Denon Electronics has introduced a combination AM/FM tuner and five-disc carousel player – the DN-H800. This unit is part of a line of products aimed at the contractor for installation in professional applications. The DN-A850 four-zone mixer/amp has been favorably reviewed previously in these pages (PAR, 5/99, p. 38), and I have personally installed quite a few DN-T620 CD/cassette players. The DN-T620s impressed me with their robust architecture and excellent sonics, so I was anxious to try out this new component.
Product PointsApplications: Commercial sound system signal source
Key Features: Radio Data System (RDS); CD random play; balanced XLR outputs; pitch control
Contact: Denon Electronics at 973-396-0810.
The DN-H800 is a 19″ rackmountable device, three rack-spaces high, 15.5″ deep and weighing in at about 17 lb. Its industrial-looking faceplate includes a centrally located carousel CD tray, FL tube display, disc select/program mode buttons, AM/FM station preset/mode select buttons, headphone jack with level control, tuner level control, output selector and a power switch.
The tuner section incorporates Radio Data System (RDS), which displays the station name and program type when a station broadcasting this information is tuned in. This is helpful for programming in theme restaurants, where a focused category of music is desired. The operator can automatically search for channels with the preferred program-type, using the shift/pty button. The user can also name stored presets with up to eight characters.
The easiest way to set stations is the auto mode, which automatically stores the strongest 30 stations. This is a flexible and useful system for station selection in any commercial environment.
The CD section has attractive features for purveying continuous program in public settings; full random play (all discs), program random play (random selection of predetermined tracks), and disc sequential random play (random selection of tracks from each disc in order). A repeat play function makes the unit handy for music on-hold – if a company has CDs burned with advertisements over music and wants continual announcements. A play mode switch will stop a track after one play, if needed. The plus or minus pitch control buttons are sometimes needed by aerobics instructors and DJs looking to alter beat times. The CD section is well-thought-out with the contractor in mind.
The rear panel has two sets of balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA outputs. The output select switch lets the user jockey back and forth between CD and tuner at the outputs marked tuner/selected.
When the switch is set at separate mode, the tuner is always present at the output. In selected mode, when the tuner is operated, it is present at the output until the CD is operated. This also enables the operator to monitor the CD or tuner with headphones and display diagnostics via the headphone/display select button. The other output sets, in balanced XLR and RCA jack configuration, are for CD only. These separate sets of outputs are usable for feeding two zones with differing program content.
I took the DN-H800 to a nearby restaurant/club to see how the staff reacted to its many features. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t fit in the Middle Atlantic econo rack installed there. As I mentioned, the unit measures 15.5″ deep and it required a deeper rack than was available at the location.
Undaunted, I put the player through its paces at my studio. I was pleased with the solid performance of the transport mechanism, the quick transition between selected CDs and positive feel of the control interface. It is possible to open the carousel drawer and change CDs while one CD still plays. The tuner section was easy to program and the RDS system worked well.
I achieved great reception from stations that were hard to lock in on with my personal studio tuner. The headphone monitor section puts out enough power to cue selections over background din. Its audio quality is exceptional; this I have come to expect from Denon products.
The shared display took some getting used to – only one source can be viewed at a time. The size of the player needs consideration – a deep rack with some facility for rear support may be advisable. The DN-H800’s few shortcomings, however, are far outweighed by the convenience of having two popular signal sources in one component and the useful features combined with superior sonics make the DN-H800 an attractive alternative to separates.