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Best Home Theater Receiver Reviews

The receiver is not the only home theater component gaining popularity today but is undoubtedly its main device because it unites all the others. It connects all the other components, and the quality of signal transmission and the final result depends on it to a large extent. You should pay maximum attention to its choice, and to make this task easier for you, I have prepared an article about the best AV receivers. For convenience, I have categorized the reviews by price rank, so it will be easier for you to navigate the review based on your budget.

Good receivers don’t have to be expensive, although the latter offers more options. After reading this detailed review, you will easily orient yourself on what criteria to pay attention to when buying an AVR and whether your equipment will be able to work correctly with it. Each model on my list has been tested, and they are all worthy representatives of their price rank. I am sure that among them, you will definitely find one that will serve you for many years, pleasing you with unforgettable impressions from watching movies.

Our pick
Denon AVR-X3800H
Denon AVR-X3800H
Best AV receiver
The Denon AVR-X3800H has nine channels of amplification, up to four independent subwoofers, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support, and IMAX Enhanced and Auro 3D for an immersive sound experience. Read the full review.

AV receivers comparison table

Name Channels Power output HDMI in/out Bluetooth/Wi-Fi Review
Denon AVR-X3800H best overall 9.4 105W/8 Ohm, 135W/6 Ohm 6/2 yes/yes Review
Yamaha RX-V385 budget 5.1 100W/8 Ohm, 70W/6 Ohm 4/1 yes/no Review
Denon DRA-800H stereo 2.2 100W/8 Ohm, 120W/6 Ohm 5/1 yes/yes Review
Marantz SR8015 premium 11.2 140W/8 Ohm, 175W/6 Ohm 8/3 yes/yes Review

Best AV receiver reviews

Best mid-priced receivers

In this category, you will find the most optimal price/quality ratio top AV receivers 2023. Mid-range devices can provide almost all currently available modern features and capabilities because they have enough channels to create surround sound, including the ability to add overhead speakers for an even more realistic immersion in the visual content. Such devices also support 4K resolution and a high frame rate of 120 Hz (sometimes even 8K video formats), HDR quality, and support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and other modern surround sound formats. They also have plenty of connectivity options, including HDMI In/Out, inputs for connecting analog and digital devices of an old and new type, phono inputs for connecting turntables, and wireless connections for using streaming services and voice assistants. You can also often find Multi-zone audio and much more.

Let’s not waste any time and get to know my first guest, a representative of a well-established brand. Stock up on popcorn, we are starting our virtual journey into the world of audio and video.

Denon AVR-X3800H – best overall

Denon AVR-X3800H features

The leader in this category is the Denon AVR-X3800H 9.4-channel receiver, introduced by the company in 2022. Its combination of brand quality, options, and sound can be a great base for your home theater.

It has great connectivity, which includes 5 Analog In, 2 Optical and Coaxial (Digital) In, and 1 Phono (MM) In. Thanks to them you can connect all kinds of devices for listening to music, watching movies and vinyl player. But most importantly, it has 4 independent Subwoofers Out and up to 11.4 channel expansion options. This is simply excellent, as this optionality extends the life of the device and enhances future upgrade possibilities. You can also split the audio signal into 2 Zones or use the HEOS Wireless Multi-Room Technology for use in different rooms of your home. USB, AM/FM Tuner, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth are standard for this category, where the latter two allow you to use streaming services (AirPlay 2, TuneIn, Spotify Connect, Pandora, SiriusXM, Roon Tested) and voice assistants (Alexa, Google Voice Assistant, Apple HomePod).

Denon AVR-X3800H specifications

The Denon AVR-X3800H has 6 HDMI inputs, each supporting 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz resolution, and 3 HDMI outs (HDCP 2.3, ARC, eARC) with 8K upscaling and 3D signal Pass-through options. So you have Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and HLG video formats available. At the same time, the range of audio formats that the receiver supports is amazing. Here DTS:X, DTS HD Master, DTS Neural:X, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, and IMAX Enhanced and Auro 3D (neither Yamaha RX-A2A nor Marantz Cinema 60 decodes it).

Denon AVR-X3800H sound

Denon AVR-X3800H offers an incredibly warm sound typical of the brand. Regarding power, the specs say 105W (8 ohms, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.08% 2ch Drive), but I never recommend using full power when the THD is not good enough (like all mid-price ranged models) because interference is inevitable. At a high enough volume, the Denon performed great. Watching The King’s Man immersed me in a spy world, making me deflect objects flying on the screen during spectacular fights. Very realistic, quite clean, and of course, amazingly surrounded. I also tested analog sound with the turntable, listening to classic rock. It was The Fleetwood Mac record this time, and it was a delight. Of course, you have to keep in mind that the rest of my system equipment is also very high quality.

The only drawback for me is its unassuming exterior compared to the other mid-priced members of my review segment.

