The Arcam AVR850 is a refined and high performing AV Receiver – and at $6000, among the most costly available for purchase today. What does one get for that $6000? Easily the best amplifier performance I’ve ever experienced in a dedicated AV receiver, paired with cutting edge Dirac Live room correction. Together, these two attributes mean the AV850 performance rivals many separate processor/amp combinations, with the convenience and footprint of an “all-in-one” AV receiver. While lacking some bells and whistles present in more mainstream receivers, the AVR850 represents an exciting alternative to separates for someone who values sound quality and top notch room correction, with potentially little-to-no compromise in performance. (more…)
Review Types Archives: Receivers
Unlike most companies, Anthem doesn’t do a yearly refresh of their receivers. They don’t try to stick in every single new feature that comes out each year, most of which people don’t use. Instead they focus on upgrading when necessary. The updated MRX x20 line of receivers from 2016 is the third release in the MRX line and adds essential features including HDMI 2.0a, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, and DTS Play-Fi. Most importantly they’ve kept Anthem Room Correction in place and added support for 11 channels of audio. The Anthem MRX 1120 is a powerful, great sounding receiver that serves as the heart of a high-end home theater. (more…)
At RHT we hold Denon receivers in high regards. Across the line, we find Denon units to be consistent performers who effectively embrace leading edge features. Coupled with best-in-class setup assistant software, Denon units are easy to recommend. The AVR-X6300H is Denon’s newest high-end receiver offering. At $2200, it sits just below the flagship AVR-X7200W and as expected brings a wealth of features to the table, which this year includes direct integration of HEOS – Denon’s music streaming platform – and 11 amplified channels. The X6300H sounds terrific and if you are in need of 11 amplified channels or added power over the X4300H, it is easy to recommend. We like the direct integration of HEOS into the X6300H, which makes adding the music streaming platform easier than previous iterations. The HEOS system overall continues to show promise – though it is still a step or two behind competitors like Sonos with regards to ease of use and stability. (more…)
Every well known receiver company has an offering around $800. I’ve always found this to be a sweet spot for a receiver–you gain a more refined piece than entry level, but at a point that doesn’t sting as much as flagship models. As we have written before, receivers in this range sound quite similar, so comparisons come down to features and usability. What sets the Denon AVR-X2200W apart and why do I now have one installed in our bedroom system? A robust platform, second to-none guided set-up and some key differentiating features make the AVR-X2200W an easy recommendation. (more…)
Trying to pick a future-proof receiver in 2014 was a challenge. You had to pick between full bandwidth HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 copy protection, and DTS:X didn’t even exist yet. No matter what option you picked, you knew that in the next year or two you might need to replace it if you got a new TV. By mid-2015 that had changed and it was not hard to find receivers with full HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2 support for UltraHD along with DTS:X and Dolby Atmos support. One of the more affordable options with those features is the Denon AVR-S710W.
For $480 the Denon AVR-S710W has 6 HDMI inputs, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X with 7 channels, HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2, Bluetooth, AirPlay, WiFi, Audyssey MultEQ, and the best setup routine of any receiver. Best of all, I can crank it to reference levels with my KEF Atmos system and it sounds wonderful. For most people, the Denon AVR-S710W offers everything you need in a receiver today and is ready for tomorrow as well. (more…)
Over a year ago I reviewed the Yamaha CX-A5000 preamp which was one of the first to use the ESS SABRE 9016 DAC in a multi-channel product. The sound quality from this was well ahead of other preamps I had used but it is expensive at $2,500. Now Pioneer has used those same ESS DACs in their $1,600 Elite SC-85 Receiver. With 9 channels of amplification, the Pioneer Elite SC-85 offers Dolby Atmos, AirPlay, Spotify Connect, and their most advanced room correction system. No only does it have good specs, but it has the bench performance to back those up.
For a few years, I’ve given Yamaha a bad rap. After a pair of reviews that didn’t live up to what I expected, I decided that I wasn’t going to review much from them. That all changed when I reviewed their CX-A5000 processor and found it to be wonderful. Then they impressed me with amazing virtual surround from a sound bar. And finally some wonderful sound from a $400 receiver. Yamaha is still making very good products, I just wasn’t reviewing the right ones. After all these good experiences, I wanted to take a look at their RX-A1040 receiver as it features an ESS Sabre DAC, full 7.1 preouts for use with external amps, along with integrated WiFi and Spotify Connect.
The Yamaha RX-A1040 is quite a receiver for $1,100. The ESS Sabre DAC provides good performance while the amplifier section proves to be powerful for 8 ohm and 4 ohm loads. The sound quality, especially after using the YPAO multi-point calibration, is impressive while the network features make it easy to listen to my music. The past two years of products have made me change my mind about Yamaha, and the RX-A1040 is one of the best receivers I have seen recently.
I have no idea what a receiver is going to look like in a decade. It may have 15 sets of binding posts for Dolby Atmos. Or perhaps everything is wireless. Over the past decade we’ve seen old connectors die off as HDMI takes over. Now streaming content is becoming more important as music comes from streaming services and the cloud and not local media.
The Yamaha RX-V477 shows this in its design. S-Video connections are gone and other analog connections are around but in reduced numbers. There are plenty of HDMI connections and support for AirPlay, DLNA, Pandora and Spotify built-in. The sound quality of the high-end Yamaha units has tricked-down as well to the RX-V477. The Yamaha RX-V477 is embracing the future while keeping still keeping one foot in the past and it sounds damn good while doing so.