Music lovers always appreciate good sound quality, and an AV (audio/video) receiver provides you with a nonpareil experience. The market is inundated with gadgets every day, and it is not easy to buy one without doing a little homework. If you want to get the most out of your home entertainment system, an audio/video receiver (AVR) is a must. It is the focal point of a home theater system. You need an AVR for a multitude of tasks, ranging from supplying power to your speakers to enabling surround sound. Having a clear idea of the features that you should be looking for is the first step towards making a suitable choice. To make your research easier, we have devised a useful guide to help you buy the best AV receiver, after going through thousands of AV receiver reviews on the Internet.
The best AVRs can be classified on the basis of the number of audio inputs and output ports that they feature, the number of channels that they support, and the number of speakers they can power.
5.1 Channel–It is the basic model that support five speakers and one sub-woofer.
7.1 Channel–This model supports two additional speakers, making it a total of seven, and a sub-woofer for a richer sound.
7.2 Channel–This is one of the best AVRs, designed for larger rooms and higher configuration home theater systems. It supports an additional sub-woofer for a more even distribution of sound.
9.2 Channel- This is the latest AV receiver that supports up to nine speakers and two sub-woofers.
Warranty: Most users would recommend choosing a product with a reliable warranty. When you invest a substantial amount of money in an appliance, you would like to have the benefit of easy replacement of parts in the event of any manufacturing defects.
Ease of use: Using all the features to your best advantage is only possible if you understand them clearly. It is quite clear that most users prefer user-friendly interfaces that can be regulated with ease.
Stay away from cheap products: Most users would recommend that you should always opt for reliable brands that offer quality products and best after-sales services.
What to consider before buying an AV receiver
Today’s market is filled with many types of AV receivers and an equally high number of features—which can leave you perplexed as to which one to choose. We have put together a few factors for you to consider before you make a purchase:
Check the number of inputs: Opt for an AV receiver that comes with at least six input points. This, indeed, is the most important feature to be considered. Also, ensure there are a number of HDMI inputs, as most of the gadgets you use today are HDMI devices.
Do not go by the latest model: Decide on the model based on the features you would really need. With each new model, new features get added: Airplay streaming, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Dolby Atmos, etc.--the list goes on. However, wireless capabilities, streaming features, and a USB port can be considered necessary—don't compromise on those features.
Decide on the stereo/surround option: Opt for stereo if the purpose of the AV receiver is to listen to quality music. An AV receiver with a surround mode is meant for home theater use. Although a stereotype receiver is old-fashioned, it is the ideal one if you plan to listen to music only. You can save a substantial sum of money by not buying the surround type--unless, of course, you feel you really want it.
Check the power: This determines the quality of sound transmitted by your receiver. A high-wattage receiver will provide better sound quality even at low and medium volumes. Keep in mind the size and sensitivity of your speakers while selecting an AVR. Also, you should consider the size and design of the room in which you are planning to set up your equipment before making a decision about the relevant amplification.Buy the receiver that is powerful enough for accommodating the connected speakers, as well as the room in which it is located. The larger the room, the more the power that is required. Also, with the “All channels driven” specification, you can be sure that sound will be amplified to all channels.
Check connectivity – The ideal AVR should have an adequate number of input and output ports to accommodate all your equipment, as well as some spare ports. The technology to look out for in this department is HDMI (High-definition Multimedia Interface), which gives you the best video and audio output. Your AVR should feature digital connections--you should also ensure that it has the correct inputs, keeping in mind the equipment you plan to connect to it.
Ensure adequate features– Typically, AVRs incorporate several features to regulate the quality of audio and video output. Multi-channel stereo, traditional surround sound and simulated environments such as jazz club and concert hall environments are the buzzwords in audio capability. Latest video capabilities include 3D streaming, multi-screen display, and video processing. Making a list of features that you require may narrow down your choices.
Latest fads: Bluetooth, Airplay, Song Pal and Wi-Fi are some of the features to look for. Bluetooth connectivity allows you to connect your AVR with any kind of Bluetooth-enabled device for streaming audio and visual files. Airplay connectivity is limited to Apple products. SongPal is a Sony app that allows you to stream music from your smartphone. Wi-Fi is another useful feature that you would like to have to access your home Internet connection without the use of an external Ethernet cable.
Interface: The wide range of features would not be of any use if you cannot figure out the way to use them optimally. The best AVRs come with a user-friendly graphical interface that is easy to understand and regulate.
Calibration: A number of AVRs now offer automatic calibration that checks and configures systems and settings on their own. This feature makes life easier, especially if your knowledge of audio-video systems is limited.
Pioneer, established in 1938 in Japan, is one of the leading manufacturers of the best quality musical equipment.
Yamaha is a Japanese company that has grown to become the world's largest manufacturer of a range of musical instruments, audio/visual products, and other related products.
Onkyo Corporation from Japan is known for their musical equipment and AVRs. Their advanced products are very popular with users.