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 Cinema 60 has 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 2023 – Top picks:
- Marantz Cinema 60
- Denon AVR-X3800H
- Onkyo TX-RZ50
- Denon AVR-X6700H
- Marantz SR8015
- Denon AVR-X4700H
- Denon AVR-X1700H
- Denon AVR-X2800H
|Marantz Cinema 60||Denon AVR-X3800H||Onkyo TX-RZ50||Denon AVR-X6700H||Marantz SR8015||Denon AVR-X4700H||Denon AVR-X1700H||Denon AVR-X2800H|
|Video||8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz||8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz||8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz||8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz||8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz||8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz||8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz||8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz|
|Amplifier||7.2 channel (100W per channel)||9.4 channel (105W per channel)||9.2 channel (120W per channel)||11.2 Channel (140W per channel)||11 Channels (205W per channel)||9.2 Channel (200W per channel)||7.2 channel (80W per channel)||7.2 channel (95W per channel)|
|Sound||up to 7.2 Dolby Atmos||9.4 or 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos||up to 11.2 Dolby Atmos||5.1.4 or 7.1.2 Dolby Atmos||7.1.6 or 9.1.4 Dolby Atmos||7.2.4 or 9.2.2 Dolby Atmos||Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, DTS:X||7.2 or 5.2.2 Dolby Atmos|
|Price||Find on Amazon|
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|Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon|
Marantz Cinema 60 – Best overall
The Marantz Cinema 60 delivers immersive sound for movies, music, and whatever else you want to play through it. It supports audio formats like Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, as well as upmixing through Dolby Surround or DTS Neural:X, bring three-dimensional realism to all your content. Along with this, Audyssey multEQ XT32 room correction and EQ adjustment means automatic room calibration and easy fine-tuning of the sound.
The Marantz Cinema 60 provides pristine audio for all types of music. Its discrete HDAM amplification circuitry provides rich, detailed sound with realistic, smooth dynamics and excellent balance across frequencies. Built-in HEOS brings that same exceptional audio to multiple rooms in your home. Turning on Pure Direct Mode deactivates the display and video circuit, suppressing sources of stray noise for a crystal clear sound.
With 8K signal support and lag-reduction technology, the Marantz Cinema 60 is just as suitable for movies and gaming as it is for music. It’s also versatile in its control options, with a choice of the physical remote, Marantz AVR app, or voice control through Google, Alexa, or Siri. The trade-off for all of those features is that its price is on the high side for a 7.2-channel receiver.
- Powerful sound with Audyssey room correction
- HDAM circuitry can drive any speaker
- Crystal clear music playback through Pure Direct Mode
- Suitable for home theater or music
- Built-in streaming through multiple platforms
- Variety of control options
- Higher price than most 7-channel receivers
- 8K only supported on 3 HDMI ports
Like other Denon AVR receivers, the X3800H uses Audyssey MultEQ XT32 software and comes with a measuring microphone for automatic room calibration. Users can fine-tune the sound further in the MultEQ Editor app. Added to this is Sony’s 360 Reality Audio technology, emulating the space and sound of a live venue so you feel like you’re right in the middle of your music.
Each of the Denon AVR-X3800H’s 9 speaker channels is driven by 105 watts of power. Along with this it has 4 subwoofer channels, ensuring you’ll get a full, balanced bass response even in multi-room music setups or larger listening spaces. It also has a pre-amplifier mode, letting users expand their system with an external amp for even more powerful sound.
Usability is another strength of the Denon AVR-X3800H. It comes with Denon’s guided setup assistant and is compatible with the Denon AVR remote app. The programmable Quick Select buttons make it easy to switch between settings for different uses. For smart home owners, it supports Josh.ai as well as voice control through Alexa, Siri, or Google. In short, it’s one of the easiest ways to bring phenomenal sound to your entire home. For our more in-depth review of this receiver, follow this link.
- 9.4 speaker channels with pre-amp mode
- Automatic room calibration
- Immersive 3D sound for both music and home theaters
- Easy to set up and control
- Compatible with multiple automation services
- Full wireless connectivity and streaming support
- Some users report issues with the Wi-Fi connection
- May require firmware updates for the full features
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.
- 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
- Highest cost on the list
- Can be intimidating for beginners
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.
