Top Picks AV Receivers

AV Receivers

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< $999
Pioneer VSX-832: $479
Enthusiasts on a tight budget will love all the VSX-832 has to offer for less than 500 bucks. You get five channels of solid power plus 4K/HDR passthrough, DTS Play-Fi for wireless multiroom audio, a nice selection of streaming options, and a simplified 3.1.2 version of Dolby Atmos with phantom rear channels. Reviewer Dan Kumin summed it up this way: “I applaud this receiver’s affordability, its wide and up-to-date video- and audio-mode compatibility, and very solid sonics.” (November 2017, Read Full Review)
Yamaha RX-V685 AV Receiver: $599
With more than a dozen AV receivers to choose from in the highly competitive $550-to-$700 range, the V685 grabs the spotlight with its unique and adjustable DSP-surround technology, which lets the listener dial in effects to suit speakers, room, and taste. Add to that a solid performing amplifier plus a generous helping of useful features and you have an impressive receiver that can be had for a price that’s more than reasonable. (Posted 8/29/18, Read Full Review)
Sony STR-DN1080: $600
Hi-res audio capability with excellent audio performance to support it and a full suite of Android- and Apple-ready wireless capabilities just scratch the surface of what this multi-talented 7.1 receiver has to offer. For the modest price of $600, you also get six HDMI inputs, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround processing, and accurate auto calibration. If you’re in the market for an AVR and have limited funds, the STR-DN1080 deserves serious consideration. Its chops will surprise you. (July/August 2017, Read Full Review)
Yamaha RX-S600: $650
Not all AV receivers are space hogs. Take the super svelte RX-S600. It stands less than 4.5 inches tall yet delivers enough clean power to drive a set of reasonably efficient home theater speakers and packs a number of useful features, including AirPlay and six HDMI inputs. Best of all, it performs well with music and movie soundtracks and boasts independent analog and digital power supplies and an aluminum front panel, signaling a level of build quality you don’t expect at this price. Reviewer Mark Fleischmann called it “one of the best budget models I’ve heard.” (SoundandVision.com, Read Full Review)
Outlaw RR2160 Stereo Receiver: $799
An update of the Outlaw’s venerable RR2150, the RR2160 is one of the best receivers you can buy if tried-and-true stereo is your priority. Reviewer Mark Fleischmann called it a “stupendously great-sounding stereo receiver…that supports a lot of little contingencies, including HD Radio and options for moving-magnet and moving-coil phono cartridges.” While it doesn’t directly support wireless connectivity — you can add Bluetooth via an accessory — it does include a set of old-school tone controls. (November 2017, Read Full Review)
Onkyo TX-RZ610: $799
Onkyo has lived up to its reputation for delivering superb value by packing the latest features into AVRs that sell for less than a grand. In this case, you get sensible ergonomics, power and processing for a 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos or DTS:X surround setup, and all forms of wireless connectivity. Veteran reviewer Mark Fleischmann observed: “The Onkyo TX-RZ610 is an excellent-sounding receiver with a well-executed version of the brand’s usual crisp voicing. The Onkyo people know what they’re doing.” (November 2016, Read Full Review)
Denon AVR-X3400H: $999
The AVR-X3400H has a lot to offer for a thousand bucks, starting with full 4K/HDR-readiness, solid ergonomics, and a robust seven-channel amp that will have no trouble powering all but the largest home theater setups. Onboard power limits Dolby Atmos configurations to 5.1.2 channels but that’s par for the course in this price range and a layout that even reviewer/audio guru Daniel Kumin is coming around to “especially with dipole surrounds on the sides.” (April 2018, Read Full Review)
Denon HEOS AVR: $999
Denon has reimagined the component that has been the cornerstone of home theater for decades. The result is a super streamlined, app-driven control center built around the company’s HEOS wireless platform, featuring hi-res audio support and 18 music streaming options but lacking many “standard” features. You won’t find AM/FM or legacy video jacks and the architecture supports systems with up to 5.1 channels. No 7.1 and no Dolby Atmos or DTS:X. Reviewer Mark Fleischmann’s take: “Denon’s HEOS AVR is a largely successful effort to transform the AV receiver from a cumbersome Swiss Army knife to a sleek app-driven entertainer.” (October 2017, Read Full Review)
