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Denon DRA-297

XM-ready stereo receiver

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  • Denon DRA-297

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  • Denon DRA-297

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Item #: 033DRA297
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Denon DRA-297

by Dave Bar
Denon

The sound solution for the less-is-more movement

On one hand, you want something that sounds much better than an iPod® or Bluetooth® speaker. On the other hand, you want something less complex than a surround sound system. You'll find your sweet spot in a stereo receiver. In addition to being easy to set up and use, many now offer Internet radio and other network music options. Add your music source and two speakers, and you're ready to relax and enjoy your tunes. You might even connect your TV for improved sound with movies and shows.

The DRA-297 delivers your stereo music with fidelity and clarity, thanks to an exclusive Denon design that helps preserve signal purity. It isolates low-level and high-level signals using separate circuit blocks to minimize interference. And you also get advanced listening options that keep you in touch with the world of digital music and entertainment.

XM Satellite Radio compatibility
The DRA-297 lets you tune in traditional AM/FM radio stations and even add exciting XM Satellite Radio programming to your system. Simply add an optional XM tuner kit and an XM subscription to access more than 170 digital channels of music, talk, news, and sports.

iPod® integration
Add the optional Denon ASD-11R to get more enjoyment from your iPod. You can listen to your digital music collection with the outstanding sound quality of the DRA-297 and your best speakers. The dock also features an S-video output that lets you view your iPod's photos and videos on a TV. You can also use the receiver's remote to control your iPod while it's docked.

Better TV sound and flexible connections
Why listen to second-class sound through your television's speakers? Use the DRA-297 and your entertainment system instead to enjoy superior audio quality and provide more engaging TV viewing. The receiver's back panel offers enough inputs to hook up two audio source components, and three audio/video components (VCR, DVD, stereo TV, etc.). Two sets of speaker outputs lets you power an additional pair of speakers in another room. And a subwoofer output makes it easy to pump up the bass by adding a powered subwoofer.

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Highlights:

  • 50 watts x 2 (stereo) into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.08% THD
  • 4-ohm capability allows use with a wide range of speakers
  • Signal Level Divided Construction chassis for maximum signal purity
  • XM Satellite Radio Ready (requires XM subscription and optional XM tuner kit)
  • iPod integration (requires optional Denon ASD-11R dock)
  • 56 AM/FM/XM presets
  • 2 audio and 3 A/V (composite video) inputs
  • no phono input — to connect a turntable you'll need to add a phono preamp
  • front-panel and remote switching for 2 pairs of main speakers
  • Pure Direct mode
  • binding post speaker connectors
  • 1 mono RCA output for powered subwoofer
  • line-level stereo pre-amp outputs
  • headphone jack
  • multibrand remote control
  • 17-1/8"W x 5-7/8"H x 16-7/16"D
  • weight: 19 lbs.
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Features and Specs
General
Stereo RMS Power (watts)
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50
THD in Stereo
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0.08 %
Frequency Bandwidth (stereo)
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20-20k Hz
FM Sensitivity
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11.2 dBf
Signal To Noise Ratio
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98dB
Phono Signal to Noise Ratio
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Not Given
iPod Controls
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---
iPod DAC Bypass
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---
AirPlay Compatible
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No
Internet Ready
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No
Wired or Wireless Network
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No
DLNA Certified
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No
HD Radio Tuner
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No
Satellite Radio Ready
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Optional XM tuner
Multi-Room
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No
Total Number of Zones
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1
Audio Dubbing
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Yes
Multibrand Remote Control
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Yes
Learning Remote
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No
On-Screen Display
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No
Width (inches)
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17-1/8
Height (inches)
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5-7/8
Depth (inches)
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15-15/16
Weight (pounds)
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18.74
Parts Warranty
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2 Years
Labor Warranty
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2 Years
Inputs & Outputs
Headphone Output
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1/4"
USB Connections
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No
Phono Input
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No
Video Inputs
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3
Total Audio Inputs
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2
Digital Audio Inputs
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None
Preamp Outputs
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3
Speaker Output Pairs
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2
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • AM/FM/Stereo receiver
  • RC-1053 Wireless remote control
  • 2 "AA" batteries
  • 1 AM loop antenna
  • 1 FM wire antenna
  • Operating Instructions (English/French)
  • Warranty sheet
  • "Denon Service Network" sheet
  • XM Mini-Tuner brochure

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Audio Features
Video Features
Remote Control
Add-On Devices

Audio Features

Overview: The Denon DRA-297 is a 2-channel stereo amplifier that not only features standard audio/video connections but also comes equipped with XM and iPod capabilities.

