Denon DHT-S217

2 months ago 43

Denon’s slim, attractive, and affordable soundbar offers a coagulated betterment implicit basal TV sound, and has fantabulous dialog clarity. But portion it lists Dolby Atmos arsenic a feature, immoderate immersive effect with Atmos soundtracks is constricted astatine best.


  • +

    Solid dialog quality

  • +

    Satisfying bass and loudness from slim design

  • +

    Some surround, height, spatial delivery

  • +

    HDMI passthrough


  • -

    Unremarkable show with music

  • -

    Spatial effects are precise limited

  • -

    Bass a spot boomy and little good integrated astatine higher volumes

  • -

    Confusing LED power feedback

Denon DHT-S217: One-minute review

Denon’s DHT-S217 is an affordable soundbar with a compact, ultra-slim form-factor. It's a one-box design, truthful it doesn’t travel with rear speakers oregon an included subwoofer, but the included subwoofer output allows the summation of a abstracted sub aboriginal for improved heavy bass.

The DHT-S217 is simply a elemental 2.1-channel ’bar, with near and close speakers astatine each extremity and a “subwoofer” array consisting of 2 bass drivers for the little frequencies. There is nary dedicated center-channel talker and – contempt carrying the Dolby Atmos statement – nary up-firing ones to render tallness and spatial effects successful Atmos soundtracks.

Despite these restrictions, the Denon produces a solidly close equilibrium with music, beardown dialog intelligibility, and a consciousness of  “scale” with movie soundtracks that, portion modest, is vastly amended than what you’ll get from that bulk of TVs' on-board audio. HDMI eARC connectivity and Dolby Vision pass-through, positive a utile dialogue-enhancer feature, marque it a thoroughly up-to-date option. 

At conscionable nether 1 metre wide, the Denon is an casual lucifer with smaller TVs, and its show is competitory with different 2.1-channel ’bars successful its terms class, though spending an other $100 volition bargain much heavy bass, measurement level, and spatial performance, from Denon arsenic good arsenic its competitors.

Denon DHT-S217 review: Price and merchandise date

  • Released successful April 2022
  • $249 / £249/ AU$370

Pricing for the Denon’s introduction level soundbar is competitory with outhr integrated 2.1-channel models, though the Denon’s Dolby Atmos enactment is notable astatine this terms level – you don't find that successful astir competitors. It's akin for its HDMI passthrough port: not each connection it.

For the aforesaid price, you tin find 2.1 soundbars from brands similar Samsung, Klipsch, Polk Audio, and JBL that travel with a abstracted subwoofer. And spending a spot much for Sonos’ entry-level Ray volition get you Wi-Fi streaming for audio, on with  the quality to nexus the soundbar with a wireless multi-room audio system.

Denon DHT-S217 soundbar nether  a TV

(Image credit: Denon)

Denon DHT-S217 review: features

  • 2.1-channel Dolby Atmos-compatible sound
  • HDMI eARC with 4K and Dolby Vision HDR pass-through
  • 3-level Dialog Enhancer control

Denon’s ultra-slim DHT-S217 is simply a basal 2.1-channel plan that combines front-firing pairs of 1-inch tweeter and 3.5-inch “racetrack” woofers sited astatine the utmost ends of the meter-wide ‘bar with a brace of down-firing 3-inch (round) “subwoofer” drivers. 

Denon specifies Dolby Atmos compatibility, though determination are nary up-firing “height” speakers, nor a dedicated center-channel speaker. Available dependable modes see Movies, Music, and a dynamic range-compressing Night, portion a three-level Dialog Enhancement diagnostic accentuates voices successful the dependable mix. 

The main input is an HDMI eARC port, which funnels dependable from a likewise equipped astute TV and supports PCM arsenic good arsenic Dolby audio streams, including Dolby Atmos. A 2nd HDMI input accepts signals from an outboard root specified arsenic a crippled console oregon Blu-ray disc subordinate and supports pass-through of 4K video signals with Dolby Vision HDR. There’s besides an optical integer larboard and analog mini-jack input on with a azygous RCA-jack subwoofer output to link a powered subwoofer (not included). 

Bluetooth wireless audio streaming is built-in, but since there’s nary Wi-Fi compatibility, AirPlay and Chromecast are not connected the menu.

The Movie, Night, and Music dependable modes positive a Pure enactment that routes dependable done wholly unprocessed are selectable via the supplied tiny distant control, arsenic are Volume and Bass up/down fastener pairs and nonstop input-select keys for each carnal input positive Bluetooth wireless.

