Best AV Receiver

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A/V receivers act as an electronic gateway or organizer for your home entertainment system, and consolidate the function of multiple devices into a single box. Modern A/V receivers offer HDMI input/output, with higher-end units featuring advanced video processing as well. Better A/V receivers offer superior sound quality, which can immerse viewers in the "atmosphere" that movie directors intended. The lists of best av receivers below offer excellent options for expanding your home audio or theater system and we’ve also provided an informative buyers guide below for your review.

Best Midrange AV Receiver:

With multiple HDMI inputs and support for all the latest HD audio soundtracks including Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio, these mid-range receivers are ideal for watching Blu-ray movies and other HD material. Audio quality and video processing are top priority, with all of our selections delivering performance that will satisfy the needs of all but the most demanding buyers. Our picks also need to be easy to set up and use, while offering a good balance of features such as internet streaming and overall value for money.

Sony STR-DN1050 7.2 Channel Home Theater Receiver

The outstanding STR-DN1050 from Sony delivers an excellent blend of features, performance, and price. It might not be the cheapest receiver available, but this model is an improvement in every way over last year's already-superb STR-DN1040, and is well worth the investment. Read Full Review

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    Sony STR-DN1050 7.2 Channel Home Theater Receiver

    Onkyo TX-NR636 7.2-Channel Network Receiver

    The excellent sound output of the Onkyo TX-NR626 could alone justify its price, but the inclusion of multiple features usually seen in higher-end models builds even more on the value of this receiver. Beyond being just about your only choice in this price range if you want a phono input, the TX-NR626 offers HDMI 2.0 and a laundry list of other modern features. Read Full Review

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      Onkyo TX-NR636 7.2-Channel Network Receiver

      Denon AVR-S900W 7.2-Channel Network Receiver

      This user-friendly receiver has taken the excellent basic performance of last year's model and improved features many felt were previously lacking. Denon's AVR-S900W combines an impressive eight HDMI 2.0 inputs, powerful output, and ease-of-use. At around $600 this unit isn't cheap, but its performance easily justifies the price. Read Full Review

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        Denon AVR-S900W 7.2-Channel Network Receiver

        Pioneer VSX-1124-K 7.2-Channel Network AV Receiver

        The upper-midrange VSX-1124-K is an overall excellent receiver, but also includes one upgrade that is sure to please those who have been hoping Pioneer would finally answer their wishes: the inclusion of a new subwoofer EQ. Combined with plenty of future-proof connectivity, power, and features, the VSX-1124-K offers a solid bump in performance over its predecessor. Read Full Review

        Pioneer VSX-1124-K 7.2-Channel Network AV Receiver

        Marantz NR1605 7.1 Slim Line 4K Ultra HD Receiver

        The Marantz NR1605 is the most expensive A/V Receiver we’ve included. While it certainly delivers top-notch performance and features, the primary reason (other than personal preference) people pay more for is its design; the NR1605 is slim and stylish when compared to its typically bulky, boxy peers. Read Full Review

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          Marantz NR1605 7.1 Slim Line 4K Ultra HD Receiver

          Best High End AV Receiver:

          If you're an audio/videophile seeking first-rate performance, the latest surround sound technologies, and a ton of useful features, stepping up to one of these high-end AV receivers is one way to go. Not all of our selections will have all the modern features such as WiFi, because the primary focus has been placed on making the core performance as outstanding as possible.

          Rather than carrying consumer-grade features, these best high end receivers are equipped with top-of-the-line video processors such as Marvell's Qdeo. The reference-grade sound quality is backed by certifications from well-respected institutes like THX or AIR Studios; manufacturers have gone to great lengths to isolate signal noise and unwanted interference. Flexible connectivity is also a high-end calling card and these AV receivers offer plenty of support for digital and analog standards. The receivers on this list vary in price and range from 7.1-channel models to 9.2-channel options, so be sure to choose one best suited to your needs and home theater configuration.

