For each spectacular residence theater system, there’s a workhorse receiver on the helm. One of the best receivers will brilliantly reimagine your A/V tools, delivering mighty sound to your audio system and breathtaking visuals to your favourite TV.
If you happen to’re fascinated with gaming, watching movies, or listening to music, you most likely have already got some idea of what an A/V receiver is. Though we take into account the Anthem MRX 1120 one of the best receiver available on the market, there are nonetheless loads of choices out there.
With a lifetime of expertise within the digital neighborhood reviewing TVs, amplifiers, A/V receivers, and extra, our crew has put collectively a present checklist of one of the best A/V receivers you’ll find.
One of the best A/V receivers at a look:
One of the best A/V receiver: Anthem MRX 1120
Why you can purchase this: It provides improbable sound and each function you can need.
Who it’s for: Anybody who locations a premium on top-notch sound.
Why we picked the Anthem MRX 1120:
Anthem is a well known title amongst those that demand top-tier sound high quality of their A/V receivers, and the 11.2-channel MRX 1120 is the highest canine of the corporate’s newest choices. The MRX 1120 packs an enormous Toroidal energy provide, providing a claimed 140 watts of unpolluted energy per channel at eight ohms. It options assist for each Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based encompass sound, in both 7.1.four or 5.1.four configurations, relying on whether or not you need to depart channels free for a second zone for one more room in your house. And that’s only for starters.
The MRX 1120 additionally provides wi-fi multiroom connectivity through DTS Play-Fi. That is bolstered by built-in assist for numerous common music-streaming providers, together with Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Prime Music, Pandora, SiriusXM and web radio. For many who worth constancy over comfort, hi-res audio assist is included as nicely and makes good use of the receiver’s 32-bit/768 kHz differential-output digital-to-analog converters (DACs).
In relation to video, the MRX 1120 naturally provides assist for 4K and excessive dynamic vary (HDR) content material in each HDR10 and Dolby Imaginative and prescient codecs, with assist for four:four:four chroma and BT.2020 colorspace. A built-in upscaler can also be included, bringing normal and high-definition alerts as much as 4K high quality, impartial of your 4K TV’s inner upscaler. A complete of eight HDMI inputs are included, all of which assist HDMI 2.0a (for the aforementioned 4K/HDR gadget connections) and HDCP 2.2. There are additionally two HDMI and three digital audio outputs.
Lastly, the Anthem MRX 1120 makes setup a snap through Anthem Room Correction software program, which is among the finest room-calibration techniques on the market. The corporate even features a high-quality mic and stand for measuring your room’s acoustic properties proper within the field.
One of the best low-cost A/V receiver: Sony STR-DH590
Why you can purchase this: It suits simply inside most individuals’s budgets, but the Sony STR-DH590 nonetheless supplies practically each function discovered on way more costly receivers.
Who it’s for: Those that desire a full-fledged residence theater system with out spending hundreds.
Why we picked the Sony STR-DH590:
In relation to A/V receivers, lowering your finances invariably means lowering the variety of options. The bottom line is to protect as lots of the options that most individuals worth. The Sony STR-DH590 manages to do that is stellar trend by supporting the entire newest audio and video codecs, together with 4K and HDR (HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Imaginative and prescient). It additionally comes with its personal acoustic calibration circuitry, which takes the guesswork out of establishing your audio system to the best ranges.
For utmost audio constancy, the DH590 is provided with Sony’s Pure Direct mode for the cleanest sound the receiver has to supply. It does so by disabling the 590’s entrance show panel, eliminating pointless element noise from escaping into the combo of no matter content material you’re consuming. Take into account that participating Pure Direct additionally bypasses a number of of the receiver’s inner equalizers. It’s a fantastic function for listening to music via analog sources, however should you’re a fan of huge cinema sound, it’s most likely one thing we’d depart alone when watching a film.
Though the DH590 has Bluetooth for direct music streaming from a suitable smartphone or pill, the receiver isn’t internet-connected, so that you received’t be capable of stream music with out a Bluetooth gadget. That being stated, Sony’s high-res audio assist kicks in while you’re beaming tunes to the receiver, which provides somewhat extra stomach and top-end to your sound.
