AV Receiver Tech

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Rob Sabin  |  Oct 17, 2017  |  3 comments
Yeah, we keep hearing how the awesomely versatile, stupendously well-performing, and tremendously high-value audio/video receiver is going away, soon to be replaced by all manner of soundbars and soundbases, self-powered tabletop wireless speakers, or perhaps just your old Aunt Matilda playing her kazoo from atop a stool in your living room.
Rob Sabin  |  Sep 09, 2015  |  1 comments
Oh boy, the times, they are a changin’. With the explosion of integrated soundbar offerings—including some pretentious premium models—it would be easy to dismiss the audio/video receiver, once the great ruler of the home theater world, as an aging relic. Enthusiasts know better...
Rob Sabin  |  Jun 27, 2014  |  First Published: Jun 28, 2014  |  13 comments
The Dolby Atmos surround-sound format for home theaters made its debut this week with product announcements from several manufacturers and live demos in New York City at the Consumer Electronics Association's CE Week trade show. The technology that Dolby first introduced to theaters in 2012 offers the potential for a far more immersive audio experience than the traditional 5.1- and 7.1-channel systems that are still mostly employed today, and having experienced Atmos in the cinema, I admit I was pretty pumped heading into the demos.

And I wasn't let down. Atmos in the home environment seems to work—surprisingly well, in fact. Caveats? Yeah, there are a few worth watching out for that I'll get to later. But overall, I'll go on record that this is probably the most discernable advance in home theater sound since the introduction of lossless digital audio in the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio formats on Blu-ray. And it's one that leaves all the pre-existing height- and width-channel surround formats— including Dolby Pro Logic IIz and DTS Neo:X—in the dust. Finally, this may be one that will truly make it worth the trouble of adding those extra speakers. Maybe...

Rob Sabin  |  Jun 05, 2013  |  1 comments
If there’s been any real change in the home theater audio landscape recently, it’s been the emergence of the anti-AVR. From soundbars to powered tabletop systems to wireless streaming speakers that can double as your TV’s audio system, the trend is toward all-in-one solutions that are simple to shop for, easy to install, and a cinch to operate. Granted, even the most basic receiver is none of those things. But the Swiss Army knife of the A/V world still remains the best value in the land, packing more power, features, flexibility, and (when mated with good speakers) performance than any integrated approach.
Rob Sabin  |  Nov 13, 2012  |  0 comments
Looking for that perfect receiver? Before you hit the stores, here’s everything you need to know in a quick-read format. See our Top Receiver Picks.
Rob Sabin  |  Jul 10, 2012  |  7 comments
Of all the components in your home theater system, none gets more playtime than your audio/video receiver. But buying an AVR can be daunting for home theater newbies or even seasoned enthusiasts diving back into the upgrade pool. AVR technology and features have been constantly moving targets these last few years. Here are some basics to help you make your selection, circa 2012.

A/V What?
An A/V receiver combines three audio components in one box. Primarily, it performs the traditional roles of a preamplifier and power amplifier. The sound for any home theater begins as a relatively low-level audio signal coming off a source component such as a cable box or disc player. These days, it’s more likely to be a digital audio signal than an analog signal. That signal gets converted between digital and analog as needed, manipulated to affect your volume adjustment, and might perhaps have some bass and treble contouring (or more sophisticated equalization) applied before it’s sent to the power amplifier, whose only job is to pump it up to the power level necessary to drive your speakers to sufficient volume.

Steve Guttenberg  |  Aug 25, 2011  |  8 comments
Selecting audio components is one of the more daunting tasks that any serious home theater enthusiast faces. On the surface, it seems evident that if you just go out and buy the best components you can afford, they’ll sound great with both movies and music. And that’s generally true: A better system will more accurately reproduce the waveforms you feed it, irrespective of whether they come from a movie or music. But it’s often not that simple. While assembling a home theater system that’s equally spectacular with movies and music may be a laudable goal, unless you have unlimited funds, you’ll probably have compromises to make. At that point, you might want to steer the system’s performance strengths one way or the other with the right mix of speakers and electronics. But how do you go about matching these up?
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jul 18, 2011  |  3 comments
Are You Ready for the Heavy Artillery?

A friend who went to college in the late 1960s told me that everyone in his dorm fell into one of two absolutely opposing groups: those who blasted the Who’s Tommy and those who were mesmerized by the Beatles’ White Album. Or for the sticklers among you, the album nicknamed the White Album but officially known as The Beatles. I could entertain you with a few more sentences’ worth of metaphor, but you get the idea. You say tomato, I say tomahto.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Mar 17, 2011  |  0 comments
The A/V receiver is your home theater’s central nervous system. All cables and connections to and from your other components are likely to run through your AVR. It will manage and switch the A/V signals from all of your sources, and it will power at least five of your loudspeakers. Making the right choice in an AVR can feel like a science exam, but once you make the perfect match, the rewards are huge. The right AVR will be a pleasure to use and will make your speakers and other components perform their best. Helping you make the best choice is where Home Theater’s AVR Buyer’s Guide comes in.
Kim Wilson  |  Sep 10, 2007  |  First Published: Aug 10, 2007  |  0 comments
The next big thing?

In the last few years, video has been grabbing most of the headlines. Maybe you're not familiar with Audyssey, but this breakthrough acoustical-correction technology is showing up in the latest-generation A/V receivers to infuse new life into home theaters everywhere.

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 29, 2007  |  0 comments
To someone new to the whole home theater game, setting up an AV receiver might be intimidating. It's the most complex piece of equipment in the whole system, and the one that you'll interface with the most.
Shane Buettner  |  May 29, 2007  |  0 comments
Essential Audio Features
Basic Surround Decoding
Today's AVRs feature a ton of surround decoding features from Dolby and DTS, from basic 5.1-channel surround decoding to several ways of decoding stereo into 5.1-channel surround, or beyond.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  May 25, 2007  |  1 comments
It's not that your AVR doesn't love you. It's just misunderstood.

So you just bought your first AV receiver (AVR), and now you're staring in fright at the back panel and what looks to be several thousand connectors jammed together tighter than the squares on a New York Times sukodu puzzle – and just about as incomprehensible. Don't feel bad. Rocket scientists have been known to suffer heart palpitations in the same situation.

HT Staff  |  May 25, 2007  |  1 comments
Shopping for an AVR you're going to be confronted with sheer tonnage of surround sound decoding options. You don't really have to pick and choose among them since they're all included, but we thought that you might want to know what you're buying in all those little logos that appear on your AVR's front panel, and also get a basic primer on surround sound in general.
Various  |  May 21, 2007  |  First Published: Apr 21, 2007  |  0 comments
It's the Sound!