The 10 Best High-End Home Theater Receivers to Buy in 2018

Take a walk on the high-end side of home theater

The Home Theater Receiver (sometimes referred to as an AV or Surround Sound Receiver) is the heart of a home theater system, providing centralized connection and control. High-end Home Theater Receivers also provide extensive audio and video switching and processing, and most also provide network connectivity and custom control capabilities. Just connect your receiver up to your smart TV and settle in for a great night of theater.  Also, most now provide wireless multi-room audio capability, and some home theater receivers are also offering Alexa voice control compatibility.

Check out our list of high-end home theater receiver favorites in the $1,300 and up price range.

For additional suggestions, also check out our listings of Best Home Theater Receivers in the $400 to $1,299 and $399 or Less price ranges.

Best Overall: Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A3070 Home Theater Receiver

The Yamaha Aventage RX-A3070 probably has all the features you will need in a home theater receiver for years to come.

This receiver is rated to deliver 150wpc (measured with 2-channels driven from 20Hz to 20kHz using an 8ohm speaker impedance load), and features extensive Dolby and DTS audio decoding and processing options, including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Yamaha's own audio processing enhancements, as well as the inclusion of the ESS ES9026PRO Technology Digital-to-Analog Audio Converter. What this means is that all digital source audio will be clean and natural when it reaches your ears.

The RX-A3070 also has two subwoofer outputs and preamp outputs for two additional two-channel zones. The RX-A3070 can also expand to up to 11.2 channels (7.1.4 for Dolby Atmos) via the addition of external amplifiers.

For video support, the RX-A3070 has eight 3D, HDR (HDR10 and Dolby Vision), and 4K-compatible HDMI inputs and dual HDMI outputs (one of which can be assigned to output an independent signal to a second Zone) along with 1080p and 4K upscaling. In addition, extensive video setting options are provided.

In addition to HDMI, there are also abundant analog video connections, as well as a comprehensive collection of analog and digital audio input and outputs (including a phono input for connecting a vinyl record turntable).

The RX-A3070 is also DLNA certified, which allows wired or wireless audio streaming from other devices, such as a PC or media server connected to a home network. Extra bonuses include Apple AirPlay, Wifi, and bi-directional Bluetooth. Bi-directional Bluetooth not only allows you to stream music from your smartphone to the receiver, but the receiver can stream audio to compatible Bluetooth headphones or speakers.

Another bonus is the inclusion of Yamaha's MusicCast. MusicCast allows the receiver to stream any connected audio sources (analog or digital) to compatible wireless Yamaha MusicCast speakers that can be placed throughout the house.

As far as control goes, you can use the provided remote control, integrate the RX-A3070 into a custom installation control environment, or use a compatible iOS, Android, or Kindle Fire device.

Best Connectivity: Marantz SR7012 9.2 Channel Network Home Theater Receiver

If you are looking for a high-end home theater receiver that looks as good as it sounds, and also packs in more than you would expect, the Marantz SR7012 might just the ticket.

Behind its uniquely stylish front panel, the SR7012 packs it in, starting with 9 built-in amplifiers that can deliver as much as 125 wpc. In addition, there are two subwoofer outputs and two sets of preamp outputs for connecting two external amplifiers that can expand the SR7012 to 11.2 channels, supporting a lot of speaker setup options for all surround sound formats including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro 3D audio for a fully-immersive surround sound experience.

For video, this receiver is 3D, 4K, HDR (includes HDR10, Dolby Vision, and Hybrid Log Gamma) pass through compatible, as well as providing up to 4K upscaling.

The SR7012 has more connection options that some might need - but it is better to have more than not enough. 8 HDMI inputs are provided as well as three HDMI outputs. HDMI outputs 1 and 2 output the same signal, but the third output can send a different HDMI source signal to a Zone 2 setup (Zone 2 and 3 preamp audio outputs are also included). Additional connections include a set of 5.1/7.1 channel analog audio inputs and preamp outputs, as well as a dedicated phono turntable input and additional digital and analog inputs.

