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Marantz SR8015 11CH 8K DTS:X Pro Review: Best AV Receiver for 2020?

AV Receiver Reviews

Marantz SR8015 11CH 8K DTS:X Pro Review: Best AV Receiver for 2020?

Gene DellaSala — September 15, 2020 01:30

The Marantz SR8015 11.2CH Atmos/DTS:X Pro HDMI 2.1 AV receiver is built on a very solid platform with benchmark measured performance. Is this the best AVR for 2020? Read our review to find out.

Sound United Announces HDMI 2.1 8K Upgrades and AVR-X8500H"A" and Marantz AV8805"A" AV Receivers

AV Receiver Reviews

Sound United Announces HDMI 2.1 8K Upgrades and AVR-X8500H"A" and Marantz AV8805"A" AV Receivers

Tony Leotta — May 27, 2021 09:30

Sound United released two upgraded flagships, the Denon AVR-X8500HA and Marantz AV8805A and an upgrade path for existing hardware that will bring full HDMI 2.1 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz support.

Integra DRX-4.2 & DRX-4.3 9.2 Channel AV Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Integra DRX-4.2 & DRX-4.3 9.2 Channel AV Receiver Review

Gene DellaSala — July 11, 2019 21:00

The Integra DRX-4.3 AV receiver sports the latest in HD audio/video with 9 amplified channels on-board, expandable to a 7.1.4 speaker configuration. Our review discusses its performance and shortcomings.

Yamaha Raises the Bar with 3 New 8K AVENTAGE AV Receivers for 2021

AV Receiver Reviews

Yamaha Raises the Bar with 3 New 8K AVENTAGE AV Receivers for 2021

Tony Leotta — May 24, 2021 14:15

Yamaha’s new 2021 lineup of AV Aventage receivers including the RX-A8A, RX-A6A and RX-A4A. They offer upgraded DAC’s, 8K support and beefier amplifier sections. Are these a new reference standard?

Denon AVR-X8500H 13.2CH IMAX Enhanced AV Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Denon AVR-X8500H 13.2CH IMAX Enhanced AV Receiver Review

Theo Nicolakis — May 03, 2019 21:00

Denon's AVR-X8500H receiver supports Dolby Atmos,DTS:X,Auro-3D, & IMAX enhanced to their max configurations with 13 built-in amplifier and every major 4K/UHD video standard. Best AVR of the Year?

Anthem Releases New 7 CH, 11 CH, & 15 CH AVM A/V Processors and MRX Receivers

AV Receiver Reviews

Anthem Releases New 7 CH, 11 CH, & 15 CH AVM A/V Processors and MRX Receivers

Tony Leotta — October 30, 2020 00:05

Anthem released information on their new upgradeable 15CH Atmos/DTS:X IMAX Enhanced AVM AV processors and MRX 7CH to 15CH receivers. Anthem upped their game both in performance and functionality. Read on.

Marantz SR8012 11.2CH Atmos/DTS:X/Auro 3D AV Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Marantz SR8012 11.2CH Atmos/DTS:X/Auro 3D AV Receiver Review

Gene DellaSala — March 18, 2019 00:00

We reviewed the Marantz SR8012 11.2CH streaming AV receiver which decodes EVERY immersive surround format, supports the latest in 4K UHD resolution and has a meaty amp section confirmed in our bench tests.

Denon Unleashes AVR-A110 110th Anniversary 13CH Audiophile Dream Receiver

AV Receiver Reviews

Denon Unleashes AVR-A110 110th Anniversary 13CH Audiophile Dream Receiver

Tony Leotta — September 10, 2020 10:00

Denon's 110th anniversary flagship 13.2CH AV receiver, the AVR-A110 is built off the critically acclaimed AVR-8500H. The A110 has some "extras" that increase its price by $1,500. Find out what you get.

Marantz SR7012 9.2CH AV Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Marantz SR7012 9.2CH AV Receiver Review

Theo Nicolakis — June 07, 2018 10:00

Marantz’s SR7012 AVR is a powerhouse 9.2 channel receiver packed with the latest and greatest audio, video, streaming, and smart home technologies that will stand toe-to-toe with the competition.

Marantz Releases 2020 8K Ready SR-Series AV Receivers

AV Receiver Reviews

Marantz Releases 2020 8K Ready SR-Series AV Receivers

Tony Leotta — July 08, 2020 04:00

Watch out Denon, Marantz released details of the own 8K ready AV receivers for 2020. The SR5015, SR6015, SR7015, and SR8015 receivers are all 8K-ready and will range in price from $1,100 to $3,200.

Denon AVR-X3300W 7.2 Atmos/DTS:X  A/V Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Denon AVR-X3300W 7.2 Atmos/DTS:X A/V Receiver Review

Gene DellaSala — June 02, 2017 00:00

The Denon AVR-X3300W 7.2CH Atmos/DTS:X networking AV receiver features the latest in HD audio and video processing, music streaming and offers future expandability with solid preamp outputs.

Denon's New AVR-S960H Receiver Boasts 8K Upscaling for $650!

AV Receiver Reviews

Denon's New AVR-S960H Receiver Boasts 8K Upscaling for $650!

Tony Leotta — July 06, 2020 19:00

Denon's new AVR-S960 7 channel AV receiver is their first in the S-Series lineup to support 8K resolution. For a mere $650, you get an AVR ideal for gamers but with the sonic chops for audio enthusiasts.

Yamaha RX-A860 AVENTAGE 7.2 Atmos/DTS:X  A/V Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Yamaha RX-A860 AVENTAGE 7.2 Atmos/DTS:X A/V Receiver Review

Gene DellaSala — February 22, 2017 08:00

The Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A860 7.2CH Atmos/DTS:X AV receiver is packed with excellent networking features but it does fall short on power delivery making our recommendation conditional based on usage.

Denon X-Series Introduces the World's First 8K-Ready AV Receivers

AV Receiver Reviews

Denon X-Series Introduces the World's First 8K-Ready AV Receivers

Tony Leotta — June 04, 2020 14:00

Denon released information on their new X-Series A/V Receivers. With the industry's first 8K ready receivers, Denon is raising the bar for what we're going to expect from new receivers this year.

Denon AVR-X7200WA Atmos/DTS:X AV Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Denon AVR-X7200WA Atmos/DTS:X AV Receiver Review

Theo Nicolakis — December 15, 2015 09:00

The Denon AVR-X7200WA Atmos/DTS:X AV receiver sports 9 channels of amplification and the UHD video support. We tested a full 11 speaker configuration with the Auro 3D upgrade for a spectacle of sound.

AudioControl Ships New X Series Receivers and Preamp/Processors

AV Receiver Reviews

AudioControl Ships New X Series Receivers and Preamp/Processors

Jacob Green — April 16, 2020 06:00

AudioControl’s new X-Series Concert A/V receivers and Maestro AV processors deliver up to 16CH processing and the latest UHD technology while supporting all 3 immersive surround formats and Dirac.

Yamaha RX-A2040 Dolby Atmos AV Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Yamaha RX-A2040 Dolby Atmos AV Receiver Review

Marshall Guthrie — June 16, 2015 00:00

The Yamaha RX-A2040 is a powerful Dolby Atmos AV receiver, 9 channels of amplification, multiple zones for a whole house audio and wifi for streaming. Check out our extensive Atmos listening tests.

Integra 11CH Flagship AV Processor & Receivers Promise Best in Class Features

AV Receiver Reviews

Integra 11CH Flagship AV Processor & Receivers Promise Best in Class Features

Jacob Green — September 14, 2019 00:00

Integra announced three new “reference-grade” products at the CEDIA Expo including their flagship 11.2-channel DRC-R1.3 processor and DRX-R1.3 receiver and a 9.2-channel DRX-7.3 AV receiver.

Denon AVR-X5200W Dolby Atmos AV Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Denon AVR-X5200W Dolby Atmos AV Receiver Review

Gene DellaSala — October 26, 2014 21:35

Review: The Denon AVR-X5200W 9.2 Channel Dolby Atmos AV receiver features a fully assignable amp section rated at 140 watts/ch x 9. We evaluate in a full Dolby Atmos 5.1.4 speaker configuration.

Pioneer Rates Max Power with Elite SC-LX904 11.2 Channel AV Receiver

AV Receiver Reviews

Pioneer Rates Max Power with Elite SC-LX904 11.2 Channel AV Receiver

Tony Leotta — September 10, 2019 01:00

Pioneer released information on their newest Flagship receiver, the Elite SC-LX904 11.2 channel AV receiver. The $3K 140WPC receiver gives max power ratings and we are liking what we see.

Yamaha RX-V577 Networking AV Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Yamaha RX-V577 Networking AV Receiver Review

Theo Nicolakis — August 04, 2014 07:00

Review: The Yamaha RX-V577 is an HDMI 1.4, 80 watt/ch receiver, designed for digital entertainment with built-in WiFi and Ethernet; native AirPlay, Pandora, Spotify; and extensive networking features.

Denon AVR-X3600H 9.2CH IMAX Enhanced AV Receiver Offers Best In Class Features

AV Receiver Reviews

Denon AVR-X3600H 9.2CH IMAX Enhanced AV Receiver Offers Best In Class Features

Tony Leotta — July 18, 2019 00:00

Denon's newest AVR-X3600H 9.2 Channel IMAX Enhanced AV Receiver. At $1,100, it has 9CH of amplification and 11CH of processing, HDCP 2.3, etc, and closes the gap to the costlier AVR-X4500H.

Sony STR-DN1040 AV Receiver Review: WiFi, Bluetooth, and AirPlay Oh My!

AV Receiver Reviews

Sony STR-DN1040 AV Receiver Review: WiFi, Bluetooth, and AirPlay Oh My!

Cliff Heyne — July 17, 2013 07:55

The Sony STR-DN1040 is a big step up from the STR-DN1030 we reviewed last year. A new Remote, GUI, mobile app, and FLAC support are just some of the improvements Sony made. Read on for a full review.

Marantz Announces New NR1510 and NR1710 Slimline AV Receivers

AV Receiver Reviews

Marantz Announces New NR1510 and NR1710 Slimline AV Receivers

Jacob Green — June 30, 2019 06:00

Marantz announced the latest versions of its popular slimline AV receivers. The 5.2-channel NR1510-$599 and 7.2-channel NR1710-$749. Will they be as good or better than their predecessors? Read on.

Outlaw Audio RR2150 Stereo RetroReceiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Outlaw Audio RR2150 Stereo RetroReceiver Review

Cliff Heyne — July 09, 2013 08:05

The Outlaw RR2150 stereo receiver is a true stand out product. From features, to build quality, to an extremely powerful amp, this is one stereo receiver not to ignore. Read on for our full review.

Denon Revamps Entry-Level S-Series Receivers For 2019

AV Receiver Reviews

Denon Revamps Entry-Level S-Series Receivers For 2019

Jacob Green — May 12, 2019 22:00

Denon’s updated S-Series comprises three models, the AVR-S950H, AVR-S750H,and AVR-S650H. Is the updated lineup an affordable way to dramatically improve your entertainment system? Read on to find out.

Sherbourn SR-8100 Slim AV Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Sherbourn SR-8100 Slim AV Receiver Review

Marshall Guthrie — June 19, 2013 22:15

During our Sherbourn SR-8100 review, we found that it not only matches the performance of full size receivers, it often out performed them. It's sure to be the perfect solution for many installs.

Denon Releases Two IMAX Enhanced 4K AV Receivers: AVR-X4500H and AVR-X6500H

AV Receiver Reviews

Denon Releases Two IMAX Enhanced 4K AV Receivers: AVR-X4500H and AVR-X6500H

Tony Leotta — September 06, 2018 08:00

Denon released the industry’s first IMAX Enhanced-Ready 4K AV Receivers,the AVR-X6500H and AVR-X4500H. Read on to learn about IMAX Enhanced and what these new receivers offer that nobody else has.

Denon AVR-X4000 AirPlay AV Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Denon AVR-X4000 AirPlay AV Receiver Review

Cliff Heyne — May 27, 2013 15:00

The Denon AVR-X4000 AV Receiver is more than worthy successor to the AVR-3313CI. We review a lot of receivers, but rarely come across one we like this much. Read on to see why we're such fans.

Denon’s AVR-X3500H AV Receiver Delivers New Features Worth Waiting For

AV Receiver Reviews

Denon’s AVR-X3500H AV Receiver Delivers New Features Worth Waiting For

Jacob Green — August 31, 2018 00:00

The new AVR-X3500H from Denon is a 7.2CH receiver offering all the usual bells and whistles, plus a couple of brand-new ones from the upcoming HDMI 2.1 standard. Is this the receiver to beat for $1k?

Sony STR-DA2800ES A/V Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Sony STR-DA2800ES A/V Receiver Review

Cliff Heyne — January 06, 2013 19:35

The Sony STR-DA2800ES is a bright light in a typically dull AV receiver market, largely thanks to its home automation and network features. At $999 it is unlike any other receiver on the market.

Yamaha RX-S602 Receiver Boasts Slim Design And Wireless Surround Capability

AV Receiver Reviews

Yamaha RX-S602 Receiver Boasts Slim Design And Wireless Surround Capability

Jacob Green — August 22, 2018 00:00

The RX-S602 5.1CH Slimline AV receiver stands just 4.5 inches tall, and includes Yamaha’s MusicCast Surround technology allowing the user connect surround speakers wirelessly.

Sony STR-DN1030 AV Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Sony STR-DN1030 AV Receiver Review

Cliff Heyne — September 24, 2012 14:25

On paper, the Sony STR-DN1030 looks like quite an impressive receiver, with a feature list poised to make other $500 receivers blush. Among those features are built-in WiFi, Bluetooth & Airplay.

New Marantz Slimline Receivers Add Alexa, Heos, And Apple Airplay 2 Support

AV Receiver Reviews

New Marantz Slimline Receivers Add Alexa, Heos, And Apple Airplay 2 Support

Jacob Green — July 07, 2018 00:00

The Marantz NR1509/1609 slimline AV receivers are ideal If you have a small space, a limited budget, and high expectations. They support HD audio and video, multi-room HEOS, Apple Airplay 2 and more.

