The Best A/V Receivers for 2021

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For each spectacular house theater system, there’s a workhorse receiver on the helm. The perfect receivers will brilliantly reimagine your A/V tools, delivering mighty sound to your audio system and breathtaking visuals to your TV.

In the event you’re keen on gaming, watching movies, or listening to music, you most likely have already got some idea of what an A/V receiver is. Though we take into account the Marantz SR8015 the very best receiver available on the market, there are nonetheless loads of choices accessible. 

With a lifetime of expertise within the electronics group reviewing TVs, amplifiers, A/V receivers, and extra, we’ve put collectively a present record of the very best A/V receivers yow will discover.

The perfect A/V receivers at a look:

Marantz SR8015

Why you can purchase this: It’s received lots for house cinema, however its audio capabilities are simply as compelling a cause to go along with it.

Who it’s for: Those that wish to be sure music sounds pretty much as good as any film or present does.

Why we picked the Marantz SR8015:

It is a dear choice, however Marantz made certain to enhance upon previous A/V receivers by protecting in any other case empty bases from prior fashions. The SR8015 is provided with an array of A/V applied sciences to make it slot in any house theater setting. Beginning with all issues audio, it’s received Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, DTS:X Professional, IMAX Enhanced, Auro 3D, plus the flexibility to attach a turntable for some vinyl playback or to stream from the likes of Spotify, Tidal, Pandora, AirPlay 2, amongst others. You additionally get entry to Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, plus the flexibility to do multiroom setups by HEOS.

It’s appropriate with hi-res audio information and lossless codecs that go as much as 24-bit/192 kHz, and you may stream them to the receiver from a USB or community storage drive. The 11.2 channel system can run in 7.2.Four or 9.2.2 configurations when utilizing all of the channels. It’s also possible to maintain some free-to-play music in numerous zones, the place you rise up to 2 further. There are 140 watts of output per channel, so Marantz constructed the SR8015 to deal with nearly any speaker association you bear in mind. The Audyssey MultEQ XT32 help solely helps the trigger additional with its room-correction expertise to compensate for acoustics inside.

On the video entrance, the SR8015 is not any much less succesful. It brings in 8K video at 60Hz (together with upscaling) to go along with 4K/120Hz, HDR (HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, Dynamic HDR, Dolby Imaginative and prescient), and HDMI-eARC that allows you to move full decision encompass sound out of your TV by to the receiver. There are eight HDMI inputs, plus Three outputs, together with helpful add-ons like a Variable Refresh Fee (VRR) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) to accommodate avid gamers who want them.

There’s so much to work with right here as a result of Marantz left little to likelihood, and that bodes effectively for the way lengthy this receiver could final within the years to return. We’re to see what future firmware updates would possibly carry to the desk, ought to Marantz’s SR8015 keep related after an eventual successor seems.

Sony STR-DH590

Sony DH-590 with Bluetooth controls.

Why you can purchase this: It matches simply inside most individuals’s budgets, but the Sony STR-DH590 nonetheless supplies almost each characteristic discovered on far more costly receivers.

Who it’s for: Those that need a full-fledged house theater system with out spending hundreds.

Why we picked the Sony STR-DH590:

In terms of A/V receivers, lowering your funds invariably means lowering the variety of options. The bottom line is to protect as most of the options that most individuals worth. The Sony STR-DH590 manages to do that in a stellar style by supporting the entire newest audio and video codecs, together with 4K and HDR (HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Imaginative and prescient). It additionally comes with its personal acoustic calibration circuitry, which takes the guesswork out of establishing your audio system to the best ranges.

For utmost audio constancy, the DH590 is provided with Sony’s Pure Direct mode for the cleanest sound the receiver has to supply. It does so by disabling the 590’s entrance show panel, eliminating pointless part noise from escaping into the combo of no matter content material you’re consuming. Take into account that participating Pure Direct additionally bypasses a number of of the receiver’s inside equalizers. It’s an excellent characteristic for listening to music by analog sources, however if you happen to’re a fan of massive cinema sound, it’s most likely one thing we’d go away alone when watching a film.

Though the DH590 has Bluetooth for direct music streaming from a appropriate smartphone or pill, the receiver isn’t internet-connected, so that you received’t have the ability to stream music and not using a Bluetooth machine. That being stated, Sony’s high-res audio help kicks in whenever you’re beaming tunes to the receiver, which provides a bit extra stomach and top-end to your sound.

By way of principal supply connections, the Sony STR-DH590 solely has 4 HDMI inputs. When you received’t be powering any rock concert events, it’s greater than sufficient receiver for a really satisfying house theater expertise.

