Top 5 Best High-End AV Receivers [2023]

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Take your home theater to the next level with an elite AV receiver that delivers breathtaking surround sound. If you want mind-blowing audio with theater-quality performance, check out my top 5 high-end AV receivers for 2023.

As someone who’s spent countless hours tinkering with home theater setups, I can tell you that having the right AV receiver is crucial to achieving the ultimate cinematic experience.

I’ve selected the latest offerings from top brands, focusing on power, connectivity, premium formats like Dolby Atmos, and innovative features. These cutting-edge receivers create a truly immersive experience with dynamic, multi-dimensional sound.

Find out which models from Marantz, Denon and others make the list. Keep reading to see the best high-end AV receivers that will transform your home theater.

1
Arcam AVR31 7.2-Ch AV Receiver

Arcam AVR31

Audiophile Class G amplification.
15.2-channel pre-outs for creating a large speaker layout.
Dirac Live room correction is the best around.
It only supports 7-channels out of the box.
It is very expensive.
2
Marantz SR8015 11.2-Ch AV Receiver

Marantz SR8015

A great all-rounder for the price.
Processing for 13.2 speaker layouts.
Top quality Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room correction.
Only one 8K HDMI input.
3
Denon AVR-X8500HA 13.2-Ch AV Receiver

Denon AVR-X8500HA

13 channels of audio out-of-the-box.
Hefty 150 watts per channel output.
Several zone outputs for sending content to other rooms.
It’s a huge amplifier, so ensure you have the space to install it.
Pricey, but you get a lot for your money.
4
Yamaha RX-A8A AVENTAGE 11.2-Ch AV Receiver

Yamaha RX-A8A

Great value for a top AV receiver.
Audiophile AVENTAGE audio performance.
Balanced stereo XLR input and output.
No processing support for larger Atmos layouts than 11.2.
YPAO Multipoint works fine, but it isn’t the best room correction.
5
Anthem MRX 1140 11.2-Ch AV Receiver

Anthem MRX 1140 8K

Great sound for movies and music.
Excellent Anthem Genesis Room Correction (ARC).
Processing for 15.2-channels.
No voice control options.
A relatively limited number of audio inputs, but enough for most people.

Which One Should You Buy?

Firstly, any of these receivers will be an excellent addition to your home theater. They all offer the highest engineering standards and will provide outstanding sound for movies and music.

Whatever some may say, there is no perfect AV receiver. So, you’ll need to narrow down your choice by considering the most important issues.

Price? Performance? Features? Only you know that.

Secondly, for what it’s worth, I’ll give you my standard response when anyone asks which AV receiver to buy. If in doubt, get a Denon.

I have owned Denon, Yamaha and Onkyo AV receivers over the years and have experience working with Marantz and Arcam.

But I am currently on my second Denon receiver, which is installed in my room, and I think they are a great choice at all price points.

They give an outstanding sound for movies and TV shows, work fine for stereo music if you’re not too demanding, and have all the features most people need. Plus, in my experience, they are reliable.

However, I assume you are here to understand more about your options at this high-end level, so let’s compare the receivers here in a little more detail and give you an idea of their strengths and weaknesses.

Of all the models here, my choice for the best high-end AV receiver is the Arcam AVR31.

Best High-End AV Receiver
Arcam AVR31 7.2-Ch AV Receiver

The flagship receiver in the excellent Arcam HDA series. It has the most power and class G amplification compared to the cheaper versions.

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 only supports 7-channels out of the box.
  • It is very expensive.
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It is an exceptional choice for watching movies and TV, but it also sounds great as an amplifier for stereo music with its Class G amplification.

The downside of the Arcam is it is costly, and you will only get an incremental sound improvement over some of the cheaper receivers for all that extra money. That’s always the choice you must make when you reach this level of engineering.

Therefore, here are some more considerations that might be more important to you.

  • Best All-rounder: Marantz SR8015. If you balance cost and features, this receiver is hard to beat. It offers that musical Marantz sound that many people love, plus it is good value compared to some of the other models.
  • Great for Music: Anthem MRX 1140. This receiver is probably the nearest challenger to the Arcam regarding music and movie sound quality, and it’s cheaper! Although, the others will be fine for stereo music for most people.
  • Most Power: Denon AVR-X8500 or Yamaha RX-A8A. Useful if you have speakers that are hard to drive or want extra headroom. Although, the difference between most of them is pretty small and won’t make a great deal of difference in most cases.
  • Most Speakers Out of the Box: Denon AVR-X8500. Although the Arcam and Anthem receivers allow for more surround speakers if you pay more to add external power amplifiers.
  • Lowest Price: Yamaha RX-8A. Followed by the Marantz SR8015, although prices can fluctuate, especially in the current economic climate. Look out for deals from retailers throughout the year – or look for second-hand or open-box models.
  • Best Automatic Room Calibration: Arcam AVR31 (Dirac Live). Although the Anthem, Denon and Marantz aren’t far behind with ARC Genesis and Audyssey MultEQ XT32.
  • Easiest Installation: Anthem MRX 1140. The Anthem is the smallest and lightest, so it may prove slightly easier to install if the space is tight.
  • Zone Outputs: Denon AVR-X8500, Marantz SR8015 or Yamaha RX-A8A. These might be best if you want plenty of options for watching movies and listening to music in other areas of your home.