Yamaha RX-A2020 AVENTAGE 9.2 Networking A/V Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Yamaha RX-A2020 AVENTAGE 9.2 Networking A/V Receiver Review

Cliff Heyne — July 06, 2012 06:35

The RX-A2020 retails for $1700 and is the 2nd to top-of-the-line receiver in Yamaha's 2012 Aventage lineup under the RX-A3020. This year seems to be the year of 4K, Airplay, and network apps.

Pioneer Elite VSX-LX303 9.2 Channel Network AV Receiver Preview

AV Receiver Reviews

Pioneer Elite VSX-LX303 9.2 Channel Network AV Receiver Preview

Tony Leotta — June 11, 2018 00:00

Pioneer released the Elite VSX-LX303 which is their version of the Onkyo TX-NR787 9.2 channel AV receiver. At $799 it has all the immersive sound and video features you want at a great price.

Yamaha RX-A1010 AVENTAGE 7.1 Channel Networking A/V Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Yamaha RX-A1010 AVENTAGE 7.1 Channel Networking A/V Receiver Review

Gene DellaSala — December 15, 2011 09:00

Yamaha RX-A1010 A/V receiver is a solid offering that emphasizes audio quality and hosts all the latest networking features. This review explores the RX-A1010 features and performance capabilities.

Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A 80 Series AV Receivers Feature Artificial Intelligence

AV Receiver Reviews

Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A 80 Series AV Receivers Feature Artificial Intelligence

Tony Leotta — June 04, 2018 00:00

Yamaha released their newest AVENTAGE receivers, the RX-A 80 series. The top three models come with Surround Artificial Intelligence! Check out our comparison of these 6 new Yamaha AV receivers.

Yamaha RX-A3000 Aventage 11.2 Networking A/V Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Yamaha RX-A3000 Aventage 11.2 Networking A/V Receiver Review

Clint DeBoer — December 23, 2010 23:10

If you’re ready for the future, the Yamaha Aventage RX-A3000 is ready to take you there. It has proven itself to be a worthy and most importantly less costly successor to the venerable RX-Z7.

Onkyo TX-NR787 Least Expensive 9.2CH AV Receiver at under $700?!?

AV Receiver Reviews

Onkyo TX-NR787 Least Expensive 9.2CH AV Receiver at under $700?!?

Tony Leotta — May 08, 2018 00:00

The Onkyo TX-NR787 9.2CH Atmos/DTS:X AV receiver comes with 100 watts/ch x 9, updated AccuEQ Advance room correction and streaming options galore, all under $700. Is this the best budget receiver?

Samsung HW-C700 AV Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Samsung HW-C700 AV Receiver Review

Dave DeBorde — November 24, 2010 01:35

The $399 HW-C700 receiver is Samsung's budget-priced model which packs many of the functions of a full-size receiver into a smaller chassis in order to provide an all-encompassing AV solution.

Pioneer Elite VSX-LX103 7.2CH Atmos AV Receiver Inflates Power Not Price!

AV Receiver Reviews

Pioneer Elite VSX-LX103 7.2CH Atmos AV Receiver Inflates Power Not Price!

Tony Leotta — April 17, 2018 23:00

The Pioneer Elite VSX-LX103 7.2-Channel Dolby Atmos, DTS:X Network AV Receiver has all the future video pass through you'll ever need but the added bonus on inflated power which we deflate for you.

harman/kardon HK 3490 Stereo Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

harman/kardon HK 3490 Stereo Receiver Review

Gene DellaSala — July 12, 2010 21:00

The harman/kardon HK 3490 redefined the modern stereo receiver and set the benchmark for others to follow. Stereo lovers rejoice as I don't believe you can find a better sounding stereo receiver.

Onkyo TX-SR383 7.2-Channel AV Receiver Inflates Power but Not Price

AV Receiver Reviews

Onkyo TX-SR383 7.2-Channel AV Receiver Inflates Power but Not Price

Tony Leotta — March 30, 2018 00:00

The TX-SR383 receiver from Onkyo provides a choice for either native 7.2CH or 5.2CH with zone 2 along with the latest video passthrough options for $400! But can their 155 watts/ch power be believed?

Marantz SR6004 7.1CH AV Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Marantz SR6004 7.1CH AV Receiver Review

Gene DellaSala — June 10, 2010 18:30

Check out the Marantz SR6004 if you're looking for a midpriced AV receiver that is easy to use, has respectable power reserves & audio performance and sports Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD and PLIIz upmixing.

Integra DRX-R1.1 and DRC-R1.1 11.2-Channel Atmos AV Receiver and Processor

AV Receiver Reviews

Integra DRX-R1.1 and DRC-R1.1 11.2-Channel Atmos AV Receiver and Processor

Tony Leotta — March 16, 2018 18:00

Integra released two new 11.2CH Atmos/DTS:X AV flagships; the DRX-R1.1 Receiver & DRC-R1.1 Processor. These are the first in their lineup to incorporate 4K HDBaseT circuitry for extended transmission.

Marantz NR1501 Slimline AV Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Marantz NR1501 Slimline AV Receiver Review

Clint DeBoer — February 15, 2010 09:20

The $599 NR1501 receiver is Marantz' "Slimline" model which packs most of the functions of a full-size receiver into a smaller chassis. It features an analog power supply and ample power output.

Denon AVR-X8500H World's First 13.2CH AV Receiver Preview

AV Receiver Reviews

Denon AVR-X8500H World's First 13.2CH AV Receiver Preview

Gene DellaSala — January 10, 2018 15:00

The world's first 13.2CH AV Receiver is what Denon is calling their new AVR-X8500H at CES 2018. This 51lbs beast supports all 3 immersive surround formats and is equipped with HDMI 2.1 for the future.

Denon AVR-4310CI PLIIz Networking A/V Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Denon AVR-4310CI PLIIz Networking A/V Receiver Review

Tom Andry — January 03, 2010 00:00

What does $2000 get you in a receiver? The Denon AVR-4310CI. Complete with power reserves galore, every audio format and processing on the planet, and onboard video processing, the 4310CI is a beast.

NAD T 777 V3 7.1CH Dolby Atmos 4K UHD AV Receiver Preview

AV Receiver Reviews

NAD T 777 V3 7.1CH Dolby Atmos 4K UHD AV Receiver Preview

Tony Leotta — September 18, 2017 19:00

Audio company NAD released a beast of an AV receiver recently at CEDIA. The NAD T777 V3 features a robust honestly rated 7CH amplifier that is packed with the latest audio and video technologies.

Pioneer Electronics VSX-23TXH 7.1 Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Pioneer Electronics VSX-23TXH 7.1 Receiver Review

Clint DeBoer — December 21, 2009 04:25

The Pioneer VSX-23TXH isn't their top of the line, but it does have some improvements over even last year's top of the line VSX model like more HDMI inputs and THX Select2 Plus.

Marantz Unveils SR7012, SR8012 AV Receivers and AV7704 Processor with Alexa Skill

AV Receiver Reviews

Marantz Unveils SR7012, SR8012 AV Receivers and AV7704 Processor with Alexa Skill

Gene DellaSala — September 15, 2017 09:00

Marantz expanded its latest home cinema line-up with two network AV receivers, the SR7012 and SR8012, and AV7704 multichannel AV processor. All models integrate Alexa Smart Home Skill and much more.

Yamaha neoHD YMC-700 Media Controller Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Yamaha neoHD YMC-700 Media Controller Review

Tom Andry — December 17, 2009 03:35

Yamaha is attempting to take a Home Theater in a Box receiver, a streaming media device, and a universal remote system, and shove them all in the same neoHD YMC-700 Media Controller package.

Denon AVR-X4400H & AVR-X6400H AV Receivers Add Alexa Integration

AV Receiver Reviews

Denon AVR-X4400H & AVR-X6400H AV Receivers Add Alexa Integration

Gene DellaSala — September 08, 2017 00:00

The new Denon AVR-X4400H and AVR-X6400H AV receivers boast high build quality and power output along with 11.2 channels of processing, HEOS and Amazon Alexa integration and full UHD 4K video support.

Yamaha RX-Z7 7.1 Channel Networking A/V Receiver Review

AV Receiver Reviews

Yamaha RX-Z7 7.1 Channel Networking A/V Receiver Review

Gene DellaSala — February 08, 2009 23:10

The Yamaha RX-Z7 offers benchmark performance in virtually every category with all of the latest audio and video processing features, along with a host of multi room and networking capabilities.

Denon AVR-X3400H 7.2 Ultra HD Receiver w Alexa Integration Preview

AV Receiver Reviews

Denon AVR-X3400H 7.2 Ultra HD Receiver w Alexa Integration Preview

Tony Leotta — August 30, 2017 00:00

If you're looking for a new Ultra HD 7.2CH AV receiver and you have an Amazon Alexa you would be hard pressed to find a better option than the Denon AVR-X3400H. Read on.

Sours: https://www.audioholics.com/av-receiver-reviews/

Updated:

Choosing the best AV receivers is confusing. What features do you need, and which are the best models? I pick my favorites from budget to high-end.

I get it. There are too many home theater receivers to choose from!

And, why does it have to be so complicated?

If you are looking for the best AV receivers in 2021 it can really make your head spin.

All you want to do is listen to some lovely surround sound when watching a movie. But you need to take a degree in gobbledygook to understand what you need to buy.

Well, my task is to hold your hand and we will tiptoe together through the minefield that is the home theater receiver. You never know, you may even enjoy it!

First, I will explain the basics of AV receivers and give you a detailed buying guide on the most important features.

Next, I will review a few of my favorites that you might want to consider.

And finally, I will answer some frequently asked questions.

If you find yourself getting lost in the sea of acronyms (hard to avoid I’m afraid), you can find many of them explained in the home theater glossary.

Top 13 AV Receivers Comparison Table

What Is an AV Receiver and What Does It Do?

An AV receiver acts as a central hub in a home theater system. It is the ‘brain’ of your whole setup.

  • It makes it easy to connect and select various playback devices. Blu-ray players, games consoles, video cameras, CD players – even content from your mobile devices.
  • It is a multichannel amplifier that powers your surround sound speaker system.
  • It sends the picture to your TV or projector.

Being able to connect all these different devices into one unit makes it much easier to set up and operate multiple audio-visual sources.

Do I Need an AV Receiver for Surround Sound?

There are other ways, but in my opinion, it’s the best way.

An AV receiver will decode a surround sound soundtrack from DVD, Blu-ray or cable TV box and then send the audio to your surround sound speakers. All in a single box.

You have the flexibility to add more devices with different connection types and to easily change your speakers if you want to upgrade.

Alternative options are:

What Are the Advantages of an AV Receiver?

As I said, I think an AV receiver is the best way to improve the sound in your room. Let me summarize why I think an AV receiver is the best option for home theater sound:

  • available in a range of prices – from budget models to high-end audiophile brands
  • they work with a range of speakers and subwoofers.
  • you can keep your speakers and upgrade your receiver.
  • you can keep your receiver and upgrade your speakers.
  • easy to install a wide range of speaker layouts – from 2.0 to 7.2 to 9.2.4. Plus, you can change the layout later and add more speakers – or remove some.
  • they come with many types of input connections. Very flexible to add and remove external devices.

How Do I Choose an AV Receiver?

These are some of the things you want to consider before buying an AV receiver:

  1. Price: AV receivers vary from budget to high-end models. If you set a limit for your maximum price you can quickly narrow your choices.
  2. Channels: how many surround speakers do you want? The minimum is a 5.1 system – up to 13.2 speaker layouts. If you don’t want surround sound, you could set up a 2.1 or 3.1 system.
  3. Connections: which external devices do you want to connect to your receiver? Make sure it has all the right connections for everything you need.
  4. Features: which features do you need? 4K or 8K support? Dolby Atmos? HDR support? Zone playback in different rooms? Be clear on what you want and then find a model that ticks all the boxes. Don’t pay extra for features you don’t need.
  5. Network Connections: do you want an Ethernet connection for streaming internet radio and local network streaming? Or, do you need Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity?
  6. Power: how loud do you want the sound in your room? Power output makes less difference than you might think. But, if you like it loud and want to drive your speakers harder, then you will want more power.
  7. Speakers: will it drive your speakers properly? AV receivers support a wide range of speakers. You will probably be fine. However, consider the maximum power and impedance of your speakers. If you don’t have speakers yet, check these specifications before you buy.

Let’s look at some of these options in a bit more detail.

AV Receiver Buying Guide

Each manufacturer of AV receiver has so many different models, it can make it a real headache trying to decide which one to buy.

One thing you should realize is that all brands release a series of surround sound receivers at different price points.

You may see several receivers with different model numbers, but they are probably very similar. They are just part of the same series with an increasing number of features as the price rises.

I will now run through some of the main differences that you will come across. This should make it clearer to decide which is important for you.

How Many Channels Does My Receiver Need?

AV receivers are designed to support different surround sound speaker layouts. So, you need to buy a receiver that allows for the type of speaker configuration you want.

One channel will power one speaker.

So, a stereo amplifier will have two channels to power two speakers. Left and right.

An AV receiver supports surround sound. So, it will have more channels to power more speakers.

The standard surround sound speaker layout is 5.1. This means three speakers at the front – center, front left and front right. Then, two rear surround speakers on the left and right.

Like this:

5.1 Surround Sound System

The .1 refers to a subwoofer, which is a speaker that is designed to play back very low bass frequencies. This can add fantastic weight and rumble to a movie soundtrack. And really annoy the neighbors!

The following table summarizes the common surround sound speaker layouts:

Surround Sound Speaker Layout Table

The one you choose may just come down to how much you want to spend.

After all, more speakers = more money.

Or, the size and shape of your room may dictate the type of surround speaker layout that you can have.

