Top Picks AV Receivers

AV Receivers

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< $999
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)
Onkyo TX-RZ610 A/V Receiver: $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)
$1,000-$1,999
Denon AVR-X4200W AV Receiver: $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-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 >
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)
Sony STR-ZA5000 ES AV Receiver: $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 A/V Receiver: $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)
Arcam AVR850 AV Receiver: $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)

COMMENTS
johnny_y_mac's picture

Any thoughts on the X2000, 3000, or 4000?

HALO's picture

I spent a few thousand this year upgrading my home AV system. I bought the Denon AVR-S700W. So so happy, until the blue-tooth function died. No worries, I just bought a new I-pad too, so the AirPlay saved the day. THen the display died. OK, no worries, long as I can get my audio and video through. Then Wi-Fi connectivity died, so I can't use AirPlay. All this in less than six months. So so unhappy, especially since I learned that Denon's customer support is pretty much worthless, though still under warranty. I do not have time to figure out stuff on my own, so I am reaching out for a little help in what brand to trust for replacing this Denon POS. Not a rich guy, but willing to spend the bucks to get my music back. FYI, I mostly play music from my selection stored on I-Cloud in conjunction with I-Tunes. I really like the AirPlay streaming function. What I ned is kproduct reliability and decent support. What to buy?? HELP!!!