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Crutchfield

Denon DRA-397

XM-ready stereo receiver

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  • Denon DRA-397

    Front

  • Denon DRA-397

    Back

  • Denon DRA-397

  • Denon DRA-397

    Remote

Item #: 033DRA397
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Denon DRA-397

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.

Denon's DRA-397 is your ticket to dynamic stereo sound and advanced digital entertainment options. This versatile receiver delivers 80 watts x 2 channels of high-current Denon amplification for bringing your favorite tunes to life. Rock-solid Denon construction ensures that your sound stays clean and pure.

XM Satellite Radio compatibility
The DRA-397 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-397 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.

Versatile connections for multi-room audio
The receiver's back panel offers enough inputs to hook up three audio components, including a turntable, and three audio/video components. Three-room/two-source capability gives you flexible whole-house entertainment options. You can enjoy one audio or video source in your main room while housemates watch or listen to another source in two additional rooms. (You'll need amplifiers or powered speakers for the second and third rooms.) Or, if you don't need to play multiple sources simultaneously, use the DRA-397's extra set of speaker outputs to power an additional pair of speakers in another room. With this simpler setup, you won't need to buy a second amplifier.

See more info on this item

Highlights:

  • 80 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
  • XM Satellite Radio Ready (requires XM subscription and optional XM tuner kit )
  • iPod integration (requires optional Denon ASD-11R)
  • Signal Level Divided Construction chassis
  • 3-room/2-source capability (composite video and stereo preamp outputs for 2nd and 3rd rooms)
  • 56 AM/FM/XM presets
  • 3 audio (including phono) and 3 A/V (composite video) inputs
  • front-panel and remote switching for 2 pairs of main speakers
  • independent audio and video switching for main room
  • 1 mono RCA output for powered subwoofer
  • binding post speaker connectors
  • headphone jack
  • multibrand remote control
  • 17-1/8"W x 5-7/8"H x 16-7/16"D
  • weight: 21 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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80
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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Yes
Total Number of Zones
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3
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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16-7/16
Weight (pounds)
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20.72
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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1
Video Inputs
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3
Total Audio Inputs
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3
Digital Audio Inputs
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None
Preamp Outputs
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5
Speaker Output Pairs
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2
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • AM/FM/Stereo receiver
  • RC-1052 Wireless remote control with 2 "AA" batteries
  • RC-1056 Zone 2/3 wireless remote control with 2 "AAA" 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-397 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 80 watts of power per channel (at 8 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.08% THD), the DRA-397 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.

Multi-Zone System: When the outputs of Zone 2 and/or Zone 3 Out terminals are wired and connected to separate power amplifiers installed in other rooms, different sources can be played in rooms other than the Main Zone in which this unit and the playback devices are installed. Not only can you supply audio into another room, Zone 2 and Zone 3 can also supply video into different rooms of your home. The audio and video connections for Zone 2 and Zone 3 are composite.

Audio Connections: The Denon DRA397 is equipped with the following audio inputs and outputs.

  • Phones (front-panel): Standard headphone jack
  • CD Input: Stereo RCA jacks
  • CD-R/Tape Input/Output: Stereo RCA jacks
  • Phono Input: Stereo RCA jacks with ground screw
  • 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

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.

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 1 Amp.

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

  • 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.

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

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

Remote Control

Main Remote Control: The supplied IR wireless 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. You can use the main remote to also operate Zone 2 and Zone 3.

Zone 2/3 Remote Control: The receiver also features an independent IR wireless remote control for Zone 2 and Zone 3 operation. Because the remote is an IR type remote, you must install IR emitters that plug into the DRA397 for the remote to be operational.

Remote Range: Both remote controls are IR so you must point the remote at the remote sensor. The remote control units can be used from a distance of approximately 23 feet at a horizontal angle of up to 30 degrees with respect to the sensor.

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-397'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-397 Reviews

Average Customer Review:

9 people say:

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5 out of 5

OLD SCHOOL WORK HORSE

Written By Kurt, S.C. on Friday, November 30, 2012
 
First of all, enough of the crying about the mostly blacked out display , " you don't watch music you listen to it." Volume levels and other info. pop up promptly on the Denon when selected then clear. Any display can be a distraction when watching video sources in low light. Secondly, all amps. including the DRA-397 should be properly cooled. Overheating is the #1 cause of audio/video equip. failure. Placing an amp. too close to a wall, inside an enclosed cabinet or near other hot equip. like plasma tv's can destroy even top of the line units. A surge protector can't hurt either and is $ well spent. My Denon DRA-397 can push four Bose 301 series 3 and two Bose 501 series 4 speakers with ease. That's six speakers via 120' of the old 14 gauge Monster cable, (raw wired with no additional banana plugs). I provided additional cooling via custom ported suction from one 5" ultra quiet PQFan. As always, follow the manufaturer's installation, operation and safety instructions. Paired with the Denon DCM-390 5 disk CD player, SD & HD Tv's etc. the DRA-397 produced deep rich bass, very clean mids and crystal clear top end responce. Pop in Clapton, David Gilmore or Jerry Cantrell and you will be blown away! This amp. is truely a work horse and well worth the price tag. With proper installation, cooling, and a little care the Denon DRA-397 should provide many years of reliable service.
Pros:
value, performance, reliabillity
Cons:
none to date
5 out of 5 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Denon DRA-397