Go to the guide to surround sound speaker layouts to learn more about 2.0 vs 2.1 and 5.1 vs 7.1.

Can I Use 5.1 Speakers with a 7.1 Receiver?

Many AV receivers now come with a minimum of 7.1 channels – or more. If you only want 5.1, that’s fine. You can still buy a 7.1 AV receiver, and just not connect the extra two channels.

Or, use these extra two channels to power a set of stereo speakers in another room.

Many receivers support different ‘zones’. These are other areas in your house where you can route the same, or different, audio.

If you only need 5.1 audio, you may save some money by buying a receiver that only has 5.1 channels. However, these days, it is only some budget models that will be 5.1 only.

So, these are less common now, so you may not have a choice.

What are Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D Receivers?

A new development is the introduction of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. These are object-based soundtracks.

In these soundtracks, sound effects can be placed using a combination of height, front/back and left/right speakers.

So, to make full use of this type of audio, you really need to install extra height speakers in your room.

Different AV receivers will support different object-based layouts, depending on the number of speakers it supports.

As a rule, the more expensive models will allow for more speakers.

My beginner’s guide to Dolby Atmos has more detail on this if you are new to this audio format.

Dolby Atmos Height and Elevation Speakers

For Dolby Atmos, you will need to add a minimum of two extra height speakers to your 5.1 or 7.1 setup – up to a maximum of 64!

The Dolby Atmos speaker configuration with two extra height speakers is written as 5.1.2. Or 7.1.2 for the seven-channel version.

If you have four height speakers, then it will be a 5.1.4/7.1.4 layout.

A system with four height speakers and two subwoofers will be 5.2.4/7.2.4.

You get the idea.

These height speakers can be at the front of the room, in the middle, or at the rear. You just tell the receiver where they are located when you set it up.

Klipsch Rp-500Sa Dolby Atmos Surround Sound Speakers

Dolby suggests that the extra speakers for Dolby Atmos should either be in-ceiling speakers – or special Atmos elevation speakers.

An example of an elevation speaker is the Klipsch RP-500SA Dolby speaker pictured above.

Elevation speakers are easier to install as you just place them on top of your existing floor standing or bookshelf speakers.

However, to be clear, many people just use standard direct-firing speakers for the height speakers and say they prefer the sound that way.

If you want to understand more about the different types of speakers that are available, take a look at my guide to the best home theater speakers for surround sound.

DTS:X Speaker Configurations

DTS:X systems don’t actually require you to install any extra speakers to a 5.1 or 7.1 layout.

The DTS:X processing supports up to 32 different speaker locations from 5.1 and up.

However, you won’t get the fun of the sound coming from above in a 5.1 layout – and so I would always suggest height speakers to make the most of DTS:X.

Therefore, the rules for speaker locations are pretty much the same for DTS:X vs Dolby Atmos.

Auro-3D Speaker Layouts

There is another option when it comes to 3D surround sound, and that is Auro-3D. Some of the top-end models provide this as an optional add-on.

Developed by Auro Technologies, Auro-3D builds on a standard 5.1 or 7.1 sound system and adds a height and overhead layer. The basic setup is a 9.1 speaker configuration with extra height speakers at the front and rear.

There is also a 10.1 version which adds a single ‘Voice of God’ speaker directly above the listening position.

If you really don’t have enough speakers at this point, there are further options for 11.1 and 13.1 layouts!

What Connections Does My Receiver Need?

One of the best/most scary things about an AV receiver is the sheer number of connections it has on the back.

Rear View Of A Home Theater Receiver

Now, initially, this may just make it look like something you might find on the console of a spaceship. But, the advantage is you can easily connect a wide range of different device into your home theater system.

However, the number and type of connections will vary between models.

When choosing a model to buy, it is important to think about all the different devices you will want to add to your setup. And what type of connections they require.

One of the most important connections is HDMI. You will have a few HDMI inputs and one or more outputs.

These days, most modern AV equipment uses HDMI to send the signal. The picture and the sound are sent down the same single connection.

Therefore, look at the number of HDMI inputs on the AV receiver. This will determine how many input devices you can connect via HDMI.

5 Hdmi Inputs &Amp; 1 Hdmi Output On The Rear Of An Av Receiver

For an AV receiver, it is usually written something like – 5/1.

For this example, it means there are 5 HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI output.

Therefore, you can connect five external devices into the receiver via HDMI.

Think about how many devices you might need to connect. And, make sure the receiver you buy has enough. Maybe allow a couple of extra for future purchases?

Sometimes, you may see this written as 6+1/2. This means there are 6 HDMI inputs on the back of the unit – and one on the front (and 2 outputs).

A front HDMI port can be useful for quickly adding a device into your system temporarily.

As for HDMI outputs, most people only require one – to their TV or projector.

However, some models offer two (or more) which can be useful if you want to send the picture to another display or projector at the same time. Or different content to another zone.

Apart from HDMI connections, think about all the other devices you may want to connect – and what type of connections they use.

Does the receiver offer all the connection types you need? Maybe allow for a couple of extra ones for future purchases?

Budget receivers will have fewer connections. More expensive models will have many more options – more than you will probably need. Better to be safe than sorry though.

You might find this video useful to familiarize yourself with the rear of an AV receiver:

YouTube video

What Is a Network AV Receiver?

Another feature you might want to look out for is network connectivity.

A more recent innovation, a network AV receiver will have an Ethernet connection allowing you to connect it to your home network.

This can allow various Internet-based features like streaming of online music and radio services. Such as, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music and Napster.

You may also be able to stream your own music collection over the network using DLNA.

Ethernet Connection On An Av Receiver

The best home theater receivers will also be able to connect via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Chromecast or AirPlay.

This can also allow for streaming music from the network – or sending video or music to your system via a mobile device such as your phone.

AV Amplifiers with Multi-Room Wireless Speakers

You may also be able to connect wirelessly to external speakers around your home. Many newer models will have their own multi-room wireless speaker systems.

For example, Denon and Marantz use the HEOS wireless system – and Yamaha has their MusicCast system:

Yamaha Musiccast 20 Wireless Speaker

If you want this, go with a brand that provides multi-room wireless speakers as an extension to the AV receiver.

This can be a good alternative to the more established wireless multi-room speaker systems such as the Sonos One or the Bose Home Speaker 300.

Other models support Sonos Connect which allows them to connect to any Sonos speakers that you already own.

If this sounds useful, then make sure the receiver you buy has the right network connectivity.

How Much Power Should My Receiver Have?

Many models of AV amplifiers will show the power rating of the device. On a basic level, this indicates how loud you can have it in the room.

But, there is more to it than that.

As a rule, the more expensive models will have more power per channel. But there are many reasons they cost more. Mainly build quality and better components.

A bit more power is just one of the reasons – and not the most important.

Comparing the Power Output of Different Receivers

You should also be aware that it can be difficult comparing the power ratings of two different AV receivers.

There are different ways of measuring the power an amplifier can output. You must, therefore, be sure you are comparing like with like.

The bigger number isn’t always better!

You must compare power numbers that are rated using the same tests. Otherwise, it doesn’t mean anything. The common variables are:

  • the number of channels being driven – e.g. 2 channels
  • the frequency of the test signal – e.g. 20Hz-20kHz
  • the impedance of the speaker being driven – e.g. 8 ohms
  • the recorded level of distortion. Less than 1% is acceptable – e.g. 0.06% THD

On this site, I like to use 8 ohms, 20 Hz – 20 kHz and with 2 channels driven as the baseline. This is a common rating and I quote this where I can. However, some manufacturers don’t provide this measurement.

Amplifier Power Specifications

The very best measurement would be for when all the surround channels are driven at the same time. Not just two. Because this is what happens when you watch a surround sound movie. But very few brands give these numbers.

A cynic might say that is because they like to use tests which makes the power output appear higher. Call me a cynic!

AV Receiver Power vs Volume

Finally, you should know that a higher power rating doesn’t mean that an amplifier will be significantly louder than one with a lower rating.

And, many people won’t need the extra volume anyway.

Doubling the power only increases the sound level by 3 dB. To the human ear, 10 dB is ‘twice as loud’.

So, increasing the power from 50 watts to 100 watts isn’t going to make that much difference to how loud everything is.

It will be louder. 3 dB is a noticeable difference. But, it’s not as much as many people imagine.

I have written an article on understanding amplifier and receiver power ratings if you want more detail on this.

Another thing.

More power doesn’t mean it will necessarily sound better.

  • It may give you a more controlled bottom end.
  • It should handle the loud bits better – especially in movies.
  • It might give a cleaner sound.
  • It might make your speakers sound better as you can drive them harder.

But, the differences might not be as big as the numbers suggest. And, many of those differences will be more to do with the build quality of the receiver rather than the ‘power’.

Give Me A Number – How Much Power Do I Need?

There isn’t a right or wrong answer. The main point is, don’t worry about it too much.

Most people won’t be running their AV receivers even close to maximum volume and so won’t use all the available power anyway.

Generally, AV receiver power ratings will range from around 50 to 150 watts (8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, less than 0.1% THD, 2 Channels Driven).

50 to 100 watts will be plenty for most rooms and most speakers.

However, there’s no problem buying one with more power if you want. Just make sure your speakers will be able to handle the extra power if you plan on turning it up really loud for long periods.

120-150 watts should mean you’ll never need to worry about this again.

If you are regularly turning the volume control beyond about 75%, then you might benefit from a receiver with a bit more power. It’s not a great idea to be constantly running an amplifier near its limits.

If you have speakers which are harder to drive. Then a bit more power should help them sound better. Or, you could buy more efficient speakers.

Will My Speakers Work with This Receiver?

The specifications of your speakers should give a guideline power range that they can handle. You will have plenty of wiggle room, so you are unlikely to have issues unless you take things to extremes.

Speakers also have an impedance rating which the amplifier needs to support.

Most amps and speakers designed for home use will work fine together.

You probably don’t need to worry. But if you have some exotic speakers, you might want to check this.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s my guide to matching amplifiers and speakers.

What Are AV Receiver Listening Modes and Surround Sound Formats?

There are several different surround sound audio formats on a DVD or Blu-ray disc. We’ve discussed Dolby Atmos and DTS:X already.

However, there is also LPCM, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio and many more.

Blu-Ray Audio Codecs

Some may be supported by your AV receiver and some may not. If you need something specific, then you might want to check the receiver supports it.

Receivers also have several listening modes that can alter how you hear the sound on your speaker system.

Most brands have similar options. But, again, if you’re looking for something specific, then you might need to check that a receiver has what you want.

In my opinion, a couple of the most useful options are Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X. These are upmixing modes that make full use of your 5.2.2 or 5.2.4 speaker layouts.

Usually, if you play a normal stereo or 5.1 soundtrack, then your height speakers won’t be used at all. However, these upmixing modes create a virtual mix that moves some of the audio into your height speakers.

It’s not quite as good as the real thing – but they can be rather effective. I always have these enabled for legacy soundtracks.

Plus, you get some more use from those extra speakers you spent all that time and money installing in your room.

You can still use Dolby Surround/DTS Neural:X if you don’t have height or elevation speakers. You can use them to upmix stereo soundtracks to your 5.1 speakers, for example.

Again, I always have one of these enabled for standard stereo TV transmissions. However, some people prefer to leave stereo soundtracks in stereo. Try both and see which you prefer.

I draw the line at music though. For me, stereo music is always the front two speakers only. As nature intended!

However, I’m an old-fashioned fuddy-duddy. Feel free to go wild and spread that stereo music around your whole room. You rascal.

Learn more about surround sound formats and AV receiver listening modes.

What Are AV Receiver Zones?

Many receivers will have additional zone connections to allow you to send video and/or audio into different areas. These areas are usually called zones.

A zone can be anything you like. Another room. A living space outside your home. Another location in the same room.

There may be a single zone 2. Or the higher-end receivers might have zones 3 and 4.

A zone 2 output is often a line out like in the picture below. This would need to be connected to another amplifier.

Zone 2 Line Out On The Rear Of An Av Receiver

Some receivers also have powered channels for the second zone – which just need to be connected to another set of speakers.

In some AV receivers you can watch one thing in the main room and something different in another zone. Some will only allow you to watch the same thing in two different zones.

Some zones will be audio-only. Some zones may need an extra amplifier in the other room. It varies a great deal.

First, decide what you want to do, and then find a receiver that does it.

Most AV receiver manufacturers have a range of products at different price points.

They will have a premium series with high-end components and all the latest features.

They will also have a mid-range and value range set of receivers. These receivers can still give great value for money and fantastic quality.

The quickest way to identify the right series for you is to start with the price. Setting your maximum budget will narrow down the ones you can buy.

Then just find the models with all the features you need.

As a rule, you do get what you pay for with AV receivers. The more you spend, the higher-quality sound and better features you will get.

However, be sensible. If you have cheap speakers, then you probably won’t hear a big difference in sound quality even if you buy a high-end receiver.

Which AV Receiver Series Is Right for Me?

Most AV receiver manufacturers have a range of products at different price points.

They will have a premium series with high-end components and all the latest features.

They will also have a mid-range and value range set of receivers. These receivers can still give great value for money and fantastic quality.

The quickest way to identify the right series for you is to start with the price. Setting your maximum budget will narrow down the ones you can buy.

Then just find the models with all the features you need.

As a rule, you do get what you pay for with AV receivers. The more you spend, the higher-quality sound and better features you will get.

However, be sensible. If you have cheap speakers, then you probably won’t hear a big difference in sound quality even if you buy a high-end receiver.

How Do I Buy A Cheap AV Receiver?

Many of the AV receiver manufacturers will bring out a new model each year. Most years, the changes are incremental, rather than adding ‘must-have’ new features.

If last year’s model is still in stock, you can often grab a bargain. If the receiver has all the features you need, you may not need to pay a premium for the latest model.

This can be one of the best ways to buy a high-end receiver at mid-range prices. Or a mid-range at budget prices.

