Best AV receiver ratings
We’ve gathered a lot of information in regards to the best AV receivers that can be bought on the market today. We do our research by analyzing various details, from owner feedback and expert reviews sites to sales figures and value offered for the price. In addition, we look at the cost, the overall brand quality, and even the social media activity gathered around the product. Out of all the units we’ve come across, we’ve looked at the Yamaha RC-V479BL, as it’s the best AV receiver available nowadays. The Yamaha model has anything from Wi-Fi, Wireless Direct and Bluetooth to a front-panel USB input and a high-res audio support. It’s one of the most versatile products on the line and it can be used with a broad array of online streamers, including Spotify Connect and Pandora. It comes as no surprise that the Yamaha has gathered some of the top AV receiver reviews in the world. If, for some reason, you find it close to impossible to try out the Yamaha RC-V479BL, we recommend considering the Denon AVR-S510BT, as it’s the second best and has pretty much the same features. The Denon has built-in Bluetooth, Dolby TruHD, DTS-HD Master Audio and IP control capability.
Features to consider when buying an AV receiver
It’s often times difficult to understand the amount of power one needs to make proper use of an audio video receiver. The main thing to keep in mind is that the wattage is present in all product descriptions, so this is one of the details you might come across if you do a bit of research. Although the amplifier power definitely seems like the most important consideration when getting a new AV receiver, it might not be the only vital detail to take into account. The fact of the matter is that many companies that manufacture high-quality units at a high price point somehow design their models to be more powerful than cheaper alternatives.
Believe it or not, the vast majority of consumer-level speakers can only deliver a limited number of watts. If you’re a home user and have a 5.1-channel speaker system that you want to use with your new receiver, you might have a rather nasty surprise if you choose an amplifier of which the wattage exceeds the one of the speakers. In fact, speakers can be damaged by too much power. The wattage of your new receiver shouldn’t be your only decision-making parameter as ratings largely differ from one manufacturer to the next.
2) Speaker compatibility
If you have little to no experience when it comes to getting the best A/V receiver, you might tend to believe that all speakers are created the same. What’s more, you might even believe that purchasing a speaker system from the same manufacturer that has built the receiver is a winner bet in terms of compatibility.
As previously mentioned, the power of the receiver should never be higher compared to the one of the speakers. But that’s not all. The truth is that the impedance, usually expressed in ohms, should be the same both for the receiver and for the speakers. If that’s too difficult to achieve, you might simply need to choose a set of speakers that have a higher impedance than the receiver and not the other way around.
Just like with power, there’s a large number of consumers that might tend to believe that more channels are better. If you are looking for a typical home theater experience, your best bet might be a standard 5.1-channel configuration. This one is easy to use and provides enough sound accuracy. On second thought, it you want to use the receiver in other zones around the house or space you’re configuring the sound of, you might need to look for a higher number of channels. Whatever the model of your choice, the bottom line is that it should feature enough preamp outputs that you can utilize if you require further expansion.
Best AV receivers compared
There’s a rumor that has been going around for many years according to which the weight of an A/V receiver is paramount if you’re looking to reduce AC ripple. What few people know is that hefty models usually are so because their capacitors weigh a lot. Many brands know that people are looking for heavier receivers so they’ll somehow add to the core weight of their units by including details such as aluminum front plates. What’s the point of buying a receiver that’s heavy on the outside if it comes with the same capacitors and power transformer of cheaper models? If you’re a feeling a little weary of getting a model, all you need to do is read some of the user reviews it has gathered over time.
5) Surround modes
This is yet another characteristic that isn’t necessarily crucial if you’re not keen on surround modes in general. For example, nowadays there are mainly five types of surround modes one can choose from. Classic TV broadcasts usually come with Dolby Digital and DTS, which is also the case of DVDs. Blu-ray discs, on the other hand, feature high-resolution standardized formats such as Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio. Additionally, websites such as Netflix now use the mode Dolby Digital Plus. What surround mode are you interested in using? Aside from this question, you need to ask yourself another one: do you prefer setting the surround mode by yourself or allow the device to do its job and set it automatically?
These days there are mainly 5 types of surround modes out there. Classic TV broadcasts usually come with Dolby Digital and DTS, which is also the case of DVDs. Blu-Ray Discs, on the other hand, feature standardized high-resolution formats such as Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio. Finally, websites like Netflix now use the mode Dolby Digital Plus.
If you aren’t keen on setting the surround mode by yourself, all you have to do is set the device on automatic and it will give you a break by performing the adjustments by itself.
