An AV receiver allows you to choose the speakers that best suit your room, budget and taste. You can start out with just two good-quality speakers and add further speakers to the mix later on.
- It's the ideal central point for a home theatre system.
- It takes audio and video information from your DVD/Blu-ray player, CD player, iPod, games console, AM/FM or internet radio and/or set-top box and sends it through to your TV screen and speakers.
- Some will connect via wireless, have a remote control with a learning function, or apps on your mobile phone or tablet as well.
Want to listen to music only? You can enjoy stereo audio through the two main speakers. Watching a DVD? You can play the movie and listen to 5.1 surround sound - two speakers both front and back, as well as a centre speaker and a sub-woofer providing the low-frequency sound effects.
A 7.1 system adds two satellite speakers to the mix.
For more information about Home theatre systems, see Sound.
- Anthem MRX300
- Cambridge azur551R
- Denon AVR-2312
- Harman Kardon AVR265
- Harman Kardon AVR365
- Marantz NR1602
- Marantz SR5006
- Pioneer VSX-921
- Sony STR-DN1020
- Yamaha RX-A810
- Yamaha RX-V771
How we test
Listening Listening scores are based on our team of three trained listeners appraisal of the sound quality produced at a given volume at the listener, using the same speakers and Blu-ray player in the same conditions, the only variable is the AV receiver. In each case we used the auto-setup feature, checked that they weren’t wildly incorrect and only corrected serious errors. The differences between the recommended models are subtle and a different set of speakers in a different room will produce different results, but we are confident that all are capable of producing a good listening experience.
Technical Technical scores are based on a variety of tests, which indicate how well the AV receiver is designed or can cope with some difficult situations. These tests include mechanical integrity, power transients (thumps or similar sounds when switching on and off), mobile phone interference, damping factor, frequency response, hum and noise (on all channels including the sub), maximum power before clipping, residual distortion (1W into 8Ohms, at 1kHz, two channels only).
Ease of use Our tester Scott O’Keefe checks each model for ease of connecting speakers, clarity and accuracy of setup and operating instructions, design that will limit where the device can be positioned (e.g. vent position, or other restrictions), common auto calibration errors (e.g. missing speaker, or speaker out of phase), ease of using and accuracy of the auto calibration, ease of manual calibration, clarity and intuitiveness of the on-screen interface.
Remote control Our tester Scott O’Keefe checks each remote control for size, weight, spacing and grouping of the keys, logical layout and ease of finding the most commonly used controls. He also checks the effectiveness of any backlighting, if applicable.
Energy Standby energy use is measured with the receiver in full standby mode. Some receivers will increase energy use if the user selects modes that allow for HDMI control of other devices, or network controls.