However, don’t wait too long. The stock levels of these older receivers can be limited. The retailers may run out of stock if you wait too long.

Which Are the Best AV Receiver Brands?

Who makes the best AV receiver? There are many to choose from.

There are several great AV receiver brands that you might want to consider.

As this site is primarily aimed at users with less experience, I’m mainly going to include brands that provide a good mix of budget to mid-range models. However, I’ll also throw in a couple of high-end favorites for experienced audiophiles to enjoy.

So, whilst I’m not going to list them all, here is a quick summary of some of my favorite brands. Each offers both budget and high-end models for a range of budgets and needs.

I’ve also highlighted the different ranges that each one offers. I think one of the most confusing aspects of buying an AV receiver, is trying to figure where each model fits into the bigger picture. This quick summary should help.

Denon

Denon is a Japanese electronics company formed in the early 1900’s. They began producing hi-fi audio components in 1971 and now specialize in home theater and wireless audio products.

They have three main ranges of AV receivers:

  • AVR-A Series: flagship products released to celebrate their 110-year anniversary.
  • AVR-X Series: caters to the top-end of the market, with high-quality products at a range of prices.
  • AVR-S Series: has more modest prices, but still provide excellent value for money and plenty of features.

If you want to compare the features of all the latest models, take a look at my guides to the Denon AVR-X and AVR-A AV receivers and Denon AVR-S receivers.

Marantz

Marantz was originally founded in New York in the 1950’s when the founder produced his first audio product – a preamp.

After many years of success in the hi-fi audio market, the company was sold to Marantz Japan in 2001. They are now a sister company to Denon.

They have a smaller range of AV receivers than some of their competitors but are well-regarded.

  • SR Series: a range of surround AV receivers.
  • NR Series: a range of network AV receivers with internet-based features.

You can see a list of all the latest models, and compare their most useful features, in my guide to Marantz AV receivers.

Onkyo

Onkyo has been producing consumer electronics since 1946. They are a Japanese company and specialize in audio products and home theater equipment.

Their range includes hi-fi components, personal audio technology and various speaker systems.

Onkyo has been producing popular AV receivers for many years. Their range of receivers include:

  • RZ Series: premium range. It provides superior audio performance for music and movies.
  • NR Series: mid-range. Network AV receivers.
  • SR Series: value range. Surround AV receivers.

Comparing the different models in a range can be difficult. Fortunately, I’ve got a guide to each series which lists the main features of the latest models – Onkyo RZ Series AV Receivers and Onkyo NR & SR Series AV Receivers.

Pioneer

Based in Tokyo, Japan, Pioneer have a long history of producing popular AV products. Although they stopped making televisions in 2009, they still produce many products for the home AV market.

In 2014, Pioneer sold their home AV business to Onkyo, and so they are now sister companies. However, Pioneer still releases products under its own brand name.

Their premium range of AV receivers is labeled the Elite Series. The aim is to produce high-end products aimed at audiophiles and sound purists.

Within this range, Pioneer release receivers at two different price points:

  • Elite SC Series: this is top-of-the-range.
  • Elite VSX Series: network AV receivers at a slightly lower price point.
  • VSX Series: not part of the Elite series. Slightly fewer features and aimed at the lower end of the market.

It’s slightly confusing, but the Elite VSX models are labeled VSX-LXxxx, and the non-Elite VSX models are labeled VSX-xxx (without the LX).

To clearly see the difference between all their models, check out my guide to the Pioneer Elite and VSX AV receivers.

Sony

Sony is one of the most well-known home electronics brands in the world. Among its many areas of business, this Japanese company produces many popular products in the home AV market.

They offer three main ranges of AV receivers:

  • Z Series: top-of-the-range for the custom installation market.
  • STR-DN Series: network receivers aimed at a more mainstream audience.
  • STR-DH Series: value range of AV receivers.

My guide to Sony AV receivers details the features of all the recent models. This should make it easier to find what you need.

Yamaha

Yamaha is a Japanese company that has been producing a wide range of products for over 100 years. They have a strong reputation in a diverse range of markets.

None more so than in musical instruments, professional audio and audio-visual technology.

Yamaha produces some of the best surround sound receivers and has a range of models to suit all needs and budgets.

  • AVENTAGE Series: premium range. Studio-grade sound and superb video performance.
  • RX-V Series: mid-range. Engineered to sound great and offer a range of home theater features.
  • RX-S Series: mid-range. Slim and compact AV receivers.
  • TSR Series: mid-range. High-end audio converters and top audio performance

You might find that it’s a bit confusing to understand which models are available – and the differences between them all.

I know I do.

If so, you might find it useful to take a look at my guides to the:

Other Brands to Consider

I could double the length of this page just by listing all the brands available.

If you want to investigate other brands, I would suggest looking at Arcam, Anthem, NAD and Integra AV receivers.

I will suggest some of these models in my guide to the best receivers below.

Which Are the Best AV Receivers to Buy?

OK. We’ve now come to the heart of the matter. You now understand many of the things you need to consider. But there are still dozens of AV receivers to choose from. Where do you start?

Previously, I used to have a random list of excellent AV receivers that I liked.

However, some people asked if I could make it easier to choose by listing them by price or category.

There’s no pleasing some people!

Anyway, always eager to please, I’ve bowed to their wishes.

I’ve picked a number of my favorite AV receivers at different price points. And included a few general categories too.

The models in the price categories are based on the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). However, be aware that the prices of AV receivers can vary. I’ve never seen any higher than the MSRP – but often below.

You can sometimes pick up a bargain when a receiver in a higher price band gets reduced. Often at holiday times or when there is a newer model available.

So, you might want to check out the price of a model that is in a higher bracket – you might get a pleasant surprise.

At the end of each section, I have a few more suggestions in that category. It’s good to have a few more options so that you can make the right choice for you.

The right choice might be based on price – or features – or build quality. Or it’s a brand that you’ve used before and like.

Only you know which is the most important thing for your setup.

Best 5.1 AV Receiver

Firstly, in my opinion, it’s usually best to select an AV receiver by your budget – rather than channels.

For all types of receivers, you can buy high-quality, expensive models – and cheaper, budget models. All with a similar number of channels.

However, if you are sure that you only want 5.1 surround sound, then you may get more bang for your buck with a pure 5-channel model.

There aren’t many receivers that are only 5-channels these days. Remember, you can always buy a 7-channel receiver (or higher) and just connect 5-channels.

A pure 5-channel receiver these days will usually be a budget model – so I’m going to assume somebody looking for a 5.1 receiver will be looking at a budget model.

My choice for the best 5.1 AV receiver is the Yamaha RX-V4A.

No matter if you are looking for a budget or high-end model – Yamaha is always a good choice for an AV receiver.

The Yamaha RX-V4A has two subwoofer output connections. If, like most people, you just use one subwoofer, just ignore the second connection.

But it’s always handy to have a second output if you want to add a second sub in your room.

This model has all the basics that you would want in an entry-level AV receiver.

A good sound, plenty of network and wireless connection types, and full support for many of the audio formats that you would want – including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.

This model is also one of the first to support 8K/60p and 4K/120p video. All the HDMI inputs support 8K – and there is full pass-through support for 8K from player to screen.

Please note, the new HDMI 2.1 features – such as 4K/120p, VRR, ALLM and QMS will not be available until they are enabled in a future firmware update (currently scheduled for Spring 2021).

The RX-V4A supports all the current versions of HDR – HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG.

It can be voice-controlled via Amazon Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant – and also supports Yamaha’s MusicCast wireless speaker system.

With MusicCast Multi-Room, you can control wireless speakers in rooms around your home.

And with MusicCast Surround, you can purchase either the MusicCast 20 or MusicCast 50 speakers and add these as wireless surrounds in a 5.1 system.

Perfect for those of you who are fed up with running those pesky speaker cables around your room.

Yamaha RX-V4A 5.2-Ch AV Receiver

Best 5.1 Av Receiver: Yamaha Rx-V4A 5.2-Ch Av Receiver
Channels5.2
Dolby AtmosNone
HDMI In / Out4/1 (eARC)
ZonesZone B (2-ch audio – powered)
Pre Out / Line OutSubwoofer (x2)
Power (W)*80
Speaker Impedance (Ohms)8 and higher
UHD / HDR Support8K/60p & 4K/120p, 4:4:4, HDCP2.3 / HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network / WirelessEthernet / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth / MusicCast Surround + Multi-Room / AirPlay 2 / Spotify Connect / Amazon Alexa / Google Assistant / Apple Siri
Auto Room CalibrationYPAO
Dimensions (W x H x D)17-1/8 x 6-3/4 x 14-7/8 in | 435 x 171 x 379 mm (w/o antenna)
Weight (lbs)19.4
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.06% THD, 2 Channels Driven

Best 9.2 AV Receiver

When we get to receivers with more channels, then looking for a particular number of channels is more useful. There aren’t that many AV receivers with this many channels – and you may have your mind set on a specific setup.

A 9.2-channel system can be ideal if you are looking to create a 3D Dolby Atmos surround sound layout. With a 9-channel receiver, you can have a 5.2.4 speaker layout.

This is one of the best ways to experience Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

5.2.2 is good. But 5.2.4 is better as you can get to experience the overhead effects from front to back.

My choice for the best 9.2-channel AV receiver is the Denon AVR-X4700H.

Denon is always a contender in any category. They make fantastic receivers that excel at movie audio. And they work great for music too.

This model supports the very latest in video formats. You will be able to pass-through 8K at 60Hz and 4K at 120Hz.

Plus, there is support for all the latest HDMI 2.1 features such as VRR, QMS and ALLM. Don’t you love all those acronyms!

As well as built-in amplification for a 5.2.4 or 7.2.2 speaker layout – there is support for a 7.2.4 system if you add an external 2-channel power amplifier.

That should be enough speakers to keep you happy for a while.

The Audyssey MultEQ XT32 auto room configuration available on this receiver is one of the best around. You will be able to get a tight and balanced sound in any room when you run the Audyssey setup routine.

In my experience, it is especially good at cleaning up the low frequencies, so they don’t overpower the room.

Denon AVR-X4700H 9.2-Ch AV Receiver

Best 9.2 Av Receiver: Denon Avr-X4700H 9.2-Ch Av Receiver
Channels9.2
Dolby Atmos5.2.4 / 7.2.2 (Support for 7.2.4)
HDMI In / Out7+1/3 (eARC)
ZonesZone 2 (HDMI + Component + Composite & 2-ch audio – powered or line out) / Zone 3 (2-ch audio – powered or line out)
Pre Out / Line Out11.2-Ch / Zone 2 & Zone 3 (2-Ch)
Power (W)*125
Speaker Impedance (Ohms)4 – 16
UHD / HDR Support8K/60p & 4K/120p, 4:4:4, HDCP2.3 / HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network / WirelessEthernet / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth (Send & Receive) / Airplay 2 / HEOS / Amazon Alexa / Google Assistant / Apple Siri / Josh.ai
Auto Room CalibrationAudyssey MultEQ XT32
Dimensions (W x H x D)17.1 x 6.6 x 15.3 in | 434 x 167 x 389 mm (w/o antenna)
Weight (lbs)30.2
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.05% THD, 2 Channels Driven

Best 11.2 AV Receiver

An AV receiver with 11-channels is perfect for a complete Dolby Atmos surround sound system. You have all the built-in channels to install a 7.2.4 speaker system. That’s an impressive layout that will make you feel part of the action.

AV receivers with this number of channels aren’t that common. However, there are a few about. Whichever way you go, you can’t go wrong with any of these monster receivers.

My choice is the Denon AVR-X67000H. It’s a fantastic receiver with great sound and many features.

If audiophile sound quality is important to you, then the Anthem MRX 1120 might be better. However, the MSRP is almost twice as much as the Denon.

And, anyway, Denon receivers sound great. So this model will be excellent for movies and music for the majority of people.

As always, you need to find the right balance between cost and features that is right for you.

This Denon receiver allows for 7.2.4 or 9.2.2 speaker layouts with full support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, IMAX Enhanced and Auro-3D. There is also support for a 7.2.6 layout if you add an external power amplifier.

And, if you have been waiting for an AV receiver with pass-through support for 8K video resolutions, then you are in luck. There is a single HDMI port on the rear that will take an 8K/60p or 4K/120p source.

All the other HDMI inputs allow for a maximum of 4K – but the receiver can upscale any of these to 8K if you wish.

You can install a multi-room wireless speaker system if you buy one or more HEOS-enabled wireless speakers. These can be placed throughout your home and are controlled by the free HEOS app.

Denon AVR-X6700H 11.2-Ch AV Receiver

Best 11.2 Av Receiver: Denon Avr-X6700H 11.2-Ch Av Receiver
Channels11.2
Dolby Atmos7.2.4 / 9.2.2 (Support for 7.2.6)
HDMI In / Out7+1/3 (eARC)
ZonesZone 2 (HDMI & 2-ch audio – powered or line out) / Zone 3 (2-ch audio – powered or line out)
Pre Out / Line Out13.2-Ch / Zone 2 & Zone 3 (2-Ch)
Power (W)*140
Speaker Impedance (Ohms)4 – 16
UHD / HDR Support8K/60p & 4K/120p, 4:4:4, HDCP2.3 / HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network / WirelessEthernet / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth (Send & Receive) / Airplay 2 / HEOS / Amazon Alexa / Google Assistant / Apple Siri / Josh.ai
Auto Room CalibrationAudyssey MultEQ XT32
Dimensions (W x H x D)17.1 x 6.6 x 15.3 in | 434 x 167 x 389 mm (w/o antenna)
Weight (lbs)32
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.05% THD, 2 Channels Driven

Best 13.2 AV Receiver

If you want an AV receiver with 13.2-channels, then you’ve got an easy decision to make. At the time of writing, I’m only aware of one.

*** UPDATE: Denon have released another 13-channel receiver. Their 110th anniversary model – the Denon AVR-A110 13.2-Ch AV Receiver ***

The Denon AVR-X8500H is a monstrous beast that has the quality of the Denon brand with 13-channels of amplification.