$1,000-$1,999
NAD T758 V3: $1,300
NAD has honored its rich audio legacy with a thoroughly modern update of the award winning T758 it introduced back in 2011. This V3 edition boasts an anti-obsolescence modular design and cutting-edge room correction from Sweden’s Dirac. “Putting aside challenges with learning to use Dirac, it's an empowering tool for the questing audio tweaker who wants the flexibility to experiment with room correction parameters,” wrote reviewer Mark Fleischmann. “Coupled here with this fine-sounding receiver, the audible results are beautiful.” (May 2018, Read Full Review)
Denon AVR-X4200W: $1,499
If you’re looking for a solid performing receiver that can be had for well under two grand, Denon’s new upper-echelon AVR deserves a look. It does all of the most current modes, sources, and processing very competently, with ample audio power and fully up-to-date video abilities. Getting right to the heart of the matter, reviewer Mark Fleischmann wrote: “The AVR-X4200W boasts unimpeachable audio quality and full 4K video capabilities, combined with a deep feature set and a host of multiroom and automation options, all at a fair (though not inconsiderable) price.” (November 2016, Read Full Review)
Onkyo TX-RZ900: $1,599
Ready for Dolby Atmos 7.2.2 action and primed for DTS:X, the RZ900 is a flagship-class receiver that can be had for considerably less than flagship prices. It delivers more clean dynamic power than most of us will need and is loaded with useful features including compatibility with high dynamic range content and THX Select2 Plus certification. Summing up, reviewer Mark Fleischmann wrote: “It does all the basics we require from an AV receiver very, very well, abetted by the full complement of up-to-the-minute technologies and features...that should satisfy the most demanding among us.” (April 2016, Read Full Review)
Yamaha Aventage RX-A2070: $1,600
The 9.2-channel RX-A2070 delivers the up-to-date features and unadulterated sound you expect from an audio stalwart but includes at least one added attraction you won’t find in other brand AVRs: Yamaha’s masterful music listening modes. “Yamaha provides considerable fine-tuning control over DSP effect levels and delays,” observed veteran reviewer Daniel Kumin. “Though, even at its defaults, the Chamber mode — applied to a DSD of contemporary-classical brass-quintet and piano music — was altogether hair-raising.” (February/march 2018, Read Full Review)
Yamaha Aventage RX-A2050: $1,600
Sitting squarely in the AVR sweet spot, the RX-A2050 has a lot to offer for the price, including nine robust amplifier channels that can be configured for 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos or DTS:X surround-sound action. Further sweetening the deal is Yamaha’s app-based MusicCast system, which makes it easy to spread music around the house without having to worry about running wires. As Mark Fleischmann put it, “This receiver does nearly everything amazingly well.” (May 2016, Read Full Review)
Sony STR-ZA3000ES: $1,700
The lack of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X encoding and features like AirPlay and Internet radio is easy to overlook in the ZA3000ES, a seven-channel receiver that delivers excellent sound quality and terrific value. (September 2015, Read Full Review)
$2,000 >
Onkyo TX-RZ1100: $2,199
Today’s AV receivers do a lot more than we should reasonably expect from one component. But when you get down to it, the ability to deliver clean, dynamic power is what matters most—and precisely what this 2016 Top Pick of the Year receiver offers in spades. Calling the sound “faultless,” Daniel Kumin offered this assessment of the RZ1100 as it powered Star Trek: Beyond: “There were almost too many sonic highlights to pick just one, but it would be hard to outdo the long battle sequence in chapter 10, which…the TX-RZ1100 aced…without any evident stress.” (February/March 2017, Read Full Review)
Marantz SR7011: $2,199
The Marantz SR7011 is a super smart 9.1-channel receiver offering a comprehensive set of AV features plus excellent room correction, fine overall sound, the potential for multiroom extension, and just about everything else you could want in an AVR—even Auro-3D (via an optional $199 firmware update). Reveling in the SR7011’s movie prowess, Mark Fleischmann wrote: “The bubble-shaped soundfield of Dolby Atmos was well illuminated but without hardening textures. The top end was sweet and musical, dialogue well delivered, and bass par for the price point. A reasonable definition of a great-sounding receiver.” (May 2017, Read Full Review)