The SR7012 also provides a USB port, DLNA support (access to content stored on network-connected PCs and media servers), and internet access to music streaming services, such as Pandora, TIDAL, Amazon Prime Music, Sirius/XM, and TuneIn internet radio. Apple AirPlay and Bluetooth compatibility are also provided, so you can stream music from either your iPhone or Android smartphone.

One added bonus is the incorporation of the Denon (Denon and Marantz are sister brands) HEOS wireless multi-room audio streaming. HEOS allows the SR7012 to stream audio from your own local music library (phone, tablet, USB drive) and streaming music services to compatible HEOS wireless speaker products that can be placed around the house.

The home theater receiver and HEOS functions can be easily controlled via the Marantz AVR Remote App for iOS and Android (standard wireless remote is also included). Also, some of the SR-7012's features can be controlled using Alexa voice control via an Amazon Echo device with the Alexa HEOS skill enabled.

Best For Auro 3D Audio: Denon AVR-X6400H 11.2 Channel Home Theater Receiver

If you are looking for a high-end home theater receiver that can accommodate all the newer immersive surround sound formats in use, and a lot more, then check out Denon's Flagship AVR-X6400H.

The AVR-X6400H has 11 amplified channels built-in. This definitely provides a lot of speaker setup flexibility. Add 2 subwoofer outputs, the latest surround sound decoding technologies built-in (Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro 3D Audio), and this receiver very tempting if you are a home theater fan with a lot of cash available to invest.

The AVR-X6400H is rated to deliver 140 watts-per-channel (measured from 20Hz-20kHz, 0.05% THD, at 8 ohms with 2-channels driven). What this means is that the AVR-X6400H has plenty of power for medium and large rooms with very low distortion levels.

To provide an easy way to set up 11 channels worth of speakers, the AVR-X6400H includes the Audyssey MultEQ XT32 automatic speaker setup system. This system fine-tunes the response of your speakers in relation to room acoustics and seating position.

For video, the AVR-X6400H is fully compatible with 3D, HDR (HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG), wide color gamut, HDCP 2.2, 4K UltraHD video signals, supported by 8 HDMI inputs and 3 outputs (one of which can be assigned to Zone 2). Both 1080p and 4K upscaling are provided if you need it.

In addition to core audio and video, the AVR-X6400H also provides extensive networking capabilities. This allows music streaming from compatible network-connected devices, such as PCs and media servers. In addition, ethernet and WiFi connectivity provides access to  Pandora, Spotify, and vTuner. Apple AirPlay is also provided, so you can stream music from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch as well as from iTunes libraries.

Of course, you can always opt to stream music directly to the AVR-X6400H via most smartphones using Bluetooth. To top it all off, this receiver also incorporates both Zone 2 and 3 preamp outputs, and Denon's HEOS wireless multiroom audio platform. This allows wireless streaming to HEOS-branded speakers in other locations around the house (or even outside) as long they are within range. All you need to do is download the HEOS app onto a compatible smartphone and tablet (and purchase one or more HEOS wireless speakers), and you are set to go.

Best Amps: Pioneer Elite SC-LX701 Home Theater Receiver

The Pioneer Elite SC-LX701 is a great home theater receiver to consider. Starting with heavy duty construction and separate chassis for the preamp and amplifier circuits, the SC-LX701 incorporates powerful 135 watt-per-channel Pioneer D3 amplifiers, assignable 9.2 channel speaker configuration (expandable to 11.2 channels via connection of external amplifiers), extensive audio decoding (including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X) and processing (including Dolby Surround Upmixer and DTS Neural:X), network connectivity, internet radio, and custom installation control integration, this receiver has just about everything you need for your setup.

For video, the SC-LX701 provides 3D, HDR, and 4K resolution pass-through as well as 1080p to 4K Upscaling.

