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11 Best AV Receivers + Buying Guide [2022]

Best AV Receivers: Front view of a receiver

Updated:

Choosing the best AV receivers is confusing. What features do you need, and which are the best models? Discover some of the best from budget to high-end.

You’re right. There are too many home theater receivers to choose from!

And why does it have to be so complicated?

If you are looking for the best AV receivers in 2022, it can really make your head spin.

All you want to do is listen to some gorgeous surround sound when watching a movie – but you need to take a degree in jargon to understand what you need to buy.

After reading this article, you will understand the technical minefield of the home theater receiver. You never know; you may even enjoy it!

First, you will learn the basics of AV receivers in a detailed buying guide on the essential features.

Next, you will find a few suggestions in different categories that you might want to consider.

And finally, there are some frequently asked questions for common issues.

If you find yourself getting lost in the sea of acronyms (hard to avoid, unfortunately), you can find many simple explanations in the home theater glossary.

Top 11 AV Receivers Comparison Table

Image Model HDMI In/Out Power (W/Ch) Dolby Atmos
Yamaha RX-V4A 5.2-Ch AV Receiver
Yamaha RX-V4A 5.2-Ch AV Receiver 4/1 (eARC) 80 None Check Price
Denon AVR-S660H 5.2-Ch AV Receiver
Denon AVR-S660H 5.2-Ch AV Receiver 6/1 (eARC) 75 None Check Price
Marantz CINEMA 70s 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
Marantz CINEMA 70s 7.2-Ch AV Receiver 6/1 (eARC) 50 5.2.2 Check Price
Denon AVR-X2700H 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
Denon AVR-X2700H 7.2-Ch AV Receiver 6/2 (eARC) 95 5.2.2 Check Price
Marantz SR5015 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
Marantz SR5015 7.2-Ch AV Receiver 6/2 (eARC) 100 5.2.2 Check Price
Denon AVR-X3800H 9.4-Ch AV Receiver
Denon AVR-X3800H 9.4-Ch AV Receiver 6/3 (eARC) 105 5.4.4 / 7.4.2 (Support for 11.4) Check Price
Denon AVR-X4700H 9.2-Ch AV Receiver
Denon AVR-X4700H 9.2-Ch AV Receiver 7+1/3 (eARC) 125 5.2.4 / 7.2.2 (Support for 7.2.4) Check Price
Denon AVR-X6700H 11.2-Ch AV Receiver
Denon AVR-X6700H 11.2-Ch AV Receiver 7+1/3 (eARC) 140 7.2.4 / 9.2.2 (Support for 7.2.6) Check Price
Arcam AVR11 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
Arcam AVR11 7.2-Ch AV Receiver 7/2 (eARC) 80 5.2.2 (Support for 7.2.4) Check Price
Arcam AVR31 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
Arcam AVR31 7.2-Ch AV Receiver 7/3 (eARC) 120 5.2.2 (Support for 9.2.6) Check Price
Denon AVR-X8500HA 13.2-Ch AV Receiver
Denon AVR-X8500HA 13.2-Ch AV Receiver 7+1/3 (eARC) 150 7.2.6 / 9.2.4 Check Price

What Is an AV Receiver and What Does It Do?

An AV receiver acts as a central hub in a home theater system. It is the ‘brain’ of your whole setup.

  • It makes connecting and selecting various playback devices easy – Blu-ray players, games consoles, video cameras, CD players – even content from your mobile devices.
  • It is a multichannel amplifier that powers your surround sound speaker system.
  • It sends the picture to your TV or projector.

Connecting all your devices into one unit makes setting up and operating multiple audio-visual sources much more straightforward.

Do You Need an AV Receiver for Surround Sound?

There are other ways, but it’s probably the best way.

An AV receiver will decode a surround sound soundtrack from DVD, Blu-ray or cable TV box and then send the audio to your surround sound speakers. All in a single box.

You can add more devices with different connection types and easily change your speakers if you want to upgrade.

Alternative options are:

You should choose the best option that suits your situation, but an AV receiver has plenty of advantages over these other options.

What Are the Advantages of an AV Receiver?

So, why should you consider buying an AV receiver if you want to set up surround sound in your room? The main benefits of an AV receiver are:

  • Available at various prices – from budget models to high-end audiophile brands.
  • They work with a range of speakers and subwoofers.
  • You can keep your speakers and upgrade your receiver later.
  • You can keep your receiver and upgrade your speakers later.
  • Easy to install a wide range of speaker layouts – from 2.0 to 7.2 to 9.2.4. Plus, you can change the configuration later and add more speakers – or remove some.
  • They come with many types of input connections. Very flexible to add and remove external devices.

The main takeaway is that a receiver gives you more flexibility than most alternatives.

How Do You Choose an AV Receiver?

These are some of the things you want to consider before buying an AV receiver:

  1. Price: AV receivers vary from budget to high-end models. You can quickly narrow your choices if you set a limit for your maximum price.
  2. Channels: how many surround speakers do you want? The minimum is a 5.1 system, up to 13.2 or larger Atmos speaker layouts. Or you could set up a 2.1 or 3.1 system if you don’t want surround sound.
  3. Connections: which external devices do you want to connect to your receiver? Make sure it has all the right connections for everything you need.
  4. Features: which features do you need? 4K or 8K video support? Dolby Atmos? HDR support? Zone playback in different rooms? Determine what you want, and then find a model that ticks all the boxes, so you don’t pay extra for features you don’t need.
  5. Network Connections: do you want an ethernet connection for streaming internet radio and local network streaming? Or do you need Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity?
  6. Power: how loud do you want the sound in your room? Power output makes less difference than you might think. But, if you like it loud and want to drive your speakers harder, then you will want more power.
  7. Speakers: will it drive your speakers properly? AV receivers support a wide range of speakers, and you will probably be fine. However, consider the maximum power and impedance of your speakers. If you don’t have speakers yet, check these specifications before buying.

Read on for more detail about all the different options.

AV Receiver Buying Guide

Each manufacturer of AV receivers has many different models, making it a real headache to decide which one to buy.

However, you should realize that all brands release a series of surround sound receivers at different price points.

So while you may see several receivers with different model numbers, they are probably very similar and part of the same series.

As the price increases, each will only have a few extra features. Your task is to decide which features are important so you don’t pay more than you need.

To clarify things, here are some of the main differences you will encounter.

How Many Channels Does Your Receiver Need?

AV receivers support different surround sound speaker layouts, so you need to buy a receiver that allows for the speaker configuration you want.

One channel will power one speaker.

A stereo amplifier will have two channels to power two speakers – left and right.

But, an AV receiver supports surround sound, so it has more channels to power additional speakers.

The standard surround sound speaker layout is 5.1. This means three speakers at the front – center, front left and front right – plus two rear surround speakers on the left and right.

Like this:

5.1 Surround Sound System
5.1 surround sound system

The .1 refers to a subwoofer, a speaker designed to play very low bass frequencies. This can add fantastic weight and rumble to a movie soundtrack – and really annoy the neighbors!

The following table summarizes the typical surround sound speaker layouts:

Surround Sound Speaker Layout Table
Common surround sound speaker layouts

The configuration you choose may depend on how much you want to spend.

After all, more speakers = more money.

Or, maybe the size and shape of your room will dictate the type of surround speaker layout you can have.

Go to the surround sound speaker layouts guide to learn more about 2.0 vs 2.1 and 5.1 vs 7.1.

Can You Use 5.1 Speakers with a 7.1 Receiver?

Most AV receivers now have a minimum of 7.1 channels.

If you only want 5.1, that’s fine; you can still buy a 7.1 AV receiver and just not connect the extra two channels.

Or, you could use those extra two channels to power a set of stereo speakers in another room. If you want this feature, look for a receiver that supports multiple zones.

But, if you only need 5.1 audio, you may save money by buying a receiver with only 5.1 channels.

Although these days, only a few budget models will be 5.1, so you may not have a choice.

What are Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D Receivers?

A recent development is Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio, known as object-based soundtracks, which place sound effects using a combination of height, front/back and left/right speakers.

To fully use this type of audio, you need to install two or more overhead or upfiring speakers in your room – and the number you can install depends on how many speaker channels the receiver has.

As a rule, the more expensive models will allow for more speakers.

The beginner’s guide to Dolby Atmos has more detail if you are new to this audio format.

Dolby Atmos Overhead and Upfiring Speakers

For Dolby Atmos, you will need to add a minimum of two height or upfiring speakers to your 5.1 or 7.1 setup – up to a maximum of 64!

When writing this down, you add the number of Dolby Atmos speakers to the end of the standard layout.

So while standard surround sound with one subwoofer is 5.1 – with two Dolby Atmos speakers, it is 5.1.2.

Or if you have a 7.1 surround system with four Atmos speakers, it will be 7.1.4.

And a system with four height speakers and two subwoofers will be 5.2.4 – or 7.2.4.

You get the idea.

These height speakers can be at the front, middle, or rear of the room, and you tell the receiver where they are located when you set them up.

High-End Dolby Atmos Speakers
Klipsch RP-500SA II Dolby Atmos-enabled Speakers
What Is It: A pair of Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers for creating an immersive surround sound effect.
Pros:
  • Versatile: can be installed as up-firing, height or on-wall rear surround sound speakers.
  • Switchable between Atmos and surround modes
  • Great quality Klipsch speaker technology
  • Excellent sound
Cons:
  • Expensive, there are cheaper alternatives
BUY AT AMAZON FIND THE BEST PRICE

Dolby suggests that the extra speakers for Dolby Atmos should be in-ceiling speakers – or special Atmos elevation speakers – also known as upfiring speakers.

An example of an upfiring speaker is the Klipsch RP-500SA II Dolby speaker pictured above.

These speakers are easier to install as you just place them on top of your existing floor-standing or bookshelf speakers.

In fact, the Klipsch speakers highlighted above are more advanced than most.

They can also be installed as height or on-wall speakers, and you can switch between Atmos and surround sound modes.

But you don’t have to buy dedicated Atmos speakers.

Many people just use standard direct-firing speakers for the height effects and say they prefer the sound that way.

Check out the best home theater speakers for surround sound to understand the different speaker types.

DTS:X Speaker Configurations

DTS:X processing supports up to 32 different speaker locations from 5.1 and up – so you don’t even need additional overhead or upfiring speakers.

However, you won’t get the fun of the sound from above in a 5.1 layout – so height speakers will be best for making the most of DTS:X.

Aside from that, the rules for speaker location are pretty much the same as Dolby Atmos.

Auro-3D Speaker Layouts

There is another option when it comes to 3D surround sound, and that is Auro-3D. Some of the top-end models provide this as an optional add-on.

Developed by Auro Technologies, Auro-3D builds on a standard 5.1 or 7.1 sound system and adds a height and overhead layer.

The basic setup is a 9.1 speaker configuration with more overhead speakers at the front and rear, and there is also a 10.1 version that adds a single ‘Voice of God’ speaker directly above the listening position.

If you really don’t have enough speakers at this point, there are further options for 11.1 and 13.1 layouts!

What Connections Does Your Receiver Need?

One of the best/most scary things about an AV receiver is the sheer number of connections on the back.

Rear View Of a Home Theater Receiver

Initially, this may make it look like something you might find on the console of a spaceship, but the advantage is you can easily connect a wide range of devices to your home theater system.

However, the number and type of connections will vary between models.

When choosing a model to buy, it is essential to consider all the different devices you will add to your setup – and what type of connections they require.

One of the most important connections is HDMI, and you will have a few of these as inputs – and one or more outputs.

Most modern AV equipment uses HDMI to send the picture and sound – all down the same wire.

Therefore, if you look at the number of HDMI inputs on the AV receiver, this will determine how many input devices you can connect.

5 HDMI inputs & 1 HDMI output on the rear of an AV receiver
5 HDMI inputs & 1 HDMI output on the rear of an AV receiver

For an AV receiver, it is usually written as 5/1 – meaning there are 5 HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI output.

Therefore, you can connect five external devices to the receiver via HDMI – and send the output to a single TV or projector.

So, you must consider how many devices you might need to connect and ensure the receiver you buy has enough.

Sometimes, you may see the HDMI input connections written as 6+1, meaning there are 6 HDMI inputs on the back of the unit and one on the front – which can be helpful for quickly adding a device into your system temporarily.

As for HDMI outputs, most people only require one – for their TV or projector.

However, some models offer two (or more), which can be helpful if you want to simultaneously send the picture to another display or projector – or different content to another zone.

Besides HDMI connections, you should consider all the other devices you may want to connect:

  • Games console?
  • Video camera?
  • CD player?
  • Cable TV box?

And what outputs they have:

  • Component video?
  • S-Video?
  • Composite video?
  • Optical audio?
  • Coaxial digital audio?
  • Stereo analog audio?

Does the receiver offer all the connection types you need?

And maybe you should allow for a couple of extra inputs for future purchases?

Budget receivers will have fewer connections, and more expensive models will have more options than you probably need. But, it can sometimes be better to be safe than sorry.

You might find this video useful to familiarize yourself with the rear of an AV receiver:

YouTube video

What Is a Network AV Receiver?

Another feature you might want to look out for is network connectivity.

A network AV receiver will have an ethernet connection allowing you to connect it to your home network.

This can allow various Internet-based features like streaming online music and radio services, such as Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music and Napster.

You can also stream your own music collection over the network using DLNA.

Ethernet connection on an AV receiver
Ethernet connection on an AV receiver

While most modern receivers will have ethernet ports, the best home theater receivers will also connect via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Chromecast or AirPlay.

With these, you can stream content from your network – or send video and music to your system via a mobile device.

You will need to decide which connection types are best for your existing equipment – and purchase the receiver that ticks most boxes.

AV Amplifiers with Multi-Room Wireless Speakers

You may also wish to connect wirelessly to external speakers around your home, and many newer receivers have their own multi-room wireless speaker systems.

For example, Yamaha has their MusicCast system, and Denon and Marantz use the HEOS wireless system:

Top Wireless Smart Speaker
Denon Home 150 Compact Wireless Smart Speaker
What Is It: A portable wireless smart speaker that works with the HEOS system found on Denon and Marantz AV receivers.
Pros:
  • Excellent multi-room audio option
  • Connects to Denon or Marantz receivers - or works standalone
  • HEOS Built-in, Alexa Built-in, AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth
  • Stream audio from Amazon Music, Apple Music, TIDAL and more
  • Larger 250 and 350 speakers are also available
BUY AT AMAZON FIND THE BEST PRICE

If you want to do this, go with a brand that provides multi-room wireless speakers as an extension to the AV receiver.

This can be an excellent alternative to the more established wireless multi-room speaker systems such as Sonos or Bose.

But, if you already have Sonos speakers, some receivers support Sonos Connect allowing you to connect directly to your existing network.

If this sounds useful, ensure the receiver you buy has the correct network connectivity.

How Much Power Should Your Receiver Have?

Many models of AV amplifiers will show the power rating of the device.

On a basic level, this indicates how loud you can have it in the room, but there is more to it than that.

As a rule, the more expensive models will have more power per channel.

But there are many reasons they cost more – such as build quality and better components – and these are often more important than having a bit more power per channel.

Comparing the Power Output of Different Receivers

Comparing the power ratings of two different AV receivers can be difficult.

There are different ways of measuring the power output of an amplifier, so you must be sure you are comparing like with like.

The bigger number isn’t always better and doesn’t mean anything unless you compare power numbers rated using the same measurements.

The standard variables are:

  • the number of channels being driven – e.g., 2 channels
  • the frequency of the test signal – e.g., 20Hz-20kHz
  • the impedance of the speaker being driven – e.g., 6 ohms
  • the recorded level of distortion (Total Harmonic Distortion). Less than 1% is acceptable – e.g., 0.06% THD

While you will see different specifications, a good one to look for is a power rating given for 8 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz with 2 channels driven – and a THD of less than 1%.

This standard rating will give a good ballpark performance for day-to-day use.

However, some manufacturers don’t provide this measurement.

Amplifier power specifications

The best rating would be when all the surround channels are driven simultaneously – not just two – because this is what happens when you watch a surround sound movie.

But very few brands give these numbers.

A cynic might say this is because they like to use tests that make the power output appear higher!

However, using just the front two speakers is still helpful because these are driven hardest during everyday use, providing a valuable real-world reflection of regular use.

AV Receiver Power vs. Volume

Finally, a higher power rating doesn’t mean that an amplifier will be significantly louder than one with a lower rating.

And many people won’t need the extra volume anyway.

Doubling the power only increases the sound level by 3dB; to the human ear, 10dB is ‘twice as loud.’

So, increasing the power from 50 to 100 watts isn’t going to make that much difference to how loud everything is.

It will be louder, and 3 dB is a noticeable difference, but it’s not as much as you might think.

Check out understanding amplifier and receiver power ratings for more detail on this.

Final point.

More power doesn’t mean it will necessarily sound better.

  • It may give you a more controlled bottom end.
  • It should handle the loud bits better – especially in movies.
  • It might give a cleaner sound.
  • It might make your speakers sound better as you can drive them harder.

But, the difference might not be as significant as the numbers suggest.

Any improvement in sound quality will be more to do with the build quality of the receiver – rather than the ‘power.’

How Much Power Do You Really Need?

There isn’t a right or wrong answer, and much will depend on the size of your room and how loud you like it when watching a movie.

The bottom line is that most people don’t need to worry too much.

Typical users won’t run their AV receivers even close to maximum volume, so they won’t use all the available power.

Generally, AV receiver power ratings will range from around 50 to 150 watts (8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, less than 1% THD, 2 Channels Driven).

And 50 to 100 watts will be plenty for most rooms and speakers.

However, buying an amplifier with more power is no problem if you want. Just make sure your speakers can handle the extra power if you plan to turn it up loud for long periods.

120-150 watts should mean you’ll never need to worry about this again.

Do you regularly turn the volume control over 75% and near the maximum?

In that case, you might benefit from a receiver with more power because it’s not a great idea to constantly run an amplifier near its limits.

But if you have speakers that are harder to drive, then more power should help them sound better – or you could buy more efficient speakers.

Will Your Speakers Work With This Receiver?

The specifications of your speakers should give a guideline power range that they can handle.

You will have plenty of wiggle room, so you are unlikely to have issues unless you take things to extremes.

Speakers also have an impedance rating which the amplifier should support.

Most amps and speakers designed for home use will work fine together, and you probably don’t need to worry, but if you have some exotic speakers, you might want to check this.