If you’re still unsure and are looking for a particular sound, the only way is to hear them perform yourself. There is no substitute for first-hand experience, and you might have a different opinion than me on what sounds good – you’re mistaken, of course. 🙂

If you have a good AV store near you, see if you can listen to these models in their listening room, and try to get it hooked up to similar speakers to your own.

This is an important point.

The connected speakers and how they interact with the room have the most significant impact on the sound that you hear.

The audio frequency response of your room will massively affect what you hear, which, hopefully, you will balance out using the receiver’s automatic room calibration.

So, unless you hear the amplifier in your room with your speakers, you will never get a perfect idea of how they sound.

If you want to look at some models in different price brackets, check out the overview of the best AV receivers in 2023.

Take your time to consider what you need in a new AV receiver, and you will find the right model that ticks all the boxes.

Quick Comparison

Image Model HDMI In/Out Power (W/Ch) Dolby Atmos
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
Marantz SR8015 11.2-Ch AV Receiver
Marantz SR8015 11.2-Ch AV Receiver 7+1/3 (eARC) 140 7.2.4 / 9.2.2 (Support for 7.2.6 / 9.2.4) 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
Yamaha RX-A8A AVENTAGE 11.2-Ch AV Receiver
Yamaha RX-A8A AVENTAGE 11.2-Ch AV Receiver 7/3 (eARC) 150 7.2.4 Check Price
Anthem MRX 1140 11.2-Ch AV Receiver
Anthem MRX 1140 8K 11.2-Ch AV Receiver 7/3 (eARC) 140 5.2.6 / 7.2.4 / 9.2.2 (Support for 9.2.6) Check Price

1. Arcam AVR31 7.2-Ch AV Receiver

If you want an AV receiver that works for movies and music, then an Arcam receiver should be on your radar.

Arcam is a British company producing high-end audio products since 1976.

This receiver is part of the Arcam HAD (High Definition Audio) range and
Arcam released its top-end products under the FMJ (Full Metal Jacket) banner in the early years.

However, recently, they have introduced the HDA series of amplifiers and players, now considered their top-performing products.

The AVR31 is the top model in the HDA range of integrated AV receivers.

Although they also have the AV41, a preamplifier/processor, meaning it doesn’t have any built-in amplification for powering speakers, which you can pair with a separate power amplifier – like their PA720.

Arcam AVR31 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
Arcam AVR31 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
Image Credit: Arcam

Thumbs Up

  • 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 expensive

Arcam AVR31 Highlights

The Arcam AVR31 is a 7.2-channel AV receiver with Class G amplification, which is one of the main differences between this receiver and the competition.

Most AV receivers use Class AB amplification, a cost-effective way to make a relatively efficient amplifier that sounds good – without costing too much to build.

A Class G amplifier is much more complex and expensive to produce.

However, it is also a very efficient way of driving your speakers and provides very low levels of distortion, which is perfect for delivering high-end audiophile sound.

If you want to learn more about Class G amplification, Arcam has a simple guide to Class G amps here.

The high cost of building an amplifier this way is one reason the AVR31 ‘only’ has 7-channels of built-in amplification.

Yes, other AV receivers here can power more speakers out-of-the-box – but they don’t offer Class G amplification. So, you need to decide what is more important to you.

With all this technology, there is always a balance that you need to find between features and cost.

But, even though there are only 7-channels in this receiver, it doesn’t mean you can’t run a big Dolby Atmos speaker layout in your room.

The Arcam AVR31 has 16 pre-out channels (17 with the second subwoofer out) that you can connect to external power amps, so you can use this AV receiver to run a 9.2.6 surround sound speaker system.

That’s not too bad at all!

In most cases, you would probably use the built-in Class G channels to run your basic 5.1/7.1 speaker layout – then add external amplifiers to add the extra height channels – to a maximum of 8 more speakers.

Of course, if you only want to use the built-in class G channels – without buying more power amplifiers – then you can set up a very nice 5.2.2 Dolby Atmos or DTS:X system.

Four pre-outs can also connect up to four extra active subwoofers.

The AVR31 provides 120 watts per channel (8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.02% THD, 2 Channels Driven), which should be enough for any home theater room.

The Arcam AVR31 is an updated version of the AVR30, released in 2020.