Denon AVR-X1700H

The Denon AVR-X1700H 1 receiver.

Why you can purchase this: It has a dizzying array of contemporary options like Dolby Atmos, 4K, HDR, and streaming companies, plus a uncommon phono enter for turntable varieties.

Who it’s for: Those that need the most recent and best A/V receiver options, plus a simple solution to kick it old-school with vinyl for when the temper strikes you.

Why we picked the Denon AVR-X1700H:

There isn’t any lack of succesful fashions to select from relating to midrange A/V receivers. However whenever you begin to ask which of these fashions can help a turntable with out using a pre-amp? Properly, it’s a a lot shorter record. Chief amongst them is the Denon AVR-X1700H, a contemporary 7.2 house theater receiver that additionally packs a phono enter, which simplifies your setup significantly.

Don’t let its vinyl-friendly jacks idiot you: This receiver is blistering with high-tech options together with help for 3 4K/120 HDMI 2.1 inputs, Dolby Atmos and Atmos Heigh Virtualization, DTS Digital:X, and upscaling as much as 8K decision. It additionally consists of compatibility with HEOS connections, AirPlay 2, Alexa voice instructions, Bluetooth, and onboard Wi-Fi.

The Denon AVR-X1700H additionally presents multi-room audio for extra sophisticated setups, helps each ARC and eARC for simplified connections, and presents digital audio and composite video ports, in addition to two line-level subwoofer outputs for including further rumble. At 80 watts per channel, the audio is sort of highly effective, and room calibration is top-notch, too. This is a superb choose in order for you phono help with out giving something up, are on the lookout for a extra reasonably priced improve to HDMI 2.1, or need the most recent format help in your media.

Yamaha Aventage RX-A2A

The Yamaha Aventage RX-A2A receiver on a shelf.

Why you can purchase this: It hits the candy spot with considerable audio and video choices, plus high-tech modes for film optimization.

Who it’s for: Those that need whole management over their A/V setting.

Why we picked the Yamaha Aventage RX-A2A:

The 7.2 Aventage RX-A2A is greater than succesful as a powerhouse video system. Naturally, it has help for the entire newest A/V applied sciences: 4K, HDR (HDR10, HLG, HDR10+, and so on.), Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and HDCP 2.3. It’s additionally prepared for HDMI-eARC and is appropriate with hi-res audio information as much as 32-bit/192 kHz.

HDMI 2.1 can also be supported if you happen to like to remain on the chopping fringe of A/V help in your leisure system, and future updates will add help for issues like 8K and the most recent codecs. Inside, you’ll discover options like a excessive slew charge amplifier for extra correct audio response and low distortion, in addition to superior modes for film optimization. Exterior, the design consists of an A.R.T. (Anti-Resonance Know-how) wedge to assist dampen close by vibration and enhance audio high quality additional. MusicCast options with wi-fi 5.1 encompass sound help additionally assist if you happen to prefer to play music on the system as effectively.

Don’t fear a few lack of connections, both. The Yamaha Aventage RX-A2A consists of seven HDMI enter choices to deal with any units you might wish to arrange. There’s even compatibility with Alexa and Google Assistant when you’ll be able to’t discover the distant.

Anthem MRX 1120

The Anthem MRX 1120 on a shelf.

Why you can purchase this: It presents improbable sound and each characteristic you would need.

Who it’s for: Anybody who locations a premium on top-notch sound for his or her music, after which some.

Why we picked the Anthem MRX 1120:

Anthem is a widely known title amongst those that demand top-tier sound high quality of their A/V receivers, and the 11.2-channel MRX 1120 is the highest canine of the corporate’s choices. The MRX 1120 packs an enormous Toroidal energy provide, providing a claimed 140 watts of unpolluted energy per channel at eight ohms. It options help for each Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based encompass sound, in both 7.1.Four or 5.1.Four configurations, relying on whether or not you wish to go away channels free for a second zone for one more room in your house. And that’s only for starters.

The MRX 1120 additionally presents wi-fi multiroom connectivity through DTS Play-Fi. That is bolstered by built-in help for a variety of widespread music-streaming companies, together with Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Prime Music, Pandora, SiriusXM, and web radio. For individuals who worth constancy over comfort, hi-res audio help is included as effectively and makes good use of the receiver’s 32-bit/768 kHz differential-output digital-to-analog converters (DACs).

In terms of video, the MRX 1120 naturally presents help for 4K and excessive dynamic vary (HDR) content material in each HDR10 and Dolby Imaginative and prescient codecs, with help for 4:4:Four chroma and BT.2020 colorspace. A built-in upscaler can also be included, bringing normal and high-definition alerts as much as 4K high quality, impartial of your 4K TV’s inside upscaler. A complete of eight HDMI inputs are included, all of which help HDMI 2.0a (for the aforementioned 4K/HDR machine connections) and HDCP 2.2. There are additionally two HDMI and three digital audio outputs.