This will allow you to build an impressive 7.2.6 or 9.2.4 surround sound layout. All using the built-in channels in the receiver.

Remember, some receivers with fewer channels have processing for bigger Dolby Atmos layouts. This means you can use the pre-out connections on the rear to install additional power amplifiers.

However, the advantage of a beast like this, is you don’t need to pony up for power amplifiers. It’s all built-in.

Denon AVR-X8500H 13.2-Ch AV Receiver

Best 13.2 Av Receiver: Denon Avr-X8500H 13.2-Ch Av Receiver
Channels13.2
Dolby Atmos7.2.6 / 9.2.4
HDMI In / Out7+1/3 (eARC)
ZonesZone 2 (HDMI & 2-ch audio – powered or line out) / Zone 3 (2-ch audio – powered or line out)
Pre Out / Line Out13.2-Ch / Zone 2 & Zone 3 (2-Ch
Power (W)*150
Speaker Impedance (Ohms)4 – 16
UHD / HDR Support4K/60p, 4:4:4, HDCP2.2 / HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network / WirelessEthernet / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth / Airplay 2 / HEOS / Amazon Alexa
Auto Room CalibrationAudyssey MultEQ XT32
Dimensions (W x H x D)17-1/8 x 7-3/4 x 17-1/4 in | 434 x 195 x 482 mm (w/o antenna)
Weight (lbs)51.4
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.05% THD, 2 Channels Driven

Best Small AV Receiver

Some of you may be keen on the idea of buying an AV receiver. I don’t blame you – they’re great!

However, what you might not be so thrilled about is the size of some of these AV receivers. They can certainly take up some space in your room.

And, believe it or not, some people think they look a bit ugly. Surely not!

If you are in this category, then maybe one of these receivers will fit the bill.

Some brands have a range of slim receivers which can be much easier to install in your room. They’re so small, they will almost disappear from view. Well, almost…

Small AV receivers will usually have less power and features than a standard size model. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t drive an excellent surround sound system.

My choice of the best slim AV receiver is the Marantz NR1711. A 7.2-channel receiver that can perform with the best of them.

It’s rated at 50-watts. So, less than the larger models listed here, but still enough to drive most small to medium-sized speakers in a standard room.

It has plenty of connections for a small device and even comes with the excellent Audyssey MultEQ room correction system.

The main update in the latest model is the introduction of 8K support. So, you can connect your new game console and experience video at 8K/60p or 4K/120p.

This amplifier also supports pass-through for HDR10+.

Marantz NR1711 7.2-Ch AV Receiver

Best Small Av Receiver: Marantz Nr1711 7.2-Ch Av Receiver
Channels7.2
Dolby Atmos5.2.2
HDMI In / Out6/1 (eARC)
ZonesZone 2 (2-ch audio – powered or line out)
Pre Out / Line OutFront L+R + Subwoofer (x2) / Zone 2 (2-Ch)
Power (W)*50
Speaker Impedance (Ohms)4 – 16
UHD / HDR Support8K/60p & 4K/120p, 4:4:4, HDCP2.3 / HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network / WirelessEthernet / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth / Airplay 2 / HEOS / Spotify Connect / Amazon Alexa / Google Assistant / Apple Siri / Josh.ai
Auto Room CalibrationAudyssey MultEQ
Dimensions (W x H x D)17.3 x 4.1 x 14.9 in | 440 x 105 x 378 mm (w/o antenna)
Weight (lbs)18.5
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven

Top Receiver Under $300

Many people just want a simple AV receiver to get surround sound in their room. That’s great. You don’t need to spend a fortune to get a very decent surround sound system.

It’s going to sound waaaaay better than using the speakers on your TV (just… don’t). And, don’t forget, you can always upgrade the receiver later if you want to a model with more features.

So, a budget AV receiver under $300 can be the perfect way to start.

My choice is the Sony STR-DH590 5.2-Ch AV receiver. Sony doesn’t release AV receivers as regularly as other brands.

But, they are a popular choice and their long history in AV products means you can be sure of getting a solid performer with many useful features.

It supports 4K pass-through with HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG. If you connect your Blu-ray player you can also experience high-resolution Dolby True-HD and DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks.

This receiver also has Audio Return Channel (ARC) support on the HDMI output.

This is a no-frills receiver at a price that is hard to beat. If you just want to get surround sound up and running in your room. You can’t go wrong at this price.

Sony STR-DH590 5.2-Ch AV Receiver

Best Av Receiver Under $300: Sony Str-Dh590 5.2-Ch Av Receiver
Channels5.2
Dolby AtmosNone
HDMI In / Out4/1 (ARC)
ZonesNone
Pre Out / Line OutSubwoofer (x2)
Power (W)*145
Speaker Impedance (Ohms)6 – 16
UHD / HDR Support4K/60p, 4:4:4, HDCP2.2 / HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network / WirelessBluetooth
Auto Room CalibrationDCAC (Digital Cinema Auto Calibration)
Dimensions (W x H x D)17 x 5-1/4 x 11-3/4 in | 430 x 133 x 297 mm (inc. projecting parts/controls)
Weight (lbs)15.7
* 6 Ohms, 1 kHz, 0.09% THD, Per Channel

Top Receiver Under $500

If you spend a little more, then you really can go up a level or two. The number of features that you get in an AV receiver around the $500 mark is quite surprising.

These models are mostly 7-channel receivers, which means you can start to use the immersive speaker layouts for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

You will also notice that you get more network features like Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

My choice in this price range is the Denon AVR-S750H 7.2-Channel AV receiver.

Denon is always an excellent choice if you want a receiver with great sound and a host of cutting-edge features.

Top Receiver Under $800

This price band is another gradual step up in quality and features. You can expect to get a little more for your money in terms of performance and you might need to go to this level to get more connections, power or channels.

Some of these models will also give you more options in terms of sending content to different zones in your house. So, if this is important, think about what you want to do and then check out which model offers those options.

My choice in this category is the Yamaha RX-V6A 7.2-Ch AV Receiver. It might not have as many bells and whistles as some of the other models I suggest here.

But don’t assume that having more features is always better. Sometimes less features, but implemented better, is perfect. As long as you have all the performance that you need.

This receiver has 7 HDMI inputs and 1 output. The HDMI output supports eARC which can be useful for sending surround and high-resolution audio from your TV apps back to your speaker system.

Three of the HDMI inputs also support the new HDMI 2.1 specification and 8K/60p video. 4K video is also supported at 120Hz.

Most of the new features of HDMI 2.1 are more likely to be of interest to gamers with the latest game consoles. If you are not a gamer, HDMI 2.1 might not bring you too many benefits.

That aside, this model will be perfect for anyone looking for a great performance with movies and music.

The new HDMI 2.1 features will only be available via a firmware update. This is currently scheduled for Spring 2021.

You can set up a 5.2.2 Dolby Atmos speaker layout to experience 3D audio in your room. And MusicCast Surround support allows you to create a 5.1 system with wireless rear speakers.

Yamaha is a respected brand that should be on the list for anybody looking for a reliable and solid performer.

The RX-V6A is the long-awaited update for the popular RX-V685 receiver. It is an excellent AV receiver that should work well for most home theater rooms.

Yamaha RX-V6A 7.2-Ch AV Receiver

Best Av Receiver Under $800: Yamaha Rx-V6A 7.2-Ch Av Receiver
Channels7.2
Dolby Atmos5.2.2
HDMI In / Out7/1 (eARC)
ZonesZone 2 (2-ch audio – powered or line out)
Pre Out / Line OutFront L+R + Subwoofer (x2) / Zone 2 (2-Ch)
Power (W)*100
Speaker Impedance (Ohms)8 and higher
UHD / HDR Support8K/60p & 4K/120p, 4:4:4, HDCP2.3 / HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network / WirelessEthernet / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth / MusicCast Surround + Multi-Room / AirPlay 2 / Spotify Connect / Amazon Alexa / Google Assistant / Apple Siri
Auto Room CalibrationYPAO-R.S.C (Reflected Sound Control) and Multi-Point
Dimensions (W x H x D)17-1/8 x 6-3/4 x 14-7/8 in | 435 x 171 x 379 mm (w/o antenna)
Weight (lbs)21.6
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.06% THD, 2 Channels Driven

Top Receiver Under $1000

At this price point, we are getting into high-quality AV receivers. Not the very best, but pretty darn good.

You should expect a great sound that will do justice to any first-rate speakers that you own.

When you get to this level, the improvements are less in terms of features. But you will be getting better build-quality and components.

One of the most important features of an AV receiver is the power supply. A better power supply is a big factor that helps to increase sound quality.

My choice in this category is the Denon AVR-X2700H 7.2-Ch AV Receiver. A great all-rounder that has 7-channels of amplification and plenty of inputs.

It is also one of the first receivers to support 8K resolutions. One of the HDMI inputs allows for 8K/60p and 4K/120p resolutions. As mentioned previously, this will mainly be of interest to those of you with the latest game consoles.

As you may have figured out by now, I really like the Denon brand as they often hit the mark when you consider price, sound quality and features.

Denon AVR-X2700H 7.2-Ch AV Receiver

Best Av Receiver Under $1000: Denon Avr-X2700H 7.2-Ch Av Receiver
Channels7.2
Dolby Atmos5.2.2
HDMI In / Out6/2 (eARC)
ZonesZone 2 (2-ch audio – powered or line out)
Pre Out / Line OutSubwoofer (x2) / Zone 2 (2-Ch)
Power (W)*95
Speaker Impedance (Ohms)4 – 16
UHD / HDR Support4K/120p & 8K/60p, 4:4:4, HDCP2.3 / HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network / WirelessEthernet / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth (Send & Receive) / Airplay 2 / HEOS / Amazon Alexa / Google Assistant / Apple Siri / Josh.ai
Auto Room CalibrationAudyssey MultEQ XT
Dimensions (W x H x D)17.1 x 6.6 x 13.4 in | 434 x 167 x 340 mm (w/o antenna)
Weight (lbs)21
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels DrivenRelated article: Best AV Receiver Under $1000

Top Receiver Under $1500

As the price goes up, so does the quality of the AV receivers. If you spend a little more then you really start to get to some high-end brands.

You can buy some of the entry-level models from top-notch audio brands like Anthem and NAD.

My choice at this price range is the Marantz SR5015 7.2-Ch AV receiver. With 7-channels and the famous Marantz sound, you will be getting an excellent receiver that excels at most things.

With support for 8K video, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, this is a great all-rounder at a competitive price.

However, if sound-quality is your focus, then the 5-channel Anthem MRX 520 might be a better fit for you.

If you want more channels, then the Denon AVR-X3700H 9.2-Ch AV Receiver is a better choice.

Remember, the best AV receiver is the one that ticks all the boxes for you. Different people have different needs and requirements.

Marantz SR5015 7.2-Ch AV Receiver

Best Av Receiver Under $1500: Marantz Sr5015 7.2-Ch Av Receiver
Channels7.2
Dolby Atmos5.2.2
HDMI In / Out6/2 (eARC)
ZonesZone 2 (2-ch audio – powered or line out)
Pre Out / Line Out7.2-Ch / Zone 2 (2-Ch)
Power (W)*100
Speaker Impedance (Ohms)4 – 16
UHD / HDR Support8K/60p & 4K/120p, 4:4:4, HDCP2.3 / HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network / WirelessEthernet / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth / Airplay 2 / HEOS / Spotify Connect / Amazon Alexa / Google Assistant / Apple Siri / Josh.ai
Auto Room CalibrationAudyssey MultEQ XT
Dimensions (W x H x D)17.3 x 6.3 x 13.7 in | 440 x 161 x 348 mm (w/o antenna)
Weight (lbs)22.3
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven

Top Receiver Under $2000

At a price around the $2000 mark, we are really getting to some serious AV receivers.

If your budget extends this high, then you really are spoiled for choice. You can’t really go wrong.

My choice in this category is the Yamaha RX-A3080 9.2-Channel AV receiver.

One of my favorite brands and at this price you are getting their flagship model. It really is an exceptional performer that sounds great for movies and music.

At this price, it really is a bargain.

Yamaha RX-A3080 AVENTAGE 9.2-Ch AV Receiver

Best Av Receiver Under $2000: Yamaha Rx-A3080 Aventage 9.2-Ch Av Receiver
Channels9.2
Dolby Atmos5.2.4 / 7.2.2 (Processing for 7.2.4)
HDMI In / Out7/3 (ARC)
ZonesZone 2 (HDMI & 2-ch audio – powered or line out) / Zone 3 (2-ch audio – powered or line out) / Zone 4 (HDMI)
Pre Out / Line Out11.2-Ch / Zone 2 & Zone 3 (2-Ch)
Power (W)*150
Speaker Impedance (Ohms)4 – 8
UHD / HDR Support4K/60p, 4:4:4, HDCP2.2 / HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network / WirelessEthernet / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth / MusicCast Surround + Multi-Room / AirPlay / Amazon Alexa
Auto Room CalibrationYPAO-R.S.C (Reflected Sound Control) Multi-Point with 3D, 64-bit High Precision EQ Calculation and Angle Measurement
Dimensions (W x H x D)17-1/8 x 7-1/2 x 18-5/8 in | 435 x 192 x 474 mm (w/o antenna)
Weight (lbs)39.9
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.06% THD, 2 Channels Driven

Top Receiver Under $3000

If your budget is around $3000, then you really will have a hard choice to make.

The main differences at this price level are the models that have more channels – like the Marantz SR8012 and the Denon AVR-X6700. And the audiophile sound quality of the Anthem, Arcam and NAD models.

If you are someone who needs top-notch performance for movies and music, then Arcam, Anthem or NAD should be on your list.

However, it’s a fine line. That doesn’t mean the Marantz and Denon don’t work well for music. They do. But, if I was forced to sum up the difference, I would say their strength is movie audio and features.

