I've reviewed a lot of them for CNET, and while receivers are fine for enthusiasts who know what they're doing, they're a frustrating experience for everyone else. Most technology gets better over time, but AV receivers seem frozen in amber, with giant chassis, thick inscrutable manuals, and onscreen interfaces that could only generously be called "standard-definition." They're embarrassingly backward compared with the rest of your home theater gear, yet … Read more
Onkyo's rightfully known as the king of AV receiver value and its new 2013 line looks worthy of that reputation.
The company announced its new AV receivers this morning, with the step-up TX-NR626 and TX-NR727 models getting two big new features for 2013: built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. All of the models are also packed with HDMI connectivity, with even the entry-level TX-NR525 offering six inputs.
Here's how I'd break down the most-important features:
TX-NR525 ($500): 5.2 channels, six HDMI inputs, Audyssey MultEQ, networking, unpowered second zone TX-NR626 ($600) step-ups: 7.2 channels, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, … Read more
Say the phrase "AV receiver" and the experience that comes to mind is crouching behind a narrow TV cabinet with a tangle of cables, trying to wrap bare wire around a banana plug. And that's before you even get to the fun stuff, like assigning and renaming inputs.
That fact AV receivers are so synonymous with "frustration" is the inspiration for Denon's new 2013 line of AV receivers, which are shooting for "new levels of user friendliness." The company announced three new mainstream models, with the higher-end models including ease-of-use-minded features like … Read more
Every year AV receiver manufacturers tend to add one marquee feature to their product lines, and this year it looks like it's MHL.
Yamaha's new 2013 line of AV receivers consists of four networked models, plus the entry-level RX-V375, with the biggest change being that the four higher-end models each includes one MHL-compatible HDMI input. The RX-V775WA and RX-V675 have their MHL port on the front -- convenient for connecting a compatible smartphone -- and the RX-V575 and RX-V475 have their MHL port on the back, which is better for connecting a Roku Streaming Stick out of sight.… Read more
If you're buying an AV receiver these days, one of the main decisions you'll need to make is whether or not you care about built-in AirPlay. It's an easier call if you don't have any iOS devices, but if you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, you'll definitely want to think about how you'll be using Apple's wireless music-streaming platform with your AV receiver.
It comes down to this: is built-in AirPlay a must-have feature on an AV receiver or should you just add AirPlay functionality through a $100 Apple TV? It's a tougher question than it seems on the surface, as each method has its advantages.… Read more
Denon is always last to announce its new AV receivers each year, but the company just rolled out its new 2012 line.
Denon's AVR-1912 was a hit last year with built-in AirPlay support, and now AirPlay is available on all but the entry-level $250 Denon AVR-1513. There aren't many surprises otherwise, although Denon's back panels are looking more minimalist than ever before. Here's how Denon's 2012 line of AV receivers breaks down:… Read more
The RX-V573 ($550) and RX-V473 ($450) are available immediately, and both feature built-in AirPlay, 4K video pass-through, 3D support, and four HDMI inputs. AirPlay is a new feature for Yamaha's receivers, as it was a noticeable omission from last year's models, while competing Pioneer and Denon models offered it. The RX-V573 and RX-V473 are both also DLNA-compliant.
The new models will continue to use Yamaha's color graphical user interface, and Yamaha's AV Controller app has been updated for both iOS and Android devices, including tablets. The major difference between the models is that RX-V573 is a 7.1 channel receiver, while the RX-V473 has 5.1 channels.
Yamaha also announced that it will be releasing more models in the RX-V line later this month. Here's a breakdown of the key features of models announced today:
CNET Reader Kato asks:
I have speakers directly hooked up to my TV via the "speaker audio out." It works fine. I then hooked up additional speakers I had from a computer. Upon doing so the volume on the original speakers went way down and I get even less from the new speakers. What am I doing wrong?
Oh, so many things...… Read more
Pioneer delivered a great line-up of AV receivers in 2011, highlighted by the VSX-1021-K. That model was one of the first non-Apple products to offer AirPlay compatibility--the ability to stream any audio from iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touch models. CNET awarded the Pioneer four stars, with only the Denon AVR-1912 besting it in the $500 AV receiver line-up last year.
A new product year hits the reset button, and Pioneer is back with a quartet of receivers for 2012. In addition to bristling with plenty of HDMI inputs, some of the new receivers offer a variety of ways to stream audio content, including AirPlay, DLNA, and Bluetooth options. Prices range from $249 to $599. Expect the receivers to be available for purchase before the end of March.
Here's a quick breakdown of the new models and an overview of the most important features:… Read more
Audio is no less immune to the sort of mild lies and partial truths found in the HDTV world. As I discussed in the HDTV edition of MMM, cutting through these fabrications is the key to understanding what really matters.
Before you spend any money on audio, check out this list for what's important, what's not, and what's just total misdirection.… Read more