Best AV Receivers 2019

Best AV Receivers - Buyer's Guide

Intro

One of the most important equipment you have to consider when creating a new home theater is the kind of AV receiver you are going to buy which in many ways is going to be the center piece of your home entertainment and connect all other equipment together. But with so many models on the market featuring so many different specifications and features it is becoming very hard for those not in the loop to choose between the best AV receivers in the market today.

With the arrival of the new object-oriented audio formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X we have seen a new wave of receivers flooding the market that offer support for both of them but improvements and upgrades don’t stop there. We live in the age of internet and streaming and smart functionality is becoming standard not only in premium devices but also in lower tier models. With each passing year we see manufacturers add more value to cheaper models by including features that you would normally find in more expensive ones.

Best AV Receivers - Buyer's Guide

With so fierce competition in the market getting the best value for your money is of crucial importance. We are going to analyze the most important aspects of each model and give you suggestions for every category that we believe offer the best for the asked price. Due to certain limitations we decided to limit our choices to just three in each category without this meaning there are no other noteworthy models out there. You can also check our dedicated AV Receivers Reviews section where you can find even more of our in-depth reviews and decide what is best for you.

But in case you don’t want to go through the whole article you can immediately check our #1 recommendation for each category which are the following ones.

Best 5-Channels receiver : Onkyo TX-SR393

Best 7-channels receiver : Onkyo TX-NR696

Best 9-Channels receiver : Marantz SR6014

Best 11-Channels receiver : Denon AVR-X6500H

Best 13-Channels receiver : Denon AVR-X8500H

How to choose an AV Receiver that suits your needs

When it comes to deciding what to buy there are specific factors you have to consider in order to be able to pick one that will offer the kind of value you are expecting for a given price. So let’s discuss what are the major factors you have to think of by starting from the most important one.

Number of Power Amps : Now this one here is a bit relative to our second factor which is the price. These two are in close relation to each other and you cannot decide on one without taking into consideration the other. Obviously you cannot go for a 13 channels AV receiver for example and expect to pay $500 for it. That’s why we believe that while choosing how many channels the receiver you need supports you also have to consider this in relation to the price you can afford.

Best AV Receivers - Buyer's Guide

Deciding how many channels the receiver you will buy can handle is very specific to the area that you plan to create you home theater. Is it space limited? Then maybe a 5.1 channels is enough. Do you need Dolby Atmos or DTS:X? Then you should at least go for a 7.1 channels receiver in order to be able to create the minimum that is a 5.1.2 audio setup. Or maybe you have the space and budget and you can go all the way to a 11.2 channels AV receiver that can support a 7.2.4 audio setup with 4 Atmos speakers.

There are so many variables so it’s very crucial to know exactly what your needs are. Also take into consideration if you are planning for any future expansions. It will be a pity to create a nice 5.1.2 setup only to find a couple of years down the road that you could expand to a 5.1.4 setup or a 7.2.4 configuration. So keep in mind not only your current needs but also about the future. AV receivers are not cheap especially the medium and top tier models so you want them to last a good few years.

Budget : When you have set a realistic target on how many channels you need your receiver to support you need to decide on the available budget. Obviously each category has different price ranges but even between models of the same category can be big price differences because the number of channels they support is not the only thing that set their price. There are many more factors that can create big price differences making things a bit harder to distinguish which one offers the most value. So once you have set the limits of your budget let’s see what other elements you have to pay attention to.

Best AV Receivers - Buyer's Guide

Build Quality and Audio Performance : Manufacturers always try to use good quality audio parts in order to offer their models a certain level of performance but this is what separates a good AV receiver from a premium one. Usually each manufacturer having a more consumer friendly and a more premium lineup and it is easier to see the differences in hardware as the most elite models use more expensive and premium parts in order to squeeze this little bit of extra quality that would bring them to the top of the performance ladder. Also depending the hardware used many are able to support High Resolution Audio for the best music performance possible.

Features : In recent years AV receivers pack so much functionality that it becomes increasingly harder to keep track of everything. Keeping in line with the “Everything connected” thinking AV receivers include not only a wealth of playback and audio features but also streaming functionality, smart functions, external controls and much more. Let’s try to divide them into smaller categories in order to be able to distinguish better what to pay attention to the most.

1 – Power output : Although for each category power output between models is not very different you should always choose the one that offers the more power. Because this means it can drive more juice to your speakers. 5 or 10 watts difference may not seem a lot but it can make a difference some times.

Best AV Receivers - Buyer's Guide

2 – Virtual & up-mixing technologies : Virtual technologies is a relatively new thing that we started seeing them being utilized the last few years. The two technologies that are used today are Dolby Height Virtualization and DTS Virtual:X and what these two basically do is to simulate sounds in space where there are no physical speakers present. So if for example you have a 5.1 system with these systems you can simulate a 7.1 or a Dolby Atmos system. Of course accuracy suffers a lot but some times immersion is boosted depending the situation. Also Up-mixing technologies like Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X can take a simple 2 channels stereo track and up-mix it into completely surround audio.

3 – Audio calibration system support : All AV receivers use some kind of audio calibration system that offers an easy and simple way of setting up the audio in the best way possible without any manual interference. These systems are particularly useful for those that don’t want to trouble themselves with manual calibrations and although they can be very accurate for the best results possible some tweaking may be needed. Some of these systems offer more functionality and options than others but for the casual user all of them are more or less adequate.

