Denon 540bt Review and Alternatives

Suppose, you’ve decided to buy a new AV receiver, but you don’t have much money. The question now is what kind of amplifier to buy. The Denon AVR-S540BT, which has 5.2 channels, is a great choice for those on a tighter budget.

The Denon AVR-S540BT is an entry level 5.2 channel receiver that performs well. It is easy to use and has 5 HDMI inputs. It delivers room filling sound in medium sized rooms and supports Wi-Fi and voice assistants. When choosing the right receiver, make sure to choose the ‘right’ speakers and place them as per their manual. Use the mobile app or remote control for choosing options.

Let’s get to know about this receiver.

Denon AVR-S40BT: Full review

This Denon AVR 540BT review and its comparison with its alternatives will help you choose the best one for you.

List of specs:

  • Supports Dolby Vision, HDR, HLG, HDR 10
  • Works with HEOS Link
  • 4k passthrough

Product uniqueness

If you are a budget audiophile but don’t want to get into complicated setups nor do you need one, Denon S540BT is best for you.

Review:

Denon S540BT is a 2018 receiver model. It ensures optimum performance due to discreate Class AB amplifier and high performance by supporting 4k @60p. The build quality is good and the panel has several buttons for different options. Denon AVR S540BT dimensions is 17.1 x 12.6 x 6”. It is compact in size so won’t take much space. It has a display that shows the input mode, decoder type, volume indicator and there is also an information display.

You won’t get latest features like Dolby Atmos, DTS:X in this receiver, only Dolby TrueHD is supported. Setup is easier with Setup Assistant and on-screen commands. The GUI works just fine. 4k with HDCP 2.2 ensures you get the best image possible when connected to a 4k TV. For best 4k image use a high-speed 18Gbps HDMI cable.

Up to 5 HDMI devices like Blu-ray Disc players, game consoles and HD video camcorders can be connected. It has 5 binding clips instead of binding posts like Yamaha RX-V395 . there are 2 optical in, 1 digital in, 2 sub out, etc. This is another 5.1 receiver that you purchase as the same price range as the Denon.

For control, there are Denon AVR S540BT app and remote. You can use the Denon 500 Series Remote app in order to control the receiver from iPhone, iPad, Android. The included remote control that has several buttons including Sound mode, system buttons, quick select, input source, etc. Tweak bass and treble settings in order to tune sound as per your taste.

Choose one from the Sound modes: Virtual Surround, Multichannel stereo, Stereo Playback, Direct Mode. In terms of sound, it can deliver clear and detailed audio through decent speakers. While it won’t sound like a high end receiver with Dolby Atmos, it sounds much better compared to its cost. Dialogues are loud and clear as well. Based on the power and sound, it is best for small to mid-sized rooms.

Basic options like Night mode, Audio Delay, EQ are available. You can adjust the delay within 0-200ms. Room EQ is available but this is not the same as Audyssey. While performing Auto room EQ, place the microphone on the main seating position, then complete the process. You can purchase Denon HEOS Link  and use it for multiroom audio. For Denon AVR S540BT speaker setup, not only does the manual says how to connect , it also tells you details about speaker placement.

In case the TV supports HDMI ARC, turn on HDMI control. Then use HDMI cable to connect between the HDMI In ARC of the TV and the receiver port. If the TV supports HDMI but not ARC, then connect as shown in the image below.

In case the TV doesn’t have HDMI ports, then make connection as shown below:

Denon AVR-S540BT alternatives: Compare and contrast

The AVR-S540BT isn’t the only good deal in the market, you will find several alternatives to it. Comparing Denon AVR-S540BT vs alternatives will give you a broad mind so that you can decide for yourself wisely.

Table: Comparison between Denon AVR-S540BT and its alternatives

Features
Denon S650H
Sony STRDH590
Onkyo TX-SR393
Power output
75W
90W
80W
HDMI ports
5 In, 1 out
4 In, 1 out
4 In, 1 out
Other features
Bluetooth, Airplay, voice assistants, Wi-Fi
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
Features
Denon S650H
Power output
75W
HDMI ports
5 In, 1 out
Other features
Bluetooth, Airplay, voice assistants, Wi-Fi
Features
Sony STRDH590
Power output
90W
HDMI ports
4 In, 1 out
Other features
Bluetooth
Features
Onkyo TX-SR393
Power output
80W
HDMI ports
4 In, 1 out
Other features
Bluetooth

Denon S650H AV Receiver

Comparing Denon AVRS540BT vs S650H receivers, the 540 model is a year older, costs less, but the 650H is packed with features. The 650H will work with voice assistants, Wi-Fi and Airplay. It has slightly higher power for stereo. Another difference is, for room calibration you get Audyssey MultiEQ. The list of differences includes phono in port, support for HEOS multiroom wireless system, eARC and HDCP 2.3.

