The 5 Best High-End Home Theater Receivers of 2021

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

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The Rundown
The SR7015 packs in nine 125W amps and two subwoofer pre-out connections, so you can connect surround sound speakers and subwoofers.
Best HDMI Connectivity:
Arcam AVR390 at Upscaleaudio.com
It comes equipped with seven HDMI ports that allow for 4K playback at 60Hz, ideal for many consoles, Blu-ray players, and gaming PCs.
The receiver has remarkable sound quality and support for a 7.1 channel configuration.
This massive receiver has the capacity for a whopping nine speakers and two subwoofers in addition to seven HDMI devices.
The X8500H model delivers a whopping 150 watts per channel at 8 ohms and contains four high-speed SHARC processors.

The best high-end home theater receivers are for those who want to elevate their A/V setups to the max. A luxury receiver typically offers more channels for your surround sound speakers, higher quality video, and additional features like Wi-Fi connectivity, 4K or 8K upscaling, and multiple HDMI ports to enhance your audio and video experience.

If you have a high-end TV or projector and a luxury surround sound system to go with your TV, you’ll want an A/V receiver that can optimize the performance of your equipment. If you go for a budget receiver, it might not be able to handle the needs of your expensive equipment.

When investing in a new receiver, speaker wattage, configuration, and output standards will be what determines your model choice. Your receiver needs to have the correct amount of watts for your system to be able to project your sound, while still maintaining high-quality audio.

Configuration revolves around your setup as a whole. Make sure your device can handle the number of speakers you plan to connect to it. If you have a five-speaker surround sound setup with a woofer, a 5.1 channel receiver could work just fine. But, if you have additional surround speakers, you’ll want a receiver that supports more channels. Lastly, know what media you intend to run. Your new receiver may not be compatible with 4K output. If you prefer 4K or even 8K over HD, check to see if this is an option for your receiver. 

The best high-end home theater receiver will be worth the price tag by tying together your perfect audio and video setup.

Best Overall: Marantz SR7015 9.2 Channel AVR

What We Like
  • 8K upscaling

  • Alexa and Google Assistant support

  • Ample ports

What We Don't Like
  • Only 9.2 channels

If you are looking for a high-end home theater receiver that looks sleek and provides just about every feature you could want, the Marantz SR7015 might be the ticket. The front panel is simple yet elegant, with a flap to hide away the screen and most of the front controls. 

The SR7015 packs in nine 125W amps and two subwoofer pre-out connections, so you can connect a large surround sound speaker array and two subwoofers. It supports Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, DTS Neo:X, DTS Virtual:X, and Dolby TrueHD surround sound technologies, along with MP3, WMA, AAC, ALAC, and FLAC file formats.

For video, it’s 8K compatible, and it supports technologies like HDR10 and HDR10+. You can view content in 8K/60Hz or 4K/120Hz on compatible devices, and it even boasts 8K upscaling. The SR7015 has more connection options that some might need, and the back of the device looks intimidating with all of the different connection ports—but it's better to have more than not enough. Eight HDMI inputs are provided as well as three HDMI outputs, all of which are HDCP 2.3 compliant, but the main port has eARC support as well. 

The SR7015 also provides support for Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. 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 HEOS wireless multi-room audio streaming. HEOS allows the SR7015 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. 

If you want even more features, you can go up a level to the Marantz SR8015 Receiver (view at Amazon), but it’ll cost you about $800 more. It provides more wattage and an 11.2 channel setup, but unless you need the additional power and more channels, we feel the SR7015 is a better value. 

Wattage: 125W | Inputs: USB (1) Analog audio (6), HDMI (8), Coaxial (2), Optical (2), Component RCA (3), Auxiliary (3) | Outputs: Subwoofer pre-out (2), Speaker Wire (9), HDMI (3), Component RCA (1), Composite video (2) | Dimensions: 15.8 x 17.3 x 7.3 inches

Best HDMI Connectivity: Arcam AVR390 7.2-channel Home Theater Receiver

Arcam AVR390
What We Like
  • Amazing sound

  • Excellent build quality

  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support

What We Don't Like
  • Feature set is limited

If you have piles of HDMI devices that you want to connect to your system, the Arcam AVR390 has plentiful HDMI ports. However, it’s not crowded with every port imaginable like many other high-end A/V receivers. This receiver comes equipped with a total of seven HDMI ports that allow for 4K playback at 60Hz, ideal for many gaming consoles, Blu-ray players, and gaming PCs.

There are a couple of drawbacks to this otherwise versatile receiver, including a lack of smart home connectivity. In the end, the AVR390 is a high-quality option for gamers or setting up a home theater, well made enough to trust with your precious A/V equipment.

Wattage: 60W | Inputs: Stereo RCA (6), HDMI (7), Coaxial (1), Optical (2) | Outputs: Stereo RCA (6), Speaker Wire (7), HDMI (3) | Dimensions: 17.05 x 16.73 x 6.73 inches

Best Design: NAD T 758 V3i

What We Like
  • Excellent sound

  • Great value

  • Dolby Atmos supported

What We Don't Like
  • Focuses more on sound than video

The NAD T 758 V3i is an attractive and understated receiver chock full of features, making it an impressive value among higher-end stereo components. The receiver has remarkable sound quality and support for a 7.1 channel configuration.

It can handle audio playback in a variety of lossless formats, including 192kHz FLAC files. The receiver also has throughput for up to three HDMI devices that are HDCP 2.2 enabled, allowing for true 4K picture quality and playback at 60Hz. The receiver can even play media wirelessly over Airplay 2.

