The best high-end AV receivers

Elliott Rivette

High-end AV receivers

With more movies going straight to video on demand, it is easier than ever to watch hit titles from home. If you are looking to maximize your at-home viewing experience, you may want to replicate theatrical sound with an AV receiver.

What is an AV receiver?

An AV receiver is a supplementary device for improving sound and visuals experienced in a home theater. The receiver changes the ways that audio and music are coded and translates that into the sound waves you actually hear. This process creates a top-quality sound for the best home entertainment experience.

Pros of AV receivers

One benefit of an AV receiver is that it allows users to manage their multiple inputs more efficiently. By using an AV receiver, a home theater won’t drain extra electricity if all of the components are not used. It’s a convenient way to manage a stereo, projector, TV or gaming system through one centralized hub. Additionally, a good AV receiver replicates the sound quality you expect from a large movie theater. For example, you cannot have surround sound without a receiver of some kind to manage that audio output.

AV receivers manage your entire sound system and tell speakers in different positions in the room how to distribute that audio playback, which can create an immersive 3D sound experience. Some receivers with HDMI audio provide that possibility of high-quality 3D entertainment in your home theater.

Cons of AV receivers

The main downside of using an AV receiver for your home theater setup is that you will need to spend some time connecting all of your different devices and preparing your room, which can seem daunting to those who aren’t the most tech-savvy. The time spent in the preparation should save time later, however, once you have a convenient and efficient entertainment system at your fingertips.

Best AV Receivers

Best of the best AV receivers

Yamaha CX-A5200 AVENTAGE 11.2-Channel AV Preamplifier: available at Amazon

Our take: This receiver is 4K Ultra HD and is compatible with an Alexa device so that you can take control of your powerful AV setup with simple voice commands.

What we like: It has real-time sound optimization with Yamaha’s Surround:AI system that uses artificial intelligence to maximize your system’s potential. It is also compatible with Spotify and MusicCast multi-room. The Wi-Fi-enabled receiver can process over 10 channels, so you can connect all of your devices in your home theater and switch between them easily.

What we dislike: At over $2,000, this is a huge investment in your AV setup. 

AV Receivers on a budget

Pyle Wireless Bluetooth Power Amplifier System: available at Amazon

Our take: If you are concerned about prices, this system provides high-quality sound at a great value. It does not take up much space, and it provides a clear output on two different channels.

What we like: It is Bluetooth-enabled, though the range is not very far, and it works for a home theater setup. 

What we dislike: Unfortunately, the budget option does not come with an HDMI connection, which would provide much better AV quality. The HDMI version is sold at a higher price than the regular version.

Sony STR DH 190 2-Channel Stereo Receiver: available at Amazon

Our take: Though not particularly fancy, this receiver is a smart budget buy from a reliable brand like Sony. 

What we like: Fans of vinyl specifically like that this receiver is easy to set up with their turntables. It also has Bluetooth capabilities that are fast to set up and use.

What we dislike: Again, this is not an HDMI system, but it is not very expensive for a piece of quality Sony hardware.

YAMAHA RX-V385 5.1-Channel 4K Ultra HD AV Receiver with Bluetooth: available at Amazon

Our take: This receiver system might not be very large, but it packs a punch with five channels of surround sound.

What we like: With Bluetooth capabilities and 4K UHD HDMI inputs, the receiver provides a quality entertainment experience. A bit fancier than other low-end models, this model gives respectable performance without breaking the bank.

What we dislike: There have been some customer reports of problems with the wires and subwoofers.

Denon AVR-S540BT Receiver, 5.2-Channel, 4K Ultra HD Audio and Video Home Theater System: available at Amazon

Our take: While it lacks smart capabilities and compatibility with mobile devices, it provides versatile and powerful connections to other equipment. 

What we like: It has 4K UHD HDMI ports and is easy to set up. It is certainly more expensive than some of the other budget options, but it is a reliable and easy-to-connect addition to your home theater.

What we dislike: Though it has Bluetooth, it seems to lack reliable connectivity and has trouble pairing with certain devices. You would want to research the sorts of Bluetooth devices you plan to connect to this receiver before purchasing. Non-Bluetooth devices should not have any trouble.

Sony STR-DH790 7.2-Channel Surround Sound Home Theater AV Receiver: available at Amazon

Our take: For a product under the $500 mark, this receiver surprisingly delivers a high-quality,  affordable AV system that provides a cinematic sound experience.

What we like: This device connects to seven different channels, has 4K UHD HDMI ports, Bluetooth functionality and all-in surround sound. You can even use your phone’s Bluetooth to turn on your receiver and stream music without touching the remote.

What we dislike: This model has a high price tag for a budget model.


Elliott Rivette is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.


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