The only reason for this update is the introduction of HDMI 2.1 ports with HDCP2.3 and support for 8K video passthrough.

Therefore, if you don’t need the features of HDMI 2.1, mainly for gamers with the latest consoles, you may want to try and purchase the older AVR30, which may be cheaper.

However, expect stocks of the AVR30 to run out as the AVR31 replaces them, so they may be hard to find.

HDMI 2.1 support means this receiver will pass through 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz video if you have a device with this technology.

It also supports HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG high dynamic range content.

Arcam AVR31 Specifications
Channels 7.2
Dolby Atmos 5.2.2 (Support for 9.2.6)
HDMI In/Out 7/3 (ARC/eARC - HDMI 2.1)
Other Video In None
Other Video Out None
Audio In 6x stereo RCA, 2x Optical, 4x Coaxial
Audio Pre Out/Line Out 15.2-Ch + Zone 2 (2-Ch) / Stereo 2-Ch
Other Audio Out 1x Optical
USB Connection 1x Rear (Updates Only)
Zones Zone 2 (HDMI & 2-ch audio - powered or line out)
Auto Room Calibration Dirac Live (Ready for Dirac Live Bass Control)
Power (W/Ch)* 120
Speaker Impedance (Ohms) 8 recommended
UHD Support 8K/60p & 4K/120p, HDCP2.3
HDR Support HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network/Wireless Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth aptX®HD, AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect
Voice Control No
Dolby Decoders Dolby Digital, DD+, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos
DTS Decoders DTS, DTS Express, DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DTS-HD HR Audio, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS:X
Other Audio Decoders Auro-3D
Selected Processing Modes 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
Year 2022
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.02% THD, 2 Channels Driven

Talking of HDMI, there are 7 HDMI connections on the rear and 3 outputs.

The main output supports the newer Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) – which can help send high-resolution 3D audio from your TV apps to the receiver.

Adding more network and wireless connection options is a valuable upgrade to the older FMJ AV receivers.

As well as an Ethernet connection found on the older 2016 receivers, the AVR31 adds support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplay 2 and Chromecast.

However, all Arcam products should be considered for sound quality first and fancy features second. Everything is geared towards a high-end audiophile product. Anything that might compromise this is not present.

Another feature that might make the AVR31 a good choice for you is also – surprise, surprise – aimed at getting the best sound in your room.

Arcam AV receivers come with Dirac Live room correction and a calibration microphone. You must also download the Dirac Live software and install it on your laptop or PC.

It is a more complex process than the room correction supplied with most AV receivers. But it will do a fantastic job of balancing the sound in your room. No pain, no gain!

Dirac Live is widely accepted by many to be the best room correction technology around. It does an exceptional job of producing a balanced and immersive surround sound experience.

Just be aware that you will need an Internet connection for this to work because the measurements are sent online to the Dirac servers to make the complex calculations and number-crunching.

Of course, you don’t have to use Dirac Live and can make manual measurements and adjustments yourself.

But, if you’ve gone to the expense of buying one of these beauties, you’ll probably want to take advantage of this excellent technology.

If you are new to the Arcam brand, you might find this overview of the company interesting:

YouTube video

2. Marantz SR8015 11.2-Ch AV Receiver

A Marantz AV amplifier is a good choice for movie and music performance if you don’t want to pay the high prices of some receivers here.

Marantz is a manufacturer with a rich history of hi-fi products, so you can be sure their AV receivers will receive the same attention to detail.

The SR range of Marantz receivers is their top-end model – and the SR8015 is the flagship receiver.

If you are interested in buying a Marantz receiver, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Marantz SR8015 11.2-Ch AV Receiver
Marantz SR8015 11.2-Ch AV Receiver
Image Credit: Marantz

Thumbs Up

  • Excellent value for money
  • 8K/60p and 4K/120p passthrough
  • HDMI 2.1 connections
  • 11.2-channels for 7.2.4 or 9.2.2 speaker layouts
  • Processing support for 7.2.6 and 9.2.4 systems
  • Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D
  • Powerful 140 watts per channel
  • Marantz HDAM audiophile performance
  • Support for HDMI eARC – Enhanced Audio Return Channel
  • Voice control via Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri
  • Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room correction
  • HEOS multi-room audio streaming

Thumbs Down

  • Only one 8K HDMI input

Marantz SR8015 Highlights

The Marantz SR8015 is an 11.2-channel AV receiver with discrete power amplifiers for each channel.

This means you can install a complete object-based surround sound speaker layout of 7.2.4 without adding any further amplification – or 9.2.2 if you wish.

But that’s not all. This model also has processing for a 7.2.6 or 9.2.4 speaker system, although you must buy a 2-channel power amplifier for the extra two channels to make this work.

You can connect the extra amplifier via the pre-out connections on the back.

In fact, there is a complete set of 13.2 pre-outs on the back if you want to power all your speakers from external power amps.

