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A receiver is a device that brings together all the stages of amplification and has three main functions: it is a preamplifier, radio tuner and amplifier at the same time. It is a device that takes and manages the audio and video signals acquired from a source, such as a Blu-ray player, DVD or turntable, and then routes them to TVs and speakers. On the market there are modern and versatile models capable of connecting several devices simultaneously via HDMI cables: in this case the receiver becomes a fundamental device for home theater. Almost all receivers are compatible with 4K TVs and have USB inputs to be able to listen to music directly from smartphones, tablets, flash drives and hard drives. There are also receiver models designed to be connected exclusively to a turntable with inputs dedicated to the speakers or to the turntable itself: these models are more suitable for music lovers who own or collect vinyls and CDs.
We mentioned home theater earlier. Well, thanks to a good quality receiver it will be possible to live a truly unique experience and bring the cinema to your home: it will be enough to have a large modern television, a home theater system with at least 6 audio speakers, and then manage it all to one receiver.
The amount of power that will be released ranges, depending on the model of receiver, from a minimum of 30 Watts up to a maximum of 500 Watts, a very high measure and not suitable for a home environment. Our advice is to understand what volume levels can be reached in the home, because already a 200 Watt model could be excessive if you do not have a large and fully soundproofed room. You will need to make sure that your speakers can actually take on this level of power: already a 100 Watt model could be fully valid to ensure excellent sound diffusion.
There are different models depending on the number of speakers that can be connected: 5.1 receivers support up to six speakers and are sufficient for setting up a home theater, but there are also 7.1 models on the market with which you can connect as many as eight. In the case of a 5.1 receiver, there will be 5 high end and mid range speakers and a subwoofer; in the case of a 7.1, there will be 7 speakers and a subwoofer. The greater the number of speakers, the better the final sound effect will be. There are also models 9.2 or higher, more suitable for non-home sound systems.
On the market, therefore, there are various models that are distinguished by power and number of speakers that can be connected, that is, the characteristics just highlighted. We see, below, the main models of receiver on the market.
The best receivers
Denon AVR-X4500H – See price or buy
The Denon AVR-X4500H is one of the most expensive receivers on the market. It is a very powerful 9.2 channel receiver, which ensures an extraordinary sound diffusion. Denon has kept the price the same as the previous model, the AVR-X4400H, managing to tweak and improve performance. It is not suitable for sound diffusion in a small room. The design and sound are very good indeed. It has 8 inputs (1 on the front) and 3 HDMI 3D outputs.
Onkyo TX-NR686 – See price or buy
This receiver model has an amplifier section capable of handling 7.2 channels, 7 speakers and 2 subwoofers. The sounds can be reproduced with all possible connection types. Connectivity to the network is managed via Ethernet and Wi-Fi and it will also be possible to use services such as Spotify and Tidal. Onkyo TX-NR686 can also integrate Chromecast features for audio streaming. It is a device with a wide range of functions available and the price is absolutely good when compared to other models on the market. Overall sound quality is good, but not great.
This model is one of the cheapest on the market, but despite this it is a good 5.1 receiver despite having few advanced features and does not have surround software. The quality / price ratio is still largely sufficient and this receiver is perfect if you have a small room available to spread the sound: in fact, this device is capable of delivering 80 Watts of power, ideal for small rooms. If the demands are not excessive, the Pioneer VSX-532 is the perfect device.
Arcam AVR850 – See price or buy
This receiver model sells for a very high price and is only recommended for those looking for something stunning. The device can only be used if you have a very large space available, as it is ideal for listening rooms and not for apartments. The sound quality and the power released are incredible qualities of this product. The unit can handle any surround sound program from Dolby Atmos to DTS Neural.
Denon AVR-X8500H – See price or buy
Another very expensive and difficult to place receiver in a home environment is the Denon AVR-X8500H. This receiver delivers a powerful home theater experience with as much as 13.2 channels, enabling stunning 3D surround sound reproduction. It is a truly amazing device, but few people will be able to use it due to the too exclusive features and the high price. The product can only be purchased by those who will be able to take full advantage of its 13.2 channels.
Yamaha RX-V585 – See price or buy
The amplification section of this unit manages 7.2 channels, adding the possibility of adding wireless surround speakers. This receiver works great in small spaces and is perfect for giving you the home theater experience in your home. The quality / price ratio is very high. However, it is not suitable for use in too large spaces. Each channel can deliver 80 Watts of power with a maximum of two channels running. The unit handles Dolby Atmos and DTS: X well, which will take up the greatest needs for surround sound, as well as excellent audio calibration via Yamaha’s proprietary software. There are only four HDMI ports.
