What are the best AV receivers?
If you’re looking for the very best home cinema experience, the best AV receivers are essential for delivering dynamic and impactful surround sound.
They’re also great for listening to music from streaming services or SACDs, and gamers also benefit from exceptional audio processing across multiple channels.
We’ve checked out a range of excellent AV receivers and rounded up the best money can buy.
The Best AV Receivers Compared
Our tech lists are created by researching the best-reviewed products from the most reputable web sources.
Here’s our list of the 10 best AV receivers:
In A Rush? Here’s Our Top Pick:
10. Yamaha – Aventage RX-A780
Yamaha has a long-established reputation for putting out excellent AV receivers and amplifiers, having cornered the market for affordable Pro Logic receivers back in the 1990s.
Their Aventage RX-A780 AV receiver continues with this trend for exceptional audio quality on a budget.
This is a Dolby Atmos and DTS.X capable AV receiver, which puts out great sound across all channels.
This means you get 95 watts of power per channel, which is more than enough for small to medium-sized rooms, creating a nice and immersive soundstage when viewing Dolby Atmos-supported movies.
While it’s perhaps nothing to write home about to look at, controls are intuitive, and everything can be accessed easily via the remote control.
- Affordable price
- Nice selection of features
- Dolby Atmos and DTS.X
- No smart home support
- Unsuitable for larger rooms
While the Aventage RX-A780 AV receiver might lack the bells and whistles of higher-end AV receivers, at this price range, it’s a great option for someone looking to build a home cinema in a medium-sized room.
9. Onkyo – TX-NR797
If you’re after an AV receiver that delivers an enhanced IMAX experience or Dolby Vision, look no further than the Onkyo TX-NR797 AV receiver.
This AV receiver offers a wide selection of sound modes and features Onkyo’s AccuEQ room calibration function to improve harmonious sounds.
Despite the range of options, you can tinker with, it’s easy to use and features a fast wireless network for streaming media.
You can also pair this with Bluetooth speakers, delivering a comprehensive surround sound rig without worrying about setting up endless cables.
If you have a Sonos sound system, the TX-NR797 will integrate with this as well, so you can control everything via the Sonos app.
- IMAX enhanced with THX certification
- Works with Google Assistant
- Dynamic range across all channels
- No support for Amazon Alexa
- Lacks front wide channel support
With the latest audio processing technology and a range of playback functions, the Onkyo TX-NR797 AV receiver is a cost-effective way to achieve great home theater results.
8. Sony – STR-DN1080
While many people use Blu-ray and 4K UHD physical media for the best quality home cinema experience, there’s a great selection of music content available as well.
Sony’s STR-DN1080 AV receiver is an ideal compromise between the two forms of media, offering Chromecast streaming and AirPlay built-in, as well as Spotify for music lovers.
Audio performance is outstanding, whether you’re using advanced DTS:X or Dolby Atmos, with solid bass performance really enhancing punchy explosions.
Music is crisp and clear, and the user interface means you can tweak the EQ settings to tailor the overall brightness of music to your tastes.
While the phantom rear channels might not be as impressive in reality as on paper, overall, this is a solid all-rounder.
- Great streaming options for music lovers
- Plenty of 4K compatible inputs
- Good value for money
- Limited expansion options
- Backlight on remote control would be nice
A minimalist device that nevertheless delivers great sound reproduction, Sony’s STR-DN1080 AV receiver offers great options for those who love to stream music.
7. Marantz – NR1711
While many of the best AV receivers are bulky bits of gear, the Marantz NR1711 AV receiver takes a slimline approach to its build, making it a great space saver.
Despite its comparatively diminutive size, it still puts out 50 watts across 7 channels and supports Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, DTS:X & DTS Virtual:X.
8K HDMI upscaling delivers optimal quality across gaming and movies, while HEOS wireless multiroom technology makes it easy to control music throughout the house.
Bluetooth compatibility means you can quickly connect your wireless headphones while streaming podcasts from mobile phones is also a painless process.
Marantz has a great track record for great audio reproduction, and their NR1711 AV receiver continues to justify their reputation.
- Great compact design
- Support for Bluetooth headphones
- Audio is great across all sources
- Lacking DAB+
- Only one HDMI output
Don’t let appearances deceive you: the Marantz NR1711 AV receiver is a versatile device with wide-ranging compatibility which pumps out fantastic audio for both music and films.