This unit also has an Auro-3D decoder built-in, which is rare in many AV receivers and is a bonus if you are interested in Auro-3D surround sound.

If you don’t want to install height speakers in your room. The SR8015 also supports Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology and DTS Virtual:X listening modes.

These can create an effect that is like having height speakers installed. Not quite as good as the real thing, but worth trying out if you don’t want to install extra speakers.

There is the same number of HDMI ports as the previous model of this AV receiver. So, you get 8 HDMI inputs (1 at the front) and 3 outputs. That is about as many as you get on any receiver these days.

There is also support for eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel). This is especially useful as more streaming video apps and soundbars begin to offer higher-resolution audio.

Therefore, eARC will allow you to pass Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio streams from your TV and back into the receiver.

One of the main new features in this year’s release is support for 8K video.

HDMI 2.1 support is slowly appearing in new AV receivers. This means that this receiver will pass through 8K/60p and 4K/120p video to your TV.

Marantz SR8015 Specifications
Channels 11.2
Dolby Atmos 7.2.4/9.2.2 (Support for 7.2.6/9.2.4)
HDMI In/Out 7+1/3 (eARC)
Other Video In 4x Composite, 3x Component
Other Video Out 2x Composite, 1x Component
Audio In 7.1-Ch RCA, 6x Stereo RCA, 2x Optical, 2x Coaxial, 1x Phono
Audio Pre Out/Line Out 13.2-Ch / Zone 2 & Zone 3 (2-Ch)
Other Audio Out ---
USB Connection 1x Front
Zones Zone 2 (HDMI & 2-ch audio - powered or line out) / Zone 3 (2-ch audio - powered or line out)
Auto Room Calibration Audyssey MultEQ XT32
Power (W/Ch)* 140
Speaker Impedance (Ohms) 4 - 16
UHD Support 8K/60p & 4K/120p, HDCP2.3
HDR Support 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
Dolby Decoders Dolby Digital, DD+, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos
DTS Decoders DTS, DTS Express, DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DTS-HD HR Audio, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS:X
Other Audio Decoders DSD (2-ch - 5.1-ch, 2.8 MHz), LPCM (Up to 192/24 7.1ch), Auro-3D
Selected Processing Modes Dolby Surround, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology, DTS:X Pro, DTS Neural:X, DTS Virtual:X, IMAX Enhanced
Dimensions (W x H x D) 17.3 x 7.3 x 18.1 in | 440 x 185 x 460 mm (w/o antenna)
Weight (lbs/Kg) 38.4/17.4
Year 2020
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.05% THD, 2 Channels Driven

It also allows support for new gaming and media features such as Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), Quick Media Switching (QMS) and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR).

It is worth remembering that, at present, only the new game consoles will output these video formats. So, unless you have these consoles, you won’t benefit from HDMI 2.1 support too much.

Be aware that there is just a single 8K HDMI input.

So, if you have more than one new game console, you might need to connect one directly to your TV or buy the Marantz VS3003 3-in/1-out 8K switcher, which allows you to connect three 8K devices into the single input.

All the other HDMI ports support 4K/60p and HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision and HLG. The receiver can also upscale 1080p and 4K video to 8K for output to your TV if required.

As you would expect from a high-end Marantz product, this receiver is built using their famous HDAM technology. The Marantz Hyper-Dynamic Amplifier Modules have been developed over many years in their hi-fi products.

Designed to provide a detailed and dynamic sound, you can be sure this receiver will work well for both movie soundtracks and music mixes.

There is plenty of power under the hood, and you will have no problems driving even the most power-hungry speakers with a rating of 140 watts per channel (8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.05% THD, 2 Channels Driven).

There are many ways to connect this amplifier for internet and network content.

You have an Ethernet port for those who like using a trusty cable, but you can also connect via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplay 2, Spotify Connect and more.

The popular voice-control technologies of Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri are also supported.

This unit also has built-in HEOS wireless multi-room audio support.

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

Add any HEOS-compatible speakers, and you can enjoy wireless audio in every room in your house. No need to buy a separate wireless multi-room system.

Automatic room correction is handled by the excellent Audyssey MultEQ XT32 system, which will give fantastic results for cleaning up and balancing the sound in your room.

3. Denon AVR-X8500HA 13.2-Ch AV Receiver

Denon is always a brand you should consider when looking for a new AV receiver.

They hit the mark at a range of budget and high–end prices, and I have owned Denon receivers for the past few years.

As I suggested earlier, you can’t go wrong with Denon if you’re unsure which brand to buy.

However, not many receivers match this beast when it comes to their flagship offering.

It does come at a hefty price, but if you want a receiver with the lot, this beauty could be the one for you.