When it comes to essential supply connections, the DH590 solely has 4 HDMI inputs. When you received’t be powering any rock concert events, it’s greater than sufficient receiver for a really satisfying residence theater expertise.
One of the best A/V receiver with phono enter: Yamaha RX-A680
Why you can purchase this: It has a dizzying array of contemporary options like Dolby Atmos, 4K, HDR, and streaming providers plus a uncommon phono enter.
Who it’s for: Those that need the most recent and best A/V receiver options, plus a simple method to kick it old-school with vinyl for when the temper strikes you.
Why we picked the Yamaha RX-A680:
There isn’t a lack of succesful fashions to select from in relation to mid-range A/V receivers. However while you begin to ask which of these fashions can assist a turntable with out the usage of a pre-amp? Nicely, it’s a a lot shorter checklist. Chief amongst them is the Yamaha RX-A680, a full-fledged 5.2.2 A/V receiver that additionally packs a phono-input, which simplifies your setup significantly.
Don’t let its vinyl-friendly jacks idiot you: This receiver is blistering with fashionable, high-tech options like 4K, HDR (HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Imaginative and prescient), HDCP 2.2, Dolby Atmos, and DTS:X. It’s a part of Yamaha’s Aventage lineup of merchandise, which the corporate claims can obtain higher sound via higher elements. We’re positively followers of the pliability that’s been built-in to the RX-A680. You possibly can run the rear encompass channels as traditional rear surrounds, or as top channels for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, or you may run them as powered second-zone stereo audio system when you have one other location you need to wire up. On the wi-fi aspect of issues, it will get even higher. Bluetooth is normal as is Wi-Fi, which provides the receiver AirPlay compatibility. Cleverly, its Bluetooth connection is two-way, which suggests you may stream to the RX-A680 from a pill or smartphone, however it could additionally stream out to wi-fi headphones or audio system.
If there’s one limitation to concentrate on, it’s the small choice of HDMI inputs — you solely get 4, which suggests chances are you’ll have to complement with an HDMI switcher sooner or later.
One of the best A/V receiver for music: Yamaha RX-A1080
Why you can purchase this: It hits the candy spot with considerable audio and video choices, plus a brand new A.I.-powered encompass sound system.
Who it’s for: Those that need whole management over their A/V setting.
Why we picked the Yamaha RX-A1080:
We’ve referred to as the Yamaha RX-A1080 one of the best A/V receiver for music, and with its Yamaha MusicCast multiroom wi-fi audio system and discrete phono enter, that’s actually true. It’s a 7.2.2 unit however with a twist: If you happen to crave extra energy on your essential channels (entrance, middle, and rears) you may select to make use of the included pre-amp outputs for these audio system and use a devoted amplifier, as an alternative of the powered speaker terminals.
However we’d be remiss if we didn’t level out simply how succesful this unit is as a powerhouse video system. Naturally, it has assist for the entire newest A/V applied sciences: 4K, HDR (HDR10, HLG, Dolby Imaginative and prescient), Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and HDCP 2.2. It’s prepared for HDMI-eARC (with a software program improve) and is suitable with hi-res audio information as much as 32-bit/192 kHz.
However you additionally get some actually superior options, like its three-way HDMI outputs. These ports provide the choice of watching two totally different video sources on two separate screens concurrently or the identical sign on two screens without delay. On the similar time, you should utilize the third port to ship uncompressed audio to a soundbar — although why you’ll do this when you have already got a 7.1.2 system at your disposal is anybody’s guess. With seven HDMI inputs, you’ll have a lot of room for enlargement earlier than needing to look into an exterior HDMI switcher.
We’re additionally intrigued by Yamaha’s Encompass A.I., a machine-learning system that analyzes your audio and video alerts in actual time and optimizes the sound based mostly on what’s taking place on-screen. The RX-A1080 is the least costly A/V receiver in Yamaha’s lineup that provides Encompass A.I., making it a fantastic alternative for many who need modern tech at a still-affordable value.
