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The best AV receivers and amplifiers from 2019/2020

best AV receivers and amplifiers
The best models of the moment for you. In this article we discuss the best AV receivers and amplifiers from 2019/2020, looking at different price ranges.
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We have extensively tested more than 90 audio and video products this year, including a number of AV receivers. The AV receiver is still an important part of the home cinema system and that’s why we not only test them, we also put together the best models of the moment for you. In this article we discuss the best AV receivers and amplifiers from 2019/2020, looking at different price ranges.

What is an AV receiver?

Are you not yet fully aware of what an AV receiver is and what it is for? you use it like that? AV receiver is the central point of your home cinema system. You connect all your sources (devices) to this AV receiver and you also connect your display devices (TV, projector, etc.). The receiver forwards the signal from the sources to the playback devices. In addition, a receiver is also an amplifier. You connect your speakers to the receiver and the audio from the connected sources is amplified to be reproduced through the speakers. Finally, receivers can receive wireless signals, for example for streaming music. Receivers are complex devices, with numerous setting options and features. Earlier this year we wrote extensively about the streaming functions of av receivers and the possibility to calibrate the audio reproduction through Dirac Live 2 .

The best AV receivers from 2019/2020

In 2019 there will be many new AV receivers again. receivers on the market, and we have tested various models extensively. From affordable and relatively simple AV receivers to the absolute top models with advanced options. The overview below with the best AV receivers of this moment has been compiled by looking at our own experiences with the relevant models, the experiences of visitors and other experts, developments in the market and of course price developments. Among other things, we looked at the audio quality, the possibilities and the support for the newest standards.

Denon AVR-X2600H

The AVR-X2600H, now costing less than 500 euros, is one of the few new AV receivers that Denon has released this year. The AVR-X2600H is a 7.2 receiver that gives you all the functions of the “serious” AV receivers at Denon, including support for one pair of height channels. Thanks to the HEOS platform, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth and AirPlay 2 you can stream music effortlessly and you also have (optional) access to DAB radio and voice control.

Conclusion of our review:

It is not that the Denon AVR-X2600H is a radically different device than its predecessor. It does come with a number of new (small) features that are interesting in certain situations, such as the Dolby Height Virtualization mode. We have to write ‘will be’, because a number of novelties still have to be added via a firmware upgrade. The many streaming options, the user-friendly interface, the good price / quality ratio and the many connection options make the Denon AVR-X2600H another reference to this price point. If you get the model with DAB tuner, it is even quite right.

Read more in our  Denon AVR-X2600H review

Anthem MRX-1120

The Anthem MRX-1120 is the best and most expensive AV receiver of Canadian Anthem , with a price of 4,699 euros. It is a very different device than the receivers of the mainstream brands, with relatively few streaming options but a high degree of adjustability and an acclaimed room correction system. The MRX-1120 is an integrated 11.2 AV receiver with everything you expect from a high-end receiver: Dolby Atmos / Vision, DTS: X, many connections and quite a few integration options.

Conclusion of our review:

The Anthem MRX 1120 has surplus power and is particularly adjustable. The biggest plus of this AV receiver is ARC. Not only does Anthem provide you with a professional package with microphone and tripod, the ARC software itself is very effective. We are looking forward to the Genesis update for ARC that would increase user-friendliness. That is coming soon, according to the manufacturer.

The receiver also offers amplification at a higher level than entry-level models. That is an asset with larger surround configurations and with very dynamic content, whether it is the latest spectacle film in Dolby Atmos or a grand orchestral stereo performance. The MRX 1120 may present itself in a very austere manner, but has a lot to offer.

Read more in our Anthem MRX-1120 review

Arcam AVR850

The Arcam AVR850 is the flagship under the AV receivers at Arcam, with a price tag of almost 5,700 euros. The underlying design philosophy of Arcam means that their devices are more than average AV receivers focused on music reproduction. This makes an AVR850 also interesting for those who want surround and stereo playback to be handled by one better amplifier. The AVR850 processes surround up to 7.1.4 channels, but if you actually build such a setup you have to send those four additional channels to one or two separate amplifiers. D The AVR850 does not specifically focus on streaming, but firmware updates are released to keep the receiver up-to-date on the surround surface. For example, the AVR850 has recently been updated with IMAX Enhanced.

best AV receivers and amplifiers from 2019/2020

Conclusion of our review:

The Arcam AVR850 undoubtedly deserves the label “high end”. You notice that in the price, but especially in the good surround processing and the excellent audio performance. We have rarely heard such good focus and positioning of surround effects. That is also a merit of the Dirac system. This works very well, but requires more work than a typical AV receiver to get it right. But that is worth it.

With a flagship we prefer 5.1.4 or even 7.1.4 and the AVR850 lacks that, although you can build a set-up with four height channels by adding a two or four-channel amplifier. add. But that drives up the cost even further. That does not make the AVR850 any less good, but clearly a receiver for those who take their home cinema very seriously.

Read more in our Arcam AVR850 review

Yamaha RX-A1080

The Yamaha RX-A1080 is marketed as a 7.2-channel model for a price of 1,599 euros. However, that 7.2 description is somewhat misleading, since it is an AV receiver that can also handle 5.1.2 channels and has separate amplified outputs for speakers in a second zone. Yamaha positions the RX-A1080 as a premium device. The device is beautifully finished, has a lot of connections and of course the MusicCast streaming platform built in. New are MusicCast Surround (which allows you to use wireless speakers for the LFE channel and for the rear speakers) and Surround: AI, a function that continuously adjusts the surround sound to the content and the room.