In my estimation, the Denon AVR-X3800H is the best AV receiver 2023 in the middle class. It offers the widest connectivity options, support for modern formats, enhanced video, and excellent stereo and surround sound at a very affordable price, making your choice a well-considered thoughtful, and optimal value for money.

Key specs
  • Channels: 9.4.
  • Power output: 105W/8 Ohm, 135W/6 Ohm.
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 6/3.
  • Video functions: 4K/120Hz, 8K/60Hz pass-through, upscales video signals to HD and Ultra HD (up to 8K).
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/yes.
  • Streaming services: AirPlay 2, Pandora, Spotify, Napster, SiriusXM, TIDAL, Deezer, Qobuz, Amazon Music.
  • Supports: HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDCP2.3, HDR10, HLG, HDR10+, Dynamic HDR, Dolby Vision.
  • Surround sound: DTS HD Master, DTS:X, DTS Neural:X, DTS Virtual:X, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, Dolby Atmos Music, Dolby Surround, IMAX Enhanced, Auro 3D.
  • The optimal combination of price/quality in the category.
  • Clear, quite powerful, and warm sound.
  • Expandable up to 11.4 channels.
  • Wide range of wired and wireless device connectivity options.
  • State-of-the-art HDMI configuration.
  • Support for the latest formats, including Auro 3D.
  • Ability to use many streaming services and voice assistants.
  • Unimpressive exterior compared to other receivers in the category.

Marantz Cinema 60

Marantz Cinema 60 features

Another great mid-range 7.2-channel receiver is the Marantz Cinema 60, released in 2022. More similar to the Yamaha RX-A2A but closer in cost to the Denon AVR-X3800H, it has a stunning exterior and great data, along with Marantz’s impeccable quality that puts it in the ranks of best home theater receiver.

Like the Yamaha RX-A2A, the Cinema 60 has no Composite or Component inputs. Still, it does have 4 Digital In (2 Optical and 2 Coaxial), Phono (MM) In, and 2 Subwoofer Out (these are what make it a 7.2-channel receiver) and 1 USB on the front panel. In addition, Multi-Room (2 Zones) and HEOS Multi-Room Integrated, AM/FM Tuner, and Wi-Fi with Bluetooth are available. Like the other two in this category, the receiver also works with voice assistance (Alexa, Google Voice Assistant, Apple HomePod) and streaming services (AirPlay Audio Streaming, AirPlay 2, Spotify, Pandora, and others).

Marantz Cinema 60 specifications

Marantz Cinema 60 has 6 HDMI inputs supporting 8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz, Upscaling 1080P/4K to 8K resolution, and 2 HDMI outputs (HDCP2.3, ARC, eARC). Works with HDR, HLG, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and Dynamic HDR video content. Audio format decoding is available for DTS HD Master, DTS:X, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, and their configurations.

Marantz Cinema 60 sound

All in all, apparently with slight differences, all three receivers are similar in their capabilities, so essentially, the choice comes down to brand preference. After all, Marantz has its unique sound that has many fans. This model offers similar power capabilities to its predecessors 100 W (8 ohm, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.08% 2ch Drive) or 140 W (6 ohm, 1 kHz, 0.7% 2ch Drive), as you can see, with the same low THD. And when tested (this time by the wonderful comedy Red Notice with a great soundtrack), it performed great, showing the high quality of realistic surround sound. I felt like I was in the middle of the action and even jumped up and down in my chair several times. Stereo, this time I checked out with AirPlay 2, and it was great. Clean high notes, distinct midrange, and deep bass – great quality. The only drawback is the paid Audyssey MultEQ Editor app.

Marantz Cinema 60 is a truly worthy representative of the mid-range segment, with the sound of high quality, quality components, and excellent modern features. It will serve you well for years to come.

Key specs
  • Channels: 7.2.
  • Power output: 100W/8 Ohm, 140W/6 Ohm.
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 6/2.
  • Video functions: 4K/120Hz, 8K/60Hz pass-through, upscales video signals to HD and Ultra HD (up to 8K).
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/yes.
  • Streaming services: AirPlay 2, Pandora, Spotify, Napster, SiriusXM, TIDAL, Deezer, Qobuz, Amazon Music.
  • Supports: HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDMI CEC, HDCP2.3, HDR10, HLG, HDR10+, Dynamic HDR, Dolby Vision.
  • Surround sound: DTS HD Master, DTS:X, DTS Neural:X, DTS Virtual:X, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, Dolby Atmos Music, Dolby Surround.
  • The great sound quality in any format.
  • Plenty of connectivity, including HDMI with a sophisticated configuration.
  • Superior quality construction details.
  • Support for modern audio and video formats.
  • Ability to connect two subwoofers.
  • Wireless support for Multiroom, streaming services, and voice assistants.
  • The Audyssey MultEQ Editor application is not free.
  • Fewer HDMI connections than in other mid-range models.

