Best Surround Sound Receiver
A workhorse receiver is at the heart of every impressive home theatre system. The best receivers will brilliantly reimagine your A/V equipment, delivering powerful sound to your speakers and stunning visuals to your TV.
If you enjoy gaming, watching videos, or listening to music, you're probably familiar with what surround or A/V receiver is. Although we consider the Marantz SR8015 to be the best all-around receiver on the market, there are many other options depending on your needs.
With a lifetime of experience reviewing TVs, amplifiers, A/V receivers, and other electronics, we've compiled a current list of the best A/V receivers available. You might also be interested in our guide on how to read A/V receiver specs.
A lot of people don't want to spend money on this, but Marantz made sure to improve on previous A/V receivers by filling in empty spaces from previous models. The SR8015 has a wide range of A/V technologies to make it work in any home theater setting. There are a lot of options for audio, starting with Dolby Atmos and ending with DTS:X and DTS:X Pro. You can also connect a turntable for vinyl playback or stream music from Spotify, Tidal, Pandora, AirPlay 2, and more. HEOS also lets you set up multirotor setups in different rooms. You can also use Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.
If you want to listen to high-quality audio files or lossless formats that go up to 24-bit/192 kHz, this receiver can play them. You can stream them from a USB or network storage drive. A system with 11.2 channels can run in 7.2.4 or 9.2.2 configurations when all of the channels are being used. You can also keep some free music in different zones, where you can get two more. Each channel of the SR8015 has 140 watts of power, so Marantz built it to work with almost any speaker arrangement you can think of. To make things even better, the Odyssey MultEQ XT32 support has room-correction technology that makes sure the sound in the room isn't too loud.
With video, the SR8015 is no slouch either. It has HDMI-eARC, which lets you send full-resolution surround sound from your TV to your receiver. It has HDR (HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, Dynamic HDR, and Dolby Vision), as well as HDMI-eARC, which lets you send full-resolution surround sound from your TV to your receiver. There are 8 HDMI inputs and 3 HDMI outputs. There are also useful add-ons like a Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) for gamers who need them, so they can play their games.
This receiver is going to last a long time because Marantz didn't leave anything to chance.
· Excellent features for both music and movies
· Supports up to 11.2 Surround Sound
· High-Quality Audio
· For those looking for something simpler, this may be too much.
When it comes to A/V receivers, cutting back on your budget always means cutting back on the number of features. The most important thing is to keep as many of the things that most people like. The Sony STR-DH590 can do this in an excellent way because it can play all the newest audio and video formats, like 4K and HDR (HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision). It also comes with its own acoustic calibration circuitry, which takes the guesswork out of setting up your speakers to the right levels.
For the best sound, the DH590 has Sony's Pure Direct mode, which lets you get the best sound from the receiver. It does this by turning off the 590's front display panel, which stops any unnecessary noise from getting into the mix of whatever you're watching or listening to. Keep in mind that when you use Pure Direct, you also don't use many of the receiver's built-in equalizers. When we listen to music through analog sources, this is a great feature. But if you're a big fan of big cinema sound, we'd probably leave it alone when we were watching movies.
Even though the DH590 has Bluetooth, so you can stream music from a compatible smartphone or tablet, the receiver isn't connected to the internet, so you won't be able to stream music unless you have a Bluetooth player. That said, Sony's high-res audio support kicks in when you send music to the receiver, which adds a little more belly and top-end to the sound you get.
When it comes to connecting to the main source, the Sony STR-DH590 only has four HDMI ports. As long as you don't want to power any rock concerts with this receiver, it's more than enough to have a great home theater experience with.
· Low cost without sacrificing important features
· Enhancement mode for Pure Direct audio
· Comfortable Sound
· There are only a few HDMI ports.
There are a lot of good midrange A/V receivers to choose from. As soon as you start to ask, "Which of these models can play back a turntable without a pre-amp?" I mean, it's a lot shorter than the one I had. The Denon AVR-X1700H, a modern 7.2 home theater receiver, is one of them. It has a phono input, which makes your set-up a lot easier.
Don't be fooled by its vinyl-friendly jacks: Dolby Atmos and Atmos Heath Virtualization, DTS Virtual:X, and 8K resolution upscaling are just some of the high-tech features that this receiver has. It also works with HEOS connections, AirPlay 2, Alexa voice commands, Bluetooth, and on-board Wi-Fi.
For more complicated setups, the Denon AVR-X1700H also has multi-room audio, which lets you play music from different rooms at the same time, as well as digital audio and composite video ports. It also has two line-level subwoofer outputs for adding extra rumble. 80 watts per channel is a lot of power for the sound, and the room calibration is also very good, too. This is a great choice if you want phono support without giving anything up, are looking for a more affordable upgrade to HDMI 2.1, or want the most up-to-date format support for your movies and music.