Surround modes aren’t extraordinarily important when it comes to picking an AV receiver over another one. You might be more interested in video processing or compression and volume modes. Whatever the case, one thing’s for sure: if you’re a tad uncertain about the features you might be looking for, what you need to do is go over some AV receiver reviews.
Everything used to revolve around HDMI connectivity a while ago, but the situation has changed dramatically over the years, as manufacturers are forced to include iPod and other types of USB connections in their models. Aside from the features we’ve addressed earlier on, connectivity seems to be the most important factor to take into account if you want to get the right AVR for the devices you already own. Since legacy inputs for composite, S-video and component video sources are slowly but surely making their way to becoming obsolete, you need to be on the lookout and check whether or not the receiver you want to purchase can accommodate older non-HDMI components.
Many units nowadays can be managed via WiFi or Bluetooth and this feature has almost become a standard over the years, as streaming music via your smartphone can be done with ease while you’re in any other room in the house.
7) Network and internet services
Spotify, Pandora, Netflix and a variety of other internet streaming services are becoming more and more popular every day. Although it might be a little difficult to believe, the rate at which people are using their TV sets is decreasing with every year that goes by. Globally, people are interested in streaming media content using their internet connection, which is why the AVR of your choice should be able to connect to your home network or WiFi.
8) Remote control apps
A/V receivers have a somewhat bad reputation in that they’re sometimes very hard to set on account of their numerous capabilities and even more so because of the remote controls they come with. Fortunately, this doesn’t need to happen anymore, because we’ve seen the rise of mobile apps that can be used instead of a classic remote control. If you’ve ever felt close to despair because you’ve lost the remote of your AVR, you can rest assured as long as you still have your smartphone. Most iOS and Android mobile devices can rely on free apps to allow you to select and browse the network sources and even set the volume in accordance with your own needs.
Furthermore, the vast majority of these apps are absolutely free of charge provided that you register your device on the website of the manufacturer that has built it.
While it might not be a vital consideration, the fact is that design actually matters a great deal, particularly if you want to display the receiver in your living room. Sure, professional alternatives might not be so attractive as devices destined for home use, but nobody needs them to be anything other than perfectly functional. There’s likely you will need to take into account the color, dimensions and shape of your receiver if you’re planning to use it with your home theater system.
10) Overall brand reputation
Again, this factor might not be something that initially crosses your mind when you’re just beginning to browse the market. However, you might be surprised of the number of receivers that get returned on a yearly basis. If you want to get the best value for the money you intend to spend, pick a trusted manufacturer that backs the product up with a warranty that lasts at least two years. Think of it this way. A Pioneer, Yamaha, or Sony A/V receiver will always be better than a cheaper one. Plus, you’ll have the luxury of excellent customer support.
Top products to consider:
An audio/visual receiver can turn your existing equipment into a fully functioning home theater system. You can easily connect different devices and components to stream music, movies, and favorite programs, and enjoy high quality visuals and sound. To help you find the right unit for your system we have included brief reviews of some of the best audio video receivers for 2016.
This is one of the most popular models for sale, and it’s not hard to see why. This AV receiver is compatible with high-definition content, and you will love how crisp and clear your music sounds and your videos appear. The included remote lets you control the receiver from almost any corner in the room, which is why you will inevitably appreciate the convenience of Bluetooth connectivity. Thanks to the Yamaha RX-V379BL, you’re free to calibrate microphones easily just for exceptional sound quality. What’s more, the additional settings for bass let you use this receiver with smaller wireless speakers.
While it might be a little limited when it comes to the number of features it comes with, the Yamaha is definitely worth considering if you’re still prospecting the market. WiFi and software streaming are two characteristics you may find in some other innovative models from Yamaha, but purchasing those will cost you a pretty penny. However, in regards to quality of music and video content, this device is a net winner. It can handle the forthcoming 4K Blu-ray players and it is relatively easy to set up.
Over 70 of the individuals who have purchased the Yamaha RX-V379BL think it’s worth its weight in gold.
The Denon is the perfect receiver for music, as many customers seem to appreciate its ability to seamlessly stream music from any type of Bluetooth-enabled devices. In addition, it does wonders when it comes to accessing files on the owner’s MP3 players and other devices fit for streaming audio content. The device is compatible with virtually any type of audio files, ranging from WMA to FLAC and AAC. Furthermore, it’s more than capable of streaming ultra high definition content, which makes it the right option for games, movies, as well as TV programs. With 5.2 channels and two outputs for subwoofers, you will surely love experiencing ultra HD videos and high-quality music with this AV receiver.