Best AV Receivers - Buyer's Guide

4 – Ports and connectivity : Nowadays most medium and top tier AV receivers offer wireless and wired connection to the internet as well as Bluetooth functionality. Only some of the most budget friendly ones doesn’t have such connectivity as they don’t support any streaming services and thus don’t need any. Also the types and number of connections each model has is of great importance with the number of HDMI ports being the single most important one as most new equipment support only HDMI. Having enough such ports means you can connect everything you want without the need to add any HDMI switches which can be frustrating and unpractical.

5 – Streaming and multi-room functionality : Obviously this part is only important for those really interested in using these features and even a middle tier AV receiver nowadays comes fully packed with features and services. Spotify Connect, Deezer, TIDAL, Napster and Soundcloud are just a few streaming services that exist today while features like Chromecast, FlareConnect, DTS Play-Fi and AirPlay let you create your very own multi-room streaming environments.

6 – Control options : Obviously the good old remote is not going to leave us anytime soon but this doesn’t mean that we cannot get more options nowadays. With most affordable AV receivers becoming always internet connected means that we can now have more remote control over our equipment. IP, Web and App controls have been added to many new models while voice control that includes Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri and Josh.ai is slowly becoming the norm.

Best AV Receivers - Buyer's Guide

7 – Extra features : The features we mentioned above may be the most obvious but there are many others that can be of great importance. THX and IMAX Enhanced are two features we find in many medium to top tier models nowadays. And while THX ensures a certain level of quality IMAX Enhanced ensures that this device will be able to support such content when it becomes available. There are many other features you can find like 4K upscaling over Analogue and HDMI, Bi-Amp support, ECO Mode for better power management and HDMI-CEC functionality. Obviously the more of these features a receiver has the more value it packs.

 


The Best 5-Channels Receivers

#1 Onkyo TX-SR393

Onkyo TX-SR393 - Best AV Receivers guide

Our Rating :

Pros

Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support
Virtual and up-mixing tech support
Good performance
Excellent price

Cons

No streaming services
No voice control support
Limited High Resolution Audio supported
Multi-room features limited

The Onkyo TX-SR393 is taking the first place in the 5-channels AV receivers category and manages to do so because while this is one of the cheapest receivers in our article it still manages to support both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X while it comes with full support for Dolby Height Virtualization, DTS Virtual:X, Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X something very impressive if you consider we are talking about an aggressively low priced receiver.

Obviously some major corners had to be cut so with 80 watts of power you shouldn’t expect to run this in anything else other than small bedrooms or media rooms while it is almost stripped completely from any kind of online functionality either it be streaming or multi-room capabilities although it manages to offer Zone B support. It also features Bluetooth but no WiFi. It is also capable of 4K upscaling over HDMI which is not a usual feature in this price while it comes with Onkyo’s AccuEQ Room Acoustic Calibration, Subwoofer EQ and AccuReflex systems. High Resolution Audio is supported but is limited to DSD Audio streaming and this only at 2.8MHz.

Lastly control options are limited to the included remote as with no online capabilities it cannot support any kind of app, web or voice control features.

Key specifications are as follow :

  • Number of Power Amps : 5.2 channels.
  • Power Output (8 ohm, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.08% 2ch Drive) : 80 W.
  • Audio Formats Support : Dolby Atmos / DTS:X.
  • Virtual Technologies Support : Dolby Height Virtualization / DTS Virtual:X.
  • Up-mixing Technologies Support : Dolby Surround / DTS Neural:X.
  • HDMI Ports : 4 Inputs, 1 Output – HDCP 2.2 with ARC support.
  • Audio Calibration System : AccuEQ Room Acoustic Calibration, Subwoofer EQ and AccuReflex.
  • High Resolution Audio Support : DSD Audio Streaming (2.8 MHz).
  • Streaming Services :
  • Extra Multi-room and Streaming Features : Zone B.
  • Connectivity : Bluetooth 4.2.
  • Voice Control support :
  • Control Options :
  • Extra Features : 4K upscaling over HDMI.

The Onkyo TX-SR393 is good at very specific things. If you need a receiver that all that will do is to play any of the new object-oriented audio tracks and you are on a budget then you cannot get any better than this. Online capabilities are non existent but if you don’t care about any of that then this one will fit you perfectly and will save you a lot of money.


#2 Pioneer VSX-534

Pioneer VSX-534 - Best AV Receivers guide

Our Rating :

Pros

Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support
Virtual and up-mixing tech support
Good performance
Excellent price

Cons

No streaming services
No voice control support
Limited High Resolution Audio supported
Multi-room features limited

The Pioneer VSX-534 comes in the second place extremely close to the Onkyo above. If you look at the specifications you will be hard to find any differences as both of them seams to be like for like when it comes to performance and features. This means that this one here also supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X as well as all the known virtual and up-mixing tech like Dolby Height Virtualization, DTS Virtual:X, Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X.

It also comes with the same power rating at 80 watts, limited multi-room capabilities and High Resolution Audio support. It features Bluetooth but no WiFi and as such there are no online and streaming services available. Similarly to the Onkyo we get 4K upscaling over HDMI and the same number of HDMI ports with 4 inputs and only 1 output. If there is a more noteworthy difference is that here we get the MCACC Auto Room Tuning with Phase Control and Subwoofer EQ which is Pioneer’s proprietary calibration system and this is probably the only reason why we placed this second as we do like Onkyo’s AccuEQ system just a bit more over MCACC. But this is mostly a personal preference and both of them will do the job just fine.

