Which Are the Best AV Receivers Under $1000 in 2019?

Which Are the Best AV Receivers Under $1000? - audio inputs and outputs on the rear of an AV receiver
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Updated: October 01, 2019

So, you want to know which are the best AV receivers under $1000? That’s great. In 2019 there are several fantastic receivers for you to choose from. The problem is, where do you start?

Well, I’ve tried to make your life a little easier by picking a top 5 for you to consider. All of these AV receivers come in under the $1000 mark. Hopefully, this list will help you narrow down your options.

I will get into the specifics of each model, and highlight some of the important features that make each one stand out. So, if I were looking for an AV receiver in this price range, which ones would I be checking out?

Top 5 AV Receivers Under $1000 Comparison Table

Image Model HDMI In / Out Power (W/Ch) Dolby Atmos
Pioneer VSX-LX504 9.2-Ch AV Receiver Pioneer VSX-LX504 9.2-Ch AV Receiver 6+1 / 2 120 5.2.4 / 7.2.2 (Processing for 7.2.4) Check Price
Marantz SR5014 7.2-Ch AV Receiver Marantz SR5014 7.2-Ch AV Receiver 7+1 / 2 100 5.2.2 Check Price
Denon AVR-X2600H 7.2-Ch AV Receiver Denon AVR-X2600H 7.2-Ch AV Receiver 7+1 / 2 95 5.2.2 Check Price
Yamaha RX-A880 7.2-Ch AV Receiver Yamaha RX-A880 7.2-Ch AV Receiver 7 / 2 100 5.2.2 Check Price
Onkyo TX-RZ840 9.2-Ch AV Receiver Onkyo TX-RZ840 9.2-Ch AV Receiver 6+1 / 2 120 5.2.4 / 7.2.2 (Processing for 7.2.4) Check Price

1. Pioneer Elite VSX-LX504 9.2-Ch AV Receiver

Pioneer receivers are a great choice if you are looking for a modern, feature-packed receiver with a great sound. If you have used Pioneer before then you know this already. If not, they are worth considering.

This model is the top model in the Elite VSX-LX range of receivers. Elite receivers are aimed at audiophiles who require that extra attention to detail when it comes to sound quality. If you want great sound, an Elite receiver might just fit the bill.

Pioneer VSX-LX504 9.2-Ch AV ReceiverImage Credit: Pioneer

The Pioneer Elite VSX-LX504 receiver is a 9.2-channel model that makes an excellent choice if you are looking to set up a Dolby Atmos surround sound system.

At this price point, it is unusual to get a 9-channel receiver. This is usually reserved for models at a higher price point. However, Pioneer has managed it. Well done.

What this means is that you can install a 5.2.4 or 7.2.2 surround sound system out of the box.

However, that's not all. This receiver also has processing for two more height channels. So, if you use a separate power amplifier, then you can even have a 7.2.4 system. Terrific.

To wire this up, you need to use the zone 2 pre-out connections. These can then be set to be your extra pair of height speakers.

Of course, you don't need to have a Dolby Atmos setup. You can have a standard 5.1 or 7.1 layout. You might then use the extra channels to power audio in zone 2 and 3.

Two subwoofer outputs also allow for a second sub if your room needs some extra help with the bass frequencies.

That's quite some choice you have for setting up your room.

The Elite VSX-LX504 also packs quite a punch. It is rated at 120 watts per channel (8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven FTC). So, you will have plenty of juice to drive your speakers.

Pioneer Elite VSX-LX504 AV Receiver Specifications
Channels Dolby Atmos? HDMI In/Out Power (W)*
9.2 5.2.4 / 7.2.2 (Processing for 7.2.4) 6+1 / 2 120
Network / Wireless? Weight (lbs) Speaker Impedance (Ohms) Dimensions (W x H x D)
Ethernet / Wi-Fi / AirPlay 2 / Bluetooth / Chromecast / Spotify Connect / DTS Play-Fi / FlareConnect / Sonos Connect / Google Assistant 28.7 4-16 17-1/8 x 7-5/16 x 15-3/16 in | 435 x 185 x 386 mm
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven FTC

Another new feature in this model is the introduction of IMAX Enhanced. This is a certification standard that means the receiver meets a stringent set of technical standards.

