Best AV receiver
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.
What to Consider when Buying a New AV Receiver:
Even the best home theater equipment is useless without an AV receiver, and this might also be one of the most important components for you to consider. As stated in the AV receiver reviews this necessary device controls everything from processing and switching between audio and video functions to powering your speakers. Finding the right AV receiver can give you an awesome theater experience at home, and let you enjoy everything from games and music to movies and home videos. Some models are more versatile and convenient, thus addressing the needs of users whose expectations might be a little higher than the ones of other buyers. Nowadays, one can control an AV receiver not just by using a remote but also via an app installed on one’s smartphone or any other mobile device. Let’s see what the most important factors to consider when prospecting the market for a new unit are.
Choosing the best AV receiver of 2016 is a little different than analyzing other pieces of home theater gear. AV receivers are all designed to be lightweight and powerful, which is also an excellent way to tell if the model is new. Instead, most industry experts recommend focusing on the features that you absolutely need. Some of the common features include Bluetooth connectivity, speakers for higher places, and wireless streaming capabilities. You also want to consider the number of channels and inputs, along with support for multiple zones. This will also help you determine your budget, and narrow down the number of possible features.
AV receivers compared:
|Model||Number of channels||Connectivity||Price||Our rating||Best Price on:|
|YAMAHA RC-V479BL||5.1||Wi-Fi, Wireless Direct, Bluetooth||$$$||A+||Amazon|
|PIONEER ELITE SC-91||7.2||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth||$$$$$||B||Amazon|
|SONY STRDN860||7.2||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC||$$$||A+||Amazon|
|PIONEER VSX-830-K||5.2||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth||$$||A||Amazon|
|ONKYO TX-8020||2||no wireless connectivity||$$$||B+||Amazon|
Is power all that important or does it all depend on your needs and preferences? Some people tend to think that, with a higher wattage, the unit will be more convenient and perhaps offer many more benefits compared to basic models that can be found at affordable prices. The fact is that many brands in the industry nowadays make their products somewhat more powerful just to give prospective buyers the feeling they’re not wasting their money on a product they might have purchased cheaper.
Many consumer-level speakers can’t take up that much power. If you intend on using your AV receiver strictly in your home and rarely plan to take it to a friend’s or relative’s house to host a party over there, we suggest you start browsing for 5.1-channel models of which the wattage doesn’t go above the wattage of the speakers. Pay attention to this detail, as it is paramount if you want good sound and aren’t keen on the idea of damaging your speakers.
The number of available channels is another important consideration, though the top AV receivers for 2016 include at least seven. Smaller home theater systems probably will not need a large number of channels, but this should be considered if you plan on using it for more than one room. Some AV receivers also include outputs for plugging in additional speakers, which is ideal if, on occasion, you will be needing multiple room coverage. Your budget and the size of your home theater system will help determine the number of channels that are required by your gear.
If you’re feeling a bit unsure about the number of channels you require, it might be a good idea to pick a five or seven configuration so long that it comes with enough preamp outputs so that you can use it later on to further expand your system.
Not only is it important to ensure that you have enough channels for your speakers, but also the right number of inputs. Your gear has to be able to connect to the receiver in order to function properly, and not all devices are compatible with each other. Some devices use HDMI inputs, while others can convert the older component and composite connections. Inputs for Blu-ray players, gaming systems, and the TV should also be considered, especially if you are planning on connecting the devices to the receiver. The number of connections can also reflect the price, and some of the less expensive models include outputs that let you expand only as needed.
HDMI is a must nowadays, which is why you’ll see that many units come with as many as four or more inputs or outputs. If you plan to use your AV receiver for streaming music from your mobile devices, we suggest you opt for a product that features at least one USB port. Sure, this might not be mandatory so long as the product also has wireless connectivity, as you’ll be able to do the same thing by relying on your internet or network connection. One thing that we don’t recommend is choosing models that come with legacy inputs for S-video or component video sources, as they will become outdated at some point and you have a high chance of not being able to use them with any other device you might have in your home.