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

Thumbs Up

  • 13.2 channels allowing for 7.2.6 or 9.2.4 speaker systems
  • Advanced video processor for upscaling low-resolution analog or digital video
  • Reference class 32-bit AKM AK4490EQ D/A converters on all channels
  • HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG & IMAX Enhanced
  • 8K/60 and 4K/120 support in the new AVR-X8500HA
  • HDMI 2.1 8K upgrade available for the older AVR-X8500H

Thumbs Down

  • Nothing in terms of features and performance – but only suitable for those with a big budget.

Denon AVR-X8500HA Highlights

The original AVR-X8500H was released in 2018. Then, in 2021, Denon released an updated version – the AVR-X8500HA.

They are essentially the same, and most features are found in both models.

However, in the updated Denon AVR-X8500HA, the main improvements in the new version are:

  • A single HDMI 2.1 input supporting 8K/60AB and 4K/120AB
  • The addition of HDR10+ dynamic HDR
  • Upscaling from 1080p and 4K to 8K
  • Passthrough support for VRR, QMS and QFT
  • HDCP 2.3
  • DTS:X Pro (available as a firmware update in the AVR-X8500H)
  • Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization (available as a firmware update in the AVR-X8500H)
  • front wide speaker support on Dolby Surround (available as a firmware update in the AVR-X8500H)

Apart from that, the two versions have similar specifications – although the MSRP is slightly higher for the new model.

Therefore, if you don’t need the new features, you may get a bargain if you can find the older model in stock.

So, what are the main features of the AVR-X8500HA?

The first thing that takes the eye on the Denon AVR-X8500HA is the remarkable 13.2 channels. If you really want to take advantage of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, you can have a 7.2.6 or 9.2.4 surround sound speaker system.

All built-in – no further amplification required. That’s impressive.

In addition to Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, you can add Auro-3D support via a firmware update.

This receiver is also one of the first models to support IMAX Enhanced.

This new type of content will play in all its glory on supported hardware – like this one.

IMAX Enhanced technology offers optimized pictures for HDR screens, improved aspect ratio control on large displays and customized surround soundtracks similar to Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

The AVR-8500HA has 7 HDMI inputs on the rear and one on the front.

One of the rear inputs is HDMI 2.1 and supports uncompressed 8K/60p and 4K/120p.

HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG are present along with 4K UHD 60Hz video, 4:4:4 Pure Color sub-sampling and HDCP 2.3.

If you want 8k support and find an older AVR-X8500H, you can buy an upgrade from Denon that will swap one of the original HDMI ports and allow support for 8K/60p and 4K/120p.

AVR-X8500H HDMI 8K UPGRADE
AVR-X8500H HDMI 8K Receiver Upgrade
  • Upgrades one HDMI channel on your AVR-X8500H
  • Adds an HDMI 2.1 port for 8K/60p and 4K/120p video
  • Ideal for gamers with the latest consoles
  • Your unit will need to be shipped to a service center
  • Order on denon.com and receive a shipping box
ORDER AT DENON

Remember, an HDMI 2.1 input will only likely benefit gamers with the latest consoles. For home theater, you won’t get much performance improvement.

This receiver also has 3 helpful HDMI outputs.

The 3 outputs really do give you control over sending content to different zones in your home.

For example, it will allow for separate connections to a main TV screen and projector – and you can still send additional video content to another screen elsewhere.

Denon AVR-X8500HA Specifications
Channels 13.2
Dolby Atmos 7.2.6/9.2.4
HDMI In/Out 7+1/3 (eARC) [1x 8K]
Other Video In 4x Composite, 3x Component
Other Video Out 2x Composite, 1x Component
Audio In 6x Stereo RCA, 2x Optical, 2x Coaxial, 1x Phono
Audio Pre Out/Line Out 13.2-Ch / Zone 2 & Zone 3 (2-Ch)
Other Audio Out ---
USB Connection 1x Front
Zones Zone 2 (HDMI + Component + Composite & 2-ch audio - powered or line out) / Zone 3 (Component + Composite & 2-ch audio - powered or line out)
Auto Room Calibration Audyssey MultEQ XT32
Power (W/Ch)* 150
Speaker Impedance (Ohms) 4 - 16
UHD Support 8K/60p & 4K/120p, HDCP2.3
HDR Support HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network/Wireless Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (Send & Receive), AirPlay 2, HEOS
Voice Control Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomePod
Dolby Decoders Dolby Digital, DD+, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos
DTS Decoders DTS, DTS Express, DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DTS-HD HR Audio, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS:X
Other Audio Decoders DSD, LPCM (Up to 192/24 7.1ch), Auro-3D
Selected Processing Modes 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
Year 2021
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.05% THD, 2 Channels Driven

You also have plenty of options for routing audio into zones 2 and 3.

If you need the flexibility of sending some – or all – channels to an external power amp, then you will have no problems with this model, as it has a complete set of 13.2 pre-outs.

