10 Best AV Receivers: Reviews and Buying Guide

A high-quality AV receiver belongs to the fixed equipment of every home cinema. If you want to enjoy movies and TV shows in the best quality, you should make no false compromises when buying this device. First and foremost, it’s all about the sound quality, so that you can really enjoy the broadcasts of your choice. The AV receiver can be connected to your DVD player, Blu-ray player and other devices and can be justifiably called the control center of your home theater.

Top 10 AV Receivers

What can an AV receiver do?

An AV receiver can be described without exaggeration as a true multi-function device. Because it combines the functions of several other devices in your living room. Versatility is the AV receiver so hard to beat. If it did not exist, you would need to use up to five other devices that would require space:

  1. Surround Decoder
  2. preliminary stage
  3. final stage
  4. Radio Tuner
  5. Network Player

Alone the listing shows, which important role the AV receiver plays today. Depending on the equipment, he usually has five to seven output stages. While you can buy high-quality 5.1 receivers already at some amazingly favorable conditions, you need to dig a little deeper, for example, for a 7.2 AV receiver.

However, a modern AV receiver is not only characterized by the number of power amplifiers but also has a wide variety of connections. Make sure you have enough HDMI ports to connect your various devices. In addition, an AV receiver should ideally also be equipped with technologies such as WLAN and Bluetooth in order to ensure the most comfortable handling possible.

A high-quality AV receiver understands and decodes the most diverse formats, from Dolby TrueHD to DTS-HD. It can be easily controlled via remote control or via a suitable app. Various streaming services such as Spotify are often already integrated. Power saving help functions such as an Eco mode or automatic shutdown. If you want to sonify your entire house, the AV receiver of your choice should support the setup of a multi-room network.

What advantages and disadvantages do AV receivers have?

Before you get yourself an AV receiver, you will probably want to deal with any benefits and disadvantages of such a device again. After all, there are never any positive qualities, and when making a purchase you should also be aware of the potential disadvantages in order to select a suitable model. So use our overview to get your own picture.

Which AV receiver is the best?

Which AV receiver do I need? Which AV receiver should I buy? These are questions that probably occupy everyone who deals with the purchase of such a device. To make one thing straight: The best model in any respect does not exist. Above all, it depends on one’s own wishes and requirements for such a device – and, of course, on the available budget. If you want to invest a four-digit sum for an AV receiver, you can do so effortlessly. However, there are already for a few hundred euros models that are absolutely fine in terms of features and performance. The following types of AV receivers are the most common:

  1. 5.1 Receiver – such a receiver is the heart of a system that consists of a total of six speakers, with a center box centrally located about below the TV set. There are also two side speakers, two surround speakers, and the subwoofer.
  2. 7.1 Receiver – this is basically similar to a 5.1 receiver, except that two more speakers are added, which should provide an overall better surround sound.
  3. 9.1. and 11.1 receivers – these devices once again put a component on top and ensure a 3D sound, in which you are also sonicated from the top.

As you can see, there are quite different variants of an AV receiver. There is still a touch of luxury, but in the end, you have to decide for yourself how much money you can and want to invest.

Which manufacturers are leaders?

As with all products, there are certain brands in the area of AV receivers, which are particularly well represented and have a corresponding reputation. For example, using a Yamaha receiver or Onkyo receiver is usually not a bad choice. Do not be afraid to include the devices of other brands in your selection. The following manufacturers will meet you again and again when it comes to the subject of AV Receiver:

  • Yamaha
  • Denon
  • Onkyo
  • Pioneer
  • Sony

Of course, you may also discover a receiver that was not made by any of these companies but still convinces you with its product features.

What to look for when buying AV receiver?

Some points are particularly important in the AV receiver purchase. We’ve put together a few bullet points for you to keep in mind when looking for a suitable device:

  • Which sound formats are supported? Whether Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD or Dolby Atmos – the variety of high-resolution formats is great – a good AV receiver should be able to decode as many of them as possible.
  • Which HDMI interfaces are on board? In order to enjoy content in 4K quality, at least one HDMI 2.0 interface should be available. The more HDMI inputs and outputs the AV receiver has, the better.
  • Which audio jacks are there? For example, if you want to connect a turntable, it will work most easily if there is a special phono input.
  • What other connection technologies does the device bring? WLAN and Bluetooth can provide a good deal of comfort and possibilities.
  • Are streaming services supported directly? Whether Spotify, Deezer or JUKE – the corresponding providers are now widely used and ideally should be directly involved.
  • Are there ways to reduce power consumption? An intelligent eco mode and/or automatic shutdown can provide valuable services here.

