This rating presents both new and already well-known models from the AV receiver reviews. We analyzed the smashing hi-tech brand-new devices, as well as the older models that are still the number one choice for their functionality. If your 5-year-old home theater receiver manages you speakers’ set well and can read the commands from your smartphone, there is no need for spending another 1000 for buying a newer one. Having the same acoustic system, you might not feel any improvement of sound but will definitely spend your day setting up each block to the new receiver. Still, if your soul of a movie fan requires a new, deeper tint of sound, then, upgrading the whole system is inevitable. Let’s start off in the search for the best AV receiver for your needs!
Each model represented below has won its place in the rating due to its great quality of service making it the best home receiver in its category. The home theater receiver reviews are represented in nomination blocks reflecting the price, used technologies, and the functionality of your best AV receiver.
For a bottom price that this device is offered at, it has rather developed specifications. It gave a good sound, though I’d like to have more distinctive bass, and sometimes, at highs, it dropped the sound. This good old-timer does not have fancy accessories like the Internet radio, not even a USB port. Still, do we need Bluetooth for playing the CDs or watching old DVDs via the home theater? At the same time, this model cannot be called a retro as it has six connector inputs and even allows connecting a phono. The selector, though, gave me troubles from the beginning - I always missed the port I needed while rotating it. Generally, the sound is OK - it sounds pure and does not feature major interference. Understandably, it does not provide the surround and other sound effects applied in the more developed top rated receivers. Still, this somewhat old-fashioned device produces the clean juicy sound and makes the best budget receiver in its category (which is also confirmed by multiple stereo receiver reviews).
That’s the best home theater receiver to make your audio get the surround effect for half the price of the average surround sound receiver. This best budget receiver supports all existing surround formats including Dolby Atmos and Dolby TrueHD 7.1. Besides, it provides powerful bass when the subwoofer is applied, even in 5.1 system. I had some trouble tuning one of the speakers as the sound gave discernible hoarseness. Yet, coming through a complete setup, the problem disappeared. By the way, this great model is a real connectivity booster. Supporting smartphone control and Chromecast makes it the best AV receiver in its class. I could adjust the volume and control the video play staying in another room that served as zone 2. By the way, zoning is developed perfectly. There is no interference of the signals, though, certainly, the sound is not distributed equally. Usually, the highs and back channels are brought away to zone 2. The clear and detailed sound truly makes this model the best AV receiver under 300.
This low-priced device is probably the best budget receiver for TV lovers. It is configured in the way that it immediately recognizes and matches all the system, I had no compatibility issues with interface or control. Though this product is advertised as the best AV receiver for music streaming, I’d argue it. It has good specifications, yet the sound does not feature the low tones that get you shivers and make the room vibrate. Tweaking the subwoofer options improved the sound a bit; yet, the effect is still insufficient. The sync with the 4K TV set is great, I had the amazing graphics’ improvement comparing to old Pioneer receiver. The colours are rich and deep and there are no sync lags. I like that the banana plugs are shipped with this receiver as they make the connection way much faster and more reliable. The wireless connection is perfect. I tried to control the system from my IPhone — the app works great. I watch my favorite Youtube channels and, sometimes, the online TV and can say that’s the very thing this best home theater receiver was made for.
The sound quality specs surely make this device the best surround sound receiver in its category. I delighted from the two subwoofer outputs that really made sense for my 7.2 Klipsch system - I physically felt the penetrating basses. The Master Audio tech works just fine for the regular movie watching and music listening. Dialling the speakers was easy as pie - I simply hooked up the receiver, plugged all the wires in (five stars to Denon for making 6 HDMI inputs) and turned the system on. The calibration was an inch to perfection. I just adjusted the subs a bit. I was slightly disappointed as I couldn’t do the tuning while watching the 4K movies - the display just wouldn’t show the menu. Tried Spotify app for controlling the system and it worked pretty well just out of the box; yet, sometimes, the receiver could miss from the list. However, when I’m in range of 30 ft from the receiver, it works without issues. This device is also a winner of the “best Airplay receiver” as I forgot the remote once I tried this app on my IPhone. It connects within half a second and provides a solid connection throughout the operation.
This compact AV receiver has the least of additional functions in the nomination. Yet, it gives good value for the money. As long as you don’t use the 4K content (which it is advertised to maintain), there’s nothing else to wish regarding the sound and picture. For the latter, the graphics is precise and clear, the colours are deep and rich, there are no inappropriate compression issues. The unit can run the 4K as well; still, the on-screen display menu does appear inappropriately and there’s no way turning it off. However, I solved the problem using a separate remote for the primary HDMI input (a TV, in my case). The 725W power output of this little guy makes it a forceful drive to the 5.2 system, even with two connected subwoofers. Tuning the sub properly, though, might become a series of poking here and there through the setup.
