The modest two-speaker setup or the 9.1.2 home theater — whichever your setup is, it will definitely benefit from adding the best AV receiver. This device works as a hub where all roads (cables) lead. This box analyzes all the signals from sound and video equipment and greatly influences the quality of their performance. That’s why the solid build and high-end components are must-have.
Still, the AV receiver isn’t necessarily the most expensive one. When shopping for the AVR, check the following important parameters:
Consider your needs and choose the best A/V receiver! Use the descriptions below as a guide.
Got a set of two speakers and need the best audio receiver? The R-S202BL from Yamaha might be the one. It performs well and has Bluetooth — which means you can listen to your smartphone playlists or Internet radio through large speakers.
This model is budget-friendly but doesn’t cut on the build or inner components. It integrates the shortest circuit paths for the signal, a powerful amplifier, and a large heat sink. It can be used for hours without getting hot or shutting down. Just plug your CD player, tape recorder, or any other gadget with the RCA connectors into any dual RCA port (there are four input ones and a single out). If you use a vinyl record player as a source, hook up the preamp into any of the receiver's inputs.
The frequency range of this receiver is vast — 10Hz to 100KHz. Combined with the 100W per channel output, it creates a full detailed sound with a balanced frequency response. The lows and mids are worked out thoroughly and feature a lot of nuances. The bass is tight and dynamic and stays so up to the lowest audible point. The only gripe I had were somewhat blurry highs in complex jazz and pop compositions. Still, the voices and instruments stand out really well while not being tiresome. For simple setups, the R-S202BL is one of the best receivers for the money.
If you’re looking for a solid entry-level hub for a home theater with good sound and options, the STRDH590 might be the best AV receiver for the purpose. It supports 5.2-channel connectivity, enables 4K and HDR passthrough, pairs the smartphone via Bluetooth. The Virtual Surround technology provides a great option for small setups and is a good bonus for this price category.
With this receiver, I never was prompted to swap wires or use my HDMI splitters while trying it with different devices. The Blu-ray player, the gaming console, and my cable antenna were working without issues or delays. I also liked the ARC-supported HDMI output for a TV that routed the sound to my Klipsch acoustic set efficiently. The safety protocol for all ports is HDCP 2.2, which also enables the clear 4K image and distinct HDR peaks and sharpness on the screen.
The setup was fast, and so was the Bluetooth pairing. I just had to install the app on my phone and tap the button on the screen, and the receiver came up alive. Another nice feature, it activated the last source that was in use (in my case, it was my cable box).
The power is another feature making this Sony AV receiver a worthy purchase. It supplies 145W per channel at peaks and packs quite a punch with its dynamic and strong bass. The surround sound is enveloping yet detailed; it doesn’t muffle the low end keeping the main line clear and sharp. The mids are rock solid and rich with nuance while the treble is clean and full.
Packed with multiple physical connections, wireless options, and various sound optimization techs, this device is rock solid and deserves its place among the best receivers for professional or amateur use. It’s highly versatile; still, the abundance of options takes time to manage and setup properly.
The unit provides 735W of total output and manages seven speakers and two subs configuration. All the speaker ports are sturdy binding posts, gold plated as all the other connections on this receiver. Two RCA jacks let hook up the Zone 2 speaker as well. There are five HDMI ports for input and a single ARC-enabled one for output to the TV. Three inputs and the output are HDCP 2.2 protected.
The receiver features a versatile set of RCA connections including the ones for component video hookup and the phono ports. There are also coaxial and optical ports for digital devices, FM/AM connections, and the Trigger out ones. The Ethernet port provides fast firmware updates loading and streaming videos in high quality.
The wireless includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and multiple built-in streaming apps. The AirPlay worked well when streaming music from the iPhone. The video streaming can be performed through the Internet connection (Wi-Fi or Ethernet) and supports 4K / HDR (Dolby Vision) and Dolby Atmos / DTS:X.
The sound of this Yamaha AV receiver can be described as warm and detailed. While being extremely sharp and clear with the stereo setup, it brings forward the bass a bit when all the surround set is connected. The soundstage is vast, with clearly drawn mids, highs, and lows.