This means this model will be able to play any IMAX Enhanced content at the very best quality. There's not that much of this content around at the moment. But that should change as time goes on.

As you would expect these days, there is full pass-through support for 4K/60p images and High Dynamic Range with HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG. This means you will have no problem playing back any 4K video from your streaming services and hardware players.

All the major receiver brands have some form of automatic room correction these days. Pioneer is no different and on this model, they use their snappily titled Advanced MCACC (Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration System).

The VSX-LX504 can use MCACC to measure 9 different points in your room. Therefore, you can tune the room for a great sound across a wide listening area. 

There are 7 HDMI inputs and 2 HDMI outputs on this device. Six of the inputs are on the back, while there is one on the front.

The 2nd HDMI output is useful if you want to switch between viewing on a TV and projector. Or, you could send the image to a 2nd zone in your home.

Voice control is all the rage these days and this receiver does offer this too. It doesn't have all the different options covered like some brands do, but you can use any Google Assistant device via the built-in Chromecast technology.

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  • 4K/60p 4:4:4/24-bit, BT.2020 and HDCP 2.2
  • Dolby Atmos, Dolby Surround upmixing and Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization
  • DTS:X, DTS Neural :X upmixing and DTS Virtual:X
  • MCACC Auto Room Tuning - Auto Phase Control Plus, Subwoofer EQ, Multi-point Standing Wave Control
  • Front HDMI connection for easy temporary connection of devices
  • SONOS Connect, FlareConnect, Chromecast, DTS-Play-Fi and Apple AirPlay 2
  • Use zone B pre-outs to connect to a wireless transmitter for wireless headphones

Thumbs Down   

  • It doesn't work with Amazon Alexa voice control
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2. Marantz SR5014 7.2-Ch AV Receiver

Marantz is a brand that is well known for its great sounding audio products. Marantz amplifiers have been a favorite of audiophiles for many years. Therefore, if sound quality is an important feature for you, then a Marantz AV receiver should be high on your list of possible choices.

The SR series of receivers are the top-of-the-range models in the Marantz line-up. This receiver is the entry-level model in the range and offers great sound with a host of must-have home theater features.

Marantz SR5014 7.2-Ch AV ReceiverImage Credit: Marantz

The Marantz SR5014 is an AV receiver with 7.2-channels. It therefore supports standard 5.1 and 7.1 surround speaker layouts – or you can have 5.2 and 7.2 if you take advantage of the extra subwoofer pre-out.

But, if you want more than a standard surround sound setup, you can also install a 5.2.2 system for Dolby Atmos.

If you do have height speakers in your room, then you will want to make use of the extra audio processing modes that this model offers.

There aren't that many true Dolby Atmos or DTS:X soundtracks around – so Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X will transform 5.1 soundtracks by extending the audio into your height speakers.

These modes are quite effective and will make sure you get the most out of your elevated speakers. In fact, you can use these modes to extend stereo audio around your home theater system too.

If you don't want to install height speakers, then this receiver also has DTS Virtual:X and Dolby Height Virtualization. These will attempt to give the effect of height speakers even when they aren't present.

As previously mentioned, one of the main selling points of Marantz hardware is the musical sound. Like many of their other products, the SE5014 uses their proprietary Hyper-Dynamic Amplifier Modules (HDAM) technology.

These are discreet circuit boards which provide a very detailed and dynamic sound compared to more traditional methods. If you know and love the Marantz sound, then you can be sure this receiver will fit the bill.

