Best UK Av Receiver
Just Updated: December 2020
Here are our top ranked selections in the category of best AV receiver to buy in the UK.
#1 Selection: Rating = 95%
#2: Best Rated Runner-Up
#3: Good For User Satisfaction
AV Receivers: A Buyer’s Guide
Getting your home audio-visual setup just right can take time and effort. While plenty of people are happy with default sound and vision with their setups as soon as they plug in their TVs, many of us take things to the next level. How do you hope to create that impeccable, crisp audio quality in your own living room? The cornerstone of many surround sound and home entertainment systems is, of course, the AV receiver. But what does a receiver actually do, and what should you be looking for when you finally decide to invest in one? It’s perhaps not as easy to shop around as you might think.
An AV receiver is perhaps the most crucial component in any modern home theatre system. It’s the main hub that connects all the audio and visual pieces together. What’s more, it makes sure than everything can communicate with each other quickly and clearly. Therefore, there’s never any need for you to fumble around with clumsy cables or pieces of tech. An AV receiver will, as the name suggests, receive signals and then deliver them to your separate devices.
Getting started with an AV receiver may seem tricky, but it’s actually a lot simpler than you might think. If it’s your first time setting up a home entertainment rig, don’t worry. In this buying guide, we will take you through everything you need to know about AV receivers, and what you can do to fine-tune the perfect choice.
At the end of the guide, as always, we will take a look at some frequently asked questions that buyers pose when looking for receivers. This may, you should know exactly what to look for when you go ahead and shop around for the first time!
Why Buy an AV Receiver?
Why not? Many people buy AV receivers because they can help to connect all their many speakers and TV systems together. All you generally need to do is connect or plug in your source to a receiver, and it will then distribute audio and video to the devices you want to watch and listen to them through. For example, you might want to connect a Sky box to an AV receiver, and then distribute the sound through satellite or surround sound speakers dotted across your living room.
AV receivers tend to be more powerful than everyday stereo mixers and receivers. That’s because they have more internal amplification. This also means that they are likely to have cutting-edge technology and sound design built into the box. The best AV receivers are likely to connect with an perform well for multiple speakers at a time. For those systems with, say, five or more speakers in a setup, a good AV receiver is going to make sure that you receive the best sound quality through the channels you expect.
However, there are plenty of different types of AV receiver out there. What’s more, they are getting every more advanced in the technology they use! It can be tricky to know what you should look for, and why. Therefore, if you aren’t too technologically minded, but really want to make the most of your AC experience, keep reading and we will break down all of the essentials you really need to know about.
Things to Consider
Yes – it’s probably tempting just to buy the first AV system or receiver you see. However, this isn’t always going to be the best move. Your home entertainment setup is likely to be much different to those other people use! Therefore, here’s our pick of the essential things you should keep in mind while buying.
Consider Your Devices
The first thing you should do is look for an AV receiver that holds enough amplification and capability for the speakers and inputs you want to use. Look for amplification that can cater to at least five speakers if you have a standard surround sound setup. Some people even have as many as 12 speakers, so again, look for something that’s going to cater to your exact demands. For this reason, you should also look for input sockets, such as HDMIs, when you want to connect TVs, cable boxes and more besides.
Do You Need Wi-Fi?
Of course, the future is wireless – if you didn’t know that already! Therefore, it’s highly likely you will find many AV receivers which will connect to your home broadband. Make sure to choose this if you want to simply stream to a receiver. For example, if you want to stream music from Spotify, or audio through YouTube, to your surround sound speakers, this is naturally going to be one of the first things you look for.
Look at Sound Formats
Ok – so this is where things can get a bit tricky. The fact is, most AV receivers will tell you that they offer the best quality sound technology. How else would they sell to people? However, make sure you analyse and research the various types of sound engineering that these receivers use. For example, Dolby Atmos tends to be the pinnacle of sound design right now – but you should look, generally, for systems that allow for HDR, which means high dynamic range. Top-end TVs tend to work with this capability, so it makes sense to look for a receiver which can easily adapt.
Numbers of Channels
Let’s think about channels. As well as considering amplification, you should look for a system or receiver which offers enough channels for the number of speakers you’d like to use. This is a good time to future-proof your system, as it means you should be thinking about how many speakers you’d like to plan for. The last thing you will want to do is buy an AV receiver with three channels when you want to add in ten more speakers in the long run.
Think Carefully About Inputs
As mentioned, most home entertainment essentials will likely have HDMI outputs. However, you will also find that there are plenty of AV receivers that connect to older, less common devices. For example, what about a record player? You’ll need specific ports on the back of your AV receiver. What about Bluetooth connectivity? Think carefully about everything you’d like to invest in further down the line and make a plan with a wide-reaching AV receiver.
Of course, you should also think carefully about the amount of power you need for one room. An AV receiver with stacks of power for a huge space may not always work so well for smaller living rooms and bedrooms. The more watts per channel, the more adaptable the sound is going to be. Bear in mind that this doesn’t actually mean you can always hear a difference. What it will mean, however, is that your receiver will likely be able to adapt easier to different soundscapes. For example, TV shows and movies will likely need more power and dynamic output thanks to the variety of sound they put out!
As mentioned, the modern age demands wireless connectivity. Thankfully, there are plenty of AV receivers out there which will meet you more than halfway. Wireless AV connectivity is a great way to plan multi-room sound system mapping, too. Some systems from the best sound engineers offer you apps to control your whole system from, no matter where you may be in the house. It’s a great way to manage who hears what in which room!
Frequently Asked Questions
Don’t worry if you are finding AV receivers confusing! The fact is this is technology which can take time to look through in detail. Take our buying guide as a nice starting point, but then consider looking at the following common queries to fine-tune your choices.
Is an AV Receiver Really Going to be Worth It?
That all depends on how much you value high quality audio! If you’re not too fussy about the sound you get from basic speakers and TV sets, then you likely won’t have much need to invest. However, it could really change the way you hear your entertainment for the better.
How Much Do AV Receivers Cost?
Generally, you could be looking at anywhere between £200 and £300, possibly more. Therefore, make sure to set a few hundred pounds to one side if you’re keen to look for the best technology and the best brands.
Is It Worth Splashing Out on an AV Receiver?
Many people will say yes! The fact is, the more you pay, the better the technology – or at least the more adaptability – you are likely to receive. This doesn’t always follow, however. Therefore, look carefully at buyer reviews more than RRP. These should give you a good indication of what you can expect in the long run.
AV receivers could make all the difference to your home entertainment setup. Modern systems and homes demand modern solutions! Take a look through our guide, our helpful links below, and do also trust what verified buyers have to say.