Conclusion of our review:

The RX-A1080 is a device that convincingly demonstrates why you would invest more in an AV receiver. It offers more possibilities, but above all is much better able to display film soundtracks in their full glory. It is a powerful device that presents film soundtracks very powerful and enveloping. Music also performs nicely, thanks to the solid ESS-DAC and amplification. Although the (much more expensive) Marantz SR8012 remains the gold standard in that regard for us.

The Yamaha RX-A1080 is also very innovative. Now you often see a washing list of functions with AV receivers, useful or not. But both MusicCast Surround and Surround: AI are really valuable additions to a receiver that is already full of powerful options anyway. A slightly steeper learning curve is part of that, if you want to get everything out of it. Add to that the excellent MusicCast platform and you are talking about an AV receiver that undoubtedly deserves the label “very good”.

Read more in our Yamaha RX-A1080 review

Onkyo TX-NR696

The TX-NR696 is a 7.2 receiver, which are sufficient channels to build a basic but complete home theater. You can build a 5.1.2 setup with it, for example, or simply keep it at 5.1 and use the two remaining channels for a second zone in another room. The price tag of (now) around 480 euros makes the TX-NR696 a mid-range in the entry segment, a rival for devices such as the Denon AVR-X2600H or the Yamaha RX-685. The striking sticker on the front immediately reveals what Onkyo bets on when unpacking: streaming. Because streaming is possible in the TX-NR696 in many ways.

The TX-NR696 is a great all-rounder for people who want to build a home theater at a reasonable price. It has enough power for a living room and is great for a classic 5.1 setup – with or without two pairs of height channels. We would particularly recommend this Onkyo if you are looking for a surround receiver to fit into a Sonos system or if you like to listen to music via streaming. Paradoxically for a streaming monster we find the NR696 just stronger for film.

Read more in our Onkyo TX-NR696 review

Yamaha CX- / MX-5200

The CX-A5200 preamplifier and MX-A5200 power amplifier are devices for a very select audience. They are a high-end option, which explains why these two devices are really the top models from Yamaha’s Aventage premium line. If you buy both of them, you are not far from 6,000 euros. You get a lot for that price. The CX-A5200 is a processor and pre-amplifier that can process 11.2 channels, with support for Dolby Atmos and DTS: X, many connections and with high-end DACs. The MX-A5200 is his buddy: an 11-channel amplifier with a spectacular structure, which offers interesting additional support for audiophile stereo channels in a BTL configuration where you use two channels for the left channel and two for the right.

Conclusion of our review:

The CX-A5200 and MX-A5200 presents itself as the ultimate solution for the discerning surround enthusiast. Almost 6,000 euros is of course not nothing, but at this level you simply have to budget more. A better home theater can easily lean to 12-15,000 euros, including speakers and acoustics. It is in such a scenario that these two racks from Yamaha fit in.

There are some high-end rivals in this box around this price point, but the separate pre-stage approach from Yamaha has its advantages. This makes it a bit more future-proof. Yamaha also has the necessary flexibility built in, also for more audiophile setups. Huge plus points are the excellent MusicCast platform and cutting-edge technology such as Surround: AI and virtual speaker arrangements. Above all, the Yamaha combination balances large power reserves with a very detailed representation, making the label ‘ultimate’ in place.

Read more in our Yamaha CX-A5200 and MX-A5200 review


The 2,999 euro NAD M10 is a special all-rounder. The M10 is very compact and the M10 is clearly in the premium segment. You notice that in the finish, but also in the sound that the 100 Watt nCore amplifier continuously delivers. There are many streaming options, with the Bluesound as the main banner. AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth with aptX HD support are added. Despite the small size, space has been found for a number of connections, including an HDMI eARC port. And for advanced music lovers: there is also Dirac on board.

Conclusion of our review:

The NAD M10 is an excellent amplifier that replaces an entire music system – and does not compromise. Perfect is a fierce word to use, but NAD has created a hi-fi device here that barely makes a mistake and will approach perfection for many people. And that in something of a large handkerchief.

Read more in our NAD M10 review

Marantz NR1200

Finally, the Marantz NR1200, which is not an everyday AV receiver and is aimed at a specific AV receiver target audience. The NR1200 is a stereo receiver with HDMI connectivity and more than 500 euros (now) that is made for anyone who would like to connect all (video) sources with one device but is not really interested in a living room filled with 7, 9 or more speakers. That is an ideal starting point for reproducing music much better than an average soundbar that often has difficulty setting up a large soundstage. The two speakers required for the Marantz NR1200 can also be supplemented with a subwoofer for a 2.1 setup.

Conclusion of our review:

Thanks to the Marantz NR1200, the music lover has a way of continuing to listen to his music in higher quality and still enjoy a better sound while watching TV. The starting point for this device is first music, then film sound. And that is the reverse of a soundbar, a device that usually displays films and TV series well, but music is less good.

The Marantz NR1200 is not overly expensive, although you still need a pair of stereo speakers (and maybe a few more subwoofer) to use it. But you do have a solution that is uncompromisingly good for music and film soundtracks. The slim design, the many streaming options and the wide range of inputs make the Marantz NR1200 extremely versatile, just like an AV receiver. As long as you do not strive for a real surrounder experience, this is the best of all worlds.

Read more in our Marantz NR1200 review