High-Quality Power Amplifier: With 50 watts of power per channel (at 8 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.08% THD), the DRA-297 delivers solid, reliable audio performance even when driving both A and B speaker systems at the same time.

Signal Level Divided Construction Chassis Design: The circuit handling low-level signals has been divided into separate blocks to ensure that influences from these signals on each other are held to an absolute minimum. This new chassis design, known as the Signal Level Divided Construction (SLDC), preserves the purity of the signal, allowing it to be reproduced with much greater fidelity and clarity.

A and B Speakers: The receiver is equipped with both A and B speakers. You can play either pair of speakers or both pair of speakers at the same time.

Headphones: When you plug your headphones into the front headphone jack of this receiver, no sound is produced from the other speakers automatically.

Pure Direct: This mode reproduces the sound with extremely high quality. The audio signals do not pass through the tone circuits and the display is turned off so these components cannot affect the audio signal.

Loudness: You can turn the loudness function on when listening to music at low volume. The loudness feature enhances the low and high frequencies at low volumes so you can enjoy your music at any volume level.

Bass/Treble Control: You can adjust the Bass and Treble control independently from -10 dB to +10dB.

Tone Defeat: Turn the Tone Defeat feature "On" if you do not want the Bass and Treble to be adjustable.

Speaker Level Adjustment: You can adjust the sound level for the left and right speaker and the subwoofer individually from -12 dB to +12 dB. This is helpful when one of the speakers is further away from the listening location than the other.

Muting: You can turn the sound completely off temporarily to your speakers by selecting the Mute function.

Audio Connections: The Denon DRA297 is equipped with the following audio inputs and outputs.

  • CD Input: Stereo RCA jacks
  • CD-R/Tape Input/Output: Stereo RCA jacks
  • Preout: Stereo RCA jacks
  • Speakers: Binding post outputs for front A and front B speakers (not 5-way, because a plastic collar prevents their use with spade lugs and they are positioned too far apart to be used with dual banana plugs)
  • Subwoofer Pre-Out: Mono RCA connection for a powered subwoofer
  • Phones (front-panel): Standard headphone jack

Auto Preset Memory: This unit is equipped with a function for automatically searching for FM broadcast stations and storing them in the preset memory.

Preset Memory: You can store up to 56 broadcast stations. The stations are separated into 7 groups; 8 stations per group (A to G).

Simultaneous Recording: The signals of the source selected with the Input Selector are output simultaneously to the CD-R/Tape and VCR REC OUT terminals to make recording through the amplifier simple.

AC Outlets: 3 switched AC outlets, maximum total 120W 1Amp.

Last Function Memory: This unit is equipped with a last function memory, which stores the input and output setting conditions as they were immediately before the power was switched off. 

Back-Up Memory: The unit is also equipped with a back-up memory. This function provides approximately one week of memory storage when the main unit's power switch is off and the power cord is disconnected.

Video Features

Audio/Video Connections: The Denon DRA297 is equipped with the following audio/video inputs and outputs.

  • DVD/VDP Input: Stereo RCA jacks and RCA composite video jack
  • V.Aux Input: Stereo RCA jacks and RCA composite video jack
  • VCR Input/Output: Stereo RCA jacks and RCA composite video jacks
  • Monitor Output: RCA composite video jack

Video Select Function: This function allows you to select a video source, and then select an alternate audio input source.

Dimmer: You can adjust the brightness of the display in three steps. The display can also be turned off.

Remote Control

Remote Control: The supplied remote is a multibrand remote that can be programmed to operate other manufacture's equipment such as CD player, Tape player, VCR, DBS/Cable, DVD or TV.

Punch Through Function: This feature allows the remote to operate the Play, Stop, Pause and Search functions for a CD, DVD, Tape, MD, or VCR when the remote is in the TV or DBS/Cable mode.

Room-to-Room Remote Control with Remote In/Out Terminals: External remote control equipment including IR re-transmitters and IR remote receivers, such as Denon's separately available C-616/617S/617W/618 IR devices, can be connected to the DRA-297's IR remote input and output terminals.

Add-On Devices

XM Satellite Ready: The optional XM Direct 2 Home Tuner (220XHD2H1, sold separately) lets you enjoy XM Satellite Radio through the XM-ready receiver. Simply connect the XM Direct 2 Home Tuner to the XM jack on back of the receiver, place and aim the included antenna for optimum reception, and you are ready to start enjoying commercial-free music, plus live sports, news, talk, and exclusive entertainment.