Yamaha RX-A2A

Yamaha RX-A2A features

Yamaha RX-A2A has the lowest price of the other mid-priced segment. With its minimalistic exterior, the model is also quite young, released in 2020, and can offer a great home theater experience. Before you buy this receiver, listen to it, as Yamaha has a specific sound, but undoubtedly a quality one.

Yamaha RX-A2A specifications

As you can understand, the RX-A2A is inferior in the number of channels. Yet, it doesn’t deprive you of the ability to create a 2-Zone Multiroom broadcast and branded wireless MusicCast Surround system. In addition, there’s an extra subwoofer output to create a 7.2 configuration for fat bass lovers. It has USB ports (and another front), Phono Input (MM), Optical Digital Audio Input, Coaxial Digital Audio Input, and 4 analog inputs. It has 7 HDMI inputs (4K/120Hz and 8K/60Hz) and 1 HDMI Output (HDCP 2.3, eARC). You can watch HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and HLG HDMI video formats and enhance low-quality content to 4K with Upscaling. The Yamaha RX-A2A decodes Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, DTS:X, and DTS-HD Master Audio formats, so you’re keeping up with the times.

Of course, you should expect device compatibility with streaming services (Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, etc.) and voice assistants (Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri). Left to mention is the presence of Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, and an FM/AM Tuner.

Yamaha RX-A2A sound

Regarding power, the RX-A2A is inferior to the Denon AVR-X3800H but is on par with the Marantz Cinema 60, offering 100 W (8 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, 0.06%, 2ch). I’ve already mentioned the specifics of the Yamaha sound; it’s somewhat cold. However, that does not make it worse; the brand also has a huge number of fans because of this sound. I tested the multi-channel device on the movie Free Guy, which has a great soundtrack, including digital sounds, dialogue, and music. The quality is excellent; I had no complaints, and the detail and frequency separation is high. I did notice some sound delay (minor) a couple of times, though. Perhaps this fact is not worth mentioning, but I must mention it. Listening to Spotify left me thoroughly satisfied, and Alexa worked without interruption.

Based on all of the above, given the affordable cost, it is with a light heart that I call this model an excellent receiver for home theater. It is a really worthy device.

Key specs
  • Channels: 7.2.
  • Power output: 100W/8 Ohm.
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 7/1.
  • Video functions: 4K/120Hz, 8K/60Hz pass-through, upscales video signals to HD and Ultra HD (up to 4K).
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/yes.
  • Streaming services: AirPlay 2, Pandora, Spotify, Napster, SiriusXM, TIDAL, Deezer, Qobuz, Amazon Music.
  • Supports: HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDMI CEC, HDCP2.3, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision.
  • Surround sound: DTS HD Master, DTS:X, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, Dolby Surround.
  • Supports modern audio and video formats.
  • Suitable for game consoles.
  • A sufficient number of wired and wireless connections.
  • Compatible with streaming services and voice assistants.
  • Would like to have more HDMI ports.
  • Rarely, but there is a problem with audio lag.

Best budget receivers

People often mistakenly believe that to assemble a theater system, they need to go literally bankrupt and give up the idea of buying one. In this category, I have collected budget home AV receivers, which, although they have limited options compared to the expensive ones, are still the most popular, high-quality, time-tested receivers. They can provide you with the most important thing – to combine your equipment and provide quality sound when watching video content and listening to streaming services. Even two-channel representatives of this segment with stereo sound will still be the better alternative to a regular TV or soundbar.

Yamaha RX-V385 – best budget

Yamaha RX-V385 features

First among the budget ones, and also the most inexpensive, is the RX-V385, another Yamaha representative on my list (2018 model). The receiver is a 5.1-channel system, and despite some compromises (related to the low price), it offers an optimal selection of options.

The Yamaha RX-V385 has limited connections, including a USB Input (Front), 1 Digital Optical Audio Input, 1 Coaxial Digital Audio Input, 3 Analog Audio Inputs, and Composite Video jacks (3 Inputs and 1 Output). As you see, there is no phono input, so the connection of a record player is possible, but with an external preamplifier (or turntable with a built-in one). Of course, budget receivers have fewer HDMI ports (Sony STR-DH790 has the same number, for example). And in this case, we have 4 HDMI Input (4K Ultra HD Pass-through, 3D Pass-through, and 4K / 60p, 4:4:4 Upscaling) and 1 HDMI Output (with HDCP 2.3, ARC, eARC), which makes it possible to view content in HDR10, Dolby Vision, and Hybrid Log-Gamma formats.

Yamaha RX-V385 specifications

As for the sound potential of the receiver, Yamaha has equipped the RX-V385 with exclusive CINEMA DSP technology, which supports such audio formats as Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD Master Audio. And another feature of the device is the ability to place all five speakers in the front. In this case, you will still enjoy surround sound thanks to its virtualization.

