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What is an AV Receiver? How to choose the one for your home.

What is an AV Receiver? How to choose the one for your home.

Do you often love to recreate your favorite movie experiences at home? Unfortunately, given the pandemic situation, it isn’t an ideal situation to go out and enjoy those movies in crowded theaters.

But you can still not miss out on the fun and eccentric movie experiences, thanks to the home theaters.

But, how do you find the right AV Receiver for your home? Maybe by focusing on its key aspect, the AV receiver. Intrigued to know more? Well, an AV receiver is one of your home theater's main components that help amplify and produce the final output on your screen. So, if you are keen on investing in a premium home theater for your haven, it is essential to understand the unique attributes of this component.

Before jumping into the specifications and types of AV receivers available in the market, let’s first take a deeper dive into understanding the overall concept.

What is an AV receiver?

what is an av receiver

AV Receiver is a consumer electronic component used in a home theater that performs various functions like receiving audio and video sources from input devices (Smart TV’s, Media Players, Blurays etc), decode the signals and power speakers. In simple layman terms an AVR is the heart and the brain of your Home theater system. To explain this better let us first under the various components, types and functions of an AVR. Once you have a better understanding of these components we shall also help you choose the right AVR for your home.

The components of an AVR
As stated earlier an AVR is the Brain and the Heart of your Home theater system and the components can be broken down into four main sections.

1) The Power Supply
Like the Heart pumps blood across the body, the power supply section of an AVR consists of a large transformer and multiple transistors that pump power to all the various components within the AVR and to the speakers.

2) Motherboard
The motherboard section is basically a large component board that, like our brain, does all the thinking/processing  and gives commands  to the various components of the AVR  to perform functions that enable you to enjoy your favorite movies and music.

3) Inputs
The input section of an AVR consists of slots in the front and rear of the chassis enabling you to connect various devices both wired and wirelessly. Input opinions include HDMI, RCA, Optical, Coaxial, XLR, USB, Bluetooth, Wifi (Airplay, Spotify, Amazon Music, Internet Radio, etc), Lan Network and much more.

4) Outputs
The output section of an AVR includes HDMI Out, RCA preouts, Subwoofer pre outs, XLR pre outs and most importantly power outputs for speakers.

The Types of an AVR

When it comes to the types of available in the market, they can be mainly segregated into three categories

  1. Stereo AV Receiver
  2. Multi Channel AV Receiver
  3. Multi Channel Processor

The Functions of an AVR

  1. Connecting and switching between audio sources
  2. Connecting and switching between video sources
  3. Decoding digital & surround-sound formats
  4. Amplifying audio signals to drive multiple speakers
  5. Other connectivity options
  6. System Calibration and equalization

Why do you need an AV Receiver?

The simplest answer is that if you wish to own a home theater system that include speakers, subwoofers, input devices (TV, mobile, media player, gaming console, etc), you will need an AVR which will help you connect these various components and enjoy high resolution video and audio in surround sound. It is worth noting that soundbars and their accompanying surround wireless surround speakers have the power ad possessing all built-in due to which they do not need an AVR. However, even today a soundbar can not match the performance of a dedicated home theater system.

How to choose the right AVR for your Home?

The AV Receiver is the not only the Hub for your home theater system but is also responsible to power your speaker, therefore one must choose very carefully using these three parameters


1) Number of speakers & Power requirement 

As explained earlier in the types AVR which can be either stereo or multi channel you will have to first decide how many speakers can you effectively accommodate in your home. Once you have the number of speakers defined you can go about choosing an AVR that has the specified number of amplified channels. Now to drive these numerous speakers you will need the right amount of power as per the published requirement by the speaker manufacturer. For example if your are looking to setup a 5.1 Channel system where the speakers can handle 100 watts of power at 8 ohms, you will require an AVR which has a minimum of 5 channels of amplifications and pumps out at least 120 Watts of power (2 Channel driven at 20Hz to 20KHz). This is so that your amplifier has enough power or headroom to give you great output and low volume without any stress or distortion.

PRO TIP: AVR manufacturers may sometimes provide confusing power specifications, claiming unbelievable high power outputs from small/lightweight AVRs all in the name of marketing. The best way to understand the power output on an AVR is to find the rating which is at 8 Ohms at the full frequency band of human hearing which is 20HZ to 20000Hz and two channel driven.

2) Features required
- Video
- Audio formats
- Connectivity
- Auto calibration

3) Budget & service center
- Price range
- Close by service center

Pro tip absorbia

In India the top AV Receiver brands to choose from are Marantz, Denon, Yamaha, Pioneer, Onkyo, Arcam, Anthem and NAD.


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