In my opinion, one of the best benefits of a Denon receiver is the Audyssey automatic room acoustic correction technology.

I have always found the Audyssey system does a great job of correcting and balancing your room’s sound, and this unit comes with the top-end Audyssey MultEQ XT32 version.

Even if you’re an audio geek who loves playing around with microphones, audio software, EQ and the like – OK, you got me, I’m talking about myself here! – the Audyssey software always does an excellent job in half the time – and with much less fuss.

All network and wireless connection types you need are covered in this unit – including Ethernet, wireless and Bluetooth.

You can also use Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and voice-controlled technology like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri.

Denon’s HEOS wireless multi-room technology is present as expected.

HEOS controls wireless speakers around your house, which can be managed via the HEOS app or Amazon Alexa

This receiver allows IP control for more advanced remote control capability for hardware like Control4 automation devices.

Plus, it has an RS-232C serial port for connecting to various alternative control systems, like Crestron, AMX and Savant.

The ‘Denon 2016 AVR Remote’ app also allows complete control of your Denon hardware from your mobile device. It works well, but it could be time for an update with a slicker interface.

One thing to consider is that you will need some serious space to install this monster. It has a depth of 482mm and weighs in at just over 51 lbs, so it’s not for the faint-hearted.

Take a look at this official Denon video to get a better look at this top AV receiver:

YouTube video

4. Yamaha RX-A8A AVENTAGE 11.2-Ch AV Receiver

If you want a high-end Yamaha AV receiver, look no further than the RX-A8A.

Yamaha is one of the best receiver manufacturers around, and they make excellent AV receivers at all price points.

However, this flagship model sits at the top of the AVENTAGE range of receivers – designed by Yamaha’s engineers for the highest levels of audio performance.

The RX-A8A is the first Yamaha integrated receiver with built-in support for 11 channels and contains the high-end CX/MX A5200 power amplifier and preamp architecture.

Yamaha RX-A8A AVENTAGE 11.2-Ch AV Receiver
Yamaha RX-A8A AVENTAGE 11.2-Ch AV Receiver
Image Credit: Yamaha

Thumbs Up

  • 11.2-channels / 11.2 channel pre-outs
  • Audiophile AVENTAGE audio performance
  • High-quality DACs – Dual ESS SABRE ES9026PRO
  • Double-bottom plate to reduce vibrations
  • Surround:AI™ technology with 64-bit processing
  • Full video and audio in Zone 2
  • Powered Zone 2 and 3 outputs
  • HDMI output in Zone 4
  • Customized capacitor
  • Support for HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG
  • MusicCast wireless streaming / MusicCast Surround
  • Amazon Alexa/Google Assistant/Siri voice control

Thumbs Down

  • It’s a big unit, so make sure you have the space to install it.

Yamaha RX-A8A Highlights

The Yamaha RX-A8A is an 11.2-channel receiver with full support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

The 11 channels of amplification mean you can install an impressive 7.2.4 speaker system without needing extra amplifiers.

Of course, you can also have a smaller speaker layout – like 7.1 or 5.1.4 – and save the spare channels for powering speakers in other zones.

DTS Neural:X and Dolby Surround modes are available if you want to upmix stereo, 5.1 or 7.1 soundtracks to your 5.2.4/7.2.4 speaker system.

You can also enable the unique Yamaha Surround: AI™ technology which adjusts the sound in real-time depending on what is happening on the screen.

For example, a scene with loud sound effects and music will be optimized differently from one with quiet dialogue and ambient sound – meaning the surround effect will change depending on what you are watching.

If you need it, this receiver has plenty of power, and the 150 watts per channel (8 ohms, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.06% THD, 2ch driven) should be more than enough to fill even the largest room.

There isn’t anything earth-shattering about the look of this receiver, so just expect a standard front panel with a primary volume control knob, a few connectors, and a small display panel.

This beast weighs more than 47 lbs, so it’s a heavy receiver. And, at 435 mm wide and 476 mm deep, you will also need plenty of space to install it.

One significant new feature in the latest AVENTAGE receivers is support for 8K/60 Hz video – or 4K at 120 Hz.

So, if you want to support the latest display resolutions, this receiver will have you covered. However, these require a firmware update, so initially won’t be available out of the box.

There are 7 HDMI inputs and 3 outputs, which should be plenty for most setups.

All support the requirements for 4K/60p UHD passthrough (8K/60 and 4K/120 with the firmware update) – plus HDCP 2.3, HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log-Gamma and BT.2020.