While you can control the receiver through Siri voice assistant, there is an unfortunate lack of connectivity with other automation platforms like Google Home or Alexa. For those who can overlook its relative lack of smart connectivity, the NAD T 758 V3i is an intelligent option for anyone looking to upgrade their home theater or stereo system.

Wattage: 60W | Inputs: Stereo RCA (8), HDMI (3), Coaxial (2), Optical (2) | Outputs: Stereo RCA (6), Speaker Wire (7), HDMI (1) | Dimensions: 15.63 x 17.13 x 6.77 inches

Best Value: Marantz SR7013

What We Like
  • 4K support

  • Nine-channel support

  • Amazing build quality

What We Don't Like
  • Crowded on the back

For those looking for an amazing surround sound experience, the buck stops with the Marantz SR7013. However, because this is an older model, you can often find a really good sale price on the unit. 

This massive receiver has the capacity for a whopping nine speakers and two subwoofers in addition to seven HDMI devices. The SR7013 is really the one-stop junction for everything in your home theater setup whether it's Blu-ray players, game consoles, or gaming PCs.

The receiver also seamlessly links with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, allowing you to control playback and switch sources without the need for a remote. This hub even integrates Spotify and Pandora, giving you the option to play music without connecting an additional device.

There is the puzzling omission of Chromecast. But for anyone looking for a quality surround experience, ample ports, and a huge feature set, this is a smart option.

Wattage: 125W | Inputs: Stereo RCA (10), HDMI (7), Coaxial (2), Optical (2), Component RCA (4) | Outputs: Stereo RCA (10), Speaker Wire (15), HDMI (3), Component RCA (1) | Dimensions: 15.83 x 18.7 x 7.72 inches

Best Splurge: Denon AVR-X8500H 13.2 Channel Home Theater Receiver

What We Like
  • 13-channel processing

  • 4K HDR passthrough

  • HDMI 2.1 capable

What We Don't Like
  • Prohibitively expensive

As the first 13.2-channel receiver to support the latest immersive audio formats, the Denon AVR-X8500H has a lot to live up to. And at its incredibly high price point, we’re glad to see that Auro 3D comes as part of the standard package. While quite a handful of products on this list also support Auro 3D formatting, more often than not, it’s offered as an additional upgrade rather than out of the box.

Since Dolby Surround and DTS:X formats are essentially the industry standard for audio in American films, it’s typically not an issue for most buyers. But if you crave the unique experience of Auro 3D, and don’t want to pay extra for it, then this is an A/V receiver worth investing in.

The X8500H model delivers a whopping 150 watts per channel at 8 ohms and contains four high-speed SHARC processors with a combined processing power of 10 GLOPS (10 billion floating point numerical computations per second).

It also features eight HDMI inputs and three HDMI outputs, all enabled with HDCP 2.2 specifications, and the receiver is prepped to support 4K ultra HD sound, HDR Dolby Vision and even eARC audio. In short, the Denon X8500H model offers just about everything except for 8K support. However, Denon will be allowing customers to purchase an HDMI 8K upgrade for their X8500H receivers.

Wattage: 150W | Inputs: Stereo RCA (10), HDMI (7), Coaxial (1), Optical (2), Component RCA (4) | Outputs: Stereo RCA (10), Speaker Wire (15), HDMI (3), Component RCA (1) | Dimensions: 17.08 x 18.7 x 7.72 inches

Final Verdict

Our favorite high-end receiver is the Marantz SR7015 (view at Amazon) because it offers 8K upscaling and a huge list of features, yet it’s a bit more affordable than the SR8015. If you want a simpler design and want to save a few bucks, we like the NAD T 758 V3i (view at Amazon).

About Our Trusted Experts

Erika Rawes has been writing professionally for more than a decade, and she’s spent the last five years writing about consumer technology. Erika has reviewed roughly 150 gadgets, including computers, peripherals, audiovisual equipment, mobile devices, and smart home gadgets. Erika currently writes for Digital Trends and Lifewire.

FAQs

Can you add Bluetooth to a receiver?
Most high-end receivers include Bluetooth functionality. But, if you want to add Bluetooth to a receiver, you can do so using an external Bluetooth adapter, like the Harmon Kardon BTA-10 (view at Amazon).

How do you connect a subwoofer to a receiver?
As our handy guide explains, you can connect a subwoofer to your receiver by way of RCA or LFE cables, or using other connectivity options depending on your woofer. Some woofers and receivers allow for wireless connectivity. Your receiver will often label where to connect your subwoofer, though.

Which receiver brand is best?
This depends on your needs and budget. For budget or midrange receivers, Pioneer and Yamaha are good brands to look at. For high end receivers, Marantz and Denon are good brands to start with. However, you can also find quality models from brands like Sony and even Pyle.

What to Look For in a Home Theater Receiver

Speaker Wattage

When buying a receiver for your home setup, be sure the unit fulfills your speaker's power needs. Speakers require a specific wattage to correctly output sound, and your receiver needs to be able to meet that demand.

Speaker Configuration

How many speakers do you intend to use in your cinema system? It’s essential to check the number of speakers that your unit supports. While some systems can power only two speakers for stereo sound, others can control over half a dozen for a full surround sound experience. A 5.1 channel system includes a woofer, a front right speaker, a front left speaker, a center speaker, a rear right speaker, and a rear left speaker. If you want more speakers in your surround sound system or an additional woofer, make sure your receiver can support your desired configuration.

Audio/Video Standards

Check to see if your new receiver supports the audio and video standards of your equipment. If you have a 4K television with HDR (high dynamic range), be sure that your new receiver can handle it. Do you want to watch movies with Dolby Atmos speakers? Your hardware will also need to manage that.

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