Marantz SR5014 AV Receiver Specifications
Channels Dolby Atmos? HDMI In/Out Power (W)*
7.2 5.2.2 7+1 / 2 100
Network / Wireless? Weight (lbs) Speaker Impedance (Ohms) Dimensions (W x H x D)
Ethernet / Wi-Fi / AirPlay 2 / Bluetooth / HEOS / Spotify Connect / Amazon Alexa / Google Assistant / Apple Siri 22.1 4-16 17-3/8 x 6-3/8 x 13-3/4 in | 440 x 161 x 348 mm (w/o antenna)
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven

The power of this receiver is rated at 100 watts per channel (8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven). Slightly less than some in this range, but in the real world the difference is unlikely to make that much difference.

This may only be a deciding factor for you if you know your speakers need to be driven hard. And, in this case, you always have the option of using the 7.2-channel pre-outs to connect to a power amplifier instead.

There are an impressive 8 HDMI inputs on this receiver. And, one of these is on the front which is a feature that I like to see. This doesn't seem important until you want to quickly connect a temporary device!

There are two HDMI outputs.

By the way, if you need help connecting your system, you might want to check out the article 'How to Set Up Surround Sound: Easy Home Theater Install Tips'.

The zone features on this receiver are a little limited compared to other models. However, you have the option of sending stereo audio to a second zone either powered - by using two of the 7-channels. Or, by using the zone 2 line-outs.

You can control all the major functions of this receiver using the Marantz AVR Remote App. Volume, inputs and settings can all be changed via the app.

It also allows for building music playlists which can be saved and recalled when required. This attention to detail for music probably stems from their long history with Hi-Fi components.

Automatic speaker configuration is controlled via the advanced Audyssey MultEQ XT system. This has more precision than the standard version of this software and uses advanced algorithms to measure your room and adjust the speaker output.

Audyssey is one of the best room correction systems I have used. This is definitely a plus point for this receiver.

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  • DTS HD Master Audio, DTS:X, DTS Neural:X and DTS Virtual:X
  • Dolby True HD, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Surround and Dolby Height Virtualization
  • AKM AK4458 32-bit D/A converters and HDAM circuits for that top-quality Marantz sound
  • 4K 60Hz 4:4:4 resolution / HDCP 2.3
  • HDR10 / HLG / Dolby Vision
  • eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel)
  • Analog to HDMI Scaling: 480i/576i up to 4K 30/25/24

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  • A line out for a 3rd zone is always a nice extra option to have
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3. Denon AVR-X2600H 7.2-Ch AV Receiver

Denon is always a good option if you want to buy an AV receiver. I have owned a couple of their models and they produce excellent products that compare with any brand at a similar price point.

This model is part of Denon's AVR-X range of receivers. AVR-X receivers are their top-level models with a focus on performance and build-quality. You can't go far wrong with any of these receivers. You just need to find the right balance between price and features that suits your needs.

Denon AVR-X2600H 7.2-Ch AV ReceiverImage Credit: Denon

The Denon AVR-X2600H is a 7.2-channel receiver with support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X 3D audio.

With dual subwoofer outputs, you can install a 5.2 or 7.2 surround sound system. Of course, you don't need to connect a second subwoofer if you don't want to.

If you do want to take advantage of object-based audio, then you can use the two surround back channels for your height or elevation speakers. 

You just need to remember to go into the 'Assign Mode' menu and select the location of the overhead or Dolby elevation speakers that you are using. 'Top Front', 'Top Middle', 'Front Dolby' or 'Surround Dolby'.

Of course, this means that you must choose between a 7.2 layout or a 5.2.2 setup. But this is the same with all 7-channel AV receivers.

As for power, the AVR-X2600H is rated at 95 watts per channel (8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven). Slightly less than the other models here. Will it make much difference in your room? Probably not. 

But, if you must have the most power possible at this price point, then another receiver might be a better choice for you.

Alternatively, if you need more power and channels, then the top-of-the-range Pioneer AV receiver features highly in my guide to the best high-end AV receivers of 2019.

With all the latest specs for 4K Ultra HD, you won't have any issues playing 4K video on your system. 4K/60p, 4:4:4 Pure Color and BT.2020 pass-through are all present. So is support for HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision images.

In fact, the HDMI ports also have the latest version of HDCP – 2.3.

Talking of HDMI, there are a healthy number of connections on this receiver. Seven inputs on the back and 1 on the front – with two outputs. Plenty of choices if you have lots of devices to connect.

The main HDMI output also supports eARC. This is the latest version of the Audio Return Channel which supports sending Dolby Atmos soundtracks back to your receiver from the TV.

Denon AVR-X2600H AV Receiver Specifications
Channels Dolby Atmos? HDMI In/Out Power (W)*
7.2 5.2.2 7+1 / 2 95
Network / Wireless? Weight (lbs) Speaker Impedance (Ohms) Dimensions (W x H x D)
Ethernet / Wi-Fi / AirPlay 2 / Spotify Connect / Bluetooth / HEOS / Amazon Alexa / Google Assistant 20.9 4-16 17-1/8 x 6-5/8 x 13-1/2 in | 434 x 167 x 341 mm (w/o antenna)
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven

Unless you are a real sound geek and like to measure these things yourself with a microphone and SPL meter, you can use the built-in Audyssey room correction software.

Audyssey MultEQ XT32 is available on this model. This allows you to measure and automatically optimize each speaker for the perfect sound balance in your room. In my opinion, Audyssey is the best room correction software available – until you get to some of the solutions found on the really high-end AV receivers.

Don't worry too much though. All the receivers here will do a reasonable job at balancing the audio in your room.

If you want multi-room audio that is controlled from your AV receiver, then you have several options with the AVR-X2600H.

Denon has its own HEOS multi-room system which is built into this receiver.

Connect some HEOS speakers and you can use the app to control what audio plays where in your house.

However, you also have the choice of using Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple AirPlay 2 to control audio around your system.

Finally, there is a zone 2 pre-out connection to send audio to an amplifier and speakers in another room.

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  • Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Surround, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology
  • DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS:X, DTS Neural:X and DTS Virtual:X
  • 8 HDMI inputs with full HDCP 2.3 support and 2 HDMI outputs
  • Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) support
  • Built-in HEOS multi-room streaming
  • Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple AirPlay 2

Thumbs Down   

  • No powered zone 2 (or 3) audio output options
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4. Yamaha RX-A880 7.2-Ch AV Receiver

Next up is from one of my favorite manufacturers, Yamaha. The Yamaha RX-A880 is part of the AVENTAGE range of AV receivers. An AVENTAGE receiver is designed with top-notch audio quality in mind.

So, if you are particular about sound quality then this model will be worth considering. Especially if you have used Yamaha amplifiers before and like the 'Yamaha sound'.

Yamaha RX-A880 7.2-Ch AV ReceiverImage Credit: Yamaha

With 100 watts of power (8 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.06% THD, 2ch driven), the Yamaha RX-A880 should provide plenty of volume for most people.

It supports 7.2-channels for a full reproduction of surround sound movies. This can be reconfigured as 5.1.2 if you want to enjoy Dolby Atmos and DTS:X with height speakers.

The 2nd subwoofer output will obviously allow for 5.2.2 if you wish.

If you want to upmix a 5.1 or 7.1 soundtrack to use your height speakers, then you have the choice of selecting DTS Neural:X or Dolby Surround modes. This is great for making full use of your extended speaker system and can be really effective.

There are 7 HDMI inputs and 2 outputs, which is a good number to work with. It doesn't have any front HDMI ports, which can sometimes be useful, but you do have USB and stereo mini-jack front connections.

The 2nd HDMI output is there for connecting to another TV or projector. You can then switch between either display with the remote control.

As with most new home theater receivers these days, the HDMI ports have full support for 4K Ultra HD pass-through. They also support HDCP 2.2, HDR10, Dolby Vision™, HLG and BT.2020.

Yamaha RX-A880 AV Receiver Specifications
Channels Dolby Atmos? HDMI In/Out Power (W)*
7.2 5.2.2 7 / 2 100
Network / Wireless? Weight (lbs) Speaker Impedance (Ohms) Dimensions (W x H x D)
Ethernet / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth / MusicCast Surround + Multi-Room / AirPlay / Spotify Connect / Amazon Alexa / Google Assistant 23.4 6-8 17-1/8 x 6-3/4 x 15 in | 435 x 171 x 380 mm (w/o antenna)
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.06% THD, 2 Channels Driven

The RX-A880 has dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth, AirPlay and Spotify Connect wireless connectivity. Amazon Alexa voice control is available and it also supports MusicCast speakers.

MusicCast is Yamaha’s wireless speaker solution and allows connections to devices in up to 9 different rooms. You can control the audio in each room by using the Yamaha app.

However, that's not all. In this model, there is a new feature called MusicCast Surround. This could be ideal if you are fed up trying to run speaker cable to your surround speakers.

MusicCast Surround supports the new MusicCast 20 and MusicCast 50 speakers, which can be configured as wireless surrounds in a 5.1 system.

On the rear of this unit, there are a full set of pre-out connections for all channels. This is perfect if you want to send certain channels to a power amp. Many people use a high-quality power amp for their front left and right speakers for a better performance with music.

You can also send audio to a set of speakers in a second zone while playing a 5.1 movie in the main room.

This model comes with a nice aluminum front panel to give it a premium look. In addition, it has an advanced design for the feet which aims to reduce external vibration.

If you are looking to save some money, then you might want to take a look at the Yamaha RX-A780 7.2-channel AV receiver. This is the model just below the RX-880.

As with all AV receivers, you may find that a cheaper model has all the features that you want. Why pay extra for things you don't really need?

The main differences in the RX-A780 are:

  • 95 watts of power (8 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.06% THD, 2ch driven)
  • 5 HDMI inputs / 2 HDMI outputs
  • Pre-outs for just front left/right channels and dual subwoofers
  • No multipoint measurement for YPAO - RSC automatic speaker calibration

You just need to decide if the extra features of the RX-A880 are worth the slightly higher cost.

Thumbs Up   

  • High-performance AVENTAGE engineering for a top-class sound experience
  • 7 in/2 out HDMI with HDCP 2.3
  • 4K UHD with HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG
  • MusicCast Surround for wireless surround speakers
  • YPAO-R.S.C (Reflected Sound Control) Multi-Point automatic room correction
  • Extra channels for powered zone 2 with Intelligent Amp Assign. Allows for powered stereo sound in another room without switching cables from your 7.1 system in the main room
  • Bluetooth input and output

Thumbs Down   

  • No Sonos connect for those who already have Sonos speakers. If you don't, then there are plenty of multi-room options.
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5. Onkyo TX-RZ840 9.2-Ch AV Receiver

Onkyo is a very popular brand when it comes to AV receivers. They have been a major player on the market for several years and they regularly release models every year at a number of price points.

The RZ series of receivers are the top-level models in the Onkyo stable. If you buy one of these devices, then you can be sure that you will be getting all the latest technology that Onkyo offer.

Onkyo TX-RZ840 9.2-Ch AV ReceiverImage Credit: Onkyo

The first thing that you notice when looking at the Onkyo TX-RZ840 AV receiver is the number of channels. It is a 9.2-channel receiver which is rare at this price.

If one of your main aims is to get a big Dolby Atmos system installed in your room, then this receiver is going to help you out-of-the-box.

You will be able to install a 5.2.4 or 7.2.2 surround sound system and make the most from all the latest Dolby Atmos soundtracks.

Just for good measure, you can also make the most of your speaker system with the built-in audio processing modes. Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X will upmix standard stereo and 5.1 surround mixes into your height speakers.

The power on this receiver is rated at 120 watts per channel (8 ohms, 20 Hz–20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 channels driven, FTC). This is higher than most receivers in this price band.

If you don't want to make use of the extra channels in this way, you have Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization or DTS Virtual:X. These will give you a virtual 3D sound experience on a standard 5.1 or 7.1 speaker layout.

One of the unique features of the higher-end Onkyo AV receivers has been THX certification. They have always been THX certified for the best movie experience – and this model is no different.

Built to THX® Certified Select™ reference standards you can be sure that this receiver will sound great. This certification guarantees this receiver will be able to provide the same reference volume of a commercial theater - at a viewing distance of about 10-12 feet. That's loud.

Onkyo TX-RZ840 AV Receiver Specifications
Channels Dolby Atmos? HDMI In/Out Power (W)*
9.2 5.2.4 / 7.2.2 (Processing for 7.2.4) 6+1 / 2 120
Network / Wireless? Weight (lbs) Speaker Impedance (Ohms) Dimensions (W x H x D)
Ethernet / Wi-Fi / AirPlay 2 / Bluetooth / Chromecast / Spotify Connect / DTS Play-Fi / FlareConnect / Sonos Connect / Google Assistant 30.9 4-16 17-1/8 x 7-15/16 x 15-11/16 in | 435 x 201.5 x 398 mm
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven, FTC

That's not all. The TX-RZ840 has also been certified for the new IMAX Enhanced standard. This is a similar standard to THX. However, it includes certified hardware and content to ensure you get an amazing home theater experience.

With 6 HDMI inputs on the rear, this is slightly less than some models. However, it does have another one on the front of the unit which can often be useful.

There are also 2 HDMI outputs for sending the output to one or more locations.

One thing that Onkyo often do is to try and make sure that you have as many of the latest features as possible in one device. So, on top of the options already mentioned you will find: 

  • SONOS Connect
  • Integrated Amazon Music (U.S., U.K., Germany, Spain, Italy, France, and Japan only)
  • Chromecast
  • AirPlay 2
  • DTS Play-Fi
  • FlareConnect

FlareConnect™ is a wireless multi-room audio technology. It allows this receiver to connect to wireless speakers around your home. This technology is being used by Onkyo and Pioneer in some of their products.

The following video explains all about the FlareConnect wireless audio system. If you don't really understand how it is all supposed to work, you should find this interesting:

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  • THX® Certified Select™ reference standards
  • IMAX Enhanced
  • AccuEQ Advance 9-point calibration with AccuReflex™
  • 11.2-channel pre-outs and processing for 7.2.4 speaker layouts
  • Powered Zone 2 and Zone 3 DACs for distributed audio in three rooms – either synced or unique sources

Thumbs Down   

  • 6 rear HDMI ports might not be enough?
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Conclusion

So, there we have it. Five excellent options for anybody looking for the best home theater receivers under $1000.

In this price range, the main difference from those in a lower price bracket is the quality of the components used to build them. You will likely notice a better sound quality. This can be important for some people with better speakers, or those who like listening to music more.

You will also likely get a few extra features like pre-out connections for connecting to power amplifiers.

If these AV amps aren't quite what you looking for, you might want to check out the best AVR under $500.

If you need more channels than a 7.2 speaker system, then it used to be the case that you would probably need to go into a higher price range. But, as you can see here, 9.2-channel AV receivers are now beginning to appear at this price point.

However, the number of channels isn't everything about an AV receiver. So, if a standard surround sound speaker system is all you need, then any of these high-quality AV receivers are a great option.

If all the options available in a modern AV receiver are making your head spin, then you might want to take a look at my buying guide for the best AV receivers.

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About Home Cinema Guide

Paul started the Home Cinema Guide to help less-experienced users get the most out of today's audio-visual technology. He has worked as a sound, lighting and audio-visual engineer for around 20 years. At home, he has spent more time than is probably healthy installing, configuring, testing, de-rigging, fixing, tweaking, re-installing again (and sometimes using) various pieces of hi-fi and home cinema equipment.


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