While an AV receiver controls your home theater system, it can also improve your listening experience. Most AV receivers have more than enough power for standard stereo speakers with 8 ohms, which is loud enough for you and your guests to hear sounds clearly without them damaging your hearing. There are speakers and AV receivers that are capable of providing more power, but you do want to make sure that the devices are compatible. Too much power can blow the speaker, and ruin your entire listening experience. Along with checking for compatibility, you also want to ensure that the speaker isn’t hot to touch when it is being used, just to prevent accidental injuries or electrical fires.
As for compatibility, you need to be aware of some simple rules. For one, the power of the receiver should never exceed the one of the speakers. Impedance is something other to consider, and if you’re using a set of speakers of which the impedance is 8 ohms, in theory, it should be the same for the AV receiver. In a worst case scenario and just to make sure that your speakers do not become overheated, sometimes it’s better to use some of which the impedance is higher than the one of the receiver.
Online streaming services
When starting the search for a new AV receiver, you might see that many of the models that are now being launched support online media streaming services such as YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, and others. Netflix, is, in fact, one of the most popular options nowadays, as users are required to pay a modest fee and have access to new TV shows and movies instead of being required to pay for movie theater tickets. Since fewer and fewer people are interested in cable TV nowadays, perhaps you might want to focus on this detail as well.
Things aren’t as simple as they first seem to be. Not all AV receivers can support online media content, and that’s because of the surround modes they support. Classic TV broadcasts rely on Dolby Digital and DTS, but you’ll need to use Dolby Digital Plus for Netflix and other services. Again, this is another factor to base your decision on, particularly if this is the reason you’re purchasing your receiver in the first place.
As mentioned at the beginning of the guide, you’ll see that many models these days come with a remote control but their settings or functions can be adjusted also via mobile apps. Many manufacturers offer the app for free once you’ve purchased the product and have registered it online. To make sure that you avoid additional costs, it might be a good idea to check whether the app is free before purchasing the product.
Find the best models…
Any multimedia aficionado will sooner or later look for one of the best A/V receivers in 2016. In order to make your buying journey a breeze, we’ve selected some of the most acclaimed models, which beat the game in matters of convenience and reliability.
This device works with Wi-Fi or Wireless Direct. It comes with Bluetooth and a vast array of attractive features, ranging from the front panel USB input that is compatible with iOS devices to the high-res audio support. The Yamaha RC-V479BL does a great job when it comes to streaming multiple audio formats such as FLAC, WAV and ALAC, and supports both Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio. Thus, owners can utilize this AV receiver with Spotify Connect, Pandora, as well as Airplay.
The really neat thing about this model is that it can be bought both for bedroom and for living rooms, as it is capable of analyzing the acoustics of the chamber it is installed in. Afterward, the receiver automatically calibrates the audio parameters so that the sound produced is as optimum as possible.
As is the case with other Yamaha units we’ve gone through during our research, this one features YPAO, the specially designed Yamaha Parametric Acoustic Optimizer which makes it possible for the model to analyze the room acoustics and calibrate the audio in accordance with the detected speakers.
This is a remarkable product that’s gathered some of the best user reviews and some buyers have even gone as far as state that its capabilities are fantastic.
Denon is a world-known name when it comes to manufacturing high-quality home theater systems. Their products are not very cheap, but they are usually considered to be long-term investments. This is a 5.2-channel full 4K ultra HD receiver, which is compatible both with the latest HDMI 2.0 and with the HDCP 2.2 specs.
Since the device comes with a front-panel USB port, it can be utilized for streaming music and videos from a large number of USB-capable devices, ranging from MP3 players to all models of smartphones.
The unit has 6 ohm speakers and a maximum of 140 watts per every channel.
Just like the Yamaha model showcased above, this one supports Dolby TruHD and DTS-HD Master Audio and is compatible with a large number of media formats. Since it comes with built-in wireless Bluetooth streaming, the model is rather versatile, as it can be paired with multiple devices and it even remembers the configurations of up to 8 Bluetooth units that have been used with the receiver over time.