Key specifications are as follow :

  • Number of Power Amps : 5.2 channels.
  • Power Output (8 ohm, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.08% 2ch Drive) : 80 W.
  • Audio Formats Support : Dolby Atmos / DTS:X.
  • Virtual Technologies Support : Dolby Height Virtualization / DTS Virtual:X.
  • Up-mixing Technologies Support : Dolby Surround / DTS Neural:X.
  • HDMI Ports : 4 Inputs, 1 Output – HDCP 2.2 with ARC support.
  • Audio Calibration System : MCACC Auto Room Tuning with Phase Control and Subwoofer EQ.
  • High Resolution Audio Support : DSD Audio Streaming (2.8 MHz).
  • Streaming Services :
  • Extra Multi-room and Streaming Features : Zone B.
  • Connectivity : Bluetooth 4.2.
  • Voice Control support :
  • Control Options :
  • Extra Features : 4K upscaling over HDMI.

The Pioneer VSX-534 is another capable receiver in the 5 channels category that comes extremely close to the 1st place but looses it by a very small margin. It has the same capabilities as the Onkyo TX-SR393 with the only difference being the MCACC calibration system. Also for what is worth it the Pioneer is about $20 cheaper at the time of writing this article making this one the cheapest, Dolby Atmos enabled receiver available today.


#3 Denon AVR-S650H

Denon AVR-S650H - Best AV Receivers guide

Our Rating :

Pros

High Resolution Audio support
Many streaming and multi-room features
Comes with eARC
Features all 4 major voice control services

Cons

No Dolby Atmos or DTS:X
No virtual or up-mixing tech
Only good for small rooms
More expensive than competition

The Denon AVR-S650H comes in the third place and it seems like while the Onkyo and Pioneer ones decided to focus mostly on supporting the latest audio formats this one takes a different route. With 75 watts of power it’s the weakest of the three while it supports only the previous generation Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio which is one of the major reason why it is ranked below the other two. It also looses any support for virtual or up-mixing tech.

But what it is loosing in audio formats support it gains in online functionality. The Denon comes with full WiFi and Bluetooth support and this allows for a wide selection of streaming services to be supported as you can see in the specs below. Also you can find the HEOS and Airplay 2 multi-room features if you are interested in creating your own multi-room environment in your house. Controlling the Denon could not be easier as being online allows the receiver to be controlled through voice by supporting all major voice control services as well as by Denon’s online app that you can download to your mobile device. It also features 5 HDMI inputs and 1 output with all of them being HDCP 2.3 with added eARC support.

Key specifications are as follow :

  • Number of Power Amps : 5.2 channels.
  • Power Output (8 ohm, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.08% 2ch Drive) : 75 W.
  • Audio Formats Support : Dolby True HD / DTS-HD Master Audio.
  • Virtual Technologies Support :
  • Up-mixing Technologies Support :
  • HDMI Ports : 5 Inputs, 1 Output – HDCP 2.3 with eARC support.
  • Audio Calibration System : Audyssey MultEQ with Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume.
  • High Resolution Audio Support : FLAC HD 192/24, WAV 192/24, ALAC 192/24, DSD Audio Streaming (2.8/5.6MHz).
  • Streaming Services : Spotify Connect, Deezer, TIDAL, Napster, Pandora, SiriusXM, Amazon Music, iHeart Radio, Mood Mix, Internet Radio (TuneIn).
  • Extra Multi-room and Streaming Features : HEOS, AirPlay 2, USB Streaming.
  • Connectivity : Wi-Fi Certified 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, Ethernet.
  • Voice Control support : Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri, Josh.ai.
  • Control Options : App Control.
  • Extra Features : HDMI-CEC.

When it comes to the Denon the focus obviously shifts toward it’s online capabilities. It is still extremely capable at playing the previous generation audio tracks but with it’s online streaming and multi-room capabilities it has no competition. Also it comes with full High Resolution Audio support which is a plus but on the downside it is the most expensive receiver in this category which lowers a little it’s overall score.

 


The Best 7-Channels Receivers

#1 Onkyo TX-NR696

Onkyo TX-NR696 - Best AV Receivers guide

Our Rating :

Pros

THX Certified
Very good performance
Many online and streaming features
Good price

Cons

No eARC
Amazon Alexa is not supported
There is no Web control
Not IMAX Enhanced

The top spot in our 7-channels category is being taken by the Onkyo TX-NR696 which is a feature complete receiver that offers excellent performance and adds a ton of services and features into the mix that in combination with it’s very good price makes this one an excellent choice for any situation. The Onkyo, with 100 watts of power output, packs by far the most juice from any of the other receivers in this category and in combination with it’s support for the new Dolby Atmos and DTS:X as well as for all virtual and up-mixing tech like Dolby Height Virtualization, DTS Virtual:X, Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X offers plenty of flexibility when it comes to audio performance.

It also features the most HDMI inputs with a total of 7 although they are all HDCP 2.2 and there is no eARC to be found (only ARC is featured). It also comes with standard High Resolution Audio capabilities and supports many streaming and online services like Chromecast, AirPlay 2, DTS Play-Fi and FlareConnect. Having online capabilities means we also get IP and app support although there is only Google Assistant and no Alexa here. Other noteworthy features are bi-amp capabilities as well as 4K upscaling over HDMI.

