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

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

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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.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A3070 Home Theater Receiver

Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A3070 Home Theater Receiver
Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A3070 Home Theater Receiver. Images provided by Yamaha Electronics Corporation

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.

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

Onkyo TX-RZ920 9.2 Channel THX Home Theater Receiver
Onkyo TX-RZ920 9.2 Channel THX Home Theater Receiver. Image provided by Amazon

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 For Auro 3D Audio: Denon AVR-X8500H 13.2 Channel Home Theater Receiver

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 a $4,000 price point, you best believe 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 as part of the standard package. 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 the latest HDCP 2.2 specifications, and the receiver is prepped to support 4K ultra HD sound, HDR Dolby Vision and even eARC audio, for the eventual rise of 3D video. In short, the Denon X8500H model is ready to take you into the future.

Best Connectivity: Marantz SR7012 9.2 Channel Network Home Theater Receiver

Marantz SR7012 9.2 Channel Network Home Theater Receiver
Marantz SR7012 9.2 Channel Network Home Theater Receiver. Image provided by Marantz/Sound United

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 Amps: Pioneer Elite SC-LX701 Home Theater Receiver

Pioneer Elite SC-LX701 9.2 Channel Home Theater Receiver
Pioneer Elite SC-LX701 9.2 Channel Home Theater Receiver. Image provided by Amazon.com

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.

Best Feature Package For The Price: Denon AVR-X4400H

Denon AVR-X4400H 9.2 Channel Home Theater Receiver
Denon AVR-X4400H 9.2 Channel Home Theater Receiver. Images provided by Denon

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 STRZA5000ES 9.2-Channel AV Receiver

You’ve put a lot of time into building your personal home theater system, so you need an equally customizable AV receiver to complete the set. With 6 HDMI inputs and 2 outputs (both with HDCP 2.2 support), there’s plenty of space to connect your TV, internet and gaming console and still have room to spare. Also, the Sony features subtle IR codes that connect third-party remotes to your system, showing off its adaptive capabilities.

Instead of connecting wirelessly, the receiver uses an 8-port gigabit ethernet switch, so you’ll always have the most reliable connection. It supports the standard Dolby ATMOS and DTS:X  audio decoding, along with more exciting features, like 4K, 3D, and TRILUMINOS color.

This Sony receiver also produces exceptional audio quality: 130 watts per channel at 8 ohms, with the ability to add two active subwoofers to distribute an equal bass sound. Also, its unique “in-ceiling” mode redirects audio from the front speakers, giving the impression that sound is coming directly from the TV monitor, instead of bouncing off the ceiling.

Best For Music Listening: Onkyo TX-RZ3100 11.2 Channel Network A/V Receiver

For movie and music lovers alike, the Onkyo TX-RZ3100 delivers exceptional sound quality, delivering 140 and 200 W/Ch to 11 channels. The model comes with 8 HDMI inputs and 2 HDMI outputs — some of which support 4K/60 Hz video — so you can experience music videos as if you're actually there. 

The Onkyo supports DTS:X and Dolby Atmos, but what sets this series apart is its THX Certification which all but guarantees theater-level sound quality. That is, low distortion and high volume — in your A/V system. 

This receiver also boasts AccuReflex technology which creates the most effective surround-sound experience based on your room’s specific dimensions. Part of the AccuEQ room calibration suite, the technology optimizes your system by phase-matching the height of floor-standing speakers. 

The TX-RZ3100 includes built-in Chromecast, airplay, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and even music streaming apps like Pandora, Spotify and Tidal so you can play your favorite tunes — with theatrical-level sound — from any mobile or wireless device. 

Like all Onkyo products, the TX-RZ3100 is backed by a three-year warranty meaning specialists are always on call to troubleshoot installation issues,​ and your receiver is eligible for replacement or service should it require it. 

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

Integra DRX-5 Home Theater Receiver With Custom Control
Integra DRX-5 Home Theater Receiver With Custom Control. Images provided by Integra Home Theater

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

Anthem MRX 1120 Home Theater Receiver
Anthem Image of an Anthem MRX 1120 Home Theater Receiver. Image © Anthem

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.