The 10 Best Receivers

Updated June 20, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 36 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Looking to amp up your home theater experience? Take your sound to a whole new level with something from our selection of today's receivers that include all kinds of cool functions, including surround sound, Bluetooth capability, Internet radio playback, memory for terrestrial AM and FM radio stations and, of course, outstanding audio quality. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best receiver on Amazon.

10. Pioneer VSX-832

The Pioneer VSX-832 supports PlayFi, Chromecast Audio, AirPlay, and Bluetooth for seamless wireless streaming to all of your devices. Its sound quality is pretty decent for a budget model, too, but the main drawback is that it has only five channels rather than seven.
  • all binding posts are in one row
  • setup feels complicated
  • has only four hdmi inputs
Brand Pioneer
Model VSX832
Weight 21.9 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Sony STRDN1080

The Sony STRDN1080 offers Google Home compatibility and has a 6-in/2-out HDMI port configuration. It also comes with a slew of other useful features, like DTS:X decoding and Direct Stream Digital Native playback, which means your digital content won't lose any quality.
  • optical and analog connections
  • ldac high-res audio transmission
  • always starts in the home mode
Brand Sony
Model STRDN1080
Weight 23.5 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. Onkyo TX-RZ810

The back of the Onkyo TX-RZ810 may look confusing and intimidating at first, but that is only because it supports nearly every type of connection you can dream of. Once you have figured out how to set everything up, though, you'll enjoy impressive audio quality.
  • calibrates audio to suit your room
  • thx-certified sound
  • custom made capacitors
Brand Onkyo
Model TX-RZ810
Weight 36.2 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

7. Yamaha RX-V683BL

The Yamaha RX-V683BL can handle any type of connection you might need. It has a phono input for turntable use, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities, and 4K Ultra HD pass-through with HDCP 2.2 support. It also features auto YPAO sound optimization.
  • supports 4 6 and 8 ohm speakers
  • can set it up with an android app
  • multi-zone volume equalizer
Brand Yamaha
Model RX-V683BL
Weight 26.1 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Denon AVR-X7200WA

With its hefty price tag, the Denon AVR-X7200WA is only for listeners who will settle for nothing less than the best audio quality and the most versatile functionality. It supports 3D and 4K Ultra HD video with a full pass through rate, and has three HDMI outputs.
  • plays lossless audio formats
  • 150 watts output per channel
  • onscreen setup assistance
Brand Denon
Model AVRX7200WA
Weight 46.5 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

5. Denon AVRS730H

The Denon AVRS730H is a 7.2 channel model that sends out a lot of power through each speaker channel. It creates balanced surround sound audio without producing any hum during silent periods in movies, even when set to a high volume level.
  • supports heos wireless streaming
  • eco mode reduces power consumption
  • can control it via a smartphone
Brand Denon
Model AVRS730H
Weight 23.5 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Pioneer Elite VSX-LX102

The Pioneer Elite VSX-LX102 supports Dolby Atmos and DTS surround sound to suck you into the action when watching your favorite movies. With its multichannel acoustic calibration system, you can tweak the settings for optimal audio quality in any size of room.
  • auto syncs sound between components
  • dual-band wi-fi capable
  • simple streamlined remote layout
Brand Pioneer
Model VSX-LX102
Weight 22.8 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

3. Yamaha Aventage RX-A1070BL

The Yamaha Aventage RX-A1070BL features eight HDMI inputs and two HDMI outputs, so you'll have no trouble connecting every one of your entertainment devices. With its MusicCast function, you can add audio to nine other rooms in your house, as well.
  • vibration-dampening fifth foot
  • sleek aluminum front panel
  • supports dolby vision
Brand Yamaha
Model RX-A1070BL
Weight 37.5 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Yamaha R-S202BL

With an affordable price tag and a simple layout, the Yamaha R-S202BL is a good choice for novices who may not need or know how to use all of the functions of the premium models. It can be purchased alone or as a bundle with included speakers.
  • stores 40 radio station presets
  • headphone jack in the front panel
  • energy-saving auto standby function
Brand Yamaha
Model R-S202BL
Weight 17.6 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Marantz SR7012

