The need for affordable theatre-like experience is only complete when you have a large TV or a project setup at home. However, an equally affordable home theatre speaker system is also needed. Denon has been present in this space for a long time. They have offerings that span a wide price range. Their DHT-1312XP home theatre 5.1 speaker setup is a package of five satellites and a subwoofer, including the receiver-amplifier, and is priced at around Rs. 32,000.
Design and build quality
The DHT-1312XP speakers aren’t floorstanders; they’re in comparison much smaller and more compact. The entire setup has five, almost identical looking speakers with the exception of the centre speaker, which is kept horizontally as opposed to vertical for the front and rear satellites. One thing that bothers us about these speakers is that they’re a little too light. Most good quality speakers tend to be heavy but these have a very plastic-like feel to them. They also feel hollow and weigh under a kilogram.
The speaker configuration - five satellites and a woofer
The subwoofer on the other hand, feels better built. It is much larger than any of the satellites, spanning many times their size. There’s a huge port at the front of the woofer and the entire unit stands upright on four small legs that serve as the base of the woofer.
The amplifier is uncomplicated. It is made of metal for the most part. It is heavy, and all the connects are well built and setting up the speakers takes no more than five minutes.
All of the controls of the AVR-1312 receiver are handled through the remote control, and there are numerous features. The volume control and mode selection buttons are neatly positioned at the centre of the remote, making it easily accessible and functional. A separate line of sources are present separately, and there are some quick switch buttons for input sources as well.
Detailed remote control with numerous features
Some of the controls are set aside for the tone of the speakers. There are surround mode that can be directly enabled without having to go through complicated menus. The last row of controls at the bottom are specifically kept aside for iPod controls.
The entire DHT-1312XP setup includes a Denon AVR-1312 receiver-amplifier as well as the DHT-1312XP speaker set. The AVR-1312 receiver-amplifier has a whole bunch of features in it. Firstly, it can power 75W of power out to each of the five satellites that connect to it. There is support for several input and out connectivity options. There are 4 HDMI input ports for different devices and one output port for the primary display. There are RCA connects for audio from various sources as well. FM functionality is present, as are pre-amplified outputs for the subwoofer and rear surround speakers, in case you use such a setup.
At the front of the amplifier, you find a portable 'in' port, which is basically a 3.5 mm jack that can be used to connect PMPs or phones to the receiver. There’s also a composite video input along with two RCA connectors for audio. There’s a large 6.3 mm headphone 'out' jack if you want to listen to music on your headphones. So, the AVR-1312 is truly a versatile device. The front also houses buttons to quickly select between different sources and also control the iPod using a dock.
Plenty of connectivity options
In terms of standards, the AVR-1312 has Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master audio. The 3D bypass feature allows the receiver to pass on the signal to the TV without interfering with it. The subwoofer only has a volume dial at the back and isn’t directly seperately by the remote control. You need go through some menus to be able to specifically control the volume of the subwoofer. You can do the same with the other channels. Delay can also be adjusted using the controls. The settings made on the amplifier can be seen on both the on-screen display. It makes configuring the entire setup much simpler than just looking at the tiny display on the receiver.
The DHT-1312XP are alright to listen to. They’re a big step up from regular desktop speakers, but they don’t really blow your mind like most high-end home theatre speakers would. The satellites don’t seem to have the same range as a more complete, floorstander speaker setup. The sound tone isn’t coloured, but there isn’t much detail either. The subwoofer although massive in size isn’t really as powerful as it appears. The bass response although boomy, has no presence of a deep, punchy sound. Music sounds alright but movies tend to benefit from the slightly boomy bass performance. The entire setup also seems to lack power and that's one of the biggest shortcomings of this home theatre system. The small, lightweight satellites can't move enough sound to make the experience immersive. You want to feel the windows and floor rumbling and the satellites to be so loud, you can't talk. That is not the case with the DHT-1312XP.
A complete home theatre system on a budget
The DHT-1312XP sells at a price of Rs. 32,000 in India. While, we’re not particularly blown away by its performance, we have to say this is quite an affordable setup. The amplifier especially has a lot to offer. It has got the necessary power, so you have the option to upgrade the speakers to more powerful, better ones in the future.
Updated 22 May, 2013, 9:27 pm IST
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