Yamaha RX-A8A AVENTAGE Specifications
Channels 11.2
Dolby Atmos 7.2.4
HDMI In/Out 7/3 (eARC)
Other Video In 2x Composite, 1x Component
Other Video Out None
Audio In 1x Stereo XLR, 5x Stereo RCA, 3x Optical, 2x Coaxial, 1x Phono
Audio Pre Out/Line Out 11.2-Ch / Front L+R (XLR), Zone 2 & Zone 3 (2-Ch)
Other Audio Out ---
USB Connection 1x Front
Zones Zone 2 (HDMI & 2-ch audio - powered or line out) / Zone 3 (2-ch audio - powered or line out) / Zone 4 (HDMI)
Auto Room Calibration YPAO Multipoint (with Reflected Sound Control), 3D, 64-bit High Precision EQ Calculation, Low Frequency mode and Angle Measurement
Power (W/Ch)* 150
Speaker Impedance (Ohms) 4+ Front / 6+ Others
UHD Support 8K/60p & 4K/120p, HDCP 2.3
HDR Support HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network/Wireless Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (Transmit & Receive), MusicCast Surround + Multi-Room, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect
Voice Control Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri (via Airplay 2)
Dolby Decoders Dolby Digital, DD+, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos
DTS Decoders DTS, DTS Express, DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DTS-HD HR Audio, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS:X
Other Audio Decoders DSD 2-ch to 6-ch (2.8 MHz), LPCM 2-ch to 8-ch (Max. 192 kHz/24-bit), Auro-3D (via firmware update)
Selected Processing Modes Surround:AI, Dolby Surround, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, DTS Neural:X
Dimensions (W x H x D) 17-1/8 x 7-1/2 x 18-3/4 in | 435 x 192 x 476 mm (w/o antenna)
Weight (lbs/Kg) 47.2/21.4
Year 2021
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.06% THD, 2 Channels Driven

You can set up several scenarios in different rooms using the zone connections.

So while watching a movie in the main zone, you can play stereo music in zone 2, 3 or 4.

Or, you can watch videos in zone 2 or 4 while enjoying something else in the main room.

As you would expect, there is a host of other input types – from component and composite video – to optical and coaxial digital audio.

One interesting feature is the addition of XLR balanced audio inputs, which allows for receiving signals from professional audio hardware – or any device with XLR audio outputs.

There is also another stereo pair of XLR audio outputs. These are pre-outs for the front left/right speakers for connecting a balanced signal into a power amplifier.

As you would expect for a high-end unit like this, there is a complete set of pre-outs for powering external power amps instead of using the built-in channels.

This unit has dual 32-bit ESS SABRE ES9026PRO DACS for delivering high-quality sound that should satisfy all but the most demanding audiophiles.

All the components in this receiver are designed for top-quality sound reproduction, and you won’t be disappointed if you already love the Yamaha sound.

If you want to get into wireless audio around your home, you’re also in luck.

With support for Yamaha’s MusicCast system, you can use the app to stream music wirelessly around your home – and you can have MusicCast speakers in up to 9 rooms around the house.

You also have support for MusicCast Surround, which might solve your problem if you want wireless surround speakers.

Until MusicCast Surround, getting wireless surround speakers with a standard AV receiver has not been easy.

Top Yamaha Smart Speaker
Yamaha MusicCast 50 Wireless Speaker
What Is It: A smart wireless speaker for streaming music - which also works with the Yamaha MusicCast system.
Pros:
  • You can use two of these as wireless home theater speakers with a compatible Yamaha AV receiver
  • Works with Alexa
  • Connects via Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Spotify Connect or Bluetooth
CHECK AMAZON PRICE FIND THE BEST PRICE

You will need to buy either the MusicCast 20 or MusicCast 50 wireless speakers to enable this, which you can configure as your surround speakers in a 5.1 setup.

5. Anthem MRX 1140 8K 11.2-Ch AV Receiver

Anthem is a Canadian company that has been making high-quality audio products for 20+ years. While well-known among people who immerse themselves in audio technology, the casual consumer is possibly less familiar.

Anthem doesn’t have a long list of AV receivers to choose from. But, when they release one, you should always sit up and take notice.

The MRX series has three models in the range and was updated in 2020 – and refreshed in 2022 with 8K support. The receiver highlighted here, the MRX 1140, is at the top of the pile.

Anthem MRX 1140 8K 11.2-Ch AV Receiver
Anthem MRX 1140 8K 11.2-Ch AV Receiver
Image Credit: Anthem

Thumbs Up

  • Audiophile sound quality for both movies and music
  • Anthem Genesis Room Correction (ARC)
  • 11.2-Channels for a full Dolby Atmos system
  • Processing for 15.2-channels
  • Toroidal Power Supply
  • Premium 32-bit / 768 kHz DAC (AKM AK4458VN)
  • HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG
  • Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast and Bluetooth v4.2

Thumbs Down

  • A price that isn’t for the feint-hearted – but you have to pay for top quality
  • The front HDMI port has been removed from the previous model

Anthem MRX 1140 8K Highlights

The number of channels is the first thing that jumps out at you when looking at this AV receiver.

