The Five Best AV Receivers for Your Home Theater
You Deserve the Best AV Receivers to Choose From
Fact: no matter how amazing your television is, it’s all for naught if you have subpar sound equipment. Bad, tinny sound from weak reedy TV speakers offer a poor contrast to the stunning picture that you likely shelled out hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars to enjoy. Don’t let the TV go to waste. Don’t let your valuable home entertainment time go to waste. Purchase quality sound equipment. You owe it to yourself. You owe it the neighbors who are going to get to listen when you decide to blast The Matrix at full volume. You both deserve the best. So, with that in mind, we submit for your consideration our list of (we think) the best AV receivers for your home theater.
This thing is pretty awesome and more or less meets almost any audio need you could possibly have. Whether it’s music or cinema, the rich, vibrant sound pumping out of the 7.1 channel receiver is sure to move and titillate you. With eight HDMI inputs and dual HDMI outputs and 4K scaling, you’ll be all set. You can even individually calibrate the speakers to your unique acoustic requirements/layout with the aid of a USB and a microphone computer. The only downside to this system is that it’s not compatible with ATMOS. But seriously, do you actually know anybody who uses ATMOS in their home? We don’t. Price is a bit steep: $2000.
Okay. This one is definitely modeled more towards movies than music. Just a heads up. That said, this is a pretty sweet set: 5.1 channel surround sound, six HDMI inputs, and support for 4K and HDCP. Plus, even though this is not optimized for vinyl input, it does come with an input for that as well. Additionally, it comes with Googlecast, Airplay, and Bluetooth. Clocks in at an inexpensive $449. Good value for money.
If you just need to experience the overhyped, overpriced, and (significantly) overestimated marvels that are ATMOS and DTX, the Onkyo NR646 is the receiver for you. Incorrectly anticipating the demand for such services, this receiver does indeed boast support for new the new technology. Curiously retro and ugly in design with a counterintuitive remote, this receiver is nonetheless an outstanding A/V unit complete with HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2, Ethernet, Bluetooth, and Airplay it has all of you connection needs met. And the sound. The sound is an amazingly immersive 5.1.2 Dolby channel surround sound fully customizable for either music or cinema. A worthwhile all in one system for the fairly reasonable price of $700.
Another great quality five channel Dolby system, the Yamaha comes loaded with features and is one of the few receivers on the market to feature Music Cast – a proprietary Yamaha feature that allows you to wirelessly stream music to speakers anywhere in your home. Yes, it is as great as is it sounds, but be forewarned. To truly utilize the benefit of that you have to own the accompanying Music Cast speakers and soundbars – the cheapest of which starts at around $250. Connectivity options include six HDMI inputs, two optical connections, two stereo RCA connections, and three composite video connections. It does lack ATMOS technology, but since the jury is still out on that one, it may be a moot point anyway. Its Dolby and DTS qualities are more than adequate for most five channel tracks. Additionally, it is 4K compatible. For a truly expansive wireless audio experience, consider this one. Your entertainment center will be not be confined to your living room but can expand into and permeate your entire home. Like the previously mentioned Onkyo receiver, it’s not pretty, but it is very versatile and functional. It is exceedingly unlikely that you would have to replace it anytime soon. Costs $700.
Another early DOLBY ATMOS pioneer, the Marantz SR 7009 is a fine, if a rather costly system. Coming standard with a nine channel configuration and upgradeable to 13, the Marantz is a receiver for the true audio enthusiast with money to burn. It has eight HDMI inputs so it can handle pretty much any number of devices you may wish to add to it. It also comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as well as a host of streaming services, 4K upscaling, and the capability to play any kind of high-resolution file (DAC or otherwise) that you could wish for. Now, of course, all those bells and whistles are meaningless without quality sound, so it’s fortunate that the Marantz has that as well. In fact, it is famous for its rich, warm sound and solid favorite among music enthusiasts for that reason. This costs $2000.
This is a toy for the hardcore audiophile. Power is its big selling point. It has enough raw power to handle even the most demanding speaker load. It does, of course, come standard with all the usual HDMI connections and outputs you’d expect, but power and performance are where ti really shines. It also comes with a host of preset options for different kinds of source material. At a pricey $3000+, it’s definitely not for everyone, but if you just need a beast of a system that can handle a truly demoing workload, then this may be the one for you. Just a quick note: like the majority of the other systems we’ve discussed, this is not ATMOS or DTX compliant. Not a big deal for most of us, but it something you should be aware of given the cost of the system.
There you have it. There are, of course, a plethora of other quality receivers from Denon, Sony, Phillips, and many many others. However, for the serious enthusiast, we feel that these are the best av receivers and most worth the investment of your time and money for a truly optimal experience. From the casual listener (with lots of disposable income) to the hardcore audiophile, there is something here to meet everyone’s needs. Happy listening!