HT Receivers Compared

Simple Question:  Are any really better than the others - Marantz, Yamaha, Arcam, NAD, Rotel, et al in sound quality?  They all seem to get 5 star (or close) Performance reviews in Sound and Vision.  The local high fi shop even said they're all about the same.  What do you guys think?  I almost tend to believe them.  I bought into the hype a time ago in buying a Anthem receiver that ended up being supremely overrated IMHO.


What are you using the AVR for? Important to know. For Home Theatre they should be similar. Which is what sales reps will be thinking about when try and compare them. For two channel music there will be differences, but none of the AVR's will provide anywhere near the music quality of true two channel separates or integrated amps that are designed for two channel only. AVR's are optimized for HT and NOT music. The money is spent on HT. They claim to be a one box solution but end up being mediocre at best at the rest. At their price point with all they "can" do, there are significant cost related trade offs that comes with packing so many features into one box.

Anthem AVRs are very good in my experience.   Not going to rival dedicated 2 ch gear but they do sound really good. 

Are any really better than the others - Marantz, Yamaha, Arcam, NAD, Rotel, et al in sound quality?

Yes, they are different than others. When you look at a receiver you group them together in price ranges. Next you look at features such as how many channels, the power rating, what type of room correction, are they networked, etc.

After that it boils down to preference. Marantz and Denon are both made by Masimo, but they sound different. Yamaha has a feature called Auro- 3D but Anthem doesn’t. Onkyo offers Dirac room correction but Anthem has ARC. I got a GREAT deal on a 9 channel Onkyo receiver because it didn’t have something called IMAX Enhanced and the model replacing it did. That feature wasn’t important so I bought it at around a 70% discount brand new. So I can only tell you my favorites, but "best" is what is best for you. My top 3 favorites are Marantz, Onkyo and Sony. They all have nice reviews on youtube.

EISA recently presented their annual awards and they test gear, check out: