Best AV Receiver for Music 2022

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Best AV Receiver for Music

An AV receiver isn’t just useful in a home theater context. They’re just as useful for music lovers, serving as a hub for your speakers and music players and maintaining the integrity and quality of the audio signal. The best AV receiver for music has high-fidelity sound, as well as the inputs and configuration options that let it work with all of your equipment.

All of the receivers we’ve reviewed here meet those standards, and anyone could be an excellent choice. If pressed to pick a favorite, the Marantz SR8015 has broad channel support and exceptional sound quality and is the best receiver on the list looking just at the stats (>>> Find on Amazon). That doesn’t mean it will be the best choice for everyone, though. Check out the side-by-side comparison of the key features to find the right one for you.

Best AV Receiver  for Music 2022 – Top picks:

 Denon AVR-X6700HMarantz SR8015Denon AVR-X4700HDenon AVR-X1700HYamaha RX-A6APioneer Elite VSX-LX505Yamaha RX-V6ADenon AVR-X2700H
Video8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz4K/120Hz8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz
Amplifier11.2 Channel (140W per channel)11 Channels (205W per channel)9.2 Channel (200W per channel)7.2 channel (80W per channel)9.2 channel (150W per channel)9.2 channel (120W per channel)7.2 Channel (100W per channel)7.2 Channel (95 Watt X 7)
Sound5.1.4 or 7.1.2 Dolby Atmos7.1.6 or 9.1.4 Dolby Atmos7.2.4 or 9.2.2 Dolby AtmosDolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, DTS:X11.1 or 5.1.2 Dolby AtmosUp to 11.2, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, DTS formatsDolby Atmos with Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization and DTS:X7.1, 5.1 or 2.1 Dolby Atmos
Wi-FiYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
BluetoothYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
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Sound Quality

This is the most important consideration for most when they’re shopping for a receiver for music. While the speakers you use are also a big piece of the puzzle, the receiver is responsible for maintaining the quality of the audio signal and providing power to give room-filling sound with no distortion.

The true hi-fi sound of the Marantz SR8015 gives it the best overall sound quality on the list. Its 11.2-channel system, support for 3D sound, and high 140 watts of power per channel round out its strong sound features.

Best sound quality: Marantz SR8015

Speaker Channels

A 5.1-channel or 7.2-channel system will be enough in smaller rooms, but for a larger space, more speaker channels means a more immersive, realistic overall sound. Having more channels also opens up the option for overhead speakers that take the sonic picture into 3 dimensions. Both the Marantz SR8015 and Denon AVR-X6700H have 11.2 channels, and can process up to 13.2 channels along with supporting 3D configurations.

Most channels: Denon AVR-X6700H, Marantz SR8015

Smart Features and Streaming

Hands-free control is a convenient feature in a receiver, adding voice control support to your speakers and devices. Most of these receivers also support direct streaming of music through popular services like Spotify and Pandora.

For smart home users, Denon receivers generally offer the best integration and most robust voice control support. Not only do they work with multiple voice control services, they also support home automation systems like Josh.ai that you can’t use with the Marantz and Yamaha models reviewed here.

Best smart features: Denon AVR series (X6700H, X4700H, X2700H and X1700H)

Usability

In the past, AV receivers have had a reputation for being inaccessible to non-AV geeks. They’ve become much more user-friendly over the years but larger, more complicated units can still be intimidating for non-techies and novices, especially once you start digging into the sound and calibration settings.

With its automatic sound optimization and guided setup, the Yamaha RX-V6A is a breeze for even complete beginners to set up and use. Its rear panel is also a bit more streamlined than the other options, ideal for less complex or streaming-based listening areas. The Yamaha RX-A6A has a similarly straightforward setup process, and also features YPAO acoustic optimization to automatically adjust the speaker output to match your listening area.

Easiest to use: Yamaha RX-V6A, Yamaha RX-A6A


Denon AVR-X6700H

Denon AVR-X6700H

The Denon AVR-X6700H is one of the most powerful and versatile A/V receivers you’ll find on the market. It’s also one of the smartest. Along with direct streaming from a range of music apps, it supports a range of voice control services, including Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, as well as home automation systems like Control4 SDPP and Josh.ai. Thanks to this, it’s easy to integrate into almost any smart home set-up, going beyond simple hands-free control to let users work it easily into automation routines.

The sound you’ll get using the Denon AVR-X6700H is just as impressive. It has 11 speaker channels, each powered by 140 watts for excellent clarity and output across the frequency range. Support for Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization gives those channels a lot of flexibility, allowing for overhead speakers to create a truly immersive, 3D soundscape, something that’s just as appealing for music lovers as it is for home theater uses.

With all these features you might expect the AVR-X6700H to be complicated to use. Its robust back panel can be intimidating for first-time receiver owners, but it’s logically laid-out and well-labeled, so even novices can figure out where to plug in speakers and content sources. The digital read-out and front button panel are similarly intuitive, and the USB, HDMI, and headphone ports on the front panel are convenient for quick switching.

Pros

  • Powerful, room-filling audio with Dolby Atmos support
  • Height Virtualization for 3D sound system set-ups
  • Up to 13.2 channel processing
  • Supports streaming apps like TuneIn, Pandora, and Spotify
  • Compatible with HEOS multi-room music
  • Wide voice control support with easy smart home integration
  • Good array of wired inputs, including phono for turntables

Cons

  • Highest cost on the list
  • Can be intimidating for beginners


Marantz SR8015

Marantz SR8015

The Marantz SR8015 is among their most powerful A/V receivers and is an especially great choice for music lovers. It produces authentic and immersive sound from all content sources, giving the same balanced, musical audio performance to everything from streaming services to old-school vinyl.

The 11.2 channel support of the Marantz SR8015 is perfect for large listening rooms and home theater spaces where there’s a lot of sound to fill. It also lets it support multiple 3D speaker configurations with height virtualization for overhead speakers. Support for technology like DTS Virtual:X and IMAX enhanced provides the same exceptional sound quality for movies and games that it brings to music.

One thing to keep in mind: The SR8015 is a beast of a receiver, both in terms of its power and its overall size. It’s one of the trickier options on the list to set up simply because of the breadth of connections and options, though it does come with a helpful set-up and calibration guide. Tech-savvy users will likely find its setup intuitive, but like the Denon AVR-X6700H above it may be intimidating for A/V beginners.

Pros

  • Maintains sound quality even at high output
  • Processing for up to 13 speaker channels
  • Supports Pandora, Spotify, and TIDAL streaming services
  • Supports Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization for 3D sound
  • Works with all major voice control systems
  • Compatible with HEOS multi-room music and AirPlay2

Cons

  • Bulky build may not fit on all home entertainment systems
  • Can be more complicated to get set up


Denon AVR-X4700H

Denon AVR-X4700H

The Denon AVR-X4700H is the slightly scaled-down version of the X6700H. It has 9.2 native channels, with support for systems up to 11.2 channels—plenty large enough for most spaces. Those channels can also be configured into a 3D soundscape using Height Virtualization, with 125 watts of power per channel for a massive output with high audio quality and no distortion, even at higher volumes.

The design of the Denon AVR-X4700H includes a digital display and intuitive control panel. You can also change sound settings or inputs using the included remote or hands-free through voice control systems like Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Google Assistant. It’s another great choice for smart home users, too, integrating seamlessly into most smart home systems.

Setting up the Denon AVR-X4700H is relatively straightforward. Its rear connection panel has a good array of inputs and outputs, with an additional HDMI and USB input on the front control panel so you won’t always need to get behind the receiver to plug in a new device. The only potential issue from a set-up standpoint is that it can have issues connecting to older Blu-ray players and devices, so it may not be the best choice if your home entertainment system uses a lot of older generation equipment.

Pros

  • Powerful sound from any content source
  • Processing for up to 11.2 channels
  • 3D audio support
  • Multi-room music through AirPlay2 or HEOS
  • Easy smart home integration
  • Good array of inputs and outputs

Cons

  • Can have compatibility issues with older content sources


Denon AVR-X1700H

Denon AVR-X1700H

If the AVR-X4700H is still a bit bigger than you need, the Denon AVR-X1700H is the perfect fit for you. This 7.2-channel receiver features similar surround sound technology and audio quality, including immersive 3D sound through Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Its power output of 80 watts per channel, combined with a discrete 7-channel stereo amp, means a detailed and realistic sound for both movies and music. It also features Audyssey room correction, optimizing each speaker’s output to perfectly match your listening space.

We also appreciate the versatility of the Denon AVR-X1700H. Home theater users will appreciate technology like Dolby Vision and HDR10, and all of its HDMI ports have an 8K/60Hz pass-through. For gamers, it has lag-reduction technology like ALLM and VRR to ensure no frame tearing or other latency issues while you’re playing.

The Denon AVR-X1700H offers similar versatility for music lovers. It has built-in TuneIn internet radio and direct wireless streaming through services like Pandora and Spotify. Full Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity let it work with wireless speakers and headphones, and it’s also compatible with the Denon remote app for Android or iOS devices for easy control. All of these features for the price make the AVR-X1700H one of the best AV receivers for overall value on the current market. For our more in-depth review of this receiver, click here.

