Get a High Performance – Best Home Theater Receiver

You may be hoping that this is a slam dunk article about the best home theater receiver that I have found. I really wish that it were that simple.

The problem is that home theater recievers are fairly complex beasts today and what may be great for you will not fit the needs of the next guy or gal.Pioneer Elite SC-09TX-AV network receiver-10.2 channel-picture.jpg

So, I will try to help you wade through the decision making process of getting the best Home Theater Receiver as possible.


How good are Budget Home Theater Recievers?

Receivers can cost up to $5000 USD. You saw that right.

Many consumers shopping for a receiver in that price range may be looking into getting separates.

Nonetheless, a receiver can be bought for nearly any budget in today’s market. Last time I checked you could get one for as little as a couple hundred bucks.

Just keep in mind that with all things home theater- there are compromises. Low prices are usually an indicator of lower quality. So don’t expect the world if you are only willing to pay a low price.

Home Theater Receiver Features:

The hot topic these days seems to be HDMI switching. There are several good reasons that this feature may be important to you.

You should be aware however that there are external HDMI switching devices available if you deem it unnecessary to upgrade your receiver just to utilize HDMI switching.

Most theater receivers have tons of inputs and outputs on them in the hopes that a consumer will be able to integrate the receiver into nearly any audio/video system.

This is a fair tactic but if you can hunt down the features that you absolutely must have- get superior performance for only the features you need.

Another way to look at this is this: If you would use an active speaker system you would not need any amplifiers at all.

This would mean that you could use a surround sound processor and not a receiver. You would have no use for the built in amps of the receiver if using active speakers.

Or, you may be hoping for the latest receiver with HDMI switching but you may get better quality by keeping your existing receiver and buying an external HDMI switching device. There are a number of alternative ways to think about saving money and or getting the ultimate performance.

Don’t limit yourself to buying a brand new unit every time the technology changes its face.

Many times there are better and higher quality ways achieve your goal.

Amplifier Power output: How much power does the best Home Theater Receiver need?

Amplifier power is a tough thing to analyze: The problem?

Manufacturers use different methods to achieve their power ratings. This can be pretty confusing from a consumer’s perspective.

Not only this, they use different amplifier topologies and technologies to achieve those power ratings.

If the home theater receiver you are considering is a class A/B design one of the things to look for is weight. Heavy weight will indicate that the transformer is equipped to handle higher loads.

If you are looking at a class D amp high weight will not be used as an indicator of power output.

Class D amps are very efficient and therefore power supplies and transformers are usually much smaller and lighter.

Finally, consider the best home theater receiver manufacturer’s data sheet.

Compare the amplifier power output numbers but take note at which load or Ohm the power ratings are quoted.

If the amp can drive a 4ohm speaker it is likely to be more stable at high power than a receiver only able to drive an 8ohm load.

Also, note the distortion figures at the quoted power output.

If one amp produces the same amount of power but at a lower distortion level driving all channels into a continuous load that amp probably has better overall power output.

Types of Home Theater Receiver Amplifiers: The built in Amp Section

Class A -General Observations: High heat, low distortion, low power produced and very high current demands. These are revered by audiophile types for their purity. I don’t know of any modern receiver that uses a class A amp circuit.

Class A/B- General Observations: Produce low heat, higher distortion, high power produced and lower current demands than class A amps. These are the most common type of receivers available.

Class D- General Observations: Very low heat produced, very efficient, high power produced and very low current demands are possible. These have proven difficult to produce high sound quality but technology is advancing fast and recent results are very promising.

Class T, M, and ???: There are several new classes of amplifier circuits coming onto the market. Most of these are variations of the Class D amplifiers as these are becoming popular and less expensive to produce for best Home Theater receiver uses.

Tube: High heat, higher distortion, but can be very musical and involving. Don’t count them out but very few of the best Home Theater Receiver use tubes- so don’t hold your breath on finding one.

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