One of the best next-gen A/V receiver: Denon AVR-X3700NH
Why you can purchase this: You desire a titan of a house theater mind, combining energy, efficiency, and longevity.
Who’s it for: Early adopters of cutting-edge residence theater, particularly 8K lovers.
Why we picked the Denon AVR-X3700NH:
Usually, the price of shopping for into the following era of residence theater might be quite steep. Whereas $1,200 isn’t precisely a discount, it’s contemplating all of the issues the Denon AVR-X3700NH can do for the gear you personal now, in addition to the upgrades chances are you’ll make sooner or later — significantly, 8K TVs and suitable 8K units.
Within the video nook, the AVR-X3700 helps 8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz, Dolby Imaginative and prescient, HDR10+ (Dynamic HDR, HLG). There’s additionally 8K upscaling for including new dimensions to your current 4K Blu-rays and subscriptions to Netflix in UHD; and with 7 HDMI inputs and three outputs, you received’t have to fret about shopping for a selector for extra units. We additionally love Denon’s consideration of the gaming world at giant. With receiver options like Variable Refresh Charge (VRR), Fast Body Transport (QFT), and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), present and next-gen video games will look and play higher than ever.
Then, there’s the audio nook. The X3700 has every little thing we anticipate from a higher-tier receiver. We’re speaking Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, DTS: Digital X, and different extremely dimensional codecs, coming at you at a transparent and crisp 105 watts per channel. You possibly can arrange 5.2.four or 7.2.2 conventional Atmos preparations, or go for simulated top channels with the Dolby Atmos Top Virtualization function.
Music lovers will really feel proper at residence with the X3700’s suite of digital music assist from providers like Spotify, Pandora, Tidal, Soundcloud and extra. There’s additionally Denon HEOS assist should you’ve bought a number of zones of Denon gear in your house. Management and share all of your music proper out of your telephone, or train the HEOS ability to your Echo speaker for immersive Alexa controls. The X3700 additionally helps Google Assistant, Apple Siri, and Josh.ai.
There’s so much available with the X3700, and whereas it could ding the pockets upfront, the years of service you’ll be getting are positively well worth the funding.
Analysis and shopping for suggestions
Are some A/V receivers higher for music than motion pictures?
No. Most receivers do very nicely for motion pictures in addition to music, with efficiency scaling up in tandem as you progress into premium fashions. Nonetheless, music might be extra revealing of sound high quality and character than film soundtracks, and those that worth music listening might discover one model extra sonically satisfying than one other.
Do all A/V receivers assist 4K?
Sure. All the fashions we spotlight assist 4K and most additionally assist HDR as nicely.
What about 8K?
Whereas 8K is on the market in some type or one other in the present day, the know-how remains to be new and prohibitive for most individuals. There aren’t any client A/V receivers on our checklist that assist 8K as of this writing, because the know-how remains to be in its nascent stage.
Can I simply use an A/V receiver with a turntable?
So long as it has a phono enter, sure. If not, you’ll want a phono preamp which might be fairly inexpensive for entry-level fashions.
How we check
Collectively, the A/V crew at Digital Developments has been testing A/V receivers for simply over 40 years. Testing takes place each in a devoted residence theater lab at our headquarters in Portland, Oregon, in addition to our particular person residence theater areas.
Supply tools features a Roku Streaming Stick+, Oppo UDP-203 4K Extremely HD Blu-ray participant, Panasonic UBP900P 4K Extremely HD Blu-ray participant, Pioneer BDP-88FD Blu-ray participant, U-turn Orbit turntable, varied smartphones, Spotify, Tidal, and Pandora. We additionally maintain a Peachtree Nova 220 SE built-in amplifier close by for reference.
Linked audio system embody a rotating solid of audio system, together with many Dolby Atmos-enabled fashions. Previous check audio system embody Pioneer Elite flooring standing, bookshelf and middle channel audio system, Aperion Audio Verus Grand, Bowers & Wilkins CM8 S2, Elac UB5, Paradigm Monitor eight subwoofer, and GoldenEar know-how SuperSub XXL, although our assortment of check audio system continuously rotates with new fashions.