Another drawback is the complete absence of the connectivity support. There is no way of updating the system. The Protection mode got on unexpectedly on the device, blacking out the screen. The issue was solved by using the HDCP 2.2 compliant cable. Other than that, this model has its firm place among the basic good receivers providing good-quality surround.
I would call this device the best home theater receiver in its category, underlining the “theater”. I tried it with the Polk Audio 7.2 set, the ceiling speaker and sub gave a powerful penetrating sound in Dolby Atmos. The wattage is good, as it went perfectly with my 150W Martin-Logan subwoofer. This is a fully compatible HDCP receiver maintaining 2.2 version, so the shutdown issues valid for the previous models should not make a problem anymore. The video stuffing is awesome for this pricing category. HDR enables the perfect graphics fitting well the naturalistic films. The newer 4K movies were also of a nice quality, all the supporting functions working well. I doubt anyone has ever used less than 5 speakers with this device, so, the Virtual Surround is rather a marketing trick than the useful option.
Have had an issue while streaming music through Spotify Connect - the ceiling speaker seemed not working at all. However, some tweaking with settings and sound dispersion adjustment helped. There are no other streaming and wireless control options (such as Sirius, Pandora and so on). Overall, the networking is quite good, all the devices are caught up with immediately and can require the slightest adjustment.
Reading the specs I was ready to call this compact AV receiver the best receiver under 500. It supports all modern formats and apps, has great networking connectivity. It has a decent output power of 50W per channel that allowed getting an incredible sound from my old Polk Audio 5.2 set. While the subwoofer was absent (it died recently), the bass has been transferred to the front and side speakers equally. Upon some tweaking, I managed to adjust the array and loudness of each speaker. However, I was disappointed to find out there is no actual sound distribution control. I couldn’t send a specific thumpy rhythm of my audios to be enriched via the powerful front speaker. Still, the sound is great for the mid-sized rooms. It has enough “filling” and presence and goes natural with Audyssey Dynamic. The automated calibration is nice and allows skipping the setup. The ability to label the inputs is also helpful. I named mine by the devices I used them for and the type of connection (e.g. Chrome/Sat). My Samsung 8 TV has plenty of apps and I was delighted to find out they all work perfectly with the Marantz.
I would rate this device as the best AV receiver ever, would it feature a BT-TX technology. The wattage output is smashing and allows getting the best of the 9.2 set - whatever the initial settings are. I enjoyed having 8 HDMI connections; yet, while considering the class of this device, there could be two more for the additional amp and / or receiver (for upgrading the system to 11.2 or higher). The online updating is an awesome feature that I believe to be the cause of the HEOS work adjustment (it did not accept commands correctly through Alexa, initially). I was glad to have this feature working when being entangled in the wires and needing to set the ceiling speaker properly. However, the voice recognition is not perfect. It often mixes up sounds, so the commands like “Input two on” might not get through. Meanwhile, the smartphone control is a firm five stars. All configurations are available through Apple app that has a smart interface and reaches the device easily in range of 50 ft. The processor mixes the soundtracks greatly providing the real surround with enwrapping effect. The amplification is proper, not spoiling the clarity of the main sound.
Nothing of the best home theater receiver misses from this device. Its size is perfect for the medium and large rooms, the design is quite appealing, and the quality is amazing. I wonder why it is not that popular as other models of receiver brands. It is a device fully packed with technology. Ethereal Dolby Surround, fully automatic setup and calibration, smart recognition, all the latest video technologies (including HDR support). Still, my in some way non-standard set, including the side subwoofer, was not calibrated properly at once and the sub featured some clipping at highs. I had to install the updates (a quick process via Wi-Fi) and undergo the YPAO setup again, upon which it worked fine. The networking is tuned well, allowing all the devices to be seen in the smartphone app. However, I prefer the remote control, and this one is rather clear and simple. What’s been frustrating, the adjustment of the two HDMI inputs could be performed only through the smartphone. The remote just did not let me enter the relevant menu. Except for that issue, going through the settings on a TV or projector set is a piece of cake. I had all my 7.2 set finely tuned in no more than half an hour.
I tried this device as initially the best receiver under 1000. It provides the heartbreaking Atmos effects and great upmixing of different Dolby formats and DTS. I learned the ways to upgrade my acoustic set from 7.1 to 7.2.4 and got an incredible effect of purest sound and penetrating rhythm. The dialogues stay comprehensible even at the lowest volumes, all the tracks remain discrete. I liked the video upscaling option that is a real development of the picture that my old TV showed. The colours are just the right tone and balance, and the graphics is outstanding. This device qualifies for being the best home theater receiver, also for its connectivity merits. All the operations can be performed through the smartphone. I configured the system having a clear picture of each device and the potential it has. No issues with recognition, though some of the equipment dated back 10 years. I did not use the remote for long, as it didn’t seem fit to me. Both the design and performance are rather clumsy. That’s partly because of the menu interface is rather dull and not too informative. Still, the numerous apps’ compatibility allows dropping the remote completely.
