I think you will agree with me when I say:
The best speakers are only as good as the signals they are receiving.
If you are not happy with the way your new $500 speakers sound, the issue may lie with your receiver.
A quality audio-visual receiver will change your life. It is a purchase that will last you for decades, and it can connect your home’s entire audio setup.
We have compiled a list of the best A/V receivers on the market. After exhaustive research and testing, we narrowed down the selection to the 13 best A/V receivers for your home entertainment setup.
Top 13 Best A/V Receivers For The Money 2019 Review
- Top 13 Best A/V Receivers For The Money 2019 Review
- 1 Yamaha AVENTAGE Audio & Video Component Receiver,Black
- 2 Denon AVRX4400H 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD Network AV Receiver with HEOS black
- 3 Integra DRX-4 AV Receiver
- 4 Marantz SR8012 Surround Receiver
- 5 Denon AVR-X7200WA 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Receiver with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
- 6 Sony STR-ZA3100ES 7.2 Channel 4K AV Receiver (Black)
- 7 Onkyo TX-NR838 7.2-Ch Network A/V Receiver w/ HDMI 2.0
- 8 Yamaha RX-V483BL 5.1-Channel 4K Ultra HD MusicCast AV Receiver
- 9 Pioneer VSX-1131 7.2-Channel AV Receiver with MCACC built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
- 10 Sony STRDN1080 7.2 Channel Dolby Atmos Home Theater AV Receiver
- 11 Denon AVRS930H 7.2 Channel AV Receiver with Built-in HEOS wireless technology
- 12 Onkyo TX-NR575 7.2 Channel Network A/V Receiver
- 13 Krell 4K Ultra HD Processor
- Best A/V Receivers Buying Guide
1 Yamaha AVENTAGE Audio & Video Component Receiver,Black
If the ultimate surround sound and music listening experience are what you desire, the Yamaha Aventage is a terrific option. The Aventage offers up to 9.2-channel surround sound support. Popular encoders Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Cinema DSP HD3 are all supported. 11.2-channel processing is also possible with this A/V receiver.
Need to connect many devices to the receiver? There are no issues with the Yamaha Aventage, as it has eight HDMI in ports. There are also two HDMI out ports. And with XLR terminals, the receiver offers low signal transmission.
Watching videos in 4K or Ultra HD is no issue with this receiver. It supports the seamless transmission of these signals through various devices. And with free support for the MusicCast application, it is simple to integrate all your streaming services with this receiver. Wireless speakers are supported, which allows for streaming music in up to NINE rooms.
The receiver’s front panel is aluminum, ensuring a classy appearance and the durability that you need. HDCP 2.2 support ensures seamless 4K ultra HD video processing, and Dolby Vision is supported. Yamaha’s Total Purity Concept is behind the design of this receiver. The idea is to combine high drive amp tech, high purity pre-amplification, an independent pure power supply, and anti-vibration technology.
Our Rating: (4.4 / 5)
- Offers powerful performance at up to 150W.
- Delivers support for up to 9.2-channel surround sound.
- Supports popular surround sound encoders Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.
- Many HDMI inputs for connecting various devices simultaneously.
- MusicCast support ensures easy integration of various streaming services.
- Supports AirPlay, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi.
- Users report lag while using Bluetooth.
2 Denon AVRX4400H 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD Network AV Receiver with HEOS black
Seeking a high-performance receiver that will help deliver the ultimate surround sound home theater experience? The Denon AVRX4400H is a very capable product. It features HEOS wireless music streaming technology, ensuring easy options for accessing high-quality music files from various sources.
The audio/visual receiver supports up to 9.2-channel surround sound, reaching up to 125W per channel. 11.2 channel processing is supported. The receiver delivers nine powerful amplifiers to ensure a flawless 3D audio experience.
There are eight HDMI inputs on the Denon AVRX4400H, along with one that is located at the front of the device. There is full HDCP 2.2 support, and the device has three HDMI outputs. Want to watch videos in more than one room simultaneously? It is no problem if you are using this receiver.
In terms of surround sound encoders, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are both supported. Users can also go with Auro 3D if they prefer that solution. 4K full-rate pass through is offered, with the receiver delivering video signals in 4:4:4 pure color. AirPlay, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth are all supported. Connecting streaming services like Spotify, Google Play Music, Amazon Music and Deezer are no issue.
If you want a simple home theater and music listening experience, this device may seem like overkill. It is designed with the home theater enthusiast in mind. Those who want the ultimate surround sound audio/visual experience.
Our Rating: (3.8 / 5)
- Up to 9.2-channel surround sound support at 125W per channel.
- Nine amplifiers for the ultimate 3D audio experience.
- Many HDMI inputs, along with one on the front panel.
- Support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Aura 3D.
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplay, and support for music streaming services.
- Can be difficult to get a replacement remote.
3 Integra DRX-4 AV Receiver
The Integra DRX-4 AV Receiver offers everything a home theater enthusiast could want in a product. It delivers accurate and noise-free signal processing, high-current power and dynamic speaker control. What you get is a higher and purer quality of sound, and it is especially noticeable when listening to lossless audio.
Up to 110 Watts per channel means that you are getting a lot of power through this receiver. It is THX-Certified, which means the receiver went through extensive testing before release. And the THX Loudness Plus technology ensures you hear all the details in an audio transmission, even at lower volume levels.
Thanks to Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry, or VLSC, the receiver ensures any of the noise that you may get during D/A conversion is eliminated. Tired of receivers that give you a static sound each time you are trying to play back audio? That problem is not present with this product!
Surround sound enthusiast will be happy to know that both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are supported. There is support for up to 5.1.2-channels. Ultra HD and 4K playback is no issue, with full HDCP 2.2 compatibility on the Integrate DRX-4.
Streaming is no issue either. Chromecast, AirPlay, and Wi-Fi support are present. Using music streaming services is seamless, and the device also offers a dedicated smartphone application for controlling the receiver.
Our Rating: (5 / 5)
- Up to 110W per channel ensures a booming audio experience.
- Support for the two popular surround sound codecs, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.
- Wi-Fi connectivity ensures easy integration of music streaming services, AirPlay and Google Cast.
- HDCP 2.2 support allows 4K and Ultra HD playback.
- Eight HDMI inputs and two outputs.
- Only up to 5.1.2-channel surround sound.
4 Marantz SR8012 Surround Receiver
If you want a feature-filled device to use with your home theater system, the Marantz SR8012 is a great option. Home theater enthusiasts will be happy to learn the Marantz SR8012 offers up to 11.2-channel surround sound support, with 205W per channel. Surround sound encoders Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are supported up to 7.1.4 or 9.1.2.
Those who desire the full 11.2 surround sound experience will need to go with Aura 3D. Want a receiver that offers excellent 4K support? The Marantz SR8012 fits the bill. Native HDCP 2.2 support ensures seamless 4K and ultra HD passthrough. And with 4:4:4 color, all images look incredible when going through this receiver.
With a symmetrical monolithic power amplifier and an HDAM preamplifier, the Marantz SR8012 delivers the type of sound that audiophiles want. Have expensive speakers? Enjoy listening to lossless audio through those speakers? The Marantz SR8012 will make your experience seamless and very enjoyable.
And when surround sound is enabled, audio passes through each of the 11 channels identically. Some receivers have issues where certain channels sound louder than others, but that is not a problem with the Marantz SR8012.
Support for both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz WiFi exists, while connectivity with AirPlay, Bluetooth, Spotify, Google Play Music, Internet Radio services, Tidal and Deezer is very easy to configure.
Our Rating: (4.5 / 5)
- Incredible listening experience thanks to the device’s amplifier and pre-amplifier.
- Ultimate surround sound with up to 11.2-channel support at 205W per channel.
- Support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Aura 3D.
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay, music streaming and internet radio connectivity.
- 4K and ultra-HD passthrough support.
- The receiver is a bit bulky.
5 Denon AVR-X7200WA 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Receiver with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
The Denon AVR-X7200WA fulfills most of the requirements of an audiophile or surround sound enthusiast. It supports up to 9.2-channel surround sound, with 11.2-channel processing. Each channel gets up to 150W for a booming and natural audio experience.
Full HDCP 2.2 support means complete 4K and ultra HD passthrough playback at 4:4:4 color resolution. There are eight HDMI inputs available to users, and one of them is at the front of the unit. Connecting all your devices at once is easy with this receiver.
Upgrade to Aura-3D is possible with the Denon AVR-X7200WA. Support for Dolby Atmos goes up to 9.1.2-channels, and DTS:X is also supported. Want to wirelessly stream content through the receiver? It is not an issue, as both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity is enabled. AirPlay, Spotify Connect, Sirius XFM Radio and other streaming services are compatible with the Denon AVR-X7200WA.
Want to set up speakers in two zones? The Denon AVR-X7200WA makes it very easy. There is even a dedicated HDMI output for the second zone, which means you can have two televisions running simultaneously in two rooms through the same receiver. And with the Audyssey Dynamic Volume feature, any issues with interference or random volume jumps are resolved by the receiver.
Our Rating: (4.1 / 5)
- 2-channel surround sound support, with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X supported. Aura 3D is also usable.
- Full HDCP 2.2 support results in quality 4K and ultra-HD playback. 4:4:4 color resolution.
- Complete wireless connectivity with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support. Services such as AirPlay, Spotify, Sirius Radio and Google Play are easy to access.
- Multi-room audio/visual support.
- Denon HEOS link IP Control ensures perfect audio streaming in different rooms through this receiver.
- The UI is difficult to learn and navigate.
6 Sony STR-ZA3100ES 7.2 Channel 4K AV Receiver (Black)
The Sony STR-ZA3100ES is a solid choice for audiophiles and surround sound enthusiasts. Want to elevate your home theater experience? This receiver will do just that. The Sony STR-ZA3100ES offers up to 7.2-channel surround sound support. Users can choose between Dolby Atmos and DTS:X decoding, which goes up to 9.1-channels if two extra power amplifiers are added.
Full HDCP 2.2 support means there are no issues when it comes to playing 4K and ultra-HD content. The only HDMI input that does not support 4K HDR is the one at the front. There are five HDMI inputs at the back of the receiver, along with the one at the front.
Worried about the audio calibration on your device? The Sony STR-ZA3100ES uses a stereo mic to measure the speakers’ position when they are set up. When the speakers are positioned and the mic picks up the various signals, the rest is done automatically. Frequencies, phase, and delays are adjusted by the receiver’s software.
Want to edit settings on the receiver online? It is easy, as you can enter the receiver’s IP address on your computer, tablet or smartphone and edit settings easily.
Our Rating: (5 / 5)
- Up to 7.2-channel surround sound support. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X encoding options available.
- Full HDCP 2.2 support results in quality 4K and ultra-HD playback and upscaling.
- Six HDMI inputs, two HDMI outputs. Five HDMI inputs support 4K.
- Eight-port Gigabit ethernet switch to connect multiple computers, servers, and devices.
- Music Connect supports integration with streaming services.
- 110W per channel is a bit low compared to some other options.
- No Wi-Fi connectivity.
7 Onkyo TX-NR838 7.2-Ch Network A/V Receiver w/ HDMI 2.0
The Onkyo TX-NR838 offers up to 7.2-channel surround sound support for a home theater setup. Want to get all your devices and speakers hooked up to one system? The Onkyo TX-NR838 is the ideal receiver for making that happen.
It is a 4k/60Hz capable device that provides HDCP 2.2 support. Whether it is 4K upscaling, or future 4K broadcasts, the Onkyo TX-NR838 can handle it all. And thanks to its built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, wireless connections are not an issue either. Want to connect streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music? No problem.
There are six HDMI inputs and two HDMI out spaces on the receiver, with all the HDMI inputs supporting 4K quality. The second HDMI out works for the second zone, ensuring that you can have two televisions running in two different rooms of the house at the same time.
The Onkyo TX-NR838 receiver is one of those devices that is designed with audiophiles in mind. Whether you are planning on listening to jazz tunes, piano instrumentals or orchestra recordings, you will find it an incredible sensory experience. There is no static or interference, and the device’s amp and pre-amp setup ensure that you are getting great quality at all volumes.
Offers support for the Dolby Atmos surround sound encoder. Hi-res audio support is also available. Whether you are playing FLAC, WAV or ALAC files, you will find the experience seamless and the quality perfect.
Our Rating: (4.3 / 5)
- Offers up to 7.2-channel surround sound through Dolby Atmos.
- Hi-Res audio support ensures easy playback of WAV, FLAC, and other lossless audio formats.
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity ensures integration with Spotify, Google Cast and more.
- HDMI outputs allow for two zones running simultaneously.
- 4K HDCP 2.2 support through HDMI inputs.
- No DTS:X.
- No AirPlay.
8 Yamaha RX-V483BL 5.1-Channel 4K Ultra HD MusicCast AV Receiver
The Yamaha RX-V483BL is the 5.1-channel surround sound 4K receiver of your dreams. If you are interested in a typical surround sound setup that does not go to 7.2 or 9.2 channels, you will be very happy with this model. The Yamaha RX-V48BL offers built-in support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and AirPlay connections.
The unit has four HDMI inputs and one output, for attaching your television, gaming monitor and other systems. Support for ultra HD and 4K resolutions is available, with full HDCP 2.2 capability among all the HDMI inputs. HDR video through Dolby Vision is seamless, with users set to experience an exemplary visuals when connecting televisions and other devices.
MusicCast is a fantastic addition to this receiver. With MusicCast, you are ensured of a seamless experience when trying to integrate various music streaming services. You can easily stream audio to different rooms in your house, provided you have compatible speaker setups in those rooms. Add speakers, sound bars and Hi-Fi components to your A/V receiver.
Do not like going up to a receiver to change its settings? With the Yamaha RX-V483BL, it is not an issue. You are able to control the receiver through your Android or iOS smartphones and tablets. You can customize the interface, and hide icons that you may rarely use. It results in easy management and settings tweaking of the device.
Our Rating: (4.2 / 5)
- Up to 5.1-channel surround sound support.
- 4K and ultra-HD video support with full HDCP 2.2 capability.
- MusicCast makes it very easy to connect various streaming services.
- AirPlay, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity.
- Only four HDMI inputs.
- Only a single HDMI output.
9 Pioneer VSX-1131 7.2-Channel AV Receiver with MCACC built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
The Pioneer VSX-1131 is an affordable and feature-packed 7.2-channel audio/visual receiver that will take every home theater setup to the next level. The receiver supports both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, with three-dimensional sound reproduction.
The magic behind Pioneer receivers is the unique MCACC and Reflex Optimizer audio calibration systems. These systems ensure all your outputs are delivering the ideal audio experience. The system uses object-based data to ensure the perfect listening experience. It is especially useful when you have a surround sound setup, as you do not want audio coming in at different levels from your speakers.
The HDMI inputs on the Pioneer VSX-1131 all support HDCP 2.2, along with 4K ultra-HD quality. The color reproduction is 4:4:4, ensuring a stunning visual experience for 4K upscaling and broadcasting. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity is available through the device, with both 5GHz and 2.4Ghz supported. The receiver has a built-in Chromecast for even easier playback of audio and video streams.
Have Pioneer wireless speakers? Now you can use the Pioneer VSX-1131 with FireConnect to wirelessly stream audio into different rooms. High-resolution audio streams are also supported. Lossless file types such as FLAC, WAV, and ALAC play seamlessly through the receiver.
Our Rating: (4 / 5)
- Offers 7 HDMI inputs and two outputs.
- Full HDCP 2.2 support. 4K ultra-HD resolution upscaling is seamless.
- Easy wireless connectivity with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support.
- FireConnect allows wireless audio streaming to compatible Pioneer speakers in other rooms.
- MCACC technology ensures a better surround sound audio experience.
- Bulky receiver.
- No AirPlay.
10 Sony STRDN1080 7.2 Channel Dolby Atmos Home Theater AV Receiver
Want a high-end A/V receiver with all the bells and whistles? Read on to learn more about the Sony STRDN1080.
Sony’s latest A/V receiver offers high-end home entertainment enthusiasts all the features they need to set up a seamless surround sound system. It supports up to 7.2 channel Dolby Atmos and offers integration for DTS:X as well.
Consumers get an A/V receiver with 4K HDR playback and full HDCP 2.2 support. With 6-in and 2-out HDMI ports, connecting many devices to the receiver at the same time is no issue. The receiver also supports Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi, AirPlay and Wireless multi-room. Google Home is supported too.
When you purchase the Sony STRDN1080, you get a high-end A/V receiver that will last you decades. The box also includes a microphone for calibration, FM antennas, and a remote control. Operating the A/V receiver with a remote makes everything so much easier. There is need to constantly go up to your receiver to change settings with this model.
The Sony STRDN1080 supports high-res audio, delivering a quality and immersive listening experience. Many A/V receivers are optimized for movies, sports, and television shows, but this model is perfect for audiophiles who want the best possible sound while enjoying music.
Our Rating: (3.9 / 5)
- Up to 7.2 surround sound support offers future proofing.
- Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay and Chromecast support ensure a full slate of wireless options.
- Multiple HDMI ports for connecting several devices at once.
- Optimized for music with high-res audio support.
- Users report of the unit getting warm depending on the usage.
- Buttons on the receiver are quite tiny and hard to read.
11 Denon AVRS930H 7.2 Channel AV Receiver with Built-in HEOS wireless technology
Want a high-end surround sound experience, with full wireless connectivity? Learn more about the Denon AVRS930H now!
Compatible with Amazon’s Alexa, and featuring a full slate of wireless connectivity options, the Denon AVRS930H is one of the most versatile A/V receivers on the market. Users can integrate the receiver with Amazon’s virtual assistant, ensuring audio commands are compatible with the device. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay, and HEOS Wireless multi-room streaming are also supported.
The receiver delivers support for up to 7.2 channel surround sound audio, through Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Users have the choice between these highly rated and common surround sound interfaces. Watching movies and television shows is a completely new experience with this receiver, as the audio seamlessly integrates with your high-end surround sound speaker system.
Worried about mediocre music playback with your A/V receiver? This is the model for you! The Denon AVRS930H delivers high-resolution audio that audiophiles will love. File types supported include ALAC, FLAC, and WAV up to 24-bit quality. Files are playable through wireless streaming or connected USB memory devices.
Wired connectivity is no problem with the Denon AVRS930H either. Users can connect up to EIGHT devices to the receiver through HDMI, with one port conveniently located at the front of the receiver. Full ultra HD, HDCP 2.2 and HDR are supported, along with a Wide Color Gamut. The receiver can even upscale HD resolution videos to 4K!
Our Rating: (3.9 / 5)
- Amazon Alexa support for a hands-free user experience.
- Extensive wireless connectivity with Bluetooth, AirPlay, Wireless Multi-Room and Wi-Fi support.
- Ability to play high-resolution audio files such as FLAC.
- 4K upscaling delivers an even better visual experience on compatible televisions and projectors.
- Lack of Google Cast support.
12 Onkyo TX-NR575 7.2 Channel Network A/V Receiver
The Onkyo TX-NR575 is the ideal receiver for anyone desiring 7.2 channel support, full wireless connectivity, and other impressive features in a stylish exterior.
The device features support for 5.2.2 channel Dolby Atmos and DTS:X up to 7.2 channels. Surround sound enthusiasts will not be disappointed by what they are getting from the Onkyo TX-NR575. It is one of the most affordable receivers on the market to deliver a high-end surround sound experience.
Wireless connections are no issue with this receiver either, with Bluetooth, DTS Play-Fi, Fire Connect and internet radio support built into the device. Streaming services such as Tidal, Spotify, Amazon Music, Pandora, and Deezer are also easy to integrate with the receiver. Users who are more concerned with music performance than home theater will love the Onkyo TX-NR575 too.
Thanks to the Powered Zone 2 Speaker Outputs, and the Zone 2 Line Input features, it is possible to connect speakers that are in another room with this receiver. Support for Chromecast, AirPlay, WiFi and AccEQ room calibration also exist with the Onkyo TX-NR575. Another perk for music enthusiasts is the ability to play high-resolution audio files from a variety of sources. This receiver handles FLAC files without a problem.
The Onkyo TX-NR575 delivers dynamic audio amplification, with power going up to 170 W/channel if desired.
Our Rating: (4.5 / 5)
- Support for both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, two of the most popular surround sound encoders.
- Complete wireless connectivity with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Chromecast, music streaming services and DTS Play-Fi.
- Audio amplification up to 170 W/channel, and high res file support.
- Avoids the issue of pulse noise generated by analog signals, which are a problem with some A/V receivers.
- Digital interface on the receiver looks very dated.
13 Krell 4K Ultra HD Processor
Are you a high-end audio and surround sound enthusiast who only wants the very best audio/visual playback? The Krell 4K Ultra HD Processor may be the product for you!
Right out of the bat, users will notice how there are TEN HDMI inputs available with this receiver. What is even more impressive is that four of those ports feature 4K UHD upscaling from HDMI 1.4a to HDCP 2.2 or HDMI 2.0. Now you can connect many devices to your receiver, with the possibility of 4K upscaling on four of them!
Tired of receivers that only support video playback on a single device at a time? The Krell 4K Ultra HD Processor solves the problem, with two of its HDMI outputs completely independent of each other. That means you can send out two distinct 4K signals to two devices simultaneously. Say you want to game on a single display, and have the television running at the same time, it is possible with the Krell 4K Ultra HD Processor.
Full support for decoding the latest lossless audio formats, 3DTV pass-through, digital switching and other features is available through the Krell 4K Ultra HD Processor. And with the company’s unique Automatic Room Equalization System integrated into the processor, consumers get an amazing theater experience in any room.
Our Rating: (4.2 / 5)
- Top notch, professional quality sonics.
- Impressive build quality that should last for decades.
- Wide support for 4K upscaling.
- Simultaneous 4K broadcasts give users a lot more home theater freedom.
- Only ethernet connectivity – no Wi-Fi.
- No built-in support for streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, Google Play Music, AirPlay, Chromecast etc.
Best A/V Receivers Buying Guide
Understanding A/V Receivers
Many consumers are unsure about what benefits an A/V receiver offers. If you are planning on having a setup with multiple speakers, or surround sound, you will need an A/V receiver. Think of the receiver like the quarterback in a football game, or an official at air-traffic control. The A/V takes audio and video signals and instantly pushes them through into the correct locations.
Whether you are playing audio through your smartphone, tablet, computer, gaming console or television, it routes through the system. The best A/V receivers not only get these signals and send them out, but they also improve the signals to give you better quality sound. If you are planning to buy expensive speakers, a quality A/V receiver is a must.
Receiver boxes will contain a preamp, amplifier, video inputs and a decoder. The preamp and amp handle audio signals, video inputs send the visuals to various devices, while the decoder splits up the audio and video signals.
Understanding the audio channel support of an A/V receiver is vitally important. The numbers we see most often are 5.1, 7.1 and 9.2. What do these numbers mean? The first number (5,7 or 9) indicates the number of high or mid-range speakers you can connect. The second number indicates the low-end speakers or subwoofers. A 5.1 or 7.1 setup lets you connect 5 or 7 bigger speakers, and one subwoofer or low-end speaker. A 9.2 channel setup gives you up to 9 bigger speakers, and two subwoofers or low-end speakers.
Most home users will be happy with a 5.1 or 7.1 setup. Some receivers offer 7.2, while the high-end models go up to 9.2 or 11.2. Before selecting a receiver, know what type of setup you are planning. Understand the audio channel requirements of your speaker set, and you will find a compatible receiver.
Common 5.1 setups include three front channel speakers and two at the back. A 7.1 setup includes three at the front and four at the back. These setups give you excellent sound production for watching movies, television shows, sporting events or listening to music. You will get the surround sound effect with 5.1 or 7.1 setups.
The 9.2 to 11.2 setups are often needed when you have massive height speakers added into the mix. These are suitable for audio enthusiasts, or those setting up a home theater in a massive room. It is understandable that such speaker systems cost the most. And the accompanying receivers are also the priciest options.
Dolby Atmos, DTS:X or Auro3D
The idea behind surround sound is that you are experiencing audio from different locations around you. Instead of all the audio coming out of two speakers, different bits of the audio track come out of different speakers, giving it a surround effect.
Surround sound only works with the right codecs. With codecs, the code is converted into sound. The sound is sent to the A/V receiver, and the codec tells it where to go. The three major codecs are DTS:X, Dolby Atmos, and Auro3D.
Beginners will love DTS:X, as it is the easiest to configure. It works with 5.1 and 7.1 setups. Everyone is software based, which means you have to do very little work. Just connect up your surround sound speaker system, and the software auto-calibrates everything.
Dolby Atmos requires one or two ceiling speakers to deliver a true experience. Those going beyond 7.1 into 9.1, 9.2, 11.1 or 11.2 will enjoy Dolby Atmos. It requires a bit of work to setup, and the right speaker system. Dolby Atmos can work with 5.1 or 7.1 systems, if they are specifically designed for it. You will get a more immersive and intense sound experience, especially when watching Blu-Ray content optimized for Dolby Atmos.
Aura 3D is found in 9.1, 11.1 and 11.3 systems. It is very flexible, but you must install the speakers in precise ways. The location and height of each speaker are precise, otherwise, the system will not broadcast sound the right way.
HDMI and 4K
HDMI ports are incredibly useful in A/V receivers, as they help you connect devices to the receiver. For instance, your gaming console, Blu-Ray player, television and other devices all have HDMI connectivity. When buying a receiver, ensure it has adequate HDMI ports.
While you can always remove one device to connect another, having them all plugged in is much more convenient. A general rule of thumb is that four to eight HDMI connections are a good amount.
It is always neat to see 4K support among A/V receivers. But if you are seeking a budget option, it is the one feature that you can forgo. 4K content is still limited, while many users may not have the internet connection or data usage capability to consistently stream 4K.
Bluetooth, WiFi, and Other Wireless Connectivity
The newer models of A/V receivers boast wireless connectivity for even easier use. Bluetooth and/or WiFi connectivity is present in many receivers, which is a great help to buyers. Bluetooth streaming is useful when you are using a phone or tablet to play music. But the quality is always lower than what you get with a wired connection.
The beauty of WiFi streaming is the quality is almost on par with speaker wires. When your receiver is connected to the same WiFi network as other devices, you can play audio from anywhere. You could be on your computer in one room, and you could play audio to speakers in your living room.
If you are planning a wired setup, WiFi connectivity is not a must-have feature. Bluetooth will give you the option of streaming music from your phone in a pinch, but the quality is lower. Those who want the convenience of always streaming audio wirelessly should only look at WiFi supporting A/V receivers.
Other wireless connectivity options include AirPlay and Google Cast. AirPlay is specific to the Apple ecosystem, while Google Cast works with Android devices. Both offer better quality and range than Bluetooth connections.
Some receivers even work with wireless multiroom speakers from the same manufacturer. If you are desiring a wireless speaker system around the house, find speakers and receivers from the same company.
Finding the ideal A/V receiver is not easy. There are so many options on the market, and new models are always coming out. But the beauty of a quality A/V receiver is that it can last for decades.
We hope that our review of the 13 best A/V receivers will help you with your decision. Each of these receivers will deliver excellent sound, easy connectivity, and support for multiple audio channels.
When you find the A/V receiver that includes all your most wanted features, you know you have found a quality product.
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