The SC-LX701 also has abundant connection options, including 8 HDMI inputs and 2 HDMI outputs (one of which can supply a separate HD feed to the second Zone), as well as 11.2 channel preamp outputs. However, no 5.1/7.1 channel analog audio inputs or S-video connections are provided. On the other hand, the SC-LX701 includes preamp outputs for Zone 2 and Zone 3 operation as well as a dedicated phono/turntable input for vinyl record fans.

If all of the above isn't enough for you, the SC-LX701, also has up-to-date networking and internet access features, such as DLNA and Windows 8.1/10 compatibility, Apple AirPlay and Internet Radio (Pandora, vTuner and more). Hi-Res audio playback can be accessed via network or USB connected devices; consult the user manual for details on specific file compatibility via each option.

Also of interest is that the SC-LX701 is also compatible with Google Play streaming and FireConnect wireless multi-room audio, which will be added via forthcoming firmware update.

In addition to the provided remote, the SC-LX701 can also be controlled via iControlAV5 App for iOS and Android and integrated into computer-controlled systems via its RS232 port.

Pioneer's Elite receivers are easy to set up with its included MCACC room correction system.

THX Certified: Onkyo TX-RZ920 9.2 Channel Home Theater Receiver

Onkyo offers a wide range of home theater receivers in all price ranges, but their RZ-series takes everything up a notch, and TX-RZ920 is a good example.

First off, the RZ920 is THX Select2 Plus certified. This means that Onkyo has optimized the receiver for use in rooms up to 2,000 cubic feet size, and where the seat-to-screen viewing distance is about 10-to-12 feet.

The core audio features of the RZ920 include a built-in 9.2 channel configuration (can be expanded to 11.2 channels via the addition of external amplifiers), with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio decoding capability (DTS:X is added via free firmware update).

The TX-RZ920 supports both HDMI 2.0a specification which provides HDR (Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG) pass-through and HDCP 2.2 copy protection on 5 of its HDMI inputs. This provides secure access for 4K streaming and other applicable content passing, such as the Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc format). 1080p, 4K, Wide Color Gamut, and 3D pass-through, as well as analog-to-HDMI video conversion, are provided for all inputs.

In addition, two independent HDMI outputs are provided, which allows two separate HDMI sources to be displayed on two different TVs.

The TX-RZ920 also includes network connectivity (via Ethernet or WiFi), and both local and internet streaming options via Bluetooth, Pandora, Spotify, TIDAL, and more.

Added bonuses include built-in Google Chromecast (for audio), DTS Play-Fi, and FireConnect Multi-room audio (via firmware update) which allows the RZ920 to sent any audio source (both analog and digital) to select Onkyo wireless speakers .

For added flexibility, the RZ920 provides multi-zone functionality with both powered and line outputs for a Zone 2 configuration, as well as preamp line output for a Zone 3 option (the preamp output options require external amplifiers).

If you are looking for a home theater receiver that has you covered for audio, video, and internet streaming – definitely check out the Onkyo TX-RZ920.

Best Feature Package For The Price: Denon AVR-X4400H

Behind its functional front panel with flip-down door and rear panel with easy-to-connect horizontal speaker terminals, the AVR-X4400H incorporates 9 amplified channels with expansion up to 11 channels via additional external amps. There are also 2 subwoofer preamp outputs provided.

The AVR-X4300H is rated to deliver 105 watts-per-channel (measured from 20Hz-20kHz, 0.05% THD, at 8 ohms with 2-channels driven) providing plenty of power for medium and large rooms with very low distortion levels.

Built-in Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro 3D Audio decoding make sure you have access to the latest immersive surround format options. To make speaker setup less intimidating, Denon provides the Audyssey MultEQ XT32 automatic speaker setup system.

The AVR-X4400H provides 8 HDMI inputs are fully compatible with 3D, HDR, wide color gamut, and 4K UltraHD video signals. There are also 3 HDMI outputs. outputs (one of which can be assigned to Zone 2). Both 1080p and 4K upscaling are provided if you need it.