Note: In addition to the XM Direct 2 Home Tuner and the XM-ready receiver, you will need a subscription to XM Satellite Radio to receive XM programming.

iPod Ready: When using a compatible iPod you must connect the iPod Control Dock (033ASD11RK or 033ASD51N, sold separately) to the Dock Control jack on back of the receiver with a mini-jack cable and assign the iPod to any Audio input on the amplifier. The iPod can be controlled using the buttons on the main unit and the remote control unit. The remote will control the following functions of the iPod in Browse Mode - Play/Stop, Fast Forward/Reverse, Track Search, Repeat (single/all tracks), Shuffle (song/album) You can also view photo and video data stored on a compatible iPod on your TV screen through the monitor output of the receiver.

Note: Your iPod must be equipped with slideshow/video function capability and the receiver must be connected to your TV through the monitor out for the video/photo function to work.

 
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Denon DRA-297 Reviews

Average Customer Review:

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Filter by rating:
3 out of 5

Denon DRA-297 Buttons

Written By David, San Francisco CA on Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
The Denon DRA-297 sounds fine and works well, but the control button's labels on the front of the unit are very difficult to see, except in fairly bright light and close-up. So if you want to use a button to do something like change an FM channel, without using the remote, you need to get right up to within a few inches of the unit, and you must have a fairly strong light on it, in order to see which button to push. The button's labels are printed on the unit with a small and low-contrast type font. The remote is easier to read, but not always handy.
Pros:
Sounds good.
Cons:
Can't read the buttons.
2 out of 3 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Good value

Written By ASHWANI, Tucson, AZ on Saturday, April 04, 2009
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I was a little concerned about the 50W/channel rating, but I am pleasantly surprised that it drives my speakers well in my setup. Driving a pair of B25s for my home office, which is a small room. I have the bass setting at the lowest, and they sound excellent. Easy to setup, although this is very subjective. As usual, excellent and speedy Crutchfield service.
8 out of 8 people found this helpful
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2 out of 5

Simple made difficult

Written By jim, yo. ohio on Sunday, September 14, 2008
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I bought this receiver to replace my old Denon amp that I had bought over 15 years ago and had recently fried for the second time pushing it just a little to hard in the 90 plus degree heat while barbecueing. The amp this was to replace was great, easy to use simple to hook up or change modes plenty of inputs lots of power. This receiver was a big let down in almost every way, they took every thing that was simple and made it difficult. To switch from cd to tuner was as easy as rotating a knob but on this receiver you had to press the mode button turn a knob while the different functions displayed on a screen. When you finally got to what you wanted the screen would only stay lit for a few seconds which got frustrating not being famliar with the way it worked. It got really frustrating when you were trying to play with the tone settings then did something that caused it to switch modes into an ipod cd dvd mode that wouldn't go away forcing me to switch the input cables to aux. just to listen to the cd while reading the manual. Every thing was like that including hooking up the other units in my system. The amp was back in the box with a return authorization the same day switching to a yamaha that had more inputs easier mode changing and even an input for my pristene phono. All this and 50 bucks cheaper than the Denon. It's a shame but if Denon is going to this level of quality they won't be around for long.
15 out of 21 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Beyond my expectations.

Written By Jeff, Tulsa on Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This is one of the best 50 watt amplifiers/receivers I have heard. It bests the Yamaha RX 397 in it's ability to play louder without any distortion. With the Denon high quaity amplifier construction, a 4 or 6 ohm speaker requires no adjustment, definitely a big plus. For both both rock and jazz the performance of this receiver was beyond my expectations. My salesperson Harley really knows the Denon equipment. I am very happy that I followed his advice.
7 out of 7 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Fantastic Receiver

Written By James, Houston, TX on Friday, November 16, 2007
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I bought this receiver from Crutchfield about a month ago, along with a set of Bose Accoustimass 5 Series III speakers to go with it. The receiver sounds great right out of the box. Although I played with the tone adjustments a bit, I found it sounds best if I just leave it as is.

Not much else to say as this is just a stereo receiver (no surround sound capability) but I am thoroughly pleased with it and would buy it again in a heartbeat.
21 out of 26 people found this helpful
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For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the Denon DRA-297, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_033DRA297/Denon-DRA-297.html ).