Introduction to Receiver Reviews

While a large HDTV can bring your favorite TV show or movie into your living room, you need a cinematic soundstage to fully bring the theater experience to life in your home. Today’s audio/video receivers are at the heart of any home theater system. The receiver connects all the devices in your home theater including your television, Blu-ray and DVD players, cable and satellite boxes, gaming systems, media servers, and even old legacy devices like CD players. Besides offering all that connectivity, the receiver is really multiple components in one. The receiver is first and foremost a pre-amplifier (or pre-amp) which serves to process and decode everything from two-channel stereo up to 11.2 channels of immersive 3-D surround for formats like Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro:3D. The receiver is also responsible for routing the video signals from each source device to your television. While some receivers are still able to handle legacy analog video inputs, the trend is to support the latest HDMI formats with support for HDCP2.2 and 4K UHD video codecs.

The receiver is also a multi-channel amplifier capable of powering a wide range of speaker configurations, from stereo and traditional 5.1 and 7.1 surround systems, up to the latest 11 channel systems with multiple pairs of height channels. The receiver has traditionally included a tuner for AM/FM radio, but todays’ receivers can now include such things as an HD Radio tuner, room correction, multi-media connectivity, multi-room and multi-zone connectivity, and control apps for your favorite phone or tablet.

The receiver market has always been feature rich with new products updated and released every year or two. Receivers are available in all price ranges, from budget minded options to feature-laden flagship models that command big bucks. Our reviews and bench tests cover the full range of receivers and offer insight into product design, setup, operation, the features and functionality that matter most, and of course how the receiver performed and sounded in our home theaters. Our receiver reviews will help you decide which receiver is right for your home theater and your budget.

Receivers

Arcam AVR850 Surround Receiver

Arcam AVR850 Surround Receiver Review

The new Arcam AVR850 surround receiver includes Dolby Atmos processing and is DTS:X ready via a firmware update. It utilizes Dirac Live room correction and contains seven channels of high powered Class G amplification.

Yamaha R-S202 Stereo Receiver Review

Yamaha R-S202 Stereo Receiver Review

Rooted in technology and expertise with a music heritage that runs over 125 years deep the R-S202 was created from years of experience and technological expertise in receiver design. The distinguishing “new” feature for this stereo receiver is the addition of Bluetooth technology...

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Marantz SR 5009 Receiver Review

Marantz has produced grin-inducing amps and receivers for many years. Their SR5009 will keep you smiling as it sends stunning sound to your speakers and gorgeous pictures to your TV. Featuring the latest high resolution audio decoders such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, the Marantz SR5009 7.2 Network Home Theater A/V Receiver also includes Dolby Pro Logic IIz decoding so you can connect front height speakers for a dramatically expanded front soundstage.

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Audioengine B1 Bluetooth Music Receiver Review

The Audioengine B1 is an easy to use add-on accessory that promises quality audio playback via Bluetooth technology for under $200. It uses the latest Bluetooth 4.0 technology with the aptX Codec. This extends the B1's range and gives you the best possible audio reproduction.

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Pioneer VSX-1124-K 7.2 A/V Receiver Review

The Pioneer VSX-1124-K is a current technology A/V receiver featuring 7.2 audio, HDMI inputs compatible with Ultra HD upscaling and advanced DAC technology. The VSX-1124-K features high power for a complete 7.2 channel system along with compatibility with current steaming sources.

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Denon AVR-X2100W 7.2 A/V Receiver Review

Denon's IN-Command line of receivers puts network integration features at the top of the list. Combine them with the usual performance of a Denon receiver and you have a formidable entry in the mid-level receiver market. Here, we review their new AVR-X2100W 7.2 receiver.

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Anthem MRX 510 7.1 A/V Receiver Review

When it comes to room correction firmware in A/V procesors and receiver, Anthem Room Correction (ARC) stands above the rest. With more customization available to users, and better algorithms than competing products, it can help to improve your listening experience. Until recently, the only way to have ARC was with their expensive processors. Now, with the MRX 510 A/V receiver, you have full access to 7.1 channels of ARC in a $1,600 receiver.

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Yamaha RX-A1040 7.2 A/V Receiver Review

This is an amazing receiver, offering a full slate of features equivalent to those offered by any of their competitors. The 4K pass-through puts the Yamaha ahead of many on the market. The sound is dynamic and the video performance is superb.

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Onkyo TX-NR535 5.2 A/V Receiver Review

The Onkyo TX-NR535 5.2 A/V Receiver is part of Onkyo's new line of entry level receivers and features HDMI 2.0 to allow it to pass Ultra HD 4K/60 Hz video. It also features built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for easy streaming of music from your tablet, smartphone and NAS.

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Anthem MRX 310 5.1 A/V Receiver Review

Putting together a new home theater setup? Looking to upgrade that old receiver you've had soldiering on valiantly in your a/v cabinet? Well, the home theater enthusiast should find themselves spoiled for choice these days. But I have quite a few reasons why you should check out the Anthem MRX 310 A/V Receiver with the Anthem Room Correction System.

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Arcam AVR750 7.1 A/V Receiver

Receivers are hard to review. It's almost impossible to directly compare them to another model as there is so much wiring involved. Attempting to rely on memory has its own challenges, as it can be unreliable when it comes to audio. With all the difference sections of a receiver, from audio and video handling, to room correction and amplifiers, it is difficult to determine what is performing right and what is wrong. It was with great anticipation I delved into the new Arcam AVR750 receiver, the flagship model from the well-regarded UK company.

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Anthem MRX 710 7.1 A/V Receiver

Anthem's second-generation MRX receivers now offer more HDMI inputs, dual HDMI outputs, 4K upscaling and pass-through, faster HDMI switching and come in three models with the primary difference being the amount of amplification and number of channels. The entry level receiver is the MRX 310, which offers 80 watts per channel for 5.1 channels. The MRX 510 is the middle receiver in the MRX lineup and offers 100 watts per channel for 7.1 channels. The flagship model is the MRX 710, reviewed here, which offers 120 watts per channel for 7.1 channels. As for other differences between models, the MRX 710 and MRX 510 allow the front left and right speakers to be bi-amped. The MRX 710 and MRX 510 have seven rear and one front-panel HDMI input, while the MRX 310 has seven rear HDMI inputs. All three models support software updates via USB.

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Pioneer SC-79 9.1 A/V Receiver

The SC-79 marks the fourth revision of the Pioneer SC-line that I have reviewed. From the beginning I've been impressed with the amount of features they fit inside and the performance they offer. The SC-79 announcement is as excited for a new receiver as I have been. Far from a marginal upgrade, Pioneer went all-out and packed in new features galore. The biggest is a pair of ESS SABRE32 9016 DACs. A single-step below the 9018 used in top-flight two channel audio products, the 9016 is the highest end DAC in a receiver today.