It may be frustrating. But in the end, these things come down to personal taste – and what you are used to listening to. It’s not black and white. Whatever some people may tell you.

If you are unsure – and sound quality is extremely important to you – the only way is to go and demo the amps yourself.

My choice in this category is the Arcam AVR10 7.2-channel AV receiver. It is right up there if you want a receiver which can sound great for music as well as movies.

You might be able to replace your high-end stereo amplifier if you currently use one just for music.

Although it is limited to 7-channels, the AVR10 has 11.2 pre-outs on the back. So, you can connect external power amplifiers and get an excellent 5.2.6/7.2.4 speaker layout.

Arcam AVR10 7.2-Ch AV Receiver

Best Av Receiver Under $3000: Arcam Avr10 7.2-Ch Av Receiver
Channels7.2
Dolby Atmos5.2.2 (Support for 7.2.4)
HDMI In / Out7/2 (eARC)
ZonesNone
Pre Out / Line Out11.2-Ch / Stereo 2-Ch
Power (W)*80
Speaker Impedance (Ohms)8 recommended
UHD / HDR Support4K/60p, 4:4:4, HDCP2.2 / HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network / WirelessEthernet / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth / Airplay 2 / Chromecast
Auto Room CalibrationDirac Live
Dimensions (W x H x D)17-1/16 x 6-3/4 x 16-3/4 in | 433 x 171 x 425 mm
Weight (lbs)36.4
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.02% THD, 2 Channels Driven

Top High-End AV Receiver

If you can quite believe it, we’ve still not reached the top of the tree. You will need to invest some serious money if you want to buy one of these beauties.

But, you know, sometimes you just need to buy the best there is.

These AV receivers are the flagship models for each of the brands. Each has its strengths.

The Denon has the most channels. The Marantz and Anthem aren’t far behind – and still offer the fantastic sound quality that these brands specialize in.

The Yamaha has been on this list before in a lower price category. Which just shows how much of a bargain it is.

My choice is the Arcam AVR30 7.2-channel AV receiver. It doesn’t have the number of channels as the others do.

But this is because it has Class G amplification which excels at providing a dynamic and detailed sound. And, it is expensive to engineer.

However, there is an impressive 15.2 pre-out connections on the back that will allow you to build a 9.2.6 surround sound system – if you buy some extra power amplifiers.

It’s definitely not cheap – but it is certainly a great choice for an audiophile who wants an accurate sound with low distortion.

Yes, you sacrifice some of the bells and whistles that are common in other receivers. But the focus is on high-end sound and video quality.

If that is your priority, then you will be delighted with this receiver.

Conclusion

Well, there we have it. Phew, that is a lot of information to take in.

If you are new to the field of home theater, then it can appear impossible to know where to start. Or what you should be looking out for.

Even when you do know about this stuff it can get confusing!

However, don’t lose sight of the end goal. Having great audio in your room is a fantastic way of experiencing movies and music in your room. You won’t regret it.

Hopefully, this guide will help you find the best AV amplifiers in 2021. Buy a good one, and it will last for years to come.

If you are finding all this a bit too complicated, then there is a simpler path you can take to home theater audio nirvana.

Take a look at, ‘The Best Home Theater Systems in 2021: Top 10 Reviews & Buying Guide‘.

With a home theater system, you get the amplifier and speakers all in one package. It’s a simpler solution for some people.

Another alternative is to buy a soundbar system with a wireless subwoofer.

Have fun.

Frequently Asked Questions: AV Receivers

Does an AV Receiver Need an Amplifier?

No. An AV receiver includes an amplifier to power your speakers.

What is an Integrated Amplifier?

All playback devices, like CD or DVD players, output the audio at a low level. This is called line level.

This is not strong enough to power a set of speakers directly, therefore we need to boost it by using an amplifier.

There are two stages to this process:

  1. There is a preamp (preamplifier) that receives the audio and makes it louder. The preamp will usually allow the connection of several different sources and will have a volume control to vary how loud the sound is output.
  2. After the preamp, the signal is passed to a power amp which amplifies the audio even more and sends it to a connected set of speakers.

An integrated amplifier has the electronics for both the preamp and the power amp in a single box.

An AV receiver is an integrated amplifier because we can connect input devices, alter the volume and then power our speakers. All in one box.

Some more advanced audio systems will use two separate boxes – a dedicated preamplifier and power amp.

What Is the Difference Between an AV Receiver and an Amplifier?

An AV receiver is an integrated amplifier. It includes a preamplifier and a power amplifier in the same box.

So, why is it called a receiver? Why not just call it an amplifier?

Quite simply, a receiver is an integrated amplifier that also has a tuner to receive AM/FM radio signals.

Preamp + power amp + tuner = receiver

Technically, if the device doesn’t have a tuner, it should be called an AV amplifier. Although the term AV receiver is often used regardless.

What Is The Difference Between a Stereo Receiver and a Surround Sound Receiver?

Most people who want a home theater sound system, usually think about surround sound with several speakers around the room.

This is especially great for movie soundtracks. However, you can still get great movie audio in your room by using stereo speakers.

If you were happy with stereo only, then you only need to buy a stereo receiver that powers just two speakers.

AV receivers will support multiple speakers and play surround sound soundtracks from Blu-ray or DVD players.

An AV receiver is often referred to by many different names such as a surround sound amplifier or simply a home theater receiver.

They all refer to the same thing.

Go here to see the difference between hooking up a stereo and surround sound receiver.

Although an AV receiver supports surround sound, we can also use it to playback stereo sound sources too – like CDs.

However, a dedicated stereo amplifier will usually provide better hi-fi sound than an AV receiver. You would need to buy a high-end AV receiver if you also wanted it to get near the quality of a good stereo receiver.

Many home users will have an AV receiver for movie audio, and use a dedicated stereo amplifier for listening to music.

Do More Expensive AV Receivers Sound Better?

Short answer, yes.

Longer answer. As a rule, more expensive AV receivers will have better components and build quality. They will have bigger and better power supplies. All of these will make the sound quality better.

However, to get the full benefit of this, you will also need to pair this with high-quality speakers and source material. And, it all needs to be installed properly with good quality interconnects. And, it should be placed in a room which allows you to hear the improvement in sound.

Final thought. ‘Better sound’ is a very subjective thing. For some people, it will sound better if you just add extra bass. You don’t need an expensive receiver if you just want that. Just turn up your subwoofer!

For audiophiles, a more balanced sound will be required. A more expensive receiver should provide high-end detail, balanced mid-range and controlled bass.

Does an AV Receiver Improve Video Quality?

One important thing to think about when looking at AV receivers is the ability of the device to upconvert or upscale a video signal.

These are two different things.

Upconverting in AV Amplifiers

By upconverting I mean, can it receive one type of video input (e.g. analog component video) and output it as another (e.g. digital HDMI)?

The AV receiver will need to able to do this if I am connecting a DVD player using component connections – and I then expect it to output this to my TV screen via HDMI.

If it can’t upconvert, I will have to send the component video signal directly to the display via a component connection. This means more cables to the display.

It is often only the more expensive receivers that are able to upconvert different types of video input to the HDMI output.

It may not be the end of the world if the AV receiver cannot upconvert various types of inputs. Just be aware that this may be a limitation if you are hoping to keep the cabling of your system as simple as possible.

Upscaling in AV Amplifiers

For upscaling, I am talking about converting lower resolution video into a higher resolution i.e. from 576i PAL to my 1080p screen. Or upscaling 1080p to my 4K Ultra HDTV.

This process is performed by a video scaler.

If the receiver doesn’t upscale, then this job could be done by the Blu-ray/DVD player or the screen itself. So, it may not be something you need in your AV receiver.

All modern TV screens have scalers built-in and many are pretty good. Therefore, any TV will automatically upscale a lower resolution image to display on the screen.

A high-end AV receiver may have a better video scaler than the TV. If so, make sure you allow the receiver to upscale the video before it is sent to the TV.

What Is the Difference Between a 7.1 and 7.2 AV Receiver?

The .1 and .2 refer to the number of subwoofer outputs. A 7.1 receiver will only allow for one subwoofer (which is all most people use). A 7.2 receiver has two subwoofer connections so you can have another sub in the room.

The main advantage of an extra subwoofer is to spread the bass frequencies more evenly around the room.

My guide to surround sound speaker placement explains more about this.

What Is the Difference Between 5.2 and 7.2 Receivers?

A 5.2 receiver allows for 5 surround sound speakers and two subwoofers. The standard layout for the 5 surround speakers is front left, front right, center, surround left and surround right.

A 7.2 receiver has seven channels for surround sound speakers and two for subwoofers. In a 7.2 speaker layout, the configuration is front left, front right, center, surround left, surround right, back left and back right.

To understand this more clearly, go to my guide to surround sound layouts.

Can I Listen to My AV Receiver Using Bluetooth Headphones?

Maybe. Don’t assume that an AV receiver with Bluetooth connectivity will be able to work with your Bluetooth headphones.

Many AV receivers that support Bluetooth will only be able to receive audio from your connected device.

For example, you can connect your phone to the receiver via Bluetooth and send songs from your phone to your speaker system. Nice.

However, to work with Bluetooth headphones, your AV receiver needs to send audio out via Bluetooth. Not all AV receivers will be able to do this. Many will receive audio only.

Check the manual of the receiver you have/want to buy.

Unless it describes exactly how to connect Bluetooth headphones, I would assume it doesn’t support this.

Can I Use Bluetooth Headphones if My AV Receiver Doesn’t Have Bluetooth?

There is an option for using Bluetooth headphones if your AV receiver doesn’t support them.

You can buy a Bluetooth transmitter that connects to an audio output on your AV receiver. Many of these devices will support a stereo analog or optical audio output.

For an analog connection, you might need to have a suitable zone 2 output to do this. If not, you might be able to feed it from the headphone output on the front of the receiver (assuming it has one).

One solution is this one from Amazon:

Avantree Audikast Plus Bluetooth 5.0 Transmitter

With this device, you can connect an optical or analog output from the AV receiver – and then transmit this audio to connected Bluetooth headphones.

You could also do this by sending the sound directly from your TV, rather than using the AV receiver.

There is one possible problem I would consider.

For listening to music, you should be fine. However, with some Bluetooth transmitters, it is possible that the picture and sound may be out-of-sync through the headphones.

This is due to the latency of sending the audio to your headphones via Bluetooth. It might work, but just know this might be a problem.

The device pictured above supports aptX low latency audio. This will transmit low latency sound which solves the problem of out-of-sync picture and sound.

However, you will need to pair it with headphones that also support aptX low latency for this to work.

Just lookout for this if you decide to buy another model.

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Best AV receivers 2021: brilliant home cinema amplifiers

Best AV receivers Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best home cinema amplifiers you can buy in 2021.

If you're serious about home cinema then there really is no substitute for a set of surround sound speakers powered by an AV receiver.

The home cinema amplifier is the brains and brawn of any home cinema system and will ensure your TV and films sound powerful, detailed and dynamic and truly give you that immersive experience.

The majority of AV receivers now include Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support for adding even more sound channels, with the addition of height channel speakers, or they can, of course, play vanilla 5.1 surround sound. Expect HDMI inputs that can pass through 4K (and even 8K) and HDR video, with voice assistant support, Bluetooth wireless audio and Apple AirPlay extras on a fair number of models these days. 

But most of all, the best AV receivers deliver brilliant, room-filling sound. And these are our pick of them, all tried, tested and star-rated in our dedicated testing rooms.

1. Denon AVC-X3700H

Denon raises the bar again for what is achievable for less than a grand.

Specifications

Video support: 8K HDR

Surround formats: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, IMAX Enhanced

HDMI inputs: 7

Hi-res audio: 24-bit/192kHz & DSD

Bluetooth: Yes

Streaming services: Spotify, Tidal. Qobuz, AirPlay, YouTube

Audio channels: 9.2

Dimensions: 17 x 43 x 38cm (HxWxD)

Reasons to buy

+Wonderfully clear and detailed+Dynamic and engaging+HDMI 2.1 and 8K

Reasons to avoid

-Nothing at this price

When you listen to class-leading products as often as we do, you know immediately when a new standard has been set. That said, sometimes it takes until you have a direct comparison with another superb product to comprehend just how high the bar has been lifted.

That is the case with the new 8K-ready Denon AVC-X3700H home cinema amplifier. While there may be a small part of us that would delight in the Japanese company messing up one of these amps – purely so we would have something different to write – the sonic improvement it has made on its predecessor is quite surprisingly marked, which is why its retained its What Hi-Fi? Award in 2021.

The energy of the performance is immediately striking. There’s greater muscle than before, but it is also even lither and better defined. It’s a combination of solid dynamic expression, which enthuses each vocal line as much as differentiating one gunshot from another, a sharper punch and greater clarity that allows you to get deeper inside the soundtrack and become more immersed.

If you have the system to match it with, the AVC-X3700H is another Denon effort that will happily last you many years.

Read the full review: Denon AVC-X3700H

2. JBL Synthesis SDR-35

JBL’s classy SDR-35 is a clear cut above the AVR norm

Specifications

Video support: 4K HDR

Surround formats: Dolby Atmos, Atmos Height Virtualization, DTS:X, DTS Virtual:X, Auro 3D, IMAX Enhanced

HDMI inputs: 7

High res audio: 24Bit / 192kHz

Bluetooth: Yes

Streaming Services: Chromecast, AirPlay 2, aptX HD Bluetooth, Roon Ready

Dimensions: 171 x 433 x 425 x mm (H x W x D)

Reasons to buy

+Supremely clean, clear sound+Thrilling mix of subtlety and scale+Substantial format support

Reasons to avoid

-Only seven channels of power-HDMI 2.1 upgrade will cost extra

When hunting for an AV receiver or amplifier, it can be hard not to get caught up in the battle of the tech specs and those who become too focused on comparing spec sheets may well overlook the 2021 What Hi-Fi? Award-winning JBL Synthesis SDR-35.

