking unit, and it's easy to set up. The Denon website is quite disappointing is that is has few support features and I was hoping they would offer a basic music server software like many of their competitors do, but that's like. I have one of their home stereo amps and it's great, but also has a few issues (the mute function causes a huge green ring around the volume knob to blink constantly, driving you nuts in time... ). I think they are going downhill.
A pure sound system with no audio setting options? Get serious, Denon. I mean.. get serious about providing your customers with a great sound experience.
Avoid this, until a firmware updare resolves the issue.