We’ve decided to bring our top AV receivers list closer into the realm of affordability this time, leaving out pricier pre/pros and flagship surround amps. As a result, below is a list of eight of the multi-channel machines that we think will give you the best bang-for-buck in your home theater or media room. Just as last time, although not having a chance to review many of the products here, we have nevertheless researched what’s hot, what’s been getting the good headlines, and what should deliver on both price and performance. Bear in mind that in this post-Covid world there are ongoing global supply chain issues combined with pared back personnel at many manufacturers’ HQs, so be prepared for disappointment if products are not currently in stock at your favorite retailer. With postage and shipping also subject to delays, there is a further dimension to this conundrum, but hopefully we will see things improve over the summer and fall.

Once again, here is a selection of surround sound champions in various price brackets that should suit most people’s tastes and that we think you should at least check out before committing. A few are carry-overs from our 2020 list simply because they’re still holding up as frontrunners in a competitive marketplace. (Note that the prices in the headings act as a guide and/or are previously announced MSRPs.)

Budget

Sony STR-DN1080 Receiver $599

The DN1080 continues to enjoy both sturdy sales and sustained interest from the hi-fi and home theater community. This 7.2 receiver packs audio performance that some reviewers have branded “punchy”, “spellbinding” and “insightful” into a solid-looking and multi-talented black box. With Dolby Atmos and DTS:X configurable as 5.1.2, 6 x HDMI inputs and exemplary hi-res music support options – all at a highly affordable price – there is talk of this receiver single-handedly heralding the Japanese corporation’s return to form.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XKRWWSG?tag= hometheate047-20

Yamaha RX-V6A $599

With HDMI 2.1 compliance for an 8K and high frame rate future, this sturdy and high-end-looking, curved-edge amp from Yamaha may come up short on its underwhelming LCD display and reduced streaming options compared to the competition. But where you really gain here is from Yamaha’s musical prowess, a quality often lacking in this price range of home theater receivers. Movie playback, care of its 7.1.2 audio array, is also considered “thrilling” and therefore possibly nudging its immediate rivals off the top shelf for sound quality, if that’s your priority over other features.

Onkyo TX-NR696 Receiver $649

The Onkyo TX-NR696 has established itself as one of the undisputed champions of budget receivers, and consequently the unit makes it back onto our list. Although priced officially at $649 now, you might still be able to find it for below $500, which makes it quite a steal. As well as its reportedly impressive sonic performance on both movies and music, this attractive black box from Onkyo – with its 7 x 100W per channel of amplification – sports an extraordinary list of features, including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X immersive audio for your movies. With 7 HDMI inputs, Bluetooth, a phono connection for vinyl fans and a host of streaming options, you get the feeling that there’s not much more that Onkyo could have thrown in for the price.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07STXVRRP?tag= hometheate047-20

Mid-Range

Marantz NR1711 Receiver $799

If you’re looking for something with a lower-profile design for a living space, check out the 8K-ready NR1711 (available in silver or black). Whether you intend to wire up a 7.1 or 5.1.2 immersive home theater, the Marantz will easily satisfy movie and music lovers with robust and “gorgeous” sound, courtesy of 50W per channel amplification. It even supports multi-room designs via the home-grown HEOS app and there is connectivity for Zone 2 included. Belying its size, the NR1711 carries a host of streaming options and gaming-friendly features.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0786M9ZZS?tag= hometheate047-20

Yamaha RX-A1080 $1,299

Yamaha once again addresses the need for music to stand its ground when set against multi-channel movie soundtracks. The RX-A1080 forms part of the mid-price Aventage series of receivers by the Japanese company, and is capable of a “huge” and “detailed” soundstage, thanks to its 7.2 channels of processing with 170W of power allotted for each. Loaded with features, music streaming capabilities and seven HDMI inputs, the RX-A1080 is also stabilized with the Aventage line’s five vibration-damping feet for enhanced performance.

Denon AVR-X3700H $1,299

Like the AVR-X3600H which made our 2020 list, the X3700H allows a 5.2.4 or 7.2.2 immersive audio setup, or 7.2.4 if you decide to add an additional two-channel external power amp. This new receiver is adorned with HDMI 2.1 switching, significantly improved audio performance over its predecessor, IMAX Enhanced certification and all the streaming and immersive audio mod cons you’ve come to expect from the Denon stable. The in-built versatility and “amazing” audio delivery make the AVR-X3700H a convincing prospect for anyone building out a new home theater.