For the perfectly easy and fast setup, I would assign this receiver no less than four stars. It has a multi-page manual; however, there is no need to study it thoroughly, as all is can be tuned up within minutes. The automatic Audyssey calibration measures the distance and recognizes devices correctly setting the system out quite decently. As usual with Denon, it features a free HEOS app’ compatibility that allows tweaking the settings and streaming from the smartphone. The receiver’s HDMI inputs and outputs work smartly allowing for the immediate content transfer. I had to replace some of my old HDMI cables for the upgraded ones as the primarily the connection was not good. The sound is the firm five stars, both for the stereo mode and surround. I tested it with a simple 7.1 channels system preliminary having turned out the sub, listening to the classical music concert. I noticed new instruments that I never suspected to participate before! The video is also of a top quality, so is upscaling to 4K from even the simplest analogous stream. No problem performing the setting and operating the device from a smartphone.
The most noticeable specification of this best AV receiver under 2000 is its wattage output distribution. It reaches 230W per channel and enables the purest and deepest sound ever possible! I tried the Dolby Surround content, but it is stuffed with lots of other modes that are powered by Cinema DSP, DSP 3, Virtual Surround, and many more. I tried it with 9.2 system of professional Polk speakers with the Sony subwoofer. It brought the most powerful sound and additional effects I could not reach before with any sound receiver. The diversity of functions in this best high end AV receiver amazes. However, it makes sense if you have some zest in electronics or are a devoted audiophile. Otherwise, it is probably not worth spending that much of your money, as fine-tuning and picking out the additional possibilities is no beginner’s task. Still, for the most rooms and speakers’ locations, the smart auto calibration works seamlessly. The connection of all devices is immediately recognized and reflected on your smartphone. The latter can be used both for setting the system and operating it. The receiver allows switching between the sources swiftly and does not lag. Assignment of inputs is easy and comprehensive, the settings never go astray even when the receiver has been disempowered due to blackout.
This gross and heavy AV receiver produces the audacious 1100W for output. So it can manage the 9.2 set freely. This device deserves well to be named the best AV receiver for a home theater as it provides the crisp and clean sound and the vibes start shaking the room even on lower volumes. This receiver is great for inexperienced users not keen on AVRs or electronics generally, as the setup process is more than simple and can be performed in any convenient way. The auto setup is smart and works well; still, if you count on hearing more of the surround effects or get floored by the superb 4K graphics, there is no way around manual tuning. The device has all the connectivity in place working precisely. There are enough HDMI inputs and outputs for connecting even an 11.2 set, should you like it. The Audyssey Room Correction software that was shipped along with this product is fairly good and makes up for the most fitting placement and tuning of each device. The smartphone remote control is working fine; yet, some applications must be additionally set up for the seamless work.
This receiver is designed to work with 9.2 system that reveals its capacity the most. The sweeping power output of 255W per channel makes the music streamed via DTS-X physically invade the body. The variability in impedance provides the seamless adjustment to the different sound modes and allows using the 4-ohm speakers that guarantee the crispest sound. The second USB port lets me connect my security cameras system without any issue with regard to other inputs.
The sound is great, especially on low tones and in Atmos. For music listening, I used Pure Direct, which gave me an impression of a live concert presence. I also marked the option of the video upscaling to the top quality, through this HDR receiver. As to the operational issues, I’d appreciate more information about the sound mode and source used at the moment, to be displayed on TV. I could not connect the Chromecast initially; however, installing the updates from the Internet solved the problem. I was delighted to find out this best sounding receiver features working phono input for playing the retro vinyl player I have. The only disappointment has been in assigning the inputs. I could not figure out the way to label them so I had to use other means for remembering the designation of each input.
This heavy AVR has a feature that makes it a rare bird to catch, even in this pricing category, - a 4-ohm impedance. However, there is plenty of stuff to boast with, starting with the smashing sound effects and all-formats support and ending with the full configuration of the 4K video content. If you have the ceiling built-in speakers like I do, the Atmos sound will be able to sweep you away on the peak of the effects. Though the receiver is configured for managing 9.2 system, it is equally good in sound production through 5.2.4 and 11.1 (though the latter case would benefit out of the additional amp). I did not really regret the absence of the XLR pre-outs; however, having at least one port would be a perspective for future upgrade.
The connectivity works well, the Pandora streaming is fine, though when switching to another source the current one might get the settings default. I really like the front-panel design of the receiver that features the control buttons as well. On my part, I did not use them, as the remote and IOs app work smartly.
