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Since the beginning of the 20th century, Japan has been synonymous with cutting-edge electronics. Indeed, the Japanese seem to have an inherent ability to not only visualize the future but also create it.
Denon, Japan's original audio brand has been turning ideas into reality for over 110 years. Shaped by an intimate relationship with Japan’s national public broadcaster, NHK, the brand spent its early years developing groundbreaking technologies that would reimagine audio paradigms.
Denon quickly established itself as the world's most innovative audio brand, regularly first to deliver new technology. Since then, it has drawn on its rich history to inform countless new developments. After all, it was the brand's Hi-Fi expertise that lead Denon to create the first AV Receivers.
Now, from its Audio Works facility in Shirakawa, the brand continues to build on its legacy of technological firsts, exploring new formats, processes, and products.
American entrepreneur Frederick Whitney Horn established Japan's first record company – the antecedent to Denon – to further the possibilities of audio technology. Japan Gramophone Company not only improved on the existing gramophone but also made it available to consumers worldwide.
During the 1930s, after rebranding as Denon, the company began making equipment for the Japanese national broadcaster, NHK. In 1945, Denon made history when a recording made using the seminal DP-17K allowed the Japanese public to hear the Imperial voice of Emperor Hirohito for the very first time.
In the 1950s, Denon turned its attentions to tape recording technology and quickly delivered the R-26-F, the world's first portable tape recorder. The end of the decade heralded the dawn of the stereo record player and the timely release of Denon's DL-103 phono cartridge, one of the all-time classic Hi-Fi products. Over 50 years later, the cartridge is made in exactly the same way: by hand in Shirakawa Audio Works.
Denon was at the forefront of digital audio, when in 1972 it announced the DN-023R , the world's first digital recorder. Less than a decade later, the brand unveiled the first CD player for professional use, followed a year later by the first consumer model, the inimitable DCD-2000.
Always keen to explore new possibilities, in 1985, Denon made something of a side step, bringing studio quality sound to TV and movies. The world's first AV amplifier, the AVC-500, marked the advent of Home Theater. Surround sound was born.
During the 1990s, the challenge was (and indeed still is) to deliver a more analogue sound from digital audio. The flagship S1 series introduced a number of groundbreaking new components that continue to finesse the listening experience today.
The evolution of Denon's home entertainment systems is a reflection of the brand's quest for both progress and perfection. In 1997, the brand was the first to demonstrate five-channel surround sound and has continued to add channels ever since. Today’s AV receivers offer up to 13.2-channel audio, and support 8K video.
More recently, Denon helped to introduce a more holistic listening experience. The brand's multi-room sound system, HEOS® Built-in, lets you wirelessly connect Hi-Fi speakers, AV receivers, sound bars and mini systems around the house. You can also control them all with voice commands.
Every year Denon continues to upgrade its signature products, ensuring they are the first to harness the latest 3D audio formats, be that Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Auro-3D, or whatever comes next.
There's always something exciting in the pipeline, so stay tuned.
Shinichi Yamauchi, Denon Sound Master