Review: Denon DNP-2000NE

Everything you could dream of

The Denon DNP-2000NE is one of the most versatile of the top music streamers and by far the easiest to use.

Published 2023-07-31 - 8:00 am
Denon DNP-2000NE
Lasse Svendsen

With the DNP-2000NE, Denon has a solution for anyone who wants better sound with streaming than you get from a Bluesound Node or a Wiim Pro.

The Denon streamer also features a DA converter, HDMI input, headphone output and volume control. This means it can also be used as a pre-amplifier. Which makes it just as useful as many of the more expensive music streamers we’ve tested.

However, the price is only half of what the Auralic Altair G1.1 costs, which makes it interesting for even more people.

The DNP-2000NE only really lacks Qobuz support in the app, otherwise everything else is in place here. It supports both Spotify and Tidal and has AirPlay 2 and HEOS multi-room, which together with all the inputs on the back makes the Denon streamer pretty much complete. You can control it with the remote control or the HEOS app, which is available for both iOS and Android.

The streamer also supports Roon, for those who integrate their streaming services into a Roon client.

Photo: Lasse Svendsen

It has no analogue inputs, but four digital ones for external audio sources. One is a USB input, which supports up to 32-bit/384 kHz PCM stream from your laptop, while the other three are a coaxial and two optical inputs. That’s not all, it also has an HMDI with ARC, which means that the TV can be connected to the DAC in the streamer, allowing you to get TV sound over the system. This is, of course, far better than any soundbar.

On the back, there are also two digital outputs, one coaxial and one optical if you want to connect it to a separate DAC.

Built-in 32-bit DAC. Photo: Lasse Svendsen

Two-way Bluetooth

You can stream via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or via the Ethernet connector on the back. And it supports playback over DLNA or from a USB stick that plugs into the USB input on the front. There’s also a very nice headphone output with volume control.

It also has two-way Bluetooth, so you can stream music from the player to a pair of Bluetooth headphones.

The Denon streamer also has two outputs on the back, one of which is variable so you can control the volume like a preamplifier.

Ultra AL32 DAC

Pure streamer with DAC. Photo: Lasse Svendsen

The built-in DAC is built with four DAC circuits from ESS (ES9018K2M) configured in what Denon calls Double-Differential mode, and the DAC also uses Denon’s Ultra AL32 Processing Plus conversion process with upsampling, which we know from their CD players.

The DNP-2000NE weighs almost 10 kg and seems very solidly built: it’s available in black, silver or grey. The latter matches Denon’s anniversary products, including the integrated PMA-A110 amplifier and the DCD-A110 CD player.

The DNP-2000NE is also available in grey to match Denon’s anniversary products. Photo: Lasse Svendsen

Sound quality

As always with HEOS products, setup is among the quickest and simplest. Within minutes, you’re connected and ready for music. Once you’re connected, the rest is a breeze.

The monochrome display only shows three lines, but it’s sharp and readable from the couch, so you can see what you’re doing if you use the remote control. The album view is found in the app and provides an overview of playlists, radio stations and everything else.

The rest, as mentioned, is as simple as it gets.

Photo: Lasse Svendsen

As the first notes poured out of the speakers, it quickly became clear that the Denon streamer has some special qualities. The sound is at times reminiscent of the sound of Denon’s flagship products, presenting an open and detailed soundstage with a flattering glow and warmth.

There’s a bit more energy in the music with a Naim ND5 XS 2, especially in the bass, while the previously mentioned Auralic delivers a sharper and more focused sound. I’m talking about audible, but certainly not huge differences. It’s also worth remembering that both the Naim and Auralic streamers cost twice as much as the Denon streamer.

This makes the Denon streamer a very good buy. It has an almost analogue approach to the presentation of music. The notes flow effortlessly and it sounds pleasant but never boring. Piano sounds like Keith Jarrett’s Köln Concerto or Radka Toneff’s Fairytales have a convincing depth of sound without sharpness in the upper notes. The lowest octave may be reproduced with more authority by the Naim streamer, but the Denon streamer is not scared of bass at all.

Photo: Lasse Svendsen

Dire Straits’ album Love Over Gold has a sonorous drum track that is rendered with excellent dynamic contrast here, and there’s a power behind the drumbeats that can be felt in the room. Vocals are a true discipline of paradise for the Denon streamer, rendering Billie Eilish’s sensitivity and Mark Knopfler’s almost hoarse voice with the same impeccably crystal-clear focus.

The Denon streamer plays far more openly and dynamically and with a much bigger and deeper soundstage than a Wiim Pro does when both are connected analogue to the amplifier. From the digital outputs, the differences are smaller, but still in the DNP-2000NE’s favour. The soundstage is more vivid, with sharper focus and better dynamic contrast, and is more similar to what you’d experience with a Naim or Auralic streamer.

Conclusion

The selection of streamers in the same price range as the DNP-2000NE is not very large. With a few exceptions, most streamers are either much cheaper or much more expensive. This gives the Denon streamer an extra advantage, as it’s difficult to compare them side by side. The DNP-2000NE compares favourably with the best we’ve tested, because the difference is smaller than you might think. With multiple digital inputs, all the benefits of HEOS, a good headphone output and top-notch sound quality, the Denon streamer is an obvious choice in this price range.

Karakter
Denon DNP-2000NE
Premium

We think

Appealing analogue sound from an open soundstage with excellent dynamic contrast. Streams everything from all but Qobuz. Very good inbuilt DAC. Headphone output and volume control. HEOS app control. The very best streamers sound more focused and dynamic.

Do not use the phono stage!

Sensational bargain

Dig out your CD collection!

So simple - so masterly!

The compact system that has it all

Time for a change!

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