You won’t find Wi-Fi (like the STR-DH790), but Bluetooth lets you use streaming services. You can also listen to the radio, as the manufacturer did not forget to integrate FM / AM Tuner.

Yamaha RX-V385 sound

This model, like most budget ones, is not very powerful. The manufacturer states the rated power of 70 W (8 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, 0.09%, 2ch). But if you properly set up the system, place it in a small room (as I did in my testing), turn on a good movie (in my case, it was Metal Lords), and sit back in a comfortable chair – I guarantee you the quality surround sound of your home theater. I used the radio to test the stereo sound, and I liked Yamaha’s slightly cool, clean sound.

Despite its simplicity and limited features, I rank the Yamaha RX-V385 as one of the best AV receivers at a budgetary level for its clarity of sound, ergonomic design, and good build quality from Yamaha at a very affordable price.

Key specs
  • Channels: 5.1.
  • Power output: 70W/8 Ohm.
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 4/1.
  • Video functions: 4K/60Hz pass-through.
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/no.
  • Streaming services: has not.
  • Supports: HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDMI CEC, HDCP2.3, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision.
  • Surround sound: DTS HD Master, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital Plus.
  • Good build quality.
  • Audio virtualization when you can’t put speakers in the back.
  • Support for modern video formats and high-quality audio formats (but not DTS:X or Dolby Atmos).
  • Bluetooth for wireless use of streaming services.
  • No Wi-Fi.
  • No phono input.

Sony STR-DH790

Sony STR-DH790 features

The only Sony representative on my list, the STR-DH790, also released in 2018, is a great device for home theater. Unlike the Yamaha RX-V385 (which is not much cheaper at all), it has a 7.1-channel configuration (even 7.2 thanks to the optional subwoofer output), offering us the option to add overhead speakers (in 5.1.2 configuration) and a large power rating from the manufacturer of 145 watts (6 Ohms, 1kHz, THD 0.9%, 1 ch).

Sony STR-DH790 specifications

For its price, the receiver has limited connectivity, very similar to the RX-V385. There is 1 Optical Audio Input, 1 Coaxial Audio Input, 4 Analog Audio Inputs, the abovementioned 2 Pre Out Subwoofer and USB (for power supply only, unfortunately), 4 HDMI Inputs (supports 4K and UHD at up to 60 Hz), and HDCP 2.2 Output (eARC). You can watch videos in HDR10, HLG and, Dolby Vision, 3D, Deep Colour.

As for audio capabilities, though, Sony has outdone Yamaha, offering DSD decoding, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, DTS: X, DTS-HD Master Audio, and others. This receiver, like its predecessor, has no Wi-Fi, but it does have Bluetooth and radio (FM only). Simple and limited, but considering its price with acceptable compromises. And compared to the competition, there are even a few nice bonuses.

Sony STR-DH790 sound

For testing, I chose The School of Rock with the inimitable Jack Black. The movie’s stunning sound allowed me to ensure the quality sound of the Sony STR-DH790. The sound was incredibly realistic, musical instruments and vocals of the main characters in the surround sound immersed me in watching, making me remember my childhood. Of course, this is not the limit of audiophile dreams, but in general, in conjunction with my equipment, the receiver showed stable quality work. Stereo generally sounds great; even when using Bluetooth, I did not notice outright shortcomings.

Sony STR-DH790 is an excellent choice for those who understand the technology and are willing to spend some time setting up to optimize one of the best budget AVRs in a home system.

Key specs
  • Channels: 7.2.
  • Power output: 145W/6 Ohm.
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 4/1.
  • Video functions: 4K/60Hz pass-through.
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/no.
  • Streaming services: has not.
  • Supports: HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDMI CEC, HDCP2.2, HLG, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision.
  • Surround sound: DSD, DTS HD Master, DTS:X, DTS Neural: X, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, Dolby Dual Mono, Dolby Surround.
  • Supports modern video formats and high-quality audio formats, including DTS:X and Dolby Atmos.
  • Decent sound.
  • Bluetooth.
  • Nice design and great build quality.
  • No Wi-Fi.
  • Few HDMI ports.
  • USB for power supply only.
  • No phono input.

Denon DRA-800H – stereo

Denon DRA-800H features

Once again, Denon is on my list. This time it’s the 2019 budget DRA-800H, which differs from the Sony STR-DH790 and Yamaha RX-V385 in that it has only 2 channels. So yes, it’s a home theater amplifier with the capabilities of an AV receiver, which means for almost the same price, you can get something more than the other two, but not surround sound.