Pros

  • Hi-res audio playback from any content source
  • 8K pass-through and HDR10 support on all HDMI inputs
  • Supports 3D sound through Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
  • Optimized sound with Audyssey room correction
  • Built-in wireless streaming through many popular services
  • Ideal power output for medium-sized listening spaces

Cons

  • Limited configuration options for height speakers
  • Fewer smart home integration options


Yamaha RX-A6A

Yamaha RX-A6A

The impeccable audio quality of the Yamaha RX-A6A makes it hands down one of the best AV receivers for listening to music. This starts with its craftsmanship, with design elements like the anti-resonance wedge and its high-quality high slew rate amplifier that maintains the integrity of audio signals. Its YPAO Reflected Sound Control system analyzes the acoustics of the room and automatically optimizes the EQ for an immersive and natural sound field, while its Compressed Music Enhancer restores music files to their full glory.

The Yamaha RX-A6A has the convenience features modern users need, too. This includes robust connectivity, with 7 HDMI inputs and composite, component, and RCA hook-ups for all your audio equipment. For wireless content, it supports MusicCast multi-room music as well as streaming through AirPlay 2 and voice control through Alexa, Siri, or Google. The AV Setup Guide app makes it easy to connect all your equipment, whether you’re using the XLR balanced speaker terminals or wireless speakers via Bluetooth.

The Yamaha RX-A6A is an equally powerful AV receiver for home theaters. It can process video inputs up to 8K resolution, with support for HDR10+. You’ll also get multiple options for surround sound, including configurations utilizing height speakers and Dolby Height Virtualization. Support for DTS:X further enhances that three-dimensional audio, with spatial remapping through DTS Neural:X for improved realism of sound effects and dialogue. Click here for our more in-depth Yamaha RX-A6A review.

Pros

  • Powerful sound automatically optimized to your space
  • 11-channel pre-out
  • Multiple 3D sound formats
  • Supports video signals up to 8K
  • Easy guided setup
  • Wireless streaming and control through MusicCast
  • Works with major voice control systems

Cons

  • Requires third-party device for voice control


Pioneer Elite VSX-LX505

Pioneer Elite VSX-LX505

With a 120-watt power output for each of its 9 speaker channels, the Pioneer Elite VSX-LX505 is one of the best AV receivers to get room-filling sound in even large spaces. Its DIRAC Live Calibration adjusts the sound settings to your space automatically. You can also save up to 9 room profiles with MCACC Room Tuning, giving it versatility to match the needs of any room.

We also apprecaite that the Pioneer VSX-LX505 works with a variety of audio equipment. It supports Sonos speakers and can both send and receive Bluetooth signals for wireless speakers. Through the Pioneer Music Control app, you can control a multi-room speaker system right through your phone, or stream music through internet radio services.

You’ll also get lots of options for setting up 3D sound with the VSX-LX505, including Dolby Height Virtualization and a Dolby Surround upmixer that supports DTS formats. It’s also compatible with Dolby Vision, supports HDR10 and HLG, and can upscale Full HD content to 4K, or 4K content to 8K, so your movies will look as good as they sound.

Pros

  • Powerful and immersive sound output
  • Supports video content up to 8K with upscaling
  • Hi-res audio playback through wired or wireless input
  • Supports voice control through Alexa, Google, or Siri
  • Easy control through Pioneer Music app
  • Lag reduction technology for gamers

Cons

  • Setup is more complicated than other AV receivers


Yamaha RX-V6A

Yamaha RX-V6A

Yamaha has a reputation for delivering high-quality audio equipment at a great value, and they’ve lived up to that with their RX-V6A receiver. It uses the Yamaha Parametric Room Acoustic Optimizer (YPAO) which measures the output in 8 listening positions and adjusts to ensure the sound quality is equal across the room. It’s also one of the most user-friendly options on the list, with a guided setup process that walks you through connecting speakers and devices, giving even beginners a fast and frustration-free installation.

The 7.2-channel system on the Yamaha RX-V6A powers enough speakers for most rooms, even larger spaces like home theaters. The output and quality are high and it has the wireless connectivity most expect in a modern receiver, including voice control and multi-room music support. The main sacrifice it makes compared to pricier models is that its 3D sound capabilities are more limited, with no configuration option for overhead speakers.

The Yamaha RX-V6A is an especially good choice if you listening to a lot of streamed music and MP3s. It supports a ton of streaming services, for one thing. Along with that, its Compressed Music Enhancer that restores lost information to compressed files, making them sound truer to their original format. On the flip side, it’s not a great choice for complicated set-ups, with a single HDMI output and fewer input options.