As is the case with the Yamaha model we have showcased earlier on, this one features the latest in HDMI technology, which means that you’ll be able to use the receiver with cutting-edge Blu-ray players that will be launched in the future. The fact is that this model features five HDMI inputs all of which are 3D compatible. Since it supports HDCP 2.2 signal handling, the model can be utilized for streaming 4K copy-protected content.
Since it’s an affordable option, the Denon has gathered over one hundred positive user reviews.
One of the first aspects that you might notice when looking at the Pioneer VSX-524-K is its sleek design. It’s practically impossible for it not to fit in beautifully with your already existing equipment. You will love being able to watch ultra HD content and seamlessly stream music from your Android devices. This receiver is designed to be easy to set up and all of your components can be connect to it one way or the other. Since it is compatible with the iPhone and comes with 5-channel capabilities, it is easy to see why this AV receiver is among the most popular choices of consumers out there.
Unlike the Denon model we were mentioning above, the Pioneer VSX-524-K comes with just four HDMI inputs. This feature isn’t necessarily an inconvenience for home users, as it can work with gaming consoles, Blu-ray players and cable boxes at the same time. Online streaming services can be used with this model, as it also includes all Dolby and DTS surround formats that have been specially designed for this task exactly.
From what we’ve seen, there are countless positive user reviews that claim the Pioneer VSX-524-K offers the best value to price ratio you might find these days. According to the statement of a buyer, if you’re not looking to blast your entire neighborhood, this is the model to choose.
There are no features you might feel tempted to dislike in the Sony STRDN860, as it comes packed with all the characteristics you might require even for professional use. Its sleek and functional design make it worth displaying and showing it off to all your audiophile friends. Moreover, it is remarkably easy to connect with the rest of the equipment you might have around the house, considering that it even features Bluetooth connectivity that can be utilized for streaming music and other media content from virtually any mobile device.
The neat thing about the Sony STRDN860 is that it comes with five high definition inputs, which practically allows owners to use it with 4K premium content and future Blu-ray players. Besides, there’s a unique feature in the Sony, as emphasized by the many buyers who took the time to write detailed reviews on this product. It comes with ARC, a special technology that allows the receiver to make use of the same TV HDMI cable in order for it to receive audio from the TV.
As previously mentioned in the buying guide, the Sony has the exact remote control app capabilities as users can download the free SongPal app either from the App Store or from Google Play and use their mobile device to adjust the settings of the receiver.
The Onkyo TX-SR343 is yet another 5.1-channel receiver that does what it’s supposed to do and even exceeds the expectations of buyers. For one, it’s 4K UltraHD ready and comes with the latest HDMI connectivity specs, allowing people to be able to pair it with a plethora of devices they might feel like. As is the case with the Sony we were describing above, the Onkyo TX-SR343 requires just one cable in order for it to convert the video input signal and send it to the TV. Right next to its HDMI port, the device features a USB port that can be utilized in order for streaming media content from mobile devices of any sort, including tablets and MP3 players.
If you’re feeling a little reluctant when it comes to using so many cables, we suggest you take advantage of the built-in Bluetooth featured by the Onkyo TX-SR343. Up to ten devices can be paired at the same time with this receiver.
If you’re no fan of overly complicated installation processes, you need to check out this model. Even its back panel comes with carefully labeled connections that allow you to make no mistake when connecting speakers or external source devices.
Pioneer Elite SC-91
It would have been impossible for us to leave out the Pioneer Elite SC-91 from this list featuring the best AV receivers for the money, as it can be utilized both by professionals and by home users. It features anything you might have ever dreamed of, from full bandwidth HDMI with HDCP 2.2 to built-in WiFi and Bluetooth. Just like other models featuring the same connectivity specs, this one can be paired with various mobile devices.
Since this is a 7.2-channel receiver, it is somewhat heftier and larger compared to other models we’ve analyzed. It features a power of 660 total watts and it’s rated at 120 watts per channel. Be sure to use the proper system with the receiver; otherwise, the sound quality will be significantly affected by the wattage in this alternative.
When it comes to sound quality, you really have nothing to worry about if you choose the Pioneer Elite SC-91. It has been built to incorporate a digital-to-analog converter that offers a dynamic range of up to 120 dB which makes sure that the audio reproduction is as clear as possible. Additionally, the unit features MCACC Pro, a unique system that has been designed to precision-tune the entire system so that the end sound is breathtaking.