If you want to buy an AV receiver, you should consider how exactly you want to use the device and ask yourself the following questions:
- Should the device be network-capable?
- How many speakers do I want to connect?
- How do I want to listen to the radio?
- Which devices do I want to connect to the receiver?
With or without network functions?
The first thing potential users should ask themselves is whether the AV receiver should have network functions. The advantage: If the receiver is connected to the router via WiFi or Lan, it can also access modern music sources such as music streaming services, Internet radio or music from the network hard drive. It can also be operated remotely using a smartphone app, and some speakers can be connected wirelessly via WiFi. This reduces cable clutter. In the test, nine of the twelve devices offer network functions. However, one device does not offer internet radio despite a network connection.
How many speakers should it be?
Another important question is how many speakers should be used? For surround sound, there should be at least five speakers and a subwoofer for low tones, the experts then speak of 5.1. Most of the amplifiers in the test are 5.2 models. This means that the AV receiver has built-in amplifiers for 5 loudspeakers and 2 subwoofers. Some users can also connect seven speakers and two subwoofers. This is then called 7.2.
How would you like to listen to the radio?
All models in the test can receive FM radio. Internet radio with a huge selection of stations is available on eight devices. At least as long as the providers maintain a contract with a corresponding service provider. In the past there were often problems here, for example with the vTuner service. For example, with models from Sony and Yamaha , but also from Marantz and Denon . If you prefer to use the noise-free digital radio DAB+ via antenna, you can receive it with at least three of the twelve models.
Which connections are needed?
AV receivers offer connections galore. For example, the television, the Blu-ray player or a games console can be connected via HDMI. The CD player, for example, can connect to the device via digital or analogue audio inputs. The connection to the smartphone is established via Bluetooth. If you want to connect a
record player, you should pay attention to a phono input on the AV receiver. Then the turntable can also be used without an additional preamplifier.
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Different types of AV receivers at a glance
The receivers not only serve as AV amplifiers to transmit the sound signals in a home cinema system in better quality , but they can do much more. They are also responsible for the perfect balance between the individual boxes and other home cinema components. Due to the different system types, there is also a large selection of receivers. In an AV receiver test, the receiver types are presented in more detail. This includes, for example, the Slim AV Receiver, which is particularly space-saving and elegant . It is also used as a hi-fi receiver, but fits perfectly into the small compartments of a sideboard.
|AV receiver type||description|
|AV receivers 5.1||In a receiver comparison, the different home cinema systems are particularly noticeable. Judging by the number of speakers , there are not only tonal differences. The audio receivers must also be matched to the home cinema type. In the 5.1 system, there is noise distribution through five components. The system is equipped with direct speakers that are placed left, right and in the middle. An AV receiver or a subwoofer is used for the rear areachosen. Many users opt for a mini AV receiver because it is less bulky than the subwoofer. Nevertheless, such a slim AV receiver offers a high level of functionality and forwards the sounds evenly to the individual boxes. The Surround Receiver AV should always be well coordinated with the other components of the home cinema system. This also includes the right position. In general, the loudspeakers in the rear area should be no more than 1 m away from the listening position. The speakers on the sides and in the middle should be at a maximum distance of 1.50-2.10 m from the listening position.|
|AV Receiver 7.1||The 7.1 system ensures 360° sound distribution in the room. High-end receivers are usually used for these systems. Here, too, it is important that the individual components of the system harmonize with one another. The difference to the 5.1 systems is the sound quality and the number of rear channels. The AV receiver must also be designed for this increased performance. Since a total of seven different boxes have to be controlled here, the signal transmission must be smooth and well coordinated. A network receiver, for example, is ideal for this. The AV receiver can thus independently control all boxes within the audio system and adjust the tonal quality. The Denon AVR home theater receiver is a good example of such a complex device with good sound results.|
|Classical music receiver||In addition to the higher quality and more professional AV receivers, there are also inexpensive models. Only individual boxes are controlled via this in order to improve the sound experience of a conventional stereo system . Such a music receiver does not have the number of different inputs and outputs such as the devices for 5.1 or 7.1 systems. Nevertheless, it offers good support and delivers a significantly better sound experience. However, it is not suitable for controlling five or more speakers.|
Pros and cons of different types of AV receivers
Before purchasing a receiver, a look at the AV Receiver Leaderboard or an AV Receiver Review can be helpful. The former comes about, for example, from an AV receiver test. Specialist magazines have also dealt with this topic and give purchase advice. In Test Chip Magazine there is an overview of the best devices of 2017 (as of June 2017). Here, too, we have put together an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of the individual receiver types.
|AV receiver type||advantages||disadvantage|
|AV receivers 5.1||AV amplifiers are easy to useSurround receivers offer better sound qualityAvailable in different colors, including white AV Receiveralso available as AV Receiver 4K for faster sound transmission||Models like the AV Receiver 4K are often expensive|
|AV Receiver 7.1||Various inputs/outputs, for example with a phono input, 2 HDMI outs, with Airplaysome models can also be controlled via WLANnumerous brands, including Teufel and Yamaha||numerous boxes are required for good sound quality|
|Classical music receiver||available with DAB+ transmissionsimple Dolby Digital receivers are usually cheapAV Receiver 2.1 is easy to connect||only offer limited connectionsSound quality is limited|
Which AV receiver is right for you?
In an AV receiver review from trade journals or users, there are empirical values about the sound quality. These can be a first indication for the selection of the right AV receiver.
How many channels should an AV receiver have?
When it comes to the question of which device is the best AV receiver for your own use, the number of channels is particularly important . Older models offer a maximum of two or three audio channels. In the meantime, however, the 5.1 systems and systems with significantly more channels have prevailed. If you want to have the real home cinema experience in your own four walls, you have to set up as many boxes as possible . It also requires an AV receiver with numerous channels. The 5.1 AV receiver is enough to get started. For professional use, on the other hand, 9.1 receivers or even 9.2 receivers are used.
What is Dolby Atmos?
The label “Dolby Atmos” is often found in connection with the receivers. What is behind it? This all-round sound technology was first introduced in 2012. The special feature of this system are the additional loudspeakers mounted on the ceiling. Even a receiver that wants to call itself the best receiver must be able to cope with this new sound system. According to an AV receiver comparison, many manufacturers have now started implementing Dolby Atmos on their devices.
Which are the best AV receivers from our comparison?
Your personal test winner may differ from the comparison winner. We recommend considering the following products:
- 1st place – satisfactory: Auna AV2-CD508
- 2nd place – satisfactory: OCTAGON SF8008 Limited Gold Edition
- 3rd place – good: Sony STRDH790.CEK
- 4th place – good: Aiwa AV receiver
- 5th place – good: Denon AVR-X2700H
- 6th place – good: Denon AVR-S960H
- 7th place – good: Marantz SR5015 7.2-channel AV receiver
- 8th place – very good: Marantz SR6015 9.2
- 9th place – very good: YAMAHA RX-A2A AVENTAGE 7.2-channel AV receiver
- 10th place – very good: Marantz SR6015 9.2-channel AV amplifier
- 11th place – very good: Mochatopia MCGF0010
- 12th place – very good: Yamaha AV receiver RX-S602 MC
- 13th place – very good: Denon AVR-X1700H 7.2-channel AV receiver