6. Marantz – SR6015
Sticking with Marantz for the next entry on our list of the best AV receivers, this time with a much bulkier model, the SR8015.
This beast offers a 9.2 channel 8K receiver with built-in HEOS and voice control, making it a step up from the previous slim entry.
It’s a step up in the price department, too, but for the extra money, what you get is a far more powerful AV receiver that won’t struggle to fill a large room with enveloping audio.
Marantz has packed some exceptional processing into this AV receiver, making sure the sound is nice and musical for music and punchy and expressive when viewing movies.
A comprehensive range of features shouldn’t put you off since the set-up procedure is nice and intuitive.
- Exceptional audio quality
- Very easy to set up
- Video support for both 4K and 8K
- Backlight for remote would be nice
A suitably big and bulky AV receiver, given the big and bold soundscape it puts out, the Marantz SR8015 AV receiver is a flexible device that delivers top-quality music and movie audio.
5. Pioneer – Elite SC-LX904
If your budget isn’t too restricted, and you’re looking for a reference-quality AV receiver, Pioneer’s Elite SC-LX904 receiver represents a flagship model.
IMAX enhanced and compatible with SONOS and Dolby Atmos, this AV receiver is equipped with an 11 channel amp delivering exceptional audio output.
This is an AV receiver for the serious home cinema enthusiast, which can be configured for up to 7.1.4 channels.
With seven HDMI inputs and three HDMI outputs, you’re unlikely to run into any connectivity issues, even if you have a wide selection of devices you want to run through it.
It’s also great for music lovers, supporting Chromecast and Apple AirPlay 2 as well as featuring NAS drive compatibility.
- Incredible surround sound performance
- Decent range of HDMI inputs
- Works with Alexa
A meaty AV receiver that is perfect for top-of-the-line home cinema enthusiasts, the Pioneer Elite SC-LX904 AV receiver doesn’t come cheap but comes with all the bells and whistles you can think of.
4. Marantz – SR8015
Another flagship AV receiver is the Marantz SR8015 AV receiver, which was widely considered to be the best AV receiver of 2020.
Sporting a sleek, minimalist design that belies a host of great options under the hood, this is a flexible AV receiver with superb sound quality.
It supports almost every surround sound format you can think of, making it perfect for fans of loud and bombastic Hollywood movies.
Music audio reproduction is also crisp and dynamic, as you’d expect from an AV receiver in this price range.
Other features include a range of streaming options, 8K upscaling, and built-in HEOS, coming together for an impressive all-round package.
- Great range of support for formats
- 13CH audio processor
- decent HDMI inputs
- Runs hot
- Premium price point
Loud, dynamic, and punchy movies and crystal clear music come together in the Marantz SR8015 AV receiver, making this an expensive but professional-sounding piece of AV equipment.
3. Denon – AVR-X3700H
Denon’s middle-of-the-line 9.2 channel AV receiver, the AVR-X2700H, is a critically acclaimed AV receiver ideal for movies, music, and gaming.
Indeed, the 4K/120Hz pass-through and variable refresh rate features make this AV a fantastic choice for avid gamers looking for a lag-free experience.
Setting up the Denon AVR-X2700H is made simple, thanks to its on-screen set-up assistant, so you’ll be getting the most out of your speakers in a short amount of time.
Sound performance is engaging, expressing detail across a dynamic range regardless of your HDMI inputs.
Compatibility with a range of voice assistants makes this a great option for those with smart homes who want to increase their control over their home entertainment systems.
- Great sound quality with enhanced sound processing
- Perfect for avid gamers
- Very easy to set up
- Compatible with Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant
- Only one HDMI 2.1 input
Denon sets a new standard with their AVR-X2700H AV receiver, which is perfect for all entertainment mediums and is especially effective for gamers.
2. Denon – AVR-X4700H
A step up in terms of price and quality over Denon’s AVR-X2700H, the AVR-X4700H AV receiver pumps out 125 watts per channel, making this a real powerhouse when listening to music or watching movies with Atmos, DTS Virtual:X, or IMAX enhanced.
It also features an ample selection of inputs and outputs, making it a great focal point for all your entertainment audio requirements.
You can also use their bespoke Audyssey tools, which allow you to review your home dynamics and acoustics to correct any potential errors.