Denon DRA-800H specifications

DRA-800H, as it should be a budget device, has a limited number of connectors. The manufacturer focused on video capabilities and stereo sound. There is the ability to connect two pairs of speakers, and two subwoofers, a phono input, audio separation into two Multiroom Zones, Digital Audio Coaxial and Optical Inputs, also 5 HDMI Inputs with CEC support, ALLM Pass-through, 3D Signal Pass-through, 4K Signal Pass-through 1 HDMI Output (with 4K Capability and ARC Support), and USB. Wireless connections include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and built-in HEOS Wireless Multi-Room Technology. It allows you to connect your vinyl player, CD, DVD, Blu-ray players, and game consoles, as well as use streaming services from Amazon Music, TIDAL, Deezer, Napster, Spotify, and Pandora, and use voice assistants (Alexa, Google Voice Assistant, and Apple HomePod), which sets it apart from the Sony STR-DH790 and Yamaha RX-V385. And, of course, watch videos in HDR10, HLG, and 4:4:4 color resolution. Or just listen to the radio via AM/FM Tuner.

Denon DRA-800H sound

Given the lack of surround sound, I tested the movie in stereo, keeping the tradition for this category of receivers and choosing the musical A Star Is Born with the inimitable Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. As always, Denon sounded warm and clean, with no lag or noise. Of course, as expected, this model has more power than the other two. The manufacturer’s rated wiring is 100 W (8 ohms, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.08% 2ch Drive) and 120 W (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 0.7% 2ch Drive), but I don’t recommend using full volume.

I also tried the turntable with a Nirvana record. There was great detail on Kurt’s vocals, deep, languid lows, and I could feel the musicians strumming the guitar strings.

All in all, if you are not interested in surround sound but want to have a quality picture of modern content and listen to quality stereo, the Denon DRA-800H is more than a worthy choice. This is truly the best AV receiver with two channels of amplification you will find.

Key specs
  • Channels: 2.2.
  • Power output: 100W/8 Ohm, 120W/6 Ohm.
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 5/1.
  • Video functions: 4K/60Hz pass-through.
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/yes.
  • Streaming services: AirPlay 2, Pandora, Spotify, Napster, SiriusXM, TIDAL, Deezer, Qobuz, Amazon Music.
  • Supports: HDMI ARC, HDMI CEC, HDCP2.3, HDR10.
  • Surround sound: has not.
  • Warm analog sound with good detail.
  • The presence of many connection options for music.
  • Wireless features for using streaming services and voice assistants.
  • Ability to connect two pairs of speakers and two subwoofers.
  • Little background noise at maximum volume.

Best premium receivers

Needless to say, the representatives of this category are the most expensive and simultaneously allow you to enjoy all the features of a modern home theater fully. They have more channels, allowing you to build a full-fledged surround sound system even in large rooms. Also, these receivers support Multi-room audio for 3 – 4 Zones, making them optimal exactly for larger homes. Moreover, they have many connections and advanced configuration ports to connect various devices, including old or new appliances, game consoles, players, turntables, etc. Devices in this segment provide support for all kinds of modern surround audio formats (Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and their configurations) and high-quality video (8K/60Hz or 4K/120Hz in HDR, Dolby, 3D and IMAX formats), allowing you to keep up with the times, using streaming services and voice assistants of all kinds. And, of course, the clearest sound possible at high power.

Marantz SR8015 – best premium

Marantz SR8015 features

If you are interested in top-rated AV receivers, you must have a big house because the 11.2 channel Marantz SR8015 will need a big room (just like the second member of this premium segment Denon AVR-X6700H, but I’ll tell you about it a little later). Released in 2020, the model with a hinged front cover, behind which the control of basic functions is hidden, looks modern, but the main “beauty” is on the rear panel.

First, it is worth noting the possibility of expanding the system up to 13 channels, thanks to the possibility of connecting an additional stereo receiver. Thus, you can enjoy the full possibilities of surround sound using overhead speakers to build a 5.2.6 or 7.2.4 system for Dolby Atmos. As well as broadcast audio to 3 Zones. If you have a large family with different preferences – having a scandal-free evening is no problem now.

Marantz SR8015 specifications

The SR8015 has an amazing number of connections (much more than Marantz Cinema 60 has): Composite (5 Inputs and 2 Outputs), Component (3 Inputs and 1 Output), 7 Analog Inputs, 2 Optical and Coaxial Digital In, Phono (MM) In, and as you can see from the description above, 2 Subwoofer Outputs. As a result, all your old and new equipment will no longer be lying in the attic or boxes but will take its rightful place in your home system. The number of HDMIs is also impressive. The receiver has 8 HDMI inputs (Scaling up to 8K/60Hz, 3D Signal Pass-Through) and 3 HDMI outputs (CEC, eARC) for HDR, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, Dynamic HDR, and HLG video viewing at 8K/60Hz or 4K/120Hz and advanced gaming (ALLM Pass-through, VRR, etc.).