Written By Larry, Puquea,Pa on Sunday, September 30, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I lister to classical music; the main reason I purchased the receiver. Definitely meets my specs.
Pros:
I would defenitely buy another item from Crutchfield. Excellent service.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Denon DRA-397

Written By Robert K, Westerville,Oh on Sunday, October 02, 2011
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I had a fwe problems hooking up tthe speakers. I ha to het some bannan plugs and they work perfectley, As useal XM radio ws slow and aggrevating, But now that everthing is hooked up, it is playoing very beurtiful nad is doing everything I expected. A very excelent product & I woulf highley reccomend. Excuse the spelling I am a one finger typer
3 out of 7 people found this helpful
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2 out of 5

Worked Great While Under Warranty

Written By DC, PA on Monday, August 29, 2011
 
The receiver worked great while it was under warranty. Three months after the fact, it died. I sent it to a repair shop for repairs. The diagnosis was a short in the system. They repaired it. Three months later it died again. Sent it back ... same diagnosis, same repair. I've used it three times since it came back the second time. This time there was a light show inside accompanied with burnt electronic smell. Time to shop for a different brand.
8 out of 8 people found this helpful
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2 out of 5

Not as good as Yamaha

Written By Leslie, Atlanta, Georgia on Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This unit was purchased to replace a Yamaha Receiver and tuner we had for over 20 years. The sounds is okay but does not seem to be as clear. In addition it is difficult to read the labels on the receiver and the way you turn it on is very awkward. After you select CD/Tuner etc. the system no longer lights up what system it is working. I have to say I am disappointed in the Denon system. I had already purchased a Denon CD player and it was also much more difficult to operate than the Yamaha. If you are trying to decide between the two...I would stick with the Yamaha.
14 out of 15 people found this helpful
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1 out of 5

Not impressed

Written By Brad, New Castle, CO. on Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I got this receiver because I have had Denon amps for years. Don't bother with this receiver. Mine has never worked right. It took several tries to get an I-pod dock that worked, then it would just cut out during normal use. I was told it was due to overheating but this could happen after three mins. of use or three hours... so in my opinion it was not a heat related issue. When it was about 7 months old it blew the outputs due to a faulty heat sensor... it was sent to United Radio for repairs at the suggestion of Crutchfield. The repair took 5 weeks and when I got it back and hooked up (yes I let it sit for 2 days to warm up so there was no condensation) and it worked for almost 30 seconds before it blew again. It might be a good product if it worked right, but I am not impressed. Save yourself the hassle. Look at a different brand and buy it from a locally owned electronics store. If customer service or timely solutions to problems are important to you, buy from a store you can walk in, from a person you actually meet face to face. Right now I'm stuck with a receiver that doesn't work, has spent over a month in the shop, and is only a year old. I guess I can always use it for a paperweight, or a curb stop for my wife's car, or disposable ballast for a hot air ballon......
19 out of 22 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Denon DRA-397

Written By Doug, Reston, Va on Monday, September 08, 2008
 
Fine receiver, although it is difficult to read the labels on the options on the unit---some color differentiation would help
1 out of 2 people found this helpful
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3 out of 5

Denon DRA-397

Written By William, Antigo Wi. on Friday, February 08, 2008
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This receiver is just ok. A little to much distortion at higher volume levels. Not what I expected from a Denon.
4 out of 6 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

I'm impressed!

Written By Edmund, Beckley, WV on Thursday, December 20, 2007
 
I purchased this receiver to replace a JVC RX-503 (along with a JVC CD player and Cerwin-Vega speakers) I bought from Crutchfield about 20 years ago. Along with the receiver, I purchased a Denon DCM-390 CD player and a pair of Polk Audio Monitor 70 speakers.

I can't get over how clear this system sounds. The soundstage is incredible. Clean highs and tight bass make for a very enjoyable listening experience.

Thanks Crutchfield for yet another wonderful stereo system!
38 out of 45 people found this helpful
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For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the Denon DRA-397, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_033DRA397/Denon-DRA-397.html ).