Key specifications are as follow :

  • Number of Power Amps : 7.2 channels.
  • Power Output (8 ohm, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.08% 2ch Drive) : 100 W.
  • Audio Formats Support : Dolby Atmos / DTS:X.
  • Virtual Technologies Support : Dolby Height Virtualization / DTS Virtual:X.
  • Up-mixing Technologies Support : Dolby Surround / DTS Neural:X.
  • HDMI Ports : 7 Inputs (1 front), 2 Outputs – HDCP 2.2 with ARC support.
  • Audio Calibration System : AccuEQ Advance with AccuReflex.
  • High Resolution Audio Support : FLAC HD 192/24, WAV 192/24, ALAC 192/24, AIFF 192/24, DSD Audio Streaming (2.8MHz/5.6MHz/11.2 MHz).
  • Streaming Services : Chromecast, Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify, TIDAL, Deezer, TuneIn.
  • Extra Multi-room and Streaming Features : AirPlay 2, DTS Play-Fi, FlareConnect, USB Streaming, Zone 2/Zone B.
  • Connectivity : Wi-Fi Certified 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1, Ethernet.
  • Voice Control support : Google Assistant.
  • Control Options : IP Control / App Control.
  • Extra Features : THX / Bi-Amp / 4K Upscaling over HDMI.

The Onkyo is a THX certified AV receiver which is rather impressive for a 7 channels model and we don’t usually get such quality in this range. Offering the most power and most HDMI ports as well as the THX stamp of quality ensures the TX-NR696 the first place among competition. With the price hovering over the average we see mostly in this category this is definitely an unbeatable choice.


#2 Pioneer VSX-LX104

Pioneer VSX-LX104 - Best AV Receivers guide

Our Rating :

Pros

Great audio support
Very good performance
Many online and streaming features
Very good price

Cons

No eARC
Voice control is completely absent
Only 80 watts of power
Not IMAX Enhanced

Pioneer VSX-LX104 manages to claim the second place in this category by offering solid performance, good build quality, many features and all this at a very tempting price. Unfortunately unlike the Onkyo above here you will only get 80 watts of power which is still enough for small to medium sized rooms but you do get all the same in audio formats support. You also loose one HDMI port with 6 being available while none are placed at the front.

This is also a very capable online receiver as it has both WiFi and Bluetooth functionality and as such it features enough streaming as well as multi-room services as you can see in our specs table below. High Resolution Audio is a standard here as you can stream all your high quality music through the USB port. There is RS232 control support as well as Pioneer’s app in order to control the receiver through your phone or tablet. Additional features include Bi-amp support as well as 4K upscaling over HDMI. Unfortunately voice control is completely absent which is a bit puzzling in this day and age.

Key specifications are as follow :

  • Number of Power Amps : 7.2 channels.
  • Power Output (8 ohm, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.08% 2ch Drive) : 80 W.
  • Audio Formats Support : Dolby Atmos / DTS:X.
  • Virtual Technologies Support : Dolby Height Virtualization / DTS Virtual:X.
  • Up-mixing Technologies Support : Dolby Surround / DTS Neural:X.
  • HDMI Ports : 6 Inputs, 2 Outputs – HDCP 2.2 with ARC support.
  • Audio Calibration System : MCACC Auto Room Tuning with Phase Control and Subwoofer EQ.
  • High Resolution Audio Support : FLAC HD 192/24, WAV 192/24, ALAC 192/24, AIFF 192/24, DSD Audio Streaming (2.8/5.6MHz).
  • Streaming Services : Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify, TIDAL, Deezer, TuneIn.
  • Extra Multi-room and Streaming Features : AirPlay 2, DTS Play-Fi, FlareConnect, USB Streaming, Zone 2/Zone B.
  • Connectivity : Wi-Fi Certified 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, Ethernet.
  • Voice Control support :
  • Control Options : RS232 Control / App Control.
  • Extra Features : Bi-Amp / 4K upscaling over HDMI.

The Pioneer is a good alternative option to our number one choice of this category. It is missing a few things in comparison as the lower power, 1 less HDMI input and no voice control service whatsoever but at least it gets something back by having a lower price than the Onkyo. If the mentioned features don’t mean anything to you, you can go for the Pioneer and save about $100 in the process. It may not be THX certified but the kind of quality and performance of the Pioneer is more than satisfying.


#3 Denon AVR-X1600H

Denon AVR-X1600H - Best AV Receivers guide

Our Rating :

Pros

Great audio support
Very good performance
Many online and streaming features
Full voice control support

Cons

Only 6 HDMI ports
No 4K upscaling
Only 80 watts of power
Expensive

The Denon AVR-X1600H comes third in this category and this was a hard one as it battled for the second place with the Pioneer. The Denon features the same power and audio support, has the same number of HDMI ports but the Denon comes with eARC support that the Pioneer doesn’t have. It also comes with the standard High Resolution Audio support as well as similar connectivity with WiFi and Bluetooth being both present.

When it comes to online services the Denon features a more complete list available while multi-room functionality is similar as we get HEOS instead of DTS Play-Fi or FlareConnect that we found in the Pioneer. One major advantage of the Denon is it’s full support for all voice control services while you will also get HDMI-CEC, bi-Amp capabilities and ECO mode while there is no 4K upscaling to be found. We also favor the Denon just a little bit due to the inclusion of the Audyssey calibration system instead of the MCACC of the Pioneer.

Key specifications are as follow :

  • Number of Power Amps : 7.2 channels.
  • Power Output (8 ohm, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.08% 2ch Drive) : 80 W.
  • Audio Formats Support : Dolby Atmos / DTS:X.
  • Virtual Technologies Support : Dolby Height Virtualization / DTS Virtual:X.
  • Up-mixing Technologies Support : Dolby Surround / DTS Neural:X.
  • HDMI Ports : 6 Inputs (1 front), 1 Output – HDCP 2.3 with eARC support.
  • Audio Calibration System : Audyssey MultEQ XT with Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume.
  • High Resolution Audio Support : FLAC HD 192/24, WAV 192/24, ALAC 192/24, DSD Audio Streaming (2.8/5.6MHz).
  • Streaming Services : Spotify, TuneIn, Pandora, Amazon Prime Music, iHeartRadio, SiriusXM, Soundcloud, Tidal, Napster, Deezer.
  • Extra Multi-room and Streaming Features : HEOS, AirPlay 2, USB Streaming, Zone 2/Zone B.
  • Connectivity : Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, Ethernet.
  • Voice Control support : Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri, Josh.ai.
  • Control Options : IP Control / Web Control / App Control.
  • Extra Features : HDMI-CEC / Bi-Amp / ECO Mode.