Like astir soundbars, the DHT-S217 includes a remote-learning diagnostic that lets it “map” its remote’s commands to the keys of different controller – typically, your TV’s. Control-over-HDMI is besides enabled, which volition execute the aforesaid intent with astir modern TVs without the “learning” process – astir radical volition usage this, since it means you'll person power of the soundbar from your TV's distant the infinitesimal it's plugged in.

  • Features score: 4/5

Denon DHT-S217 soundbar nether  a TV

(Image credit: Denon)

Denon DHT-S217 review: dependable quality

  • Good dialog clarity 
  • Sound hardens astatine louder volumes
  • Minimal Atmos tallness effect

I emotion soundbars due to the fact that they connection a substantial, user-friendly upgrade from the dismal dependable prime of astir TVs for those who cannot oregon volition not accommodate a multi-speaker situation layout. (For example, immoderate years backmost I equipped my dada with a humble soundbar and helium was mightily pleased, whereas the likelihood of him accepting a multi-speaker strategy was astir the aforesaid arsenic him getting a look tattoo.)

I besides hatred them precisely due to the fact that they are not discrete multispeaker systems and, contempt the progressively clever and effectual integer awesome processing utilized successful the best soundbars, they cannot afloat vie with such.

Denon’s DHT-S217 is simply a lawsuit successful point. To hole myself for soundbar reviews, I ever walk a fewer hours watching casual TV utilizing my 65-inch Sony OLED set’s on-board audio, which, portion amended than most, is inactive underwhelming. 

Plugging successful the DHT-S217 pursuing this workout was an uplifting experience: bass, volume, natural-sounding voices! The Denon filled retired astatine slightest an other octave of sound, giving dialog its afloat heft and assemblage and providing astatine slightest a coagulated sketch of bass with euphony and the underpinnings of specified soundtrack effects arsenic explosions and roaring engines. Overall, Denon’s ‘bar added possibly 20dB of cleanable measurement level, playing large capable to capable my 300-plus-cubic-foot workplace with listenable sound.

But – and with soundbars determination are ever “buts” – though the Denon’s dependable was wide and intelligible, antheral voices took connected a precise mild “honky” cast. More important was the disconnect betwixt the bar’s bass and its reproduction of mid-range and treble frequencies.

One illustration of the latter: the low-frequency elements of sounds similar street-noise oregon shot crippled assemblage ambience came crossed arsenic a discrete, muffled rumbling. This could beryllium mitigated by turning the Bass power (which offers 8 steps altogether) beneath the halfway point, however, and the contented was overmuch little evident with the maestro measurement acceptable beneath the Denon’s 60-step wide range.

The DHT-S217’s 3 dependable modes – Movie, Night, and Music – are distinct. (A fourth, Pure, routes unprocessed audio nonstop from the source.) “Night” cuts bass, accentuates upper-midrange, and compresses dynamic scope by emphasizing brushed sounds and limiting large ones. It’s perfect for “the babe is sleeping” TV viewing sessions, but greatly reduces the interaction of movie soundtracks, and noticeably colors voices and music. “Music” appeared to support basal stereo presentation, with code shaping to heighten bass and, to a lesser extent, mid-treble dependable for a much impactful euphony presentation.

Denon DHT-S217 LED indicator lights

(Image credit: Future)

Overall, I recovered casual euphony listening with the Denon to beryllium enjoyable. Its dependable was afloat and reasonably balanced, with capable bass hold to render astir euphony genres with satisfactory depth.

Streaming Bonnie Raitt’s latest release, Just Like That (via ChromeCast to my Sony TV’s HDMI output), I heard a mostly earthy rendition of her acquainted voice, and determination was capable bass (though inactive a spot boomy and disconnected) to easy travel the philharmonic thread adjacent done the little notes. When I compared the Denon to a brace of powered speakers immoderate 8 times its humble cost, the opposition was obvious, with the acold much costly speakers sounding deeper, fuller, and much unfastened successful the midrange, and besides with a sparkle that the Denon lone hinted astatine – but not embarrassingly so.

The Movie listening mode proved precise similar, but with a spot much bass accent and a small boost to the dependable scope to heighten dialogue. On a related note, the remote’s Low/Medium/High Dialog Enhancer power tin truly propulsion voices to the fore, particularly astatine the High setting.

As for situation and spatial effects, I heard disappointingly small of either. Relative to the Music mode, Movie made the sounds a small wider and a shadiness taller, but these effects were acold from melodramatic and thing similar the “bubble” of ambience the best Dolby Atmos soundbars tin achieve.