Lastly, the Anthem MRX 1120 makes setup a snap through Anthem Room Correction software program, which is without doubt one of the greatest room-calibration techniques on the market. The corporate even features a high-quality mic and stand for measuring your room’s acoustic properties proper within the field.

Denon AVR-X4700H

The Denon AVR-X4700H receiver on a shelf.

Why you can purchase this: You need a titan of a house theater mind, combining energy, efficiency, and longevity.

Who’s it for: Early adopters of cutting-edge house theater, particularly 8K lovers.

Why we picked the Denon AVR-X4700H:

Usually, the price of shopping for into the subsequent era of house theater could be reasonably steep, as this receiver’s $1,700 price ticket makes abundantly clear. However when you think about all of the issues the Denon AVR-X4700H can do for the gear you personal now, in addition to the upgrades you might make sooner or later — notably, 8K TVs and appropriate 8K units — it begins to indicate its long-term worth.

The AVR-X4700 is a modest improve from the earlier AVR-X3700NH in that Denon packed extra energy at 125 watts per channel in comparison with the 105 watts its predecessor pumped out. Within the video nook, the AVR-X4700 maintains help for 8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz, Dolby Imaginative and prescient, HDR10+ (Dynamic HDR, HLG). That additionally consists of the 8K upscaling that you would be able to apply to your present 4K Blu-rays and subscriptions to Netflix in UHD. With eight HDMI inputs and three outputs, you received’t have to fret about shopping for a selector for extra units. We additionally love how Denon gave a nod to the gaming world by giving present and next-gen avid gamers options like Variable Refresh Fee (VRR), Fast Body Transport (QFT), and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM).

Within the audio nook, the X4700 has stored all the things intact that we’d count on from a higher-tier receiver. We’re speaking Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, DTS: Digital X, and different extremely dimensional codecs, like new Auro 3D help as a three-dimensional audio various to Dolby Atmos. You possibly can arrange 5.2.Four or 7.2.2 conventional Atmos preparations or go for simulated top channels with the Dolby Atmos Top Virtualization characteristic. It’s also possible to do comparable setups utilizing Auro 3D if you happen to want that route.

Music lovers will really feel proper at house with the X4700’s suite of digital music help from companies like Spotify, Pandora, Tidal, Soundcloud, and extra. There’s additionally Denon HEOS help if you happen to’ve received a number of zones of Denon gear in your house. Management and share all of your music proper out of your telephone, or train the HEOS talent to your Echo speaker for immersive Alexa controls. The X3700 additionally helps Google Assistant, Apple Siri, and Josh.ai.

There’s so much available with the Denon AVR-X4700H, and whereas it’s going to ding the pockets upfront, the years of service you’ll be getting are undoubtedly well worth the funding.

Analysis and shopping for suggestions

Are some A/V receivers higher for music than motion pictures?

No. Most receivers do very effectively for motion pictures in addition to music, with efficiency scaling up in tandem as you progress into premium fashions. Nonetheless, music could be extra revealing of sound high quality and character than film soundtracks, and those that worth music listening could discover one model extra sonically satisfying than one other.

Do all A/V receivers help 4K?

Sure. All the fashions we spotlight help 4K and most additionally help HDR as effectively.

What about 8K?

Whereas 8K is offered in some type or one other right now, the expertise remains to be new and infrequently seen exterior of some specialised broadcasts. Nonetheless, because it turns into extra frequent, we’re seeing 8K help present up in additional locations, together with a number of of our prime receiver picks. Contemplate it a future-proofing choice as 8K continues to seem extra incessantly.

Can I simply use an A/V receiver with a turntable?

So long as it has a phono enter, sure. If not, you’ll want a phono preamp to spice up the usually-low sign from the turntable. Preamps could be fairly reasonably priced for entry-level fashions.

What exterior units do you might want to purchase to connect with your receiver?

It’s useful to consider this by way of inputs and outputs. What units do you wish to enter audio and video, and what parts would you like that audio and video delivered to? The second query is answered robotically with an A/V receiver: You’ll be outputting audio to audio system (which frequently include many receiver packages) and video to a TV or comparable show.

For inputs, that largely will depend on what you’ve gotten and what you need. You possibly can join consoles, Blu-ray gamers, laptops or PCs, set-top packing containers, and a wide range of different units to a receiver. You’ll want to pay shut consideration to the ports in your units and ensure your receiver helps the simplest solution to obtain A/V information, resembling eARC. There’s much more to debate in regards to the several types of setups an A/V receiver can help, however it will enable you to get began.