Marantz SR6015 Receiver $1,699

For those considering a path to upgrade, the Marantz SR6015 receiver offers preamp capability bypassing its own internal amplification while also delivering “superb” sound quality on both music and film sources. This 9.2-channel 2021 model is packed to the seams with streaming and gaming features, all the latest immersive audio formats and, of course, HDMI 2.1 with its obsolescence-proof [email protected] and [email protected] pass-through. Of particular note is the product’s almost universally acknowledged fine sound quality from two-channel music sources.

Denon AVR-X4700H Receiver $1,699

Denon’s 9.2-channel powerhouse, the AVR-X4700H, offers eight HDMI inputs (one 8K) and a healthy bank of nine 125W onboard amplifiers. It can achieve a “three dimensional realism” with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks while mixing both “refinement and drama” in equal measure. One reviewer describes the performance as nothing short of “epic”. As with all the Sound United models in this mid-price bracket, there is a ream of features and gizmos for hi-res audioholics, gamers and movie buffs alike. There is also IMAX Enhanced certification and support for all common immersive audio formats, including Auro-3D.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089Y5KMFQ?tag= hometheate047-20

For Denon, Marantz and Sony, also try Value Electronics for best prices and customer service!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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John Dirk

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Not sure I would trust Onkyo in their present state but otherwise a nice cross section in the low to mid price point.
 

JohnRice

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It is an unstable time for receivers. I'd probably stay away from Pioneer as well, and Sony even seems a little twitchy. So, unless you want to go with a premium brand like Anthem, then Denon and Yamaha seem to be the choices, or Marantz for upgrade. Of course, if room correction is a priority, those brands (except Anthem) all suck where that feature is concerned.
 

Robert Crawford

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It is an unstable time for receivers. I'd probably stay away from Pioneer as well, and Sony even seems a little twitchy. So, unless you want to go with a premium brand like Anthem, then Denon and Yamaha seem to be the choices, or Marantz for upgrade. Of course, if room correction is a priority, those brands (except Anthem) all suck where that feature is concerned.
Damn those Anthem receivers are expensive.
 

DaveF

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I need a new AVR for my living room, to support 4K and eARC. My old Onkyo TX-SR707 is peak HD :) . I'm leaning towards the Denon 960H, though I've seen a review or two lately saying Yamaha is the way to go for that price-class purchase.
 

JohnRice

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Damn those Anthem receivers are expensive.
They really are. It's actually a little difficult to justify in my book. Their preamps are pretty much in line with the price of other brands, but they're inherently more expensive. I have a couple higher end Marantz units (SR7012 and AV7703) but with patience and timing you can often find remarkable deals on them on closeout, which is what I did. Not the case with Anthem.
 

Robert Crawford

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They really are. It's actually a little difficult to justify in my book. Their preamps are pretty much in line with the price of other brands, but they're inherently more expensive. I have a couple higher end Marantz units (SR7012 and AV7703) but with patience and timing you can often find remarkable deals on them on closeout, which is what I did. Not the case with Anthem.
As you know I have a Marantz 6013 that I'm happy with so I will probably go the Marantz or Denon route. I have a Yamaha receiver in my main HT that I might be replacing in the next year or so.
 

JohnRice

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As you know I have a Marantz 6013 that I'm happy with so I will probably go the Marantz or Denon route. I have a Yamaha receiver in my main HT that I might be replacing in the next year or so.
Actually, I'd forgotten that. Wasn't there something you had a problem with at first, but got it resolved?

As far as replacing your Yamaha, I suspect it's best to wait at least a year. Things just seem to be completely screwed up at the moment with receivers.
 

Robert Crawford

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Actually, I'd forgotten that. Wasn't there something you had a problem with at first, but got it resolved?

As far as replacing your Yamaha, I suspect it's best to wait at least a year. Things just seem to be completely screwed up at the moment with receivers.
No real issues with the receiver itself!

As to replacing my Yamaha receiver, I did say next year because I know things are screwed up and there being a chip shortage. If I do anything, it's going to be after the new 2023 models come out next year which might take me into early 2024.
 

John Dirk

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It is an unstable time for receivers. I'd probably stay away from Pioneer as well, and Sony even seems a little twitchy. So, unless you want to go with a premium brand like Anthem, then Denon and Yamaha seem to be the choices, or Marantz for upgrade. Of course, if room correction is a priority, those brands (except Anthem) all suck where that feature is concerned.
I'm now adding Emotiva and Monoprice to my list for possible replacements of my AV7702mkii. As I've said before, unless Marantz dumps Audyssey, I wouldn't even consider another one of their units. Keep it for Denon perhaps but Marantz deserves better.
 