Its audio capabilities are also excellent. The Marantz SR8015 decodes DTS HD Master, DTS:X Pro, DTS Neural:X, DTS Virtual:X, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, IMAX Enhanced, and Auro 3D. Of course, it lets you listen to Hi-Res Audio, use streaming services (Spotify Connect, Pandora, SiriusXM), voice assistants (Alexa, Google Voice Assistant, Apple HomePod), and has AirPlay2, TuneIn Internet Radio and HEOS Multi-room and Streaming system built in. I had no qualms about finding Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and an AM/FM Tuner in it. Impressed? I’m not. I’ve seen the Marantz SR8015’s price and couldn’t have expected less.

Marantz SR8015 sound

The power capabilities of this model are also astounding like they should be; if you remember, we’re talking about a large room. The manufacturer wilts 140 W (8 ohms, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.05% 2ch Drive) or 175 W (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 0.7% 2ch Drive), and I am happy with the THD (much better than Marantz Cinema 60). An inexpensive receiver will not give that kind of clarity at high power. To test such a receiver, you need to pick up dynamic movies, I decided, and settled on Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings of Marvel. The clang of metal, the sounds of stunning nature, the flight of the Dragons, and the fight scenes make you experience the movie as if you were directly inside the picture. It’s a great experience. Quiet scenes and dialogues are heard clearly and in detail. In stereo, the receiver proved monstrously powerful (I tried playing with a Muse record and Deezer wirelessly), making every vein of my body dance.

The Marantz SR8015 is truly the best receiver for creating a stunning home theater experience for surround sound in a large room. Its multiple features and capabilities are worth the money spent on its purchase.

Key specs
  • Channels: 11.2.
  • Power output: 140W/8 Ohm, 175W/6 Ohm.
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 8/3.
  • Video functions: 4K/120Hz, 8K/60Hz pass-through, video conversion analog to HDMI, upscales video signals to HD and Ultra HD (up to 8K).
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/yes.
  • Streaming services: AirPlay 2, Pandora, Spotify, Napster, SiriusXM, TIDAL, Deezer, Qobuz, Amazon Music.
  • Supports: HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDCP2.3, HDMI CEC, HDR10, HLG, HDR10+, Dynamic HDR, Dolby Vision.
  • Surround sound: DTS HD Master, DTS:X, DTS Neural:X, DTS Virtual:X, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, Dolby Atmos Music, Dolby Surround, IMAX Enhanced, Auro 3D.
  • It makes a great clear sound at high power.
  • Adding an optional stereo receiver expands the configuration to 13.2 channels.
  • A large number of wired connections for old and new equipment.
  • Support for almost all existing formats of the highest quality audio and video.
  • Built-in wireless ecosystem and streaming services.
  • I did not find any disadvantages during my testing.

Denon AVR-X6700H

Denon AVR-X6700H features

You might laugh, but the Denon AVR-X6700H and Marantz SR8015 are almost identical in their options. The X6700H, also released in 2020, also has a hinged cover to protect the main front panel controls and is also an 11.2-channel surround sound receiver with an expandable configuration to 13.2 with an optional receiver (allowing for 5.2.6 or 7.2.4 systems). And the AVR-X6700H has a rectangular LCD as opposed to the round one on the SR8015. But the difference is very noticeable if you compare X6700H and X3800H, also presented in this review.

I don’t even know if it’s worth describing the connections because they are the same as the Marantz capabilities. I’ll try to shorten it. So, Multiroom for 3 Zones and HEOS Built-in for wireless audio to other rooms are there. By the way, maybe Denon is always a little cheaper for similar models to the Marantz, partly because HEOS is a native development of the former and is almost always used in the latter. You can also connect “everything to everything” thanks to a wide variety of jacks: old equipment (Component and Coaxial Inputs), a vinyl player (Phono Input), a CD player, Blu-ray DVD, video console (Xbox, PS, Nintendo) and more. There is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Like the Marantz and more than the Denon AVR-X3800H, the number of HDMI ports (8 inputs with HDCP2.3 support, high-definition video, Upscaling, and 3 outputs (including CEC and ARC/eArc).

Denon AVR-X6700H specifications

So 8K 60Hz or 4K 120Hz video is available for Dynamic HDR, HDR10+, Dolby Vision and 3D video formats, and Dolby Atmos, DTS:X Pro, DTS Neural:X, IMAX Enhanced, and Auro-3D audio decoding (I found the difference: Denon does not decode DTS Virtual:X, if that matters to anyone). Hi-Res Audio, streaming services Spotify, Deezer, Apple Air2, and others, and voice assistants are also available.

Regarding sound quality and power, the Denon AVR-X6700H is as good as the Marantz SR8015 but gives much better THD than the Denon X3800H. So, it seems that the choice between the two representatives of this category comes down to which brand you are in the army of fans. After all, for all their similarity, the receivers sound different because the manufacturers strive to maintain uniqueness.

