June 13, 2024

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The 3 Best AV Receivers for Most People of 2024

3 min read

If you’re trying to get as close as possible to re-creating a genuine movie-theater experience at home, there’s no replacement for a good AV receiver. Soundbars are a great step up from built-in TV speakers, but an AV receiver gives you significantly more control over how you set up, use, and upgrade your home theater system.

For most people, the Denon AVR-X1800H offers everything necessary—now and for the foreseeable future—to enjoy a premium movie, video game, TV, or music experience. All you have to do is add some speakers.

Our pick

This is a great-sounding, easy-to-use, 7.1-channel receiver that has all the needed features to satisfy movie fans, music lovers, and gamers alike.

The Denon AVR-X1800H is our top choice because it’s a great-sounding receiver that holds your hand through the setup process and delivers excellent value. It features seven amplifier channels to power a standard surround-sound speaker system plus two speakers for a Dolby Atmos or DTS:X home theater setup.

It has six HDMI inputs, three of which are HDMI 2.1 compatible and support the advanced gaming features found on the Microsoft Xbox Series X and Sony PlayStation 5 consoles. You can stream music to it wirelessly via Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay 2, as well as the Heos wireless streaming platform (a competitor to the Sonos platform).

It also offers Audyssey’s good MultEQ XT room correction, which allows you to fine-tune your speaker system’s performance to suit your room. Our tests consistently show that, in this price range, the effectiveness of the room-correction system is the differentiating factor in sound quality between AV receivers. But for best results, you’ll want to add the optional $20 MultEQ app (for iOS and Android).

Upgrade pick

With better room correction and more amplified channels, this receiver is a great pick for the home cinema enthusiast who wants a step-up option—but it’s also a big step up in price.

For the movie lover willing to spend more for better sound quality, more amp channels, and some pretty tweaky customization capabilities, we recommend the Denon AVR-X3800H. This receiver sounds better than the under-$1,000 models we tested, thanks largely to its more advanced Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room correction.

The 9.4-channel AVR-X3800H includes two additional amp channels that you can use to power more speakers, and it can process sound for up to four subwoofers independently. All six of its HDMI inputs are HDMI 2.1 compatible and support 8K video and advanced gaming features. It also offers better multiroom audio and video support than the AVR-X1800H.

But all of its features and performance advantages come at a much higher price.

Budget pick

Simple to set up and use but lacking in features, this receiver is a solid choice if you just want to put together a good 5.1-channel speaker system.

If you want to assemble a simple 5.1-channel surround-sound system—or you already have a 5.1-channel system and need to upgrade to a receiver that supports 4K, 8K, or high dynamic range video—the Denon AVR-S570BT is a good option under $500.

It’s easy to set up and use, and it performs quite well for the price, even though it can power only five speakers and lacks the Audyssey room correction that you get on the more expensive Denon models. It offers four HDMI inputs that all have HDMI 2.1 compatibility, so it works well for gamers. But it can stream music only over Bluetooth, not Wi-Fi–based platforms like Heos or AirPlay 2.

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