The Marantz SR7012 produces the type of crisp tones and warm bass that make audiophiles go nuts. It creates a truly immersive listening experience with complete 3D audio, including overhead sound effects, which few other models can produce.
  • easy access front-facing usb input
  • supports the auro-3d codec
  • dual subwoofer outputs
Brand Marantz
Model SR7012
Weight 37.1 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

The Heart Of Your Entertainment

When I was in school in Virginia, my dad let me use his beat up old 1991 Honda Civic hatchback to get around. It was a great car, despite appearances. The big problem with it, though, was the engine. White smoke intermittently spewed out the tailpipe, the engine massively overheating.

You see, your audio receiver is a lot like the engine of your theater or sound system. That makes whatever input device you use–be it a DVD, CD, Blu-Ray, TV box, Roku, etc.–kind of like your gasoline.

Your receiver takes that incoming signal and amplifies it and redirects it out through a surround system that you've hopefully set up. That redirection can split the incoming audio signals into a few different sound maps, in part based on the data coming into the receiver from the source.

If a video game, for example, is designed with Dolby 6.1 surround, you could actually hear the sound of an enemy sneaking up behind you in the center rear speaker, so it actually sounds like they're behind you. That's because 6.1 translates to a seven speaker setup: center, center-right, and center-left are all in front of you, right and left are literally beside you, and a rear center speaker lives centered behind you. The seventh speaker is the subwoofer indicated by the .1 in Dolby-speak.

If the audio input doesn't support that kind of mapping (maybe it's an old DVD with only 5.1 data available), you'll still hear audio coming out of all speakers including the rear, but it won't create that three-dimensional environment as realistically.

Surround Yourself With Quality

We spoke for a moment there about surround sound, and, among audio receivers, the availability of different surround formats is crucial to your selection. There's a caveat here, however, as it isn't quite as simple as just spending more money to get more quality.

If Dolby is the only name that comes to mind when you think of surround sound, you're missing out on a format that actually has better specs across the board than the king of the hill does. I'm talking about Digital Theater Systems, or DTS. DTS uses a much higher bit rate in their compression algorithm, which dedicates a lot more data space to the dynamic range and channel discretion of your audio.

Think of the bit rate of a given audio signal as its room to breathe. If an audio signal were a puppy and you wanted to transport it in an airplane, you'd want to put it in as big a cage as you were allowed to bring on board, wouldn't you? Well, DTS offers a cage for your puppy roughly three and a half times the size of the cage that Dolby offers, so your audio signal has more room to stretch out and display its nuances, to show off lower lows, and higher highs, and to place specific sounds around the room with more precision.

Now, it's safe to say that most audio receivers on the market support DTS, though some are built with DTS in mind over Dolby, and these receivers will work more fluidly with the data. The issue that arises here is that there's not as much DTS source audio available, so even if you spend the extra cash on the best hardware and software combination to make the most out of your DTS experience, that experience might not even be available to you.

In my opinion, it's better to have a receiver with the best DTS and Dolby platform options, so that you can get the most out of whichever format you have in hand.

War Begets Audio

It was primarily US soldiers returning from the battles of WWII who began the audio revolution. A number of fighting men learned electronics and radio operations in the war, and many others took advantage of the GI bill to get themselves a legitimate education in the field. A lot of the audio innovations through the 40s, 50s, and 60s, came at the hands of these vets.

Spurned on by the musical revolutions occurring from the birth of rock through to the musical rebellion fueled by the war in Vietnam, a new generation of music lovers began demanding more from their listening experience by the mid to late 60s. Here you see the advent of the stereo store. Where previously, radio stores sold parts for their tinkering hobbyist customers, now you had customers coming in and demanding systems outfitted with certain technologies.

One of these pieces, the centerpiece, actually, of these systems, was the audio receiver. These were analogue amplification devices that usually fed only two speakers or a set of headphones, and the sound quality was greatly determined by the quality of the wiring, all the way up to the arrival of digital audio on the consumer stage in the 1980s.

Fortunately, that audio advancement didn't require a war to gain momentum, though the battle between Dolby and DTS is pretty close.

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Last updated on June 20, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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