What’s the distinction between an A/V receiver and an amplifier?

Merely put, a receiver part can obtain and course of an audio sign, whereas an amplifier part optimizes the audio sign and sends it on to the audio system. A/V receivers embrace each, in order that’s not one thing you typically want to fret about. Some varieties of audio system do have their very own amplifiers included and can want a receiver machine to work.

How are you going to inform a very good A/V receiver from a nasty one?

That’s an advanced query, relying on a myriad of things like format help, connection requirements, {hardware} parts, processing expertise, and much more. In the event you actually wish to dive in, among the finest locations to begin is our information to all the things you need to know when shopping for an A/V receiver.

Is now a very good time to purchase?

For a while, the speed at which options have been being added made shopping for any A/V receiver a dangerous proposition if you happen to didn’t wish to be caught with one thing that shortly went old-fashioned. With 4K, HDR, HDMI, and HDCP seemingly having all the things labored out for the 4K period, it’s a lot safer to purchase a receiver now with out worrying that you just’ll shortly see the longer term move you by. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X appear entrenched as the 2 main leaders in object-based encompass sound — no shock, given the lead each Dolby and DTS have typically had in encompass sound applied sciences — so try to be secure there too.

The one space that would presumably change is high-resolution audio, as even most of the above fashions don’t help all the things doable but, although that’s shortly altering as effectively. If this is essential to you in a receiver, you might wish to take into account a separate digital-to-analog converter (DAC).

Observe that HDMI 2.1 remains to be on the rise and received’t be accessible on each machine (together with the {hardware} you have already got). Solely watch for a more moderen receiver if you happen to completely have to be future-proofed for the 8K (and better) decision otherwise you want extremely excessive body charges for gaming. Observe that a few our latest picks do include HDMI port choices that help HDMI 2.1.

How we check

Collectively, the A/V workforce at Digital Traits has been testing A/V receivers for simply over 40 years. Testing takes place each in a devoted house theater lab at our headquarters in Portland, Oregon, in addition to our particular person house theater areas. That spans all kinds of sourcing tools capable of deal with the most recent requirements.

Related audio system embrace a rotating forged of audio system, together with many Dolby Atmos-enabled fashions. Whereas we routinely run any given receiver’s auto setup routine to gauge its accuracy and consumer expertise, we in the end carry out a guide calibration utilizing an analog SPL meter, fastidiously selecting crossover factors for linked audio system primarily based on in-room measured low-frequency response. Encompass speaker preparations will range between 7.2 and 5.2.4.

Receivers are examined for ease of use, with particular consideration paid to how straightforward it’s to stream music to the receiver in addition to direct-stream web radio stations. We additionally take note of how clear on-screen guides and setup directions shall be for novice customers.

Sound high quality checks embrace evaluation of dynamic expression, total energy, timbre, and tonality; speaker-to-speaker transitions of sound results; and common soundstage high quality.

Related phrases

  • 4K: Increased decision than HD (3840 X 2160). The newest normal for TVs and AV receiver fashions, though some are even going as much as 8K as of late..
  • Dolby Atmos: One of many two hottest object-based encompass codecs, Atmos provides top data so sound can appear to return from above and throughout you.
  • DSD: Direct-Stream Digital. A hi-res audio file format various to .WAV, .AIFF, and others that goals to scale back distortion.
  • DTS:X: The opposite hottest object-based audio format, DTS:X could be extra versatile than Dolby Atmos relating to the place audio system are positioned and what number of of them there are.
  • HDCP 2.2: A type of copy safety, this model is required with a view to play 4K content material.
  • HDMI 2.0a: Whereas it isn’t the most recent model of HDMI, this model is the primary that enables HDR alerts and 4K content material at as much as 60 frames per second.
  • HDMI 2.1: Solely beginning to develop into broadly accessible, HDMI 2.1 helps increased body charges and as much as 8K decision, amongst different key advantages you’ll be able to examine proper right here.
  • HDMI eARC: eARC — or “enhanced audio return channel” —  is an improve to the usual HDMI ARC interface. The tech was designed to permit one-cable transmission of audio and knowledge to and from the TV to simplify house theater setups, however the eARC improve additionally provides full help for hi-res encompass sound codecs.
  • HDR: Excessive Dynamic Vary, presents higher distinction and extra coloration quantity than normal dynamic vary. Thought-about by some a much bigger visible enchancment than 4K decision. Even in order for you a stereo receiver, HDR remains to be an essential perk in your picture high quality.

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