Denon DHT-S416 full review
The Denon DHT-S416 soundbar is an affordable audio set-up, as well as Denon’s first soundbar with Chromecast built-in. It comes with an accompanying subwoofer, three preset EQ options, Dolby audio and can be grouped with other speakers that support Chromecast.
Priced just shy of £300, it won’t deliver the kinds of immersive audio that you’d get on higher-end models. But don’t discount it just yet – because the booming bass and colourful levels make this soundbar a contender for those who don’t want to fork out a whole lot of cash.
Design & Build
The overall look of the Denon DHT-S416 soundbar is quite classic and understated. It comes with a fabric covered front speaker, with the Denon logo front and centre. Both the bar and subwoofer sport sharp edges and a black colour finish.
I tested this soundbar with a 50in TV (not pictured) and it fitted in nicely. If you have anything smaller this device may dwarf your TV, or not even fit in on your unit - measuring 900 x 54 x 83mm. Still, it’s not the biggest soundbar we’ve seen.
The buttons on the top of the soundbar are for the power, source, Bluetooth and adjusting the volume. On the back, you get the ports you need for the power, as well as the connecting slots for your TV (more on this below). All the wires you need are included in the box.
Actions performed by the soundbar are indicated by the number/colours of the lights on it. For example, if you decrease the volume, you’ll see the number of lights decrease. Or if you turn the TV off, the soundbar lights will flash green and then off to indicate that the device is now powered off.
The Denon DHT-S416 also comes with a remote control, which you can use to power the soundbar, change the source, adjust the volume and bass levels and play/pause music. There are also three settings for dialogue enhancement and preset EQ modes for movies, music and night-time playback.
The remote is simple and easy to use, with large and bold text. However, the look and feel is a little cheap, plus brighter colour options on the buttons would be better for those with visual impairments.
Connectivity & Setup
Setting up the Denon DHT-S416 soundbar is really easy. At the back, you have a slot for the power, an HDMI ARC port and an optical cable slot (the method I used to connect to the TV).
Sadly, there are no additional HDMI ports on this soundbar. That means that you won’t be able to run any extra devices like a games console through your audio set-up – you'll need to connect them to the ports on your TV.
This is the first Denon soundbar to support Google Chromecast, meaning you can cast music from your phone from apps such as YouTube, Tidal, Deezer, Spotify and more. You can also use the Google Home app to sync up the speaker with other audio devices around your house.
Unlike the Polk MagniFi 2, it doesn’t feature Google Assistant, so you can’t control it using your voice.
There’s also the option to stream music via Bluetooth. However, the soundbar only supports the basic A2DP codec, which means that there is a noticeable quality drop when playing tracks via Bluetooth compared to devices we've tested with aptX.
Wired gets you the best audio quality. Speaking of which...
The Denon DHT-S416 comes with a 2.1 setup, two-way stereo speakers, an amplifier, Dolby Digital decoding and Dolby Digital Plus, as well as a wireless subwoofer with a ported cabinet.
The audio produced is rather decent considering the price. It’s rich and colourful, and you can hear even the smallest details in tracks and scenes. This speaker is at its best when playing high-action movies, gaming, or listening to bass-heavy music thanks to the thrumming low tones.
Bass in general is probably the strongest area of this soundbar. However, if you like to crank the volume up, it’s best to bring the bass all the way up as well. Sometimes when turning down even just a few notches, you lose that low sound quality.
Mids aren’t too bad either, blending well in music and films. Highs however sound just a little too sharp, with little in the way of controlling it. It means percussion instruments and synthesizers often cut through the sound just a little too much, rather than blending in.
The Denon provides an immersive experience. I watched Godzilla Vs. Kong and found that mechanical noises, crashes and aeroplanes sounded great.
However, this doesn't feature any 3D or virtual surround sound technology like Dolby Atmos found on some rivals. If you want something more immersive like the cinema, then you should consider forking out more for a pricier model.
The preset audio modes work reasonably well. The thumping bass in movie mode suited shows with lots of adventure and stunts, whilst the music mode fitted well for a number of music styles including rock, electronica and jazz.
The night mode was also a lot quieter and softer to avoid disturbing close neighbours. You can also use the Pure preset mode to listen to audio without any effects layered over the top of it.
However, there’s no mode for things such as podcasts, sport or radio. This means you have to toggle about with the settings to find the right levels, which was a little annoying. You only have three options for dialogue enhancement, rather than a broad range that you get for bass.
The jumps between volume levels are quite steep. As someone in a flat, I like to find that sweet spot between having great audio for movies whilst not having my neighbours calling the police on me for a noise complaint. It's hard to find that middle ground with this audio setup.
If you’re in a detached property (or you don’t really care about what your neighbours think), then this may not be an issue. However, I think the soundbar would be just right with a few extra volume levels.
The subwoofer is wireless, but on occasion would mysteriously disconnect from the soundbar. However, a quick unplug at the wall and turning the bar on and off again resolved this issue.
Price & Availability
Considering this bar also features a subwoofer, this is a very decent price for what you get. The closest price equivalent that we’ve reviewed is the Edifier S50DB – but you won’t get that booming bass that you do with the Denon.
For a few hundred pounds more, there's the Denon DHT-S516H, which comes with higher quality audio and more connectivity options (though no Chromecast or Dolby Atmos). There's also the compact Sonos Beam, which comes with Amazon Alexa support. However, the Denon DHT-S416 still undercuts this device.
If you want to see how more rivals compare, then check out our guide to the best soundbars. If you’re upgrading your entire entertainment set-up, you can also take a look at our picks of the best TVs on the market right now.
The Denon DHT-S416 soundbar is one of the most affordable audio solutions to get if you want an accompanying subwoofer, and a wireless one to boot.
It doesn’t produce the kind of 3D immersive audio that more expensive rivals with Dolby Atmos or similar do, but it’s still good quality overall.
High-frequency artefacts are a little too sharp on this soundbar, and the lack of a preset mode for vocal-heavy content such as sports or podcasts is a shame. It’s also not the most compact option out there if you have a smaller TV.
Nonetheless, there’s no denying that this is a solid soundbar if you don't need more bells and whistles.
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