JohnRice

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I'm now adding Emotiva and Monoprice to my list for possible replacements of my AV7702mkii. As I've said before, unless Marantz dumps Audyssey, I wouldn't even consider another one of their units. Keep it for Denon perhaps but Marantz deserves better.
At the very minimum, Marantz should offer Dirac as a purchased upgrade.
 

Josh Dial

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I bought the Anthem MRX 1140 just after it came out and I haven't looked back. Not a single issue to speak of.

I picked it up for a tad cheaper than MRSP here in Canada and couldn't be happier.
 

Robert Crawford

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I'm now adding Emotiva and Monoprice to my list for possible replacements of my AV7702mkii. As I've said before, unless Marantz dumps Audyssey, I wouldn't even consider another one of their units. Keep it for Denon perhaps but Marantz deserves better.
Regarding receivers, I haven't been keeping up the last couple of years, so Audyssey has gone in the tank?
 

DaveF

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As far as replacing your Yamaha, I suspect it's best to wait at least a year. Things just seem to be completely screwed up at the moment with receivers.
Are the problems anything more than the niche 8k and VRR HFR modes? That is, are things otherwise fine if you don’t care about videogames?

I’m frustrated by the low stock / lack of availability and subsequent high pricing on receivers. But that’s not a performance reason to not buy if I find the price I want.
 

DaveF

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I'm now adding Emotiva and Monoprice to my list for possible replacements of my AV7702mkii. As I've said before, unless Marantz dumps Audyssey, I wouldn't even consider another one of their units. Keep it for Denon perhaps but Marantz deserves better.
Which models you window shopping? I’ve seen Dave U’s high praise of Anthem’s ARC. But, the Anthem is costs 35% more than Marantz*, which isn’t cheap itself. My plans to just buy the latest Marantz 7xxx model when I get a 4K projector is now on wait-and-see.

* I thought it was 50% more. But Marantz prices have gone up, in the past year I think.
 
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JohnRice

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Are the problems anything more than the niche 8k and VRR HFR modes? That is, are things otherwise fine if you don’t care about videogames?

I’m frustrated by the low stock / lack of availability and subsequent high pricing on receivers. But that’s not a performance reason to not buy if I find the price I want.
Yeah, that's the problem. It's definitely true that the 8K and VRR issues aren't actual problems in the real world for most people, so long as they don't game.

For me the bigger issue is lack of availability. I'm an avid bargain hunter, and they simply don't exist. It can be enough of a problem just getting your hands on anything at the moment.
 

John Dirk

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Regarding receivers, I haven't been keeping up the last couple of years, so Audyssey has gone in the tank?
Compared to ARC Genesis and DIRAC Audyssey isn't even on the same playing field. Absolutely zero control over [or even visibility of] the frequency range it "corrects" without buying one of their newer units paired with a flaky app which had had mixed reviews at best. No ability to import from REW or similar and, as I understand it, a severely inadequate number of available filters since it relies on the AVR for processing power as opposed to an external PC like the others.
 

John Dirk

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Which models you window shopping? I’ve seen Dave U’s high praise of Anthem’s ARC. But, the Anthem is costs 35% more than Marantz*, which isn’t cheap itself. My plans to just buy the latest Marantz 7xxx model when I get a 4K projector is now on wait-and-see.

* I thought it was 50% more. But Marantz prices have gone up, in the past year I think.
On paper anyway, this thing is a beast but I'm not sure I could really commit to Monoprice as their development and engineering are likely outsourced, plus this thing is sort of short on aesthetic appeal.




Emotiva really needs to work on their naming conventions as they can be very confusing but this processor is cheaper than Anthem's AVM70 and appears to offer overall better hardware. It's not expandable beyond 16 channels like their RMC-1 but that simply isn't something that I would ever conceivably need. Right now anyway, this one and the Anthem are front runners but I'm probably going to wait it out for awhile.

 

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No real issues with the receiver itself!

As to replacing my Yamaha receiver, I did say next year because I know things are screwed up and there being a chip shortage. If I do anything, it's going to be after the new 2023 models come out next year which might take me into early 2024.

Unfortunately, I’m in a position where I need one sooner rather than later and the state of things is making it really hard.

I’ve upgraded to a 4K projector and I’m going to be buying new speakers soon as I make the move to Atmos. I may end up going with a Denon despite not being a huge fan of their sound because they are a reliably good value with the features I want. I am tempted by the NAD 778 and the Anthems though.