For multizone, this means you don’t have to purchase HEOS Link. Denon S650H supports ALLM which means it is partially game-ready. By partially we mean the inclusion of VRR, QFT would have been much better. it also has auto LipSync and allows 3D video passthrough. Although it is costlier than the S540BT, you can now comprehend why that is so. With several latest features the higher cost is worth it.

It is also the cheapest AV receiver from Denon in their 2019 line up. When paired with speakers and audio sources, it can deliver crystal clear sound. spacious and airy sound makes contents enjoyable. You can use the remote, HEOS music app, Denon AVR Remote App or voices to control it. Tweak or select options to adjust or improvise the sound.

In case you think you will need Wi-Fi, voice assistants or any of the additional features that are missing in the 540BT 2018 model, then the S650H is best for you. It is best for medium sized rooms. if you want something for large rooms, then check the Denon S950H

Sony STRDH590

Comparing Sony STR-DH590 vs Denon S540BT, the Sony 590 model has higher power but has 4 HDMI inputs. Having less HDMI port isn’t a bad thing as long as they meet your requirements. Several important features are similar in both of them like they both have Bluetooth, supports 4k and are of similar price range. Sony is slightly lighter and small in size. It works with DCAC for improving the sound at the listening position with respect to the speaker’s position.

The use of DSP and different Digital Audio formats makes the sound rich and detailed.  Sony uses S-Force Pro Front Surround tries to create a virtual sound space with only the front speakers. This receiver has wide range of options. There are different sound fields dedicated for different usages. For instance, the HD Digital Cinema Sound is its home theater technology that improves audio and let you enjoy content from Blu-ray or DVD. There are different sound fields for movies and music as well.

Comparing Denon AVR-S540BT vs Sony STR-DH590, you will see dissimilarities like the DH590 has a Pure Direct mode, better Bluetooth technology (4.2 vs 3.0+EDR of Denon 540) but it doesn’t support ALLM. Overall connections are higher in number in Denon than Sony. Denon has USB input which is missing in Sony.

Onkyo TX-SR393

Comparing Onkyo RX-SR393 vs Denon AVR-S540BT, there are several advanced features in Onkyo. It supports Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer, Dolby Atmos, DTS Virtual:X, DTS: X. While both receivers support 4k passthrough, Onkyo SR393 model can upscale lower resolution to 4k. Connections are similar but the numbers of ports aren’t the same in each of them.

Unlike Denon 540BT, the Onkyo model doesn’t have Remote control app. It also lacks USB port. Denon AVR-S540BT vs Onkyo TX-SR393 comparison shows the Onkyo model has a Bluetooth version of 4.2 and a higher S/N ratio of 109db (vs 98dB of Denon). It uses AccuEQ as room calibration improve the sound by minimizing any distortion due to room layout.

You can use the tone control to tweak bass, treble and vocals. In terms of performance, it shines while playing movies or music. You can also play game and choose one from the Gaming modes: RPG, Action, Rock, and Sports. In terms of performance and features, it is one of the best affordable alternatives to the Denon S540BT. This is true if you think at this price point, you want more features like Dolby Atmos and others.

It has several DSP modes that make movies more realistic and the effects become prominent. There are different audio enhancement options like CinemaFilter, Music Optimizer, Late Night, Vocal Mode. It has a Zone B preamp output through which you can connect an amplifier and then speakers for a different room.

Parting words

The Denon AVR-S540BT is a simple receiver for day to day use, but if you prefer advanced features, you can check Sony, Onkyo or Marantz for similar entry level receivers. The Sony STRDH590 offers more power and Dolby Atmos, while the Onkyo SR393 offers advanced features and the Denon 650H with phono in port is a great option for turntables.

The Denon S540BT and its alternatives are some of the best affordable receivers for everyday use, but you can increase your budget if you want advanced features. If you want to connect a turntable, make sure to settle for a 5.2 home theater system and not a large system like 7.4.2. The S540BT doesn’t directly support HEOS multiroom, but it can create multiroom with Denon HEOS Link.

FAQ

This FAQ is here to solve some of your problems regarding the issue. let’s find out more!

Do I need a receiver for home theater system?

Well, if you prefer powered speakers, you won’t need a receiver. However, you are serious about your audio, or want to connect a number of devices, then you will need passive speakers along with a receiver.

Is Audyssey a good software?

Audyssey is used by both Denon and Marantz receivers. It is one of the reliable and trustworthy software.