This receiver’s specifications do not impress the advanced user from the first time as it provides the lowest wattage in its class. However, Bose 7.2 set just rocked with it. The sound was OK when on back rhythms and highs, as well as in fluent mode - it was crystal clear and featured fairly decent edges. There are lots of inputs and outputs so I could easily connect all the devices I had for music and movies. I navigated the setting through the remote, but it seemed rather slow, so I switched over to the smartphone app. This has been working like a rocket. I had an opportunity to test both IOs and Android and can say that the latter has more sophisticated interface and navigates better. Yet, Apple integration is also on the top level. I could tune, browse the settings, calibrate the system, assign and label the HDMI inputs, stream to and from the receiver, adjust the zoning, and so on. Besides, there is an instantaneous sync with Alexa which I appreciated greatly. I connected my Playstation and separate controls’ set through the Bluetooth and it worked without lags. Meanwhile, the video quality is superb and the response is immediate. All that puts it in line with the best AV receivers in its class.
The possibilities of this relatively small professional device provide for the full 11.2 channel sound, all the effects properly registered and obvious. The backstage sounds like laughter, vase breaking up, etc. that are conveyed at lower volume and higher tone, here all necessary tracks are highlighted in the right mode and crystal clear. I nearly got a sound audition effect in my home theater while I did not prepare the room for that. The frequency range is large ensuring there is no muddy sound even on high tones. I tried it with a bit outdated set of Polk series speakers and a Bose subwoofer, paired with the 7-channels Creston amplifier, and I also connected my new 4K Apple TV, so I had to use many cables. I’ve had an issue deciding, which input to assign for the amp, and I solved it immediately through one call to the customer support.
This model has lots of inputs and outputs making sure all my devices (which make 15 units of home entertainment system) are connected and matched correctly. Setting up is easy, though I preferred to undergo a full procedure with the remote. There is an option of doing that via an Apple application, but I found it rather clunky.
The best AV receiver for the progressive technologies. It has amazing operational wattage (65W) compared with the output power (1100W).
It has all the bells and whistles the best AV receiver must feature. The ASR technology works perfectly once it is tuned properly. The voice commands are discerned correctly, did not have any issue with it. It is also the best home theater receiver so far as the AV receivers are concerned. Yamaha has developed its own room calibration system recently, and it works superbly taking into account also the required wattage and physical position of the speakers, as well as their each-to-each compatibility. The surround sound works on the Cinema DSP HD3 and it gets you enveloped completely! The presence is overwhelming, meanwhile, the sound is warm and natural, while the toning edges are worked out perfectly. All the setup is intuitive; yet, to adjust it to the needs of the advanced user, I would recommend going through the standard remote setup. For that, adjust the frequency and wattage first basing on the lowest wattage your speakers have. Still, the setting is not a strong feature in this receiver. It took several days to fine tune the system.
The first thing I noticed from the AV receiver reviews is that this device can be overheated easily. It did actually get hot after I watched two full-time movies on my home theater set. Yet, a 15-minutes break gave it a needed time for cooling up. Suppose for the future-proof operation it would be wise to match it with the good fan or A/C. It maintains 4-ohm impedance, which allows using it with the speakers of almost any type. What I liked the most was its performance in the Atmos mode. Both video and audio content were superb, the detailing was perfect. When it came to surround I was overwhelmed with the enwrapping effect! It makes each channel sound yet more clearly and gave a precise distinction to every word in dialogues.
This also works with the less modern technologies like Master Audio and the stereo signal, as the sound is produced without humming even at 60W per channel. I tried it with y 11.2 set of Bose and could not remember having such a sharp feeling of sound texture ever before. The fine-tuning might become a bit of poking method due to rather a cumbersome menu interface.
It is the best high end AV receiver for many reasons. The solid build, the nice programmable functions, and the versatility of options make this top of electronic engineering device a real future proof thing. The updates of the basic and secondary sound modes are available along with the improved compatibility with newer versions of apps. It provides a great power output, letting my 11.1.2 system sound like one complex sophisticated orchestra, with the clear line of each instrument. The surround sound can blow up your mind once it is set up properly. The setup is easy but time-consuming. Adjusting and controlling tons of tiny features might be boring. Still, in the end, you get the unrivalled Atmos aural vibe supported by the full 4K graphics. I enjoyed the way the menu is displayed on my Samsung 8 TV a lot. It has just the right balance of transparency in order to be visible yet not interfering with the main display. I also enjoyed the radio station broadcast via the Internet and the possibility to tweak the options for each separate source.
This model AV Receiver over 2000 has an outstanding wattage-per-channel capability (up to 255W). This allows it to produce the driven sound with the inimitable boosting power. It has just enough ports for connecting all I might deem necessary for my home entertainment and features all options that are belonging to this class of the home receiver. I was surprised that it is mid-sized but extremely heavy. Still, it’s not the thing to carry along much. I tested it with Atmos as this is the very technology such best AV receivers are acquired for. It was a full immersion, the sound came in waves of the clean multi-channel stream and the powerful enveloping surround. I had one 125W subwoofer that is built-in to the ceiling that produced the distinct steady pleasant bass without fuzzing or any other side effect. I did not spend much time tuning the system - the setup is quite comprehensive, though, certainly, dealing with 11 speakers and 2 subs would last more than setting up two channels only. The setup option is not reflected on the screen at once - it must be the user’s initiative to undergo it.