Pros

  • Compressed music enhancer makes digital formats sound better
  • Acoustic optimizer adapts sound to suit your space
  • AV setup guide ideal for beginners
  • Wide support for music streaming systems
  • MusicCast multi-room music and surround sound
  • Voice control support through Alexa, Siri, or Google

Cons

  • Limited inputs and outputs
  • No Height Virtualization for overhead speakers


Denon AVR-X2700H

Denon AVR-X2700H

Here’s another excellent option for smaller rooms and buyers on a budget. The Denon AVR-X2700H is one of the most affordable ways to get true 3D audio in your listening room, supporting 5.1.2 set-ups in addition to 7.2-channel surround sound systems. While it’s not as powerful as pricier models, its output is plenty for most users.

There’s no sacrifice in sound quality with the AVR-X2700H compared to other Denon receivers, another reason it’s a top choice for value. Its design is similar, too, with a full digital display and a robust rear connection panel. One notable omission is that it doesn’t have a front-facing HDMI port, so you will need to access the rear panel to add content sources.

From a usability standpoint, the Denon AVR-X2700H is one of the strongest performers on the list. It’s a bit more streamlined, with a smaller and less complicated remote. Full wireless support gives it the same hands-free voice control and smart home integration options you’ll get with other Denon receivers, as well as direct streaming through services like Pandora and Spotify.

Pros

  • High sound quality with balanced output
  • Full voice control through a range of services
  • True 3D audio with overhead speakers
  • Built-in wireless and HEOS support
  • Detailed digital display
  • Easy to set up and use

Cons

  • Output isn’t as powerful (95 watts per channel)
  • No front-facing HDMI input


Customer Impressions

The Top-Rated: Marantz SR8015

Unsurprisingly, the Marantz SR8015 consistently receives the highest user reviews out of all of these AV receivers. It has a perfect 5-star rating across platforms for its sound quality and power output, especially among those who use their AV receiver primarily for music.

That said, no receiver is perfect in every respect. One concern for some users is that both HDMI outputs don’t offer the same 4K and Dolby Vision support, which can be a limitation if you’re using the receiver to control multiple displays. Some users also reported issues getting through to tech support when they have an issue. Considering the Marantz SR8015 is also one of the more complicated AV receivers on this list, that can be a concern for beginners who may need professional assistance to get the most out of their new equipment.

The Lowest-Rated: Pioneer Elite VSX-LX505

Now, none of these AV receivers get particularly poor reviews, but the Pioneer averages around 4 stars across platforms, the lowest aggregate rating on the list. Some users report difficulty controlling the receiver both through the remote and the front panel. The user experience also varies widely depending on the type of equipment and speaker configuration you’re using. As a general rule, it’s better for bookshelf speakers or soundbars than it is for larger tower-style speakers, limiting its flexibility. The DIRAC room correction technology is also inconsistent, working better with some rooms and speaker system configurations than others.

Customer Impressions of Denon AVR Line AV Receivers

Denon AVR receivers come close to matching the Marantz SR8015 when it comes to buyer satisfaction. Arguably the best thing about these receivers is the value they offer to consumers, and buyers appreciate their flexibility as well as their audio and video quality.

All four of the AVR receivers on this list use similar technology and design elements, and though they have differences in their power output and channel configuration, all offer a similar user experience. The consistent eARC and 4K signal support across HDMI inputs is a definite plus of these AV receivers. Users also found the setup assistant to be a handy tool, and find the navigation and control of Denon AVR receivers to be simple and intuitive overall.

Similar to the Marantz, the main issue people have with Denon AV receivers is nothing to do with the equipment itself, but rather with the company’s support. Long hold times and difficulty getting through to tech support are the main complaints. On the plus side, the easy setup mentioned above means most users don’t need outside assistance to set up and use their receiver.

Which Yamaha Receiver Gets the Best Reviews?

Between the RX-V6A and the RX-A6A, the former is the best-received by consumers. It’s consistently praised for its full and clear audio signal processing in both home theater and music listening applications. The automatic sound adjustment means most don’t need to manually tweak settings when they change input sources. The main issue people have with the RX-A6A is its firmware. Several features are only available after you install an update. Not only is that a bit annoying, but many people also experience bugs and issues after installing these updates, especially when it comes to the display and on-screen user interface.

Comparatively, the RX-V6A actually out-performs the A6A in user reviews of its sound quality, but receives lower overall ratings on review platforms. One issue users have is that the receiver automatically uses Yamaha’s proprietary 3D sound technology instead of defaulting to Dolby Atmos decoding, so you need to take a couple of extra steps to get the best sound for your content. Many users were also critical of the included remote, which is larger and more complicated than it needs to be.


The Verdict

The Marantz SR8015 is the most impressive overall receiver on the list thanks to its wide channel support and superior hi-fi sound (>>> Check on Bhphotovideo). For many users, though, it’s honestly more receiver than you need. A smaller, more affordable option like the Denon AVR-X2700H will still give you great sound and is easier to use for most. Consider what music formats you listen to most and the needs of your space. One of the receivers reviewed here is sure to be the perfect fit.

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING: