Big. You can't help saying it, because the range-topping Denon amp is a monster. It has no less than 10 channels of amplification, each rated at 170w, and with the correct wiring and a few stabs of the remote, you can drive systems in two separate rooms: either two 5.1 set-ups, or one 7.1 rig and a stereo system.

With 20-channel preouts on this new 'A' version, add some extra power amps and you could run a four-room system encompassing two 7.1-channel surround set-ups and two stereo. Well, someone might want to...

Adding the ‘p’Other gains over the original model include video upscaling now increased to 1080p, five HDMI inputs and a single output, plus DVI in/out, and an Ethernet port for connection to a home network and the internet, not to mention computer control of the amp.

Chips with that?

Here comes the science bit: the AVC-1XVA relies on no less than four floating-point 32-bit SHARC chipsets, three of which handle main surround processing duties while the fourth is for multiroom use.

There’s not much this Denon can’t do, and it also sounds astonishingly potent: dynamic shifts are delivered with weight and intensity only the very best can match. The midrange and treble also have amazing authority.

A space Audyssey

The Audyssey MultEQ XT automatic set-up and calibration works its magic, too, setting up the Denon to weave a richly textured surround soundfield. Even music is rewarding, showing the amp to be both agile and open sounding.

A little over-the-top? Don’t be silly – the Denon offers way more than most users will ever need. But on the other hand, it means you’re unlikely to be hankering for something another product offers. AV completists sign up here.

Stuff says... 

Denon AVC-A1XVA review

Hideously expensive but fearsomely capable. You want the best? Look no further