· Has a built-in DVD player
· One of the best all-around heads for both digital and vinyl heads
· a wide range of the most recent features
· Only 7.2 surround sound can be played.
Yamaha Aventage RX-A2.
Powerful video can be done with the 7.2 Aventage RX-A2A system. Naturally, it can play 4K, HDR (HDR10, HLG, HDR10+, and so on), Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and HDCP 2.3, as well as all the other new A/V technologies. If you want to use HDMI-eARC, it's also ready. It can play high-res audio files up to 32-bit/192 kHz, too.
You can also use HDMI 2.1 if you want to stay on top of the latest A/V support for your home theater system. Future updates will add support for things like 8K and the most recent formats.
Features like a high slew rate amplifier for more accurate audio response and low distortion are inside. You can also choose from a variety of advanced modes for movie optimization. An A.R.T. (Anti-Resonance Technology) wedge is used outside to help dampen nearby vibration and improve the sound quality even more. This feature with wireless 5.1 surround sound support also comes in handy if you like to play music on your computer.
Neither do I. Don't worry about not having enough friends, either. The Yamaha Aventage RX-A2A has seven HDMI inputs that can handle any devices you want to set up in your home theater. You can also use Alexa and Google Assistant if the remote doesn't work, so you don't have to go through all of that again
· Having a good format and file support
· Vibration dampening can help.
· Has a strong amplifier
· A little more interested in audio than video.
Anthem MRX 1140
Those who want high-quality sound in their A/V receivers know the name Anthem. The 15.2-channel MRX 1140 is the best of the company's products, and it has a lot of power. If you have 8 ohms, you can expect to get 140 watts of continuous power per channel from channels 1 to 5, and a still-respectable 60 watts from the other channels, also at 8 ohms. The MRX 1140 has an enormous Toroidal power supply. This thing is huge.
If you want to leave some channels open for another room in your house, you can set it up in either 7.1.4 or 5.1.4 configurations, depending on how many channels you want to leave open. That's just the beginning.
Chromecast, AirPlay 2, and Bluetooth are now used instead of DTS Play-Fi to connect to other devices in multiple rooms. Spotify Connect and Roon are coming soon, too, so don't forget to check back. A number of popular music streaming services, such as Spotify and Tidal, are already built in. Pandora, SiriusXM, and internet radio are also built in. Hi-res audio support is also available for those who want to listen to their music in the best possible way. The receiver uses its 32-bit/768 kHz differential-output digital-to-analog converters to do this (DACs).
Naturally, when it comes to video, the MRX 1140 can play 4K and high dynamic range (HDR) content in both HDR10 and Dolby Vision formats, as well as HDR HGTV content (Hybrid Log-Gamma). HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2 are built in to all eight of the HDMI inputs, so you can connect 4K and HDR devices. Besides HDMI outputs, the TV also has three digital audio outputs, as well as support for two types of ARC and one type of eARC. In addition, setting up the Anthem MRX 1120 is a breeze thanks to the Anthem Room Correction software. This is one of the best room-calibration systems out there. The company even comes with a high-quality microphone and stand to help you figure out how your room sounds.
· Very good 15.2 audio support
· A/V support and optimization for all of your needs.
· With the Anthem Room Correction software, it's very simple to set up.
· Maybe too pricey for some people
Most of the time, buying into the next generation of home theater can cost a lot of money. This receiver's $1,700 price tag makes this very clear. Denon's AVR-X4700H can do a lot for the things you already own, as well as for things you might buy in the future, like 8K TVs and 8K-compatible devices. When you think about this, it starts to show its long-term value.
The AVR-X4700 isn't a huge change from the AVR-X3700NH, but it does have more power. It has 125 watts per channel instead of the 105 watts its predecessor had. As far as the video goes, the AVR-X4700 still has support for 8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz, Dolby Vision, and HDR10 (Dynamic HDR, HLG). The 8K upscaling you can do to your 4K Blu-rays and Netflix UHD subscriptions also comes with the new TVs. With 8 HDMI inputs and three HDMI outputs, you won't have to buy a selector for any more devices that you want to connect. We also like how Denon gave current and future-generation gamer features like Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Quick Frame Transport (QFT), and Auto Low Latency Mode to both current and future-generation gamers (ALLM).
Audio-wise, the X4700 hasn't changed a thing. DTS:X, DTS: Virtual X, and other codecs with a lot of space are what we're talking about. Auro 3D is a three-dimensional audio alternative to Dolby Atmos. 5.2.4 or 7.2.2 traditional Atmos arrangements can be set up, or you can use the Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization feature to make it look like the sound is coming from the ceiling. You can also do the same thing with Auro 3D if that's what you prefer.
