Receiver Buying Guide 2015
It is that time of year where we get to spend your money again! This week we concentrate on receivers. Our goal with these guides is not necessarily about getting the latest product. It’s about getting a good product at a great price so you may see some of last year’s gear on the list. All these receivers are readily available online or at a big box store. Just like last year’s Buying Guide, we’re going to skip the budget categories jump right to our top picks. We each pick three receivers and one ‘money is no object’ / ‘dare to dream’ receiver for you to consider.
This 7.2-channel receiver can power a 5.1.2-channel Dolby Atmos speaker setup: 5.1 standard surround configuration plus two in-ceiling or height channels: 5.1.2. All HDMI inputs support the latest TV video displays, and with three of six inputs handling HDCP 2.2. Built-in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Airplay (including Pandora and Spotify) to stream virtually any audio from your smartphone, tablet, or PC to your home theater. And support for playback of Compressed, Lossless, and Hi-Res Audio via Local Network (MP3, WMA, WMA Lossless, FLAC, WAV, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, Apple Lossless, DSD 5.6 MHz, LPCM).
Because we all know Denon makes the best receivers…this bad boy is a 7.2 channel A/V receiver that packs 105W of power per channel. It has 3D and 4K Ultra HD/60Hz full rate pass-through with 4:4:4 color resolution, HDR, BT.2020. 8 HDMI 2.0a inputs (incl. 1 front) and 2 HDMI outputs with full HCDP 2.2 support. Of course, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. And let’s not forget Dolby Atmos (up to 5.1.2), DTS:X ready (via firmware update). Instant content Airplay, Spotify Connect, Pandora, SiriusXM Internet Radio Internet Radio, DLNA, DSD,FLAC, ALAC and AIFF High Resolution streaming. And the new IP control capability with the HEOS Link turns any stereo system into a wireless zone (HEOS LINK sold separately).
Two Denons? Is that allowed? The X3200 is the reasonable choice. the X6200 is the less reasonable, but “wow” choice. The amplifier has 9 discrete output stages with identical circuit topology and high current transistors. Each channel is rated at 140 watts. Of course the AVR-X6200W features the next-generation sound formats Dolby Atmos, dts UHD and Auro 3D (upgradable) which allows you to add Height/Top speakers to dramatically expand the soundstage. Featuring a total of 8 HDMI inputs, the AVR-X6200W also has 3 HDMI outputs for flexible multi-room options, with full HDCP 2.2 support. This receiver is also equipped with advanced video circuitry capable of upscaling video signals to 1080p and up to 4K/60Hz full-rate video passthru with support for 4:4:4 color resolution, HDR, and BT.2020.
This year I am only selecting receivers that are HDCP 2.2 compliant and support 3D sound. As a result my lowest cost receiver comes in at a penny under $900 but it supports a 5.2.2 Atmos setup and you can send it any 4K Ultra HD source with HDCP 2.2 and HDR. The 850 has support for Hi Res Audio as well as Pandora, Rhapsody, SiriusXM, and Internet Radio. There is also support for Yamaha’s proprietary wireless multiroom audio system called MusicCast.
I have never been disappointed with the audio quality of a Pioneer Elite receiver and based on my recent experience with its little brother, the VSX-90, I can fully recommend this receiver to anyone who wants to take a step up in this department. This unit is 130 watts per channel which will fill even large rooms with sound. It supports 4K pass through and of course Dolby Atmos. The SC-91 has MCACC Pro calibration, Subwoofer EQ, built-in AV Navigator, plus an easy initial setup app.
I have one and so should you. While this unit only has 7 amps (110 Watts each) it does have 13 preouts which with an external amp will provide you with the most immersive audio experience! The 6010 supports both Dolby Atmos and dts UHD. Of course it supports 4K Pass through and is HDCP 2.2 compliant. It streams all kinds of services but we all have a set top box that can do that don’t we!
I have never been able to get my hands on an Integra receiver but if I can dream this is what I would want. It checks every box and then some. Its THX Select 2 Plus certified and can be calibrated so that the video processing in this receiver actually does something to improve the picture on your TV. Components are heavily screened to assure optimal sound. If you are big into automation the 70.6 supports AMX, Control 4, Crestron and Compass Control. This truly is an ultimate Christmas present for the A/V lover in your life! And that just may be yourself!!
Posted by The HT Guys, December 3, 2015 6:17 PM
About The HT GuysThe HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.
Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.
ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.
Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.