Sony STR-DN1080 – See price or buy
This receiver features flexible speaker solutions, DTS: X and support for Dolby Atmos, and delivers powerful cinematic surround sound that fits perfectly into the home environment. It guarantees excellent sound quality and has excellent power: 165 Watts, more than enough to power almost all speakers currently on the market. The price is super affordable, but obviously the device has lower characteristics than the best performing models on the market. This template has a great design and a good interface, very easy to use.
This receiver is very economical and is a feature-rich device with a very intense and crystal-clear sound. Few devices offer 7.2-channel audio that allows this depth and intensity to sound. The features are remarkable and you can also use HEOS to add Amazon Alexa to the mix. This receiver is the updated version of the previous AVR-S730H model, although in principle the functionality between the two models is almost the same.
The Onkyo TX-NR787 receiver is a THX Select certified Dolby Atmos / DTS: X model. The amplification section manages 7.2 channels and the power released is 100 Watts. It has a wide range of streaming options and features Google Chromecast, DTS Play-Fi, and FlareConnect technologies. In addition, there is no lack of Bluetooth, Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity, with access to Spotify, Tidal, Deezer and TuneIn radio services. In this model there is no pre-amplified output. Overall, the sound quality is excellent and the price is very good.
Yamaha RX-A880 Aventage – See price or buy
It is a model with 7.2 amplification channels, characterized by a very high sound quality, high power and numerous features. In addition, it is a very versatile tool and works perfectly with a large variety of speakers. It belongs in a low to medium price range, but the sound and functions are really high. This model has a power of 160 Watts per channel, higher than the previous model, the RX-A880. It features MusicCast multi-room technology and integrated music streaming services.
NAD T 777 V3 – See price or buy
This receiver belongs to a very high price range, but it has performance and functionality beyond the norm. It is a 7.1 model with channels of 80 Watts each going up to 160 and 260 Watts on 8 and 4 Ohms. The overall audio quality is amazing, as is the design. This appliance is not suitable for an occasional user. A unique feature of this model is that there is no need to replace the receiver if a new enhanced version of Dolby or DTS arrives.
Anthem MRX 1120
Anthem MRX 1120 is a device that manages to ensure incredible sound quality. This model amazes home theater enthusiasts for its high quality and numerous features: from 4K management to Dolby ATMOS and DTS: X. It is a model with 11.2 amplification channels, which are able to guarantee an extraordinary sound, perhaps one of the best receivers on the market from this point of view. The price is very high, but the quality of the product is amazing. Recommended for non-occasional users.
It is one of the very few devices to work with Sonos wireless speakers. The amplification system is 9.2-channel and is a Dolby Atmos / DTS: X model. The Integra DRX-3.2 receiver is also THX certified, meaning it meets certain objective audio standards while also adapting well to large rooms. The price is quite high, but the functions are remarkable and you will not be disappointed with using this device.
Marantz SR8012 – See price or buy
It’s a very expensive 11.2 channel receiver, but with impressive features and powerful sound. The unit handles Dolby Atmos, Auro 3D and DTS: X well, which will be able to ensure a true 3D sound experience. It is an 11.2-channel device: the receiver’s 11 high-quality amplifier stations improve the audio quality thanks to carefully selected components. Each channel delivers 205 Watts of power, ensuring incredibly powerful sound. Thanks to the built-in HEOS technology, this model becomes part of a HEOS multi-room wireless music network, allowing you to play and listen to your music anywhere.
Yamaha RX-A1080 – See price or buy
This receiver supports Dolby Atmos and DTS-X playback with CINEMA DSP HD3, taking the surround experience to new levels and giving a truly unique home theater experience. Many other devices are able to guarantee greater audio details, but this 7.2 model guarantees a very powerful sound and is equipped with many specific features. An advantage of this model is the design: in fact, it has few buttons and the main controls are hidden, giving a touch of remarkable elegance to the device.
Onkyo TX-RZ830 – See price or buy
This receiver model belongs to a medium price range, but it is a 9.2 and therefore has a very good number of channels. In addition, the power of the sound is amazing with its 180 Watts per channel: this feature makes it perfect for large spaces. It has a wide range of features, including a turntable preamp and Play-Fi, so you have the ability to connect with other wireless speakers. The defect is the sound quality which is a bit rough.
Yamaha RX-V485 – See price or buy
This receiver is one of the cheapest on the market, but it remains a very good device. In fact, it gives the possibility to use wireless speakers for its surround and subwoofer channels. It is one of the best products if you are looking for a good product for small rooms and the sound is really very clean and crystal clear. One drawback of this model is that it only has 5.1 channels of amplification.
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