A solid option for the home entertainment center, this unit is versatile yet easy to set up and operate. It has multiple connections that are carefully inscribed and visually divided for a quick and correct hookup. It creates a highly detailed and dense soundstage with the precise “location” of effects and sound just through a 5.1-speaker configuration. It has Bluetooth and can be tuned via the smartphone / tablet app. I’d call it the best home theater receiver; yet, the absence of Zone 2 connections and the wireless speaker connection does limit its capacity as the modern home hub. However, I’m sure it would please any audiophile with a crisp and detailed sound.
The power output makes 90W per channel and, enhanced with several sound optimization technologies, ensures the lively and dense sound in HD format. Cinema DSP technology boosts the surround effect creating the impression of the actual presence while keeping the sound natural. The frequency response is maintained fully up to the extreme frequencies. The highs are clear and feature just the right amount of brightness and detail. The receiver supports the bi-amp connection, which provides more depth to bass and mids.
Using the YPAO technology on this Yamaha home theater receiver I got the accurately tuned front and side speakers while the sub seemed to be a bit hushed out. I tried the Extra Bass feature and received the solid and loud bass I wanted. Still, the function might be overkill for quiet music listening or regular TV watching.
This receiver will be a good match if you want to have Atmos and 4K but don’t want to break the bank. It supports the 7.2-channel configuration with different modifications, has the auto-calibration system, supports virtual surround technology, and has enough power to handle it all. It’s one of the best AV receivers in the middle-class category that ensures the high-quality picture and sound. However, I was surprised not to find the Wi-Fi connection button or at least an Ethernet port on the back panel.
The setup didn’t take me long, except for bi-amping the front speakers and then switching the wires to test the full surround version. The receiver sounds solid in the Atmos format, the vertical sounds are clear and placed exactly. The lows have a good base. Dialogs are put forward a bit due to the slightly bright highs. The background effects might be muffled in the dynamic soundstage but usually are clear.
I plugged my 4K TV into the HDMI out, which is enhanced with eARC technology. The picture in 4K and Dolby Vision was colorful, with a warm palette and sharp contours. The sound was reproduced without the lag. So it did with the PS4 hooked up.
While the D.C.A.C. auto-calibration has recognized all of my speakers and a sub, it has set the vertical speakers a bit too treble-oriented. However, the sub was leveled accurately. The Bluetooth on this Sony home theater receiver connects quickly and lets stream the music in the HD quality.
Simply listing the features and options that this 11.2-channel receiver provides would take the whole page. With the separate board for each channel, full support of 4K UHD picture, and quick and intuitive setup, this unit probably has no rivals as the best 4K AV receiver. Still, the multiple features and connections might be overkill for the majority of home theater setups, even considering the flexibility of receiver configurations
The unit can work in multiple modes like 9.1.2 or 5.1.2 Zone 2, etc. It can route the sound and picture to three zones via physical connections or stream out the music through the HEOS Multi-Room technology. The DTS:X and Dolby Atmos performance is lifelike and clear, with the tiniest effects being present and full. The stereo sound has fast dynamics and even frequency response throughout the range.
The video options are also versatile. The Marantz AV receiver can pass through the 4K / UHD picture and multiple HDR versions (including Dolby Vision and HLG), 3D format. The monitor / TV can be hooked up through a variety of ports including the RCA ones, optical, HDMI with eARC.
The unit has Bluetooth and AirPlay 2, and supports the most popular video and music apps like Spotify, Pandora, Netflix, Deezer, etc. It can be managed with voice commands through various assistant programs like Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant. The network capabilities let it connect to the smart home systems and be managed from the distance.
If you plan on having the real cinematic experience at home, this home theater receiver should be on your wishlist. It manages the 11.2-channel configuration and some other ones (e.g. 7.1.4) and offers various types of speaker connections. It can upscale the video to a higher format and provide the high-definition sound with the utmost clarity.