Many of the people who have gone to the trouble of reviewing this product claim that it is very easy to setup and use.
PIONEER ELITE SC-91
It would have been impossible to avoid considering the Pioneer Elite SC-91, as it comes with pretty much all the features a prospective buyer might ever desire from an AV receiver. It’s worth noting that this is a high-end device, so its price point is somewhat higher compared to the one of other units we’ve found. Nevertheless, if you are prepared to invest in some high-quality system that comes with built-in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Dolby Atmos, you simply need to glance over the specs of this one.
The main difference between the Pioneer Elite SC-91 and some of the models we’ve addressed above is that this one has a larger dimension and might look somewhat hefty compared to other sleek and slim designs. However, considering that the power of this option is estimated at 130 watts per channel and that the total is around 660 watts, it would have been close to impossible for the manufacturers to pack that much wattage into a small-sized product.
The Pioneer seems to have been designed especially for audiophiles, as it delivers high-res music playback and supports many types of files, from WAV to FLAC.
In spite of it not being the most affordable option out there, the model has garnered many positive ratings, where owners claim it’s an excellent product.
This is a 7.2 channel AV receiver that has super solid circuitry and structure.
In matters of dependability and audio and video performance, the Sony STRDN860 is a net winner, as it provides users with a wide amount of versatility. Since it has a high number of top-notch features such as HDCP 2.2 support and 5-in/1-out HDMI, it comes as no surprise that it is one of the most popular products in the line.
Bluetooth is part of the game with this unit, as it was to be expected from such a cutting-edge Sony device. The main advantage of choosing the Sony STRDN860 even though it might not be the most affordable option out there is that it has multi-room capability and Google Cast built-in. What’s more, it can be used for streaming music to a pair of wireless headphones, since not all people in the house might be willing to listen to something while they’re sleeping.
The wireless home network recommended for this model is 802.11n as it seems to deliver the best performance with the receiver. The model can be controlled via the SongPal app offered for free for Sony after the buyer has purchased the receiver.
Even though it is a 5.2-channel unit that’s considerably different from the Sony model we have showcased above, this Pioneer model is a tad less affordable compared to other 5.2 models we’ve analyzed. This was somehow to be expected, however, since Pioneer has been building amplifiers and receivers for more than a decent amount of time, and almost none of its products have gathered negative reviews.
The Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities come built-in the device and the manufacturers are offering a Wi-Fi connection App.
Connectivity is as easy as pie with the Pioneer VSX-830-K even if you decide to use cables, as it has 6 HDMI 2.0 inputs and one HDMI output. Furthermore, if the user is not the most tech-friendly individual, he or she does not have to worry about anything in terms of installation, as the model can be setup in a timely fashion. The rear panel has been redesigned so that the text is easier to read and the layout is significantly simpler than on older models.
The Pioneer VSX-830-K works with a plethora of internet stations and services, including Pandora and Spotify Connect, which only adds to the convenience of this unit.
If you are looking for a basic and affordable model, this one is the right one to get. It comes with a wide range of amplifier technologies and is compatible with pretty much any iOS device and the DS-A5 Airplay RI Dock. The device has a power wattage of 50 watts, an impedance of 8 Ohms and a frequency response between 20Hz and 20,000Hz for each and every channel.
The Onkyo is both inexpensive and versatile as it can be utilized for streaming audio and video from a wide array of systems, from Blu-ray players to CD players.
Since it can be bought for as little as two hundred and fifty dollars in a variety of online marketplaces including Amazon, this is among the most acclaimed models in the line. To this point, it has gathered over two hundred positive user reviews. Some of the buyers who expressed their opinion in regards to the performance of this product claim that it is worth every penny as it offers amazing value for the price. In addition, it uses discrete components and a large power supply and it’s capable of playing much louder outside the owner’s house.