"Typical DENON set-up issues but WOW! The pain is worth every hour!"4.5 starson by drpreece
Pros: It plays music via the net, the air (analog & digital HD), USB, media servers, iPOD, and XM (with additional hardware) - and YES it really works
Cons: If you own any newer DENON products, you know how minimalist the interface and manuals are - this is definitely NOT a PLUG & PLAY unit. The price is steep as well.
Summary: It should ship with a "BANG HEAD HERE" sticker for you to place on the hard surface of your choosing. Setting up the WiFi on a secure network takes a great deal of patience - especially if you have a 32 character key (which cannot contain a space as one of the characters). For those who use MAC filtering on your wireless access point, SURPRISE! - the MAC address is nowhere to be found printed on the outside of the unit or in any documentation - you need to get into the network setup menu to see it - before you are actually ready to set up the unit. The reward is, once set up, it works. If you want to switch between the wired and wireless connection, you need to plug in (or unplug) the Ethernet, get into the network setup menu, go to the details, scroll to connection, and hit enter - typical DENON intuitiveness at work.
The build quality is very good to excellent as one would expect for the price and the brand. It is HEAVY - 21 pounds, and runs a bit warm. The remote is functional and typical DENON - no numbers on the thing.
The documentation is better than most DENON manuals I have needed to look at in the past - notice I said look at - not understand. You need to be patient and read through the entire manual BEFORE you try to set this unit up. The good thing is you should be able to read it in less than 10 minutes.
The sound quality seems to vary greatly depending on the input signal. Be advised - there are NO TONE OR EQUALIZER SETTINGS TO PLAY WITH. The Audyssey Dynamic Equalization controls it all. The best sound I got was from an Internet Radio feed (from Europe) and WOW did it sound great! I could have sworn there were speakers in the back of the room. Other sources range from "WOW" to "HOW did that sound so bad?" Based on the fact the unit was able to WOW me with some feeds tells me it has the capability as long as the content has the dynamic range.
Once connected to the Internet, the firmware can be updated via a menu selection and there is one out there to be had. It takes almost 20 minutes to download and execute - the only noticeable changes were in the menu behavior although I am certain there was more in the update than that.
The unit exposes itself on your network via UPnP and if you click on its icon, a web page launches on port 8080. It has only the words "PRESENTATION PAGE" on it. It would be a godsend for the WiFi configuration if DENON would create a Web interface to configure and even control the S-52 (something similar "but better" than the 4306 interface would be great). Perhaps there is already something there that is not documented and I just haven't found the proper port.
All-in-all - DENON has built a unit that is ahead of the competition in features and sound quality. The price is a touch too steep for this to become a mainstream consumer product, but the S-52 definitely sets the functionality and quality bars higher than they have ever been before. It won't be long before the same functionality is available in a lower quality package from numerous vendors.