Denon DNP-2000NE Networked -Attached DAC

hfnoutstandingFollowing hard on the heels of Denon's DCD/PMA-1700NE SACD player/amplifier, this new network-attached DAC brings a host of streaming options – including HEOS

Our review of the Denon PMA-1700NE amplifier [HFN May '23] included the observation that the Japanese brand was missing a standalone streamer. A glaring oversight, it seemed at the time, as Denon in all other respects is a believer in offering similarly dressed separates for a neat hi-fi stack. So while you could pair the PMA-1700NE (or another PMA series amp) with a DCD series CD player or a Denon turntable, if you wanted to listen to your Tidal playlists you had to look elsewhere. The introduction of the £1399 DNP-2000NE closes the loop.

Manufactured at Denon's Shirakawa factory, and sporting the sturdy chassis and metal faceplate to complement other Denon components, this streaming DAC isn't only meant to be a companion for the PMA-1700NE. As the different model number hints, it could be combined with other Denon amplifiers, such as the older PMA-1600NE or '2500NE [HFN Aug '16].

Denon makes this clear by providing a third colour option next to the traditional black and silver – for a £200 premium, the DNP-2000NE is also available in the luxurious Graphite Silver colourway found on the brand's PMA-A110 and DCD-A110 models [HFN Dec '20], launched to celebrate its 110th anniversary. Owners of these limited (but still available) birthday units can add the streamer and retain the seamless look of their system.

Four Is The Magic Number
At the heart of the DNP-2000NE are four low-power ES9018K2M chips in a quad DAC arrangement. These are not the latest or greatest designs from ESS, but as PM's Lab Report shows that doesn't mean the unit underperforms, helped by the differential deployment per channel and Denon's 'DAC Master Clock' technology. However, don't set off looking for a broad offering of digital filter options, as Denon prefers a fixed filter, and its own Ultra AL32 processing. This upsamples the digital stream, and is a stalwart of other Denon products, including the CD/SACD- playing DCD-1700NE [HFN May '23].


Two mains transformers [top] feed separate PSUs for the wireless/BT PCB [bottom], XMOS and Burr-Brown digital input receivers [bottom right], 'Ultra AL32' DSP [top left] and analogue stage with four ES9018K2M DACs [left]

Screen Partner
Perhaps to make up for being a bit 'late to the game', the DNP-2000NE is more than purely a network audio player with a built-in DAC. A plethora of digital inputs allows easy connection of external digital sources, including a computer via USB-B. This supports 384kHz/32-bit PCM and 11.2MHz DSD, and such files are also playable over your home network, via Ethernet or in-built Wi-Fi, bandwidth permitting. Optical and coaxial connections are also provided for both source hardware and to use the DNP-2000NE as a digital transport.

Something of a surprise on a DAC at this price is the HDMI ARC port. This means the unit can bridge the gap between your television and stereo system, making it an option for anyone with a legacy amp to improve TV sound, if output as PCM. It's quite clever: you can use the supplied IR control cable to link the DNP-2000NE with a compatible Denon amplifier, and then drive the latter's volume via your TV's remote, even if you're connected to the fixed line output from the streamer. Using the DNP-2000NE's variable output, meanwhile, you can drive active speakers – the HDMI CEC protocol will govern the DSP volume control in the '2000NE.

Multiple Choice
Regards the unit's streaming functions, these are myriad – few manufacturers these days provide only one option because audiophiles want to use their preferred service or software, and not be forced to use a brand-specific app. Denon endows the DNP-2000NE with Apple AirPlay 2, and support for streaming over (two-way) Bluetooth and UPnP. In short, owners can access just about any streaming service or their own network-stored music files. Spotify Connect is onboard too, and the DNP-2000NE leverages HEOS, the in-house app-driven streaming and multiroom platform that has been a feature on Denon hardware (including wireless speakers and soundbars) for almost ten years.

Masimo Consumer
Irvine, CA, USA
Supplied by: Masimo Consumer Europe, The Netherlands
02890 279830