This device is without a doubt the best budget stereo receiver. It supports all existing sound formats except for surround sound and gives a decent 180W per channel output that is enough to make any speakers produce great sound. Its main feature is the perfectly adjusted Bluetooth technology. It worked seamlessly while I was streaming music through Pandora. The sound was clear and natural. The distance does not make an issue, too. Even at 120 ft, trying to switch the volume on the receiver, I easily succeeded. The device has a lot of audio connects that will allow having each speaker linked separately. Setting up the receiver is no-brainer, it’s quite easy to adjust the volume and frequency for the desired sound quality. A great feature is the ability to handle two different zones. I used two different set of speakers and never experienced the cross-assignment of commands or other bugs.
This device is justly rated among top audio receivers due to its functionality and nice sound free from distortion. I used all of its outputs for my set of Klipsch speakers and a Bose subwoofer. The sound is fine both on high and down volumes. I liked the tone control feature implemented that allows cutting down the tonal circuitry, though, sometimes, it seems it lacks the warmth. The subwoofer output is a great enhancement in this class of AV receivers, as it allows getting a completely different feeling of the low tones. I tried some of the surround effects and was pleased with the sound dispersion and acute main channel sound. This model also permits distributing the bass, which is a very handy option if you’re using a sub, as I did. I did the set up very fast, tuning all the main stereo components with the remote. This might be the best AV receiver but for the complete absence of the connectivity. I was annoyed by not being able to connect it to my smartphone other than through a cable, which means limited motion. I tried the FM antenna and was surprised by the good steady signal and clear sound. The remote is convenient, allocating the volume control apart from other buttons is a great idea. I could get it down within seconds not even looking at the remote.
This best home theater receiver for the 5.1 system is designed to answer the preferences of its owner. The setting took some time; yet, has been a piece of cake. It was great to choose between the parameters and hear the sound getting blurred or sharp, disperse or compressed into one powerful stream. I appreciated the receiver’s work in True HD - the colours were fantastic, texture rich, and graphics beyond commend. The 4K did not work at first, it required tweaking with input options to set it properly. However, the gaming interface on my PS4 was totally worth it. I was a bit disappointed to find out this device does not support WAV and some other older sound formats, as I still have some records encoded in them. Still, a good RCA is the solution so far as I have my PC and VHS player working. The surround amazes with the powerful surge and low basses physically penetrating the room.
Another great feature is the headphones surround. I can enjoy the great sound presence without waking up my household. It would be good to have more connectivity options in this device as the Wi-Fi connection would enable the new apps and updates. Still, I believe there’s quite a lot already for the price.
This device is definitely the best 5.1 receiver for the options it provides. First of all, hooking it up is a pleasure as there is no economy on Banana jacks and all the connecting ports are solid and firm. The cables are HDCP-compliant, so there is no need to worry about something not working properly. I appreciated the Music Cast wireless transmission, as I have the compatible speakers. The sound was nice, very pure and edgy right where needed, while the surround simply swept me away with its low-going vibrating tones! I spend some time setting the system, as the setup menu offers multiple options for controlling the sound and picture. I tried the auto calibration and it worked well; yet, needed further adjustment inline with my sound preference. I loved the immediate HDR implementation and the no-lag performance with my Playstation. I also connected my wireless headphones via Bluetooth and enjoyed the clear multi-channel broadcast. I tried this receiver with the plasma TV and new OLED, both working fine and producing great graphics and colour balance. I connected my old Sirius for streaming the music and was pleased with the seamless integration. No delays, no bugs whatsoever.
This is the best 5.2 receiver for those who like the elaborate bass. The sound distribution for two subwoofers is smart and component-wise. I adjusted the power output and frequency so that each component received its optimal settings. The auto calibration did not impress me, as some humming was heard during the surround effect. Upon getting the setup right, I heard the full rich sound with an overwhelming presence. The highs were clean, while the lows managed by subwoofers gave the right thump without being boomy. I loved the instant TV integration that allows simultaneously turning on and off both devices. Switching between ports is precise, no lags or delays
I also tested the Front Stage Surround with my old set of 2.1 Sony speakers. It might be a great solution for the small rooms, giving vibrating warm bass and a good presence effect. I customized the settings for the sound modes I prefer, managing to get the super clear dialogues in the True HD version. The night version mode hushing the effects and outlining the voices also works perfectly. Besides, this is quite a decent av receiver for gaming; the picture, sound and game speed were on top during my network Playstation games.
The enhanced sound setting technology makes this device the best 7.1 receiver. The calibration tech works fine, especially in measuring the distance and assigning frequency. However, for the perfect immersion, I’d advise performing the setting on your own. The mid/bass must be redirected to the subwoofer, while other speakers must be set for higher tones’ reproduction. There are a lot of HDMI inputs on this device so I connected the acoustic system and gaming console on a constant basis. Still, the Bluetooth and wireless connectivity are of a high quality, though the modern “heavy” formats must be dealt with through cable connection. This receiver supports multiple applications for streaming music and video content. I tried Google Cast and Sirius and was pleased with the integration. I also used my IPhone for the quick settings’ adjustment (like volume control, switching between the components, etc.). This was fast and efficient. The sound is bright in any mode selected, while I disabled the Cinema filter for getting more powerful sound impact at lower tones.