While its format support is thorough, its amplification for just seven channels and current lack of HDMI 2.1 connections (all of the sockets are 18gbps HDMI 2.0s but a hardware upgrade to HDMI 2.1 will be offered towards the end of 2021) are trumped by Denon receivers costing around a sixth of its price tag.

In terms of sound quality though, this JBL is in a whole different league, delivering music and movies with a truly rare maturity and sophistication and if we were building a high-end home cinema from scratch, it would be the first component on the shortlist.

The range of supported HDR types is exemplary, with HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision and HDR10+ all offered on the video side, and Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Auro 3D and even IMAX Enhanced for audio. There's also Dolby Height Virtualisation and DTS Virtual:X on board for those who want to simulate height effects without the use of physical ceiling or up-firing speakers.

As well as a substantial selection of physical connections, there are plenty of ways to wirelessly get your content to the SDR-35 too with aptX HD Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2 and Google Chromecast on board. It also works with Harman’s MusicLife app, which allows for streaming of music from the likes of Tidal, Deezer and Qobuz, plus tracks stored on your own network.

Read the full review: JBL Synthesis SDR-35

3. Denon AVC-X6700H

A powerful amp that was worth the wait.

Specifications

Power output: 205W

Channels: 11.2

Video support: 8K HDR

Surround formats: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, IMAX Enhanced

HDMI inputs: 8

Wi-fi: Yes

Bluetooth: Yes

Dimensions: 17 x 43 x 38cm (HxWxD)

Reasons to buy

+Impressive scale and authority+Improved detail and expression+8K support

Reasons to avoid

-Some may want to dial back bass

When hunting for an AV receiver or amplifier, it can be hard not to get caught up in the battle of the tech specs and those who become too focused on comparing spec sheets may well overlook the 2021 What Hi-Fi? Award-inning JBL Synthesis SDR-35.

While its format support is thorough, its amplification for just seven channels and current lack of HDMI 2.1 connections (all of the sockets are 18gbps HDMI 2.0s but a hardware upgrade to HDMI 2.1 will be offered towards the end of 2021) are trumped by Denon receivers costing around a sixth of its price tag.

In terms of sound quality though, this JBL is in a whole different league, delivering music and movies with a truly rare maturity and sophistication and if we were building a high-end home cinema from scratch, it would be the first component on the shortlist.

The range of supported HDR types is exemplary, with HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision and HDR10+ all offered on the video side, and Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Auro 3D and even IMAX Enhanced for audio. There's also Dolby Height Virtualisation and DTS Virtual:X on board for those who want to simulate height effects without the use of physical ceiling or up-firing speakers.

As well as a substantial selection of physical connections, there are plenty of ways to wirelessly get your content to the SDR-35 too with aptX HD Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2 and Google Chromecast on board. It also works with Harman’s MusicLife app, which allows for streaming of music from the likes of Tidal, Deezer and Qobuz, plus tracks stored on your own network.

Read the full review: JBL Synthesis SDR-35

4. Sony STR-DN1080

Best AV receiver in its class. A superb piece of kit for the money.

Specifications

Video support: 4K HDR

Surround formats: Dolby Atmos & DTS:X

HDMI inputs: 6

Hi-res audio: 24-bit/192kHz & DSD

Bluetooth: Yes

Streaming services: Spotify, Tidal. Qobuz, AirPlay, YouTube

Audio channels: 7.2

Dimensions: 16 x 43 x 33cm (HxWxD)

Reasons to buy

+Punchy, agile and precise+Enjoyable and dynamic performance+Exhaustive features

Reasons to avoid

-A backlit remote would be nice

The fact that this was our Product of the Year for two years in a row – and picked up a fourth Award in 2020 – tells you all you need to know. This hugely talented AV receiver was best in class when we originally tested it and remains sensational value for money.

And as for the sound it makes... well, let's just say you'll have to spend an awful lot more cash to get better performance. The feature-packed Sony STR-DN1080 sounds fantastic, reaching deep into its reserves to deliver a performance packed with punch, dynamism and authority in a way we haven’t heard from home cinema amplifiers at this sort of price.

There's an incredible amount of detail from natural, expressive voices to layers of insight and depth surrounding each sound effect. Dynamically speaking, it's a fun and exciting listen, equally at home rendering tranquil, quiet moments as it is huge, wall-shuddering explosions - in a word, enthralling.

Sony has unfortunately discontinued the STR-DN1080 and it's now almost impossible to buy a new one in the UK. It's worth considering a second-hand unit, though, and there's still decent availability in the US – for now.

Read the full review: Sony STR-DN1080

5. Denon AVR-X2700H

Another entry-level AVR belter from Denon.

Specifications

Power output: 150W

Channels: 7.1

Video support: 8K HDR

Surround formats: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, IMAX Enhanced

HDMI inputs: 7

Wi-fi: Yes

Bluetooth: Yes

Dimensions: 17 x 43 x 33cm (HxWxD)

Reasons to buy

+Superb spatial control+Excellent sense of rhythm+HDMI 2.1 and 8K

Reasons to avoid

-Nothing at this price

If we had to use one word to describe the sound of this receiver, it would be ‘confident’. The AVR-X2700H doesn’t try too hard to impress, as a nervously underpowered budget amp might. 

It’s bigger, better and more cultured than that. It has even greater authority than last year’s model, and it never strains to exert it. The two subwoofers in our 7.2 set-up growl with control whenever called upon, never once detracting from the crystal clarity of the music in the soundtrack, the voices or surround effects.

It’s an easy and effective listen. No matter how hectic the action becomes, this Denon never misses a beat. It passes the laser blasts from speaker to speaker in a wonderfully coherent manner and, no matter the scene, creates a genuine sense of place.

Read the full review: Denon AVR-X2700H

6. Denon AVR-X3600H

A former Award winner that still packs a punch.

Specifications

Power output: 180W

Channels: 9

Video support: 4K HDR

Surround formats: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby Vision

HDMI inputs: 8

Wi-fi: Yes

Bluetooth: Yes

Dimensions: 17 x 44 x 3cm (HxWxD)

Reasons to buy

+Added amplification channels+More power than its predecessor+Gains worthwhile technologies

Reasons to avoid

-Nothing at this price

Sometimes the differences between generations of Denon home cinema can appear minor. But that wasn't the case with the AVR-X3600H.

Rather than merely updating the 2018 Award-winning AVR-X3500H, Denon added two amp channels and processing power for a further pair, upgraded power supply and power transformer and extruded aluminium heatsink.

Most importantly, though, it tightened up the sound to a truly impressive degree. Its predecessor had muscle, but this amp is even more clearly defined and at full fighting fitness.

It isn’t so much the fact that this is an altogether more powerful amplifier than the Award-winning AVR-X3500H – already a mighty receiver in its own right – but its muscle feels leaner, and punches tend to sting more.

Truly, this is a heavyweight in every sense of the word. That's why we named it our AV receiver Product of the Year for 2019. For pound-per-performance value, it's only beaten by its successor above.

Read the full review: Denon AVR-X3600H

7. Yamaha RX-A2A

An AV receiver with bold sound to match its bold looks

Specifications

HDR support: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HDR10+ (via future update)

Surround formats: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization

HDMI inputs: 7

High res audio: ALAC: up to 96 kHz / 24-bit, FLAC: up to 384 kHz / 24-bit, WAV / AIFF: up to 384 kHz / 32-bit

Bluetooth: Yes (SBC / AAC)

Streaming: MusicCast, AirPlay 2

WiFi: 2.4/5GHz

Dimensions: 17 x 44 x 37cm (HxWxD)

Reasons to buy

+Agile and responsive+Spacious but focused presentation+Exciting character

Reasons to avoid

-Lacks authority-HDMI 2.1 features require updates

Part of Yamaha's premium Aventage range, the RX-A2A is the beneficiary of a glossy aesthetic revamp as well as an injection of next-generation connectivity that will future proof it for the coming years.

With seven full-range channels of power, each rated at 100W into eight ohms in stereo conditions, plus two subwoofer outputs, the RX-A2A can handle up to 7.1 speaker configurations or, if using the supported Dolby Atmos and DTS:X decoding, a 5.1.2 set-up. 

Sonically it's impressive and incredibly responsive, delivering punchy transients, spacious surround sound and plenty of musical drive.

For streaming, there's Yamaha’s MusicCast app, which allows for high-res and lossless music formats including Apple Lossless (ALAC) up to 96kHz, WAV, FLAC or AIFF up to 192kHz as well as playback from services including Spotify and Tidal. There’s also AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth (SBC / AAC) on board and Google Assistant/Alexa compatibility for voice control, not to mention a DAB+ and FM/AM tuner.

There are several planned upgrades that Yamaha will make to the RX-A2A to get it up to full spec, but it will eventually support up to 4K at 120Hz (both with and without display screen compression) and 8K at 60Hz (with display screen compression) through three of its seven HDMI inputs. 

These features, along with other next-gen HDMI updates and HDR10+, will only become available thanks to a series of firmware updates beginning this Autumn. A free hardware upgrade will also be available to make it fully compatible with 4K at 120Hz signals from an Xbox Series X or Nvidia RTX30-series graphics card. 

But the lack of these features out of the box will probably only matter if you're a hardcore gamer. For films, the RX-A2A handles 4K signals at up to 60 frames per second, which no source currently goes beyond, and supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision video formats.

Read the full review: Yamaha RX-A2A

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test

Sours: https://www.whathifi.com/us/best-buys/home-cinema/best-home-cinema-amplifiers
BEST AV RECEIVERS 2021 - TOP 10 BEST A/V RECEIVER 2021 - HOME THEATER

Best AV receivers 2021: which home cinema AV receiver should you buy?

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Buying one of the best AV receivers of 2021 is an excellent decision if you want to transform your humble entertainment set-up into your own personal home theater system. We like to think of an AV receiver as a home entertainment hub, which will ensure you get the best possible audio and video possible from the devices you already have.

With that in mind, if you want the best entertainment experience, an AV receiver is important. Buying one of the best TVs on the market allows you to bring that huge cinema screen feel to your home, but it far too often won’t be able to deliver the audio you need to match it. What’s the answer? To get the high-end sound that truly makes the most of your 4K TV, you'll need to buy yourself an AV receiver.

But wait, what really is an AV receiver? Good question. It might sound like complex audio equipment, but an AV receiver is really just a much way to better control your AV setup. AV receivers are able to take the audio track from whatever TV show, movie, CD, or video game you're watching or listening to and then process the audio and send it through to any connected speakers you have. 

Importantly, AV receivers (which are also known as AVRs) don’t just improve sound. They are also the only way to power 5.1 and 7.1 speaker setups outside of a soundbar, and they can also host a wide range of ports, which allows you to keep all of your devices connected all of the time. 

This is essential, because you should think of the best AV receivers as the central hub that all of your entertainment equipment will connect to and communicate with in order to bring you the best possible experience.

Even if you have a whole host of other devices, the best AV receivers mean that the transition between them can be seamless. That means, regardless of what it is you’re trying to play, watch or listen to, you’ll always get an amazing entertainment experience to (just about) rival your nearest cinema screen.

8K AV receivers are now also entering the market too. That means if you own or you’re thinking of upgrading to an 8K TV, you might want to check out the 8K-capable AVR from Denon or Yamaha, especially for use alongside the latest gaming consoles, like the PS5 or Xbox Series X. We'll update this guide once some of these 8K models have been through our tests, too.

On a budget

Denon HEOS AVR

This multiroom receiver is a bright, lively listen

Specifications

Power output (claimed): 5 x 50W into 8 ohms

Dolby Atmos: No

HDMI: 4-in 1-out

AV inputs: 2 x digital audio (1 x optical and 1 x coaxial), 3.5mm stereo minijack, stereo phono

Dimensions: 434(w) x 90(h) x 277(d) mm

Weight: 6kg

Reasons to buy

+Revolutionary design+Compatible with wireless HEOS multi-room speakers

Reasons to avoid

-Not Dolby Atmos compatible-Fun for movies, music not so much

It’s not often we see something radically different in the world of AV receivers, but this HEOS model definitely qualifies. For starters, it looks fundamentally different to the herd. There’s no front panel display. Rear connectivity has also been stripped back. Standing just 90mm tall, it’s refreshing compact.  

Build quality is superb. Only a volume knob on the extruded aluminum fascia gives the AVR game away. 

There are four HDMI inputs, and a single output, all with HDCP 2.2 support. There's just two digital audio inputs (coaxial and optical), plus analogue stereo, 3.5mm minijack, lone USB and Ethernet LAN. Wireless connectivity covers Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Perhaps surprisingly, this is a 5.1 channel design and doesn’t support Dolby Atmos. Key to the receiver’s appeal is HEOS wireless speaker integration. While there is provision for wired rear speakers, the system is designed to work with wireless HEOS rears. In most systems, only the front L/C/R will be tethered. It can also partner with a dedicated wireless HEOS subwoofer. 

While a remote is supplied, it’s a basic zapper. There’s no onscreen display either. Setup and control is done through a HEOS app. 

For our audition, we partnered the AVR with a pair of HEOS 1s at the rear, and the wireless HEOS subwoofer. With speakers grouped, the package becomes a working 5.1 system. There’s no further calibration required.

The HEOS AVR may not be a powerhouse, but it’s a bright, lively listen. The receiver delivers multichannel movie soundtracks with gusto. It’s crisp and exciting, particularly when there’s plenty going on around the soundstage (try it with Edge of Tomorrow Blu-ray, then duck as the DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack unloads chaos in every corner).   

This isn’t a particularly musical AVR though. Pop and rock are entertaining enough, but throw a throw it something classical or jazzy and its spatial delineation turns a bit mushy. 

Using wireless rears can invite some problems. While latency isn’t an issue, we were aware of occasional low-level pops and fizzes.