The Denon is a very capable receiver that offers a lot of functionality compared to the other models on the market. It came really close to get the second place as it has a few extra features compared to the Pioneer like eARC, more streaming services and voice control functionality but ultimately it has to settle for third as these extras will set you back an extra $200 compared to the Pioneer. The Denon offers a lot and if you can find it at a lower price then it definitely deserves your attention.

 


The Best 9-Channels Receivers

#1 Marantz SR6014

Marantz SR6014 - Best AV Receivers guide

Our Rating :

Pros

Excellent audio performance
Great build quality
Enough power with 110 watts per channel
Huge list of services, features and smart functions

Cons

Small additions over last year
Same design
No backlight on remote
High price

If you are thinking about getting a 9 channels receiver competition is very fierce as there are some very capable and amazing models on offer here with a wide range of features and prices. Our top choice was a difficult one as for the spot we had 2 models that tried to claim it and ultimately after a lot of thinking we went for the Marantz SR6014. This receiver is an amazing piece of audio equipment and comes with 110 watts of power which is the highest from all the choices we made in this category.

Obviously it packs all the support you will ever need with audio formats and High Resolution Audio support as well as featuring 8 HDMI ports with added eARC functionality. WiFi and Bluetooth are a given and as such we also get strong streaming and multi-room capabilities with the most known services present. Voice control comes in the form of all the 4 known ones, remote control is supported with IP, RS232, web and app being present while the receiver also features many extras like upscaling, bi-amp capabilites, ECO mode for power management, HDMI-CEC for control with a single remote. Lastly it’s IMAX Enhanced so when content becomes available this one will be ready to support it.

Key specifications are as follow :

  • Number of Power Amps : 9.2 channels.
  • Power Output (8 ohm, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.08% 2ch Drive) : 110 W.
  • Audio Formats Support : Dolby Atmos / DTS:X.
  • Virtual Technologies Support : Dolby Height Virtualization / DTS Virtual:X.
  • Up-mixing Technologies Support : Dolby Surround / DTS Neural:X.
  • HDMI Ports : 8 Inputs (1 front), 3 Outputs – HDCP 2.3 with eARC support.
  • Audio Calibration System : Audyssey MultEQ XT32 with LFC/Sub EQ HT, Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume.
  • High Resolution Audio Support : FLAC HD 192/24, WAV 192/24, ALAC 192/24, DSD Audio Streaming (2.8/5.6MHz).
  • Streaming Services : Spotify Connect, Deezer, TIDAL, Napster, Pandora, SiriusXM, Internet Radio (TuneIn).
  • Extra Multi-room and Streaming Features : HEOS, AirPlay 2, USB Streaming, Zone 2.
  • Connectivity : Wi-Fi 2.4GHz/5GHz, Bluetooth, Ethernet.
  • Voice Control support : Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri, Josh.ai.
  • Control Options : IP Control / RS232 Control / Web Control / App Control.
  • Extra Features : IMAX Enhanced / 4K upscaling over Analogue and HDMI / Bi-Amp / ECO Mode / HDMI-CEC.

If there is one minus we could find about this specific model is that compared to the competition it’s damn expensive. This alone was the reason it almost lost first place but ultimately we were so much in love with this one that we could not resist the temptation. Price is very crucial to us but for this specific model we could not deny that we would dare to pay the extra in order to get it. An amazing AV receiver from Marantz.


#2 Denon AVR-X3600H

Denon AVR-X3600H - Best AV Receivers guide

Our Rating :

Pros

Excellent audio performance
Great build quality
Huge list of services, features and smart functions
Good price

Cons

Small additions over last year
Same design
No backlight on remote
Price could be a bit better

The Denon AVR-X3600H was so close at getting the top spot from us compared to the Marantz but ultimately it has to settle for second place. Specs wise this receiver is very close to the Marantz, so close in fact that it can become increasingly hard to find any differences by just reading the numbers. We are sure that this one will be featured at the top spot of many “best of” lists and honestly it deserves it.

The only most obvious differences are that the Denon comes with just a little less power at 105 watts compared to the 110 watts of the Marantz while the Denon seems to feature a more complete list of streaming services. And while for many these differences may not seem a lot the price difference between the two is a huge $400 cheaper for the Denon which can be a very persuasive reason for many. Everything else is the same as the Denon comes with full support for all audio formats, 8 HDMI ports with eARC, full voice control, remote control and extra features that are also included in the Marantz.