I tried the AV7705 with the 9.2 setup, and a wireless stereo set in another room was hooked up via the HEOS system. The surround sound is worked out carefully, with each detail coming into focus and being placed exactly within the soundstage. I used the Audyssey MultiEQ for the initial calibration, which had been quite efficient. Still, I also changed the balance a bit for the rear speakers to provide less bass. Navigating the options and setting the levels is easy due to the user-friendly menu. The on-screen setup assistant is helpful while two displays on the receiver’s front panel inform about the current source played, the input used, and (for digital sources) the content information.
The video support includes all of the features mentioned in the premium AV receiver reviews. The AV7705 transmits the 4K picture at 60 FPS, supports 4:4:4 color scheme, the HDR10, Hybrid Log Gamma, and Dolby Vision formats. The 3D can be transmitted via the HDMI connection. It also implements the IMAX technology resulting in a dynamic picture with high contrast and rich colors, and immersive surround sound.
This 4K AV receiver shares the minimalist look usual for Denon units. With the lower panel covered, it’s impossible to differ from a 5.1-channel receiver or another model. However, it supports the 13.2-channel mode to perform within the latest formats and provides the full-rate 4K UHD transmission. There’s also the 8K passthrough HDMI input making this device future proof and flexible.
Apart from the mentioned 8K input, the receiver offers six 4K HDMI ports that can be assigned via the remote, smartphone app, or on-screen menu. There are also three outputs (one for Zone 2), the main one having eARC technology.
Thirteen speaker connections (plus two subs) are represented by the sturdy binding posts accepting banana plugs. This makes the setup a plug-n-play one, with the Audyssey Platinum Suite calibrating the room and speakers. I was satisfied with the levels the system set for all the channels, and with the amount of bass and treble of each speaker, as well as the overall volume balance.
The power output makes 150W per channel at 8-Ohm impedance. Combined with four high-quality DSPs, it ensures the solid high-resolution sound in all supported formats. The latter range from Dolby Surround to IMAX (with the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X in between). The sound of this Denon AV receiver flows easily and pictures the exact instrument, voice and effect with a lot of detail. It makes any source sound natural and balanced in any of the supported speaker configurations.
The multiple HDMI ports, compatibility with Smart Home systems, and even DAB broadcast support can be found in many home theater receiver reviews. What makes this receiver different (except for its extremely high price) is the quality of build, which results in the way it sounds.
The premium amplifier components and individual assembly provide for the 100W per channel power output at 7 channels operating. The receiver supports various configurations including such sophisticated ones as 7.1.4 for DTS:X or Dolby Atmos decoding. The surround sound transmitted through the receiver is very clean, with no color but distinct detail of the initial sound. This clarity is preserved throughout the frequency scale (20Hz – 20KHz). The bass in the 7.1 mode creates a full presence effect while the height speakers sound blend into the soundstage seamlessly. Treble is pitched high but doesn’t get harsh, and the dialogs are sharp against the loudest effects.
The receiver has seven HDMI ports, four of which support HDCP 2.2 protocol, and can pass through the UHD picture. For output, there are three HDMI connections, one of which is ARC enhanced. The IMAX content can also be passed through these ports. The video features sharp highlights and contrasts, as well as saturated vivid colors.
The radio transmission technologies include the dedicated antenna inputs and Internet radio streaming support (through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth). The media files can also be played from the USB flash drive. The receiver is compatible with the home control systems and the iOS app.
This audiophile-grade Pioneer AV receiver combines the high power capacity with versatile options and construction specifics. All this results in the transparent and strong sound with all the frequencies balanced in the way they’re meant to be.
The unit powers the 9.2-channel scheme ensuring the 140W per channel output. It provides dynamic and precise playback with the sharp picturing of every detail, in any surround sound format. Tested with the Dolby Atmos content, it delivered the exact sound-to-channel distribution that created a fully enveloping effect. The treble is full and airy but not bright while mids and lows tend to take as much space as possible.