If you don’t know anything about this, here’s a guide to matching amplifiers and speakers.

What Are AV Receiver Listening Modes and Surround Sound Formats?

There are several different surround sound audio formats on a DVD or Blu-ray disc; you learned about Dolby Atmos and DTS:X earlier.

However, LPCM, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio (and many more) are also common in home theater.

Blu-ray Audio Codecs
Blu-ray Video and Audio Codecs

Some may be supported by your AV receiver, and some may not, but if you need something specific, you might want to check if the receiver supports it.

Receivers also have several listening modes that can alter how you hear the sound on your speaker system.

Most brands have similar options. But, again, if you’re looking for something specific, you should check that a receiver has what you want.

Some of the most useful audio options are Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X.

These upmixing modes fully use your 5.2.2 or 5.2.4 speaker system and overhead speakers.

Usually, if you play stereo or 5.1 soundtracks, your height speakers aren’t used at all. However, an upmixing sound mode creates a virtual mix that places some audio into your height speakers.

It’s not quite as good as the real thing – but it can be effective – and many people use these for all standard sound formats.

Plus, you get more use from those extra speakers you spent all that time and money installing in your room.

If you don’t have height or elevation speakers, you can still use Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X. For example, you can use them to upmix stereo soundtracks to your 5.1 speakers.

Again, many will enable these for all standard stereo TV transmissions, although others prefer to leave stereo soundtracks in stereo.

Try both and see which you like best.

Often though, people will draw the line at music. For many, stereo music should only play on the front two speakers, as nature intended!

However, feel free to go wild and spread that stereo music around your room. You rascal.

Learn more about surround sound formats and AV receiver listening modes.

What Are AV Receiver Zones?

Many receivers will have additional zone connections to allow you to send video and/or audio into different areas – or zones.

A zone can be anything you like – another location in the same room, a different room or even outside in your yard.

There may be a single zone 2, or the higher-end receivers often have zones 3 and 4 too.

A zone 2 output is often a line out, which must be connected to another amplifier. Like in the picture below:

Zone 2 line out on the rear of an AV receiver
Zone 2 line out on the rear of an AV receiver

But other receivers have powered channels for the second zone – which connects directly to another set of speakers without needing a separate amplifier.

In some models, you can watch one thing in the main room and something different in another zone – whereas cheaper receivers will only allow you to watch the same thing in two distinct zones.

In some receivers, zones will be audio-only, so it varies greatly.

First, decide what you want to do, and then find a receiver that does it.

Which AV Receiver Series Is Right for You?

Most AV receiver manufacturers have a range of products at different price points.

They will have a premium series with high-end components and all the latest features.

They will also have a mid-range and budget range set of receivers, which can still give great value for money and fantastic quality.

The quickest way to identify a suitable series is to start with the price.

Setting your maximum budget will narrow down the ones you can buy, then just find the models with all the features you need.

As a rule, you do get what you pay for with AV receivers. The more you spend, the higher-quality sound and better features you will get.

However, be sensible. If you have cheap speakers, you probably won’t hear a big difference in sound quality even if you buy a high-end receiver.

How Do You Buy A Cheap AV Receiver?

Many AV receiver manufacturers will bring out a new model each year, and most years, the changes are incremental rather than adding new ‘must-have’ features.

So if last year’s model is still in stock, you can often grab a bargain.

If the receiver has all the features you need, you may not need to pay a premium for the latest model.

This can be one of the best ways to buy a high-end receiver at mid-range prices – or a mid-range at budget prices.

Although, the stock levels of these older receivers can be limited, and the retailers may run out of stock if you wait too long.

Another way of grabbing a bargain is to purchase a second-hand older model.

Many enthusiasts like to purchase the latest release every year, so their old receiver will usually be available for a reasonable price.

This can be a great way to buy a high-end receiver that is usually out of your price range.

An excellent place to find these bargains is on eBay – for example, you can search the AV receiver listings.

Or, try the classified sections in the various forums for home theater fans, such as AV Forums Classifieds and AVS Forum marketplace.

The main downside is that you should be careful of people selling old equipment that is faulty – or doesn’t exist.

However, the places mentioned here are reputable and have systems to protect buyers. Just check out the seller as best you can before parting with your money.

Which Are the Best AV Receiver Brands?

Who makes the best AV receiver?

There are many to choose from, and there are several great AV receiver brands that you might want to consider.

As this site primarily aims at users with less experience, most of the recommended brands provide a good mix of budget to mid-range models.

However, there are also a couple of high-end favorites for experienced audiophiles to enjoy.

Here is a quick summary of the most popular AV receivers brands – each offering both budget and high-end models for various budgets and needs.

Denon

Denon is a Japanese electronics company formed in the early 1900s. They began producing hi-fi audio components in 1971 and specialize in home theater and wireless audio products.

Denon has three primary ranges of AV receivers:

  • AVR-A Series: flagship products released to celebrate their 110th anniversary.
  • AVR-X Series: caters to the top-end of the market, with high-quality products at different prices.
  • AVR-S Series: has more modest prices but still provides excellent value for money and plenty of features.

If you want to compare the latest models’ features, look at the guides to the Denon AVR-X and AVR-A AV receivers and Denon AVR-S receivers.

Marantz

Marantz was founded in New York in the 1950s when the founder produced his first audio product – a preamp.

After many years of success in the hi-fi audio market, the company was sold to Marantz Japan in 2001, and they are now a sister company to Denon.

Marantz has a smaller range of AV receivers than some of its competitors but is well-regarded.

  • CINEMA Series: a new AV receiver range introduced in 2022, which includes all receivers, from slimline to high-end
  • SR Series: mid-range to high-end AV receivers
  • NR Series: slimline models

In the guide to Marantz AV receivers, you can see a list of all the latest models and compare their most valuable features.

Onkyo

Onkyo is a Japanese company specializing in audio products and home theater equipment and has been producing consumer electronics since 1946.

Their range includes hi-fi components, personal audio technology and various speaker systems.

Onkyo had significant financial problems in 2021 and filed for bankruptcy in May 2022.

Fortunately, they were purchased by a joint venture between Sharp and Premium Audio Company (which owns Klipsch and Jamo, amongst others), who will continue to develop and sell under the Onkyo brand name.

Onkyo has been producing popular AV receivers for many years, and their range of receivers includes:

  • RZ Series: premium range. Providing superior audio performance for music and movies.
  • NR Series: mid-range. Network AV receivers.
  • SR Series: value range. Surround AV receivers.

While comparing the different models in a range can be difficult, check out the following guides that list the main features of the current models – Onkyo RZ Series AV Receivers and Onkyo NR & SR Series AV Receivers.

Pioneer

Based in Tokyo, Japan, Pioneer have a long history of producing popular AV products. Although they stopped making televisions in 2009, they still produce many products for the home AV market.

In 2014, Pioneer sold their home AV business to Onkyo, so they are now sister companies. However, Pioneer still releases products under its own brand name.

Pioneer’s premium range of AV receivers is labeled the Elite Series, high-end products aimed at audiophiles and sound purists.

Within this range, Pioneer release receivers at two different price points:

  • Elite SC Series: this is top-of-the-range.
  • Elite VSX Series: network AV receivers at a slightly lower price point.
  • VSX Series: not part of the Elite series. Slightly fewer features and aimed at the lower end of the market.

It’s slightly confusing, but the Elite VSX models are labeled VSX-LXxxx, and the non-Elite VSX models are labeled VSX-xxx (without the LX).

Check out the guide to the Pioneer Elite and VSX AV receivers to see the difference between all their models.

Sony

Sony is one of the most well-known home electronics brands in the world.

This Japanese company produces many popular home AV products among its many other business areas.

Sony doesn’t release models as regularly as some companies, but they are a solid choice – especially for fans of the Sony brand.

They offer three primary ranges of AV receivers:

  • Z Series: top-of-the-range for the custom installation market.
  • STR-DN Series: network receivers aimed at a more mainstream audience.
  • STR-DH Series: value range of AV receivers.

This guide to Sony AV receivers details all the recent models’ features and should make it easier to find what you need.

Yamaha

Yamaha is a Japanese company that has been producing a wide range of products for over 100 years.

They have a strong reputation in various markets, none more than in musical instruments and professional audio and audio-visual technology.

Yamaha produces some of the best surround sound receivers and has a range of models to suit all needs and budgets.

  • AVENTAGE Series: premium range. Studio-grade sound and superb video performance.
  • RX-V Series: mid-range. Engineered to sound great and offer a range of home theater features.
  • RX-S Series: mid-range. Slim and compact AV receivers.
  • TSR Series: mid-range. High-end audio converters and top audio performance

You might find that it’s a bit confusing to understand which models are available – and the differences between them all. You’re not alone.

Therefore, check out the guides to the following:

Other Brands to Consider

There are plenty of other brands that make AV receivers – too many to include here.

If you want to investigate other manufacturers, you could look at Arcam, Anthem, NAD, Rotel and Integra AV receivers.

Some of these are included in the recommended models below.

Which Are the Best AV Receivers to Buy?

OK, you’ve now reached the heart of the matter.

You now understand many of the things you need to consider, but there are still dozens of AV receivers to choose from. Where do you start?

To make things easier, here is a list of popular categories for AV receivers – some by price and some by features.