Key specifications are as follow :

  • Number of Power Amps : 9.2 channels.
  • Power Output (8 ohm, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.08% 2ch Drive) : 105 W.
  • Audio Formats Support : Dolby Atmos / DTS:X.
  • Virtual Technologies Support : Dolby Height Virtualization / DTS Virtual:X.
  • Up-mixing Technologies Support : Dolby Surround / DTS Neural:X.
  • HDMI Ports : 8 Inputs (1 front), 3 Outputs – HDCP 2.3 with eARC and Game mode support.
  • Audio Calibration System : Audyssey MultEQ XT32 with LFC/Sub EQ HT, Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume.
  • High Resolution Audio Support : FLAC HD 192/24, WAV 192/24, ALAC 192/24, DSD Audio Streaming (2.8/5.6MHz).
  • Streaming Services : Spotify, TuneIn, Pandora, Amazon Prime Music, iHeartRadio, SiriusXM, Soundcloud, Tidal, Napster, Deezer.
  • Extra Multi-room and Streaming Features : HEOS, AirPlay 2, USB Streaming, Zone 2.
  • Connectivity : Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, Ethernet.
  • Voice Control support : Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri, Josh.ai.
  • Control Options : IP Control / RS232 Control / Web Control / App Control.
  • Extra Features :IMAX Enhanced/  4K upscaling over Analogue and HDMI / Bi-Amp / ECO Mode / HDMI-CEC.

If you consider the Denon over the Marantz we fully understand why and we can admit that the Denon packs much more value than the Marantz when you look at it from a pure price versus features perspective. If you want an amazing receiver fully packed with features and functionality but also are price sensitive then the Denon is the ideal choice for you. You cannot go wrong with this one.


#3 Onkyo TX-NR797

Onkyo TX-NR797 - Best AV Receivers guide

Our Rating :

Pros

THX certified
Nice build quality
A lot services, features and smart functions
Amazing price

Cons

No DTS Virtual:X
eARC is not supported
Less HDMI ports than competition
Only Google Assistant support

Closing this category we chose the Onkyo TX-NR797 for the simple fact that it comes with the a price that is unbeatable by the competition. Both the Marantz and Denon may be able to claim that have more feature complete receivers in comparison but if you think that the Onkyo comes at almost half the price of the Denon and 1/3rd the price of Marantz then it becomes a no brainer if you consider that we are talking about a 9 channels receiver.

With 100 watts of power it may be the weakest in this category but it still packs enough power for any medium sized room. From audio it only misses DTS Virtual:X while everything else is present and supported. Also it has one less HDMI port while it also looses eARC. Lastly we loose some voice control services as Google Assistant is the only one present. Everything else seems to be supported with High Resolution Audio as well as a full list of streaming and multi-room functionality. Various extras are also present with IMAX Enhanced adding future value for when content will be available, bi-amp capabilities, 4K upscaling and HDMI-CEC.

Key specifications are as follow :

  • Number of Power Amps : 9.2 channels.
  • Power Output (8 ohm, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.08% 2ch Drive) : 100 W.
  • Audio Formats Support : Dolby Atmos / DTS:X.
  • Virtual Technologies Support : Dolby Height Virtualization.
  • Up-mixing Technologies Support : Dolby Surround / DTS Neural:X.
  • HDMI Ports : 7 Inputs (1 front), 2 Outputs – HDCP 2.2 with ARC support.
  • Audio Calibration System : AccuEQ Advance with AccuReflex.
  • High Resolution Audio Support : FLAC HD 192/24, WAV 192/24, ALAC 192/24, AIFF 192/24, DSD Audio Streaming (2.8MHz/5.6MHz/11.2 MHz).
  • Streaming Services : Chromecast, Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify, TIDAL, Deezer, TuneIn.
  • Extra Multi-room and Streaming Features : AirPlay 2, DTS Play-Fi, FlareConnect, USB Streaming, Zone 2/Zone 3.
  • Connectivity : Wi-Fi Certified 802.11ac (2×2 MIMO), Bluetooth 4.2, Ethernet.
  • Voice Control support : Google Assistant.
  • Control Options :IP Control / RS232 Control / Web Control / App Control.
  • Extra Features :IMAX Enhanced / THX / 4K upscaling over Analogue and HDMI / Bi-Amp / HDMI-CEC.

The Onkyo obviously comes with a weaker feature set compared to the other two but the price difference is so big that we are willing to turn a blind eye and if you are looking for an affordable THX certified, 9 channels receiver it cannot get much better than this. The Onkyo TX-NR797 is the definition of a “value for money” audio equipment and what is missing is of minor importance deserving a place in our “best of” list.

 


The Best 11-Channels Receivers

#1 Denon AVR-X6500H

Denon AVR-X6500H - Best AV Receivers guide

Our Rating :

Pros

Amazing audio performance
Great build quality
11.2 channels support
Huge list of services, features and smart functions

Cons

Small additions over last year
Same design
Could use a better remote
Not the cheapest in the category

As with our 9 channels category here the battle was on mainly between 2 models, the Denon AVR-X6500H and the Marantz SR8012 as both of them feature almost exactly the same specs with very few differences between them. And while in the 9 channels category we gave the first place to Marantz even though it was the most expensive of the two we cannot do the same here also. The difference in price between the Denon and the Marantz is a whopping $800 which is far too much for us to justify no matter what kind of differences they have in their design and hardware. As such the Denon claims the top spot in this category.

Featuring almost everything you would need as far as features, smart controls and streaming services this receiver really packs a lot of value and with a price that can be considered very good if you take into consideration that we talk about an 11 channels receiver. Fearing not only Dolby Atmos and DTS:X but also Auro-3D the Denon has something for everyone. There is even DTS Virtual:X, Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X available for those that like to use this tech. HEOS and Airplay 2 let you stream any kind of audio you like but also create your own multi-room environment. With WiFi and Bluetooth available you can use either voice or remote controls that are fully available.

There is also many other extra features supported that you can see below in the list making this receiver ready for every situation and setup.