          Pioneer Elite SC-77 9.2-Channel Multi-Zone, Networked, Class D3 AV Receiver

          Although some buyers may be turned off by turned off by this Class-D amplifier, the Pioneer Elite SC-77 is an excellent showcase of how far the technology has come. With both THX Ultra2 Plus and AIR Studios Monitor Certification, there is no doubt the performance and quality is there. A well-rounded package of features make this receiver an excellent overall choice. Read Full Review

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            Pioneer Elite SC-77 9.2-Channel Multi-Zone, Networked, Class D3 AV Receiver

            Onkyo TX-NR5010 9.2-Channel THX Certified Network A/V Receiver

            This well-rounded receiver offers a compelling blend of features, quality, and performance. Although the Onkyo TX-NR5010 is not cheap, it offers a tremendous amount of value for the price. Read Full Review

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              Onkyo TX-NR5010 9.2-Channel THX Certified Network A/V Receiver

              Anthem MRX 710 7-channel 120 Watt A/V receiver

              The Anthem MRX 710 will not be the right choice for you if modern features like WiFi are of paramount importance. Anthem has chosen to focus on making the MRX 710 do its primary functions extremely well, resulting in a receiver producing what is likely some of the best audio performance available. Read Full Review

              Anthem MRX 710 7-channel 120 Watt A/V receiver

              Marantz SR7008 9.2-Channel 1080P and 4K Ultra HD Home Theater Receiver

              Marantz once again showcases their ability to balance performance and features at an easy-to-swallow price with the SR7008. Although this receiver isn't cheap, it delivers reference-quality performance and an excellent list of features that make the price tag around $2000 seem like a downright bargain. Read Full Review

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                Marantz SR7008 9.2-Channel 1080P and 4K Ultra HD Home Theater Receiver

                Denon IN-Command AVR-4520CI 3D A/V 9.2 Channel Receiver

                The outstanding performance of the AVR-4520CI is further enhanced by its numerous features and excellent connectivity, which both make this receiver an easy fit for even more substantial home theater setups. It doesn’t offer built-in WiFi so if your network necessitates WiFi for connectivity, the Denon AVR-4520CI might not be your best choice. Read Full Review

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                  Denon IN-Command AVR-4520CI 3D A/V 9.2 Channel Receiver

                  Best Budget AV Receiver:

                  These best entry-level, budget AV receivers perform extremely well for their price, and pack impressive features often found on higher-priced competitors. Sacrifices are usually seen the most in terms of connectivity, with more affordable models lacking the versatility that comes from multiple in/outputs. However, our selections all offer enough basic connectivity to function well for a typical living room home theater arrangement. While these picks will likely not offer enough features or connectivity for audio and videophiles, most typical consumers should be more than satisfied with the mix of features offered by the receivers below.

                  Sony STR-DN850 7.2 Channel Home Theater Receiver

                  Although around $500 might seem a bit steep for a "budget-friendly" model, Sony's STR-DN850 will be worth the extra money for many. This is thanks to its ability to deliver a compelling combination of features and performance, creating a receiver that is both easy and satisfying to use. Read Full Review

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                    Sony STR-DN850 7.2 Channel Home Theater Receiver

                    Onkyo TX-NR535 5.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver

                    Proving affordability doesn't have to mean being behind on technology, the Onkyo TX-NR535 includes HDMI 2.0 inputs, just like many more expensive new receivers this year. At around $400, this receiver is excellent value, offering a 5.2-channel configuration and solid wireless connectivity. Read Full Review

                    Onkyo TX-NR535 5.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver

                    Denon AVR-S700W 7.2-Channel Network Receiver

                    The Denon AVR-S700W is perhaps pushing the definition of "budget-friendly" a bit but its excellent performance paired with features and ease-of-use makes it an outstanding overall value. Denon has beefed up the included features when compared to previous models, now including built-in WiFi, Bluetooth, and AirPlay support. This should be a top pick for those seeking a feature-rich 7.2-channel receiver that won't break the bank. Read Full Review