- 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
- Bulky build may not fit on all home entertainment systems
- Can be more complicated to get set up
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.
- 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
- Can have compatibility issues with older content sources
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.
- 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
- Limited configuration options for height speakers
- Fewer smart home integration options
The high resolution audio produced by the Denon AVR-X2800H brings music to life no matter what file format it uses. You’ll get that same exceptional audio quality whether you play music from a USB drive, through the HDMI ports, or streaming it through services like Spotify Connect or AirPlay 2.
The Denon AVR-X2800H produces detailed and realistic three-dimensional sound, as well. It supports multiple 3D sound formats, including Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X upmixing, along with Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization for immersive sound without the need for overhead speakers. The Audyssey MultEQ XT Editor lets users fully customize the sound production, while the included microphone lets you automatically calibrate the sound to your space.
We also appreciate how easy this receiver is to set up and use. The Setup Assistant gives step-by-step installation guidance. It’s also easy to integrate into home automtation routines, with support for voice control agents like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant, as well as Josh.ai. The built-in HEOS multi-room music lets you play music in two rooms at once with the same exceptional audio quality and easy control. For controlling the receiver, you can use the included remote or download the Denon AVR Remote app on your phone and control your music from anywhere. Click here, for our more in-depth Denon AVR-X2800H review.
- Detailed sound for music or home theater
- Audyssey room correction and EQ
- Supports multiple music streaming services
- Compatible with multiple voice control and automation services
- Muti-room music through HEOS
- Multiple control options, including Denon remote app
- Less powerful than other receivers
- Requires 3rd party device for voice control
With 120 watts per channel, the Onkyo TX-RZ50 can drive any speakers to their full potential. Not only is it powerful, it’s also designed for brand versatility. It’s Sonos certified, enabled for remote management of Sonos speakers through their app. It also has a Klipsch Optimize mode for those with Reference Premier speakers, and AccuReflex phase matching for Atmos-enabled speakers. Basically, you’ll get the best sound in your living room no matter what brand of equipment you use.
The Onkyo TX-RZ50 pairs with the Onkyo Music Control app, giving users access to DTS Play-Fi for multi-room audio. This service also lets you stream from media servers and drives on your network. Whatever you play through this receiver, its DIRAC Live Room Correction ensures the sound is optimized to your space.
The Onkyo TX-RZ50 is a 9.2-channel receiver with processing for up to 11 speaker channels. This is useful for multi-room music setups, allowing you to get more detailed surround sound in both spaces using Zone 2 switching. It also has all the features you need for home theater uses, like IMAX Enhanced mode, lag-reduction for gamers, and an 8K pass-through for high-quality visuals. This combination of versatility and sound quality makes the TX-RZ50 an ideal choice for multi-use entertainment spaces.
- Powerful sound from up to 11 speaker channels
- Works with a wide variety of speaker brands
- Automatic room calibration through DIRAC
- DTS Play-Fi and built-in streaming
- Wi-Fi and bi-directional Bluetooth connectivity
- Great choice for home theaters or music listening
- Can be time-consuming to set up and calibrate
- May be too tall for some entertainment centers
Choosing the Best AV Receiver for Music – Key Features to Check
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 and HDAM circuitry of the Marantz Cinema 60 gives it the best overall sound quality on the list. Its Audyssey automatic room correction and Pure Direct mode, along with full 3D sound support for both DTS and Dolby Atmos formats, round out its list of features.
Best sound quality: Marantz Cinema 60
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.
The 9.2-channel Onkyo TX-RZ50 can process up to 11 speaker channels, while the Denon AVR-X3800H deserves a shout-out for its 4 subwoofer channels, the only option on the list with more than two. For the most speaker channels, though, the Denon AVR-X6700H and Marantz SR8015 both have 11.2 channels and can process up to 13 speaker channels.
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.
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.
Here’s another area where Denon receivers excel. They come with a guided on-screen setup assistant that walks users through connecting speakers and adjusting settings. They also include Audyssey automatic room calibration and can be controlled remotely through the Denon AVR app once they’re set up.
The Marantz Cinema 60 is the most impressive overall receiver on the list thanks to its superior hi-fi sound (>>> Check on Bhphotovideo). That said, it may be out of the budget range for some users. A more affordable option like one of Denon’s AVR receivers 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.