With either movies and TV oregon euphony the DHT-S217 could play large capable successful my comparatively sizeable abstraction to fulfill astir tastes. Even so, implicit the apical fewer notches of its measurement scope the dependable hardened somewhat with challenging worldly similar massed voices oregon dense soft music, portion the bass became noticeably “tubbier” astatine the aforesaid extreme.

  • Sound prime score: 3.5/5

Denon DHT-S217 review: Design

  • Compact form-factor
  • Included distant control
  • Front-panel LEDs

The DHT-S217 is finished successful the accustomed achromatic plastic, but with a somewhat nubbly achromatic cloth grille covering its guardant fractional that lends it a considerably higher-end look and feel. Four propulsion buttons are acceptable into the apical panel’s halfway for power, input-select, Bluetooth select, and measurement up/down functions, portion Denon’s palm-sized distant power adds direct-input entree and enactment of the ’bar’s dependable modes.

Two keyhole slots connected the rear aboveground facilitate on-wall mounting erstwhile utilized with the included mounting pads. Foot-pads connected the bar’s bottommost assistance it a half-inch oregon truthful and supply clearance for some the down-firing “subwoofers” and the input and powerfulness connections (also located connected the bottommost arsenic is accustomed with super-slim soundbars).

An array of 5 LEDs pass powerfulness status, input, audio format, and dependable modes via a operation of fig and colors. There are astatine slightest 18 imaginable combinations here, truthful you’re going to person to support the (downloadable) owner’s manual adjacent if you program to power modes often.

  • Design score: 4/5

Denon DHT-S217 input jacks

(Image credit: Future)

Denon DHT-S217 review: Usability and setup

  • HDMI eARC eases setup
  • Wireless Bluetooth audio connection 
  • LED show offers constricted feedback

Setting up the DHT-S217 is simply a substance of connecting sources and power. I utilized the HDMI ARC output from my TV, which seamlessly directed audio, including Dolby Atmos soundtracks, to the soundbar without issue. (This is arsenic bully a spot arsenic immoderate to enactment that, similar galore soundbars, adjacent substantially pricier ones, the DHT-S217 does not decode DTS soundtracks.) Making a Bluetooth transportation from my iPhone was arsenic smooth, and the audio prime was fine.

Operation utilizing the supplied distant power was straightforward. However, the deficiency of chiseled differences betwixt the Music and Movie modes, and the DHT-S217’s alternatively occult five-LED show did not marque keeping way of settings peculiarly easy, though the LEDs bash supply a reasonably coarse denotation of Volume and Bass settings. Like astir soundbars, Denon’s includes a remote-learning regular truthful that you tin usage different handset – usually your TV’s – to bid it if needed.

  • Usability and setup score: 4/5

Denon DHT-S217 distant    power  connected  soundbar

(Image credit: Future)

Denon DHT-S217 review: Value

  • Good worth for an Atmos soundbar
  • Same-price contention comes with subwoofer
  • Can get Wi-Fi audio for somewhat much money

With an MSRP of $249 / £249 / $AU370, the DHT-S217 is simply a coagulated value, competing good connected some show and features with different 2.1-channel ‘bars. The Denon’s precise bully philharmonic equilibrium and good intelligibility assistance to compensate for its deficiency of an included subwoofer, which respective competitors see astatine akin prices. (It does person a sub output, truthful you tin adhd your own.) 

The DHT-S217 besides claims Dolby Atmos compatibility, which is antithetic astatine this terms point, though its Atmos spatial transportation proved humble astatine best. Also, moving up to the $350-$400 scope opens a scope of 3.1-channel soundbar options, including models with companion subwoofers, streaming-audio via Wi-Fi, and more.

If this is your budget, and you privation to marque definite you're getting arsenic overmuch from streaming Dolby Atmos movies online arsenic possible, the Denon DHT-S217 is hard to beat. But if you tin agelong to a higher budget, you'll get much from your sound.

  • Value score: 4/5

Should I bargain the Denon DHT-S217 ?

Denon DHT-S217 AttributesNotesRating
FeaturesDolby Atmos, HDMI passthrough, Bluetooth… a bully paper for the money.4/5
Sound qualityGood dialog clarity and wide dependable balance. Not overmuch Atmos spatial effect.3.5/5
DesignCompact plan with basal front-panel feedback.4/5
Usability and setupEasy setup via HDMI eARC connection.4/5
ValueLow terms for a Dolby Atmos soundbar with bully dependable balance.4/5

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Daniel Kumin has written astir video, audio, and euphony technologies for much than 3 decades, for galore large magazines and web destinations, and consults successful the AV and different industries. He was primitively trained arsenic a composer, successful lawsuit anyone wants to committee a drawstring quartet.

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