In the current world of AV and Home Theatre systems, there is no more important piece of gear than that of the Audio/Video Receiver, or AVR for short. They are the brains of the organization and what makes your system tick.
An AVR is the home base for all your connections, and is able to reprocess any source, and output it over a single cable, HDMI. It also decodes, processes, and amplifies the audio signal to be sent to your speakers. Whether it is a low quality MP3 song from your iPhone, or an uncompressed DTS Master Audio track from the lastest Marvel BluRay. It can handle it all. But, how do you select the right one?
We break down AVRs` into two categories; good sounding “features laden” models, and superior sounding “no frills” models. Figure out which camp you are in, and half the battle is won.
I will use a budget of around $1000 – 2000 for comparison purposes
Brands like Marantz and Pioneer’s Elite line tend to fall into the “features” side of things. Models like the SR5012 from Marantz, or the SCLX502 from Pioneer Elite. These are great sounding receivers that are full of features. Network connectivity, internet radio, audio streaming services, Apple Airplay, remote apps, along with plenty of HDMI connections for all your high def needs.
While very good sounding, they may lack the ultimate high horsepower that audiophiles demand. Which is where the other category comes in.
Beefcake in a box.
Where the features driven models may fall behind in terms of heavy duty power,performance a brand like Anthem picks up the steam. Models like the MRX520 and MRX720 are built around great sounding power amplifers.
Neither of these models are known for their laundry list of features, although that has improved over the years with added features such as DTS Play-Fi. What they are known for is power, and power reserve. Higher amounts of current, from large transformers, make bigger speakers sing. You will hear less distortion at higher volumes, and your soundfield will be larger. While you do give up a few of the lesser know features under the hood, they still maintain all the necessities, like HDMI2.2 switching, 3D passthrough, and high level room calibration. But all the bells and whistles listed in the other category are scarce.
Ryan Peddle – Liptons Custom Audio and Video Sales Specialist