Hopefully, this will help you quickly narrow down the best receiver for your setup.

The models in the price categories are based on the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) – however, be aware that the prices of AV receivers can vary.

You rarely see prices higher than the MSRP – but often below. However, with the recent pandemic and supply chain problems, prices and stock availability have been all over the place.

But, you can sometimes pick up a bargain when a receiver in a higher price band gets reduced – often at holiday times or when a newer model is available.

So, you might want to check out the price of a model in a higher bracket – you might get a pleasant surprise.

At the end of each section, there are a few more suggestions in that category. It’s always good to have a few more options to make the right choice for yourself.

The right choice might be based on price, features, or build quality – or maybe it’s a brand you’ve used before and like.

Only you know which is the most important thing for your setup.

Best 5.1 AV Receiver

It’s usually best to select an AV receiver by your budget – rather than channels.

This is because you can buy both high-quality, expensive models and cheaper, budget models – all with a similar number of channels.

However, if you are sure you only want 5.1 surround sound, you may get more bang for your buck with a simple 5-channel model.

There aren’t many receivers that are only 5-channels these days.

Remember, you can always buy a 7-channel receiver (or higher) and just connect 5-channels.

A pure 5-channel receiver these days will usually be a budget model.

So most people interested in a simple 5.1 receiver will be looking at a receiver at the lower end of the market.

Top Pick: Yamaha RX-V4A 5.2-Ch AV Receiver

Best 5.1 AV Receiver: Yamaha RX-V4A 5.2-Ch AV Receiver
Yamaha RX-V4A 5.2-Ch AV Receiver
Image Credit: Yamaha

Thumbs Up

  • Solid and reliable brand with an excellent reputation for AV receivers
  • Great value
  • 8K/60p and 4K/120p video with HDMI 2.1 support
  • HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG (HDCP 2.3)
  • MusicCast support with MusicCast Surround and Multi-Room
  • Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple AirPlay 2
  • Bluetooth input and output. Stream music to the receiver – or send audio to connected Bluetooth headphones.
  • No waste of resources on extras, just a focus on the essential features that everyone needs

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  • No Dolby Atmos support
  • A limited number of HDMI inputs

The Yamaha RX-V4A is an excellent choice for the best 5.1 AV receiver.

Whether you are looking for a budget or high-end model – Yamaha is always a good choice for an AV receiver.

The Yamaha RX-V4A has two subwoofer output connections.

If, like most people, you only use one subwoofer, just ignore the second connection – but it’s always handy to have a dual output if you want a second sub in your room.

High-end receivers are more likely to have independent dual subwoofer outputs, meaning you can process each differently, making fine-tuning the room sound easier.

However, most receivers, like this one, send the same signal from both outputs. This is fine, although less flexible.

This model has all the basics you want in an entry-level AV receiver.

It provides:

  • Good sound.
  • Plenty of network and wireless connection types.
  • Full support for most audio formats – including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.

This model is also one of the first to support 8K/60p and 4K/120p video. All the HDMI inputs support 8K – and there is full passthrough support for 8K from player to screen.

Please note the new HDMI 2.1 features – such as 4K/120p, VRR, ALLM and QMS, will not be available until they are enabled in a future firmware update.

The RX-V4A supports all the current versions of HDR – HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG.

It can be voice-controlled via Amazon Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant – and also supports Yamaha’s MusicCast wireless speaker system.

With MusicCast Multi-Room, you can control wireless speakers in rooms around your home.

And with MusicCast Surround, you can purchase either the MusicCast 20 or MusicCast 50 speakers and add these as wireless surrounds in a 5.1 system.

Perfect for those who are fed up with running those pesky speaker cables around your room.

Yamaha RX-V4A AV Receiver Features
Channels 5.2
Dolby Atmos None
HDMI In / Out 4/1 (eARC)
Zones Zone B (2-ch audio – powered)
Pre Out / Line Out Subwoofer (x2)
Power (W)* 80
Speaker Impedance (Ohms) 8 and higher
UHD / HDR Support 8K/60p & 4K/120p, 4:4:4, HDCP2.3 / HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network / Wireless Ethernet / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth / MusicCast Surround + Multi-Room / AirPlay 2 / Spotify Connect
Voice Control Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri (via Airplay 2)
Auto Room Calibration YPAO
Selected Audio Decoders Dolby Digital, DD+, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS-ES (Matrix6.1 & Discrete6.1), DTS 96/24, DTS-HD HR Audio, DTS-HD Master Audio, DSD (up to 11.2 MHz), LPCM (Up to 7.1ch)
Selected Sound Modes: Post Decoding Dolby Pro Logic II, DTS Neo:6
Dimensions (W x H x D) 17-1/8 x 6-3/4 x 14-7/8 in | 435 x 171 x 379 mm (w/o antenna)
Weight (lbs) 19.4
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.06% THD, 2 Channels Driven ** 4K/120Hz, 8K/60Hz, HDR10+, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, VRR, ALLM, QMS and QFT available via firmware update late 2020
Best 5.1 AV Receiver
Yamaha RX-V4A 5.2-Ch AV Receiver
What Is It: An excellent budget-friendly 5.2-channel AV receiver from a trusted brand.
Pros:
  • Great value
  • 8K/60p & 4K/120p HDMI 2.1 support
  • MusicCast multi-room and MusicCast Surround
  • Bluetooth headphones will work directly
Cons:
  • It lacks Dolby Atmos audio
  • Not many HDMI inputs
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Best 9.2 AV Receiver

Looking for a particular number of channels is more beneficial when getting to receivers with more than 5-channels.

This is because there aren’t many AV receivers that can power this number of speakers out of the box – and you may have your mind set on a specific configuration.

A 9.2-channel system can be ideal if you want to create a 3D Dolby Atmos surround sound layout – and with a 9-channel receiver, you can have a 5.2.4 speaker layout.

This is one of the best ways to experience Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

5.2.2 is good, but 5.2.4 is better as you experience the overhead effects from front to back.

Top Pick: Denon AVR-X4700H 9.2-Ch AV Receiver

Best 9.2 AV Receiver: Denon AVR-X4700H 9.2-Ch AV Receiver
Denon AVR-X4700H 9.2-Ch AV Receiver
Image Credit: Denon

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  • Great quality Denon technology
  • Good value for a 9-channel receiver
  • 5.2.4 or 7.2.2 Dolby Atmos
  • Has 11.2 pre-outs for expanding your speaker layout even more
  • Powerful 125-watts per channel
  • IMAX Enhanced certified
  • Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice control

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  • Just one HDMI 2.1 8K input

The Denon AVR-X4700H is an excellent option if you are looking for the best 9.2-channel AV receiver.

Denon is always a contender in any category. They make fantastic receivers that excel at movie audio and work well for music.

This model supports the latest video formats so that you can pass through 8K at 60Hz and 4K at 120Hz.

Plus, there is support for all the latest HDMI 2.1 features, such as VRR, QMS and ALLM. Don’t you love all those acronyms?

As well as built-in amplification for a 5.2.4 or 7.2.2 speaker layout – there is support for a 7.2.4 system if you add an external 2-channel power amplifier.

That should be enough speakers to keep you happy for a while.

The Audyssey MultEQ XT32 auto room configuration available on this receiver is one of the best, and you can get a tight and balanced sound in any room when you run the Audyssey setup routine.

It is especially good at cleaning up the low frequencies so they don’t overpower the room.

Denon AVR-X4700H Specifications
Channels 9.2
Dolby Atmos 5.2.4 / 7.2.2 (Support for 7.2.4)
HDMI In / Out 7+1 (1x 8K)/3 (eARC)
Zones Zone 2 (HDMI + Component + Composite & 2-ch audio – powered or line out) / Zone 3 (2-ch audio – powered or line out)
Pre Out / Line Out 11.2-Ch / Zone 2 & Zone 3 (2-Ch)
Power (W)* 125
Speaker Impedance (Ohms) 4 – 16
UHD / HDR Support 8K/60p & 4K/120p, HDCP 2.3 / HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network / Wireless Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (Send & Receive), Airplay 2, HEOS
Voice Control Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri (via AirPlay 2), Josh.ai
Auto Room Calibration Audyssey MultEQ XT32
Selected Audio Decoders Dolby Digital, DD+, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, DTS, DTS-ES (Matrix6.1 & Discrete6.1), DTS 96/24, DTS Express, DTS-HD HR Audio, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS:X, DSD, LPCM (Up to 192/24 7.1ch), Auro-3D
Selected Sound Modes: Post Decoding Dolby Surround, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology, DTS Neural:X, DTS Virtual:X, IMAX Enhanced
Dimensions (W x H x D) 17.1 x 6.6 x 15.3 in | 434 x 167 x 389 mm (w/o antenna)
Weight (lbs) 30.2
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.05% THD, 2 Channels Driven
Best 9.2 AV Receiver
Denon AVR-X4700H 9.2-Ch AV Receiver
What Is It: An excellent 9-channel AV receiver that supports 5.2.4 Dolby Atmos without breaking the bank.
Pros:
  • Denon makes great AV receivers
  • Plenty of features for the money
  • 8K/60p & 4K/120p support
  • Excellent Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room calibration
Cons:
  • Only one 8K HDMI input
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Best 11.2 AV Receiver

An AV receiver with 11-channels is perfect for a complete Dolby Atmos surround sound system.