As an ambitious reworking of the classic home theater receiver, we rate this first HEOS AVR as an qualified success. The cosmetics are admirable, and for dedicated HEOS multi room users the wireless interactivity is a boon. Employing an app for control seems to make perfect sense, the only snag comes if your streaming audio sources are also app controlled and need to be juggled outside of the HEOS app. This may not be the future of AV receivers, but it’s a refreshing rethink nonetheless. 

Sony STR-DN1080

An innovative, affordable Dolby Atmos AV receiver with plenty of cool tricks

Specifications

Power output (claimed): 7 x 165W into 6 ohms

Dolby Atmos: Yes (5.1.2)

HDMI: 6-in, 2-out

AV inputs: 3 x composite; 2 x digital audio

Dimensions: 430(w) x 156(h) x 331(d) mm

Weight: 9.7kg

Reasons to buy

+Dynamic movie performance+Virtual surround speaker technology

Reasons to avoid

-Frustrating user interface-No HDMI 2.1

It might be late to the party, but Sony’s debut Dolby Atmos AV receiver entertains with some cool functionality. While it’s ostensibly a seven channel design (which means it can run in a 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos configuration) there are also two phantom rears which create a pseudo seven channel surround soundstage. The receiver can even virtually relocate the physical position of your speakers, to create a better sonic balance.   

Build quality is commensurate with its price tag. This is no heavyweight, and the fascia looks overly fussy, but the hairline finish is a premium touch. Connectivity is good. We get six HDMI inputs, all HDCP 2.2 enabled. There are also two HDMI outputs, for combi TV and projector use. There are also two analogue AV inputs, plus a pair of stereo phonos and two digital audio inputs.  

The AVR connects via Ethernet or Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth with NFC for quick pairing, plus Airplay.  The AVR also boasts Chromecast Built-in. That’s all the main wireless boxes ticked.

Setup is helped along by the latest iteration of Sony’s Auto Calibration software, which now features a 31-band graphic EQ and a stereo calibration microphone that adjusts phase, distance and level.

Usability is average. The receiver relies heavily on its UI, which is pretty but sometimes a little frustrating.  

Performance is excellent for the price. Tonally the STR-DN1080 may not be particularly warm, but it is exciting. Movies benefit from seamless panning and pronounced dynamics. Power output is quoted at  7 x 165W into 6 ohms. The biggest surprise is the effectiveness of the phantom rears, which really do help fill out the rear surround stage. This sonic trickery positions the STR-DN1080 somewhere above a standard 5.1.2 design, but below a true nine channel amp.

Overall, this is an innovative, exciting AV Dolby Atmos receiver. Consider it a brilliant value home cinema offering.  

Sours: https://www.techradar.com/news/best-av-receiver-2017-which-home-cinema-av-receiver-should-you-buy

Amplifier reviews receiver

Are you looking for the best AV receiver for the money? You've come to the right place. I've tested some of the most popular options from the major brands in the $500 to $700 range, and the connectivity, performance levels and feature sets are impressively high. From Dolby Atmos to voice control to Wi-Fi music streaming -- and high-quality audio -- these modern home cinema receivers offer everything a home theater enthusiast needs. 

There's one thing to take into consideration, however, particularly if you're a gamer. Until fairly recently, 8K-compatible receivers have had issues displaying video from certain types of gaming consoles and PCs. So, there's one brand in particular you should be wary of in the short term. However, if you don't care about using the Xbox Series X or simply can't wait, these are the best models available right now.

Now playing:Watch this: How to buy an affordable AV receiver

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Which receiver should I buy?

If you can live without the latest features -- HDMI 2.1, 8K, VRR -- then the 2019 Onkyo TX-NR696is the receiver to get. The Onkyo is an excellent performer and offers easy setup, excellent usability, solid looks and useful features, including the best streaming suite. The TX-NR696 retails for more than $500, but it is regularly on sale for under that. Even at its regular price of $599 the TX-NR696 is a great deal. Be aware that it's about to be replaced by a new model, but it will cost a whole $200 more.

Until the 4K/120Hz bug reared its head -- more on that shortly -- the Yamaha RX-V6A was my favorite receiver of the last 12 months. It offers striking looks and the performance chops to match. On the other hand, the Sony STR-DN1080 may be getting super old at this point but it still offers 4K HDR throughput, streaming capabilities and top-notch sound. (Note: It is currently marked as being discontinued on many shopping sites, but Sony has confirmed to CNET that it remains a current model.)

Why should I wait?

I would advise caution on buying a Yamaha receiver in particular right now, especially if future-proofing is something you're interested in. You see, all of the newest, 8K-compatible receivers were susceptible to a bug preventing them from displaying variable refresh rate video, and from the Xbox Series X in particular. While Denon, Marantz and Yamaha announced fixes for existing models, if you buy a Yamaha RX-V6A right now it could mean sending your new receiver in to get a mainboard replaced. Yamaha says new compliant receivers won't be available on shelves until fall.

Meanwhile Sound United, which produces Denon and Marantz receivers, says any models sold after April 2021 should be 4K/120Hz compliant. The spokesperson said that if customers are unsure whether their model is compliant or not they should contact their dealer or customer support. Older, noncompliant models are able to be rectified with a free adapter, but the company advises these dongles are now out of stock for the next five months. 

Competitor Onkyo released its $599 TX-NR5100 in mid-July 2021, and while I found it could pass 4K/120Hz I believe it's not as recommendable as the older, more capable TX-NR696 for the same money.

But is 4K/120Hz support even a big deal? There are a small handful of games that you can put into this mode -- Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and so on -- but the advantages of 4K/120Hz over 60Hz are minimal as far as we've seen so far. Future games and even video sources may make the differences clearer, and that's why you'd want a receiver that's fully compatible.

If you do buy an older receiver, don't care about the Xbox Series X, or don't want to send your 8K model to the shop, you can always hook a fancy new console directly to the TV, then use eARC to get audio to the receiver. Despite the mess AV receiver manufacturers find themselves in right now, there is one thing the following models have in common: great performance.

Best receiver overall

Onkyo TX-NR696

Sarah Tew/CNET

Nov 2019

The Onkyo TX-NR696 is the best AV home theater receiver for those looking for a budget-ish option. This receiver was released in 2019 with a wealth of connectivity that supports multiple audio formats and gives a big, bold sound. It isn't the direct replacement to my favorite receiver of 2018, the TX-NR585, but this step-up AV receiver model offers a number of improvements, including a bump in power (80 to 100 watts) and a front-mounted HDMI port, in addition to the six HDMI inputs on the back. This video and audio receiver offers streaming protocols, including built-in Chromecast, DTS Play-Fi, Spotify Connect, AirPlay and Bluetooth. If you can find the TX-NR696 under $500, that's great, but if you can't it's still worth the extra coin.

Note the newer $799 TX-NR6100 has the 4K/120Hz and 8K compatibility which the NR696 lacks.

Read our Onkyo TX-NR696 review.

Best design

Yamaha RX-V6A

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

This Yamaha AV receiver is the best 8K receiver we've tested, but it's a pity about the lack of 4K/120Hz support right now. It's worth waiting for the newer versions to come out in the fall with VRR and Xbox Series X and PS5 compatibility. Video compatibility aside, the Yamaha RX-V6A offers a fresh look at AV receiver design with futuristic edges while also maximizing sound quality. The RX-V6A could make you forget about ever visiting a cinema again, and it's no slouch with music, either. This Yamaha receiver offers Wi-Fi connectivity, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth and Yamaha's MusicCast system for streaming from your devices. Just wait a month or two till the updated models go on sale.

Read our YAMAHA RX-V6A review.

Best for gamers, music fans

Denon AVR-S960H

Sound United

One of only two mainstream designs released in 2020, Denon's AVR-S960H may not be as glittering and shiny as the Yamaha RX-V6A, but it still offers excellent sound quality. The receiver is laid-back, blends well with forward-sounding speakers and replays music beautifully. It has almost everything you need, including 8K video, voice control via both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant speakers, Dolby Atmos, and Apple AirPlay 2. While 2019's excellent AVR-S750H is still available, if the price for the '960 is around $600 you might as well pay a bit more for the bump in features and power the S960 offers.

Be aware that versions of the Denon AVR-S960H bought before April 2021 are affected by the 4K/120Hz bug and owners should sign up for one of the free dongles. 

Read our Denon AVR-S960H review.

Best for Android users (Update: Out of stock)

Sony STR-DN1080

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Sony STR-DN1080 earned our Editors' Choice Award back in 2017, and despite being pretty long in the tooth it's still an excellent AV receiver package. Sound quality isn't quite as strong as those of the Denon and Onkyo, but they're all very close. If you want a receiver that offers ease of use and integrates both AirPlay (but not AirPlay 2) and Google Chromecast built-in wireless streaming, this is a great option. It even uses virtual speaker relocation technology to optimize sound in the room where you set it up. Don't pay full price, though -- it has been on sale in the past for between $400 and $500.

Read our Sony STR-DN1080 review.

What to look for in a $500-ish receiver

AV receivers are notoriously complex, with reams of features and confusing technical specifications. (For example, what's "ultra HD"?) But what are the things that really matter when buying a new model? I'm going to sum up the most important ones right here.

4K HDR compatibility

You want to make sure your new receiver can keep up with the latest TVs and video gear. Standards do change all the time, but the bare minimum right now is support for HDR and Dolby Vision, at least HDMI version 2.0 or better. All of these models support 4K and HDR video. 8K is coming, slowly, but most recorded content is still going to be in 1080p or even SD for many, many years. If future-proofing is a concern for you, the Yamaha RX-V6A and Denon AVR-S960H offer 8K and HDMI 2.1 compatibility as well. 

11-onkyo-tx-nr585-add

As many HDMI inputs as you can afford

With most TVs and set-top boxes supporting HDMI, you should buy a receiver that has as many of these HDMI input ports and outputs as possible. Front-mounted HDMI ports are kind of like an appendix -- unneeded, because most users don't hot-plug HDMI devices -- making the number of rear inputs what's most important. (How else are you going to connect your Blu-ray player, Nintendo Switch, soundbar and all your other devices?) The Sony and Onkyo in this roundup both have six rear-mounted HDMI ports while the Denon and Yamaha go one better with seven. If you want to connect two different displays -- a TV and a projector for example -- all but the Yamaha offer a second HDMI output. You should also be sure you have an extra HDMI cable or two on hand -- these things are like the second sock of a pair in that you can never find them when you need them.

You don't really need Dolby Atmos 'height' speakers

Most receivers in the $500-and-above price range include Dolby Atmos capability and DTS:X, but the effect they have on your home theater movie-watching can be subtle, or in most movies nonexistent. In other words, don't worry about missing out on these formats if you don't install an extra height speaker or two. Mounting your rear surround speakers high on the wall will get you halfway there in terms of quality, immersive sound.

Wi-Fi music streaming

Most midrange receivers have onboard Wi-Fi network connectivity for wireless music streaming through your speaker system. There are plenty of standards for wireless streaming services, but the most universal are Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay 1 and 2, and Google Chromecast built in. If you're looking to build a multiroom system with a variety of AV systems and speakers with wireless connectivity, these are the three flavors to aim for. The Onkyo and Sony are the only two devices that support all three. The Denon receiver model lacks wireless streaming via Chromecast, but ups the ante to AirPlay 2 and the proprietary HEOS system. Yamaha has its own MusicCast in the meantime.

For more general information on what you should be looking for, check out this 

Sours: https://www.cnet.com/tech/home-entertainment/best-av-receiver/
The Best Stereo Receiver - Pyle PT272AUBT Stereo Receiver Review

Still not sure? We got this.

We’re not going to sugarcoat this: choosing the best possible home theater receiver for the best possible home theater or multi-room music solution is not easy. Above, we’re just scratching the surface on features and capabilities – we could write 5000 words on any ONE receiver above, and still not cover everything.

The good news? Once everything is set up, most AV receivers really are simple to operate. (Not the case 10 years ago.) And though most include a remote control with more buttons than Granny’s sewing box, most also include an intuitive, easy-to-use smart phone app that simplifies everything – right down to the very basics. (Most of our customers prefer the app.)

As always, we invite you to call or write, anytime, with any questions at all. Tell us what you’re looking for, what your budget is, a little about your room, what kind of movies and music you like, and we’ll explain your options patiently, honestly, and without pressure or ”selling.” Our one and only goal: helping you get it right while saving you some money. Our one and only motive: doing such a great job, you tell your friends, neighbors (even your cousin Ricky) about us.

One more thing:

A last word of advice: if not us, buy your new AV receiver from a trusted dealer. And the more experience and longer the track record, the better. A good dealer will take care of you in the event anything happens.

Speaking of trusted dealers...

World Wide Stereo is home to some 90+ industry-leading audio/video professionals who love what they do and talking about it, too. We opened our doors in 1979, gained a small yet die-hard following, won a slew of national awards for everything from killer car audio installations to customer service, grew the business online… and today we enjoy a faithful following of like-minded TV-watching, music-listening, gear-loving defenders of fun for the whole family. Our only rule: no one leaves unhappy. Learn more about World Wide Stereo here.

Sours: https://www.worldwidestereo.com/blogs/wws-underground/entries/best-home-theater-receivers

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AV Receiver Reviews


Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,600

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Impressive dynamics and clarity in both stereo and multichannel
Quick-response onscreen interface
Four-zone multiroom capability plus wireless MusicCast
Excellent, responsive streaming-audio client
Minus
Remote control is crowded and not illuminated

THE VERDICT
Fully competitive with other flagship AVRs in basic performance, the Yamaha RX-A2070’s proprietary DSP music listening modes are an added attraction that could win over even the most serious listeners.

Once, receivers used to receive (radio waves), and amplify, period. They still do, but those are almost beside-the-point functions. Receivers nowadays are more concerned with decoding, casting, wireless-connecting, virtualizing, surround-formatting, multi-room-extending, auto-analyzing, and more. In fact, I don’t know why we still call these things “receivers,” but, whatever.

Sours: https://www.soundandvision.com/category/av-receiver-reviews


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