Take a look at materials contains a big selection 4K Extremely HD Blu-ray discs with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X encompass encoding, Tremendous Audio CDs, DVD-Audio discs, Redbook CDs, hi-res audio information, and Spotify’s high-quality (320 kbps) music streams.
Whereas we routinely run any given receiver’s auto setup routine to gauge its accuracy and consumer expertise, we finally carry out a guide calibration utilizing an analog SPL meter, fastidiously selecting crossover factors for related audio system based mostly on in-room measured low-frequency response. Encompass speaker preparations will fluctuate between 7.2 and 5.2.four.
Receivers are examined for ease-of-use, with particular consideration paid to how simple it’s to stream music to the receiver in addition to direct-stream web radio stations. We additionally take note of how clear on-screen guides and setup directions will likely be for novice customers.
Sound high quality assessments embody evaluation of dynamic expression, general energy, timbre, and tonality, speaker-to-speaker transitions of sound results, and normal soundstage high quality.
Is now an excellent time to purchase?
For a while, the speed at which options have been being added made shopping for any A/V receiver a dangerous proposition should you didn’t need to be caught with one thing that rapidly went outdated. With 4K, HDR, HDMI, and HDCP seemingly having every little thing labored out for the 4K period, it’s a lot safer to purchase a receiver now with out worrying that you simply’ll rapidly see the long run go you by. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X appear entrenched as the 2 main leaders in object-based encompass sound — no shock, given the lead each Dolby and DTS have typically had in encompass sound applied sciences — so you have to be secure there too.
The one space that might probably change is high-resolution audio, as even lots of the above fashions don’t assist every little thing doable but, although that’s rapidly altering as nicely. If this is essential to you in a receiver, chances are you’ll need to take into account a separate digital-to-analog converter (DAC).
One thing else price noting: You received’t get HDMI 2.1 with any of those fashions. The up to date spec provides 48 gigabits-per-second in bandwidth to assist video alerts as much as 120fps and as much as 10Ok decision, amongst different advantages. As good as that’s, the fact is that HDMI 2.1 received’t be very related for all however essentially the most enthusiastic (and wealthy) cinephiles for a while. Hardware and content material assist for that degree of constancy remains to be within the toddler phases, and it might be a couple of extra years earlier than that stuff takes off. Solely anticipate a more moderen receiver should you completely must be future-proofed for the 8K (and better) decision otherwise you want extremely excessive framerates for gaming. For everybody else, it’s a reasonably secure guess that any of the above fashions ought to maintain you content for an extended whereas.
4K: Greater decision than HD (3840 X 2160). Rapidly changing into the usual for brand new TVs.
Dolby Atmos: One of many two hottest object-based encompass codecs, Atmos provides top data so sound can appear to return from above and throughout you.
DSD: Direct-Stream Digital. A hi-res audio file format different to .WAV, .AIFF, and others that goals to cut back distortion.
DTS:X: The opposite hottest object-based audio format, DTS:X might be extra versatile than Dolby Atmos in relation to the place audio system are positioned and what number of of them there are.
HDCP 2.2: A type of copy safety, this model is required in an effort to play 4K content material.
HDMI 2.0a: Whereas it isn’t the latest model of HDMI, this model is the primary that permits HDR alerts and 4K content material at as much as 60 frames per second.
HDMI 2.1: Not but broadly out there, HDMI 2.1 helps increased body charges and as much as 8K decision, amongst different key advantages you may examine proper right here.
HDMI eARC: eARC — or “enhanced audio return channel” — is an improve to the usual HDMI ARC interface. The tech was designed to permit one-cable transmission of audio and data to and from the TV to simplify residence theater setups, however the eARC improve additionally provides full assist for hi-res encompass sound codecs.
HDR: Excessive Dynamic Vary, provides higher distinction and extra colour quantity than normal dynamic vary. Thought of by some a much bigger visible enchancment than 4K decision.