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Friday
Dec042015

Podcast #716: 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.

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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.


Braden’s Picks

Onkyo TX-NR545 7.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver ($440)

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).


Denon AVR-X3200W 7.2-Channel Full 4K Ultra HD A/V Receiver with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi ($999)

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).


Denon AVRX6200W 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD A/V Receiver with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi ($2199)

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.


Ara’s Picks

Yamaha RX-A850 7.2-Channel MusicCast AV Receiver with Built-In Wi-Fi and Bluetooth $899.99

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.  



Pioneer SC-91 7.2 Channel Networked Class D3 AV Receiver with Built-in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi & Dolby Atmos $999

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.


Marantz SR6010 7.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Sourround Receiver with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi $1399

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!


Ultimate Present

Integra DTR-70.6 11.2-Channel AV Receiver $2,800

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!!

 

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