The Anthem MRX 1140 is an 11-channel unit supporting two independent subwoofer outputs.

This ticks the box if you want a single unit to support an immersive 7.2.4 audio speaker system.

In fact, the MRX 1140 also has processing for 15.2 channels, whereas the 1120 only had 11.2 pre-outs – so it provides a significant upgrade over the older model.

This means you can have a 9.2.6 speaker layout if you add additional power amplifiers.

With full support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby Surround, and DTS Neural:X – this unit can fully use your complete speaker system.

The upmixing modes of Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X are particularly effective in extending standard 5.1 soundtracks into your height speakers.

And the new MRX 1140 also adds DTS:X Pro support, allowing upmixing for speaker layouts over 11.2 channels.

There is plenty of power to be had here, so this unit will have no problem driving your speakers hard for the best sound.

It is rated slightly differently from most other receivers.

Channels 1-5 are rated at 140 watts per channel, while the rest are 60 watts per channel (all at 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.01% THD, 2 Channels Driven).

It’s all perfectly logical, though. Your main 5 speakers are the ones that do most of the work, and the extra surround and height speakers do less.

The other spec to be aware of is the rated total harmonic distortion of 0.01%.

This is as good as it gets in AV receivers and places this receiver firmly in audiophile territory.

Anthem MRX 1140 8K Specifications
Channels 11.2
Dolby Atmos 5.2.6/7.2.4/9.2.2 (Support for 9.2.6)
HDMI In/Out 7/3 (ARC/eARC - HDMI 2.1)
Other Video In/Out
Audio In 5x stereo RCA, 3x Optical, 2x Coaxial
Audio Pre Out/Line Out 15.2-Ch + Zone 2 (2-Ch) / Stereo 2-Ch
Other Audio Out 1x Optical
USB Connection 1x Rear (software update only)
Zones Zone 2 (HDMI & 2-ch audio - powered or line out)
Auto Room Calibration ARC Genesis
Power (W/Ch)* 140
Speaker Impedance (Ohms) 4-8
UHD/HDR Support HDR10+, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Network/Wireless Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Spotify Connect, Roon
Voice Control No
Dolby Decoders Dolby Digital, DD+, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos
DTS Decoders DTS, DTS Express, DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DTS-HD HR Audio, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS:X
Other Audio Decoders LPCM 2-ch to 8-ch (Max. 192 kHz/24-bit)
Selected Processing Modes Dolby Surround, DTS:X Pro, DTS Neural:X, DTS Virtual:X, IMAX Enhanced
Dimensions (W x H x D) 17 x 6 x 14.5 in | 432 x 152 x 368 mm (w/o feet)
Weight (lbs/Kg) 33.6/15.2
Year 2022
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.01% THD, 2 Channels Driven

Looking at all the features on offer here, you might notice fewer ‘bells and whistles’ than on other brands.

I have no problem with that. It tells me that Anthem is more interested in getting the fundamentals just right than trying to cram in every little new feature under the sun.

So this shouldn’t be a concern unless you need all the latest features.

The sound quality of this machine is right up there with the best.

It’s a powerful and dynamic performer for movies – and equally good at reproducing stereo music.

If you still run a separate stereo amplifier for listening to music, you may no longer need it if you buy this receiver.

The MRX 1140 was initially released in 2020, along with the cheaper 740 and 540 models, and didn’t support HDMI 2.1 and 8K video passthrough.

This was disappointing for anyone with the latest game consoles.

Therefore, the complete range was upgraded in 2022, so all HDMI inputs allowed for 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz video – plus the other features of HDMI 2.1 like VRR, QMS and ALLM.

If you don’t need HDMI 2.1 support, you may find some 2020 models cheaper. But for the best future-proofing, you would probably be wise to purchase the latest version – although it is slightly more expensive.

There are 7 HDMI ports on the rear, which will be plenty for most people – plus, there are three HDMI outputs, including a dedicated port for a zone 2 connection.

Another standout feature of the MRX 1140 is the automatic room correction. It’s great to see the new MRX models come with the latest ARC Genesis software.

The good news is that this is up there with the best room correction software. The general consensus is that ARC is on par with the highly respected Dirac Live system that Arcam uses (amongst others).

You can’t get much more of a recommendation than that.

Like Dirac Live, you must install the software on your laptop and connect the supplied microphone to make the measurements.

In fact, each ARC-ready component comes with everything you need to get it all working. Software, microphone, tripod – even all the required cables, and you just need to supply the laptop.

It does a fantastic job of measuring your room and balancing out the frequency response, and it’s a great way to get an immersive surround sound experience in your room.

Correcting the imperfections in sound caused by your room is underrated by many and will allow you to get the best from your hardware.

Another new feature is the Anthem Web User Interface. This is available in all new MRX receivers and is an updated platform allowing complete control of your receiver via any laptop, tablet or phone.

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About The Author

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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