As a custom electronics professional I strive to always recommend products that are state-of-the-art and packed with latest features, but ones that have also proven reliability and will stand the test of time. That being said, there has always been a fine line between being the manufacturer’s guinea pig and paying too much for a technology that has yet to be perfected and using products that will be obsolete as soon as there installed…
Take receivers, for instance. A few years back, it was question of whether or not to spend the extra money and get a unit with HDMI or wait until they had perfected. Here of late, it’s been whether or not to spend the extra cash on a receiver that is network enabled.
For the past couple of years, I’ve been recommending to my clients that they spend the extra money and step up to better, more feature-packed receiver models, from the DENON line in particular. There were several reasons for this, a few being the internet radio, IP control, the ability to update the firmware, and for future feature sets that my clients would find desirable.
DENON and DM holdings (DENON’s parent company) proved me right earlier this year, announcing that they would partnering with Apple and offering a Air Play UPGRADE on their latest line of network enabled receivers.
Air Play, an Apple technology, allows the user to stream music from their iTunes library wirelessly or via a wired network from any AirPlay capable device to any other AirPlay capable devices, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, DENON network enabled receivers.
When I first learned that DENON was a featured partner with Apple, I have to admit I was giddy with excitement! The possibilities were endless. I imagined lounging by the pool, streaming music to the patio speakers while surfing the net on an iPad… my clients throwing a party and playing DJ while socializing with their totally impressed guests…
Needless to say, I could not resist including DENON’s AVR-991 in one of my projects earlier this month with the promise to my client that when the upgrade was available I would come back out I would come back out and make it all work. After completing installation of the project, I enabled DENON’s upgrade notification feature that would notify us when the upgrade was available.
Sure enough, when the upgrade was released, my client received a friendly reminder that the upgrade was available on his display. I’m not sure if he called me immediately, but judging from his excitement, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t long after. The very next day I was at my client’s home, prepared for a long frustrating session of trial and error to get it up running. I’m happy to say that wasn’t the case.
After going to DENON’s website and clicking on the “learn more” tab, about the AirPlay, I was given concise and easy instructions on how to upgrade the receiver. I won’t bore you with all details, but the whole process excluding the updating of the client’s iPod Touch took less than an hour.
After paying the $49.99 through DENON’s website and entering some required info about the client’s receiver, I downloaded DENON’s free remote app through Apple App store. I updated the DENON and voila!! it was done.
Operation was simple and staight forward with two major points of interest, the Denon app and iTunes. From the DENON app, I was able to control the receiver as if I had the remote in my hand. It allowed me to turn on and off the different zones, select sources, volume levels, even surround modes. The iTunes portion was even more staightforward. After selecting the desired playlist , I was given the option at the bottom of the iPod Touch’s display, to either have the selected music play on the iPod Touch or the AVR-991 which I had given a user friendly name during my initial set-up of the Denon.
This was not really necessary in this application, but is very useful when more than one AVR is being used in a project. After selecting I was able to control the volume of the DENON without having to navigate out of iTunes, via a very responsive slide volume bar located at the bottom of the iPod Touch’s display. Absolutely amazing!