You have all the built-in channels to install a 7.2.4 or 5.2.6 speaker system – an impressive layout that will make you feel part of the action.

AV receivers with this number of channels aren’t that common; however, a few are available.

These receivers usually have more power per channel than models lower down the food chain, but they will also be more expensive.

Don’t forget, there is an alternative to buying a receiver that can directly power all the channels you want out of the box.

A receiver with fewer channels may have processing for more audio channels and will have matching pre-out connections.

This means you can wire a separate power amplifier to drive the extra speakers.

Of course, this is more expensive and complex to set up, so many prefer to have all the channels built in.

If so, here are some of the best 11-channel receivers to check out.

Top Pick: Denon AVR-X6700H 11.2-Ch AV Receiver

Best 11.2 AV Receiver: Denon AVR-X6700H 11.2-Ch AV Receiver
Denon AVR-X6700H 11.2-Ch AV Receiver
Image Credit: Denon

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  • Powerful 140 watts per channel output
  • 8 HDMI inputs
  • 13.2-channel pre-out connections for a larger speaker layout
  • Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room calibration works really well
  • Powerful zone options, including component and composite video
  • Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice control

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  • Only one 8K HDMI 2.1 input

The Denon AVR-X67000H is a fantastic receiver with great sound and many features – so definitely a good option in this category.

If audiophile sound quality is essential to you, then the Anthem MRX 1140 might be better – however, the MSRP is quite a bit more than the Denon.

And, anyway, Denon receivers sound great. So this model will be excellent for movies and music for most people.

You must always find the right balance between cost and features for your needs.

This Denon receiver supports 7.2.4 or 9.2.2 speaker layouts with full support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, IMAX Enhanced and Auro-3D.

There is also support for a 7.2.6 configuration if you add an external power amplifier.

And, if you have been waiting for an AV receiver with pass-through support for 8K video resolutions, then you are in luck.

All the other HDMI inputs allow for a maximum of 4K – but the receiver can upscale any of these to 8K if you wish.

You can install a multi-room wireless speaker system if you buy one or more HEOS-enabled wireless speakers.

These can be placed throughout your home and are controlled by the free HEOS app.

Denon AVR-X6700H Specifications
Channels 11.2
Dolby Atmos 7.2.4 / 9.2.2 (Support for 7.2.6)
HDMI In / Out 7+1 (1x 8K)/3 (eARC)
Zones Zone 2 (HDMI + Component + Composite & 2-ch audio – powered or line out) / Zone 3 (2-ch audio – powered or line out)
Pre Out / Line Out 13.2-Ch / Zone 2 & Zone 3 (2-Ch)
Power (W)* 140
Speaker Impedance (Ohms) 4 – 16
UHD / HDR Support 8K/60p & 4K/120p, HDCP 2.3 / HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network / Wireless Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (Send & Receive), Airplay 2, HEOS
Voice Control Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri (via AirPlay 2), Josh.ai
Auto Room Calibration Audyssey MultEQ XT32
Selected Audio Decoders Dolby Digital, DD+, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, DTS, DTS-ES (Matrix6.1 & Discrete6.1), DTS 96/24, DTS Express, DTS-HD HR Audio, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS:X, DSD, LPCM (Up to 192/24 7.1ch), Auro-3D
Selected Sound Modes: Post Decoding Dolby Surround, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology, DTS:X Pro, DTS Neural:X, DTS Virtual:X, IMAX Enhanced
Dimensions (W x H x D) 17.1 x 6.6 x 15.3 in | 434 x 167 x 389 mm (w/o antenna)
Weight (lbs) 32
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.05% THD, 2 Channels Driven
Best 11.2 AV Receiver
Denon AVR-X6700H 11.2-Ch AV Receiver
What Is It: A high-class Denon AV receiver with 11-channels for a large Dolby Atmos speaker layout.
Pros:
  • Support for 13.2 speaker layouts with additional power amplifier
  • 7.2.4 or 9.2.2 Dolby Atmos support
  • Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room correction is one of the best
  • IMAX Enhanced and Auro-3D support
Cons:
  • Only one 8K HDMI 2.1 input
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Best 13.2 AV Receiver

If you want an AV receiver with 13.2-channels, there’s currently only one brand to look at – Denon.

An amplifier of this size will likely interest only the true home theater fanatics, and installing a system this size will be a big job.

You can install several different speaker layouts to take advantage of all the channels in one room.

For example, you might want a complete Dolby Atmos layout with seven speakers in the lower plane at ear level and six for overhead audio – creating a 7.1.6 configuration.

The overhead speakers can be a combination of height and ceiling speakers.

Or you might only want four overhead speakers and use the remaining two channels lower down in front wide positions – essentially 9.1.4.

Of course, you can also have a more standard layout in the main room, like 5.1.4, and use the extra channels to power speakers in another room.

The advantage of a receiver with this many channels is you have various options for configuring your system.

Top Pick: Denon AVR-X8500HA 13.2-Ch AV Receiver

Best 13.2 AV Receiver: Denon AVR-X8500HA 13.2-Ch AV Receiver
Denon AVR-X8500HA 13.2-Ch AV Receiver
Image Credit: Denon

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  • 13-channels out of the box
  • Hefty 150 watts per channel output
  • Awesome video and audio quality
  • Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room calibration is excellent
  • Several zone outs for sending content to other rooms

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  • Huge amplifier, so make sure you have the space to install it

Denon led the way in 2018 by including 13 channels in their AVR-X8500H AV receiver. Since then, they have released two more versions; the 110th-anniversary AVR-A110 in 2020 and the AVR-X8500HA in 2021.

As the name suggests, the AVR-X8500HA is an updated version released in 2018.

The two receivers are basically the same, except for a few notable extras, including support for 8K video. The main upgrades on the AVR-X8500HA are:

  • a single HDMI input supporting 8K/60AB and 4K/120AB
  • the addition of HDR10+/dynamic HDR
  • upscaling from 1080p and 4K to 8K
  • Pass-through support for VRR, QMS and QFT
  • HDCP 2.3

There are also some other features included that weren’t available on the AVR-X8500 – DTS:X Pro, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization and front wide speaker support on Dolby Surround – but these can now be added to the older AVR-X8500H with a firmware update.

If you don’t need the extra features of the AVR-X8500HA, you may get a bargain if you can find the older 2018 model in stock.

And there is also an 8K upgrade available for the AVR-X8500H.

Either way, all of the Denon 13-channel AV receivers are great receivers, and you can’t go wrong if you have the money to buy one.

Remember, some receivers with fewer channels have processing for larger Dolby Atmos layouts.

This means you can use the pre-out connections on the rear to install additional power amplifiers.

However, the advantage of a beast like this, is you don’t need to pony up for power amplifiers. It’s all built-in.

Denon AVR-X8500HA Specifications
Channels 13.2
Dolby Atmos 7.2.6 / 9.2.4
HDMI In / Out 7+1 (1x 8K)/3 (eARC)
Zones Zone 2 (HDMI + Component + Composite & 2-ch audio – powered or line out) / Zone 3 (Component + Composite & 2-ch audio – powered or line out)
Pre Out / Line Out 13.2-Ch / Zone 2 & Zone 3 (2-Ch)
Power (W)* 150
Speaker Impedance (Ohms) 4 – 16
UHD / HDR Support 8K/60p & 4K/120p, HDCP2.3 / HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network / Wireless Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (Send & Receive), Airplay 2, HEOS
Voice Control Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomePod
Auto Room Calibration Audyssey MultEQ XT32
Selected Audio Decoders Dolby Digital, DD+, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, DTS, DTS-ES (Matrix6.1 & Discrete6.1), DTS 96/24, DTS Express, DTS-HD HR Audio, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS:X, DSD, LPCM (Up to 192/24 7.1ch), Auro-3D
Selected Sound Modes: Post Decoding Dolby Surround, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology, DTS:X Pro, DTS Neural:X, DTS Virtual:X, IMAX Enhanced
Dimensions (W x H x D) 17.1 x 7.7 x 19 in | 434 x 195 x 482 mm (w/o antenna)
Weight (lbs/Kg) 52 / 23.6
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.05% THD, 2 Channels Driven
Best 13.2 AV Receiver
Denon AVR-X8500HA 13.2-Ch AV Receiver
What Is It: A high-end AV receiver from Denon with 13-channels of audio built in.
Pros:
  • 13-channels of audio out of the box
  • Hefty 150 watts per channel output
  • Plenty of zone options for other rooms
Cons:
  • Huge amplifier, so make sure you have the space to install it
  • It's expensive
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Best Small AV Receiver

Some of you may want an AV receiver but might not be so thrilled about the size of some models.

They can certainly take up some space in your room.

However, some brands have a range of slim receivers, which can be much easier to install and won’t look too unattractive.

Small AV receivers usually have less power and features than a standard-size model, although that doesn’t mean they can’t power an excellent surround sound system.

There aren’t too many options in this category, and some are older models that you may have trouble finding new.

However, you might be able to pick one up second-hand on eBay or in local classifieds, so don’t rule them out entirely if that is what you want.

Marantz regularly releases new slim receivers every couple of years, so they are a good option if you want the latest features in a small chassis.