Along with all the core audio/video features, the AVR-X4400H provides music streaming from compatible network-connected devices, such as PCs and media servers. In addition, built-in Ethernet and WiFi provide access to several internet-based streaming services, such as Pandora, Spotify, and vTuner. Apple AirPlay is also provided.

You can stream music directly to the AVR-X4400H via most smartphones using Bluetooth. This receiver also incorporates both Zone 2 and 3 preamp outputs, and Denon's HEOS wireless multiroom audio platform which expands music listening to HEOS-branded speakers in other locations around the house (or even outside).

Also, with when you activate the HEOS Alexa Skill, you can control some of the AVR-X4400H's features using an Amazon Echo device.

Best For Custom Installs - Sony STR-ZA3100ES

When you think of high-end TVs, Sony is one the main brand brands that come to mind, but not so much when it comes to high-end home theater receivers.

However, Sony does make some excellent home theater receivers, and one example is the STR-ZA3100.

On the surface, this receiver features all the physical connectivity and audio decoding and processing you would expect, along with 4K, 3D, and HDR HDMI pass-through. However, there are some interesting twist that set it apart from its competitors.

First, there are is no built-in Wifi or internet streaming capability, but, in its place is an on-board 8-port Gigabit Ethernet switch. Instead of depending on unstable WiFi or long ethernet cables from your router to all your network-enabled components, just connect an ethernet cable from your router to the ZA3100ES and let the on-board switch route shorter cables to each your networked components, such as a Smart TV, Blu-ray Disc, media streamer, and compatible game consoles and external control systems.

Also, for those that prefer the uncluttered look of ceiling mounted speakers, the ZA3100ES incorporates a special ceiling speaker mode that steers the front channel sound from the left, center, and right main channels so that it is perceived to be coming from the TV or video projection screen, rather from above. On the other hand, intentional overhead sound from Dolby Atmos or DTS:X channels remains intact.

Additional audio options include expansion capability from 7 to 9 channels via connection of external amplifiers, as well as the ability to create 2 phantom rear channels, if using two of your physical channels for Dolby Atmos/DTS:X height speakers.

All the functions of the ZA3100ES can be controlled via front panel (which is hidden by magnetically attached cover), the provided remote, smartphone via web browser, and integration into an IP/computer environment.

If you are looking for home theater receiver that is highly adaptable to custom install needs, check out the Sony STR-ZA3100ES.

Best For Music Listening: The Cambridge Audio CXR120

Hailing from the UK, the distinctive looking CXR120 is a little different from current high-end home theater receivers available to U.S. consumers.

One distinguishing feature is how it distributes power to the speakers. When listening to two channel music sources using two speakers, the CXR120 can deliver as much as 120 wpc. On other hand, when running a full 7.1 channel speaker setup for home theater audio, the amplifier power drops to a max of 60wpc, distributed across all seven channels.

In terms of audio decoding, if you aren't interested in Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, then this receiver might be for you as decoding for those two formats is not included. However, the CXR120 does offer front height channel setup capability via Dolby ProLogic IIz processing support.

In terms of connectivity, the CXR120 provides 7 HDMI inputs and 2 HDMI outputs - However, although 4K pass-through support is provided on 6 of the HDMI inputs, HDR and wide color gamut is not supported. On the other hand, if your TV or video projector does not support HDR/Wide color gamut, this may not be a concern - provided you are not planning to upgrade in the near future.

The remaining HDMI input is limited to 1080p pass-through.

For audio, the CXR120 provides both analog and digital audio inputs, as well as the ability to stream music from the internet (Internet Radio and Spotify Connect) and local-network connected media servers and PCs. There is also a front mounted USB port to access music files stored of flash drives. The CXR120 is compatible with Hi-Res audio playback via the local network and flash drives.

The bottom line is that with the CXR120, Cambridge audio is emphasizing audio quality over the latest built-in features (for example Bluetooth requires an optional adapter, and there is no phono/turntable input). It is not a home theater receiver for all high-end users, but definitely worth checking out.