Fans of music will be right at home with the X4700's digital music support from services like Spotify, Pandora, Tidal, Soundcloud, and a lot of other things, like Spotify. There's also Denon HEOS support if you have a lot of Denon gear in your house, so you can use it with your home theater. Your phone can control and share all of the music you own. You can also teach the HEOS skill to your Echo speaker so that you can control it with your voice. X3700 also works with Google Assistant, Apple Siri, and Josh.ai, so you can use them as well.
· the best AV receiver for 8K PROS is this one.
· Ready for new content
· Player-friendly modes
· Everyone isn't interested in getting ready for 8K yet.
People who want to stay in the middle of the price range but still have access to the most up-to-date features and standards will love this Onkyo TV. It's also a good choice for gamers or people who want to improve their movie experience. Seven-channel receiver: 80 watts per channel into 8 ohms at 0.08 percent THD with two channels used. When you need to keep the noise level down while you're playing games, there's a headphone jack. There are four HDMI 2.1 ports in and two out with HDCP 2.3 support, optical, coaxial, stereo RCA ports, USB ports, and dual subwoofer RCA ports.
There are a lot more supported standards for this Onkyo TV when we look into them. Sonos Port, AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, Chromecast, Alexa and Google Assistant can all be used with this speaker. It can also be used with Dolby Atmos or DTS:X processing. You can use it with ARC/eARC as well as Wi-Fi. Another thing that this receiver can do is optimize for HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, as well as HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma). This makes it a good choice for a lot of different things.
Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), and Quick Frame Transport (QFT) are some of the features that make the Onkyo TX-NR5100 a good choice for gamers. These features can help improve frame rate performance and cut down on issues with lag.
· The best mid-range A/V model
· A lot of support for the current standards and voice assistants.
· Optimized for gamers
· Good features for a price that isn't too high or too low
· there is no support for 8K
· Wattage isn't as high as it is with high-end picks.
The RX-A2A is part of Yamaha's top-of-the-line Aventage line, and it's been given a new look and new connectivity that will make it last for years to come.
RX-A2A: It has seven full-range channels of power, each with 100W into eight ohms in stereo, and two subwoofer outputs. This means it can run up to 7.1 speaker configurations or, if you use Dolby Atmos or DTS:X decoding, a 5.1.2 set-up, depending on how many speakers you have.
It has a great sound and is very responsive. It has punchy transients, a wide sound field, and a lot of musical drive.
MusicCast is an app made by Yamaha that lets you stream music. It can play high-res and lossless formats like Apple Lossless (ALAC) up to 96kHz, WAV, FLAC or AIFF up to 192kHz, and services like Spotify and Tidal can be played. On top of that, there's also AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth (SBC or AAC) and Google Assistant or Alexa compatibility for voice control. There's also a DAB+ and FM/AM tuner, too.
There are a lot of things that Yamaha plans to do to the RX-A2A in order to make it work properly. It will be able to play back 4K at 120Hz and 8K at 60Hz through three of its seven HDMI inputs in the future.
It will take a series of firmware updates to make these features, as well as other next-generation HDMI updates and HDR10+, available. This Autumn, these features will only be available thanks to these updates. Besides the free hardware upgrade, the Xbox One X and Nvidia RTX30-series graphics cards that can play 4K at 120Hz will also be able to play it.
You might not care about this, though, if you're a real gamer. For movies, the RX-A2A can handle 4K signals at up to 60 frames per second, which no source can do right now, and it can play HDR10 and Dolby Vision video formats.
· Agility and responsiveness
· Spacious but focused presentation
· Exciting personality
· May not have enough authority
· HDMI 2.1 features need to be updated
The Pioneer Elite VSX-LX504
This Dolby Atmos AV receiver has nine channels and is suitable for speaker configurations of 5.2.4 or 7.2.2. It is available in black and white. The HDMI configuration includes seven inputs (including one on the front facia) and two outputs. There is Dolby Vision support, but there is no 8K support. There are only two digital audio inputs available: one coaxial and one optical.
Pioneer AVRs have a distinctively crisp delivery that can sound overly analytical at times, but we enjoyed the character of the AVRs we tested throughout our listening tests. Also included is a Reflex Optimizer feature that allows you to fine-tune up-firing Dolby Atmos speakers. Apart from that, this receiver offers built-in Chromecast and Google Assistant support, in addition to Apple Airplay 2 and support for DTS Play-Fidelity technology. In terms of value for money, it's difficult to disagree with this gleaming Pioneer at this pricing.
· high-end video game console.
· Extremely powerful amplification for the money
· Customizable sound presets
· There is no 8K/4K 120fps video
· A limited number of digital interfaces are available
How to Choose the Best Surround Receiver for You
Receiver up to a certain point This is by far the most important factor to take into consideration. If you only intend to use your new receiver for music, you should purchase a stereo receiver. An AV receiver is required if you want to use surround sound in your home theater system. If you're looking for a receiver that can handle both music and home theater, the AV receiver is a great choice.