Denon AVR-X6700H sound

I also chose Marvel for testing, but it was Captain Marvel this time. The power made me shake and flip in my seat (I must say, I have great speakers), and the “movement” of the sound was as if sometimes it went through me. Top-notch. I also have no complaints about the stereo on the vinyl player (Kiss record) and Pandora. The cleanest tops, deep fat bass – everything is in its place, and I want to enjoy the quality again and again.

The Denon AVR-X6700H offers great options with modern technology, build quality, and high-end sound and deserves the title of the best AV receiver.

Key specs
  • Channels: 11.2.
  • Power output: 140W/8 Ohm, 175W/6 Ohm.
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 8/3.
  • Video functions: 4K/120Hz, 8K/60Hz pass-through, video conversion analog to HDMI, upscales video signals to HD and Ultra HD (up to 8K).
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/yes.
  • Streaming services: AirPlay 2, Pandora, Spotify, Napster, SiriusXM, TIDAL, Deezer, Qobuz, Amazon Music.
  • Supports: HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDCP2.3, HDMI CEC, HDR10, HDR10+, Dynamic HDR.
  • Surround sound: DTS HD Master, DTS:X, DTS:X Pro, DTS Neural:X, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, Dolby Surround, Auro 3D.
  • Powerful, clear sound in stereo and excellent surround sound.
  • The possibility of adding a stereo receiver expands the configuration up to 13.2 channels.
  • Wide range of connectivity options for old and new equipment.
  • Support for almost all existing formats of the highest quality audio and video.
  • Built-in wireless ecosystem and support for streaming services and voice assistants.
  • Haven’t found any disadvantages.

You may need it

It’s not just the receiver that’s important in an audio system, although it is the backbone. The result of what you hear depends on all the components, and it’s important to choose them carefully. So, in this section, you will find a list of equipment that I can recommend to you for assembling a high-quality audio system, as I have tested each of them, and some of them I use myself.

AVR buying guide

In this chapter, I will briefly review what I think are the most important features and capabilities of receivers that you should pay attention to before you buy so that you can understand what parameters are optimal for you. I also recommend that you read our big extended buying guide.

How to set a budget for your AV receiver?

The first thing you should decide before you buy is the budget you are willing to allocate. What you need to understand in the context of this question clearly:

  • Buying an expensive premium receiver is unnecessary to get “good” sound. Often it will be enough receivers from the average price category or budget for beginners in the home theater world.
  • You must remember that to achieve the super-sounding audio/video system, it is necessary that all its components be approximate of the same “level”, which means that if you have a set of stereo speakers for about $1000, it is reasonable to choose a receiver in approximately the same price segment – about $1000 – $2000. Also, if you have, for example, an entry-level 5.1 surround sound system for $300, bought at the nearest video store, then buying a receiver for more than $500 – 600 is not reasonable.
  • Of course, the more expensive the receiver is, the more functions and features it has to offer. Let’s look at what they can offer in our buying guide below.

We’ve also highlighted the top models in each price segment:

How many channels do I need?

how many channels do I need in AV receiver?

How many channels you need depends on your sound preferences, room size, and budget. It is an important decision because it determines what you can get in the end. Of course, more channels give you the prospect of further upgrading your audio system, which means the receiver will last longer.


2-channel receivers, or stereo receivers, are designed for listening to music. Of course, you can watch movies or programs from TV and other devices with them, but without surround sound. In any case, the sound will be better than an ordinary TV or soundbar.

We have made a selection of the best stereo receivers.


5-channel receivers are a budget option, consisting of a center speaker (located under the TV), two front speakers (left and right) and two surround speakers (left and right), and one subwoofer (separately for bass). It is the most suitable system for a small room.

We’ve compiled a list of the best 5-channel receivers.


7.1-channel receivers are often representatives of the mid-price segment and essentially represent the same configuration as the 5.1, but with the addition of two overhead (high-rise) speakers, forming a 5.1.2 system. This sound distribution is minimal for Dolby Atmos. The 7.1 system is great for medium-sized rooms (about 40m2).

We have selected a list of the best 7-channel receivers.

9-channels and higher

The 9.1-channel receivers also represent the mid-priced segment. This configuration comprises one center speaker, two front speakers, two surround speakers, two ceiling speakers, and two surround back speakers (SBL and SBR). These receivers allow you to create 7.1.2 (with two ceiling speakers) or 5.1.4 (with four surround channels) configuration systems, which are optimal for Dolby Atmos audio format.

We’ve selected a list of the best 9-channel receivers.

11 and 13-channels

11 and 13-channel systems are an advantage of premium units that allow you to build a 7.1.4 (and other) full Dolby Atmos configuration. It is the same 9-channel system with additional ceiling and surround speakers. Receivers with this multi-channel capability can provide great sound for a large room and have full multi-room audio support.

We’ve compiled a list of the best High-End receivers.

How much power per channel do I need?

how much power per channel do i need in AV receiver?