It’s a great touch for an AV receiver that is already crammed to the brim with cross-platform compatibility and top-tier home audio processing.
As far as the sound goes, it’s unlikely you’ll be using this in a space that allows you to push the volume to the top, and if you did, there’d be no distortion of its crystal clear high frequencies or stomach rumbling basses.
- High levels of compatibility and support
- Outstanding sound quality
- Great for next-gen gamers
- Voice activation options
- Some reports of issues with 4K/120fps support
An AV receiver that puts out incredible audio across an endless selection of surround sound modes, the AVR-X4700H AV receiver from Denon delivers exceptional all-round performance.
1. Denon – AVR-X6700H
Our final Denon AV receiver – and the best overall AV receiver you can buy – is the AVR-X6700H.
Awarded the best AV receiver of 2021 by several outlets, this pushes out a whopping 140 watts across its 11.2 channels, making it one of the most powerful consumer amps on the market.
As you’d expect, it’s a very well-built machine with a simple but intuitive interface, and setting everything up is simple through Denon’s excellent wizard.
8K video upscaling is impressive, as is the 1080p-to-4K upscaling, while the audio performance for surround sound movies is ferocious and brings real presence to the experience.
Music is similarly dynamic and expressive, and you’ll be hard pushed to notice any distortion no matter how much you push the volume.
- Top of the range audio quality
- Compatible with all surround sound modes, including Dolby Vision
- plenty of HDMI inputs
- Runs hot
- Remote could do with backlighting
Boasting superb audio performance and compatibility with virtually every mode you can think of, Denon’s AVR-X2700H AV is perhaps the best home theater receiver deserves our accolade as the best AV receiver you can buy.
FAQs About AV Receivers
Still not getting a clear signal on the advantages to using a great AV receiver?
This short but informative FAQ guide should help clear up any issues you’re still having.
Q: How do AV receivers work?
AV receivers work by receiving a signal from various inputs (for instance, a Blu-ray player or gaming console) and processing the sounds for transmission through your speakers.
An AV receiver acts as the central hub of a home cinema set up, controlling the sounds delivered throughout the speaker set up’s discrete channels.
Q: Does an AV receiver improve video quality?
Some AV receivers can upscale 1080p to 4K, or even 4K to 8K, delivering improved image quality.
If you’re using an old AV receiver and have next-gen gaming consoles or are watching 4K UHD movies, chances are you’ll need to upgrade to make sure it can switch signals via the HDMI input.
Q: Do AV receivers improve sound quality?
You can improve the audio quality of your existing speakers by upgrading to a better AV receiver and unlocking Dolby Vision, DTS Virtual:X, and other platforms.
A high-end AV speaker will also feature better audio processing, delivering a more dynamic range across a greater number of audio channels.
Q: Do AV receivers use a lot of power?
The amount of power your AV receiver will use varies depending on the model you’re using and the number of speakers it’s driving information to.
A good way to gauge how much power an AV receiver is likely to use is to check the specifications for the watts per channel.
Up to 70 watts per channel is suitable for smaller rooms, while 100 watts per channel or more will deliver enough power for any home theater.
Q: How long do AV receivers usually last?
The answer to this depends on the quality of the AV receiver you’re using, how often it’s getting used, and the conditions in the room it’s placed.
In theory, a well-built AV receiver could last you several decades.
However, compatibility issues may mean you’ll need to upgrade this within 5 to 10 years to ensure your media devices can work with it.
Q: How To Choose / Which To Choose?
To choose the best AV receiver, you need to determine what you’ll be using it for.
If you’re into gaming, you’ll want one which can handle next-gen frame rates.
If movies with Dolby Vision are your thing, then you’ll need to consider which surround modes you want to set up in your living room.
The best AV receivers deliver optimal audio across a range of entertainment platforms.
This guide should help you narrow down the best AV receiver for your requirements and budget, delivering an enhanced audio experience at home.
Here’s a quick recap of the 10 best AV receivers:
- Denon – AVR-X6700H
- Denon – AVR-X4700H
- Denon – AVR-X3700H
- Marantz – SR8015
- Pioneer – Elite SC-LX904
- Marantz – SR6015
- Marantz – NR1711
- Sony – STR-DN1080
- Onkyo – TX-NR797
- Yamaha – Aventage RX-A780