Key specifications are as follow :

  • Number of Power Amps : 11.2 channels.
  • Power Output (8 ohm, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.05% 2ch Drive) : 140 W.
  • Audio Formats Support : Dolby Atmos / DTS:X / Auro-3D.
  • Virtual Technologies Support : DTS Virtual:X.
  • Up-mixing Technologies Support : Dolby Surround / DTS Neural:X.
  • HDMI Ports : 8 Inputs (1 front), 3 Outputs – HDCP 2.2 with eARC support.
  • Audio Calibration System : Audyssey MultEQ XT32 with LFC/Sub EQ HT, Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume.
  • High Resolution Audio Support : FLAC HD 192/24, WAV 192/24, ALAC 192/24, DSD Audio Streaming (2.8/5.6MHz).
  • Streaming Services : Spotify, TuneIn, Pandora, Amazon Prime Music, iHeartRadio, SiriusXM, Soundcloud, Tidal, Napster, Deezer.
  • Extra Multi-room and Streaming Features : HEOS, AirPlay 2, USB Streaming, Zone 2/Zone 3.
  • Connectivity : Wi-Fi Certified IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, Ethernet.
  • Voice Control support : Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri, Josh.ai.
  • Control Options : IP Control / RS232 Control / App Control.
  • Extra Features :IMAX Enhanced /4K upscaling over Analogue and HDMI / Bi-Amp / ECO Mode / HDMI-CEC.

Going for an 11 channels receiver means that you are prepared to spend a serious amount of money to get one. This doesn’t mean that you cannot save some cash by choosing a model that has both the performance and a good price. And this Denon is one of them. Coming with a cost far lower than the Marantz SR8012 this one here will save you enough money that you can spend elsewhere. Kudos to Denon for an excellent model and a great price.


#2 Marantz SR8012

Marantz SR8012 - Best AV Receivers guide

Our Rating :

Pros

Amazing audio performance
Great build quality
11.2 channels support
Huge list of services, features and smart functions

Cons

Small additions over last year
Same design
Big remote
High price compared to competition

There is not much to say about the Marantz SR8012 as what we have here is a truly amazing AV receiver. This one here comes with almost exactly the same spec as our top choice, the Denon AVR-X6500H but ultimately it looses the top spot because of it’s much higher price. Even with the quality that Marantz has put in the SR8012 we just cannot justify the extra $800 difference especially when the AVR-X6500H offers so good performance and quality. And this is the only reason it has to settle for 2nd place.

The SR8012 also features not only Atmos and DTS:X as usual but Auro-3D also that is increasingly popular among home theater fans. With 8 HDMI inputs and 3 outputs with added eARC functionality, WiFi and Bluetooth the SR8012 has everything it needs in order to offer a complete online experience. This means that you will get support for all the most known streaming services while with HEOS and Airplay 2 you can stream music across your house if you have multiple speakers in your rooms. Voice controls are present while remote control features all known services. Lastly you get 4K upscaling, bi-amp capabilities, ECO mode and HDMI-CEC as standard. Being also IMAX Enhanced means that the SR8012 is ready for any future content that supports it.

Key specifications are as follow :

  • Number of Power Amps : 11.2 channels.
  • Power Output (8 ohm, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.08% 2ch Drive) : 140 W.
  • Audio Formats Support : Dolby Atmos / DTS:X / Auro-3D.
  • Virtual Technologies Support :
  • Up-mixing Technologies Support : Dolby Surround / DTS Neural:X.
  • HDMI Ports : 8 Inputs (1 front), 3 Outputs – HDCP 2.3 with eARC support.
  • Audio Calibration System : Audyssey MultEQ XT32 with LFC/Sub EQ HT, Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume.
  • High Resolution Audio Support : FLAC HD 192/24, WAV 192/24, ALAC 192/24, DSD Audio Streaming (2.8/5.6MHz).
  • Streaming Services : Spotify Connect, Deezer, TIDAL, Napster, Soundcloud, Internet Radio (TuneIn).
  • Extra Multi-room and Streaming Features : HEOS, AirPlay 2, USB Streaming, Zone 2/Zone 3.
  • Connectivity : Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, Ethernet.
  • Voice Control support : Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri, Josh.ai.
  • Control Options : IP Control / RS232 Control / Web Control / App Control.
  • Extra Features : IMAX Enhanced / 4K upscaling over Analogue and HDMI / Bi-Amp / ECO Mode / HDMI-CEC.

We really like the SR8012 as there is so much quality to be found in this one. But with such a high price we are sure many will have second thoughts especially with the more aggressively priced Denon AVR-X6500H. The SR8012 certainly has appeal and will have it’s own audience but we can image how better it could fair if the price could get a bit lower. As it is right now it is doomed to stay in the shadow of the Denon which is a real shame if you consider how much functionality it offers.


#3 Pioneer SC-LX901

Pioneer SC-LX901 - Best AV Receivers guide

Our Rating :

Pros

Amazing audio performance
Great build quality
Great price for this category
A lot of services, features and smart functions

Cons

Only 2 HDMI ouputs
Only ARC support
Not IMAX Enhanced
No voice control services

The third place in this category is claimed by the excellent Pioneer SC-LX901. While this 11.2 channels receiver is missing a few key functions compared to the first two choices it still poses an excellent choice all things considered. But it’s most strong feature is that the Pioneer is the cheapest of all the 11.2 channels receivers in our article. With a price of $2,000 this one is a great alternative if the missing features are not of great importance to you.

But let’s see what this one has. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are standard but we don’t get Auro-3D with this one. Also we get both up-mixing technologies in the form of Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X. While the receiver has 8 HDMI inputs it only features 2 outputs and comes with only ARC function. WiFi and Bluetooth as both built-in so the receiver can offer a full set of multi-room and streaming services like Chromecast, FlareConnect, DTS Play-Fi and AirPlay as well as Spotify Connect, Deezer, TIDAL, Pandora and Internet Radio. Remote control is available as is RS232 control. Lastly you get 4K upscaling, bi-amp support and HDMI-CEC.