Top Pick: Marantz CINEMA 70s 7.2-Ch AV Receiver

Best Small AV Receiver: Marantz CINEMA 70s 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
Marantz CINEMA 70s 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
Image Credit: Marantz

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  • Compact design
  • Sleek, modern look
  • Dolby True HD, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Music, Dolby Surround and Dolby Height Virtualization
  • DTS HD Master Audio, DTS:X, DTS Neural:X and DTS Virtual:X
  • 3x HDMI 2.1 inputs (6 in total)
  • 4K/120Hz & 8K/60Hz support
  • Zone 2 audio output
  • 7.2-channel pre-outs
  • HDR10+ / HDR10 / HLG / Dolby Vision
  • ARC/eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel)
  • HEOS multi-room audio support

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  • Less power than the larger receivers, which will be fine unless you have a large, power-hungry speaker system. Although, you could use the 7.2-channel pre-outs if you need more power.

The Marantz CINEMA 70s is a 7.2-channel receiver that can perform with the best of them – an ideal option if you are looking for the best slim AV receiver.

It’s only rated at 50 watts. So, less than the larger models listed here but still enough to drive most small to medium-sized speakers in a standard room.

It has plenty of connections for a compact device and even comes with the excellent Audyssey MultEQ room correction system.

This latest version of the renowned Marantz slim receiver includes 3 HDMI inputs, supporting 8K/60Hz or 4K/120Hz video content from the newest game consoles.

This amplifier also supports passthrough for all the current HDR formats – Dynamic HDR, HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG.

Finally, there is a complete 7.2-channel pre-out section on the back, which is new for this model and allows you to send the audio to external power amplifiers if the amp lacks power for your speaker system.

Marantz CINEMA 70s Specifications
Channels 7.2
Dolby Atmos 5.2.2
HDMI In / Out 6/1 (eARC)
Zones Zone 2 (2-ch audio – powered or line out)
Pre Out / Line Out 7.2 / Zone 2 (2-Ch)
Power (W)* 50
Speaker Impedance (Ohms) 4 – 16
UHD / HDR Support 8K/60Hz & 4K/120Hz, HDCP2.3 / Dynamic HDR, HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network / Wireless Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (Send & Receive), Airplay 2, HEOS, Spotify Connect, TuneIn, Pandora, SiriusXM, Roon Tested
Voice Control Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomePod
Auto Room Calibration Audyssey MultEQ
Selected Audio Decoders Dolby Digital, DD+, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Music, DTS, DTS-ES (Matrix6.1 & Discrete6.1), DTS 96/24, DTS Express, DTS-HD HR Audio, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS:X, DSD (2.8MHz / 5.6MHz), LPCM (Up to 192/24 7.1ch)
Selected Processing Modes Dolby Surround, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology, DTS Neural:X, DTS Virtual:X
Dimensions (W x H x D) 17.4 x 4.3 x 14.7 in | 442 x 109 x 373 mm (w/o antenna)
Weight (lbs/Kg) 19.2/8.7
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven
Best Small AV Receiver
Marantz CINEMA 70s 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
What Is It: A slimline AV receiver with Marantz sound-quality that will fit discretely into your set up.
Pros:
  • Only 4-inches high
  • 3x HDMI 2.1 inputs (6 in total)
  • Dolby Atmos 5.2.2 speaker layouts supported
  • Airplay 2, HEOS, Spotify Connect, TuneIn, Pandora, SiriusXM, Roon Tested
Cons:
  • 50-watts per channel might lack power for large speaker systems
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Top Receiver Under $500

You don’t need to spend a fortune if you just want to experience surround sound in your room.

A no-frills AV receiver with some reasonable speakers will sound way better than using the speakers on your TV, and you can always upgrade later if you want a model with more features.

Therefore, a budget AV receiver under $500 can be the ideal way to start.

The number of features you get in an AV receiver around the $500 mark these days is quite surprising, but you will have to accept some compromises here and there.

Most of these models are 5-channel receivers, which means you get surround sound, but not 3D Dolby Atmos sound.

Top Pick: Denon AVR-S660H 5.2-Ch AV Receiver

Best AV Receiver Under $500: Denon AVR-S660H 5.2-Ch AV Receiver
Denon AVR-S660H 5.2-Ch AV Receiver
Image Credit: Denon

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  • Full 8K/60p and 4K/120p support
  • High-resolution HD audio formats – Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio
  • HDR10+, HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision passthrough
  • Support for high-resolution audio: 24-bit/192-kHz ALAC, FLAC and WAV plus DSD 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz
  • HDMI eARC support
  • Audyssey MultEQ room correction with the Audyssey MultEQ Editor app
  • HEOS multi-room speaker technology built-in
  • Wide range of voice control options – Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple AirPlay 2

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  • No Dolby Atmos support
  • No zone 2 connections

The Denon AVR-S660H is an excellent choice if you want a great value receiver from a reputable brand.

It has 5-channels for surround sound and two outputs for connecting dual subwoofers.

There are six HDMI inputs for your external devices, three of which support HDMI 2.1 and 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz video passthrough.

Denon is an excellent option if you want a receiver with great sound and cutting-edge features.

Audyssey MultEQ room correction is a bonus and one of the better solutions for getting the best sound in your room.

If you want Dolby Atmos, the Sony STR-DH790 receiver in this category has 7-channels and Dolby Atmos support – or you will need to spend a little more to go up a price level or look for an older receiver that is on offer.

If you want an even cheaper option, you should look at the Denon AVR-S570BT, Sony STR-DH590 or Pioneer VSX-534 – which are each brand’s entry-level model.

Denon AVR-S660H Specifications
Channels 5.2
Dolby Atmos None
HDMI In / Out 6 (3x 8K)/1 (eARC)
Zones None
Pre Out / Line Out Subwoofer (x2)
Power (W)* 75
Speaker Impedance (Ohms) 4 – 16
UHD / HDR Support 8K/60p & 4K/120p, HDCP 2.3 / HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network / Wireless Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (Send & Receive), Airplay 2, HEOS
Voice Control Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri (via AirPlay 2), Josh.ai
Auto Room Calibration Audyssey MultEQ
Selected Audio Decoders Dolby Digital, DD+, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS 96/24, DTS Express, DTS-HD HR Audio, DTS-HD Master Audio, DSD (2.8/5.6MHz), LPCM (Up to 192/24 7.1ch)
Selected Sound Modes: Post Decoding Dolby Pro Logic II, DTS Neo:6
Dimensions (W x H x D) 17.1 x 6 x 13.4 in | 434 x 151 x 341 mm (w/o antenna)
Weight (lbs/Kg) 17.2 / 7.8
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven
Best AV Receiver Under $500
Denon AVR-S660H 5.2-Ch AV Receiver
What Is It: An entry-level 5-channel AV receiver from a respected brand, ideal for anyone new to home theater.
Pros:
  • 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz HDMI 2.1 inputs
  • Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio support
  • Audyssey MultEQ room correction with the Audyssey MultEQ Editor app
  • HDR10+, HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision pass-through
Cons:
  • No Dolby Atmos
BUY AT AMAZON FIND THE BEST PRICE
Related article: Best AV Receiver Under $500

Top Receiver Under $1000

You start to get high-quality AV receivers at this price point – not the best, but pretty darn good.

You should expect a great sound that will do justice to any first-rate speakers you own.

You can expect to get a little more for your money in terms of performance, and you might need to go to this level to get more connections, power or channels.

Some of these models will also give you more options for sending content to different zones in your house. So, if this is important, think about what you want to do and then check out which model offers those options.

When you get to this level, the improvements aren’t just about features; you also get better build quality and components.

One of the most critical components of an AV receiver is the power supply – because a better power supply is a significant factor that helps increase sound quality.

This is what you are paying extra for.

Unfortunately, the recent economic and supply chain problems have resulted in many models increasing in price by four or five hundred dollars.

So you don’t get quite as much for your money as you used to.

If you can spend a little more, check out some of the models in a higher price bracket for a few more features.

But, if you must limit yourself to under $1000 precisely, all these receivers will still do an excellent job.

Top Pick: Denon AVR-X2700H 7.2-Ch AV Receiver

Best AV Receiver Under $1000: Denon AVR-X2700H 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
Denon AVR-X2700H 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
Image Credit: Denon

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  • Passthrough support for 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz
  • 6 HDMI inputs with full HDCP 2.3 support and 2 HDMI outputs
  • 8K upscaling for all HDMI inputs
  • Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Surround, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology
  • DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS:X, DTS Neural:X and DTS Virtual:X
  • Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) support
  • Bluetooth send and receive for connecting Bluetooth headphones
  • Built-in HEOS multi-room streaming
  • Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple AirPlay 2

Thumbs Down

  • 8K passthrough is only available on one HDMI input

The Denon AVR-X2700H 7.2-Ch AV receiver is a standout option for the money.

It is a great all-rounder with 7-channels of amplification and plenty of inputs, and it is also one of the first receivers to support 8K resolutions.

One of the HDMI inputs allows for 8K/60p and 4K/120p resolutions – although, as mentioned previously, this will mainly be of interest to those with the latest game consoles.

The Denon brand is often a good choice as they often hit the mark when considering the price, sound quality and features.

The cheapest receivers in this category are the Onkyo TX-NR5100, Yamaha RX-V6A and the Denon AVR-X1700H – so check these out if you want to save money.

All the suggested models in the price range have 7.2-channels, so there is nothing to separate them in that respect.