Marantz SR7010 Atmos-Enabled: $2,199
With nine amp channels, Dolby Atmos decoding, DTS:X and Auro-3D upgradability, and Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room correction, the SR7010 is as future-proof as a receiver can currently be. As reviewer Mark Fleischmann put it: “If the distinction between Dolby Atmos 5.1.4 and 5.1.2 is as big a deal as I think it is, this receiver will soon have competition, and much of it at lower prices. I’m giving the Marantz a value rating of five stars because it was surprisingly versatile and always satisfying. But I expect it to be joined, and possibly surpassed, by other nine-channel receivers.” (February/March 2016, Read Full Review)
Yamaha Aventage RX-A3060: $2,200
The flagship RX-A3060 delivers stellar audio performance with enough channels to run all but the most elaborate Dolby Atmos and DTS:X configurations and provides a versatile set of wireless features, including multiroom capability via Yamaha's MusicCast system. Reviewer Mark Fleischmann was thoroughly impressed with its DTS:X prowess: “A recurring nightclub scene [in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot] showed off the receiver’s extraordinary aptitude for envelopment.” (January 2017, Read Full Review)
Sony STR-ZA5000 ES: $2,800
The new flagship in Sony’s venerable ES line, the STR-ZA5000ES is not your everyday top-line receiver. You might even call it a specialty AVR with impeccable build quality, a hard-kicking nine-channel amp, and both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround processing. But the ZA5000ES is special for what it lacks. It skips de rigueur wireless features such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to focus on features that provide maximum flexibility in a custom installation setting. Among them is an easy-to-configure eight-port Ethernet hub for interfacing with networked devices such as control systems, computers, and media players. (October 2016, Read Full Review)
Denon AVR-X7200W: $2,999
The AVR-X7200W is made for those who simply must have it all: 9 x 150 watts of hulking power, state-of-the-art room correction courtesy of Audyssey MultEQ XT32, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround sound with 11.2 channels of object-based potential and the option of upgrading to Auro-3D, HDMI 2.0a connectivity with Ultra HD passthrough, and the ability to play Hi-Res Audio files—and vinyl (yes, it has a phono input). “To call the Denon a top-of-the-line receiver with all the goodies would belabor the obvious,” concluded reviewer Mark Fleischmann. “It’s also a musically reliable amp with the best possible room correction—the kind that’s suitable for most music and pretty much all movie and TV content.” (June 2016, Read Full Review)
Anthem MRX 1120: $3,499
Anthem’s new flagship receiver is formidable. Whereas most flagships top out at nine channels of amplification, the MRX 1120 has eleven plus both flavors of object-based surround processing and the company’s outstanding room-correction software. In other words: everything you need (except the speakers!) to set up and tweak a full-bore 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos (and soon, DTS:X) system. Reviewer David Vaughn concluded: “You’d be hard-pressed to find a better-sounding solution short of going with separates.” (November 2016, Read Full Review)
Denon AVR-X8500H AV Receiver: $3,999
Denon’s latest flagship receiver checks off every box on the Enthusiast Must-Have List, including all three immersive-surround formats — Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro-3D — and it provides 13 (yes, 13) 150-watt channels of brute power to back up its considerable brains. “If you want bang-up-to-date technology that works brilliantly, it’s hard to go wrong with this receiver,” wrote reviewer Michael Trei. Superstitious? Just make sure you don’t take delivery of it on Friday the 13th, especially if you happen to live on the 13th floor. (Posted 8/8/18, Read Full Review)
Arcam AVR850: $6,000
U.K.’s Arcam makes a bold statement with its reference-caliber AV receiver—one that combines a seven-channel amplifier with state-of-the-art surround sound and Dirac Live room-correction processing in an impeccably-built component. Breaking rank with today’s typical AVR, the AVR850 is surprisingly simple to set up and eschews wireless connectivity (imagine that), focusing instead on performance in the form of an unusual Class G amplifier that sounds clean, dynamic, and musical on everything from hi-res stereo to Dolby Atmos soundtracks. (November 2016, Read Full Review)

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