We have extensively tested more than 90 products this year and since a long time we have also increased the number of AV receivers that arrive in our listening room. The AV receiver is now an important part of the home cinema system and therefore we do not only test them, we also put together the best models of this moment for you. In this article we discuss the best av-receivers of 2018/2019, looking at different price ranges.
What is an AV receiver?
Before we put the tips and advice for buying an AV receiver together it is important to define a receiver. We have already extensively described what an AV receiver is but in short it means that an AV receiver is the centerpiece of your home cinema system. All components (devices) are connected to this and the speakers are connected to them. The receiver contains amplifiers with which the speakers can be controlled. In addition, modern receivers can receive wireless signals, for example for streaming music. Receivers are complex devices with numerous settings and features.
The best av-receivers of 2018/2019
We have a lot of av -receivers come by, and a large number of them extensively tested. The overview below with the best AV receivers of the moment is compiled by looking at our own experiences with the models concerned, the experiences of visitors and other experts, developments in the market and of course the price developments. In addition, we looked at the support for the latest standards, including the latest hdmi versions, 4K Ultra HD, HDR, DTS: X and Dolby Atmos.
This SR8012 is the first 11.2 receiver of the Japanese brand, with support for Dolby Atmos, DTS: X and Auro 3D. And as you would expect from a flagship, it has many inputs, many options, HEOS streaming, integration options and especially baking power. Currently you can buy this model for about 3,000 euros.
The Marantz SR8012 is a very powerful and good-sounding AV receiver that will satisfy even the most demanding surround enthusiast. The combination of 11.2 channels and a flexible interface means that you can use the device for very many scenarios. That the SR8012 also has all the musical assets that you would expect from a high-end Marantz, then the real big added value. The HEOS function, an excellent interface and a lot of power are of course also very welcome.
Read more in our Marantz SR8012 review
NAD T758 V3
The NAD T 758 v3 is an AV receiver that may seem uninteresting on paper, but in reality you can blow your socks. He may look sober, this NAD has a lot of power, BluOS and the fantastic Dirac system on board. And all for a price of 1.499 euros.
With the v3 version, NAD is modernizing its T 758 receiver in a spectacular way. By adding the Dirac system, this device is able to optimally optimize your surround setup. You have to put some time into it and be prepared to experiment to get an optimal result, that’s right. But that’s worth it.
At the same time, Dirac really is capable of making your surround sounding tighter and more realistic than you ever expected. Even if your speakers are not perfectly positioned according to the Dolby and co booklet or the cheaper models. We can not really emphasize how valuable this is. The T 758 v3 also comes with BluOS support, so it also has very good streaming and multirome capabilities.
The AVC-X8500H is Denon’s first receiver that really has thirteen amplified channels. According to Denon, this is the first 13.2 receiver with the latest generation codecs that support surround with height channels. Somebody in a 7.2.6 setup? The receiver can currently be purchased for about 4,000 euros.
The price point may already make it clear: this is not an AV receiver for an average living room. However, it is a very powerful and extremely versatile device that can form the basis of a beautiful home theater in the superlative. Possibly you even have channels left to provide a second or third room with music elsewhere in the house. Multiroom is possible anyway via the built-in HEOS function, which works very nicely with the wireless HEOS loudspeakers. You may also want integration options in this segment and they are also well represented. Not unimportant, because the AVC-X8500H is on the border between what a consumer would buy and what an installer would place. Because you can use the receiver completely as a processor, it offers interesting possibilities for the latter target group.
Read more in our Denon AVC-X8500H review
With 7.2 channels and a price point of 699 euros, this versatile AV receiver with voice support and MusicCast is in the sweet spot of the market. It is a tough challenger for the rest, thanks to the optional wireless rear speakers and subwoofer. At this moment you can buy the RX-V685 for about 600 euros.
The RX-V685 is a Yamaha receiver which, thanks to a few minor improvements (such as the extra HDMI output and clean interface) and MusicCast Surround, will become a serious challenger for rivals at the same price. Especially the separately sold wireless speakers at the back and the wireless subwoofer are strong arguments to go for this receiver. In addition, MusicCast remains the best streaming platform at receivers.
At least as important is that Yamaha paid a lot of attention to many small details, which gives the RX-V685 a very well-kept impression. You can adjust this receiver to your own taste, also quickly and spontaneously while watching. In a segment where every rival is well equipped, just those little things make a big difference.
Read more in our Yamaha RX-V685 review
Do you want to spend a little less, are you looking for a slim and attractive device, and do not you mind ordering some speaker channels and features, then the NR1509 is an interesting alternative. This receiver is currently in shops for about 450 euros.
All in all, we can safely conclude that in terms of audio quality the NR1509 does not really do much for the NR1609. The NR1609 only offers more possibilities, such as an arrangement with Dolby Atmos, which definitely has its added value but what you have to be able to dispose of. If you do not need the larger number of HDMI inputs, are satisfied with a simpler (low resolution) interface and do not want to use extra zones then the NR1509 is definitely a good alternative. Like its more expensive brother, this is a receiver for a specific target group; a target group that likes to use the small space well, has a limited budget, seeks ease of use and wants to tightly control a good speaker system with a serious receiver. Both are not receivers for the really large rooms or for the maximum volumes, but receivers that do what they have to do very well. You have unlimited streaming capabilities and multi-audio capabilities thanks to HEOS, you can control the receiver with an app, you have various settings and calibration options and you can enjoy an above-average stereo and surround sound. All in a compact but premium-looking jacket.
Read more in our Marantz NR1509 review
If you have a budget of around 4,000 euros, the Rotel RAP-1580 is one of the best AV receivers you can buy. This model really focuses on maximum performance in terms of music and film, so in terms of features you have to be less satisfied.
What this model excels in is what he is ultimately intended for; the audio playback. In this area, the amplifier performs very well, both in terms of surround and stereo. Compared to the fully equipped receivers that we tested earlier, the RAP-1580 offers a wider sound field, with more subtle details, clearer control over playback and a wider range. If we look purely at the audio quality then the RAP-1580 is absolutely worth the money.
Read more in our Rotel RAP-1580 review