Best For Custom Installs Runner-Up - Integra DRX-4/DRX-5 Home Theater Receivers

The Integra DRX-4 and DRX-5 are two THX Select Plus 2 Certified Home Theater Receiver entries from Integra, which is the custom install product division of Onkyo.

The custom control features available on these receivers include: Bi-Directional RS232 control ports, Bi-Directional control via Ethernet, IR sensor input/output, RIHD (Remote control via HDMI), and three 12 volt triggers.

What all this means is that the DRX-4 and DRX-5 can be used to control video projection screens, lighting, and other components in a home theater setup, as well as being able to be integrated into a system that includes control via PCs and related devices.

The DRX-4 and DRX-5 also incorporate HDBaseT connectivity. HDBaseT provides an efficient and cost-effective way of connecting HDMI sourced audio, and network sources over a single CAT5e/6 cable, especially over long distances, making it practical for Multi-zone audio and video setups. Signals transferred via CAT5e/6 cable from these receivers can be converted back to HDMI via a converter box(es) on the receiving end.

In terms of audio and video, both receivers provide up to a 7.2 channel configuration, with 5.1.2 channel support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, as well as the full pass-through capability for 3D, 4K, HDR, and Wide Color gamut video signals, and 1080p to 4K upscaling. Both receivers also feature wired and wireless network connectivity for access audio files from local devices as well as internet radio and several streaming music services.

Where the two receivers differ is that the DRX-4 has a stated power output of 110 wpc (2 channels driven, 8 ohms, 20-20kHZ, 0.08% THD), while the DRX-5 takes that up to 130 wpc using the same measuring standard. Also, the DRX-5 has more comprehensive audio processing, and although the DRX-4 features Zone 2 operation, the DRX-5 can handle up to 3 Audio Zones.

Best Speaker Setup System: Anthem MRX "20-Series" Home Theater Receivers

Although brands, such as Yamaha, Denon, and Onkyo are the most well-known makers of home theater receivers, there are other brands that cater to a more narrow high-end consumer base.

One of those brands is Anthem, which although known for its high-end audio component separates, such as power amplifiers and preamps, also makes an impressive line of the home theater receivers, referred to as the MRX-series.

There are three MRX models – 520, 720, and 1120.

All three receivers are HDMI 2.0a, 3D, 4K, HDR, and HDCP 2.2 compliant, and also incorporate 32-bit DACs (Digital-analog-converters) for optimum audio quality from any digital source, and Zone 2 operation capability.

For easy speaker setup, all of Anthem's MRX Home Theater Receivers incorporate Anthem Room correction which provides accurate speaker setup using a special microphone and software that connects to a PC/Laptop. The PC, via wired or wireless connection, directs the receiver to output test tones that are then read and analyzed by the software. When completed the software sends all the speaker level information to the receiver, and also generates a graphical report than can be saved and printed for future reference.

MRX 520: Provides a 5.1 channel configuration with support for Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding. 7 HDMI inputs are provided. In addition, an added bonus is that 2 HDMI outputs (parallel) are provided that allow the same video source to be displayed on two TVs, two video projectors, or a TV and video product at the same time.

MRX 720: Additions include up to a 7.1 channel configuration (5.1.2 for Dolby Atmos), as well as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X  surround sound audio decoding capability, as well as the incorporation of DTS Play-Fi, which includes access to several internet music streaming services, as well as music content stored on network-connected PCs or media servers, that you can stream from a compatible smartphone to the receiver..

MRX 1120: The MRX 1120 has everything the 720 offers with the addition of 11 channels of amplification, allowing for up to 4 Dolby Atmos height channels, in addition to 7 traditional channels.

The suggested price for the MRX 520 is $1,399, MRX 720 is $2,499, and for the MRX 1120, $3,499 and are only available through authorized Anthem Brick and Mortar and Online Dealers and Installers.


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