Maybe you would like to control your home theater via your smartphone or tablet? Then you should pay attention to suitable compatibility with the appropriate apps. Of course, considering all the individual aspects, you should also look at the fact that the price-performance ratio fits the bottom line.

How much power does an AV receiver consume?

Especially in this day and age, electronic devices are by far not just about attributes such as performance or longevity, but also the consumption of electricity is becoming an important criterion for purchasing decisions for more and more consumers. Of course, this also applies to the area AV receiver. In fact, some models may turn out to be true power guzzlers over a longer period of time. On average, the power consumption of such a device is about five to 15 watts.

To effectively reduce the power consumption of your AV receiver, there are different approaches. For one thing, we recommend turning off features like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth if you do not need them. On the other hand, it makes sense to consistently refrain from the standby mode. As enticing and comfortable as it may be, you should always be aware that the device will continue to consume power in this condition – and not too short.

Where do I buy my AV receiver best?

In addition to considerations such as “Which AV receiver has the best sound?”, You may also be thinking about where to buy it the smartest. Essentially, you have two options: Either you are looking for a specialist shop or an electronics store near you – or you are ordering your AV receiver over the Internet. Both variants have both advantages and disadvantages.

If you choose the store around the corner, you will not only help local retailers and help save jobs. You can continue to call for comprehensive advice and actually touch the devices in question and, for example, test the operation. You may also be offered a mounting service so that someone comes to your home and the AV receiver professional settings.

If you decide to buy online, you will have to forego one or the other amenity. On the other hand, however, the selection procedure is also much more pleasant and uncomplicated. Instead of having to walk into several different shops to look at various devices and compare prices, just a few mouse clicks on the Internet are enough to gain an overview.

Also, keep in mind that if you place an order over the network, you enjoy the benefit of a legal right of return. The bottom line is that in the vast majority of cases, you will find the cheapest price for the AV receiver of your choice online.

How much air does an AV receiver need?

Important when setting up an AV receiver is that the device has enough “free space” or “air”. Although protection circuits on modern models ensure that irreparable damage to the device is unlikely to even in the case of incorrect installation, it is better if you consider this aspect right from the start.

Set up the AV receiver so that it has as much air as possible on all sides. In particular, the ventilation holes on the top of the unit must be kept free in any case. Experts advise that at least three inches distance should be kept between the AV receiver and any shelf or the like. To be on the safe side, let it be a little more generous.

How do I prevent cable clutter?

When an AV receiver is installed, it is not only important that sufficient cooling is provided. Even with the rather unpleasant topic “cable salad” you will be confronted sooner or later. Of course, it depends on how many external devices you want to connect to your home theater receiver. Make sure that the cable runs are as short as possible. On the one hand you do not need any extension cords and on the other hand, everything is much clearer.

In addition, we advise you to a label of the various cables. For example, use self-adhesive small stickers in different colors to identify which cable is now going from the AV receiver to the Blu-ray player and which connects the receiver to which individual speakers. If, for example, you later want to change the position of a speaker, you will be in the know and save yourself a lot of time and trouble. To ensure order, you can also create extra shafts in which the individual cables then run without getting in each other’s way.

What is an automatic calibration function for?

In order to achieve the best possible surround sound, the ensemble consisting of AV receiver and the various speakers must be optimally matched to each other. Only when the center, front, effect, and bass speakers are in perfect harmony will your home theater experience be completely satisfactory.

For this reason, there is the automatic calibration function. The amplifier and the built-in measuring microphone determines independently, which are the best settings for volume and other points. This makes it much easier for newcomers to set up the facility so you do not have to rely on a professional to build everything for you.

How do I use streaming services with the AV Receiver?

Music streaming services have long since replaced traditional media like CD or vinyl in many households. If you want to use Spotify and Co. and enjoy your favorite music in the best quality, you should make sure that your AV receiver can connect to the Internet. There are different possibilities. Alternatively, thanks to the DLNA network standard, access to local music libraries is also possible.

Particularly useful is an AV receiver that has a Bluetooth interface. This ensures that even a wireless music enjoyment is possible. Because you simply send your favorite sounds from your tablet or smartphone to your hi-fi receiver. Similarly, the whole thing is synonymous with an AirPlay interface. Should you like such features at heart, then it is important to pay attention to this point when selecting your AV receiver.

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