Guide To Home Theater Receivers and Surround Sound

Surround Sound and Home Theater Receiver Basics With Product Picks

The Home Theater receiver, also referred to as an AV or Surround Sound Receiver, is the heart of a home theater system and provides most, if not all, the inputs and outputs that you connect everything, including your television, into. A Home Theater Receiver provides an easy and cost-effective way of centralizing your home theater system. For more read the following Guide To Home Theater Receivers and Surround Sound.

dolbyatmos-soundfielda.jpg
Dolby Atmos Soundfield Illustration. Image provided by Onkyo USA and Dolby Labs

Today's surround sound experience is the result of decades of evolution. Since the early days of stereo, the race has been on to create the ultimate home listening experience for television, music, and movies. To find out more about the development of surround sound for the home environment, and what options are available for home theater enthusiasts today, check out Surround Sound - History and Facts of Home Theater Audio. More »

The Dolby Digital Family
The Dolby Digital Family.

To find out more about surround sound formats, and what options are available for home theater, check out my quick Surround Sound Formats guide. More »

Yamaha RX-V481 Home Theater Receiver
Yamaha RX-V481 Home Theater Receiver. Images provided by Yamaha Electronics Corporation

The home theater receiver, also referred to as an AV receiver or surround sound receiver, is the heart of a home theater system and provides most, if not all, the inputs and outputs that you connect everything, including your television, into. An AV Receiver provides an easy and cost-effective way of centralizing your home theater system. Check out what you need to know before you buy a home theater receiver. More »

Denon AVR-X4300H Home Theater Receiver - Inside View
Denon AVR-X4300H Home Theater Receiver - Inside View. Image provided by D&M Holdings

How Much Amplifier Do You Really Need? We often base our judgments about amplifier quality on power output, but there is more to an amplifier besides power. This article discusses the additional factors, besides wattage, that contribute to an audio amplifier's performance. More »

jamo-j-112-subwoofer.jpg
Image of Jamo J 112 Subwoofer. Image provided by the Klipsch Group, Inc.

One of the concepts that confuses consumers is what the terms 5.1, 6.1, and 7.1 mean with regards to surround sound and home theater receiver specifications. Find out the facts on what the .1 really means in home theater. More »

Onkyo TX-SR343 (5.1) vs TX-SR444 (7.1) Channel Receivers
Onkyo TX-SR343 (5.1) vs TX-SR444 (7.1) Channel Receivers. Images provided by Onkyo

Which is better, a 5.1 channel or a 7.1 channel home theater receiver? In turns out that both options have advantages and disadvantages, depending on what source components you are using and what your personal preferences are. Both types of surround sound setups provide an acceptable audio listening environment, but there are other factors to consider. Check out the details. More »

Multi-Zone Analog Powered, Preamp, and HDMI Output Example
Multi-Zone Analog Powered, Preamp, and HDMI Output Example. Images provided by Onkyo/D&M Holdings/Marantz

The Home Theater receiver is being called on to do more and more, from a simple connection to audio and video sources, to accessing satellite and internet radio, and to connecting iPods. However, as the sophistication of Home Theater Receivers increases, another feature that is being incorporated into many of them is what is referred to as "Multi-Zone" capability. Find out what you need to know about the Multi-zone feature available on many home theater receivers. More »

Home Theater Receiver AV Connection Example
Home Theater Receiver AV Connection Example. Image provided by Yamaha

Home Theater Receivers are playing an increasing role as both a centralized audio/video connection hub and both an audio and video processor. However, is it really that important to route video signals through your home theater receiver? Check out some useful tips on when routing video signals through your home theater receiver might be a good idea, and when it might not. More »

Onkyo TX-8140 Stereo Receiver vs Yamaha RX-V681 Home Theater Receiver
Onkyo TX-8140 Stereo Receiver vs Yamaha RX-V681 Home Theater Receiver. Images provided by Onkyo and Yamaha

What is your primary goal - a great home theater movie experience, or a dedicated music listening experience? For movies, a home theater receiver definitely provides the most flexibility. However, if all you need is something that will serve as the centerpiece of a music-only listening experience, then a Stereo Receiver might be the better option for you. Find out what you need to know about the differences between a Home Theater Receiver and a Stereo Receiver. More »

Yamaha RX-V681 Home Theater Receiver with Remote and Speaker Setup Mic
Yamaha RX-V681 Home Theater Receiver with Remote and Speaker Setup Mic. Images provided by Yamaha Electronics Corporation

You made your decision, you dug into your wallet, you got it home, and are now ready to unpack and set-up your home theater receiver. However, before you get started, check out some great tips that will make sure the installation and setup process for your home theater receiver goes smoothly. More »

Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A3060 Home Theater Receiver
Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A3060 Home Theater Receiver. Image provided by Yamaha Corporation of America

The Home Theater Receiver is the heart of a home theater system. It not only provides power to the speakers but serves as a control center for all of your components. High-end Home Theater Receivers also provide extensive audio and video switching, as well as video upscaling capabilities. Check out my list of high-end home theater receiver favorites in the $1300 and Up price range.
  More »

Marantz SR5011 7.2 Channel Home Theater Receiver
Marantz SR5011 7.2 Channel Home Theater Receiver. Images provided by D&M Holdings

The home theater receiver (also referred to as an AV or Surround Sound Receiver) not only provides power to the speakers but serves as an integrated control center for all of your components, often times providing both audio and video switching. In addition, even moderately priced home theater receivers provide features and quality that just a couple of years ago would have commanded sky high prices. Check out a list of my favorite midrange home theater receivers ($400- $1,299).
  More »

Onkyo TX-SR353 5.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver
Onkyo TX-SR353 5.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver. Image provided by Onkyo USA

The home theater receiver not only provides power to the speakers but serves as a control center for other components, providing both audio and video switching. Even moderately priced home theater receivers provide features and quality that just a couple of years ago would have commanded sky high prices. Below is a list of my favorite budget home theater receivers ($399 or Less). More »