The AV receiver is the brain of your home media system. It takes the signal from all sources in the house (players, media servers, game consoles, etc.) and distributes it to each part of the home theater (TV, projector, speakers). The receiver also allows you to switch between different inputs, amplify the audio signal, process it with an equalizer and other effects. What else does he know how to choose him and what to do with him next?
At the front, they look like a Blue-Ray player or amplifier, but the rear panel is terrifying with the number of inputs and outputs. This is no coincidence: the receiver combines a digital-to-analog converter (DAC that converts zeros and ones into audio), a multichannel audio decoder, a processor for adjusting the sound in each channel, and power amplifiers for each channel. Modern models support Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, allowing them to communicate with wireless speakers and mobile devices.
Basically, the receiver is the link between all home media devices. It will help you network them, easily switch between different sources, listen to music and watch movies from anywhere.
How to choose a receiver?
A receiver is a complex device with many characteristics, but most of them came from other devices – amplifiers, audio cards, video players, etc. The receiver only brings them together under one roof, so it’s easy to figure it all out.
Number of channels. This is the first thing to pay attention to. If you already have a set of 5.1 speakers at home, you will need a receiver for the corresponding number of channels. If there are plans to add two speakers from above to this scheme to get 5.1.2 with the ability to work with the Dolby Atmos format, then you need already 7 channels, and you need to look towards receivers with support for the 7.2 scheme, and so on.
Power. It is better to take power with a certain margin, otherwise at high volume the amplifier will not have enough powder in the flasks, and the signal will clipping – wheeze, hiss, rustle and be distorted in various ways. For example, for two 80 W speakers, it is worth taking a receiver with amplifiers with a power of about 100 W per channel. In addition to power, you need to look at the impedance of the amplifier. A more detailed guide to choosing an amplifier can be found here .
Decoders. An important point on which will depend on what multi-channel audio formats the receiver can play (all these DTS: X, Dolby Atmos, etc.).
AV-receiver Yamaha RX-V4A 49 999 *
Inputs and Outputs. The number of different equipment that the receiver can combine depends on them. For example, several HDMI inputs will allow you to connect a game console, video player, satellite TV and media server to it, display the picture from them on the TV without unnecessary gestures. Coaxial and optical outputs will help to connect an external audio card of a PC or some of the devices via S / PDIF, reducing the number of wires.
Wireless connections. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi play an important role in modern media technology. Wireless speakers can be placed anywhere, eliminating the headaches of cords, and from a smartphone or tablet, you can control your home media library and play movies with one finger while lying on the couch.
DAC. Here you need to look at the maximum sample rate and bit rate. It should be noted that the current standards for multichannel sound: DTS (in the HD Master Audio version) and Dolby Atmos – up to 24 bit / 192 kHz.
Finally, it’s worth taking a look at the file formats that the receiver can play. Most of them also know how to play both old school FM and AM radio and modern Internet radio.
Finally, harmonic distortion (THD) tells you how much distortion the receiver will add to the final signal. The distortion introduced by the receiver becomes noticeable, starting at 0.1% distortion, so any model with a value below is suitable for home use (but of course, the lower the better). The lower the power of the amplifiers of the receiver, the more likely it will overstrain to swing large powerful speakers, and distortion will appear at high volume levels.
Latest receiver models are often packed with state-of-the-art features. For example, Audyssey technology automatically adjusts the sound of the speakers to the particular room in which they are located. Surround calibration will adjust it based on the position of the speakers themselves in relation to the listener. Owners of 4K TVs and projectors will benefit from the ability to scale video – automatic upscaling of some 360p released from YouTube of the 2000s to 4K.
Some receivers are able to send a separate signal to stereo speakers installed in another room, by reducing a pair of channels, for example, from 7.1 to 5.1. But it becomes possible to watch a movie in one room while someone is listening to music in another.
There are also proprietary developments. For example, Yamaha MusicCast technology connects all supported devices via Wi-Fi, which allows you to control the entire system from your smartphone. You can play any track from anywhere: even from streaming services, even from the internal memory of your smartphone.
Some receivers support AirPlay technology and can interface with Apple technology on the fly.
The main problem of receivers is that their digital stuffing can be duplicated in several devices (video player, media server, etc.), and their most expensive component is amplifiers, which are not always powerful enough, and there are not always as many of them as we would like. would.
For example, if a room with a home theater and powerful speakers according to the 7.4.1 scheme is already equipped at home (and these are three front, two on the sides, two in the back, four on top and a subwoofer), then you will need an 11-channel receiver. It is not always possible to find a device with so many channels, the required power and at a reasonable price. In such cases, a digital audio processor is usually used.
Multichannel digital processors differ from receivers in that they do not have amplifiers on board. However, they support more channels, have advanced audio processing protocols, and are generally more professional devices.
These are installed in large amateur cinemas in order to feed powerful acoustics with the highest quality signal. With their help, you can install several subwoofers in the hall, organize the sound of 9.1, and in general do everything to make the audio in your home theater better than in a commercial cinema. Moreover, it will be more profitable than buying a powerful receiver for more than ten channels.
It is also worth noting that some receivers can play the role of digital processors and are equipped with outputs from preamps (Pre Out), which can be connected to an external amplifier, bypassing the built-in ones.
There is also one life hack. Since the most powerful should be three front speakers, and their satellites already require much less resources, it is reasonable to feed them with different devices. Therefore, a bundle of an amplifier for stereo speakers and a receiver for satellites is very popular and makes it possible to purchase everything in stages.
Bluray players usually have their own multichannel decoders and corresponding audio outputs. Everything except amplifiers. In fact, it is a processor and a turntable in one bottle. External amplifiers or active acoustics are connected to it. This option will be the most compact and concise, however, players are inferior to processors and receivers in terms of a set of functions and are often unable to decode the most modern multi-channel audio formats.
Although the AV receiver is primarily intended for home theater use, many audiophiles connect it to regular stereo speakers. The logic is obvious: not everyone has the opportunity to throw a round sum at once on 5 speakers, a subwoofer and a receiver, so you can build a home theater in stages, starting with the required minimum.
Many receivers support biamping and triumping in performance. This means that they can be connected to a stereo system and even install two speakers and a subwoofer, respectively. The good news is that receivers usually provide more power for these configurations, since there is no need to power the satellites. Thus, in terms of power and sound quality, the receiver becomes comparable to amplifiers, and in terms of functionality and various features it easily surpasses them.
The receiver is an important part of a multi-channel audio system. Enthusiasts advise spending about 30% of the cost of the entire home theater audio system on a receiver. At the same time, in addition to its main role, the receiver can perform the functions of a stereo amplifier, an audio card, a device switch, and even a radio receiver. There are a lot of applications for this device, and support for wireless connections and modern audio and video formats makes it not only universal, but also an actual device.