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                      Denon AVR-S700W 7.2-Channel Network Receiver

                      Sony STR-DH550 5.2 Channel 725 Watt 4K AV Receiver

                      This stout 5.2-channel receiver makes up for what it lacks in connectivity with plenty of performance and a sub-$300 price tag. If you're looking for honest performance without the added cost of an endless list of features, the Sony STR-DH550 is a solid choice. Read Full Review

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                        Sony STR-DH550 5.2 Channel 725 Watt 4K AV Receiver

                        Pioneer VSX-824 5.2-Channel Network Receiver

                        For those seeking superb performance at a reasonable price, the Pioneer VSX-824-K should be at the top of the list. This 5.2-channel receiver offers six HDMI 2.0 inputs, lots of power, and plenty of wireless connectivity and features that more than justify its price. Read Full Review

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                          Pioneer VSX-824 5.2-Channel Network Receiver

                          Best 5.1 Receiver:

                          Most receivers that were previously a 5.1-channel configuration,  have now been updated to 5.2 channels providing the ability to add a second subwoofer thus expanding options for bass output. While 5-channel receivers tend to be more affordable (but with less included features), it’s important to ensure any model you're considering has enough connectivity options to meet your needs. Overall, AV receivers in this category offer a good way to pick up a receiver without more channels than you need while delivering excellent sound output, a decent amount of extra features and connectivity, as well as being relatively budget-friendly.

                          Onkyo TX-NR535 5.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver

                          The network-capable TX-NR535 is Onkyo's top-spec five channel receiver. The 5.2-channel configuration means the ability to add a second subwoofer while plentiful features and the addition of HDMI 2.0 make this receiver an extremely well-rounded option for the price. Read Full Review

                          Onkyo TX-NR535 5.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver

                          Sony STR-DH550 5.2 Channel 725 Watt 4K AV Receiver

                          With an asking price of under $300, the Sony STR-DH550 is an affordable way to get a solid 5-channel receiver. Although connectivity is not this receiver's strong point, it should be adequate to meet the needs of most living room setups, while offering plenty of performance. Read Full Review

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                            Sony STR-DH550 5.2 Channel 725 Watt 4K AV Receiver

                            Pioneer VSX-824 5.2-Channel Network Receiver

                            Although the price has come up a bit from last year's equivalent model, the Pioneer VSX-824-K still offers tremendous value for a five channel receiver. Numerous features and excellent performance justify the $400 price tag. Read Full Review

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                              Pioneer VSX-824 5.2-Channel Network Receiver

                              Marantz NR1504 Slim Line 5.1 Network Receiver

                              Whereas most AV receivers are constrained by the standard box design, the Marantz NR1504 bucks the trend by offering one coming in at half the size. Even with the compact dimensions, the high sound quality and versatile connectivity options make this a useful option in the real world. Read Full Review

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                                Marantz NR1504 Slim Line 5.1 Network Receiver

                                Denon AVR-S500BT 5.2-Channel Network Receiver

                                If you're looking for a basic, honest, and affordable five channel receiver, the Denon AVR-S500BT should be a top contender. While this simple receiver does not offer a lot of connectivity, it delivers plenty of power and performance for around $250. Read Full Review

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                                  Denon AVR-S500BT 5.2-Channel Network Receiver
                                   

                                  AV Receiver Buyer's Guide

                                  Despite major improvements in sound bars and other simple home audio solutions, an AV receiver and a good set of speakers are needed for true high-quality sound. An AV receiver combines a preamp, a tuner, and an amp into one device, while allowing you to connect a variety of components. It serves as the central hub of the home theater system, performing all the audio and video switching, as well as providing power to your speakers.

                                  With so many features and technologies now included on AV receivers, it can be difficult to sort out what’s best for you. By breaking down your needs step-by-step, it becomes much simpler to narrow down your choices to a select few.