Key specifications are as follow :

  • Number of Power Amps : 11.2 channels.
  • Power Output (8 ohm, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.08% 2ch Drive) : 140 W.
  • Audio Formats Support : Dolby Atmos / DTS:X.
  • Virtual Technologies Support :
  • Up-mixing Technologies Support : Dolby Surround / DTS Neural:X.
  • HDMI Ports : 8 Inputs (1 front), 2 Outputs – HDCP 2.2 with ARC support.
  • Audio Calibration System : MCACC Pro Auto Room Tuning with Full Band Phase Control, Precision Distance and 4 Band Subwoofer EQ.
  • High Resolution Audio Support : FLAC HD 192/24, WAV 192/24, ALAC 192/24, AIFF 192/24, DSD Audio Streaming (2.8/5.6MHz/11.2MHz).
  • Streaming Services :Spotify Connect, Deezer, TIDAL, Pandora, Internet Radio (TuneIn).
  • Extra Multi-room and Streaming Features : Chromecast, FlareConnect, DTS Play-Fi, AirPlay, USB Streaming, Zone 2/Zone 3.
  • Connectivity : Wi-Fi (Dual Band 5 GHz/2.4 GHz), Bluetooth 4.1, Ethernet.
  • Voice Control support :
  • Control Options : IP Control / RS232 Control / App Control.
  • Extra Features : 4K upscaling over HDMI / Bi-Amp / HDMI-CEC.

When you look at the specs and compare them to the Denon and the Marantz, the Pioneer receiver seems to be the most weak in this category by loosing a few functions compared to the others. Obviously the most important factors are the 11.2 channels support as well as the 140 watts of power that is the same as the others. So if you don’t care about the missing features and you want the most cheap alternative in the 11 channels category the Pioneer SC-LX901 is an excellent choice.

 


The Best 13-Channels Receivers

#1 Denon AVR-X8500H

Denon AVR-X8500H - Best AV Receivers guide

Our Rating :

Pros

13 channels support
Auro-3D support
150 watts of power
Fully packed with features

Cons

No built-in tuner
Could use a better remote
Huge form factor
Crazy price for an AV receiver

For the 13 channels category we find this monster of a receiver with Denon being one of the few manufacturers that offer a model with native 13 channels support. Obviously power also gets a boost compared to the lower categories and as such we reach 150 watts of power amplification for each channel. The receiver also comes with 8 HDMI ports with added eARC functionality as this is the maximum number of such ports we have seen in any receiver on the market.

As for everything else we can say that the Denon comes with all the bells and whistles you would expect from such a flagship receiver. There is High Resolution Audio support, streaming services are in abundance with all the major names present, multi-room functionality is strong with HEOS and Airplay 2 supported, there is both WiFi and Bluetooth for online activity while voice and remote control comes with all the known services available. There is also 4K upscaling both over HDMI and over analogue ports, bi-amp capabilities, ECO mode if you want better power management as well as HDMI-CEC. Lastly this one is IMAX Enhanced when content for that becomes commercially available.

Key specifications are as follow :

  • Number of Power Amps : 13.2 channels.
  • Power Output (8 ohm, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.05% 2ch Drive) : 150 W.
  • Audio Formats Support : Dolby Atmos / DTS:X / Auro-3D.
  • Virtual Technologies Support :
  • Up-mixing Technologies Support : DTS Neural:X.
  • HDMI Ports : 8 Inputs (1 front), 3 Outputs – HDCP 2.2 with eARC support.
  • Audio Calibration System : Audyssey MultEQ XT32 with LFC/Sub EQ HT, Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume.
  • High Resolution Audio Support : FLAC HD 192/24, WAV 192/24, ALAC 192/24, DSD Audio Streaming (2.8/5.6MHz).
  • Streaming Services : Spotify, TuneIn, Pandora, Amazon Prime Music, iHeartRadio, SiriusXM, Soundcloud, Tidal, Napster, Deezer.
  • Extra Multi-room and Streaming Features : HEOS, AirPlay 2, USB Streaming, Zone 2/Zone 3.
  • Connectivity : Wi-Fi Certified IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, Ethernet.
  • Voice Control support : Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri, Josh.ai.
  • Control Options : IP Control / RS232 Control / Web Control / App Control.
  • Extra Features : IMAX Enhanced /4K upscaling over Analogue and HDMI / Bi-Amp / ECO Mode / HDMI-CEC.

What can be said about such a monstrous receiver that is not obvious from the specs alone? If you want to have the best flagship AV receiver right now you can stop looking as there is no other choice in this category for the moment. The Denon AVR-X8500H is the new king but with this flagship title comes also a hefty price so be prepared to spend a huge sum to get it. But being the king is expensive and the Denon makes a good use of it’s asking price.


Closing

If you are interested you can find even more general information about AV Receivers and their functionality by checking out this link. This concludes our Best AV Receivers buyer’s guide and we hope we were able to help you make the better choice when choosing a receiver that not only suits your needs but also will offer you the best value for your money. Remember that even if a model you are looking is not featured here doesn’t mean that it’s bad but with such a vast catalog of models in the market nowadays we hand picked the ones we believe offer the best value by always taking the price into consideration.

Let us know what you think about it in the comments below and even if the receiver you are interested in is not included in our article don’t hesitate to write us your questions and we will try to answer them to the best of our abilities.

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