How much power per channel you need depends only on the size of the room in which you place your home system. Therefore, you don’t need a lot of power for small rooms, and vice versa for larger ones. In addition, it is important to know that modern movies contain many soundtracks recorded at different volumes. So if you want better sound quality and not mixed in one pile – choose high power with a good THD.

However, I don’t think this criterion is too important when choosing a receiver because the human ear can catch the difference only when the volume goes down (up) twice. Instead, I recommend paying attention exactly to the distortion indicator because the manuals usually specify the power only for two channels. When you distribute it to 5 or more channels, these indicators decrease.

It’s worth noting that budget receivers usually have less power. But even if the manufacturer states high ratings, you won’t be able to take full advantage of them because THD will usually suffer, and you will hear noise and distortion.

Read more about Understanding The Power Ratings In AV Receivers And Amplifiers here.

What connections do I need?

The connections you need are among the most important criteria when choosing a receiver. It would help to consider what devices will be connected to your home system.

You may need Optical, Coaxial, Composite, and Component inputs if you have a lot of outdated but quality and expensive equipment. For example, RCA inputs, also referred to as analog, are used to connect CD players or cassette decks. And if you are an avid audiophile and have a vinyl player, the presence of Phono input will be excellent. However, don’t buy a more expensive receiver just because of it. You can connect the turntable through any Line In (Line In, Aux, etc.) if you have an external preamplifier.

If you are building a home theater system, consider the number of speakers you have. The receiver often has an additional output for a subwoofer, the ability to connect speakers in pairs, and an additional stereo receiver to expand the system. Also, look out for a headphone jack if you like privacy.

analog connectors

Digital connectors include USB and HDMI; here, you must pay attention to their configuration. If you want to use the USB input as a stream of content from other devices, make sure that the connector allows this (it often happens that such a connector only can recharge your devices). HDMI inputs and outputs are probably the most important ports because their configuration determines the quality of video content transmission.

There may be other connectors as well. Such as Ethernet (for streaming services), XLR balanced (to eliminate noise), and Digital Coaxial and Optical inputs (for TV audio and game consoles).

digital connectors

What video capabilities of the receiver to pay attention

If you want to keep up with the times, you should pay attention to such video capabilities as the ability to transmit video with 4K/120Hz resolution because it is becoming increasingly popular (you can find more and more content with this quality on popular video sites). You can also buy receivers that support 8K/60Hz video resolution and High Dynamic Range formats, of which there are four to date. These are HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, and Dolby Vision. They provide the highest fidelity of light transmission, resulting in a brighter, more sharply detailed picture. And while there isn’t much of this content yet, buying a receiver with support for all possible types will allow you to use it for years rather than changing it over time.

But remember, it’s important that your TV also supports all of these video features. Otherwise, no matter the receiver’s potential, you won’t see the results on your screen.

We’ve compiled a list of best 4k receiver.

What is multi-room audio?

Multi-room audio is the ability to share an audio signal and broadcast multimedia to multiple locations. For example, it allows you to broadcast audio from different TV channels live (simultaneously) to different rooms. That can be very useful if you have a large family with different preferences. But also useful if you want to connect speakers in different rooms, e.g., the living room and bedroom or the dining room.

Multi-room audio is an advantage of mid-range (usually 2 Zones) and premium receivers, with the latter having more zones (3-4 Zones).

DTS:X and Dolby Atmos: Do you need them?

DTS:X and Dolby Atmos AV receiver

To briefly answer whether you need DTS:X and Dolby Atmos – of course, you do. The modern world dictates its own rules in the development of technology, and today these two surround sound codecs are the most common and relevant. Virtually all movies today are released using these formats, and movie platforms are adding more and more such content.

DTS:X and Dolby Atmos are very similar and under normal circumstances. The only difference is that Dolby Atmos requires ceiling (high-rise) speakers, and DTS:X has a higher bitrate, but the difference is almost unnoticeable. It is also worth mentioning that both formats are only available in configurations from 7.1 (minimum system) and higher (11 and 13.1 are optimal for Dolby Atmos).

You can read more about them and their configurations here.

We’ve compiled a list of the best Atmos receivers.

Which brand of receivers should I choose?

which brand of receivers to choose?

There is no single answer to which receiver brand is the better choice. Today in the market, there are many manufacturers of quality devices with a wide range of configurations, wired and wireless connectivity, and price. Each brand tries to distinguish itself by the uniqueness of the “signature” sound (in reviews, you can often find frequent references to “warm” Denon or “cold” Yamaha, etc.) but invariably try to make it qualitative. Ultimately, choosing a brand comes down to your visual, auditory, and financial preferences and what kind of system you are putting together, that is, from the devices you already have or are about to buy. So before you buy, I recommend listening to the receiver that suits your features and budget.

We have highlighted the best models from each manufacturer at the moment:

And also compared some with each other:

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About Frederick Douglass
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