The Blu-Ray player, gaming console, cable box, or any other source can be plugged into one of the seven HDMI ports, one of which is MHL-compatible. There are also three HDMI outputs. The speaker connectors are bulky binding posts plus RCA ports for subwoofers. Other connections include coaxial and optical inputs and optical output. The RCA jacks for speakers and source devices including the phono stage.
The Pioneer home theater receiver integrates the MCACC Pro Room calibration featuring multiple EQ options. The system works well in the standard room and sets the levels accurately. However, with the slightly changed speaker placement, it set my sub to the minimum volume resulting in the non-impressive bass. The bass and treble balance, as well as preset volume level, can be assigned via the on-screen menu or directly through the receiver’s interface.
With the developed surround sound set compatibility and support of the relevant formats (Dolby Atmos, DTS:X), I recommend this Sony multi-channel AV receiver for music listening. This unit is quite powerful and has an advanced amplification mechanism ensuring the high clarity and transparency of sound. With any source connected (a CD player, a smartphone, or a PC), it relays the sound as it is, with plenty of detail and character.
The performance of this receiver is musical, its dynamic is light and precise in any music genre. The frequency response is even through the range. The mids are full of detail, lows are solid and deep, highs widen the soundstage, and set the accents. The imaging is accurate, with each voice and instrument line having its exact place within.
The device supports the 7.2-channel setup with a total output making 1155W. Other available configurations make 7.1, 5.1, 7.1.2-channel, etc. The speakers can be hooked up to the binding posts with the banana plugs. The subwoofer connections are of the RCA type.
The music can also be routed to Zone 2 via the dedicated RCA connections and HDMI port (for video). The back panel also features the coaxial and optical inputs, FM antenna terminal, six HDMI inputs, and two outputs (all HDCP 2.2 protected). The USB flash drive can be connected on the front panel of the receiver. The music and video content can be streamed via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi as well (Internet streaming apps).
This expensive 7.2-channel receiver has a lot of bonuses to offer for the home theater setup. It packs the high power output, solid circuitry, and connections of different types to playback the music from various sources.
Each channel is powered with 95W and provides a crystal clear sound non-depending on the source chosen. The receiver also supports the mode of 5.2-, 2.1-channel. In the stereo setup, the sound is deep and warm, with a lot of base and dense soundstage. The mids are concentrated and clear, the lows are tight and punchy, the highs are precise and clear. The overall sound is well-balanced, and the frequency response is accurate.
The connectivity panel represents both the high-capacity HDMI ports and the component ones. There are also coaxial and optical connections to hook up various players and consoles, and the antenna jacks.
The HDMI connections are HDCP 2.3 protected and are compatible with the previous version (HDCP 2.2). Seven inputs and two outputs (one is ARC-compatible) support the full-rate 4K transmission and ensure the detailed and contrast picture.
The receiver can be connected to a smartphone or any other Bluetooth device for media files sharing and streaming. It also features a Wi-Fi antenna to download and install the firmware updates.
This middle-class surround receiver makes a good option for the small and middle-sized home theater setups. It supports a 5.2-channel configuration and has versatile connectivity and controls.
The speakers are wired to the spring terminals on the back panel of the receiver. The subwoofers are hooked up to the dual RCA ports. There are also coaxial and optical inputs for satellite antenna and / or media player hookup.
The unit offers five HDMI inputs, three of which are HDCP 2.2-compliant and pass through the 4K video format. The HDMI out port is enhanced with the efficient ARC technology enabling the lagless sound routing from TV to the external speaker set. The front panel of the receiver features the headphones jack and the USB input.
The power output of each channel makes 140W producing the immersive rich sound with accurately contoured detail. The mids are light and dynamic, and so is the treble. The bass is springy and concentrated, with solid rhythmic beats.
The wireless connectivity includes Bluetooth (the .2020 version) and HEOS Link. The latter enables sending the sound to other locations via the wireless protocol and preserving the sound quality. The HEOS Link also lets stream the music from the apps like Tidal, Spotify, Pandora, etc. The Denon 500 Series remote app gives access to the full functionality of the receiver’s remote control.