Saturday, January 29, 2011

Top 10 Home Theater A/V Receivers

Extra Features in Most Wanted Gadgets 2011 Top 10 Home Theater A/V Receivers or AV Receiver Home Theathre. For the full home theater experience, you need an AV receiver. There are now hundreds of AV receivers in the market with different features and price levelsA sound bar or HTIB might get you close, but a true home theater enthusiast won't settle for less than a 5.1 speaker system and component-style AV receiver. AV receivers are central to home theater systems. Compare audio-video receivers and surround sound receivers at TopTenREVIEWS. Pioneers, Onkyo and Yamaha. TestFreaks has all the reviews to help you find the best AV Receiver. The 2011 version of the Consumer Electronics Show had a tall order:

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. To help narrow your search, we have compiled a list of top A/V Receivers that offer not only good performance but also value for your money. Feel free to use this as a starting point in your search for the A/V Receiver that caters best to your budget and needs. This list is updated monthly.
January 2011 Update :
Onkyo’s flagship receiver Onkyo TX-NR5008 retains the top spot. Building on the high standards set by its predecessor it has made substantial improvements in performance and functionality.

Retaining second spot is the fully featured Onkyo TX-NR808 that offers excellent value for money at prices below $750 at Amazon. The 3rd spot goes to the Pioneer VSX-1020-K which impressed with its audio quality. Jumping into the top 10 list for the first time are two new receivers from Yamaha – the RX-A3000 and HTR-5063.
1. Onkyo TX-NR5008

Onkyo TX-NR5008 AV Receiver
Onkyo TX-NR5008 AV Receiver
As Onkyo’s flagship model for the network generation, the TX-NR5008 offers a mouthwatering feature set designed to satisfy even the most demanding home theater purist. Priced similarly as the outgoing model, the TX-NR5008 comes with additional functionality like 3D video playback and support for iPhone/iPod streaming via USB. The expanded 9.2-channel configuration allows you to enjoy multi-zone playback as well as the latest surround formats by Dolby, DTS, and Audyssey. Advanced networking capability, meanwhile, enables you to incorporate PC-based audio and internet radio into your home theater set-up. Video signals fed through this receiver get the luxury treatment, thanks to HQV Reon-VX processing, ISF calibration, and 1080p upscaling of all video sources via HDMI 1.4a. In the engine room, the TX-NR5008 boasts an impressive array of audiophile-grade components, including large, customized transistors to drive high currents and 22,000 pF capacitors to support a huge and stable power supply. Add to that high-quality 32-bit Burr-Brown DACs, ultra-low-jitter circuitry, and independent power supplies for amplifier, video, and audio circuitry, and you have a networking powerhouse equipped to deliver a top notch performance.
Actual user comment: “The new flagship unit is more refined and user friendly with many of the rough edges ironed out. The OSD is a big improvement you can make adjustments on the fly with (on screen display) for audio and video. The older version 5007 for me was freezing up not letting speaker output and you were forced to do resets which involved unplugging unit and thus loose all your previous settings. Not good. This unit is heading in the right direction but I feel still has some catch up to do with how fast things are changing in the AV world. The performance is wonderful quality components and some well needed refinements that were required for a flagship. All in all a good purchase.”Amazon Verified Purchase

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2. Onkyo TX-NR808
The TX-NR808 earned its THX Select2 Plus certification by blending the latest connectivity and processing technology with Onkyo’s renowned amplification prowess. As a network-capable receiver, the TX-NR808 is your gateway to streaming audio from your PC. It has seven 3D compatible HDMI 1.4a inputs; 7.1-multichannel analog inputs for legacy components; a Universal port for Onkyo peripherals; a USB port for iPod models and flash memory devices; and an analog RGB video input for your PC. Employing two advanced 32-bit DSP chips and low-jitter 24-bit Burr-Brown DACs, the TX-NR808 effortlessly handles your audio-processing needs. Whether it’s lossless Dolby and DTS formats on Blu-ray discs, or new-dimension surround formats from Audyssey and Dolby, the TX-NR808 makes you feel like you are immersed in the movie. The TX-NR808 is certainly a serious challenger for the middleweight title.
Actual user comment: “Bottom line: the sound is exquisite. Mind you, my 808 is pushing some excellent Monitor Audio RS6s (5.1 setup), and they speak to one another spectacularly. Tight highs and sweet lows. Onkyo has created an AVR that is sensitive and capable of detecting subtle nuances.Here are three examples:

Dark Knight (Blu-Ray): crisp sound and noticeable improvement visually. The very slight pixelation of my five year old Panny plasma was made indiscernible by the 808’s wonderful Faroudja DCDi. Furthermore, the rumble of Batman’s tumbler is awesome.

Pearl Jam: Imagine in Cornice (DVD): upconverts to 1080p impeccably. You are surrounded by the audience to amazing effect. Goosebumps. Beautiful.
Red Dead Redemption (first gen X-Box 360/ no HDMI): Sound vastly improved. Can’t say I noticed any visual distinctions, but that’s not surprising as it is not HDMI. Having said that, audiophiles will certainly enjoy hearing the gentle grinding of dust and dirt under the protagonist’s tarnished leather boot. Gun blasts are deep and penetrating.
Overall I am very pleased with this product. I’ve not experienced any of the aforementioned problems – i.e. NO BUGS! Even the networked sites are quick and fun to play with.” – A.Zeller (USA)
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3. Pioneer VSX-1020-K

The 7.1 channel Pioneer VSX-1020-K receiver is one of those mid-priced units that is well positioned to jostle for a piece of the 3D pie. It is comes with many innovative features like iPhone support, Dolby Pro Logic IIz surround, Sirius satellite radio capability, and Anchor Bay video processing for pristine video performance.
Actual user comment: “Just set this up and was very impressed with it. Connecting my speakers was pretty easy, even with the speaker connections being pretty close together. Connected my satellite box, Xbox 360 and blu-ray player with ease. The MCACC setup was impressive. It even told me when I had a speaker connected out of phase and that my subwoofer’s volume was set too high. After correcting these few problems, the rest of the speaker set up went with ease. The blu-ray player looked and sounded great with this receiver. Master and Commander, Saving Private Ryan and Star Trek all looked and sounded great. The cannon blasts in Master and Commander almost shook me off the sofa. I had to turn the volume down for the opening battle. The D-Day invasion in Private Ryan was much the same. Gun shots zinged all around me and almost made me duck a few times. The little things sounded great, too. In M&C, the lapping of the waves against the ship and the ships creaking all sounded great. All in all, this is a very impressive receiver and is a very good piece of equipment for the money. My other complaint with it is the remote has very small buttons for my fingers. Other than that, the remote is sleek and quite usable. The buttons are mostly well placed and it is very easy to use. If you want a future proofed receiver, I would highly recommend it.” – D. Pauley (Charleston,WV)

List Price: $549.00

4. Onkyo TX-NR3008
Onkyo packs the TX-NR3008 with an extremely generous selection of cutting-edge home theater features. 9.2 audio channels expand the possibilities both for multi-zone playback and for the new surround dimensions of Audyssey DSX and Dolby Pro Logic IIz. PC-based audio and Internet radio come into play too, thanks to DLNA 1.5-compatible network streaming. Digital audio signals are converted by Onkyo’s VLSC into smooth, noiseless analog waveforms, while selected Audyssey and Dolby technologies maintain a well-balanced frequency response and dynamic range at any volume. Video processing on the TX-NR3008 is also second to none, with 1080p upscaling of any video source via HQV Reon-VX. To witness Onkyo’s renowned attention to build quality, check out the fully isolated power amp and pre-pro, along with the independent power supplies for system, video, and audio circuitry.
List Price:

5. Yamaha RX-A3000
The RX-A3000 is Yamaha’s flagship model in the new AVENTAGE series. It is a big leap forward in A/V component design. AVENTAGE brings studio grade sound and sophisticated video enhancements to your home with unparalleled attention to detail in design, engineering, and fabrication. Every electrical path, every part, every piece, and every material is optimized for performance. In addition to an innovative new construction design, the RX-A3000 offers 3D and Audio Return Channel over 8 in/2 out HDMI, CINEMA DSP 3D, HQV video quality, new GUI and new YPAO with Reflected Sound Control. Along with network functions like DLNA certification and control via your web browser, the RX-A3000 delivers the performance and features needed for your high end home entertainment system.
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6. Onkyo HT-RC270
The Onkyo HT-RC270 is network ready allowing you enjoy streaming PC audio and Internet radio in the comfort of your living room. When it comes to connectivity, the HT-RC270 handles virtually anything you throw its way. You get six 3D-ready HDMI 1.4a inputs, 7.1-channel analog audio inputs for legacy components, analog RGB inputs for PC video, a Universal port for Onkyo peripherals, and a front-side USB input for iPods and flash memory devices. Onkyo has a well-earned reputation for bringing offering good sound to go with its excellent video processing. It does this by utilizing low-jitter Burr-Brown DACs, lossless HD audio from DTS and Dolby, Audyssey MultEQ®: room-correction, and the expanded surround dimensions of Audyssey DSX™ and Dolby Pro Logic IIz. All of this connectivity and processing power earns the HT-RC270 the quality assurance of THX® Select2 Plus™.
List Price: $849.00

7. Yamaha HTR-5063
Yamaha’s HTR-5063 brings high-performance 7-channel amplification along with the latest in HDMI functionality, including 3D-ready support (with firmware upgrade) and Audio Return Channel, plus advanced HD Audio decoding with CINEMA DSP, YPAO, and SCENE technologies for ease-of-use. It has 4 HDMI ver 1.4a inputs, ready to handle all your high-definition sources and is 3D capable making it ready for high definition 3D video content. The HTR-5063 has three new volume features. Volume Trim adjust the volume of every input to normalize your volume across all your connected sources. Initial Volume allows you to tune to a preset volume level every time your receiver is turned on. Max Volume lets you set your own maximum volume, to help prevent “blowing out” smaller speakers. A neat feature to have.
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8. Onkyo TX-NR708
With 7 HDMI 1.4a inputs, the TX-NR708 offers ample connection possibilities as well as 3D video compatibility. One of the HDMI inputs is conveniently located on the front panel, along with a USB input for flash memory devices and iPods. If you want to connect a non-HDMI multichannel component the TX-NR708 sports a full complement of 7.1-channel analog inputs. It has low-jitter Burr-Brown DACs and sophisticated Audyssey MultEQ room-correction onboard, along with lossless HD audio formats and the expansive surround dimensions of Audyssey DSX and Dolby Pro Logic IIz.

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9. Pioneer VSX-1120-K
The Pioneer VSX-1120-K delivers a solid performance that will satisfy even the most ardent home theater. With connectivity options for all your latest HD home theater components and 1080p upscaling for any source, the VSX-1120-K takes performance a step further with multi-zone and RS-232 support for home automation systems. And the VSX-1120-K brings extensive connectivity for your digital media via Ethernet and a front USB input, and compatibility with Bluetooth sources (using the optional AS-BT100 adapter, sold separately). Plus, it’s “Works with iPhone” certified, so you can incorporate your favorite Apple products into your home theater easily.
List Price:

10. Denon AVR 3311CI
Transform your home theater into an online media hub with the Denon AVR-3311CI 7.2-Channel A/V Receiver. Equipped with wired LAN connectivity, the AVR-3311CI connects to your home network so you can enjoy online content on your big-screen TV and home speakers. The receiver features a wide selection of inputs, allowing you to route Blu-Ray/DVD players, VCRs, game consoles, and other entertainment devices to your TV. And with full support for the latest high-definition audio and video formats, you get enhanced music, photos, and video in the comfort of your home.

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