If you want more power, the Onkyo TX-NR6100, Yamaha RX-V6A and Yamaha RX-A2A AVENTAGE have the highest power output.

The Onkyo TX-NR6100 probably has the most all-around features if you want the most bang for your buck.

Denon AVR-X2700H Specifications
Channels 7.2
Dolby Atmos 5.2.2
HDMI In / Out 6 (1x 8K)/2 (eARC)
Zones Zone 2 (2-ch audio – powered or line out)
Pre Out / Line Out Subwoofer (x2) / Zone 2 (2-Ch)
Power (W)* 95
Speaker Impedance (Ohms) 4 – 16
UHD / HDR Support 8K/60p & 4K/120p, HDCP 2.3 / HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network / Wireless Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (Send & Receive), Airplay 2, HEOS
Voice Control Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri (via AirPlay 2), Josh.ai
Auto Room Calibration Audyssey MultEQ XT
Selected Audio Decoders Dolby Digital, DD+, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, DTS, DTS-ES (Matrix6.1 & Discrete6.1), DTS 96/24, DTS Express, DTS-HD HR Audio, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS:X, DSD, LPCM (Up to 192/24 7.1ch)
Selected Sound Modes: Post Decoding Dolby Surround, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology, DTS Neural:X, DTS Virtual:X
Dimensions (W x H x D) 17.1 x 6.6 x 13.4 in | 434 x 167 x 340 mm (w/o antenna)
Weight (lbs) 21
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven
Best AV Receiver Under $1000
Denon AVR-X2700H 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
What Is It: An awesome mid-range Denon AV receiver that ticks most of the boxes for a receiver at this price.
Pros:
  • 6 HDMI inputs with full HDCP 2.3 support and 2 HDMI outputs
  • Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) support
  • Pass-through support for 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz
  • Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, DTS-HD Master Audio and DTS:X
Cons:
  • Limited zone options
  • 8K pass-through is only available on one HDMI input
BUY AT AMAZON FIND THE BEST PRICE
Related article: Best AV Receiver Under $1000

Top Receiver Under $1500

As the price increases, so does the quality of the AV receivers.

If you spend a little more, you really start to get to some high-end brands, and you can even buy some entry-level models from top-notch audio brands like Anthem and NAD.

As mentioned previously, recent price increases due to the current economic problems mean that many of these models used to retail below $1000.

You could say $1500 is the new $1000! Which sucks.

But if you can stretch to this price point, you will get more features and better specifications than those receivers that cost slightly less.

Top Pick: Marantz SR5015 7.2-Ch AV Receiver

Best AV Receiver Under $1500: Marantz SR5015 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
Marantz SR5015 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
Image Credit: Marantz

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  • Excellent sound quality
  • Good value for a trusted brand
  • Dolby Atmos 5.2.2 or 7.1 surround support
  • 8K/60p & 4K/120p passthrough
  • eARC HDMI port for transferring high-resolution audio from your TV
  • Powerful 100 watts per channel
  • IMAX Enhanced
  • Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice control

Thumbs Down

  • Audyssey MultEQ XT is not quite as good as the XT32 version

The Marantz SR5015 7.2-Ch AV receiver is a solid choice from a well-regarded brand in the world of hi-fi and home theater.

With 7-channels and the famous Marantz sound, you will be getting an excellent receiver that excels at most things.

With support for 8K video, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, this is a great all-rounder at a competitive price.

However, the 5-channel Anthem MRX 520 might be better if sound quality is your primary focus.

And, if you want more channels, the Denon AVR-X3700H or the Onkyo TX-NR7100 might be a better choice.

Remember, the best AV receiver is the one that ticks all the boxes for you, and different people have different needs and requirements.

Marantz SR5015 AV Receiver Features
Channels 7.2
Dolby Atmos 5.2.2
HDMI In / Out 6/2 (ARC/eARC – HDMI 2.1)
Zones Zone 2 (2-ch audio – powered or line out)
Pre Out / Line Out 7.2-Ch / Zone 2 (2-Ch)
Power (W)* 100
Speaker Impedance (Ohms) 4 – 16
UHD / HDR Support 8K/60p & 4K/120p, HDCP 2.3 / HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network / Wireless Ethernet / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth / Airplay 2 / HEOS / Spotify Connect
Voice Control Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri (via Airplay 2), Josh.ai
Auto Room Calibration Audyssey MultEQ XT
Selected Audio Decoders Dolby Digital, DD+, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, DTS, DTS-ES (Matrix6.1 & Discrete6.1), DTS 96/24, DTS Express, DTS-HD HR Audio, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS:X, DSD (2-ch – 5.1-ch, 2.8 MHz), LPCM (Up to 192/24 7.1ch)
Selected Sound Modes: Post Decoding Dolby Surround, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology, DTS Neural:X, DTS Virtual:X, IMAX Enhanced
Dimensions (W x H x D) 17.3 x 6.3 x 13.7 in | 440 x 161 x 348 mm (w/o antenna)
Weight (lbs) 22.3
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven
Best AV Receiver Under $1500
Marantz SR5015 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
What Is It: An excellent mid-range AV receiver with that warm Marantz sound and modern home theater features.
Pros:
  • 7 speaker channels and 2 subwoofer outputs
  • 8K/60Hz & 4K/120Hz support
  • Dolby Surround, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology, DTS Neural:X, DTS Virtual:X
  • IMAX Enhanced
Cons:
  • If you want four Atmos overhead speakers, you'll need a receiver with more channels
BUY AT AMAZON FIND THE BEST PRICE

Top Receiver Under $2000

You are getting to some serious hardware around the $2000 mark.

If your budget extends this high, you are spoiled for choice, and you really can’t go wrong.

You will get excellent craftsmanship and attention to detail, meaning you can be sure of outstanding performance and all the features you could want.

You have a broad choice here between receivers with more channels – Denon and Onkyo – and brands like Arcam and Anthem, which have fewer channels but aim for more pleasing sound quality.

Top Pick: Denon AVR-X3800H 9.4-Ch AV Receiver

Best AV Receiver Under $2000: Denon AVR-X3800H 9.4-Ch AV Receiver
Denon AVR-X3800H 9.4-Ch AV Receiver
Image Credit: Denon

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  • 6 HDMI inputs with full HDCP 2.3 support
  • 3 HDMI outputs
  • Pass-through support for 8K/60Hz AB & 4K/120Hz AB
  • Four independent subwoofer outputs
  • Auro-3D, 360 Reality Audio, Dolby Atmos Music, IMAX Enhanced
  • Audyssey MultEQ XT32 and optional Dirac Live room correction
  • Connect directly to Bluetooth headphones
  • Built-in HEOS multi-room streaming
  • Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomePod voice control

Thumbs Down

  • Dirac Live is only available as a paid upgrade

The Denon AVR-X3800H 9.4-Channel AV receiver should be a contender for anyone in this price range.

This Denon receiver has six HDMI 2.1 8K video inputs – ideal for the latest game consoles – and has most of the features you could need for home theater duties.

It also has four independent subwoofer outputs, making getting the perfect low-end balance in your room extremely straightforward.

Most people won’t have the space for four subwoofers, but even two subs can spread the low bass more evenly around the room. Even better is the independent control allowing for different EQ settings.

Another impressive feature is the processing support for 11.4 channels – and matching pre-out connections on the rear.

This will allow you to add at least one power amplifier for two more speaker channels in your room.

The Marantz CINEMA 60 comes at this price point if you prefer the Marantz sound and the stylish new look.

And, if you are looking for audiophile sound quality, maybe the Anthem MRX 540 or the Arcam AVR5 might work better for you.

These models have fewer channels than the other receivers, but you are paying for better sound quality over the number of features.

Denon AVR-X3800H Specifications
Channels 9.4
Dolby Atmos 5.4.4 / 7.4.2 (Support for 11.4)
HDMI In / Out 6/3 (eARC)
Zones Zone 2 (HDMI & 2-ch audio – powered or line out)
Pre Out / Line Out 11.4 (4x Independent Subwoofer) / Zone 2 (2-Ch)
Power (W)* 105
Speaker Impedance (Ohms) 4 – 16
UHD / HDR Support 8K/60Hz AB & 4K/120Hz AB, HDCP2.3 / Dynamic HDR, HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network / Wireless Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (Send & Receive), Airplay 2, HEOS, Spotify Connect, Roon Tested
Voice Control Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomePod
Auto Room Calibration Audyssey MultEQ XT32, Dirac Live (Optional Upgrade)
Selected Audio Decoders Dolby Digital, DD+, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Music, DTS, DTS-ES (Matrix6.1 & Discrete6.1), DTS 96/24, DTS Express, DTS-HD HR Audio, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS:X, DSD, LPCM (Up to 192/24 7.1ch), Auro-3D, 360 Reality Audio
Selected Processing Modes Dolby Surround, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology, DTS Neural:X, DTS Virtual:X, IMAX Enhanced
Dimensions (W x H x D) 17.1 x 6.6 x 14.9 in | 434 x 167 x 378 mm (w/o antenna)
Weight (lbs/Kg) 27.6/12.5
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven
Best AV Receiver Under $2000
Denon AVR-X3800H 9.4-Ch AV Receiver
What Is It: A top Denon AV receiver with nine speaker channels and four subwoofer outputs.
Pros:
  • 6 HDMI 2.1 inputs
  • 8K/60Hz AB & 4K/120Hz AB support
  • Processing and output connections for 11.4 audio
  • Four independent subwoofer pre-outs
Cons:
  • Dirac Live room correction is available, but only as a paid upgrade
BUY AT AMAZON FIND THE BEST PRICE

Top Receiver Under $3000

If your budget is around $3000, you will have a hard choice because the receivers are all outstanding.

The main differences at this price level are the models with more channels – like the Denon AVR-X6700, Marantz CINEMA 50 and SR6015 – and the audiophile sound quality of the Anthem and Arcam models.

Arcam and Anthem should be on your list if you need top-notch performance for movies and music.

However, it’s a fine line.

It doesn’t mean Marantz and Denon can’t sound great with music. They can, especially the Marantz.

But their particular strength is movie audio and features.

It may be frustrating, but in the end, these things come down to personal taste – and what you are used to listening to.

It’s not black and white, whatever some people may tell you.

If you are unsure – and sound quality is essential – the only way is to go and demo the amps yourself. Go and speak to your local AV store that has a listening room.

Top Pick: Arcam AVR11 7.2-Ch AV Receiver

Best AV Receiver Under $3000: Arcam AVR11 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
Arcam AVR11 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
Image Credit: Arcam

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  • Slightly cheaper version of the flagship Arcam AVR31, with fewer features
  • Class AB amplification
  • Dirac Live room correction software
  • 11.2-channel pre-outs for connecting more speakers
  • HDMI 2.1 and HDCP2.3
  • 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz passthrough
  • ARC/eARC HDMI connections
  • Auro-3D and IMAX Enhanced

Thumbs Down

  • Only 7-channels unless you connect extra power amplifiers to create an 11.2 system

The Arcam AVR11 7.2-channel AV receiver is a top-notch option for any room.

It is right up there if you want a receiver that can sound great for music and movies. You might even be able to replace your high-end stereo amplifier if you currently use one just for music.

Although it is limited to 7-channels, the AVR11 has 11.2 pre-outs on the back. So, you can connect external power amplifiers and get an excellent 5.2.6/7.2.4 speaker layout.

The AVR11 is an updated version of the Arcam AVR10, released in 2020.

The only difference between the two is the AVR11 has HDMI 2.1 inputs and support for 4K/120 and 8K/60 video sources.

If you don’t need this, you might want to try and find the older AVR10, as it will probably be cheaper.

However, availability will reduce over time, so it might prove hard to find. You could always consider buying second-hand.

Good alternatives are the Marantz CINEMA 50 or the older model, the SR6015.

The CINEMA 50 would be the best option as it is newer, with full HDMI 2.1 and 8K support. But you should find the older SR6015 cheaper.

The Anthem MRX 740 8K only has 7-channels but sounds excellent. It depends on which features you prioritize most.

Arcam AVR11 Specifications
Amplifier Type Class AB
Channels 7.2
Dolby Atmos 5.2.2 (Support for 7.2.4)
HDMI In / Out 7/2 (ARC/eARC – HDMI 2.1)
Zones None
Pre Out / Line Out 11.2-Ch / Stereo 2-Ch
Power (W)* 80
Speaker Impedance (Ohms) 8 recommended
UHD / HDR Support 8K/60Hz & 4K/120Hz, HDCP2.3 / HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network / Wireless Ethernet / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth aptX®HD / Airplay 2 / Chromecast / Spotify Connect / Tidal Connect
Voice Control No
Auto Room Calibration Dirac Live (Ready for Dirac Live Bass Control)
Selected Audio Decoders Dolby Digital, DD+, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, DTS, DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DTS Express, DTS-HD HR Audio, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS:X, Auro-3D
Selected Sound Modes: Post Decoding Dolby Surround, Dolby Virtual Height, DTS Neural:X, DTS Virtual:X, IMAX Enhanced
Dimensions (W x H x D) 17-1/16 x 6-3/4 x 16-3/4 in (433 x 171 x 425 mm)
Weight (lbs/Kg) 36.4/16.5
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.02% THD, 2 Channels Driven
Best AV Receiver Under $3000
Arcam AVR11 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
What Is It: A high-end AV receiver with outstanding sound quality and exceptional engineering standards.
Pros:
  • Audiophile sound quality
  • 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz passthrough
  • 11.2 pre-outs for extra speakers
  • Dirac Live automatic room correction
Cons:
  • Only 7-channels out of the box
BUY AT AUDIO ADVICE BUY AT WWS

Top High-End AV Receiver

If you can quite believe it, you’ve still not reached the top of the tree.

You will need to invest some serious money to buy one of these beauties – but, you know, sometimes you just need to buy the best.

These AV receivers are the flagship models for each brand, and each has its strengths.

The Denon has the most channels, although the Yamaha, Marantz and Anthem aren’t far behind – and still offer the fantastic sound quality these brands specialize in.

Top Pick: Arcam AVR31 7.2-Ch AV Receiver

Best High-End AV Receiver: Arcam AVR31 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
Arcam AVR31 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
Image Credit: Arcam

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  • Top-of-the-range audiophile sound quality for movies and music
  • Audiophile Class G amplification
  • ESS 9026PRO audiophile DAC
  • 15.2-channel pre-outs for sending to power amplifiers
  • HDMI 2.1 support
  • 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz passthrough
  • ARC/eARC HDMI connections
  • Dirac Live automatic room correction
  • IMAX Enhanced and Auro-3D support
  • Free MusicLife control app for iOS and Android

Thumbs Down

  • Only 7-channels out of the box
  • It’s costly

The Arcam AVR31 7.2-channel AV receiver has it all regarding sound quality.

It doesn’t have the number of channels the others do. But this is because its Class G amplification excels at providing a dynamic and detailed sound, which is expensive to engineer.

However, an impressive 15.2 pre-out connections on the back will allow you to build a 9.2.6 surround sound system – if you buy some extra power amplifiers.

It’s definitely not cheap – but it is an excellent choice for an audiophile who wants an accurate sound with low distortion.

Yes, you sacrifice some bells and whistles typical in other receivers, but the focus is on high-end sound and video quality.

If that is your priority, you will be delighted with this receiver.

The AVR31 is an updated version of the Arcam AVR30 and includes HDMI 2.1 inputs, HDCP2.3 and support for 8K video passthrough.

This is the primary difference, so check out the AVR30 if you don’t need 8K support, as you may find it cheaper.

The Denon AVR-X8500HA offers 13-channels and the most power, 150 watts per channel.

While there are four receivers with 11-channels out of the box, the Yamaha RX-A8A, the Anthem MRX 1140 8K, the Marantz SR8015 and the NAD T 778.

Arcam AVR31 Specifications
Amplifier Type Class G
Channels 7.2
Dolby Atmos 5.2.2 (Support for 9.2.6)
HDMI In / Out 7/3 (ARC/eARC – HDMI 2.1)
Zones Zone 2 (HDMI & 2-ch audio – powered or line out)
Pre Out / Line Out 15.2-Ch + Zone 2 (2-Ch) / Stereo 2-Ch
Power (W)* 120
Speaker Impedance (Ohms) 8 recommended
UHD / HDR Support 8K/60Hz & 4K/120Hz, HDCP2.3 / HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network / Wireless Ethernet / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth aptX®HD / Airplay 2 / Chromecast / Spotify Connect / Tidal Connect
Voice Control No
Auto Room Calibration Dirac Live (Ready for Dirac Live Bass Control)
Selected Audio Decoders Dolby Digital, DD+, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, DTS, DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DTS Express, DTS-HD HR Audio, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS:X, Auro-3D
Selected Sound Modes: Post Decoding Dolby Surround, Dolby Virtual Height, DTS Neural:X, DTS Virtual:X, IMAX Enhanced
Dimensions (W x H x D) 17-1/16 x 6-3/4 x 16-3/4 in (433 x 171 x 425 mm)
Weight (lbs/Kg) 39.9/18.1
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.02% THD, 2 Channels Driven
Best High-End AV Receiver
Arcam AVR31 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
What Is It: An exceptional AV receiver with best-in-class sound quality and outstanding performance.
Pros:
  • Audiophile Class G amplification
  • 8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz and HDMI 2.1 support
  • 15.2-channel pre-outs for creating a large speaker layout
  • Dirac Live room correction is the best around
Cons:
  • It is very expensive
BUY AT AUDIO ADVICE BUY AT WWS
Related article: Best High-End AV Receivers

Conclusion

Well, there you have it. Phew, that is a lot of information to take in.

If you are new to the field of home theater, then it can appear impossible to know where to start. Or what you should be looking out for.

Even when you do know about this stuff, it can get confusing!

However, don’t lose sight of the end goal. Having great audio in your room is a fantastic way of experiencing movies and music in your room, and you won’t regret it.

Hopefully, this guide will help you find the best AV amplifiers in 2022. Buy a good one, and it will last for years to come.

If you find all this too complicated, you can take a more straightforward path to home theater audio nirvana.

Look at the Top 10 Best Home Theater Systems + Buying Guide [2023] for more information about an all-in-one system.

With a home theater system, you get the amplifier and speakers in one package, which is more straightforward for some people.

Another alternative is to buy a soundbar system with a wireless subwoofer.

Have fun.

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How to Choose the Best AV Receiver for You
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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 been 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. You can find out more here.

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