An Audio/Video Receiver serves as the primary control center for your home theater, and possible some multi-room audio distribution as well. It performs all audio and video processing and switching, and provides power to your loudspeakers. Selecting the most appropriate AV Receiver for your needs can be tricky with as many products as are available in today’s market. Enhanced Home Systems has a few suggestions regarding what to consider when making such an important purchase.
The amplifier’s power rating, often referred to in “watts per channel”, has seemingly become the all-important barometer of quality. The more “watts per channel”, the better it must be, right? Using this logic, an amplifier boasting 200 watts per channel for $300 must be better than the unit that only has 125 watts per channel, yet costs $900. Obviously, there is something amiss with this equation. We must dig deeper to find the true nature of amplifier power. Be aware that different manufacturers rate their products differently since there is no “industry standard” way of doing this. One unit’s power rating may be at 1kHz, while another may be at full bandwidth. (We find that very few people listen to 1kHz test tones for entertainment.) Similarly, some components may be rated at RMS, or continuous power, all channels driven, while others may choose to specify their “peak” operating power, which can only be sustained for minimal durations. We can help you understand these variations and instead, match the amplifier to your speakers, your environment and your lifestyle.
While there is definite merit to an AV Receiver that has a hefty toroidal power supply and large capacitors in terms of being able to supply and sustain power when needed, this cannot be the singular measure of determining quality either. Extra thick aluminum face plates and inordinately large heat sinks might add the weight that some consumers are seeking, but offer little in terms of actual performance improvements.
Every new model of AV Receiver brings along a host of new “must have” features, but how many of them must you really have? You need to know what it is you will actually use to make an informed decision. If you own a variety of Apple products and are no stranger to streaming your music, then perhaps AirPlay is a great feature to have. However, if you don’t intend to hang extra speakers high on your walls or on your ceiling, then Dolby Atmos may hold little benefit for you, only elevating the price point of the hardware. Our staff is well-versed in all that is “new”, and can help make sense of what is truly right for you!