The first thing to mark in this reliable 7.2 receiver is its considerable power output. It can boost your speakers up to 145W and get the house rock and vibrate! The compensation of the low price is the absence of the wireless options and thus, the apps and sound modes updates are disabled. I don’t like that there are the stripped connections for HDMI, so I used ARC for connecting my Samsung 8 TV to this receiver. The sound is wrapping and rich, it gives just the very tint of warmth I like and slight curves at highs that make an elegant impression. The subs boost the effect unbelievably, making the presence full. Setting all the components does require time, but, once this device is tuned up, it does not require further meddling with. I liked the remote is small and doesn’t have too many buttons, as the menu is straightforward and comprehensive. The sound fields are fewer than with other receivers, but they cover the most popular modes like “movie watching”, “music listening”, “headphones”, “night mode”, and so on. I integrated the Amazon dot as a hub for my three speakers and it worked seamlessly, no lip sync or sound deterioration comparing to the direct connections of other ones.
The size of this powerful acoustic and video hub can mislead from the beginning. The device is rather small and looks like it was designed to fit a small living room. However, turning the projector on, you will see that this one has real power! Used a Bic America F12 with it and got blown away by the consistent rich bass and lightning-like attack. The good news is that this receiver is indeed the best 9.1 receiver, but it can do 9.2, too. There are two sub’ outputs and a smart MCACC integrated sub equaliser allowing programming each output separately. Thus, the location of the subs can be different and various sound patterns can be reached. With mine single sub, I managed to tune the system to completely exclude muddiness. The speakers’ tuning is also enriched by the enhanced phase control. Setting that up, I spent a lot of time, yet managed to receive the zero phase distortion and the crystal clean sound through all the channels. Having the Atmos added to the menu is a nice addition, very handy. I regret that there is no connectivity through Bluetooth / Wi-Fi.
For the music listening, the quality two-channel stereo receivers are the optimal choice. If you are not going to watch movies or play games or use your speakers’ set otherwise than for music listening, the two-channel stereo receiver can become a practical purchase. However, you might like doing all that in the future, so having a powerful video-compliant home theater receiver would be a great option. The list of the top stereo receivers goes as follows:
This receiver has everything that might be needed for music listening without any extras. It has an advanced sound processing system and the enhanced connectivity. This one has already been named the best AV receiver, in the category of the Best stereo receivers. Thus, it has two awards on our list.
With this receiver, the manual setup can tweak almost any stage and parameter of the sound production. The auto calibration is advanced, allowing to receive the optimal effect from the acoustic set. This device has participated in Best AV receiver under 500 and won The Best Dolby Atmos Receiver nomination.
This receiver can manage 11 channels and is capable to mix them into a harmonious orchestra. It integrates well with the streaming devices like Alexa, Sirius, etc. provided the relevant updates. It also participated in the nominations Best AV receiver under 1000 and Best Atmos receiver.
In this nomination, only the receivers that are compatible with the surround sound systems can participate. The ability to handle the speakers and connect the subwoofers, controlling the frequency and power of each speaker / sub, compatibility with multi-channel and surround sound software make the must-have elements for this nomination.
This receiver has everything there is to provide the juicy overwhelming sound. It is 7.2 channel system foreseeing two subwoofers’ usage. Though the receiver is quite powerful, its peculiarity lays in providing the rich yet not too loud sound on account of the advanced bass dispersion technology. It participated in Best AV receiver under 500 nomination where I described its features in details.
Yamaha receiver features great connectivity, which provides for the ample updating of its sound modes. Besides, it has a phono input enabling to connect turntables as well. Overall, it produces great surround effect, though setting the subwoofer properly might take time. This receiver’s description can be found also in the nomination Best AV Receiver under 1000.
This receiver has many tiny details that sum up to the great surround experience. It has a smart straightforward setup allowing calibrating each component independently. The thoroughly worked out sound fields for the stage music, concert hall, and home cinema provide the detailed crisp sound with the powerful attack of the subwoofer bass. This receiver’s detailed account can also be found under the heading Best AV receiver under 2000.
Here, only the AV receivers supporting Atmos Surround mode are included. The considered parameters are the sound quality and the compatibility with the Atmos-powered products. The important condition is the ability to handle 3-dimensional sound and calibrate the devices with its regard.
The smashing power output of this receiver allows Atmos technology to develop the crystal clear and powerfully emerging and immersing sound. The system of handling and calibrating each device works perfectly to enable the most Atmos effect. Plus, this receiver is a participant of nominations Best AV receiver under 500 and Best AV receiver for music.
This receiver has a powerful processor providing for the detailed pure sound work out for each channel and the smart mixing for the surround effect. The vertical speakers’ calibration is easy and can be performed in the automatic mode. Meet this receiver in two other nominations as Best AV receiver under 2000 and Best AV receiver for music.
The AV receiver is a hub of your stereo or home theater or any other entertainment system. It receives the signals (both video and audio) from all sources, works them out (decoding, amplifying, adjusting frequency, etc.) and sends them to the relevant system components. For the complex modes (like surround sound), it uses various decoders to split the sound into the separate soundtracks and amplify each one accordingly.
The digits like 2.1, 5., etc. serve for indicating the number of speakers and subwoofers that the current receiver may handle. The first number goes for speakers and the second one (after the dot) for subwoofers. The standard surround sound systems are 5.1 and 7.1, however, many receivers on our list have the additional outputs and software for working out the additional subwoofers (5.2, 9.2 and so on). In total, the number of channels equals to the sum of the two digits. That is, the 9.2 system actually handles 11 channels (9 speakers and 2 subwoofers). The number of channels in your receiver specification might well exceed the number of speakers and subs you are going to use but should not go below it (i.e., for your 5.1 speakers set you can use the 9.2 AV receiver).
The power specifications of the AV receivers usually contain three lines: power consumption, power output and wattage supplied per channel. For the sound quality, the last one matters. It shows whether the receiver matches certain speakers, how loud can the speaker work and which territory it can cover. However, there is no direct proportion “power - loudness”. What most non-techie buyers should know is that the 50-100W per channel are more than enough for the average home theater room (not too large). Other factors to be considered are frequency and impedance per channel. They must match in the receiver and the speakers.
Well, so far as your cables are long enough, the physical position of the receiver does not mean much, from the technical point of view. Still, its hub function provides its placement into the center of the speakers / TV / media and other devices set. At the same time, the out-of-fashion design of some receivers make users shoving them away from sight, sometimes into the cabinets. Placing the receiver, note the proper ventilation is essential. Overheating is the common trouble in these complex electronic devices, so they should have some room to dissipate the heat. Give your receiver a “breath” ensuring there are at least two inches of the free space around the device. If you cannot place the receiver into the open well-ventilated cabinet, make sure to pair it with the powerful A/C cooler.
When talking or playing music in two different rooms, one might notice the sound is not alike, though the instrument and the voice are the same. The size of the room, the material of the walls, texture of surface of other objects affect the sound flow and resonance. That’s why, it is recommended to perform a room calibration setting of each component of the acoustic system to achieve the optimal mode for each particular room. The modernly advanced AV receivers have the function of the automatic room calibration, which is performed by means of sending the signals to each speaker separately and receiving the response via the special built-in microphone. Then, it adjusts the sound so each speaker produces it optimally. For the receivers, without such a useful option, a manual calibration can be performed.
Today, some of the AV receivers producers offer a new option of the speakers’ sets connected through wireless to the receiver. This is performed via the special software (like Heos, Music Cast, YPAO, etc.) that also allows setting up the components and operate them through the wireless. This option allows placing the speakers’ set at distance from the receiver and uses the wireless receiver for two sets - one wireless and one connected through the cables.
That is the format of information transmission that allows sending over the larger bits of data, both audio and visual, as well as the control information, in the non-compressed digital form. For the visual data, it concerns the 4K content and the HDR video format. For the sound, it allows transmitting not only direct sound but the surround audio as well. The HDMI number (1.4, 2.2) means the current version of HDMI. The bigger is the number, the more data and with faster speed can be transmitted.
It is a resolution of the screen that nears the 4 thousand pixels (here’s where the name comes). The actual number is different for various digital movie standards, while the most frequent one makes 3840 x 2160 (full 4K - 4096 x 3072). This resolution allows for the better sharpness of the graphics and deeper colours and more developed brightness balance. Most of the modern AV receivers support this format and have special decoders that allow the content of the lower resolution to be represented on the 4K-powered devices (like modern TV sets). It implies that your actual TV size does not matter; you will have a more distinct picture as at least 3840 by 2160 pixels will be present on the screen.
Many modern electronic devices, including AV receivers, have the indication of the “upconverting” or “upscaling” capability, which is basically the same. Upconverting is performed when the device works in the more up-to-date format than the data it is supposed to work out. Upscaling includes working out the data and adjusting it to the representation on the current device. However, it cannot noticeably improve the quality of the data provided. It will have nearly the same quality, only represented in the larger scale.
The answer depends on your practical needs and the purpose you use the AV receiver for. If it is listening to the stereo music, this would require fewer connection ports. For surround sound and additional devices (like Blu-Ray player, game console, etc.) you will need more. The principal connection format used nowadays is HDMI, so pay attention to the number of those ports. There are usually about 6 input HDMI ports (for connecting the speakers) and 1-3 output ones (for sending the data to a device like a TV). The inscription in the receiver specification will mention these numbers divided by a slash: 6/1 will mean there are inputs and one output. If it goes like 5 1/1, then, 1 HDMI input is to be found on the front panel of the receiver (while other 5 and the output are situated on the rear of the receiver). So, apart from the designated speakers’ number (e.g., 5.1.2), you can connect your AV receiver to 5 or more devices (like a security camera, gaming console, additional amp, etc.).
The next-gen AV receivers are compatible with the software systems allowing controlling the receiver through the voice commands. It seems very handy; yet, this system is not completely developed yet. The voice recognition might not be perfect, the accent or other articulation peculiarities might lead to the improper processing of the command. After all, it is impossible to handle when the sound level is high. So, it is advisable to have an option of the remote / smartphone control as well. If there is no built-in Alexa available, you can use this option by means of the smart speaker (e.g., a Google Home) matching your receiver.
These are the most modern sound formats that deal with the three-dimensional sound including the height dimension. With Atmos, it is implied your acoustic set is equipped with the special Atmos-powered up-firing or ceiling-installed speakers. The DTS:X is operated in the regular surround sound sets. These technologies imply that the special sounds to be processed in the three dimensions are included into the soundtrack.
The variety of the specs and the functions of the modern AV receivers enables the optimal choice for any user. Every reputable producer has different lines of products differing in price, compatibility, functions, and so on. The most popular AV receiver brands with the over-the-decade reputation are Denon, Yamaha, Marantz, Onkyo, Pioneer, Sony, and Harman Kardon.
To compile the list of the optimal AV receivers for the home theater, I tried each model during the day with the different content and different acoustic sets. I considered the specifications and capabilities of each receiver. The receivers are represented in the nominations with regard to their pricing, performance, and customer satisfaction.
Follow the next steps for any of your home theater systems:
The AV amplifier is designed for amplification of the audio channel. It boosts the sound making it purer and more detailed, louder. The AV receiver processes video, too. Thus, a receiver is a more complex object dealing with the two types of signals. Besides, the AV receiver can work out the AM/FM radio signals (and that’s where the name “receiver” comes from).
An integrated amplifier is a device for empowering the sound, making it louder and more precise. The Integrated amplifier consists of the preamp amp. The preamp performs the initial reception of the signal and initial sound amplification. Then, the sound is transmitted to the amplifier, which boosts it further and sends it to the speakers. Would there be no amplifier, the speakers would not be able to produce the sound properly. Any AV receiver necessarily has an integrated amplifier (and also the radio reception device, as we mentioned above).
The answer, again, lays in the field of the practical purpose. If your main goal is listening to the music, then, there is no use in spending several times more money for a more expensive model handling surround sound. If you have or plan to acquire the surround sound system set, then the AV receiver with this function is the must-have for you. Mind that the dedicated stereo receivers usually produce better sound out of Hi-Fi format, while the more developed surround sound models can also process the older formats.
Indicates the standard of the Ultra HD visual format. It implies higher resolution (as a 4K format), larger depth (10/12 bit) and frame rate 960-120 frames per second), wider colour palette, and the chroma subsampling up to 4:4:4, in comparison to the older Full HD format. It Is accepted as the next common video standard worldwide.
An abbreviation for the commercial organization that aims to set up the same standards for the digital video worldwide, Digital Living Network Alliance. The devices meeting the standard are labeled DLNA-certified and must be mutually compatible and will be able to share the data within a network. For that, a separate DLNA service is created that is common for DLNA-connected devices like laptop, drawing tablet, smartphone, AV receiver, etc.
Video format, which is a next step after the HDR and features wider dynamic range and colour gamut. It is considered to be a high modern standard and is used mainly by the suppliers of the premium video content. It features more detailed frame-by-frame picture both in bright and dark colours.
Means High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection, version of the technology of the content protection designed for the data protection from illegal copying. In order to play the content that is coded by this protocol, all the devices engaged must be compliant with it. So does the AV-receiver.
It is deciphered as “High Definition Multimedia Interface Audio Return Signal” and spares you the necessity to use another cable for hearing the TV-produced audio (e.g. the video streamed through apps like Youtube, Netflix, etc.).
It is a technology allowing performing the photo picture in the High Dynamic Range (here comes the abbreviation). This technology enables a high level of contrast preserving the details in both the dark and light parts of the picture. The colours are diverse and deeper. This results in more precise graphics. In order to play the HDR content (and there are versions, too), your AV receiver must support the current version used.
One of the two video formats producing the HDR quality. Another is the Dolby Vision format explained earlier. In order to play this format, the AV receiver must support:
This is a popular format used in many modern TV sets. Most of the receivers reviewed in our nominations are HDR-compatible.
Here you can pick the models described in the nominations above and compare them head to head. You can, thus, analyze the specifications and study the comprehensive home theater receiver reviews, check the pros and cons and finally, go ahead with purchasing the super fit AV receiver for your home theater or a stereo system.