                                  Determine your intended use for your AV receiver within your home theater setup. Also take note of the space where you intend to place your home theater system. If you have a smaller area to work with, you might not need to spend as much on an extra powerful unit.

                                  You’ll also want to make a list of your devices, writing down the amount of AV connections they require including potential devices that you may add on in the future. Estimate your budget before actually looking up potential AV receivers and avoid looking at models outside of your price range.

                                  Finally, consider the features you want. Most features are simply hype, but some options might actually be beneficial for your setup. If your budget is already figured out, they offer a good idea of what’s available within your price range.

                                  AV Receiver Types

                                  High End
                                  Ultimately, the differences between most AV receivers come down to price. However, high end receivers tend to put more focus on sound quality and overall performance – sound quality and clarity. AV receivers are essentially amplifiers at the end of the day, so the same standards for sound quality apply. Some of the high end ones also have video processing and video upconversion – this technology produces less consistent results, but may be useful to have.

                                  Midrange
                                  Midrange models have a bit of everything. This means solid sound quality and flexibility with inputs; some have decent video conversion performance and wireless features (which the high end models tend to be lacking in favor of top-quality construction and materials).

                                  Budget
                                  Budget AV receivers, ultimately, are designed around a certain price point. They are made to give basic functionality while fitting within a set budget range. They are decontented, with less inputs and outputs than more expensive models; some don't have video processing or extensive network connectivity, making them best-suited for a more basic setup.

                                  5.1 Recievers
                                  5.1 receivers tend to be lower-end models, as anyone seeking a high end AV receiver will tend to purchase a 7.1 channel receiver. The main difference between a 5.1 receiver and a 7.1 receiver is that the former has two less channels.

                                  Features

                                  Connectivity
                                  HDMI connectivity is your primary consideration, but also take into account any non-HDMI devices you have. This allows you to determine what types of inputs and connections as well as how many you’ll need. Connections such as digital audio (coaxial and optical digital audio inputs for audio-only components) or a phono preamp for turntables might be necessary to create your ideal system.

                                  HDMI
                                  Since most of your home theater components will use HDMI, the amount of connections you’ll need depends on how many devices are going to be hooked up. It’s best to pick an AV receiver with at least one or two more inputs than actually needed. Since AV receivers are typically an investment which last for several years, this allows you to cover your immediate needs while leaving room for future expansion.

                                  Wireless
                                  While many AV receivers don’t have wireless connectivity for WiFi, Bluetooth, and AirPlay built in, this feature may be worth the price if you have devices that would make this capability especially convenient to have. Depending on the device, wireless connectivity will allow you to do things like stream music apps from your phone or tablet. Some AV receivers allow for adding wireless connectivity separately, but this method is less convenient.

                                  Sound Quality
                                  Surprisingly, sound quality is a relatively minor aspect to worry about when looking for a new AV receiver. Although some people prefer the sound produced of one brand over another, chances are the audible differences from model to model are too subtle for most individuals to notice. AV receivers from established brands such as Onkyo, Denon, and Pioneer will all have excellent sound quality.

                                  Additional Features

                                  Audio Channels
                                  Going for 7.1 or even 9.2 channels typically isn’t worth the added expense over 5.1, with the exception of specialized setups. One of the primary benefits of 7.1 is the ability to set up second-zone audio which means using the two extra channels to power a second set of speakers, potentially from a different audio source.

                                  Automatic Speaker Calibration
                                  Automatic speaker calibration is a feature promising convenience, but in reality doesn’t always work that well. Some work better than others, however, so be sure to check reviews if this is something you’d like to have.

                                  Automatic Speaker Calibration requires users to place a special microphone throughout the planned home theater soundstage, which then picks up individual frequencies emitted by each speaker. Afterwards, the AV receiver will do its best to determine the ideal calibration setup with the gathered information.

                                  3D Compatability & Emerging Technologies
                                  Most modern AV receivers are 3D-compatible, while 4K and video upconversion aren’t yet all that useful. Some higher-end AV receivers are equipped with video processors that enable them to sample input signals, and then convert them to a higher output resolution on-the-fly.

                                  While this sounds good in theory, the real-world results are highly dependent on the quality of the video source, as well as the display itself. 4K resolution is some of the latest in high definition technology, boasting more pixels than the current mainstream 1080p content and displays; this translates to more detail in the image.

                                  There is currently a lack of readily-available 4K content and most 4K televisions remain quite expensive. However, these features might prove useful to have for future-proofing your system.

                                  Receiver Wattage
                                  Since power ratings aren’t standardized, the wattage of the AV receiver isn’t that important for typical home theaters. The general rule is you need less wattage for a smaller space and more for a larger one. Fortunately, most popular AV receivers are perfectly adequate for an average-sized home theater.

                                  Leave a Question or Comment
                                  19 comments
                                  • hkumar hkumar

                                  There are some very much usefull products for those people who know about the wireless video transmitters to get some information about the transmitters http://electronicstoreonline.wordpress.com/ .

                                  Posted on 5/6/2013 5:38 am | Reply
                                  • hkumar hkumar

                                  great products like Audio video receiver, as well as very high configuration. I want to use these, for my personal use.

                                  Posted on 5/6/2013 5:32 am | Reply
                                  • DADEO DADEO

                                  Could you comment on the Onkyo HDMI problems. Do you think they have been fixed and would you still recommend Onkyo? I am very hesitant to pull the trigger on the purchase of the Onkyo I am considering. (TXNR 616)

                                  Posted on 4/8/2013 8:37 am | Reply
                                  • MoveMore MoveMore

                                  Hi thanks for the detailed reviews I am trying to decide between the Onkyo TX-NR609 Receiver and Denon AVR-1912 Receiver and am wondering 2 things does owning the Apple TV solve the Airplay to Iphone/Ipad problem for the Onkyo model? also I am wondering how recent your review is and if there are updated versions for 2012 for the Denon and Onkyo.Thanks for your time

                                  Posted on 4/15/2012 10:44 am | Reply

                                  Both the Onkyo TX-NR609 and Denon AVR-1912 are excellent AV receivers. The Onkyo features THX certification, and the Denon has built-in AirPlay. If you already have an Apple TV, there's no need to consider an AV receiver for built-in AirPlay. The Apple TV can take care of that function just as well, since it's equipped with its own WiFi connection.The 2012 models have started hitting the shelves, so the leftover 2011 models are now being sold with heavy discounts. If you want to save yourself some cash, go ahead and pick up either the Onkyo or the Denon. If you're set on buying a 2012 model, stay tuned - we'll have reviews of those up soon.

                                  Posted on 4/18/2012 12:36 pm. In reply to MoveMore | Reply
                                  • ashleyinsandiego ashleyinsandiego

                                  Our 2002 RCA AV Receiver may have died. or maybe reparable... not audiophiles just need decent sound for our cable tv and dvd player. Worth getting fixed or time to buy a new one?

                                  Posted on 6/27/2011 7:28 pm | Reply
                                  • lvcajun lvcajun

                                  I'm trying to decide on an AV receiver. I was wondering where you would place the Yamaha RX-A700 in your list of top 5 receivers.

                                  Posted on 4/19/2011 10:13 pm | Reply
                                  • sforwand sforwand

                                  I'm looking for an entry or mid-leverl receiver for home theater and for classical music. What'sd the best choice for a unit that has a phono input?

                                  Posted on 3/25/2011 9:19 am | Reply
                                  • bmz bmz

                                  The simple answer is yes; I've used Onkyo receivers with my high speakers for decades.

                                  Posted on 1/18/2011 7:54 am | Reply
                                  • jessjosh jessjosh

                                  I have high end equipment such as B&W 802 speakers, T + A preamp/processor, Oppo blue ray player 83 (soon to purchase Oppo 95), etc. Dealers have always told me to not buy a receiver for my high end stuff. Isn't there an AV receiver (cost does not bother me) that is suitable for my equipment. As a senior, I am getting tired of having so many components and if I can buy a great AV receiver to take their place, I will do so. Thank you.

                                  Posted on 12/21/2010 6:06 am | Reply
                                  • bluextatic bluextatic

                                  NAD - T-785 HD - Home Theater Receiver is one Receiver that is sure to do the job. Onkyo TX-NR 5008 is another, Denon AVR 5308 is another....shall I go on?

                                  Posted on 8/4/2011 10:44 pm. In reply to jessjosh | Reply

                                  do you rate sony recievers like the strdh810

                                  Posted on 7/22/2010 1:47 pm | Reply
                                  • bluextatic bluextatic

                                  Sony is ok for a small system in my opinion, but there are much better choices out there, depending on what you want to do.

                                  Posted on 8/4/2011 10:36 pm. In reply to Anonymous | Reply

                                  Excuse my simple question but can one use a 5.1 or 7.1 receiver with less than the number of speakers ? (for example, 3 speakers with either system)Thanx in advance...

                                  Posted on 7/1/2010 4:02 pm | Reply
                                  • bluextatic bluextatic

                                  You may use as few or many as you want or need to up to 5 speakers + sub on the 5.1 and up to 7 speakers plus sub on 7.1. Alot of people use their AV receiver for listening to stereo music. The beauty of using a surround sound receiver is that you can use a sub too, and you can play around with all of your different sound fields.

                                  Posted on 8/4/2011 10:33 pm. In reply to Anonymous | Reply

                                  Are you aware of continuing issues with Pioneer receivers of not recording stero sound and the remote control periodically not working? I have had two Pioner Receivers including the VSX abd the new SC-25 and both still have these issues. when you contact Pioneer they say they are working on fixes. They have been working on these fixes for over four months and still counting.

                                  Posted on 3/24/2010 11:05 am | Reply

                                  Just discovered this website; I will be back. The 9/1/2008 comment missed the point. No reviewers can satisfy everyone. Its unlikely every receiver, regardless of price has been reviewed in any given year. Some judgment calls have to be made. Receivers span an enormous price range. So best overall has to have some criterion. As an audiophile for 25 years with speaker cables that, in todays prices, likely would cost what the AVR-3808CI list for, my limited knowledge would agree. This is a superb piece of audio equipment. Providing readers with an alternate less expensive product with reasonable sound quality should be appreciated, not denigrated. Not everyone is prepared to spend $1,135to $1,800. After months of research and going for hands on at stores, Ive purchased a Samsung LN 52a650 HD TV. Thats two out of two Best of I agree with. This TVs video can only be described as wow. Its mentioned here because the point of both high end audio and high end video is how well they involve you in the experience of sound (likely music) and sight (likely movies).

                                  Posted on 1/7/2009 12:40 am | Reply
                                  • Mike Davey Mike Davey

                                  Because you are comparing a $1800 Denon to a $800 Onkyo!!! COME ON!!!!!!!!! Lets compare apples to apples. This is the first and only time I will consult your web site. It is bogus! You have lost all credibility with me! Mike

                                  Posted on 9/1/2008 2:45 am | Reply

                                  This is why they included this text before ...Best AV Receiver OverallBy JeffOur picks for best AV receiver overall aren't the absolute best money can buy, but these high-end and upper midrange models deliver excellent audio and video quality and cutting-edge features. With multiple HDMI inputs, 1080p upconversion, and support for all the latest HD audio soundtracks including Dolby HD and DTS-HD Master Audio, these 7.1 receivers are ideal for watching Blu-ray movies and other HD material. Here are the best AV receivers overall factoring in performance, features, ease of use, and value.

                                  Posted on 4/8/2009 3:48 am. In reply to Mike Davey | Reply