· Make sure you have enough channels for the present and the future. One speaker equals one channel. Check to see that your new receiver has enough channels to accommodate all of the speakers you currently have, as well as any additional speakers you may want to purchase in the future. There must be at least five channels if you want to enjoy surround sound.
Consider everything and anyone with whom you'll be establishing a connection. Take into account every single source you'll want to connect to, both now and in the future. For example, if you want to use your computer to play vinyl records, you'll need a phono input. If you want to listen to music wirelessly, you'll need to have Wi-Fi onboard, among other things. (In addition to Bluetooth, Airplay, and other similar technologies, so you can play music from your smartphone and tablet however you want.) The more connectivity your new receiver provides, the better, because you'll want to be able to connect any new gadget or device that you purchase in the future.
· The investment in state-of-the-art video switching is worthwhile. Even if you do not have a 4K television, 4K video switching is an absolute must-have feature. Check that you can connect any and all video sources, such as a DVD player or an Apple TV, to your system. It is all about
connecting multiple 4K-capable devices to a single display via an audio-visual receiver when using 4K switching.
· Make sure to purchase a receiver that is compatible with Dolby Atmos technology. Consider this: incredible, 3D-like sound that seems to hover all around you. Also available is Dolby Atmos-like DTS:X, a new surround sound format that is intended to make home theater audio more immersive, similar to Dolby Atmos. The good news is that the majority of new AV receivers are capable of playing both formats.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it a bad idea to leave a surround receiver turned on all of the time?
Although it is not the best habit, it will not cause significant harm. AV receivers today are designed to be able to go into standby mode while using the least amount of power possible.
Is it necessary to ventilate an A/V receiver?
It is critical to have adequate ventilation in order to prevent the receiver from overheating. In the case of Denon, the manufacturer recommends that you give its receivers at least five inches of space on top and two inches of space on either side. Depending on how hot the amplifier inside gets, it might decide to shut down on its own to protect itself.
What number of channels should an audio/video receiver have?
In light of the fact that receivers are built to last for a long time, it's a good idea to get as many channels as possible so that you have the option of upgrading to more surround sound down the road. Even if you don't currently use that many speakers, we recommend that you invest in at least a 7.1-channel system.
Is it possible to put my receiver in a cabinet?
There are two things you need to think about when you put an AV receiver in a cabinet. AV receivers need air and must be able to move. In the same way as other AV components, AV receivers can be controlled with IR remotes. Many people today have apps that you can use from your phone. All have IR control, though. In this case, you'll need an IR solution (like a receiver extender) that can send the IR commands to your TV's AV receiver without you having to use your phone.
Second, your AV receiver needs to be able to breathe. This is very important. AV receivers can make a lot of noise and heat. A lot of problems can happen if that heat doesn't have a way to get away from the person who's getting it. There is a lot of things you can do, from turning it off to bricking it. If you read the manual for your AV receiver, there will be suggestions about how to ventilate the unit. Then, follow them.
Is it really important what the inputs labels called?
This is what you'll see on the back of your AV receiver: A ton of different ports. Labels like Blu-ray, DVD and so on will be there. They will also have names like Sat and Game. People don't like these labels, and they make them feel stressed out, It takes them a long time to make sure they plug the right thing into the right place. There are many people who are afraid to use the wrong input on their AV receivers.
No, for the most part. They are just labels that the manufacturer put on things. Most of the time, you can change these labels in the receiver's menu to show up on the screen how you want. That one is better for your cable box and another is better for your game system doesn't mean that one is better than the other. The labels on the back of the receiver are just there to help you remember what you plugged in and where on the back.
All other inputs are the same except for HDMI 2.1. At this point, there are many receivers that only have a few HDMI 2.1 ports. All of your next-generation gaming consoles (Xbox Series X/S or PlayStation 5) need HDMI 2.1 inputs, no matter what the name says. If you don't, you won't be able to play games with the new HDMI 2.1 features.
It's clear from our roundup that the AVR market has many choices and a wide range of prices. Think about how much it will cost and what kind of system you would like to build to figure out which is best for you. No, I would not want to move up from 5.1 to 7.1 or Atmos at this point in time. If you want to reach your goal, you might also need to buy a new TV and speakers. People should learn as much as they can about AV receivers before they buy one. Because they do so many things at once, it's important.
It has been a long time since we've shown you a lot of different things and given you a lot of information. A lot of things need to be considered when you buy the best AV receiver on the market. These things include the specifics of your system, the space you're putting it in, and what you want to do with the receiver. Before you can decide which one is the finest, you'll have to consider these factors.